The Public Health Laboratory Environmental Microbiology Section analyzes samples from Mississippi's public water supplies for regulatory compliance. The laboratory also analyzes raw milk, finished product milk and bottled water for regulatory compliance.
Drinking Water Microbiology
As a laboratory certified and audited directly by the US Environmental Protection Agency, the laboratory adheres to the specifications of methods approved by EPA.
The Environmental Microbiology Laboratory performs bacteriological analyses on water samples submitted by public water systems. Samples are examined for the presence of the coliform group of bacteria, which are indicators of fecal contamination. Water is not examined for pathogenic bacteria. This laboratory does not examine water samples for Giardia or Cryptosporidium. Water samples submitted for Giardia or Cryptosporidium will be analyzed for Total Coliform organisms and E. Coli.
No sample for drinking water analysis should be submitted from swimming pools, lakes, streams, rivers, ponds, open wells, unprotected springs, or from any source where there is visible evidence of contamination.
Printed reports are mailed to the submitting public water system. Private well sample reports are mailed to the submitting local health department. Results of tests are provided to the MSDH Bureau of Public Water Supply to ensure regulatory compliance. The Bureau of Public Water Supply is the enforcement authority responsible for ensuring that public water systems comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act.
If residents have questions concerning the quality of drinking water from their public water system, they should contact the MSDH Bureau of Public Water Supply Compliance and Enforcement office at (601) 576-7518.
Bottled Water Microbiology
Bottled Water monitoring samples are tested at the request of the Office of Health Protection, Milk and Bottled Water Program. Additional testing is available to permitted in-state bottlers for a fee. Contact the Office of Health Protection, Milk and Bottled Water Program for permit information and testing requests.
Milk & Dairy Microbiology
As a laboratory certified and audited directly by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the laboratory adheres to the specifications of methods approved by FDA.
The laboratory provides analyses of raw milk and dairy products on samples received from the Office of Health Protection, Milk and Bottled Water Program. All regulatory requirements of the National Conference of Interstate Milk Shippers (NCIMS) are followed. Dairy products may be analyzed by the following procedures:
- Standard Plate Count
- Coliform Plate Count
- Antibiotic Residue
- Direct Microscopic Somatic Cell Count
- Electronic Somatic Cell Count
- Alkaline Phosphatase Test
- Container Testing
- Butterfat Content
Results for these tests are forwarded to the MSDH Office of Health Protection, Milk and Bottled Water Program to ensure regulatory compliance. Office of Health Protection, Milk and Bottled Water Program is the enforcement authority responsible for ensuring compliance with the NCIMS.
Laboratory Services Requests
The guidelines for sample collection, transport, submission materials and normal turn-around-time for results can be obtained from the Laboratory Services Guide.