TapWatch Drinking Water Tests

Do you test your drinking water every year? The National Ground Water Association recommends that private well owners test their drinking water annually for bacteria, nitrates, and any other contaminants that are known to be of concern in your area.

Is your drinking water safe if it comes from municipal water sources? Public water is tested regularly at the source, but does not account for toxins that accumulate in outdated plumbing systems. Lead and copper from plumbing fixtures, and hexavalent chromium from degraded corrosion inhibitors, can be introduced into your tap water.

TapWatch kits are temporarily unavailable for purchase in the Watershed Center Nature Shop due to a reorganization at the testing lab. We expect the program to resume shortly.

Select from two different kits, then mail your tap water sample directly from your home. This program provides EPA-certified drinking water information you need to keep your family safe.

Kits come with detailed instructions and pre-paid shipping envelope – all you need to do is grab your sample and put it in your mailbox! Your results will be emailed to you within a few weeks. Have questions about collecting your sample, shipping your kit, or your water quality results? Feel free to contact us at [email protected].

TapWatch Standard Kit
  • $50 for SBMWA Members / $60 for Nonmembers
  • Tests almost 100 different parameters!
  • Results will be emailed to you in approximately 7 business days
TapWatch Plus Kit w/ VOCs
  • $90 for SBMWA Members / $105 for Nonmembers
  • Includes all basic tests, with more than 100 Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
  • Results will be emailed to you in approximately 13 business days

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I participate in TapWatch?

Do you know what’s in your drinking water? If not, it’s time that you find out!

Residents on well water are subjected to the quality of their aquifer. Many contaminants that enter drinking water sources are naturally-occurring, while others are exacerbated by local sources of pollution. Either way, testing for these contaminants will help you know that what you’re drinking is safe.

Public water systems are tested regularly, but there are contaminants that can enter your drinking water on the way from the treatment plant to your glass. Lead and copper can leach out of the pipes into your water, so it’s important to test regularly for these metals to make sure your drinking water is safe for the whole family.

Who is testing my water? Is the lab certified for drinking water analysis?

Drinking water samples will be mailed to and analyzed by KarLabs, an EPA-certified drinking water laboratory located in Michigan.

What is the discount for SBMWA members? Is it worth becoming a member?

Members of the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association receive between 15-20% off non-member prices for all tests. The prices for the TapWatch STANDARD kit are $50 for members and $60 for nonmembers. The TapWatch PLUS kit with VOC tests are $90 for members and $105 for nonmembers.

Non-members can choose to become a member when ordering TapWatch test services to receive discounted prices. Membership levels begin at $40 for individuals and $50 for families.

Watershed members also receive discounted educational programs and events on the Watershed Reserve, discounts at the Watershed Nature Shop, our quarterly Wellspring newsletter mailed to your home, and the knowledge that they have supported a cleaner central New Jersey.


How do I obtain a TapWatch kit?

TapWatch kits are available in the Watershed Center Nature Shop. Please visit us Mon-Fri 9am-5pm and Sat-Sun 10am-4pm.

What is the difference between the two types of TapWatch kits?

The TapWatch STANDARD kit tests for almost 100 different parameters, including E. coli bacteria, nitrate, pH, hardness, corrosivity, arsenic, lead, copper, hexavalent chromium, iron, and many other metals and heavy metals.

The TapWatch PLUS kit tests for everything in the standard kit, but also includes over 100 different volatile organic compounds (VOCs) often found in industrial byproducts, gasoline, and in fracking waste.

How do I collect water samples?

Instructions for collecting your drinking water sample is included with your TapWatch kit. We suggest taking samples from your kitchen sink, since that is where you likely obtain most of your drinking water at home.

Samples should be collected on the same day that you intend to mail your kit to the lab. The most accurate tests will result from the “freshest” samples.

How do I mail my samples to the lab?

Mailing materials with prepaid shipping are provided with each TapWatch kit. A small mailer is folded inside of the TapWatch STANDARD Kit. A larger mailer is banded to the TapWatch PLUS Kit with VOCs.

After filling your sample bottles with tap water, place the bottles back inside the cardboard sleeve, then inside the sealed plastic bag provided, and finally inside the mailing envelope. The VOC kit requires refrigeration en route to the lab – a cooling pack is provided for this purpose. Don’t forget to place the cooling pack in the freezer the night before you intend to sample!

How long does it take to get the results?

You should expect to receive your drinking water test results by email between 7-13 business days after mailing your samples.

What if something is wrong with my drinking water?

First, don’t panic. You may want to conduct another test for the parameter that exceeded water quality standards to confirm the result. There are a number of filters and other solutions to reduce bacteria and metal concentrations in your water. We can make a few recommendations with your test results.

I am required to test my well water before selling my house. Can I use TapWatch to satisfy that requirement?

The Private Well Testing Act requires water quality testing for home sale to be performed by a certified professional and collected at the well head. With TapWatch, you will collect your own water samples from your tap, so TapWatch cannot be used to satisfy this legal requirement.

Questions about this program?

Email [email protected] or call Assistant Director of Science Erin Stretz at 609-737-3735 ext. 17.

The Watershed Institute does not assume liability for drinking water results. Improper sampling procedures and/or handling may lead to sample contamination which may produce inaccurate test results.

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