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Drinking water and radiation laboratory branch (DWRLB)

Contact DWRLB:

Phone: (510) 620-2911

Fax: (510) 620-2940

Mailing Address:

California Department of Public Health

Drinking Water & Radiation Laboratory Branch

850 Marina Bay Parkway, MS G-164

Richmond, CA 94804-6403


Microbiology Unit

DWRLB also houses CDPH environmental microbiology services and expertise in its Microbiology Unit (MU).  MU is certified by US EPA to perform drinking water microbiology measurements including fecal coliform testing mandated by both the federal Revised Total Coliform Rule and Surface Water Treatment Rule and Heterotrophic Plate Count (HPC) testing mandated under the Clean Water Act.  These procedures detect presence/absence of total coliforms and E. coli bacteria and enumerate coliforms as well.  In addition to the traditional culture-based methods, DWRLB is actively developing molecular based methods for a variety of applications in environmental microbiology including recreational water quality rapid indicator methods for enterococci bacteria, and parasites such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium.  This work, in collaboration with local public health departments, EMB and other CDPH labs relies on novel biotechnology techniques including polymerase chain reaction (PCR), quantitative PCR and others to identify and enumerate both pathogens and indicator organisms in California’s water supplies, wastewater and beach locations.

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