July 4th Giveaway 2020

Suburban Testing Labs July 4th Giveaway

Celebrate Independence Day with some Suburban Testing Labs swag!  This weekend we celebrate America, and we want to help you celebrate!

Enter to win this exclusive basket at the link below by Saturday, July 4th at 11:59 PM, and you could be sent:

  • Manatawny Still Works Keystone Whiskey, Batch No. 28 (Make in PA!)
  • Hydra Peak 14 oz Travel Mug for Coffee, Cocktails, Spirits, Wine, Tea… your choice!
  • Suburban Testing Labs Travel Mug
  • Suburban Testing Labs Reusable Straw with Carrying Bag
  • Red and White Striped Oven Mitts
  • The Gourmet Collection “Kickin’ Chicken” Spice Blend
  • Martha Stewart Napkins
  • Organic Dark Chocolates for Pairing with the Whiskey
  • Set of 4 large reusable Steel Straw Set
  • Wicker Basket

Winner will be contacted week of July 6, 2020.  Good luck!

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Learn More About Suburban Testing Labs

Testing Drinking Water

In the face of a global pandemic, one thing you shouldn’t worry about is whether your drinking water is safe.  Water suppliers and treatment professionals have been on-the-job as essential workers.

While we are a full-service laboratory that tests many sample types, we were founded on drinking water analysis and it continues to be a core part of our business.

Suburban Testing Labs by the Numbers

So far in 2020, we’ve performed over 42,000 analyses on drinking water samples from wells and water suppliers that serve more than 2.8 million Americans.  More and more clients place their trust in Suburban Testing Labs to provide them with data that is high quality, defensible and reliable.

We work hard every day protecting public health by ensuring the water we consume is safe.

If you are a public water supplier, treatment professional, operations company, or anyone working to help provide safe drinking water, contact us to learn how you can turn to the local laboratory providing high-quality, defensible data at a competitive price.

Summer Solstice Giveaway 2020

Celebrate the start of summer with some Suburban Testing Labs swag!  This weekend we welcome the official start to summer, and that means sun, water, and a lot of environmental projects.  We decided to giveaway this gift basket to kick-off summer.

Enter to win this exclusive basket at the link below by Sunday, June 21st at 11:59 PM, and you could be sent:

  • Lillium Reserve 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, North Coast
  • Les Fumees Blanches 2018 Sauvignon Blanc, Vin De France
  • Suburban Testing Labs Branded Heavy Glass Beer Mug
  • Pineapple Ice Cube Tray, Silicone
  • Godiva Milk Chocolate and Sea Salt Pairing Chocolates
  • Chillable Wine Tote Bag
  • Tote Wicker Basket

Winner will be contacted June 23, 2020.  Good luck!

Learn More About Suburban Testing Labs

Testing Pool Water

Your poolside worries should be limited to swimming, sunblock, and selfies – not bacteria (or COVID-19).  With counties entering the yellow phase, and with green on the horizon, we are starting to see more pools open to the public every day.

Last summer we performed more than 13,700 analyses for public bathing (pool) clients.  Learn what public pools are required to do, how we fit in, and why some pools fail the bacteria test.

Pool Testing Requirements

All pools open to the public are required to have the pool water tested weekly to ensure it is maintaining standards.  The standards in Pennsylvania come from PA Code Ch. 18, and regulated by the PA Department of Health.  Swimming pools can have up to 2 coliform per sample, free chlorine must be at least 0.4 mg/L , and pH must be between 7.2-8.2.

Pools open to the public include year-round pools, not just your neighborhood community pool.  These include pools, spas, and sprinkler pads at hotels, community centers, and retirement communities.

Suburban Testing Labs analyzes pool water year-round.  Our field scientists analyze pH and chlorine onsite, collect a Total Coliform bacteria sample, and transport it back to our microbiology lab for analysis.  If a pool has an excess of bacteria beyond the allowable limit, we contact the client and health department to inform them of the result so corrections can be made.

Why A Pool May Fail Testing

Coliform bacteria are a naturally occurring group of bacteria that indicate the potential presence of other harmful bacteria; even the best maintained pool might have a coliform failure from time to time.

Public Swimming Pool TestingThe most common problem with coliform bacteria is insufficient disinfectant.  The minimum required limit is 0.4mg/L, however the National Spa and Pool Institute recommends a disinfectant residual of 2-4mg/L for normal usage and 3-5mg/L for periods of heavy usage.

The next most common problem is contact time and pH.  Chlorine may require 20 minutes of contact time to completely kill coliform bacteria.  Chlorine also becomes less effective as pH increases.  It is important to have the right balance of both pH and chlorine for adequate disinfection.

Pools are a great way to beat the heat for folks of all ages, but it’s important that standards are met and monitored to ensure that public health is protected.  We are proud to support this part of the environmental protection industry.

Contact us today to learn how we can support your pool testing needs.  info@suburbantestinglabs.com

Earth Day 2020

2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day– a day that was created to bring transformative change through education, activism, and change to benefit our planet.

The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live, work and communicate.  We may be separated, but we are all in it together.  Take Earth Day to remember the planet we all share, and do something to help.

Here’s how you can join the global conversation while at home this year.

Tune in to Earth Day Live 2020 Online to Fight Climate Change

Over the 24 hours of Earth Day (12:01 am ET – 11:59 pm ET on April 22), Earth Day Network will flood the digital landscape with global conversations, calls to action, performances, video teach-ins and more. Tune into Earth Day Live on April 22 -24 as millions of people around the world go online for a three-day mobilization to stop the climate emergency. Earthday.org

Pledge as a FamilyKids Drinking Water

Commit as a household to change one behavior that will benefit our planet.  For example:

  • Commit to eliminate the purchase of bottled water, and instead use reusable containers.
  • Stop using plastic straws and stick to stainless steel reusable straws instead.
  • Eliminate single-use plates, utensils, or napkins, and stick to washable and reusable options.
  • Install rain barrels for watering of outdoor flowers, plants, and vegetable gardens.

Pick one commitment and discuss how you can change your daily behaviors to stick to it.

Go to the Backyard

Plant a tree, native wildflowers, or start a garden.  Spring is the perfect time to get started!  Planting supports bird, butterfly, and bee species.  Not to mention, it’s a simple way to add beauty to your outdoor living space.  Check out The Old Farmer’s Almanac website for tips to start your own Wildflower garden.

NASA’s Earth Day at Home Toolkit

At NASA’s website, you’ll find even more, created especially for Earth Day – videos, online games and mobile apps, social media events, and even Lego activities for #EarthDayAtHome.

Educate the Next Generation

E-learning and cabin fever has taken over households with children.  Earth Day allows you to mix-it-up with a new activity, while helping the next generation understand the importance of taking care of our planet.

  • Check out National Geographic Kids for some Earth Day celebration ideas.
  • Environment America has a list of “Nifty Fifty Activities” kids can do at home in many categories, including climate change, waste reduction, plants, bees, and waterways.
  • Browse Pinterest for simple Earth Day activities you can print and do at home.


As an environmental testing laboratory, our overall purpose is to help preserve the environment and protect public health.  It’s in everything we do every day. But outside of work, we can all contribute as citizens to help make the Earth better for future generations.



COVID-19 and Our Water & Wastewater Industry

(March 17, 2020) – As an essential service, our laboratory continues to operate to protect public health and preserve our environment.  The Centers for Disease Control and Water Environment Federation has shared guidance about drinking water and wastewater transmission of COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

Their websites will be frequently updated with new information as it becomes available.  Live information on their website should be used for the most accurate information.

According to WEF, currently, there is no evidence that the COVID-19 virus survives the disinfection process for drinking water and wastewater.

  • The COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking water.
  • The risk of transmission through feces is expected to be low based on data from previous outbreaks of related coronaviruses, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
  • At this time, the risk of transmission of COVID-19 through sewerage systems is thought to be low.

Water Transmission and COVID-19  <–This Site Answers the following Questions:

  • Can the COVID-19 virus spread through drinking water?
  • Is the COVID-19 virus found in feces?
  • Can the COVID-19 virus spread through pools and hot tubs?
  • Can the COVID-19 virus spread through sewerage systems?
  • Should wastewater workers take extra precautions to protect themselves from the COVID-19 virus?

For Guidance for Reducing Health Risk to Workers Handling Human Wastewater <–​ This Site Shares the following Information:

  • Basic Hygiene Practices for Workers
  • Personal Protective Equipment

We remain committed to providing our team with all support, tools, and information necessary to safely perform their jobs.

If you are a client experiencing disruption to business operations, please contact your project manager as soon as you learn so that we can make arrangements to accommodate your alterations.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Service Update

We’d like to let you know what Suburban Testing Labs is doing as a result of the COVID-19 virus news.

Most of our clients are considered “essential services”, providing safe drinking water to residents and clean water to our rivers, lakes and streams from treatment facilities. As a result, many require frequent analytical testing.

We will remain operational to support our clients as planned unless you hear otherwise.

If your business or facility has temporarily closed, altered entry procedures, contact information, or anything has changed regarding our routine sample collection/pick-up procedures to serve you, notify your Project Manager immediately to minimize disruption for all of our clients.

We recognize that our clients and our team are working with samples that may contain harmful bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants on a daily basis.  Proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) measures are always essential for all employees handling samples. However, recent Coronavirus news is a good reminder to be extra diligent when handling samples and entering the premises of our client sites.

What Are We Doing Internally

Although many of our employees are in the low or very low risk segment for contracting COVID-19, we all have an obligation to do our part to slow the spread and protect the health of our team members and families.

We have taken measures to remain fully operational to serve you, such as:

  1. Cancelling employee attendance at any events with more than 25 attendees and keep in person meetings to a minimum in the building.
  2. Minimizing onsite visits, beyond Sample Receiving, from non-essential guests and screening all visitors using a questionnaire to assess their risk level.
  3. Instituting daily and more frequent sanitizing of commonly touched surfaces.
  4. Field Scientists and Technicians have been given guidance to help them minimize exposure at client sites.
  5. Requiring a quarantine period before returning to work for employees who travel by air to certain places, or have other factors that put them at higher risk.
  6. Offering opportunities to alter work shifts to minimize the number of people in the building at a given time and provide opportunities for those who lose childcare due to school and daycare closures.

We are actively taking every step necessary to ensure your lab testing services are not disrupted. Should anything change, we will be sure to make you aware immediately.

Thank you,

Your Suburban Testing Labs Team

World Cancer Day 2020

February 4th marks World Cancer Day.  Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide with 9.6 million people dying from cancer each year – this number is predicted to almost double by 2030*. One of the key ways to help reduce public risk is Government action and accountability.  The EPA’s Brownfields Program and the Safe Drinking Water Act are two ways our government does just that.

What are some key cancer-causing contaminants we test for in our lab to support these programs? And what are the health effects?  In this issue, we dive into some of these important cancer-causing contaminants.

Brownfield and Land Revitalization

Assessing contamination potential at Brownfields is critical to ensuring sites can be reused to benefit our communities.  Over the past year we’ve performed more than 70,000 analyses for environmental consultants and facilities that responsibly dispose of harmful waste.

Contaminants often found at Brownfield sites include Lead, and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).  Human exposure pathways are breathing dust or soil particles, consumption of contaminated water or food, and skin contact with contaminated dust and soil particles.


Sources of Lead contamination are usually mining, fuel, paint, inks, piping, battery and ammunition production.  In addition to causing cancer, Lead exposure can also cause damage to your brain, nerves, organs and bones.

Our lab has performs analyses for Lead using various methods, including EPA 200.7 and SW 846 6010/6020 using Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP) technology. Methods used depend on sample characteristics and reporting limit requirements.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

VOCs usually originate from industry and commercial product solvents, degreasers, paint strippers, and dry cleaning operations.  In addition to causing various types of cancers, VOC exposure can also cause eye irritation, nausea, and damage to your kidney, liver and nervous systems.

Over the past  year, our chemists have seen more than 11,000 VOC analyses pass through our laboratory via various methods, including EPA 624 and SW 846 8260. These tests are performed using state-of-the art Gas Chromatography / Mass Spectometry (GC/MS) technology.

Safe Drinking Water Act Analysis

Approximately 150,000 public water systems provide drinking water to Americans, and we perform high volumes of drinking water testing required of public water suppliers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware.  Over the past year we’ve performed over 83,000 analyses in support of SDWA testing requirements. Two examples of the many cancer-causing contaminants we test for are Arsenic and Nitrate.


Arsenic is considered an Inorganic Contaminant (IOC) and EPA adopted a more stringent limit of 10 parts per billion (ppb) in 2001, down from the previous 50 ppb limit.  It comes from erosion of natural deposits, runoff from orchards, run off from glass and electronic production wastes.  It causes cancer of the bladder, lungs and skin.

Analyses for Arsenic in drinking water is performed via method EPA 200.8, which is analysis by Inductively Coupled Plasma – Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS).  We can analyze for many other trace metals using this method, such as Lead and Copper.   Our standard reporting limit for Arsenic under 200.8 is .001 parts per million.


Second only to Total Coliform and E.Coli, Nitrate is a contaminant that requires frequent monitoring.  Increased risks of colon, kidney, and stomach cancer were observed among those with higher ingestion of water nitrate and higher meat intake compared with low intakes of both

Nitrate contamination often originates from runnoff from fertilizer use, leaking from septic tanks, sewage, erosion of natural deposits.

We have multiple ways of analyzing Nitrate, including method EPA 300.0 using Ion Chromatography in our Inorganic Chemistry department.  The Maximum Contaminant Level set by EPA is 10 ppm, and we routinely analyze down to the 1 ppm level.

Drinking water from private ground water wells is not regulated or tested for, unless the homeowner independently elects to do so.


*Source – Union for International Cancer Control (UICC)

(water+hops+barley) + wings + pizza = Super Bowl Sunday

How does our job relate to the Super Bowl? Forbes estimates that Americans are drinking 325 million gallons of beer during the weekend of the big game.  Whatever people are drinking, it takes a lot to wash down all the pizza and chicken wings.  Super Bowl Sunday is second only to Thanksgiving in food consumption.

We test drinking water in 4 states that serve nearly 3 million people.  Water for your taps, water that gets bottled, water used to make vended ice, and yes, water that’s used in beer production.

Since the last Super Bowl, we’ve performed over 83,000 analyses for public water suppliers.  Total Coliform and E.coli bacteria are the highest volume test we perform, accounting  for about 30% of total analysis volume.  But we also test for many other important toxic contaminants such as Lead, Pesticides, and Nitrates. It’s a very important job, and we take every analysis seriously.

So if you’re washing down some guacamole with, say, a local craft beer – we may have tested the water used to make it.  It’s all in our pursuit to help protect public health and preserve the environment.

Dr. Martin Luther King, JR. Day of Service

Make it a day ON, not a day off

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service 2020 is Monday, January 20th. Americans began commemorating MLK Jr’s birthday through legislation in 1983 as a federal holiday, and it was decided to be the third Monday of every January. Instead of it being a day off, in 1994 Congress designated the federal holiday as a “National Day of Service” and charged the Corporation for National and Community Service with leading this effort.

The Corporation states that the day is “intended to empower individuals, strengthen communities, bridge barriers, create solutions to social problems, and move us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a “Beloved Community.”

Check out the links below for ideas for how you can have an impact by volunteering in your community!

The #MLKDayofService is a good reminder to all of us that we can give back to our community any day of the year, not just the third Monday of each January.

As a part of our mission statement, Suburban Testing Labs offers 16 hours of paid Volunteer Time Off (VTO) as a part of our employee benefits. The purpose of this philanthropic program is to support activities that enhance and serve communities we live and work, and the issues that impact quality of life.

Our employees enjoy their experiences using VTO, and the activity is important to them. Our employees inspire us not only with their hard work and diligence, but with the passion they share for giving back. Share your stories with us on our social media feed. Comment on our posts, or post with the hashtag #SuburbanGivesBack.

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