Water samples from ponds, lakes, rivers, and private wells are tested for Escherichia coli, commonly known as E. coli, to determine whether it is suitable for irrigation purposes. E. coli is a bacterium that comes from human or animal wastes. The Vermont Department of Health Laboratory (VDHL) performs a test to “quantitate” or count the numbers of E. coli in a water sample to determine its suitability for irrigation. Vermont guidelines for agricultural waters used for irrigation, frost protection, and fertilizer application are based on the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommendations for recreational (swimming) water. Irrigation waters should not exceed 235 CFU/100 ml for E. coli.
The VDHL has the following test types available:
Kit AG:Provides Counts of E.coli in irrigation water up to 2000 MPN/100 ml.
To request a kit by mail, view/print out our order form and send in with form of payment.
Kits can also be purchased in person or over the phone; visit our Contact Us and Directions page for more information.
Guidelines from the Health Department on agricultural water sources.
For more information on irrigation from the University of Vermont Extension.