UGA Extension Office

Testing Services

Whether you would like to increase your crop yield, grow healthier roses, test the quality of your drinking water, or make sure your creek is not polluted, we can help.

Soil Testing  

Why soil testing is important & How to test

Soil Sample Bags Available at Extension Office

Soil tests will provide valuable information on the soil’s actual nutrient status. Test results are used to determine the amount and kind of nutrients that should be added for the best growth of lawn, garden and other types of plants.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How much does a soil sample cost?
A:  Soil samples cost $9.00 per bag to send to the lab. You may pay by cash, check or credit card.

Q: When and how often should soils be tested?

A: Soils can be tested any time during the year. However, allow enough time for the analysis and for fertilizer and lime application. Lime reacts slowly and, if possible, it should be mixed with the soil two to three months before planting. Generally, fall is the most desirable time to sample because landscapes and gardens are usually dry and easily accessible.

Once medium or high fertility levels are established, lawn and ornamental areas need to be sampled every two to three years.

Vegetable gardens should be sampled every 1 to 2 years.

Q: How soon will I get my results back (turn-around-time)?

A: It takes 7 to 10 days from the time we receive the samples to the time you get your test reports back. (Holidays will increase turn-around time.)

Q: Who do I contact regarding my soil test results and recommendations if I don’t understand the numbers?

A: The Soil Test Report provides an interpretation of all soil tests done by the Soil Testing Lab and is accompanied by appropriate nutrient and lime recommendations. If you need further information about your test results, contact the Coweta County University of Georgia Cooperative Extension office at 770-254-2620.

If you don't have access to the Extension office, you can order a Soil Test Kit. This is more expensive than taking your samples to the Extension office, but it may be more convenient, especially if you have a small number of samples. It also makes a great gift!


Water Testing

We offer a multitude of water testing options. Those listed below are the most common tests. If you are uncertain which water test you need or how to draw water for analysis, please call the Coweta County Extension office at 770-254-2620 for guidance.


The basic water sample will test for pH and hardness, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, aluminum, chromium, manganese, copper, cadmium, iron, zinc, sodium, nickel, magnesium, boron, molybdenum and silica.  The fee is $23.00 per sample and will take approximately 7-10 working days. To have your well water tested, you will need one full cup of water in a sterilized jar (no residue of previous contents) or pick up a container from the Coweta County Extension office. 
Do not use a jar that has contained pickles, vinegar or salsa.


Basic water sample SUBMISSION FORM


The fee for the expanded water test is $63.00 per sample and will test for the pH, and minerals contained in the basic test plus chloride, fluoride, nitrate, phosphate, sulfate, soluble salts and alkalinity. One pint of water is needed for the expanded water test and needs to be the first draw of the morning from the source most often used (usually the kitchen sink). Use a sterilized jar (no residue of previous contents) or pick up a container from the Coweta County Extension office.
Do not use a jar that has contained pickles, vinegar or salsa

Expanded water sample TESTING INSTRUCTIONS

Expanded water sample SUBMISSION FORM

MICROBIOLOGICAL WATER TEST, AKA “BACTERIA” TEST ($36.00 plus overnight shipping costs)

The bacteria water test kit is $36.00 (plus overnight shipping) and tests for total coliform and E. coli levels. The kit is available through the Extension office and includes a sampling bottle and detailed instructions. You will take your sample, fill out the form and place your sample along with the form and $36.00 check in the white box. You will take the box to your local shipping location and choose the overnight shipping option. Or you can drive the sample to the UGA water lab at 2300 College Station Road, Athens, Georgia 30602. This is the recommended option if you need the results expedited for any reason. The sample must reach the UGA water lab within 24 hours from when you took the sample.


HOME LOAN CLOSING PACKAGE ($85.00 plus overnight shipping costs)

The home loan closing package is $85.00 (plus overnight shipping) and includes total coliform, E. coli, nitrates, nitrites and lead. This package is a combination of the tests that are most commonly required for home loans, however some home loans do not require all of these tests and some require more, so we strongly recommend checking with your loan company to determine which tests they require. If they tell you that you need a “water test”, then you need to ask them specifically which test that they require. Remember that it can take up to 10 business days for your results to come back, so you should plan for this when scheduling your closing date. There is a $50.00 fee for an expedited test. The expedited test can still take up to 4 business days to receive the results.



Water Hardness (No Charge)

We offer a free water hardness test for ponds that helps determine the need for lime. You may submit the pond water sample to the Extension office anytime Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. in a quart jar. This is a free test provided by the Extension agent.

Basic Test ($23.00)

The basic water test is offered for anyone managing ponds/lakes for sportfishing.

Pond basic water sample TESTING INSTRUCTIONS

Pond basic water sample SUBMISSION FORM

Recreational Water Test ($36.00 plus overnight shipping)

The recreational water test is offered for those interested in testing their water for swimming. This test analyzes for E. coli bacteria and is the same test that is used for public beaches. However, it should be noted that this test only provides bacteria levels for a snapshot in time meaning that bacteria levels can change with significant rain events and/or drought conditions. The recreational water test does NOT analyze water for parasites like giardia or cryptosporidium.


*Overnight Shipping Note: We have seen significant delays this year with all of our local shipping options and have found that most companies are not offering refunds in the event that they are unable to deliver overnighted packages in time for processing. If you require a sample to be shipped overnight, then we recommend driving the sample to the lab to ensure it arrives on time.  This includes the bacteria test, home loan closing package, radon test, etc.

*When testing a well that has not been used for a long time (such as a foreclosed home), you should flush the system prior to testing by running all faucets for 1-2 hours. After flushing the system, follow the directions above to collect a proper sample.

*Water Samples are accepted at the Coweta County Extension Office Monday - Wednesday between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.






Forage Testing

The basic test includes moisture, neutral detergent fiber (NDF), acid detergent fiber (ADF), crude fiber (estimated), crude protein, lignin, Total Digestible Nutrients (TDN), and Relative Forage Quality (RFQ).  The fee is $15.00 per sample.  Some of the individual elements listed above can be tested individually and other tests are available. Call the office at 770-254-2620 for more information on other tests.  Follow instructions below for sampling.

Sampling is a major factor affecting the accuracy of forage quality analyses. A core sampler is available for use. It can be checked out from the Extension office. (A $50 deposit is required and will be refunded when the sampler is returned in working order.) Samples taken without the use of a core sampler are discouraged. Bring your sample in a gallon ziplock plastic bag to the Extension office. Forage samples are accepted Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday until 2 p.m.


For Testing Services questions, please call our office at 770-254-2620.