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Submitting environmental testing samples

  1. Contact us to request our environmental analysis services via email or phone 1300 722 845 to:
  • get a quote
  • request shorter turnaround times
  • order containers and preservatives for your samples
  • obtain a permit to import quarantine material (for samples imported into Australia)
  1. Familiarise yourself with the relevant Sample preservation and holding times.
  2. After you receive our formal quote, print and complete the Sample submission form.
  3. Read our terms and conditions.
  4. Pack your samples securely:
  • sample containers (such as bottles, jars, tubes or vials) should be watertight
  • inner packaging (such as a strong sealed plastic bag) should be flexible and watertight and enclose each sample or group of samples of the same type (for example, group water, soil or biota samples)
  • outer packaging should be rigid and strong (for example an esky or cooler no bigger than 30 L or 20 kg)
  • place ice bricks between the inner and outer packaging

Sending samples within Australia

  • You must pay for all delivery costs.
  • Deliver samples and any accompanying documentation to the address on your sample submission form.
  • Organise delivery during working hours. 
  • We do not accept responsibility for the safety or integrity of samples until we receive them.

Sending samples from outside Australia 

  • Do not send us samples without the permit to import quarantine material as they may be destroyed on arrival.
  • You must pay for all delivery costs.
  • We will bill any handling fees back to you with an added administration fee of 100%. Quarantine fees are typically $80 to $120 per consignment. There may be additional taxes or duty.
  • Complete and collate:
    • all pages of your Permit to import quarantine material
    • a description of your samples
    • details of the country of origin of your samples (not the country it was shipped from)
    • contact details of the shipper
    • a letter regarding the presence of pathogens using this template [25KB DOCX]
    • an invoice with a value for customs purposes or no commercial value samples for in vitro analysis
  • Make a copy of the documentation and place:
    • one copy inside the package
    • the other copy in a robust clear plastic bag, mark it 'Attn AQIS/Customs' and attach it securely to the outside of the package
  • Before delivery contact us with details of your consignment (include sample description, shipper and likely arrival date).
  • Deliver samples and any accompanying documentation to the address on the sample submission form. Arrange door-to-door express service as we do not accept samples sent by post.
  • Organise delivery during working hours.
  • We do not accept responsibility for the safety or integrity of samples until we receive them.
  • We do not return quarantine samples. We will destroy the sample one month after issuing the final report.

Request stack emissions testing equipment

Fill out our form to request equipment for stack emissions testing sample collection.

Request VOCs in canister testing equipment

Fill out our form to request equipment for VOCs in air testing sample collection.

Preservation and holding times

These instructions are for samples taken for environmental testing.

The sample sizes, preservation procedures, holding times and conditions for air, aqueous and solid samples are recommendations only.

Base your decision on the nature of the sample, the intended use of the data and the data quality objectives. For example, you can use alternative storage conditions if the analyte stability within a matrix can be demonstrated and data quality objectives are not compromised.

In a given sample, the analyte requiring the most preservation treatment as well as the shortest holding time should dictate the preservation treatment of the overall sample.

General rules for samples

  • Place in ice immediately after sampling
  • Cool to <4 °C
  • Deliver to NMI within 24 hours of sampling
  • Use ice bricks when dispatching by air and over long distances, and when couriers will not freight ice
  • Have at least half the recommended holding time remaining when relinquished to NMI
  • Avoid delivering time-critical samples to NMI late on Friday

Recommendations for specific samples

Each sample type has different recommendations for storage conditions needed to preserve the sample. See our recommended preservation procedures, holding times and conditions for:

Safety data sheets

Certain substances must be labelled under the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of classification and labelling.

We have provided:

  • safety data sheets (SDS) for your information
  • labels to affix to the collection bottles for water samples 

Nitric acid preservative for metals sample

Sulfuric acid preservatives

Sodium hydroxide preservative for cyanide samples 

Hydrochloric acid (HCI) preservative for ferrous iron 

Ethylenediamine preservative for chlorite

Sodium hydroxide zinc acetate preservative for total sulphide samples:

Copper sulphate and neocuproine HCl preservatives for dissolved sulfide

For accessible versions of these documents please email

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Last updated: 8 December 2020

Content ID: 64580