How to Sample for Lead/Copper

Hi! If you’re here, you must need more information on how to collect a lead/copper sample. This page will give you more detailed instructions.

You should already have a sample bottle with an instruction sheet. If you don’t, contact your water system operator.

Step 1:

Wait till the day before the sample bottle is scheduled to be picked up

Your Operator will schedule a day to come back onsite and pick up your sample bottle. Wait till the day before the Operator arrives.

Step 2:

Read and fill out the form that came with your sample bottle

The form is pretty straightforward. The most important bits are your address and the time/date you took the sample. You might also include contact info, in case your operator has a question.

Step 3: Run some water the night before

Pick a faucet you want to collect your sample from. If you’re not sure, we recommend using your bathtub or a bathroom sink.

The night before your sample is scheduled to be picked up, run the water from the faucet you picked. You should let the water run for at least 5 minutes, especially if you don’t use that faucet very often.

Step 4: Collect your sample the morning of the scheduled pickup


First, remove the cap from the sample bottle. Hold the open bottle under the faucet, then turn the water on. Fill the bottle to just below the cap, then turn the water off and put the cap back on the bottle.

Leave the bottle on your front porch with the instruction sheet for collection.

Note: We want to test the amount of lead and copper in the water when it sits in the pipes overnight. This gives us an idea of how much lead might be leaching into the water from the pipes. We’d like to avoid having the water set for to long or not long enough.

Step 5: Wait 3-4 weeks for results

Once we get the sample to the lab, it takes about 3-4 weeks to see the results. When they come back, we’ll send you a copy of the results, along with an explanation and any actions you might want to take.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I’m not going to be home?

Just let me know. I can collect a sample from your outside faucet if I need to. It’s not quite as accurate, but it gets the job done.

Is there a problem with the water bottle sitting outside? What if I have to go to work?

The sample bottle has a watertight seal, and the only thing we’re testing for is any lead or copper that may be absorbed into the water from the pipes. Even if something penetrated the seal on the bottle, we’re only testing for the lead and copper in the water. Any other substances won’t show up on the test.

If you need to go to work, no worries. I’ll just stop by and pick up the sample from your front doorstep.

What happens if I make a mistake?

No worries. We’ll test the water sample that’s collected. These instructions are for the best-case scenario, but we can still test if even if you made a mistake.

I forgot to fill out the form – what now?

If the form is missing any information, your operator will contact you for details.

Do I need to fill out all the information? Will this end up on a marketing list?

The information on the form is only used to identify the sample location and to provide results to you. We don’t use your information for any kind of marketing.

We don’t share any of this information unless required. That means we keep a copy for your permanent records, and we share a copy with Idaho Department of Environmental Quality. No one else is authorized to receive the information you provide.

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