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State of Alaska > DEC > EH > Laboratory Services > Lab Sample Submission Manual > Marine Growing Water  

Lab Sample Submission Manual:
Marine Growing Water
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EHL sampling kit for Shellfish Growing Water sample collection


This protocol is for commercial shellfish operators who have been
authorized by the Alaska Department of Conservation to collect shellfish
growing water samples. The frequency and sampling schedule is
determined by the DEC Shellfish Specialist.

We can only accept water samples Monday through Wednesday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Samples must be analyzed within 30 hours of collection. We can not accept or analyze samples outside of normal hours. (Please make sure your shipment arrives when we can accept it.)


EHL will provide a sampling kit to include:

  • Sterile bottles, one per sampling station,one temperature blank, and several extra bottles.
  • Cooler, packing material, gel packs.
  • Water Shellfish Survey Form;
  • Ziploc® bag for survey form;

Obtaining a kit and making arrangements for sampling

  • Collect samples only upon receiving a request from DEC.
  • The laboratory will prepare and ship a sampling kit to you.
  • Check sampling kit to ensure sufficient bottles have been
    provided and includes a Shellfish Water Survey Form.
  • Make sure that all bottle remain in the cooler during storage
    and store the kit in a clean, dry location away from any
    possible sources of contamination.
  • If weather or other condition are hazardous sampling may
    be postponed until the next day. Contact DEC personnel
    by telephone as soon as possible if sampling is postponed.

Sampling Procedure

STEP 1 : Remove plastic shrink wrap and cap.
• Hold cap in one hand so inside surfaces of cap and bottle are not touched or contaminated.
• Avoid sampling areas with visible debris or floating material.

STEP 2 : Collect

  • Dip bottle mouth down.
  • Slowly sweep bottle under surface of water.
  • Turn right side up to fill
  • Take sample 6”-12” under surface. No deeper than 12”

STEP 3 : Bring To Surface

  • Tip out some water to produce a small air space.
  • Make sure bottle is filled to the rounded shoulder above the top mark on the bottle.

STEP 4 : Cap And Label

  • Carefully replace cap, without contaminating sample and screw on cap tightly.
  • If sample bottle or cap comes in contact with any surfaces or materials discard bottle and resample.

STEP 5 : Document

  • Record the date and time of sample collection on the Shellfish Growing Water Survey Form.
  • Record other relevant information including weather conditions, rainfall, wildlife present, and tidal information.


STEP 6: Package

  • Assemble frozen gel-packs along the bottom and against the sides of the cooler/ insulated shipping container.
  • Line packing materials between bottles and the gel-pack lined walls of the container. Add sufficient packing materials to prevent shifting of samples during shipping.
  • Place a thin layer of packing material on top of the sample bottles.
  • Place bottles inside the container with gel-packs wrapped in paper between them.
  • Assemble frozen gel packs on top of packing materials. Do not allow gel packs to directly contact samples. Frozen samples are invalid.
  • Place additional packing material on top of gel packs to prevent shifting during shipment.
  • Make sure that all airspace is filled to prevent heating inside the container. Samples be between 0°C and 10°C upon receipt to be valid for testing.
  • Insert Survey form into a Ziploc® bag, place on top of packing materials, and seal cooler.


STEP 7 : Shipping And Notification Because all samples must be analyzed with 30 hours fo sampling, samples must be shipped via overnight mail, FedEx overnight, or Goldstreak. Ship samples to:

State of Alaska
Environmental Health Laboratory
5251 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue
Anchorage, AK 99507
ATTN: Eagle Express Courier

Contact the EHL Sample Receiving department at 907-375-8231 or immediately upon shipment of samples. Please include waybill number.

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