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Laboratory Testing

Laboratory Testing


The Laboratory’s mission is to provide testing services to the citizens of Benton and Franklin counties and surrounding areas. It is our goal to protect the health of our citizens, provide necessary information to help protect our environment and help the public and private sector meet their regulatory responsibilities.   The Health District Laboratory has three major program areas: Drinking water, waste water, and pollen count reporting. Our Accreditation Certificate and our Scope of Accreditation.




Drinking Water


This program is designed to provide analysis of the major elements of concern, primarily bacteriological monitoring and limited water chemistry.



Coliforms are a broad class of bacteria found in our environment, including the feces of man.  The presence of coliform bacteria in drinking water may indicate a possible presence of harmful, disease-causing organisms.


E. coli

E-coli is the most prevalent member of the fecal coliform group.  The occurrence of E. coli in water is considered a specific indicator of fecal contamination and the presence of enteric pathogens.


Heterotrophic Plate Count

The HPC formerly known as the standard plate count is a procedure for estimating the number of live Heterotrophic bacteria in water. It is used to measure the changes in water treatment and distribution or in swimming pools.

Nitrate and Nitrite

Nitrate levels in drinking water can be an indicator of overall water quality. Elevated nitrate levels may suggest the possible presence of other contaminants such as disease-causing organisms, pesticides, or other inorganic and organic compounds that could cause health problems.



Fluoride is a naturally occurring element found in water. It may be added in controlled amounts to drinking water. A level of 1.0 mg/L in drinking water is sufficient to reduce dental caries without harmful effects on health. At excessively high levels fluorosis may occur.




Waste Water


Waste water tests are designed to provide services primarily for waste water treatment plants and industrial users who need to monitor waste streams.


Total Suspended Solids

TSS are the amount of filterable solids in a water sample. Samples are filtered through a glass fiber filter. The filters are dried and weighed to determine the amount of total suspended solids in mg/l of sample.

Total Dissolved Solids

Total dissolved solids (TDS) is that portion of solids in water that can pass through a 2 micron filter. The more minerals dissolved into the water the higher the total dissolved solids.  Waters with high dissolved solids are generally of inferior palatability.


Volatile Suspended Solids

Volatile solids are those solids lost on ignition (heating to 550 degrees C.) They are useful to the treatment plant operator because they give a rough approximation of the amount of organic matter present in the solid fraction of wastewater, activated sludge and industrial wastes.


The different forms of nitrogen and phosphorus are referred to collectively as NUTRIENTS.  Nitrate (NO3), Nitrite (NO2), and Ammonia (NH4) are considered inorganic forms of nitrogen and are analyzed separately in wastewaters to determine the total inorganic nitrogen.


Biochemical Oxygen Demand

The BOD test is used to determine the relative oxygen requirements of wastewaters, effluents, and polluted waters. The test measures the oxygen utilized during a specified incubation period for the biochemical degredation of organic material. It is also used to determine treatment plant efficiency.













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Benton Franklin Health District
7102 W Okanogan Pl
Kennewick WA
(509) 460 4200
412 W Clark
Pasco WA
(509) 547-9737

Emergency Contact Information

Personal Emergency for Medical, Police, Fire, or Other: 911
Washington Poison Center: 1 (800) 222-1222 (www.wapc.org)
Washington Community Resource Information: 211 (www.win211.org)
BFHD Public Health Emergency/Imminent Health Hazard After-Hours Reporting: 509-543-3851
The public can reference BFHD policies available in Kennewick office.
BFHD Privacy Statement:English / Spanish
Copies of the annual report available at all BFHD offices.
State and County Resources
Rules and Regulations Administered by or Governing the Benton-Franklin Health District
WAC's - RCW's
Community Health Status Indicators
Reportable Conditions
Contact: info(at)bfhd.wa.gov                                                                                                                             Employees