Environmental Chemistry

The mission of the Environmental Chemistry Section is to provide the highest quality of analytical testing to identify issues with drinking water quality.   

The Environmental Chemistry Section provides support to the Office of Environmental Health Services, County Health Departments, Oral Health Program, and private well owners. 
Most people in the country receive their water from public water systems which are regulated by federal and state laws. However, some of the public obtain water from their own private wells, which have little oversight.

Here are some basic steps a private well owner can do to help determine and maintain the adequacy of their drinking water:

  • Identify potential sources of contamination.
  • Have your water tested periodically.
  • Have the test results interpreted properly and explained clearly. 
  • Establish and implement a regular maintenance schedule for your well.

Contamination of a private well owner’s groundwater source(s) is feared. Surrounding geology, industry, agriculture, and human activity can all be a source of contamination. An initial set of tests that private well owners can use to evaluate the groundwater and determine whether further testing is necessary includes: total coliform, regulated metals, and combined nitrate + nitrite.

Please contact the Office of Laboratory Services or other certified laboratories if you suspect contamination from pesticides, herbicides, or other organic chemicals.  

Testing services provided by the Environmental Chemistry Laboratory for regulatory compliance purposes and individual household wells:

Drinking Water Contaminants Listing (an EPA listing of regulated contaminants and their potential health effects from exposures above the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) and common sources of contaminants)

Harmful Algae Blooms (HAB):

An algal bloom results from several environmental factors coming together and causing an uptick in algae growth.  Most blooms are not harmful; however, some produce cyanobacteria that can release a toxin into the water.  These are labeled as Harmful Algae Blooms (HAB).  Toxins produced by HABs can cause a variety of health problems in people and animals.  If you observe a Harmful Algae Bloom, please complete the Algal Bloom Report Form and email it to HAB@wv.gov or contact the Office of Laboratory Services Environmental Chemistry Section for a sample collection kit.  

How to Order Sample Bottles: 

To better serve the public, drinking water and recreational water sampling kits can be obtained by telephone
(304-965-2694), or by completing a bottle request form.

For dentists who wish to participate in the Pediatric Fluoride Program, sampling kits can be ordered from the Office of Maternal, Child, and Family Health (304-558-3417). 

Forms and Instructions

Resource Links

Contact Information

Environmental Chemistry Section
4710 Chimney Drive, Suite G
Charleston, WV   25302

Phone: 304-965-2694
Fax: 304-965-2696