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If you have never collected a water sample for laboratory testing, you might have some questions–and rightfully so! Sending a sample to a lab for analysis can reveal immensely valuable information about your water.
With the great power of analytical lab testing, comes the responsibility (and benefit) of collecting your sample(s) properly.
Rest assured,Tap Score makes the process simple and easy. We’ve simplified many of the complexities typically associated with laboratory testing and logistics–such as what container(s) to use, how and where to collect the sample, where to ship the sample–so that anyone can collect a high quality sample and get back meaningful results.
What’s Included in a Tap Score Test Package?
Each Tap Score laboratory test package includes everything you need to collect and ship your water sample to one of the 100+ certified laboratories in SimpleLab’s network. Below is a list of key components included in most kits.:
Labeled Sampling Container(s)
Different analytes may require different types of sampling containers. For example, some things are best tested out of high-density polyethylene (ie. plastic) containers (such as metals), while other analytes (like VOCs) require glass vials for most accurate results.
Additionally, some tests require a particular volume of water sample. Some analytes even require special preservatives and stabilizers to ensure the sample doesn’t change during transit to the lab.
Certain lab facilities may have specific requirements which differ from other labs (there are often several approved methods for testing water)
As a result of all of the above, these many considerations can make knowing what container is required extremely confusing.
Good news! Tap Score takes all of the guesswork out of having to know and choose what sampling containers meet your testing requirements. Every Tap Score package includes the proper sampling container(s) tailored to exactly what you are testing.
Each kit will include all of the necessary bottles and/or vials to ensure that the laboratory team can accurately analyze and run quality control (QC) processes on your sample. Each container you receive will be labeled with your test’s Report ID. This Report ID is 6-digit code that serves as the unique identifier for your sample and is how the laboratory team keeps track of your sample.
As with any water quality lab test, each Tap Score Report provides a snapshot of your water quality at a given time. Subsequently, the decisions you make regarding sampling location and sampling method may impact the interpretation of your results.
There are no wrong answers. Determining your sampling location and method comes down to understanding what information you’re most interested in knowing. For example, if you’re keen to see if your water filter is working properly, you might choose to order two test kits and then you’d want one sampling location BEFORE your filter and one sampling location AFTER your filter. That way, when you compare your results, your two sampling locations will properly tell the story of whether your filter is doing what you expect it to.
Each Tap Score package includes easy to follow sampling instructions inside the kit, as well as information about the various options you have when it comes to choosing a sampling approach and location.
Sample Information Card
Along with instructions, each Tap Score package will include a paper card called the “Sample Information Card.” You will be asked to fill out some basic information about the sample you collect–such as the sampling date, time, location, etc–and return it with the sample to the laboratory. You will also be instructed on how to fill out this information (as well as a few more questions tailored to your specific sample) directly in your SimpleLab Account. Having both the paper card and the digital version filled out will allow for faster reporting, as well as a more complete final Report.
Refrigeration or Cooling (if applicable)
Some tests include analyses that require the sample to be kept cool after it is collected. If your test includes any temperature sensitive analysis, it will include the proper refrigeration components (such as cold packs, coolers, ice bags, etc). As with all environmental testing, it’s best to ship as soon as possible after collection is completed.
Prepaid Return Shipping Label
Lastly, every Tap Score kit includes a prepaid return shipping label to a certified laboratory prepared to test your sample. The label you receive will be tailored to your order and the underlying shipping speed required. All you have to do is attach the shipping label sticker to the outside of the box (covering any existing label) and bring it to the shipping carrier (USPS, UPS, etc – depending on your order). You’ll never need to wait in line. Since the label is fully prepaid by Tap Score and the tracking and status updates are available any time on your SimpleLab Account, all you need to do is drop it off.
Once you’ve collected and shipped your Tap Score sample to the laboratory, all that’s left is to sit back and await results. Your completed Report will be emailed to you as soon as it’s ready, and made available on your SimpleLab Account where you can access and share results any time.
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