The University of Iowa

State Hygienic Laboratory

The State Hygienic Laboratory Private Well Water Testing

Unlike public drinking water systems, private wells do not have trained water operators regularly checking their water quality. Private well owners, therefore, are solely responsible for the testing and safety of their drinking water. They can protect their water supply by performing routine maintenance checks on their system, including a yearly water test for total coliform bacteria (including E. coli) and nitrate. The State Hygienic Laboratory provides water sampling kits for total coliform bacteria (including E. coli) and nitrate testing.

The State Hygienic Laboratory Limnology Sections

The State Hygienic Laboratory Limnology sections are based in Ankeny and Coralville. The limnologists frequently work in partnership with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, several universities, numerous public and private conservation groups, private consulting firms, and individuals to collect and analyze samples of surface water, wastewater and groundwater.

The State Hygienic Laboratory Job Shadow Program

The Hygienic Laboratory works with several Iowa schools to give students opportunities to view an environmental and public health laboratory in operation. This is accomplished by following our trained staff through a portion of their work day. Through these job shadowing experiences, students watch staff perform their duties in chemistry and microbiology labs, and possibly in other areas of the Hygienic Laboratory. Job shadowing for junior high and high school students may be initiated by student-career ventures such as The Workplace Learning Connection or by individual schools.

The National Public Health Laboratory Internship Model

The National Public Health Laboratory Internship Model offers guidance on hosting students and recent graduates for both paid and unpaid laboratory internships. It features a return-on-investment tool, mentoring toolkit, sample human resource forms such as applications, interview questions, evaluations, exit interviews and much more.

Iowa Neonatal Metabolic Screening Program

Newborn Screening is a process in which infants are screened for inherited diseases. Most infants with an inherited condition show no obvious signs of disease immediately after birth. However, with special tests, the newborn screening program can identify an infant who may have one of 50 disorders and alert the doctor and caregivers of the need for special care of the infant.

Iowa Maternal Screening Program

The Iowa Maternal Screening Program offers several screening tests which provide patients and healthcare providers with information about the pregnancy and the developing fetus. These screening tests are available to all women during pregnancy and are designed to identify women with an increased risk of having a baby with Down syndrome, Trisomy 18 or an open neural tube defect. They may also identify women with an increased risk of having a baby with other kinds of birth defects or women at risk of developing a problem later in pregnancy.


iExploreSTEM festivals are a series of hands-on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) festivals in Iowa. They have the look and feel of a county fair or street festival. They are fun and free, for children of all ages and their families, designed to challenge children to think and to solve STEM problems, providing a way to meet STEM professionals from firefighters to architects to physicians, and introducing children and their parents to careers in STEM.