Yes. CDPH and local health department submitters should discuss their testing needs with Foodborne & Waterborne Diseases Section management to determine whether service can be offered. A 1 week or more advance lab consultation is requested prior to sample collection, if possible. Samples (if any) received without prior authorization will not be tested until such authorization is obtained.
These tests are conducted to assist public health decision-making, regulatory actions, for reference purposes, and for emergency response support.
Regulatory samples must be received in the laboratory at least an hour before the transit limit. The transit limit for coliform tests is 30 hours and for the heterotrophic plate count test it is 8 hours from the time of collection.
1. Lab-N-801.water and/or
2. A detailed list and description of items collected by the investigation team, ie. Environmental Health, Food and Drug, Drinking Water Program, etc
3. The submittal form(s) should be completed and secured in a water-tight bag and placed outside the secondary containment barrier but within the shipper box
Performed on Samples from
Suspected water-related outbreak; trace-back surveillance; regulatory authorities.
Acceptable Sample/Specimen Type for Testing
Drinking and/or recreational water. A temperature control sample, labeled TC, should be collected and included in each box of samples to verify that holding temperatures remain between 4-10°C.
Minimum Volume Required
Coliform tests: 100 ml per method of analysis
Heterotrophic plate count: 100 ml
Bacterial pathogens: up to 10 Liters, consult with the laboratory
Storage & Preservation of Sample/Specimen Prior to Shipping
1. Sterile, leak-proof containers 2. Add a chlorine neutralizer if appropriate 3. Maintain samples at 4-10°C; do not freeze water samples
Refrigerated and room temperature samples should be transported at 4-10°C with cold packs.
1. Submitter identification number that matches to a sample submittal form
2. Type of sample
3. Date and time collected
4. Collection point
Shipping Instructions which Include Sample/Specimen Handling Requirements
Follow approved packaging and shipping regulations for biological samples. Please label the outermost container(s) to clearly indicate the storage temperature. Ship to:
CA Department of Public HealthMicrobial Diseases LaboratorySpecimen Receiving – Rm B106Attention: MDL – Foodborne & Waterborne Diseases Section - water850 Marina Bay ParkwayRichmond, CA 94804
1. “Standard Methods” for coliforms and heterotrophic plate count2. “Best practices” for bacterial pathogen detection
Varies with analyte and method.
Interferences & Limitations
Direct detection methodologies, such as polymerase chain reaction and enzyme or antibody based kits, may be invalidated due to interfering substances in the sample. Culture methods may be invalidated if there is heavy non-coliform growth present that obscures phenotypic reactions in tubed or plated media.
Water samples may be bulky and/or require large containers. To prevent contamination of other samples in the same shipper box, please follow the triple containment rule of thumb. Use absorbents under and between large liquid samples and/or enclose in water-tight bags. Glass containers need extra padding beneath and between containers. Add a layer of newspapers to shield the secondary container from direct contact with the cold packs.
Samples are received at the loading dock during normal business hours, M-F. Packages arriving after 5 pm M-F, on weekends or on holidays are placed in a storage shed with a freezer, refrigerator, and a room temperature bench. It is the responsibility of the delivery service staff to observe the package for labeling so they place the package into the appropriate location in the shed, ie. room temp bench, refrigerator, freezer. Submitters need to clearly mark the storage temperature on the outside of the shipper box.
A “hand-off” from collector to lab staff can be arranged with advance consultation.
MDL Points of Contact
MDL - Foodborne & Waterborne Diseases Section
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