Preparing and submitting samples

How to submit a sample for testing - test tubes


  Collecting samples

The responsibility for sampling for standardised rainwater tank, bore and dam water tests rests with the customer. 

While we can gather your samples for you for other testing, this may incur a fee. Many of our customers prefer to do this themselves.

Tests shall be conducted on samples as received from the customer.  Customers should ensure that all bottles are labelled with a customer name, sample description, sample date and sample time.

Unitywater sampling kits

Unitywater supplies sampling kits containing two bottles (one for a chemistry sample and one for a microbiology sample), sampling instructions for rainwater tanks, bores and dams and a plastic bag to submit your sample in.

Sampling kits can be collected from Unitywater Customer Service Centres or posted on payment of the applicable fee.

Sample bottles

Depending on the type of tests you wish to analyse for, specific sample containers may be required. Samples submitted in the incorrect sample container (e.g. jam jars, soft-drink bottles, etc.) may be rejected as this may invalidate the laboratory result, e.g. if a sterile container or neutralising agent is required.

The majority of samples can be collected in 500mL unpreserved Chemistry bottles, and 600mL sterile Bacteriological Water Sample bottles.

Other specialised bottle types can be supplied by the laboratory once testing requirements are confirmed.


  Transporting samples

Samples must be transported chilled (ideally between 2-6°C) to the drop off location. This may include the use of portable refrigerators, or an esky with ice-bricks or an esky with crushed ice. Do not freeze the samples.

Samples should be less than 24 hrs old when laboratory analyses commences and so should reach the laboratory as quickly as possible after collection.

Sample holding times are in accordance with APHA: Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater and Australian Standard Methods for Water Quality.


   Submitting samples

Sample delivery location and times

Samples are accepted at two Unitywater sites:

Please contact the laboratory on (07) 5431 8781 or labstaff@unitywater.com if providing additional or alternative samples before delivery.

Chain of custody form

All samples delivered to the laboratory need to be accompanied by a Chain of Custody form (PDF). Please ensure the following information has been supplied;

  • Customer details – phone number, email address.
  • Sample description to identify each sample.
  • Laboratory tests required on each sample.

Important information

1. To expedite the sample drop off process, a copy of the Water Testing Application Form should be submitted with the samples.

2. Samples requiring processing out of normal working hours will incur additional fees which must be authorised prior to sample analysis commencing.

3. Without prior arrangement with the laboratory, limitations apply for the following laboratory tests:-

  • Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) analysis – unable to accept samples on a Monday or Tuesday (Tuesday acceptable only if sampled after 11.00am)
  • Heterotrophic colony count and Pseudomonas aeruginosa can only be submitted Monday through to Wednesday. 
  • All other Microbiology samples can be accepted up to and including Thursday.
  • Free and Total Chlorine analysis needs to be conducted as soon as practicable to sampling time. 
  • Dissolved oxygen (DO) is best measured on-site, however if this is not practicable contact the laboratory to arrange the supply of appropriate sample container.
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