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Direct Lab Reporting Procedure


The 2005 Oregon Legislature amended ORS 448.150 (PDF) to require certified and accredited drinking water laboratories report directly to Oregon Drinking Water Services (DWS) any analytical result from a public drinking water sample that exceeds a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL). Below is a summary of the key points:
  • Results positive for coliform bacteria or in excess of the MCL for nitrate nitrogen (10 mg/L N) must be validated and reported directly to the Department and to the water supplier within 48 hours or two business days of completing the analytical run.
  • Results that exceed the MCL for any regulated contaminant must be reported to the Department and the water supplier within 24 hours of validation.
For complete rule language, refer to OAR 333-061-0040(1) (PDF).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q:  When was this rule updated?
  • April 19, 2010.
  • For other laboratory resources, please click here.
Q:  How do labs notify and report analytical results that exceed an MCL to DWS?
  • By faxing the validated lab report to 971-673-0458. This FAX machine is dedicated to receving only these reports. Reports must include water system name, PWS ID number, and source identification.
Q: How will DWS confirm receipt of the faxed report from the lab?
  • Upon receipt, DWS will date-stamp the received lab report and FAX back the date-stamped copy to the FAX number noted on the original transmittal.
Q:  Can labs report MCL exceedances electronically instead of by FAX?
  • No. For now, DWS is set up to receive direct lab notification by FAX method only. Should electronic reporting become available in the future, all labs will be notified.
Q:  Which contaminants must labs report?
  • Labs must report all analyses indicating exceedence of an established drinking water MCL standard to DWS. Reportable categories and groups are listed below. For a complete list of contaminants that must be reported and their MCLs, please refer to OAR 333-061-0030 (PDF).

    • Bacteriologicals: All routine, repeat, triggered, assessment, and confirmation positive total coliform, fecal coliform, and E. coli results.
    • Inorganic Chemicals (IOCs): Nitrate, arsenic, antimony, barium, etc.
    • Synthetic Organic Chemicals (SOCs): Atrazine, carbofuran, dalapon, heptachlor, etc.
    • Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs): Benzene, styrene, trichloroethylene, xylene, etc.
    • Disinfection By-Products (DBPs): TTHMs, HAA5s, bromate, and chlorite
    • Radionuclides (Rads): Gross alpha (including radium-226), combined radium-226/radium-228, and uranium and beta/photon emitters
  • Please note: The rule does NOT pertain to an MCL violation as it relates to compliance. Furthermore, the rule does NOT apply to action levels for lead and copper or to treatment technique standards, although immediate notification to DWS is encouraged for the protection and promotion of public health.
Q:  Are labs required to use pre-approved formats and forms for reporting results?
Q:  How should a lab form be marked if the result is NOT meant for compliance and should NOT be sent to DWS?
  • Sample results and reporting forms should be marked as "special" by the water system before submitting the sample to the lab. Forms should not be marked as routine, temporary-routine, repeat, triggered, or confirmation.
Q:  Do labs need to report an analysis challenged by a client or if the lab is requested to change the sample type (e.g., "routine" to "special") after the results have been determined?
  • Yes. The lab must request that the water supplier provide a written explanation to the lab for any change request. Analytical results must also be accompanied with an explanation when submitted to DWS for evaluation and follow-up. Labs must transmit these analytical results by FAX to 971-673-0458.