County of Marin Health and Human Services

Public Health Laboratory Services

Effective immediately

The Public Health Laboratory will no longer test the Dermacentor species ticks for the presence of Borrelia burgdorferi. Dermacentor variabilis, also known as the American dog tick, is the most common species found in California.

Studies show that only the Ixodes species ticks can infect a host with B. burgdorferi upon blood-feeding. Ixodes pacificus, also known as the western blacklegged tick, is the most common species found in California. The Public Health Laboratory will continue testing the Ixodes species ticks for B. burgdorferi.  

The laboratory will still accept and identify the Dermacentor species ticks. The fee for identification and/or testing will remain the same ($36), regardless of the type of the tick submitted. No refunds will be issued.

The Public Health Laboratory offers bacterial testing for well-water safety and tick identification for Lyme disease upon request.

Note – Ticks are only accepted by mail to:

Napa/Solano/Yolo/Marin Public Health Laboratory
2201 Courage Drive MS 9-200
Fairfield, CA 94533

FeesPlease make checks out to: Public Health Laboratory.

Effective May 8, 2019, the Public Health Lab began accepting online payments. You will still need to complete a laboratory requisition with your submission.  The receipt number generated by the online portal must be included on the requisition. Links to the online payment portals appear below:

Tick Payment Portal
Well Water Testing Payment Portal 

Tick Identification is $36.00*

See portal for well water testing prices.  There is a fee schedule with a list of options available via the well water testing payment portal link above. 

*Fees are subject to change without prior notice.

Tick Removal Procedure:

  • If possible, have someone else remove the tick from you.
  • Use tweezers or forceps rather than your fingers.
  • If you must touch tick use a tissue or gloves to protect your hand.
  • Grasp the tick's mouthparts as close to the skin as possible.
  • Gently pull the tick straight out, steadily and firmly. Do not twist or jerk the tick.
  • If mouthparts of the tick break off and remain in your skin, consult your physician.

Tick Collection Procedure:

  • Place tick into clean capped container or a zip-lock plastic bag. Place a piece of cotton or tissue moistened with tap water into the container with the tick. (Note: do not use alcohol, formalin or other liquids. Do not stick tick to scotch tape. These materials make testing for the Lyme organism unsatisfactory.)
  • Mail tick to Napa/Solano/Yolo/Marin Public Health Laboatory at 2201 Courage Drive MS 9-200, Fairfield, CA 94533. 
  • Complete a laboratory form and supply the following information:
    • Name, address and birth date of person bitten.
    • Location of the bite (arm, neck, etc.)
    • Date tick removed.
    • Estimated duration of time tick was attached (i.e. 4hrs, 24hrs, etc.)
    • Geographical location (what city, park, etc.) tick was obtained.
    • Phone number, name and address of person to receive report.
    • Any obvious symptoms.

Water Testing Information:

Marin County Public Health helps facilitate two types of water testing:

  • Bacteriology (e. coli)
  • Nitrates (from agricultural runoff)

To test water on private property for either bacteriology or nitrates, it is necessary to pick up specially prepared water bottles at Marin County Public Health Department, located at 3240 Kerner Blvd, San Rafael. Upon arrival, press the button to the right of the front doors labeled “Water Sample Drop Off” and wait for County staff to arrive. Staff will provide the number and type of bottle(s) needed.

Drop off days and times:

Bacteriology Samples - Monday – Friday, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM and 1:00-1:30 PM

Nitrate Samples - Tuesday only, during the same hours as above.

Water sample drop-off is at the same location as where the bottles were picked up. Please press the doorbell for staff to retrieve your samples.

Water samples must be kept refrigerated. Please ensure the samples remain in a cooler with ice packs when bringing them to Public Health.

Please drop off your water samples the same day you collect them as they are time sensitive. Please complete the lab requisition form that is in the bag with the bottle prior to drop off.

For recreational beach water testing, please perform sampling after 8:30am to ensure there is enough time for the samples to be couriered to the lab and tested before the 8-hour sample expiration.

Please visit the NSYMM Public Health Lab for prices. Payment can be made online or by submitting a check with the bottles: Water Testing Fee Schedule

For questions, please to call the NSYMM Public Health Lab at 707-784-4410 or Marin County Public Health, Communicable Disease and Community Preparedness at 415-473-4163, Monday – Friday 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM, except holidays.