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UGA Extension Office

Soil and Water Testing


We have provided a drop box stationed near the front door so you can leave your samples after hours. On the potting bench you'll find three labeled bins: Soil, Water, and Identification. On the window above the potting bench, you'll find instructions on how to prepare and leave your sample as well as pricing. We accept cash or check only, please make checks out to Forsyth County Extension/4-H. For more details on proper sample collection and pricing click the red box below.  If you need water testing for Bacteria or a Home Closing Kit, or if you have any questions or concerns, please email so that we can assist you.



Soil Testing

Determining the fertility level of a soil through a soil test is the first step in planning a sound lime and fertilizer program. Most Georgia soils are low in pH and/or one of the essential plant nutrients. Therefore, to maintain normal plant growth, lime and fertilizer must be applied in sufficient quality to meet the crop requirement. A SOIL TEST is the best means available to determine this requirement.

Routine Soil Test.................................$10.00 per sample (includes postage):
Includes pH, Lime Requirement, Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, and Manganese. At least a pint of soil is needed per soil sample to be tested. The lab cannot process samples that are less than a pint. Be sure to pull the soil sample from several spots at random to get a good representative sample. You may bring samples in a pint size plastic freezer bag (filled full) if you don't have a soil sample bag. Please follow the procedures for collecting soil samples below.

Note: Soil sample bags and water bottles can be picked up at the Extension office. 

Soil Testing

If you have questions about your lawn, garden, trees, etc. we always suggest starting with a soil test.

It is not necessary to come by and pick up the bags first. You may bring your DRY sample into our office in plastic bags, cups, or any kind of container. We will transfer it over to a UGA soil bag. Bring in 2 cups of dry soil.

The cost per sample is $10.00 (cash or check) and the results are either Emailed or mailed. We are open Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm.  


Developing and maintaining productive soils begin with soil testing. Soils tests provide 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.


Water Testing


Public and municipal water supplies are routinely tested and must meet standards established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Therefore, these sources usually do not need to be tested unless inhouse contamination is suspected. However, only YOU are responsible for the safety of your well water.  All well water samples should be collected from the first draw of water out of the kitchen faucet or from the faucet used most often for drinking. A first draw water sample is collected (after a minimum of 6 hours, but not more than a 12 hour period) during which time there was no water usage from that faucet prior to sampling. Either early morning or evening upon returning from home are the best sampling times to ensure a good sample. Place a clean sample container below the faucet and gently open the cold water tap to fill sample bottles. At least a 1 pint (500 mL) is needed for most samples.

Water Sampling Instructions

  • Basic Water Test...................................$24.00 per sample:
    pH and Water Hardness, Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium, Aluminum, Chromium, Manganese, Copper, Cadmium, Iron, Zinc, Sodium, Nickel, Magnesium, Boron, Molybdenum, and Silica
  • Bacteria Test........................................$36.00 per sample (client responsible for overnight shipping or delivery to UGA lab):
    The most common microbiology test checks for the presence of E. coli and total coliform bacteria. This test requires a special test kit with sample instructions available at the Extension office. This test is recommended annually on home wells. Disinfecting your well water through shock chlorination.
  • W33B Home Loan Water Testing.......Thus the standard turn-around-time for W33B package is 5-7 business days after receipt, the fee is $85/sample (client is responsible for overnight shipping or delivery to UGA lab).  Information sheet on W33B water testing.         
  • Radon in Water Test....$30.00 per sample (client responsible for overnight shipping or delivery to UGA lab): Radon in Water Information.
  • Expanded Water Test..........................$64.00 per sample:
    Designed to address common well water problems in Georgia such as corrosion, high levels of iron and manganese, and nitrate from various sources. This test package should be done at least once on wells before using a less inclusive test. The Expanded Water Test is required for installation and design of home water treatment systems. This test includes the Basic Water Test (see below), Anions, Soluble Salts, and Alkalinity tests.
  • Lead and Arsenic Test Combined--If you would like to have your water tested for both Lead and Arsenic at the same time, the fee is only $65 for a combined sample.
  • Water Lead Test Only...........................$46.00 per sample:
    Lead testing is recommended for homes and/or wells built prior to 1985. Pipes could contain lead solder which could leach into your drinking water.
  • Water Arsenic Test Only.......................$65.00 per sample:
    Arsenic testing is recommended for wells located on old farm sites where pesticides may have been used for cotton production or fruit orchards between 1920-1940.                                                   
  • Other Water Tests are available upon request.

More information


Frequently Asked Questions 

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

A: The analysis takes two to three working days from the time the lab receives the samples. In general, it takes 7 to 10 days from the time we receive the samples to the time you get your test reports back.