How to Test Drinking Water for PFAS

The Washtenaw County Health Department recommends that residents who wish to test their drinking water for PFAS use a certified laboratory. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), and the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Conference (NELAC) all certify laboratories for testing PFAS.

The EPA’s Office of Water requires that Method 537 be used to analyze samples for PFAS, as it was shown to be a reliable method for testing PFAS in drinking water samples. Modified versions of this method are available, however they have not been evaluated by the EPA’s Office of Water. 

Three EPA certified laboratories have provided information on test kits available to homeowners to test for PFAS in drinking water. Note that the Washtenaw County Health Department does not recommend or promote any particular laboratory.

  • South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority in New Haven, CT is an EPA certified lab for Method 537 and offers test kits for PFAS. The 6-analyte kit is $125 and the 14-analyte kit is $175. Kit prices include shipping. The kits include a cooler with ice packs and gloves. Kits can be ordered by calling 203-401-6743.
  • Anatek Labs in Moscow, Idaho offers a 6-analyte test kit for $225. Cost includes shipping. Kit can be ordered by calling 208-883-2839.
  • Northern Lake Service in Crandon, Wisconsin offers a 12-analyte PFAS kits for $350. Cost does not include return shipping (must be shipped via Next Day Air service). Kit can be ordered by calling 715-478-2777.

Other Laboratories

Full list of list of EPA Approved Laboratories - Labs highlighted in yellow offer EPA Method 537 analysis for PFAS

List of NELAC accredited laboratories - Select "EPA 537" from the Method dropdown list and search

List of DOD accredited laboratories - Select "EPA 537" from the Method dropdown list and search

Tips for Sample Collection

PFAS are present in many things we use in our every day life. These chemicals have been widely used to produce products that are water resistant, stain resistant, heat resistant and/or oil resistant. Residents sampling their water should be aware that they can accidentally contaminate their water sample during sample collection. For this reason, samplers should wear heavy duty nitrile gloves (provided in sampling kit) and make sure not to touch anything other than the sample bottles during sample collection. 

Samplers are also advised to avoid wearing lotion, deodorant, cosmetics, sunscreen, waterproof clothing, stain-resistant clothing, and clothing washed in fabric softener when collecting their sample. Other persons near the sample collection area should do the same or move out of the sampling area. 

Bes sure to read and follow any instructions that come with a water sample kit. Detailed PFAS Sampling Guidance is also available from the State of Michigan.

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