Farm water sampling

Methods and techniques for sampling water on your farm.

Rural water quality information tool

Online tool to assess quality and suitability of raw water sources for privately owned and operated supplies.

Sampling objectives

The first step in water quality sampling and testing is to answer the question "Why sample and test the water?"

Regular testing is the only way to know if problems exist with your water quality. It also helps:

  • ensure you are using water suitable for your intended agricultural use
  • ensure that your drinking water is safe
  • determine the effectiveness of your water treatment system
  • determine if there is variability in a groundwater source
  • determine if there is a problem with the construction components of the water source

Determining the sampling objectives will help determine the number of samples required, and the location and type of the samples needed. Some reasons for sampling are:

  • for the purpose of long-term monitoring of your water quality
  • to determine whether the water quality is generally good or bad for your intended use
  • to identify specific areas of concern such as points of suspected contamination
  • to determine if a particular problem has been corrected

Shipping of samples

Once water samples are collected, they must be transported to the laboratory immediately. if you are shipping them directly to a private lab The mode of transportation will depend on the geographic location and maximum allowable time lapse before analysing each parameter. Usually they will require them within 24 hours of the time they were sampled.

Before shipping, always check that all sample bottles recorded on the field sampling sheets have been placed in the cooler or carton. Samples must be shipped in a dark, cool environment using cold packs or melting ice. If ice is used it should be in a sealed plastic bag. The samples should never be allowed to freeze as this can cause irreversible separations and reactions in the water. Shipping labels which clearly identify the source and destination of the samples will increase the transportation efficiency. The procedures stated by the laboratory should be strictly followed.

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