What is Water Testing?
Checking for bacterial contamination of water is becoming increasingly important for managing hygiene standards on farm.
This is relevant not just when private water supplies are being used, but also for checking mains water at point of use.
NMR’s water testing service focuses on testing for enterobacteria and faecal coliforms, the two key indicators of bacterial contamination in water supplies.
Our water testing service is designed to meet Red Tractor assurance requirements, confirming when bacterial contamination is over the 100 CFU/ml threshold; when levels are above this threshold the result will be quantified to confirm the extent of contamination.
The Do's of Taking Water Samples
- Check you have all the necessary equipment before you start sampling: sufficient sample bottles, a clean jug, a frozen freezer pack (to keep samples chilled during transit) and packaging (for dispatch of samples to the lab).
- Check the sterility seal on the bottle cap is unbroken.
- Pick a sampling point at point of use of the water (ie. in parlour/at trough) and clean carefully.
- Let the water flow for 30 seconds before sampling.
- Open the sample pot carefully, avoiding touching the inside of the pot.
- Screw the cap on carefully once the pot has been filled.
- Gently invert the bottle three times to mix the contents.
The Do Not's of Taking Water Samples
- Do not let the sample pot come into contact with pipework or surfaces when sampling.
- Do not overfill the sample pot.
- Leave samples in sunlight or at ambient temperature - samples must be stored in a fridge at 3 - 5˚ C.
- Do not freeze samples.
- Do not use the NML water sample pot for any other purpose - it contains preservative which is hazardous to human health.
- Do not use any other sample pot for sample submission to NML.
- Do not forget to include the date, farm name and producer ID on the sample pot and take a note of the location of the outlet sampled.
Submitting Your Sample
Your sample must reach the lab within 24 hours of being taken on the farm. To achieve this, please ensure the sample is packaged with the freezer pack as soon as possible to preserve sample integrity. Your sample should then be posted immediately, ensuring the package is sent to us on a next day delivery service (the freepost label will accommodate this). The sample will then be tested upon arrival at the lab.
Reporting of Test Results
The results of NMR water testing are presented through a test certificate that confirms whether either enterobacteria or faecal coliforms are present in the sample above 100cfu/ml.
If the sample is shown to be positive, NMR will quantify the result so the scale of the problem can be established, allowing appropriate monitoring and control measures to be put in place; action will need to be taken to establish the cause of the contamination, and once this cause has been identified and removed, further water testing is recommended to confirm the suitability of the water for use on farm.