What’s in Your Water?®

Special Pathogens Laboratory offers healthcare, hospitality, water treatment industries and other commercial and industrial sectors reliable high-quality microbiology services. Our team of microbiologists possess specialized knowledge required for Legionella detection. We the first, and one of the few labs to be accredited by the A2LA  for Legionella testing. What’s more, our testing protocol is the only method validated in prospective studies that correlates disease risk with Legionella culture results and the extent of environmental contamination.

Legionella Culture

Legionella culture is considered the gold standard for Legionella testing. It is the only test that identifies Legionella species and serogroups and provides the bacteria for analysis. Measure of Uncertainty available upon request. Learn More

Legionella qPCR

Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) is a rapid molecular method that can be used to detect Legionella species, Legionella pneumophila, and Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1 in potable or non-potable water samples. Learn More

Legionella Serotyping of Isolates (DFA)

Legionella DFA The fluorescent assay or the direct fluorescent antibody test is a rapid microscopic procedure used to identify Legionella pneumophila or other Legionella species from culture. It is the definitive method for Legionella identification. Learn More

Heterotrophic Plate Count

Heterotrophic Plate Count (HPC) can be used to monitor changes in the bacteriological quality of water and to evaluate the effectiveness of biocides in cooling water systems.  HPC cannot predict the presence or absence of Legionella. Measure of Uncertainty available upon request. Learn More

Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is commonly associated with hospital-acquired infection, most notably in immunocompromised individuals.  This opportunistic pathogen accounts for 10% of all hospital-acquired infections and is the second most frequently recovered pathogen from intensive care units. Measure of Uncertainty available upon request. Learn  More


Acinetobacter is a group of bacteria generally considered nonpathogenic to healthy individuals. However, at least 23 species have been associated with human disease. The settings for infection are usually medical or surgical intensive care units involving patients with pre-existing conditions. Learn More

Nontuberculous Mycobacteria (NTM)

Nontuberculous Mycobacteria (NTM) if inhaled can cause serious respiratory illness, most commonly in those who are vulnerable due to a compromised immune system, previous lung infections or genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis. NTM infections are treated with antibiotics. Learn More


Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) is a rapid molecular method that can be used to detect Nontuberculous Mycobacteria species in potable or non-potable water samples. Learn More.

Stenotrophomonas maltophilia

Stenotrophomonas is of most concern in the hospital setting. Contaminated water can transmit the organism through indwelling catheters and respiratory therapy equipment to susceptible patients causing infection. Stenotrophomonas infection in intensive care unit (ICU) patients has been identified as an independent risk factor for death. Learn More


Burkholderia  cepacia

Burkholderia cepacia  can live on surfaces and in water. People who have certain underlying health problems, weakened immune systems or chronic lung diseases, and cystic fibrosis, may be more susceptible to infections. Infections include catheter-associated infection, respiratory tract infection, bacteremia, pneumonia, endocarditis, wound infection, and catheter-related urinary tract infections. Learn More

CMS Waterborne Pathogens Panel

CMS Waterborne Pathogens Panel is designed for use in healthcare facilities to meet the CMS directive to evaluate the potential for growth and spread of six waterborne pathogens: Legionella, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Stenotrophomonas maltophilia. Acinetobacter species, Burkholderia cepacia, and non-tuberculosis mycobacteria (NTM). Learn More

Coliforms (E. coli and Total)

Coliforms (E. coli and Total)  bacteria are organisms that are present in the environment and in the feces of all warm-blooded animals and humans. They are often used as indicator organisms to test for contamination of potable and recreational water sources. Learn More

Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion

Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion (MIC) refers to corrosion caused by the presence and activities of microorganisms in biofilms on the surface of pure metals or metal containing materials causing corrosion and damage: Acid Producing Bacteria, Iron Related Bacteria, Slime Forming Bacteria, and Sulfate Reducing Bacteria. Learn More

Nitrifying bacteria

Nitrifying bacteria include the genera Nitrosomonas, Nitrobacter and Nitrosococcus. They are an important group of bacteria that can be used as an indicator for the presence of organic nitrogenous material in water. Learn More

Molecular Typing

Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) is a powerful molecular tool with high discriminatory power. Reliability and reproducibility make WGS a “gold standard” in epidemiological investigations seeking to identify the source of illness. Learn More

Copper-silver Analysis

Copper-silver ionization is a disinfection method that is used to eradicate Legionella from hot water recirculating systems. Disinfection with ionization occurs when the positively charged copper and silver ions released from the ionization system bind to the negatively charged cell wall of Legionella causing cell death. Learn More

Analytical Water Chemistry

The analytical water chemistry panel includes the following metals: lead (Pb), zinc (Zn), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), copper (Cu), calcium (Ca), and magnesium (Mg). These commonly found metals may be used in water management to assess the general inorganic chemistry of building water systems, evaluation of corrosion, metals leaching, and scaling potential. This analysis may assist in secondary disinfection selection. Learn More



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Accreditations and Proficiency
We are an accredited laboratory (A2LA and NELAP) and participate in national and international Legionella testing proficiency programs, CDC-ELITE and PHE. SPL is also registered in Connecticut and New York for Legionella testing in potable and nonpotable water and also in New York for Heterotrophic Bacteria and Total coliform and E.coli

GSA Contract Holder
SPL provides laboratory and consulting services to government organizations through the General Services Administration.

Measure of Uncertainty
A parameter associated with the result arising from random variation of measuring an analyte (organism) by some (specified) procedure is available for our LegionellaP. aeruginosa, and Heterotrophic Plate Count tests upon request.


To learn more, download PDF: Role of Environmental Surveillance in Determining the Risk of Hospital-Acquired Legionellosis: A National Surveillance Study With Clinical Correlations.  Stout et al. Infection Control Hospital Epidemiology 2007; 28:818-824.