Skip to main content


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

logo white

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

Drinking Water


With over half of Wisconsin’s municipal water utilities and countless additional small PWS’s counted amongst its satisfied customers, NLS is Wisconsin’s most trusted source of analytical data for compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). NLS provides more analytical methods for drinking water testing than any other lab in the State. Put our extensive technical and client service experience to work for your drinking water system as you navigate State and Federal regulations.

With your approval, Northern Lake Service will automatically send you a quote each year based on your preliminary monitoring schedule. We can set up auto-shipped sampling kits based on sampling compliance windows set by WDNR. These sampling kits are shipped to your site at no additional cost and include a prepaid shipping label for your convenience. Once testing is complete, NLS will upload your data to the WDNR database to complete your SDWA compliance monitoring requirements.

Contact us today for a quote or questions about your compliance or investigative drinking water needs.



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 10-15 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

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
lab manager



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 is among a handful of laboratories across the US approved for all chemical methods in rounds 2 through 4 of the EPA’s Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR) —and the only laboratory to have been awarded all small-system contracts. The small-system contracts involve working directly for the EPA and requires an additional level of effort and scrutiny.

The proposed fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR5) was published on March 11, 2021. UCMR5, as proposed, would require sample collection for 30 chemical contaminants – 29 PFAS compounds and one metal (Lithium) – between 2023 and 2025. Earlier in 2022, NLS received approval for the three methods required for this latest round of testing.

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 Public Water Supplies (PWSs) (all systems serving over 3300) along with the usual 800 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). Contact us today for more information about PFAS testing.

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.

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 solid matrices 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.


  • Inorganic Compounds
  • Volatile Organic Compounds
  • Semi-Volatile Organic Compounds
  • Legacy Pollutants such as PCBs, Mercury, TCLP and NR538 Analytes
  • Low-Level Nutrient Analysis Program
  • Ultra Low-Level Mercury by EPA 1631E (see details above)
  • Land Application Analysis
  • Sand, Slag, and other Biosolids
laboratory equipment



PFAS (per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances) are a large group of man-made chemicals that have been 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 numerous sites across the nation and two PFAS compounds – PFOA and PFOS – have been specifically targeted for regulation.   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 2012, 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.  Following the completion of UCMR3, NLS continued to provide testing for numerous investigative and remediation projects across the country.  We have also developed additional analytical methods and validated our processes on many different matrices.

NLS offers analysis of PFAS compounds by EPA methods 537.1 and 533 for drinking water matrices and Wisconsin’s PFAS guidance (Wisconsin 33) for groundwater and surface water matrices.

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

We're Here to Help

phone icon
Contact Us

Contact us for assistance with your compliance testing needs today.

operator services icon
Certified Operator

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

faucet icon
Field Services

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

Client Portal
Client Portal

Please go HERE to access our new Client Portal. (To gain first time access, please email

Client Portal instructions can be viewed on our Support Material Page