UGA Extension Office

Soil & Water Testing

A Message from the ANR Staff

Our ANR staff are available to assist you by phone, email and in person during normal business hours, Monday-Friday, 8:00am-5:00pm. Please call 678.377.4010 for further assistance.

Soil and water samples may be brought into our office, from 8:00am-4:30pm, to be submitted directly to the UGA Soil and Water Lab, to include the UGA plant disease lab for homeowner and commercial samples. We will only allow one customer at a time into the office and will provide you forms and a table to prepare your samples.

Contact us for specific sampling, program details, or any horticultural questions by calling 678.377.4010 or email one of the agents below:

Eric Marlowe, ANR County Extension Agent:

Kim Fritz, ANR Extension Program Assistant:

Lisa Klein, ANR Extension Program Assistant:

Nicole Caldwell, ANR Clerk:

Soil Testing

Many customers come to our office with questions about their lawn, garden, trees, etc., and we always recommend beginning with a soil test. That's because under all, it is the soil that carries nutrients to plants. Therefore, with a proper soil analysis we can make evidence-based recommendations that are specific to your situation. Here is a link that will show you how to collect your soil sample: Soil test sampling instructions.

The basic S1 soil test includes pH (Lime requirement) Phosphorous (P), Potassium (K), Calcium (Ca), Magnesium (Mg), Zinc (Zn), and Manganese (Mn). It is not necessary to come by and pick up the bags first. Bring your dry sample in a ziplock bag, cup, or any container, and we will transfer it to a UGA soil bag before shipping. We will need at least 2 cups of dry soil. One sample is sufficient for each lawn. The cost per sample for the basic S1 soil test is $8.00 (cash, check or credit card) and results can either be mailed or emailed. It usually takes about 10 to 12 days to receive your results.

Here is a tip to help dry your soil quicker: Place your wet soil in a shallow pan and place on the dashboard of your vehicle with the windows rolled up in the sunshine. It will dry it out quickly.

Soil Test Bag

Water Testing

Water testing is important for monitoring water quality for people who get their water from a well.

When you pour yourself a glass of water to drink, it may appear clean, taste good and you may expect it to be safe. However, many sources of water we assume are safe can contain dissolved minerals, organic compounds, or even live organisms at harmful concentrations. Contaminated water used for drinking and cooking may affect your health. Also, high concentrations of certain minerals in your water can result in quality issues such as unpleasant taste and odors or staining of bathroom fixtures and laundry.

The quality and safety of drinking water is of great concern to many Americans today because of an increased interest in health and environmental quality. This focus on water quality has led many Americans to consider testing their water.

For basic W1 water (pH, Hardness, P, K, Ca, Al, B, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mg, Mn, Mo, Ni, SiO2, Na, Zn) and expanded W2 water tests (W1-Basic, W3-Anions, W11-Soluble Salts, & W18-Alkalinity), collect the sample when water has not been used for at least 6-12 hours. This will usually be first thing in the morning or at the end of the day—if you have been away all day and nobody else has used water. Use a kitchen or bathroom cold water faucet to avoid the water heater. For wells, draw the sample as close to the well head as possible.

To have your water tested, bring in about 8 oz of water. Sample size containers and water volume requirements are here. The cost per sample for the basic W1 water test is $22.00 (cash, check or credit card) and results can either be mailed or emailed. It usually takes about 10 to 12 days to receive your results. The W2 test is $60 plus $2 shipping cost. You may choose to fill out the form here before you arrive at our office; if so, you may access the form here with instructions on how to fill it out.

For water samples including Bacterial Sampling, you may only submit samples to the UGA lab via overnight shipping or personal submission to their office Monday through Wednesday as the lab is not open on the weekend. All samples must be received by the lab within 24 hours of collection and all samples must be collected following exact procedures or your report may show a false positive. All samples must use the kit we provide. Do not collect water in bottles and bring it to our office. Please stop and purchase the kit at our office first. The cost is $36.00. The kit will have information on where to ship the samples.

Bacterial Sampling address (drive or ship):

      Feed and Environmental Water Lab (FEW)
      2300 College Station Road
      Athens, Georgia 30602-4356
      phone: 706-542-5350
      fax: 706-542-1474

Collection Procedures for a Bacterial Sample/Microbiological Analysis:

  1. Remove faucet attachments such as filters, aerators, screens, or splashguards.
  2. Sanitize faucet inside and out by dipping the faucet neck into undiluted chlorine bleach (do not use color safe bleach).
  3. Open the tap fully and flush the faucet and pipes by running water for 3 minutes. If you have two separate faucets for hot and cold, run each for 3 minutes. Do not turn off the water, reduce the flow to avoid splashing.
  4. Uncap the sample bottle without touching the inside of the cap or bottle, fill the bottle to the line and recap. The white particles are a dechlorinating agent. Only fill the bottle once. Cap the bottle and ready for shipping or take to the lab.

Home Water Supply