Drinking Water FAQ

What should I test my water for?

  • We recommend nitrates and bacteria for all drinking water, as well as arsenic if there are small children or pregnant/nursing mothers in the home.
  • Lead is a concern in homes built before the 1970’s.

Please see our Drinking Water Tests page for fact sheets on each contaminant.

If I am buying or selling my home, what should I test my water for?

  • Real estate agents will require nitrates and bacteria (check with your realtor to see what they require as sometimes they may ask for lead or arsenic).
  • Please take the sample well before the closing date as some results may take 10 days.

How much will it cost to have these teste run?

Please see our Drinking Water Pricing page.

How do I read my drinking water results report?

  • The report will give the allowable limit (the highest your water should contain to be consumed) in the right hand column; just to the left are your results.
  • If your results are below the limit (safe) for the particular items, the report has a comments section at the bottom that tells you your water MEETS the EPA drinkgin Water Standard.
  • If your results are above the allowable limit, the comment will tell you they DO NOT meet the standards, and steps should be taken to remedy the cause.

See example report

How do I sample my water?

Please call, email, visit our lab, or fax your name, address, and phone number to request a drinking water test kit, which we will mail to you at no charge.

RMB Environmental Laboratories, Inc.
22796 County Highway 6
Detroit Lakes, MN 56501
Phone/Fax: 218-846-1465
email: customerservice@rmbel.info

What are your business hours?

  • Monday – Thursday, 8am – 5pm
  • Friday, 8am – 3pm
  • Saturday and Sunday Closed

What should I do if my water does not meet the EPA drinking water standards?

  • Buy bottled water until the problem is fixed.
  • Chlorinate your well if bacteria were found
  • Install a reverse osmosis or distillation unit for high nitrates, arsenic, lead, fluoride, or dissolved sulfates.
  • Install a water softener or filter for hardness, manganese, and dissolved iron.
  • A whole house system is not always needed, as you can still bathe in the water in some instances.

Please see our Drinking Water Tests page for fact sheets on each contaminant.

When will my results be ready?

  • Bacteria samples take 24 hours once the lab receives the sample.
  • Nitrates samples take 24 hours once the lab receives the sample.
  • Arsenic, lead and others will take 7-10 business days unless you request a rush analysis (costs extra)
  • Your report will be mailed to you 1-2 days after the lab records the results.

How often should I test my drinking water?

We recommend yearly for nitrates and bacteria, periodically for arsenic, any time there are changes to the well or plumbing, and for other contaminants it is up to the homeowner’s discretion.

Where do the contaminants in my drinking water come from?

Please see our Drinking Water Tests page for fact sheets on each contaminat.

Why does my drinking water smell?

  • Rotten egg smell – may be sulfates/sulfur bacteria (usually in the hot water plumbing)
  • Swampy or musty smell – may be iron bacteria