Discover why thousands of customers across the country rely on NLS for their analytical needs.

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NLS currently serves the following markets:

Municipal Drinking Water; Agriculture & Ag-Chem Cleanups; Environmental Engineers & Consultants; Tribal Governments; Pulp & Paper Industry; Foundries, Plating Companies; Recyclers/Beneficial Reuse; Lake Districts, Lake Associations, Watershed Groups; Well Drillers. We continue to expand our services as the needs of our clients change or develop.

Commercial Services



Today’s municipal and industrial wastewater operators are under the constant pressure of regulatory changes and decreasing effluent limits. Knowing what is taking place in each step of the waste stream process is crucial to the optimal operation of each facility. We understand that operators expect timely and accurate feedback to keep their system in top shape.


Typical turn-time on routine samples is 5-10 working days from sample receipt. Expedited turn-time can be arranged with advanced planning.


  • Full NPDES Permit Analysis
  • Low-Level Nutrient Analysis Program
  • Ultra Low-Level Mercury by EPA 1631E (see details below)
  • Waste Characterization
  • Land Application Analysis
  • Sand, Slag, and other Biosolids
  • Quantitative Sulfur Reducing and Acid Producing Bacteria
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Surface Water


From low-level nutrient and metals analysis of lake and river samples to ultra-low level mercury or PCBs in a receiving stream, NLS is the go-to lab for dependable surface water testing.  We are also fully equipped to meet the WQX data submittal requirements for EPA funded studies. 


Whether it is a simple spring, fall turnover sample, or a full-blown watershed study, our analytical support lends credibility to any final report.


  • Biological Contaminants
  • Inorganic Contaminants
  • Low-Level Nutrient Analysis Program
  • Volatile Organic Compounds
  • Semi-Volatile Organic Compounds
  • Legacy Pollutants such as PCB and Mercury
  • PFAS
  • Chlorophyll
  • Beach sampling
  • Algae identification
  • E.coli enumeration
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Our clients recognize the value of precise, dependable groundwater data, and we are proud to have earned their confidence in the value of our monitoring program. NLS follows all NR140 Groundwater Quality requirements and has the capability to upload all analytical data to the DNR GEMS database. NLS currently conducts sampling activities at over 50 active and closed, municipal and industrial landfills. Contact us for assistance with your groundwater testing/sampling needs today.

NLS water drop



NLS is among the few labs in the country that have been approved by USEPA for all Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR) methods—and the only laboratory to hold all small-system contracts. NLS was approved for all chemical methods in rounds 2-4 of UCMR and will be pursuing certification by the USEPA for the proposed UCMR5 contaminant methods.

The proposed fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR 5) was published on March 11, 2021. UCMR 5, as proposed, would require sample collection for 30 chemical contaminants – 29 PFAS compounds and one metal (Lithium) – between 2023 and 2025.

As with previous rounds of UCMR, this proposed action would provide the EPA, states and communities with crucial occurrence data generated only by laboratories that have met stringent program requirements using scientifically-validated methods. Unlike previous rounds of UCMR, this one would include smaller PWSs (all systems serving over 3300) along with the usual representative sampling of smaller systems.

NLS is currently certified by the Wisconsin DNR for 18 PFAs compounds by EPA method 537.1 (for drinking water) and for 33 compounds by the Wisconsin PFAs guidance (for aqueous and solid matrices).

PFAS Areas

Ultra Low-Level Mercury


The Clean Water Act prompted many states, including those in the Great Lakes Basin, to take swift action to lower Mercury levels discharged into a watershed. In response, NLS has invested a lot of resources to provide ultra-low mercury detection limits on effluent wastewater and ambient samples collected by customers. As a result, NLS was the first lab to be certified by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for the analysis of low-level mercury samples.


Our highly specialized atomic fluorescence spectrometer is used in conjunction with EPA Methods 245.7 and 1631E resulting in LODs in the low ppt range. Collection kits are provided from the laboratory including field duplicates, trip blanks, and/or field blanks as needed for compliance and investigative monitoring.

PFAS testing

Waste Characterization | Beneficial Reuse


The professionals at NLS have their sleeves rolled up and are not afraid to get dirty.

We have the capability to analyze soil, sediment, sludge, slag and other solids for an array of constituents. Many projects require multi-faceted analyses, and we can test for inorganic contaminants such as heavy metals and for organics such as herbicides, pesticides, and PCB’s. Clients regularly call on us to characterize waste prior to a landfill or reuse application.


  • Biological Contaminants
  • Inorganic Compounds
  • Volatile Organic Compounds
  • Semi-Volatile Organic Compounds
  • Legacy Pollutants such as PCBs, Mercury, TCLP and NR538 Analytes
  • Full NPDES Permit Analysis
  • Low-Level Nutrient Analysis Program
  • Waste Characterization
  • Ultra Low-Level Mercury by EPA 1631E (see details above)
  • Land Application Analysis
  • Sand, Slag, and other Biosolids
  • Quantitative Sulfur Reducing and Acid Producing Bacteria
laboratory equipment



Perfluorooctanioc acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) are two compounds from a group broadly known as perfluorocarbons.  These chemicals were used extensively in the production of stain-resistant and non-stick products along with fire-fighting foam.  Since the early 2000s, they have been subject to regulatory review and production restrictions have been imposed.  Recently, these compounds have been discovered as significant environmental contaminants in a number of sites across the nation.  Various states have set advisory limits for these compounds. EPA has established a non-enforceable Health Advisory Level of 70 ppt (ng/L) for PFOA and PFOS both individually and combined.

Northern Lake Service developed method 537 to test for these perfluorinated compounds in response to UCMR3 – the third round of EPA’s national program to collect occurrence data of unregulated contaminants in our nation’s public drinking water sources.   Working for individual water systems and directly for EPA as one of only four small-system contract labs, NLS analyzed thousands of samples from 2013 to 2015.

We continue to perform testing for a number of investigative and remediation projects around the state and country.  Call today for more information about testing for perfluorinated compounds.


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NLS has Contract Certified Operator Services available for small public water systems.

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We offer a variety of sample pickup options and assistance with sampling.

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