MN Health Department finds errors in water testing methods

The Minnesota Department of Health is revamping the way it tests the quality of the state’s drinking water after an internal review revealed inconsistencies with its sampling procedures that could compromised the data it collects. 

In 2015, the health department tested around 2,800 drinking water samples for organic chemicals, such as fertilizers, solvents and common household chemicals, as well as inorganic compounds like cyanide and nitrate.

The internal review found that some of the samples were transported from the collection site to the laboratory at a higher temperature than federal guidelines allow. As a result, the samples may have provided inaccurate data about the amount of chemicals in the water.

Health department officials say it is unlikely the inconsistent practices would pose a threat to public health, but it will retest some of the water samples to verify the results. 

The health department says it will provide additional training for staff to ensure all water samples are kept at the proper temperature during transportation to prevent comprising any additional data.

The department also plans to conduct an independent review of its water sampling procedures and other practices as well.