Drinking Water Testing

​​​Food business o​perator on a private drinking water supply

If you operate a food business and the water you use for food preparation, washing hands and cleaning comes from a private supply, then you need to have it tested at least annually to make sure it is safe to use.

Your water must meet the following requirements:

​Measurement​MPI Test Criteria or parameters
​Escherichia coli (E. coli)​Less than 1 in any 100 ml sample
​Turbidity​Must not exceed 5 Nephelometric Turbidity Units (NTU)
(when chlorinated)​
​Not less than 0.2mg/l (ppm) free available chlorine with a minimum of 20 minute contact time
(when chlorinated)
​6.5 – 8.0​

You can arrange a water test by contacting an accredited laboratory directly and discussing your test criteria requirements with them. The lab will forward an insulated sample kit with a sterile container for the sample and a freezer pad.  Please note that water samples need to be kept cool and be received by the lab within 24 hours of the sample having been taken.  

Timing wise, it is recommended that the sample be taken in the early afternoon on a Monday to Thursday and then be couriered for overnight delivery to the lab for analysis early the following day.

The lab will advise you of the cost and method of payment required for their services.

A full list of accredited testing laboratories can be found on: http://www.drinkingwater.esr.cri.nz/mohlabs/labmap.asp

Here are 3 labs that you could use:

Hill Laboratory, Christchurch – Freephone 0508 445 5522; www.hill-laboratories.com

Citilab, Dunedin – (03) 445-7938

Watercare Services, Queenstown – (03) 409-0559; clientsupport@water.co.nz



If the source of your drinking water supply is from surface water (stream, spring or dam) or an insecure/ shallow underground bore, then a water treatment system will need to be installed to ensure the water is always safe.  For example Filtration, Ultra violet (UV) disinfection, Chlorination or other.

Here are 3 local companies that you could contact regarding water treatment systems:

Pure Water Central:    www.purewatercentral.co.nz; mark@purewatercentral.co.nz0800 945 372

WaterForce, Cromwell: https://www.waterforce.co.nz/central-otago; 03 445 4008​

Cleanflo, Invercargill: www.cleanflo.co.nz; office@cleanflo.co.nz 03 214 3300​


Water testing requirements for building or resource consents

Water quality criteria determinands in addition to E. coli and turbidity need to be tested to ensure the proposed drinking water supply meets the requirements of the Drinking Water Standards for New Zealand 2005 (revised in 2018).  Discuss this with your lab as the required range of parameters are usually grouped in a 'standard or routine drinking water profile' test.



The Drinking-water Standards for New Zealand 2005 (Revised 2018) sets guideline values and maximum acceptable values for water quality criteria determinats that are of health or aesthetic significance.  Drinking-water Standards for New Zealand 2005 (Revised 2018) | Ministry of Health NZ

Ministry of Health – Household Water Supplies (The selection, operation, and maintenance of individual household water supplies) https://www.healthed.govt.nz/resource/household-water-supplies

Page reviewed: 11 Sep 2019 5:40pm