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Franciscan Health Rensselaer

Water Testing

ANNOUNCEMENT: Swimming pool testing can be done at Franciscan Health Rensselaer.

Due to recent budget cuts and cost saving measures, the Indiana State Department of Health discontinued their swimming pool water testing service in 2002. The Water Lab at Franciscan Health Rensselaer is one of 36 facilities in Indiana that has been certified by the State to do pool water testing. The Lab can also test private well water, beach, stream or lake water and the public water supply.


Water Contaminants

Serious health problems may occur from contaminated water. The only sure way to identify contamination is to have the water tested by a competent laboratory. Testing is commonly performed for these contaminants: Bacteria, Nitrates and Nitrites, and Lead.

The presence of TOTAL COLIFORM BACTERIA in drinking water is a possible health concern. Total coliforms are common in the environment, and are generally not harmful themselves. The presence of these bacteria in drinking water is the result of a problem with water treatment or the pipes which distribute the water, and indicates that the water may be contaminated with organisms that can cause disease. Disease symptoms may include diarrhea, cramps, nausea, possibly jaundice, and any associated headaches and fatigue. Drinking water which is free from total coliform bacteria is usually not associated with a health risk from disease causing bacteria and should be considered safe.


NITRATES and NITRITES are formed during the final stages of organic matter decomposition, such as decaying animal or plant protein, silage juices, or excessive discharge from waste holding facilities. Another source is nitrogen fertilizer run off. Nitrates and nitrites are water soluble and may move with the ground water.

The most common source of well contamination is surface runoff into shallow, poorly cased wells. Water that collects in feedlots or fertilizer runoff may also contain high levels of nitrates and nitrites.

Excessive amounts of nitrates and nitrites in water can cause infant methemoglobinemia (blue babies) and the same effects can occur with farm animals.

Rural families with infants or pregnant women should have their water tested regularly for nitrates and nitrites.


LEAD in the human body can cause serious damage to the brain, kidneys, nervous system and red blood cells. Those at greatest risk, even with short-term exposure, are children and pregnant women.

Lead-contaminated drinking water is most often a problem in houses that are either very old or very new. Through the early 1900's it was common in some areas of the country to use lead pipes for interior plumbing. Also, lead piping was often used for the service connections that joined residences to public water supplies. Copper pipes have replaced lead pipes in most residential plumbing. However, the use of lead solder with copper pipes is not common. Experts regard lead solder as the major cause of lead contamination of household water in homes today.


Sampling Kits

Water sampling kits may be picked up and dropped off at the following locations. Please note the days and times to drop off at each location.

Franciscan Health Rensselaer Laboratory Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

George Ade Memorial Health Care Center 3623 E. SR.16, Brook, Monday-Thursday, before 10 a.m.

Fase's Water Treatment 206 3rd. Ave. NE, DeMotte, Tuesdays before 12 p.m.

Franciscna Wheatfield Health Center 492 S. Bierma, Wheatfield, Monday-Wednesday, and Thursday before 10 a.m.


  1. Please read carefully the sample information sheet that accompanies each sterile bottle. A good sample will save you time and money. Samples must arrive at the hospital within 24 hours of collection. Lead, nitrate, nitrite, and copper all need special containers and instructions.

  2. Results will be mailed, unless other arrangements are made. Upon request, results can be faxed.

Special Services

Arrangements can be made with the Water Laboratory to submit your testing results to the State of Indiana for compliance purposes.


Waste Water Testing

Analysis for Waste water Treatment Plants:

Enumeration of E.Coli


Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD)

Total Suspended Solids (TSS)

Oil and Grease


Contact the Water Testing Laboratory for individual or package pricing. Courier service available. For further information about the Water Testing Laboratory, call (219) 866-2032.


Lab Services:
Testing Fees

Total Coliform Bacteria


Bacterial Count

E.coli count (lakes, ponds, ditches)

E.coli count (WWTP)

Swimming pools

Nitrate (public and private water supplies)

Nitrite (public and private water supplies)

Lead (private water supplies only)

Fluoride (private water supplies only)

RUSH fee (requires the water laboratory authorization) $18.00/sample number


Use sample kit and follow instructions



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