How to collect TVC water samples in the sterile bottles

Great care must be used when taking water samples. If we contaminate the sample (which is quite easy!) we could easily be disinfecting large water systems unnecessarily which normally causes disruption and worry for the staff in the affected building.

Clean Hands
If you have climbed a ladder or had to move a dirty lid, your hands are probably contaminated with bacteria and possibly E.coli.- wear sterile gloves to take the water sample - otherwise you may get a poor result when the tank in reality has excellent water quality. ONLY USE STERILE BOTTLES - These are supplied by EMS Ltd.

Sampling Tanks
Avoid taking a sample directly under the ballvalve as this may give a good result when the bulk of the tank has high levels of bacteria. Immerse the bottle fully, the surface of the water often has higher levels of bacteria than the bulk of the water. Label the bottle before immersing in a tank - soggy labels are difficult to write on!

Sampling Taps
Don't let the bottle touch the tap at any time, toilet taps are notorious for E.coli. Run the tap normally for a few seconds before sampling, i.e. we are trying to get a sample similar to that which the staff are using or drinking. If you turn the tap on full, the extra flow/velocity may pick up sediment which has been lying around for months.

Getting The Samples Picked Up
Sample in the morning, the more notice we give to a courier the less likely they will fail to pick up. Keep the samples cool, they don't need refrigerating if the time from sampling to pickup is just a couple of hours. Fax the request off, you must inform EMS Ltd by 1.00 pm otherwise they cannot guarantee a pickup. Note, there is a maximum of 10 bottles allowed in the Citylink Courier bag.

Filling in the Pickup Request
Ensure there is a PURCHASE ORDER number on the sheet, otherwise EMS Ltd cannot analyse the samples. Include the Postcode of the pickup, couriers often insist on it. Tell EMS Ltd where you want the results sending to! Under location, be specific such as Security Desk, Reception etc. as well as the full site address. Describe the site and outlet - knowing this will help us interpret the results better. Step by Step Pictorial Guide Print out a Pickup Request View an example of a completed Pickup Request