top of page

Microbiology Project

Help the FTA and centers around the world collect data from float tank solution. This data will help our industry develop universal testing requirements!

About the Project


To asses the microbial flora and treatment efficacy of current operations and to publish those results in a peer-reviewed journal on behalf of the global float community.

Since there are no universal testing requirements for float tanks, we get to begin the process of writing them!  So, let’s start with testing one tank per month, unless your health department requires more than that.  Ideally the testing will rotate to different tanks each month, if you have multiple float tanks. 

Who Can Participate

Any and all float centers can help! Any public-serving float center that is testing their solution regularly (you should be!) can help collect data!

Who Receives the Results

Dr. Roy Vore and Dr. Flux are managing this project. They are the only 2 people that will see your results before they are coded. When the results are analyzed, your company name and address will be obscured.

What are the estimated costs

The tests are likely to cost between $30 and $60 per test.  If you have multiple tanks, this will become very expensive if you test every tank every month.  Do what you can afford and do not feel obligated to do more than that.  By doing a limited number of tests at any one float center, but having many float centers sharing data, we can develop a very important database without imposing a huge burden on any one center.  


The Float Tank Association anticipates that it will take at least 18 months to gather enough data, analyze it, and publish it in a quality microbiology scientific journal.  The FTA will then be able to share that journal article with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC), The Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC), The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA), Health Canada and other national, state and local departments of health.  

Submit Your Data!

The quality of our joint microbiology project depends entirely upon the quality of the data that we accumulate.  The quality of data depends on how careful we are at taking notes at the time we collect the samples.

Please follow these steps to collect your samples to be sent to a lab.

Once you get your results, you'll email them to Dr. Roy Vore to be analyzed. 


Select the lab you will use for your microbiology testing.

The US EPA helped establish a system of validating quality environmental testing labs in 1995.  Laboratories that participate in this system are members of the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (NELAP) and have demonstrated their proficiency to a third party review system. 


Click here to find a local NELAP.


Discuss your microbiology testing with the local lab.

Not all NELAP labs can run every assay you may want. Plus, microbiology assays should be completed by the lab within 6 hours of the time you collect the sample. Coordination of sampling, transportation and assay in the lab is vital if the results are classified as “valid” on the report from the lab. Let the lab know that the float solution cannot be refrigerated, or it will “salt out” and the results will be useless.

Download a list of notes to share with your lab.


Discuss which bacterial assays you want performed.

There are no universal standards for float tanks.  The closest methods we have are for treated recreational water (swimming pools and spas). The most appropriate methods are from Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater (usually just called “Standard Methods”).  Any NELAP that tests water will have a copy of the Standard Methods manual, but they may not be able to run every method. 


The most valuable methods are:

  1. SM 9213 E.  Membrane Filter Techniques for Pseudomonas aeruginosa

  2. SM 9215 D. Heterotrophic Plate Count:  Membrane Filter Method

  3. SM 9222 B. Standard Total Coliform Membrane Filter Procedure using Endo Media

  4. SM 9222 D. Thermotolerant (Fecal) Coliform Membrane Filter Procedure

  5. SM 9213 B.6. Test for Staphylococci or Staphylococcus aureus


These are listed in the order of their importance. Run what you can afford or what you are required to by your local department of health. If you can afford only one assay, select SM 9213 E. for Pseudomonas aeruginosa.


Any data is better than no data.


Collect your samples.

The lab will provide sterile sample containers. If you use chlorine, hydrogen peroxide or ozone, let the lab know. They will provide a neutralizer for the treatment you are using. UV does not require any neutralizer.


Prepare the sample label that was provided by the lab. Important information is the date, time of collection, your initials, tank/pod number, and your company name. Carefully open the sample container. Lay the cap to one side with the cap facing up. DO NOT touch the inside of the cap or container. With the mouth of the container pointing down, plunge the container into the float solution until it is at least 4 inches below the surface.


Turn the container over and allow it to fill to the top. Remove the container and quickly replace the cap. Place the label on the sample.


Test your salt concentration.

Use whatever method you normally use. Knowing what your salt level is will be extremely valuable. You can do this part yourself. Chances are your lab will not be able to run this assay as well as you can.


Submit the sample to the lab.

During your discussion with the lab, they will describe how to submit the sample. This normally involves a “Chain of Custody” form and sample labels. Different labs use different forms so follow the directions they provide. Remember, for samples to be considered “valid” the lab must complete their assay within 6 hours of when you collect the sample.



You have done the hard part.  Get in a float.  The lab will handle everything from here on.  In 2 to 4 days, you will get a written report from the lab.  After you have a few reports, you can email them directly to Dr. Roy Vore at  Expect a few germs now and then.  Finding an occasional germ now and then proves the tests are working.


Email your

Thank you so much for your support!

Thank you, Roy!

bottom of page