We received a recent inquiry from ‘HollyDay’ who asked, ”
What kind of containers should we use for collecting the water samples? i.e., plastic, glass… And should we use a different container for each sample we test?“
Thank you, Holly, for asking a VERY good question.
Read the test kit’s directions first
We cannot stress the importance of reading the directions of a water test, or ANY test for that matter, enough.
Reviewing the procedure before starting a test helps you understand the ‘big picture’ of how the testing will go and allows you to make any preparations needed for the test before you begin.
- Some tests will require different volumes of water sample, so choose sample vessels accordingly. No need to use a gallon-sized container to collect a sample for a test that requires only 100 mL of water!
- Will some tests need time to ‘develop’ or do some of your tests require a specific geometry of sample container? As an example of the latter, the SenSafe brand of water test strips uses patented aperture technology on their test strips that allows for the detection of lower concentrations, but requires a sample container wide enough to allow the strip adequate back-and-forth motion.
What type of container should I use?
In most situations it will not matter if you use a glass or plastic container, but when collecting a sample for testing, remember the following:
- Glass containers can break, so if prone to dropping things — especially wet things — you may want to stick with plastic. Chances are you do not want shards of glass in or near your drinking water source!
- Choose a clean container, meaning one that does not contain ‘chunks’ of its previous contents stuck to the sides.
- Avoid using containers that previously contained products like bleach, soap, peroxide, ammonia, etc. since compounds like those may have leached into container walls — and may creep back out into your water sample(s).
- Rinse the containers thoroughly with sample water prior to collecting a sample for analysis.
- If reusing the sample sample container for different tests, make sure you rinse the container thoroughly with sample water between tests to eliminate the risk of reagents from the previous test(s) affecting the next test.
At the end of the day,when you have completed your testing, if any test results indicate a potential problem with your water, definitely have your water tested by a qualified water testing laboratory so you can find out for certain and install the correct water treatment option.
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