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Calculating Your Annual Cost of Chemical Compliance Sampling

Using information from your public water system's chemical sampling schedule, follow these steps to find out how much to budget for these costs.

To calculate your water system's cost of chemical compliance sampling for this year, follow these steps:

  1. Find your sampling schedules.
  2. Find out which sampling schedules are open this year.
  3. Find out which open sampling schedules are due this year.
  4. For each sampling schedule, find out how many samples must be collected.
  5. For each type of sample, look up the lab analysis fee.
  6. Add up the total cost.

Find your sampling schedules

      1. On the main Texas Drinking Water Watch (DWW) page, enter your PWS ID number or the name of your water system:

      1. At the bottom of the page, click the “Search for Water Systems” button.
      2. Once the search results are returned, click on the blue link for your water system under “Water System No.”:

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    • You will now be viewing the “Water System Detail” page. This page lists the basic information about your PWS. In the left-hand column of yellow links, click on “Sample Schedules/FANLs/Plans”:

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When the Web page refreshes, look down the page for the table, “Group Non-TCR Sample Schedules.” ("TCR" stands for Total Coliform Rule. Because this sampling is not related to the TCR, it is labeled "non-TCR.")

Which sampling schedules are open this year?

In the Group Non-TCR Sample Schedules table, find the column headed "Begin / End Date." In this column, you will see two entries:

  • The first is the Begin Date — the date the sampling schedule in this row begins.
  • The second is either the End Date or the word “Continuous.” Continuous sampling has no established end date.

Ignore the sampling schedule when:

  • Its end date is before today's date. This schedule has been closed.
  • Its begin date is after the end of the year you’re calculating costs for. This schedule is not yet open.

For all other rows, the next step is to find out whether sampling is due this year.

Some water systems will also have a table for Individual Non-TCR Sample Schedules. If yours does, repeat this step for each of the individual non-TCR sample schedules.

Which sampling schedules are due this year?

To find out which open schedules are due this year, start with the "Req’s" column in the table of non-TCR sample schedules. Under "Req's," you will see two entries separated by a slash – for example, “1 RT / 3Y.” The entry after the slash tells you the sampling frequency. Look at it first.

Any one of these entries means you must include this sampling schedule in your cost calculation:

  • QT (sample quarterly)
  • 6M (sample every six months)
  • YR (sample annually)

For these entries, you will need to use the beginning date and the frequency to determine whether the sampling schedule is required in your cost calculation. TCEQ collects samples in the last year of a multi-year schedule.

    • 3Y (sample every 3 years). For 2012, this schedule is due if the begin date is in 2010.
    • 6Y (sample every 6 years). For 2012, this schedule is due if the begin date is in 2007.
    • 9Y (sample every 9 years). For 2012, this schedule is due if the begin date is in 2004.

How many samples are required in a year?

For each sampling schedule that is due this year, look again at the entry under "Req’s." The part before the slash tells you how many samples must be collected in each sampling period. We'll call this value the collection number. (“RT” simply means that these are routine samples.)

Use the collection number and the frequency (the part after the slash) to find out how many samples are required in your calculation year:

  • If the frequency is QT (quarterly), multiply the collection number by 4.
  • If the frequency is 6M (every six months), multiply collection number by 2.
  • For all other frequencies, use collection number itself.

Check again for individual samples!

If your water system has an "Individual Non-TCR Sample Schedules" table, do these calculations for that table, too.

Look up the lab analysis fee

Change in Laboratory Fee Schedule

A new fee schedule will be reflected in invoices effective November 1, 2012.  This will be the first change in fees since 2007.  Although three commonly scheduled fees will increase (cyanide, radiochemicals and method 515.4), all other fees will decrease anywhere from 28 to 72 percent from the current rates. The overall impact on public water systems will be a 43 percent decrease in total lab fees for 2013.

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) was required by the 82nd Legislature to reassess their entire lab fee structure under Senate Bill 80, both for medical and environmental testing.  DSHS notified stakeholders, including public water systems, of the proposed revisions in a letter dated December 20, 2011.  A new rule package was passed that included the new fees and became effective October 10, 2012.  Lab fees may be reassessed periodically and adjusted as necessary. 

Lab fees will be updated on the TCEQ’s website if any changes occur, as well as on the DSHS laboratory web page.  Stakeholders will also be notified of any changes through the Drinking Water Advisory Work Group (DWAWG). 

Both the DSHS and Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) will utilize the same fee schedule.

In order to keep costs down and to avoid interruption in lab service, some water systems may now have their routine samples shipped to a different lab.  All radiochemical samples will continue to be analyzed by DSHS.  The map below depicts the 6 sampling regions and their assigned laboratory effective November 1, 2012.

Laboratory Analysis Fees (effective November 1, 2012)*

Sample Type (Analysis Type) Laboratory Analysis Fee
1005 – Arsenic $6.88
1010 – Barium $6.88
1015 – Cadmium $6.88
1017 – Chloride $15.11
1024 - Cyanide $74.76
1025 – Fluoride $15.03
1028 – Iron $7.73
1032 – Manganese $6.88
1035 – Mercury $18.41
1045 – Selenium $6.88
1052 – Sodium $7.73
1094 – Asbestos $130
1930 – TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) $14.65
504 – EDB/DBCP $75.67
515 – SOC Method 515.4 $313.25
531 – SOC Method 531.1 $57.01
DBP1/2 – DBP Phase 1 (TTHM & HAA5) $97.63
MIN – Minerals $106.39
MTL – Metals $152.43**
NO32 – Nitrate/Nitrite $8.49
PBCU – Lead/Copper $30
RAD – Radionuclides $272.47***
SOC5 – Synthetic Organics $205.41
VOC – Volatile Organics $55.12

* Lab fees are subject to change. This page will be updated if fees change.

** Metals samples with a turbidity greater than 1 NTU subject to a preparation fee of $20.29.

*** Base rate. Samples with high levels subject to further testing and additional fees.

Add up the total cost

Now you have the information you need to find your total sampling cost. Using our Annual Sample Cost Calculation Worksheet or a notepad, jot down this information:

  • The facility where the sampling is required (This is the entry in the first column of the table of Group Non-TCR Sample Schedules.)
  • The type of sampling required
  • The number of samples required (the frequency times the collection number)
  • The cost for that type of sample.

For each facility and type of sample, multiply the number of samples required by the lab fee per sample. Add up these subtotals to find the final annual cost.

Questions?

See our example of a typical sampling-cost calculation for more details.

If you have questions about your sample schedules or need our help, please contact us at (512) 239-4691 or e-mail us at pdws@tceq.texas.gov.