Water Testing

It is vitally important that water is sampled and preserved correctly in order to ensure analysis results accurately reflect the property that you are trying to measure and base decisions on.

Envirolab Services is NATA Accredited in testing and analysis of waters, which include, but are not limited to potable, process, groundwater, surface water and wastewater.


Sampling and Process for Water Testing

For water testing, sampling and preservation information is fully outlined in AS/NZS 5667 and other sources such as the American Public Health Association (APHA) ‘Standard Methods for the examination of water and wastewater.’ Generally, samples are best kept refrigerated and should be received at the laboratory within 24 hours of sampling.

More specific information relating to sampling can be viewed on our specially prepared fact sheets on potable waters, cyanides, metals and nutrients.


Sampling that meets your Unique Testing Requirements and Project Needs

Based on your needs and requirements for scientific testing services, our expert team at Envirolab can advise which analysis may best suite your situation. Our team will provide you with appropriate sample bottles and preservatives (if applicable) for you to collect and then deliver the water sample in. These bottles, along with a completed Chain of Custody form, should be delivered to your nearest Envirolab office or laboratory as soon as possible.

Envirolab Services provides water testing results for:

Bottled water Borehole, wells and rainwater tanks Landfill leachate
Chelex Bioavailable metals Estuarine and Marine or 'sea' water Saline water
Cooling water Freshwater Surface water
Drinking water Groundwater Waste water
Effluent Irrigation water Stormwater, drain and sewage water 
    Legionella  Swimming pool and spas


Laboratory Analysis 

Our team can provide you with absolute results for the following: 

Organic contamination of water may originate from a variety of sources as 'organics' are typically found in most living systems.

Envirolab can provide reliable results for clients who are subject to process control as well as national and local regulatory compliancy. Some areas of scientific analysis include: 

VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds)
SVOC (Semivolatile Organic Compounds)
TRH / BTEX ( Total Recoverable Hydrocarbons / Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, and Xylene)




Other Useful Resources

Anions or negatively charged ions may be present in water sources including drinking water.

While some anions are part of regulatory programs for improving the taste and removing odour in water, others are classed as carcinogenic and therefore need to be regulated.   


Testing for anions in water at Envirolab 

Envirolab has over 10 years of experience in providing our clients with quality scientific testing of anions including:  



Ask us today on how our expert team at Envirolab can assist you with your water testing requirements.

While naturally occurring in rocks and soils, higher concentrations of ions in water may be present due to other factors, such as industrialisation. These higher concentrations of ions may cause water to be more corrosive and salty. Within industry, the concentration of ions in water affects pipelines, irrigation and farming equipment. Similarly, washing, cooking and hot water systems may be affected at the consumer level. 


Testing for cations in water at Envirolab 

Alongside our available anion water testing, Envirolab can also test for cations. Common cations commonly found in Australian water that our team at Envirolab can assist you with include: 



Scientific testing individualised to your needs

All our clients at Envirolab have different requirements. For instance, some water assessments may be focused on testing for 'hard water' by determining the concentration of calcium and magnesium in the water sample. We understand that different environment circumstances and briefing requirements affect our clients. Ask us today about your specific requirements! 

When water quality monitoring for ecosystem protection, or where water quality is affected by the presence of trace metals, the bioavailability of said metal, not just the concentration of elements in the dissolved phase, can be critical in the assessment of toxicity. Here, the amount of trace metals in the dissolved form, generally contain the majority of the bioavailable forms.

The toxicity of metals in sufficient concentration is attributed to their ability to compete for intracellular sites normally occupied by functional metabolites, thereby interfering with normal cell functions.


Scientific Testing at Envirolab

NATA Accredited testing at Envirolab is performed to determine Chelex - Bioavailable Metal Speciation in natural waters for:

Aluminum (Al) Copper (Cu) Mercury (Hg)
Barium (Ba) Cobalt (Co) Molybdenum (Mo)
Beryllium (Be) Iron (Fe) Nickel (Ni)
Cadmium (Cd) Lead (Pb)  Tin (Sn)
Chromium (Cr) Manganese (Mn) Vanadium (V) 
        Zinc (Zn)


As a guide, the sample should be either 0.45µm or 0.1µm field filtered into an unpreserved metals bottle. 

Download information flyer on Chelex® Method for Determining Metals Bioavailability in Natural Waters


As emerging environment contaminants, PFAS have been identified in water and include a class of perfluorinated compounds, perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).

PFAS pose a concern because they do not 'break down' or decompose easily and may be present in water samples from municipal water, drinking water wells, surface water (lakes, rivers and dams) and groundwater. PFAS may also be found in soil, sediment and air either due to release from a manufacturer or by the use and disposal of products that contain these contaminants.  

Industrial manufacture, aviation sites and firefighting facilities across Australia are some of the locations that PFAS may be abundant. However, due to their stability as a chemical, PFAS can also be found in locations far away from their original manufacturing or area of use. 


Testing for PFAS in Water Samples at Envirolab 

Envirolab Services is specialised in testing for PFAS. Based on our knowledge and experience in contamination testing, we will support you in having a better understanding of this service and of the way tests are conducted.  

Contact us today for further information about testing for PFAS in water and how we can assist you with your environmental testing requirements.


Other useful resources

Bacteria, pathogenic or 'disease causing' organisms and other microorganisms are a health concern when considering the safety and quality of drinking water. 

Human and animal wastes are a source for the spread of pathogens in water areas including rivers, lakes, runoffs and contaminated swimming pools. Discharge from septic tanks, sewage treatment facilities and the natural environment are other sources for water contamination.

Envirolab has specialist expertise in assessing water for:

Thermotolerant coliforms
Total plate counts


While vital for plant growth and stability, higher concentrations of nutrients in water sources may affect ecosystems; algae and other aquatic plants will continue to grow well beyond the amount needed to support the biological community. Consequential changes to acidity and oxygen levels may in turn be toxic to fish and other marine life. 

Higher levels of nutrients in water are not only detrimental to an ecosystem, but also affect human health and agriculture. At the same time, residue from fertiliser used to grow crops may contaminate a downstream drinking water bore with excessive levels of nitrate. 


Testing for nutrients in water at Envirolab 

NATA Accredited Envirolab offers nutrient testing of water for monitoring its continued quality. Laboratory testing includes:

Kjeldahl Nitrogen
Total Nitrogen
Total Phosphorus


Contact our team at Envirolab and ask us how our specialised water testing services can be catered to your needs. 

Inorganic properties or parameters of water may be indicative of its quality in the natural environment as well as for industrial and household usage.


Physico-chemical testing at Envirolab

A number of inorganic tests can be carried out at one of our laboratories to measure water quality. Our full range of testing services for inorganic contamination include the following parameters:

Acidity or alkalinity
BOD (Biochemical Oxygen Demand)
COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand)
MBAS (Methylene Blue Active Substances)
SAR (Sodium Adsorption Ratio)
Suspended and dissolved solids
TOC / DOC (Total Organic Carbon / Dissolved Organic Carbon)


​​​​​​Other tests are also available by our accredited Envirolab laboratories as required for water quality analysis. With support from our specialised team at Envirolab, you can be certain of quality results and a rapid turnaround that can be customised to your scientific testing requirements. 

Our NATA Accredited laboratory is supported by specialised Envirolab staff who can provide you with reliable results and a rapid turnaround in identifying the presence of heavy metals, such as: 



Our extended suite of up to 30 metals also includes rare earths.


Envirolab also provides specialised metal analysis for:

Speciated Arsenic

The detection of various pharmaceuticals in wastewater is important for maintaining the environment, since Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) may have an adverse effect on organisms.


Envirolab tests for the following pharmaceuticals in waters:

Fluoxetine (prozac)


Other pharmaceuticals, steroids and hormones are available for testing. Ask us now what we can do for you and your specific requirements.