For Building Permits

If you need to have a well drilled on your property, you should contact a licensed well driller. Your local Health Department has specific requirements that you will need to meet, and a licensed company will be familiar with those requirements. If you are applying for a building permit, you will need to go through a process called water availability approval.

Most building permits require a panel of “Primary Inorganics” to be tested, as well as a Total Coliform Bacteria test. A Total Coliform Bacteria test costs $22, and takes 24 hours to perform. Samples must be submitted in a specific container provided by Avocet, and tested within 24 hours of collection.

Primary Inorganic testing varies within local jurisdictions. Please see below for local county primary panels:

  • Whatcom County Primary Inorganics: Arsenic, Barium, Cadmium, Chromium, Fluoride, Lead, Mercury, Nitrate, Selenium, Silver, Sodium, Chloride. $178
  • Skagit County Primary Inorganics: Antimony, Arsenic, Barium, Cadmium, Chloride, Chromium, Conductivity, Fluoride, Hardness, Iron, Lead, Mercury, Manganese, Nitrate, pH, Selenium, Silver, Sodium, Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), Turbidity. $225
  • Island County Primary Inorganics: Arsenic, Chloride, Conductivity, Nitrate. $75
  • San Juan County Primary Inorganics: Arsenic, Barium, Chloride, Conductivity, Fluoride, Nitrate, Sodium. $110

*Click HERE for a comprehensive menu of tests that we offer.


(Click HERE for a printable copy)

Stop by our office or drop box location, and pick up one or more collapsible cube container(s) along with an instruction sheet and a Chain of Custody form. Please do not open container(s) until sample is to be taken.

Remove cap and inflate cube container completely by blowing into the opening. As this container is for inorganic tests, you will not contaminate the sample by blowing into the container.

If sampling from inside a residence, remove all attachments and/or filters from the faucet before taking the sample. Turn on cold water only. Do not take sample from a hose or hot water faucet.

Make sure cap is secured tightly. Label container(s) with name, address, or other identifier. Keep sample(s) in the refrigerator or on ice until returned to the lab.

Complete the Chain of Custody/information form with name, address, phone number, date and time of collection, location and source of sample(s), analysis requested, and public system information if required. Standard turn-around time for results is 6-10 working days from receipt of the sample, unless arrangements are made (this time may vary depending upon the analysis performed).


Use an inside faucet. Use faucets that have separate hot and cold handles. Bath fixtures are a good choice. Avoid swivel taps, such as those found at kitchen sinks, as these faucets have a greater chance of harboring bacteria. Remove all attachments from the faucet, including aerators, screens, hoses and/or filters.

Turn on cold water only and let it run with a steady stream for at least 5 minutes. Before collecting the sample turn the water down so that the stream is about the width of a pencil, then let the water run for one minute.

When you are ready to collect the sample, hold the bottle near the bottom and unscrew the cap. Avoid touching the edge of the cap, and avoid splashing it as the sample is collected. Do not touch the inside of the cap or bottle.

Fill the water to the 100 mL line, do not allow it to overflow. Do not rinse the bottle before taking sample.

The bottle contains a small amount of white powder (dechlorinating agent) that is a necessary chemical for the analysis.

Replace the lid as soon as the bottle is filled and removed from the flow. Keep sample in the refrigerator or on ice until it is returned to the lab. Samples must be returned within 24 hours of collection.

Fill out the lab slip with name, address, phone number, time and date of collection, and public system information if required.

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