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What You Need to Know About ETR Water Testing Laboratories

by Mark Timmons February 26, 2024 0 Comments

US Water Systems uses ETR Laboratories in Leominster, Massachusetts as our sole partner in water testing. Why do we use ETR Labs? Very simply, it is because they are the BEST Water Testing Laboratory we have ever dealt with. We have had ZERO issues with them from Day One and they continue to perform flawlessly each and every time. That is very important to us.

Water Test Being Conducted

At US Water Systems, when we recommend a system to our customers, we have to rely on the municipal water report provided by each municipality. This is easy for us to find on the internet, simply by looking up the name of the water utility and finding their latest water report. We can also look at the website of the Environmental Working Group or “EWG.” Their website is

If you are no city (municipal water) and want to know how to best treat your water, then it is very easy to find out what is in your water supply. Water quality does vary greatly from city-to-city and state-to-state. So, when we give our one-year Satisfaction Guarantee we can rely on the city water reports as well as the information provided by the non-profit EWG. EWG is a repository of municipal water quality across the nation.

However, when a person lives on a well water supply, there is no national repository of what is in their water supply. The only way they can find out what contaminants are present and in what concentrations is to have the water tested by a Water Testing Laboratory. We have to rely on the test results from the lab that tests the water, and if the results are not correct or the system does not work as designed, we have to refund the money to the customer under the terms of our Guarantee of Satisfaction.

We have used many other laboratories in my 51 years in the Water Treatment Industry. We have tried the labs who were the cheapest and that was a disaster. Cheap is never good. We have used labs who have been around for a long time and the results have (overall) been an unmitigated disaster! I would love to tell you about them so that you can avoid the problems we faced, but they have threatened to sue me and frankly, I have better things to do. Good Riddance!

City Water vs Well Water, Downtown Indiana and Rural Indiana in one scene

One lab in particular that we used in the past made some huge mistakes with water samples. In one particular example, in their Water Quality Report, it was reported that the water contained 0 ppm Iron and 0 ppm Manganese. We based our equipment recommendation upon that information. It turned out that they had not performed the testing properly and the actual results were 22 ppm Iron and 4.3 ppm Manganese. Of course, we had to refund that customer, as well as make a trip to Alaska to apologize.

Water Test Being Conducted

Due to the negligence of this particular lab (I really wish I could tell you who it is), we had to refund tens of thousands of dollars. It was a debacle. We paid the lab for testing our water. They were wrong and it cost us thousands. When we choose a lab, we do not make that decision lightly, as mistakes on their part cost us big time.

This blog post was prompted by a customer who ordered a lab test from us and then cancelled it because they said that ETR was not an accredited lab. There is nothing more dangerous than a naïve customer who thinks he knows something, but doesn't know what he doesn't know.

Anyone who says ETR LABS is not accredited is misinformed. They hold an ISO 17025 accreditation with ISO, which is an internationally recognized accrediting organization and is more stringent than many of the state certifications. They have been accredited by ISO for 6 years and have been in good standing with them the entire time. Their lab goes through annual on site audits that last 2-3 days each time. They also have to perform quarterly PT studies (proficiency testing) in each department to demonstrate ongoing accuracy throughout the year.

A common misconception about ETR Labs is in regards to state certifications and their history with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection or “MA DEP.” We use ETR Labs for testing on private wells, not on public water supplies. Unlike public drinking water supplies, private wells are not subject to EPA or MassDEP regulatory requirements which require regular testing or treatment. Simply put, MassDEP does not have jurisdiction on private well water and the analysis of such.

In contrast to some other states, the Massachusetts Legislature has never adopted a law that expressly regulates private well water and the laboratory testing of private well water. MassDEP's jurisdiction is therefore limited to public drinking water systems. The USEPA says this:

Well Water Cut Away to Show the residential Well Water System

“EPA does not regulate private wells nor does it provide recommended criteria or standards for individual wells.”

It should be noted that ETR Laboratories does not list EPA Testing Methods on its Lab Reports and has a statement on the reports that the analysis was not conducted in accordance with MassDEP Certification Standards. In what can only be described as a “power grab” or “governmental overreach” MassDEP tried to make ETR LABS submit to authority they did not have.

Long story short: ETR LABS does not test municipal water and MassDEP has no authority over them. Instead, ETR Labs is Certified by an ISO 17025 accreditation with ISO, which is an internationally recognized accrediting organization and is more stringent than many of the state certifications.

End of Story! ETR LABS is a Certified Lab and has performed flawlessly for us. We trust ETR Labs and they have been nothing but professional and exceptional. ETR is a member of the Water Quality Association and is bound by their Code of Ethics, as well as Angi and the National Ground Water Association. If you want more detailed information about MassDEP and ETR Labs, feel free to read HERE.

You can also read the fact sheet concerning MassDEP HERE.

Now, let's test some water!

Mark Timmons, aka The Water Doctor has over 50 years of water treatment experience and is recognized as a Master Water Specialist by the Water Quality Association. He is also recognized in Who's Who and is regarded as one of the foremost experts in the Water Treatment Industry, having trained hundreds of individuals. Mark and his wife, Patricia are the founders of US Water Systems and reside in Central Indiana.

ETR Laboratories Water and Environmental Testing Logo
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