Drinking Water Sample Submission Process:  Submitting your Water Testing / Lab Samples



Need to test your drinking water / well water for bacteria, arsenic, lead, PFAS (PFOA, PFOS etc.)? At ARA, we make the process as seamless as possible. 


First, stop by ARA's office on Heritage Avenue in Portsmouth to pick up your drinking water test kit. We are open Monday - Friday from 8am - 5pm


There is no charge for the water sampling kit itself, which includes lab sample containers, safety information, gloves, chain of custody form (to record your information) and all of your instructions for sampling your water. Watch this short video, or see below for an outline of our water sampling instructions.



  • Lab samples can be dropped off Monday - Thursday only. 
  • We cannot accept lab samples on Fridays or the day before a holiday.
  • Water samples must be submitted the same day the bottles are filled. 
  •  We are a NH-based lab and cannnot accept drinking water samples from outside of New England. 

Sampling Instructions


1. Here are the bottles you will find in our Standard test kit:    (note: bottles and instructions may vary for our other testing kits, so be sure you have the correct containers and follow instructions carefully)


Bottle 1 is labeled Metals:  This bottle is used to test for Metals including Lead, Iron, Arsenic, Copper, Manganese, Sodium and also Hardness. 

Bottle 2 is labeled Anions: This bottle is used to test for Chloride, Fluoride, Nitrate, Nitrite and pH.

Bottle 3 is labeled Bacteria:  This bottle is used to test for Bacteria. 

Note: VOC analysis is not included in the Standard Water Quality package. Sample bottles for VOC analysis are added upon request. Please inquire about the sampling procedure.


II. Sampling Instructions


  1. Samples must be returned to the lab on the day they are collected.  They can be dropped off Monday -Thursday.
  2. The sample should be taken from the most frequently used tap (usually the kitchen sink).
  3. Remove the screen/aerator from your faucet.
  4. Using a 50:50 bleach and water solution on a cloth or paper towel, wipe down the faucet head.
  5. Run your cold water for no less than 5 minutes.
  6. Once water temperature has stabilized, reduce the flow to 1/8 inch.
  7. Put on the gloves included in your sampling kit.
  8. Fill bottles 1 and 2 to the neck, replace caps securely.
  9. Bottle 3 (bacteria) has a white powder preservative inside of it (sodium thiosulfate).  Please do not wash it out.   This bottle is sterile. Once you remove the lid collect the sample right away. To avoid introducing any contaminants to your sample:
  • Do not touch inside or near the opening of the bottle. Do not touch the inside of the lid.  Fill the bottle up to just above the 100mL line and replace the cap.
  1. Return the samples to the zip lock bag and add ice.
  2. Fill in the information on the Chain of Custody form.
  3. Return the samples to our facility Monday - Thursday from 8am - 4pm. Our address is 124 Heritage Avenue, #16, Portsmouth, NH.