Technical Assistance

SELS OPERATIONS & COVID-19

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TEST RESULT INTERPRETATION

Need help interpreting results? Click here to view our Test Result Interpretation Page.

 

MYTHS

The Little Black Box

A common misconception for most laboratories is a laboratory puts one sample in a box and obtains immense amounts of data within an hour. Unlike on our beloved TV shows and movies, that is not the case. Every sample is treated uniquely based on it’s matrix and  analysis requested. Samples take time to prep for analysis, have a very specific time set to analyze the sample, and then is followed by quality assurance review from analysts and managers. For example, a Bac-T analysis may take close to 24 hours to complete the entire process however a RadChem analysis could take up to several weeks based on the requirements of the test method.

PWS Regulators

The SELS does not regulate or enforce drinking water compliance. Nor do we work with other agencies or divisions if a PWS is out of compliance or receives hits on samples. SELS works in the same capacity as other laboratories in which we only report results to Drinking Water Watch. However, we will notify customers if MCL violations affect acute health as a service we provide.

 

Private Citizen Questions

How can I tell if the water in my home is safe to drink?

Determining whether your water is safe to drink in this simple three part process.

  1. Review our SELS Home Water Testing factsheet to understand your sampling needs.
  2. Make a request for sampling supplies or ask follow questions at either our generic email (selsd@deq.ok.gov) or at 405-702-1000.
  3. Once you have your results, review our Test Result Interpretation Page.
There is new oilfield activity around my property. What could I test my well water for?

Recommended analysis

  • Chloride
  • Sulfate
  • Sodium
  • Barium
  • Strontium
  • Conductivity

Additional analysis may be recommended depending on the type of oil and gas production in the area. If you would like to request materials or have any follow up questions, email us at selsd@deq.ok.gov or call 405-702-1000.

What samples do I need for closing a loan?

There are no state rules requiring the testing of private water wells. However, most lending institutions require testing of private wells prior to closing a loan on a property. Lenders usually require a minimum of a Total Coliform (bacteria) sample. The underwriter of the property loan and/or the type of loan may require additional testing to be performed. Be aware that the testing needed may take considerable amount of time to be analyzed and reported, so be sure to sample in plenty of time prior to the closing. If you would like to request materials or have any follow up questions, email us at selsd@deq.ok.gov or call 405-702-1000.

Could you expedite my samples?

No. All test methods have variable but specific time requirements to process. The lab has no control over these prescribed times.

How long will it take to get results?

Every analysis has different turnaround times associated with processing samples. While some analysis may only take 24 hours to process, some can take over several weeks.

Can you recommend a third party sampler?

The State Environmental Laboratory provides public service to the state of Oklahoma. For this reason, we must remain impartial to the request and suggest investigating local environmental collection companies or home inspectors that could assist with your specific sampling needs.

I have a pond and want to see if it is safe for my kids to swim in?

The State Environmental Laboratory can provide analytical support for your specific needs. However, risks are associated with swimming in any unchlorinated body of water and we do NOT offer an interpretation of sample results to determine the safety of swimming in any waters of the State.

I want to sample for everything.

Technically you could sample every analysis SELS is capable of but it would be incredibly expensive and provide a lot of needless information. Instead, talk to the SELS staff about the common issues and concerns you have been encountering, and we can help narrow down a few possibilities to move forward for analysis. If you do contact SELS, please be sure to indicate your concerns and what area of the state you live in.

Can I test my water filters?

SELS does not have a method that allows filters to be analyzed. We may however analyze the water that comes through filter.

Can DEQ come take samples for me?

SELS does not offer sampling services to its customers. Most collections can be accomplished by the homeowner with the collection instructions we provide or you can find guidance on our Sample Collection Assistance Page.

Public Water Supply Questions

Can you tell me when my sample is due?

Review your Chain of Custody for sample collection time period (upper right hand corner titled “Please collect and return during the week of:”) If collection time period is not available, please call 405-702-1000 or email us at selsd@deq.ok.gov

Did my sample arrive on time?

Please call 405-702-1000 or email us at selsd@deq.ok.gov to ensure the delivery of your sample. If you contact SELS, please have your Project ID of Sample number handy.

How do I collect my sample?

Collection instructions are provided in every kit. You may also find guidance on our Sample Collection Assistance Page. If you have further questions, please call 405-702-1000 or email us at selsd@deq.ok.gov

Where do I collect my sample?

Sample location should be noted on your Chain of Custody under the descriptions;

  • Facility ID
  • Sample Point ID
  • Sample Site Description

You may also review your systems specific monitoring requirements and collection locations at Drinking Water Watch.

If you have further questions, please call 405-702-1000 or email us at selsd@deq.ok.gov

Why don't the supplies I received match with what I expected?

If you believe you have received incorrect sampling supplies, please call 405-702-1000 for assistance.

Why am I taking this test when I already did it last monitoring period?

You may receive a sampling kit for the next monitoring period during the current one. SELS tries to send out kits ahead of time to ensure that you have your supplies ready for sampling. Always check the Chain of Custody that accompanied the kit to see what the collection time frame (upper right hand corner) should be.

Can our PWS make up a sample that was missed?

Contact your Drinking Water Compliance Coordinator by calling 405-702-8100 or email them at drinkingwater@deq.ok.gov (provide System Name and PWSID# in subject line).

We have been testing this well but it is offline now. Do we still need to test it?

Coordination and updates should be made through your Drinking Water Compliance Coordinator. Contact your Drinking Water Compliance Coordinator by calling 405-702-8100 or email them at drinkingwater@deq.ok.gov (provide System Name and PWSID# in subject line).

I need to take 3 samples for a RTCR triggered repeat but the sample site was at the very end of a line, with nothing downstream. What do I do?

Initially to meet the collection needs, you will collect two samples from the positive location (separated by at least 15 minutes) followed by the Upstream sample. Remember to notify you Drinking Water Compliance Coordinator of the situation.

I'm a small town system. What do I need to monitor for?

Review you specific monitoring requirements and collection locations at Drinking Water Watch or contact your Drinking Water Compliance Coordinator by calling 405-702-8100 or email them at drinkingwater@deq.ok.gov (provide System Name and PWSID# in subject line).

Still have more questions? Email us at selsd@deq.ok.gov or call 405-702-1000.

 

FACT SHEETS