Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What kinds of samples are you currently looking for?

A: SoundCitizen is looking for a variety of samples from natural water sources.

We currently would like more:

- Paired samplings of a stream and nearby beach, collected on the same day
- Roof runoff from your gutter
- Street drains (Please sample safely!!!)
- Streams in city parks

Are you outdoorsy?

Take a kit with you hiking, kayaking, or camping! Summer is a great time to collect a sample, and we are looking for more samples from the Cascades and Olympic Mountains.


Q: Where should I sample?

A: Anywhere the water will drain into Puget Sound or the Pacific Ocean! We love samples from natural sources, as well as from street run off. Please, no samples from your sink or toilet!

For contiguous data we like our volunteers to sample in Washington State, southern British Columbia, or the upper Oregon Coast. However, if you have a specific project in mind outside of the area, please email us at info@soundcitizen.org.


Q: How do I collect a sample?

A: The instruction sheet included with your kit has a sequential description of the process. We also have a How To Sample video.

If you have lost your instruction sheet, click here to download a new one.


Q: How do I find GPS coordinates?

A: We use Google Maps to find GPS coordinates. If you send us the street address where you collected your sample, we can find the GPS coordinates. Otherwise, instructions on how to find coordinates in Google Maps are located here.


Q: What if I make a mistake?

A: Don’t worry! Fill the sample as well as you can and send it back to us. Just write in the comments section on your instruction sheet what happened and what you did to fix the problem.


Q: How long do kits last?

A: The dip-strips included in your kit are good for one month. We ask that you please use and return your kit within one month of receiving it. If you forgot to take your “perfect sample” and your kit has been sitting around, take one anyway and return it. To SoundCitizen, every sample is worthwhile. We would prefer you to take a sample and then request another kit rather than hoard your kits waiting for a perfect sample.


Q: What happens to my kit(s) after I send them in?

A: Click here to see a video that follows the life of a sample, from the assembling of the kit through to the lab processes that enable us to find out what compounds are in the water. Click here to read about our laboratory procedures that every sample must go through.


Q: When will I be able to see data from my sample?

A: Please be patient with us; there is a lot of lab processing to be done. We try to analyze samples in the order that we receive them, but currently have a large backlog. Keep note of your barcode number(s) and check the website data page frequently.


Q: How can I make a donation?

A: Thank you for considering a donation to SoundCitizen. If you click on this link, you will find a detailed explanation of how to make your donation and what parts of SoundCitizen your gift will support.


If you have another question that is not covered here, please email us at info@soundcitizen.org.

Thanks for volunteering with us!