Sample Acceptance Policy for PA SDWA Testing


Sample Acceptance Policy for PA SDWA Testing

Most samples received by the laboratory for environmental analysis are tested to meet the requirements of federal, state or local regulations. In accordance with these guidelines, Microbac Laboratories, Inc. complies with the following acceptance policy for all Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) samples. If the samples do not meet the acceptance criteria outlined below, the laboratory will document all non-conformances, and this may result in your samples being rejected.

Chain of Custody
A chain of custody must accompany all SDWA samples. The following information on the chain of custody is to be completed or verified by the customer as correct:

  • Customer name and address 

  • Water system name 

  • PWSID #

  • Contact information 


The following information is to be completed by the customer only:

  • Sample description/identification

  • Sample location and IDs (3 digit code)

  • Sample type (entry point, distribution, check sample etc.)

  • Disinfectant reading (where available/applicable)

  • Sample Matrix

  • Sample date and time of collection

  • Number of containers & preservative

  • Requested analyses

  • Name of person collecting the sample

  • Indication of whether or not the sample(s) are for compliance reporting purposes

Errors on the chain of custody are to be corrected by drawing a single line through the mistake and writing the correct information off to the side along with the initials and date of the responsible party. Any missing or incorrect receipt information must be satisfactorily resolved before sample analysis is initiated. 


Sample Containers
Microbac-provided sample containers have durable labels and are to be filled out using indelible ink. Upon receipt at the laboratory, sample containers will be checked to ensure that they are intact, that the container type meets the requirement of the specific analytical method and that the container is properly filled. 

Chemical preservatives are required by many analytical methods in order to render a specific analyte stable until testing can be performed. Chemical preservatives are to be added at the time of sampling (either added directly or via pre-preserved containers) unless it is unsafe to do so. Total coliform samples that contain residual disinfectant will be rejected. 

Adequate Volume
Fill sample containers as directed by the laboratory or sampling procedure. Samples received with insufficient volume to perform the requested analyses will be rejected including Total coliform samples with less than 100 mL. 

Transport/Receipt Temperature 
Many of the test methods require that samples be kept cool from sampling through transport to the laboratory. Microbac will assess the temperature of each cooler received. Where thermal preservation is required, the receipt temperature must be in the range of >0C but ≤ 6C for chemical analyses and >0C but ≤ 10C for microbiological samples, unless program requirements specify otherwise. Samples that are delivered to the laboratory immediately after collection are considered acceptable if there is evidence that sample cooling was initiated (i.e.,-samples received on ice the same day they were collected) or unrefrigerated if received within fifteen minutes of collection. 

Holding Time
Samples should be provided to the laboratory as soon as possible after collection to ensure that analysis can be performed within the method specified holding time. Upon receipt at the laboratory, the sample date and time as well as the requested testing will be evaluated to identify if any of the samples are past the maximum holding time.

In the absence of a written agreement to the contrary, submission of samples constitutes an acceptance by the customer of Microbac’s Sample Acceptance Policy and Microbac’s Standard Terms & Conditions, a copy of which can be found at