Posted in Business Practice, DHHS / OCFS

Water Testing and Labs

As of 1/1/2017, the Department of Health and Human Services stopped providing water test kids as part of licensing applications or renewals.


With the adoption of Licensing Rule 9/20/2017, providers need to have a first draw test performed as part of licensing (new and renewal). This tests for lead and needs to be done for both public and private water sources. 

If a provider’s water source is private they have the responsibility to get an annual water test completed, so it can be sent in with their licensing application/renewal.

~~ Annually, the water test must include the following: coliform bacteria, nitrate and nitrite nitrogen.

~~ Every five (5) years the water test must also include: fluoride, chloride, hardness, copper, iron, pH, manganese, uranium and arsenic.

Providers need to use a state certified laboratory for their water test.

Here are currently certified laboratories that can provide water test kits and complete the required water test:

Laboratories are certified by test, so it is necessary to check with a laboratory to find out exactly what they are certified for. Tests which laboratories are able to do can change.

Always check with the lab before mailing the water sample to see if they have made provisions to enable receipt of bacteria samples within the holding times for the postal service area.

Questions call: The State of Maine Drinking Water PRogram at (207) 287-2070 and ask for the Laboratory Certification Officer.

Reminder: retain a copy of the results on hand for review by licensing staff in compliance with the Licensing Rule.

If you have Coliform Bacteria present in your water check out this resource from Penn State Extension for information on ways to proceed and options for disinfecting your water source.

Here is Section 13 of the 9/20/2017 Rule:

  • Initial testing requirement for licensees serving water from a municipal public water source. In order to hold a license, applicants serving water from a municipal public water system, must collect one first-draw lead sample prior to receiving a license or enter into a bottled water agreement from the Department. The sample container must be from a Maine-certified laboratory and consist of a one-liter capacity.
  • Initial testing requirements for licensees serving water from their own well. Applicants serving drinking water from their own well must demonstrate satisfactory water quality by testing for the following contaminants by a Maine-certified laboratory:




Lead (first-draw sample),

Total coliform bacteria, and


  • Ongoing annual water tests for providers with wells. Licensees serving water from their own well shall test their water annually for coliform bacteria and nitrates. Samples must be analyzed and results reported by a Maine-certified laboratory. Licensees must maintain water quality reports for Department inspection.
  • Five-year water tests for providers with wells. In addition to the annual testing required by Section 13(C) above, licensees serving water from their own wells must test their water every five years for at least the following contaminants: fluoride, uranium, lead (first-draw sample) and arsenic.
  • Bottled water agreements. If the licensee chooses to use and serve bottled water for all food preparation and drinking purposes, then the licensee may operate under a written bottled water agreement with the Department. Under this agreement the licensee shall:
    • Use bottled water for all consumption and food preparation;
    • Provide written notification to parents of enrolled and prospective children that the provider is required to use bottled water for all consumption and food preparation;
    • Conspicuously post the agreement where it can be seen by parents; and
    • Continue to conduct annual water testing in accordance with Section 13(C) of this rule.
  • Capacity. During all hours of operation, drinking water and wastewater disposal must meet the standards of the Department to accommodate the licensed capacity of the licensee.


FCCAM works to unify, promote and strengthen quality professional family child care in Maine. We understand the critical role of child care providers in the lives of children and families. Through collaboration with other organizations we work to increase awareness of our profession and the value of a strong child care system to Maine's diverse communities.