Home > Resources > Sampling Guides > Bacteria - Sewage Assessment/Clearance Sampling

Sewage Assessment/Clearance

Bacteria Sampling for Sewage Assessment and Clearance


  • To detect and quantify fecal contamination in an environmental sample, using the indicator organisms coli and Enterococcus species.

Advantages and Disadvantages

  • Advantages
    • No major equipment is necessary to sample for a Sewage Assessment/Clearance analysis
    • Results are quantitative, indicating the extent of fecal contamination
    • Results more robust using two organisms
    • Testing can be performed on many matrices
  • Disadvantages
    • Turn Around Time (TAT) slower than a Coliform Screen


  • Sewage Assessment/Clearance sampling usually requires no special equipment. Samples are typically swabs, bulks, waters, or physical pieces of the suspect materials

Sampling and Shipping Protocols

  • Samples must be shipped to the laboratory for overnight delivery as it is recommended to begin analysis within 24 hours from sampling.
  • If the samples are sent on Friday, it is usually best to ship for arrival on Saturday, not Monday. It is advisable to use a shipping company that offers tracking of packages.
  • Place samples within a cooler with ice packs. Wrap samples in bubble wrap to prevent them from coming in direct contact with ice packs. Make sure that samples are well packed and protected to prevent damage during transport.