Waters Laboratory

The Waters Laboratory performs microbiological testing on all types of water for the state of Western Australia and beyond. It is the largest laboratory of its type in the State, analysing samples for the Water Corporation, Department of Health and many private companies.
The laboratory provides accurate results of one of our most essential resources to ensure public safety for drinking and recreational purposes.
PathWest is the only laboratory in WA that is NATA accredited for the full range of water microbiology analyses, including the investigation for free-living amoebae. Methods are chosen for their sensitivity, specificity, fast turn around time and cost effectiveness. The laboratory is at the forefront of new developments and offers a variety of specialised methods such as defined substrate technology - including fluorogenic and chromogenic media.
PathWest has extensive experience in water microbiology demonstrated by:
  • Over 30 years of experience in water microbiology and has been at the forefront of investigation of waterborne outbreaks (amoebic meningitis in the Wheatbelt, 1980; meliodosis investigations at a remote community in the Kimberley, 1988) 
  • Representation on various Standards Australia committees including:
    • FT/20 - Water Microbiology.
    • FT/20-01 - Legionella Methodology. 
  • Representation on the Advisory Committee for the Purity of Water.
  • Representation on Ministerial Working Groups such as the Working Party for Water Testing in Remote Communities.
  • Participation in various Cooperative Research Council (CRC) Projects.
  • Participation in various Cooperative Research Council (CRC) Projects.
  • Corporate member of the Australian Water Association 

Types of water samples that are tested include:  


Drinking water – treated and untreated

Packaged water – ice and bottled

Hospital water -  reverse osmosis and dialysis machine  

Recreational water - swimming pools, spas & hydrotherapy pools

Cooling water - air conditioning tower water

Natural water - rivers and oceans

Wastewater – sewage and irrigation effluent

Industrial process water – for industry eg. poultry process water

Re-Use or Recycled water – for re-use in buildings, etc.


The Water Laboratory offers a wide variety of bacteriological tests including examination for:



Thermotolerant coliforms  


Heterotrophic plate counts

Standard plate counts

Legionella spp.


Sulphite Reducing Clostridia including Clostridium perfringens

Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Salmonella spp.

Campylobacter spp.

Bacteriophage testing – Somatic 


In addition, samples may be tested for thermophilic amoeba including Naegleria fowleri, which can live in swimming pools and is the causative agent of amoebic meningitis. Testing for Acanthamoeba spp in corneal scrapings is also available.

For more information on monitoring and protecting your water sources and products, please phone (08) 6457 1191 or email waters.pathwest@health.wa.gov.au 


A completed and authorised PathWest Request Form for water samples must be submitted with each batch of samples. 

The request form can be downloaded here: 

PathWest EMU - Waters Request Form MWFANRQU 1 version 1.8 Form Fill.pdfPathWest EMU - Waters Request Form - Electronic Fill Version (PDF)

PathWest EMU - Waters Request Form - Print and Fill Version (PDF)


Measurement of Uncertainty Data on PathWest quantitative tests


Supply Order Form MWF024 - 19.03.20.pdfWaters Supply Order Form 

Guidance for the collection of water samples INSTRUCTIONS FOR MICROBIOLOGICAL WATER SAMPLING.pdf​

Page last updated: 14 Aug 2020