Irmo, SC (WLTX) - The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) says the brown water one Midlands neighborhood has been dealing with for years is safe to drink. The agency and utility have done tests and say it's iron in the water.

We wanted to know how residents could go about doing their own water testing. Turns out, getting the water tested isn't as simple as filling up an empty water bottle and sending it in.

Ashley Amick, the owner of the environmental testing facility Access Analytical, says their plastic wrapped containers are preferred over empty water bottles in collecting water samples.

"They have a sanitary seal," Amick said.

The key here is to keep everything sterile to avoid false positives. Amick says you should start by putting on gloves if you have them, and sterilizing the sink.

"When you wash dishes, food particles can splash up and they can stick to the end of the faucet here," Amick said.

You can sterilize the sink with rubbing alcohol.

"You can spray it or get a cotton swab and wipe it down," Amick said.

Afterwards, you'll want to let the water run for five minutes before getting the sample.

"After you do that, you'll want to keep it cool until you get it to the lab," Amick said.