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Sample Submission

Submitting samples to the laboratory correctly allows us to process your samples efficiently. Here are some tips to assist you in this regard:

All samples for analysis must be received with an appropriate Chain of Custody (COC) or sample submission form detailing the required analysis for the sample before work can commence.

Download the Chain of Custody

The lodgement of an order or receipt of samples constitutes an acceptance of our standard terms and conditions.

Clearly note the sample identification that you wish to appear on the analysis report along with the project number / description.

Specify the turnaround time required: standard turn-around time for samples is generally 5 working days. Rush work or urgent turnaround is available. Please contact us directly for further details on urgent requests.

Turnaround time

Standard Turnaround Times (TAT) are as follows:

Working Days Type of Work Example Typical Tests
5 Soil & Water, Contaminated Sites TPH / BTEX / OC / OP / PAH / Metals
5 - 7 Larger batches > 50 samples TPH / BTEX / OC / OP / PAH / Metals
5 - 6 Soils for SPOCAS SPOCAS
5 - 15 Low level analytes & subcontracted analysis TBT, Herbicides etc.

For the purposes of determining due dates, samples received after 3pm Monday through to Friday are deemed to have been received the following working day. TAT begins when a complete COC is received.

Turnaround time examples:

  • If a sample is received at 10am Tuesday on a 5 day TAT, results will be reported by COB the following Tuesday.

  • If a sample is received after 3pm on a Wednesday, it is deemed to have been received 9am Thursday and so results will be available by COB the following Thursday.

  • If a sample is received 10am Thursday for a 1 day TAT, results will be reported by COB Friday.

  • If a sample is received at 4pm Thursday for a 2 day TAT, results will be reported by COB Tuesday.

Please contact us if you require faster TAT’s.

Rush Analyses (Urgent work)

RUSH service MUST be approved by the laboratory BEFORE samples are submitted. A surcharge is added to the fee if rush turnaround time (TAT) is requested. Such surcharges range from 12.5% to 200% of the fee and depend upon the TAT and analysis to be performed. Samples are entered into our rush analysis handling system immediately upon receipt at our facility.

Safety Disclosure

Please ensure that any safety hazards associated with samples are relayed to the lab staff via the COC. This may include heavily contaminated samples, pure products, asbestos or dioxins. Providing this information is not only important for staff safety but may result in faster results if we know what dilutions may initially be required.

Sample Preservation

Envirolab Services will provide appropriately clean and preserved sampling containers free of charge. Please contact the laboratory and allow at least 2 days for delivery.

We use a combination of APHA, USEPA & Australian Standard references.

Sample Temperatures

ELIG (Environmental Laboratory Industry Group) recommends that samples be sent to the laboratory as soon as possible after collection, with either ice or ice bricks as the cooling medium. An acceptable receipt temperature is one that is less than the temperature at the time of sampling. If the client has placed samples into an esky with ice or ice bricks then the samples are deemed to be on the cooling cycle and will be marked on receipt as either ‘cool’ or, in some cases, "ambient."


Envirolab Services can arrange courier pickups from your office or site. Please call our customer service teams for further details.

Samples should be packed in eskies with ice bricks (not ice) and wrapped in bubble wrap or foam to avoid breakages. Samples should not be sent to the laboratory from regional or interstate locations on Fridays or the day before NSW Public Holidays due to holding time and temperature issues.

Sample Storage

Envirolab will store any remaining soil samples for 2 months and water samples for 1 month from date of receipt.

Highly contaminated samples or difficult matrices will be returned to the client for disposal.


Envirolab Services currently subcontract some tests to other laboratories. We use several laboratories depending on the testing requirements. Subcontracted tests include BOD, explosives, organotins, and other specialised tests.

Sample Receipt Advice (SRA)

Sample receipt advise will be emailed to you, along with a scanned copy of the COC when your job has been registered and contract reviewed. The SRA details the condition of the samples on receipt, the date that the results can be expected and an Envirolab reference number, which can be used for tracking purposes.

Detection Limits

It is the client’s responsibility to notify if specific detection limits are required, otherwise we will perform the analysis to routine or general industry accepted limits. Most analyses become more expensive and time-consuming when detection limits are lowered and will incur extra charges. In some cases, specified detection limits may not be achievable if the sample contains interferences or has a high moisture or salt content.

Holding Times

Click here for a summary of recommended holding times.

As there are many different holding time references, it is up to the client to determine if results meet holding times. Some analytes such as pH, BOD, Ferrous Iron and Hexavalent Chromium in waters have very short holding times and predominantly need to be analysed on the day of sampling. To ensure holding times are met, we request that you provide the laboratory with prior notice of sampling when short holding time tests are involved. These samples must arrive at the laboratory to allow sufficient time to conduct the analysis - generally before 11am, otherwise surcharges may apply to complete the testing within holding time or samples may not be tested within recommended holding times. If possible, we request these not be sampled on a Friday. Envirolab Services takes no responsibility for results that are analysed outside of recommended holding times where the client has not given us sufficient time to test the samples.