Plumbing contamination tests

Contaminants can enter drinking water when plumbing materials containing metals gradually corrode over time. The most common sources of metal contaminants in drinking water are copper and lead pipes, taps, and fixtures.

Should you get your drinking water tested?

Usually, there is no need for home residents or businesses to test for metal contaminants in water supplied from the mains because this is monitored by your water utility.

However, we can provide you with expert water quality testing services for metals contamination if you are concerned that plumbing at your property is affecting the quality of your drinking water.

We offer a package (see table below) of chemical, pH and total hardness tests for drinking water that you suspect may be contaminated by your plumbing.

Chemical tests

TestADWG  guideline valueComments
Copper 2mg/L     health
1mg/L     aesthetic
From corrosion of pipes/fittings by soft, low pH water. Taste threshold 3 mg/L. High concentrations colour water blue-green. >1 mg/L may stain fittings. >2 mg/L can cause ill effects in some people.
Lead 0.01mg/L healthOccurs in water via dissolution from natural sources or household plumbing containing lead (e.g. pipes, solder).
Iron 0.3 mg/L aesthetic Occurs naturally in water, usually <1mg/L, but up to 100mg/L in oxygen depleted groundwater. Taste threshold 0.3mg/L. High concentrations stain laundry and fittings.
Zinc 3 mg/L  aesthetic  Usually from corrosion of galvanised pipes/fittings and brasses. Natural concentrations generally <0.01 mg/L. Taste problems >3 mg/L.
Nickel 0.02 mg/L healthDrinking water generally contains very low concentrations of nickel. Long term exposure may result in toxic effects to the kidneys. Nickel is known to be a common skin allergen and can cause dermatitis particularly in younger women.
Cadmium0.002 mg/L healthIndicates contamination from impurities in galvanised (zinc) fittings, solders and brasses.
Aluminium 0.5 mg/L aestheticNo health-based guideline value can be established currently.

Step 1. Quote

After we receive your application for testing, we email you a Customer Service Request for your review and acceptance. This is an important step, as we cannot progress the process until we receive the signed agreement in return.

Step  2.  Plumbing contamination water sampling kit

As per the agreed quote, you can:

  • collect the plumbing contamination water sampling kit from our Adelaide or Melbourne laboratory.
  • have the sampling kit couriered to your residential address, or
  • opt for an AWQC field technician to collect the samples.

Please note:  We can only accept samples from bottles supplied by us as these have been quality-checked. We do not accept samples that have been collected in the other containers.

The sampling kit comprises bottles and a small esky container that is used to keep the samples chilled.

Step 3.  Collecting the samples

It is important to follow the sampling instructions included in your rain water tank sampling kit if you are collecting the sample.

If you have requested the sample to be collected by an AWQC field technician, you won’t have to worry about collecting the sample or delivering back to our lab.

Step 4: Submit your sample

Deliver within 24 hours of collection - to our Adelaide or Melbourne laboratory.

Step 5. Test results

Test results will be issued within 10 business days of receiving your sample. Reports are emailed to you in PDF and Microsoft Excel CSV formats.

The report will let you compare your results to the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. For interpretation of the test results, please contact:

South Australia

SA Health’s Scientific Services on (08) 8226 7100


Department of Health Victoria - Water Unit 1300 761 874

Contact us if you don’t receive your laboratory test results within 10 business days.

Phone: 1300 653 366

How do I know if the water is safe for use?

AWQC cannot interpret the water quality test results. For interpretation of the test results, please contact the SA Health’s Scientific Services on 08 8226 7100.

 Customer  collects  water samples.  Sample  bottle set collected from our laboratoriesCustomer  collects  water samples.  Sample  bottle set couriered to customer.AWQC field  services officer collects  samples
Metropolitan Adelaide, as described with the red lines in this map.$152.46$179.08$232.32
Non-metro. Adelaide$152.46$185.13$269.83

Prices are inc.GST and for testing one sample set only. Please contact AWQC ( or telephone 1300 653 366) for prices for additional sample sets.

Proceed with testing

To proceed with testing please complete the application form below.

Soon after receipt of your application, we will email you a formal Customer Service Request (CSR) for your review and acceptance. The CSR will describe a proposed sample date (if you have opted to have the sample collected by AWQC Field Officers) and the tests we will perform. Following your review of the information in the CSR, you will will need to provide us a response to our email confirming the details are correct or advising us of any changes before we can accept your application.

Have you used our testing services before *
Customer to collect water samples
Sample collection by AWQC field services

^ Please note.  AWQC Field Services are unable to service all regional areas. Following receipt of your application, we will advise you if we cannot collect samples from your property.