What's Living in Your Water?



Improve Drinking Water Safety

In the United States, Milwaukee experienced the largest documented drinking water outbreak in US history. The outbreak occurred in 1993 and was caused by Cryptosporidium parvum, a chlorine-resistant parasite. The outbreak affected over 400,000 people and resulted in over $96 million in combined healthcare costs and productivity losses, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

What are some example applications in drinking water?

  • Distribution System Nitrification: DNA data can shed light on issues with nitrification in distribution systems that consumes disinfection residual (especially chloramine).
  • Distribution System Backflow: DNA data can indicate potential issues with untreated water entering distribution systems via backflow or other routes. Coliform testing will typically not detect any issues until the problem is substantial enough to consume the chlorine residual and cause potential health issues. DNA data, on the other hand, can detect bacterial contaminants such as E. coli and other fecal-associated bacteria even when a chlorine residual renders these bacteria non-viable. This information is helpful for identifying problems in a distribution system before they become major public health issues.
  • Well Surface Water Intrusion: DNA data can indicate the presence of surface water in groundwater wells. Surface water entering wells could be a cause for concern as it could harbor fecal contamination. Without DNA data, it is very difficult to detect surface water entering a well.
  • Aesthetics (taste/odor) issues: DNA data can shed light on taste and odor issues such as sulfur and iron. This data reveals the identity of sulfur oxidizing bacteria, sulfate reducing bacteria and iron oxidizing bacteria.
  • Positive Coliform Tests: DNA data can be used to provide more information in cases where positive coliform tests have occurred. The DNA data can indicate whether or not the coliforms are naturally occurring environmental bacteria or are associated with other fecal bacteria in the sample.

Recent Case Studies

Objective: Identify Cause of Taste and Odor Complaints

Municipal Drinking Water System

glass-waterMicrobe Detectives performed a DNA-based microbial analysis to identify and quantify microbes in eight municipal drinking water samples. Our analysis found that one of the eight locations was contaminated with human-associated bacteria. The specific diagnosis would not have been possible using conventional testing methods. Microbe Detectives recommended further investigation at this location. The municipality found missing backflow prevention valves in a nearby factory, a school, and a courthouse. Microbe Detectives services eliminated the need for a costly and disruptive boil-water notice which would not have solved the problem. Minor problems were identified and corrected before public health and perception risks escalated

How to Order DNA Analysis of Drinking Water

1. Order DNA Analysis Online

After receipt of order, we will ship our kit to you which contains supplies for collecting the wastewater sample.

2. Collect Representative Sample

Wear gloves to prevent contamination. For liquid samples, use instructions below. For solids, add sample and yellow dessicant card to the Whirl-Pak bag and seal.

3. Fill out Chain of Custody Card 

Add Whirl-Pak bag or filter housing (dry off housing with a clean paper towel first) to zip loc bag with completed COC form and yellow desiccant card.

4. Register and Enter Sample Data

Sample ID number is on the red label, located on the COC card. Enter data at MicrobeDetectives.com/register

Please note we cannot process sample until registration is completed.

5. Ship to Microbe Detectives

Microbe Detectives 935 Curtiss Street, Suite 3, Downers Grove IL 60515

After you have collected, registered and shipped your sample, you will receive a DNA Analysis report focusing on bacteria that are typically important in wastewater, produced by a doctoral-level application expert.

DNA Analysis Kit


DNA analysis of submitted sample, includes kit with collection supplies.

dna analysis pricing

Include shipping of samples to lab?

Send analysis report to email address below *

SKU: RET-KIT Categories: , ,


DNA analysis of submitted sample, includes kit with collection supplies. The DNA Analysis will be produced by a doctoral-level application expert and will include a summary of the total data, focusing on bacteria that are typically important in water systems. The full data is also provided in a spreadsheet. Data presented are bacterial relative abundance (% of total bacteria in the sample). For example 0.12% Actinobacteria means that 0.12% of bacteria in the sample are Actinobacteria. Interpretation of the results that is application specific is communicated in a detailed report via email. Consulting services are available for an additional fee, subject to a scope of work, contact us to discuss options.

Additional information

Weight 5.3 oz
Dimensions 6.5 x 4.5 x 1.5 in

Easy Sample Collection Instructions

draw water

A. Draw 1ml of wastewater or draw 50ml of process or surface water. For drinking water, draw 50ml into the syringe, repeat steps A, B, C and D six times to push through a total of 300ml or until you feel back pressure, indicating filter clogging.

screw housing

B. Screw the filter housing onto the syringe. The housing contains a filter to collect microbes.

push water

C. Push the syringe plunger to force sample through the filter housing. Stop forcing through the filter if you feel back pressure indicating filter clogging. Record the actual volume.

unscrew housing

D. Unscrew the filter housing from the syringe. Discard syringe after total amount is collected. DO NOT DISASSEMBLE FILTER HOUSING. This would expose and contaminate sample.

Dna Analysis in Drinking Water News

Only 7 Seats Left at the 2017 Microbiome Water Summit!

Only 7 Seats Left at the 2017 Microbiome Water Summit!

We hope to see you at Microbe Detectives' Microbiome Water Summit 2017! The Microbiome Water Summit 2017 is Microbe Detectives' inaugural leadership summit, where leading experts will explore the application of modern DNA science and technology to help optimize the...

Water Executive Ralph Wagner Joins Microbe Detectives

Water Executive Ralph Wagner Joins Microbe Detectives

August 28, 2017 - Mr. Ralph Wagner joined Microbe Detectives today as the Vice President of Business Development. He will be focusing on developing corporate partnerships to optimize wastewater treatment and resource recovery solutions in the areas of...