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September 26, 2016

Environmental Analysis

The Idaho Bureau of Laboratories (IBL) Environmental Analysis Section analyzes samples for chemical and microbiological contamination. This section is comprised of four laboratories: Organics Testing, Inorganics Testing, Environmental Microbiology, and Air Quality. IBL serves as Idaho’s principal state laboratory in accordance with the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the program is certified by the Environmental Protection Agency.

IBL’s Organic Chemistry Laboratory conducts analytical analyses of environmental samples for organic contaminants. Sample matrices for analysis come in many forms: water, soil, sludge, food, paint, vegetation, animal tissue, hazardous waste, and commercial products. Contaminants tested for include insecticides, herbicides, volatile organic contaminants, semi-volatile organic contaminants, and water treatment byproducts.

The Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory performs analytical analyses of environmental samples that are typically related to nutrients and metals. Common matrices include drinking water, soil, and surface water. Inorganic contaminants tested for include arsenic, copper, lead, fluoride, mercury, nitrate, and uranium.

The Environmental Microbiology Laboratory examines drinking water and its sources for the presence of disease-causing organisms. Primary testing for drinking water and surface water samples are for the presence of coliform bacteria and E. coli. The coliform group of bacteria are indicators of potential pathogenic bacteria that can enter a water delivery system. Legionella and Pseudomonas aeruginosa can also be identified by IBL in water, along with the identification of other pathogens.

IBL’s Air Quality Program analyzes air filters utilizing Federal Reference Methods. This program is also responsible for auditing the performance of air samplers throughout the state for Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and tribes within Idaho.

Submission Forms with Instructions

IBL maintains strict guidelines regarding receipt and processing of samples. Some samples may be submitted by the public while others are accepted only from state agencies, district health departments, or law enforcement agencies.

Before submitting a sample, it is highly recommended that you consult the Bureau's Sampling and Submission Guide. There you will find a complete list of tests that are performed at IBL as well as information on sample collection and handling procedures. Samples must be received in appropriate packaging for the testing process to be successful. Proper submission forms must accompany samples; these forms may be printed and used for submission. If the form you need is not on the list, or if you are unsure of the form you should use, please call 208-334-2235.

Contact Information

Chemistry Section Manager:
     Ernie Bader
     (208) 334-0590
     (208) 334-4067 (fax) 
Organics and inorganics testing

Microbiology Section Manager:
     Robert Voermans
     (208) 334-0555
     (208) 334-4067 (fax)
Environmental microbiology testing

Emergency Activation Through StateComm, 

Fact Sheets and Guides

Listed below are Fact Sheets that provide information about testing performed at Idaho Bureau of Laboratories.
Idaho Ground Water Quality Interactive Map
The interactive map represents ground water data analyzed by the Idaho Bureau of Laboratories in 2014.  Domestic well owners can access the map by clicking on the link above.  If you have any questions, please contact the Chemistry Section manager.