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Water Quality Laboratory

A Water QuALITY division FOCUS

The City of Scottsdale’s Water Quality Laboratory, located at the Water Campus, is one of the most advanced municipal water quality laboratories in the State of Arizona.  Its main goal is to make sure the water delivered to the citizens of Scottsdale meets the requirements of all local, State and Federal drinking water standards.  The laboratory also tests for numerous unregulated contaminants in an effort to remain at the leading edge of future regulations and technologies.  In addition to finished drinking water, the following types of samples are also analyzed: industrial discharge into the city’s sewer system, wastewater, non-potable groundwater wells and drinking water sources (CAP and SRP canals).

Chemical Contaminants

There are four specialty areas analyzing for chemical parameters:

Metals:  Trace metals such as Arsenic, Sodium, Lead and Copper are analyzed using an Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer;
Inorganic compounds:  Nitrate, Chloride, Total Organic Carbon, and pH are few of the nutrients and physical parameters analyzed for in the Wet Chemistry laboratory;
Organic compounds:  Compounds such as toluene, MTBE and TCE are analyzed for using Gas Chromatographs;
Semi-volatile Organic compounds:  Compounds of potential concern, such as pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and flame retardants are looked for using a Gas Chromatograph and the very precise Liquid Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer/Mass Spectrometer.

Microbiological Contaminants

The microbiology laboratory focuses on organisms such as coliform bacteria and the protozoans Giardia and Cryptosporidium.  In addition to utilizing basic metabolic identification, the microbiology laboratory utilizes molecular detection techniques for rapid identification.


The City of Scottsdale Laboratory is certified by the Arizona Department of Health Services.  This entails a thorough audit of procedures and data quality on a bi-annual basis.  The microbiology laboratory is one of the few municipal laboratories to be certified by the EPA for Giardia and Cryptosporidium analysis.  The chemists employed in the laboratory have the minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a chemical or biological field and numerous years of experience with environmental testing in government or private sector laboratories.