Water quality and testing

Each summer, Northland Regional Council test the water quality at a number of Northland’s popular coastal and freshwater swimming spots to make sure it’s safe for swimming.

Here at Whangārei District Council, we have an accredited laboratory that conducts a range of chemical and microbiological tests on drinking water, sewerage and other waste water.

Regional testing 

Northland Regional Council Environmental Health Officers take water samples from popular beaches and freshwater swimming spots to test whether the water is safe for swimming. They will put up public signage if there are any concerns about safety.

You can read more about swimming water testing on the Northland Regional Council's website.

Swimming water testing (nrc.govt.nz)

Can I swim here - an online tool

The Can I swim here? online tool, from Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA), shows the most up-to-date water quality information in New Zealand.  Use it as a guide in deciding where to swim.

Can I swim here? (lawa.org.nz)

We offer testing services and provide information for private customers on the quality and safety of their drinking water.

Our laboratory is accredited with International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ) for a range of chemical and microbiological tests. We subcontract specialised tests which we do not perform ourselves. Our staff can collect samples from throughout Whangārei district. 

We can customise analyses to suit your needs and recommend that you contact the laboratory before you undertake sampling to ensure the correct type of samples are taken.

The laboratory is involved in:

  • testing Whangārei and surrounding district's drinking water and ensuring the safety of the supply
  • monitoring the district's sewage discharges to ensure consent requirements are met
  • sampling and testing swimming pool water
  • industrial waste testing
  • other specialised tests for private customers.

All New Zealand drinking water should meet the standards set out by the Ministry of Health. We ensure that all households using the town water supply receive drinking water which complies with these standards. 

Fees for testing

Current charges for specific sample tests we perform can be found within the Fees and Charges.  Eftpos payment is available. 

Fees and charges 

Directions for taking samples

Find out more about taking water samples and form to submit a water sample:

Compliance report

To indicate compliance with New Zealand Drinking Water Standards 2008, the water will be tested for E coli. 

A written report detailing NZ Drinking Water Compliance will be issued. If required, other analyses can be arranged, please contact us for more details.

Some plumbing fittings allow minute traces of metals to accumulate in water standing in the fittings for several hours.

Although the health risk is small, the Ministry of Health recommends that you flush a mugful of water from your drinking-water tap each morning before use to remove any metals that may have dissolved from the plumbing fittings.

We are recommending this simple precaution for all households, including those on public and private water supplies.

For more information please call a Northland District Health Board Drinking Water Assessor on 09 430 4100.