What is the best pH meter for stormwater monitoring and sampling?

Written By: Doug Ruhlin | May 9, 2014

Time to Read 6 Minutes

Learn which pH meter you should use to monitor your stormwater discharge samples for pH.

Being a New Jersey State Certified Environmental Laboratory, we're often asked by our customers what is the best pH meter to use for stormwater monitoring and sampling. Most NPDES stormwater permits have regulations regarding the level of pollutants in the water you can discharge, one of which is often pH, so making sure you get a good, reliable, pH meter for stormwater sampling is really important.

First, consider what is pH, and why you're measuring it.

The acidity or alkalinity of a liquid is called its pH, measured by a numerical scale between 1 and 14. Think battery acid towards the lower end and ammonia towards the higher end. We measure pH because it can negatively affect the environment by upsetting the natural pH of water bodies. Even the slightest variation from natural waters (usually around 7), can be harmful to the environment and our health.

NPDES permits set limits and benchmarks on the pH of the water you can discharge, so measuring your pH accurately and efficiently is necessary in order to stay in compliance with your stormwater permits. The way to do this is to use a pH meter. The decision then falls upon you to decide what pH meter meets your specific wants and needs. If you're still unsure about how to perform pH analysis, it's probably best to take some form of online pH training to get caught up to speed.

The Best pH Meter for Stormwater Monitoring and Sampling

In my opinion, the best pH meter to use for stormwater monitoring is the Oakton pHTestr 30. Here's why we recommend this pH meter.

Best pH Meter for Stormwate Sampling - Oakton pHTestr30

Meets stormwater monitoring requirements.

If you're using the pH meter for compliance-related activities, like stormwater monitoring, you need to make sure the meter you're using meets very specific USEPA testing protocols, of which the Oakton pHTestr 30 does. However, always make sure you check with your specific stormwater permits to ensure the unit you're using meets the stated specifications. This may not be the device for everyone!

Hand-held pH Testing Devices

The Oakton pHTestr 30 is a battery-powered, lightweight meter only slightly larger than a cell phone. For people that might not have a designated lab room, this compact pH meter gives you the availability to measure your pH wherever you have space at your facility or even in the field.

Easy to use.

This pH meter is easy to use, saving you time from learning how to run and operate a new complicated piece of equipment. The meter itself comes with a single sheet of instructions, including step-by-step graphics that show you how to use the device. You can be correctly using the device within minutes of opening it up and powering it on for the first time.

Reliable and accurate.

When taking stormwater samples to measure pH, it is of the utmost importance to get accurate, spot-on results. Bad results can mean fines, violations, and being out of compliance. Bad results cost you time and money, so it is important to have a reliable meter. This meter has proven accurate and reliable time and time again.

Temperature compensation.

You may not know, but the temperature has a bearing on your pH reading. EPA protocols dictate that pH meters must be able to compensate for the temperature of your sample, which the Oakton pHTestr 30 does. This ensures an even more accurate pH measurement.


pH meters can range drastically in price from extremely simple pH meters starting around $20 to elaborate devices costing well over $1,000. The Oakton pHTestr 30 can be found online starting around $95 and up. Shop around and you'll find a deal on Amazon or other online retailers. Considering this meter has the ability to compensate for temperature, has replaceable parts, and is highly accurate, this meter is well worth the price.

The Bottom Line on pH Testing

We've tried several pH meters over the years, and we personally recommend this device. We receive no compensation or kickbacks for this review, but we honestly believe that this device delivers the most bang for your buck. When you factor in its small, reliable, accurate, and very affordable, this is a no-brainer. We recommend this device to our clients, and they almost always agree with us.

When you are considering getting a pH meter, the bottom line is you need to figure out what you need from the meter itself. Do you need a large piece of equipment that measures everything? If so, this is not the device for you. Do you just need a mobile, no-nonsense, reliable meter to measure pH quickly and accurately? If so, we strongly recommend the Oakton pHTestr 30. Again, always refer to your specific regulations and double-check this meter meets the requirements.

New call-to-action

Need more help with pH testing and stormwater permit compliance?

For a lot of folks out there, pH testing is a real pain to deal with. After all, you have a business to run! If you're overwhelmed, you're not alone. RMA has been actively involved in helping companies get and stay in compliance with stormwater permits across the United States since our founding in 1992. Long story short, we know the ins and outs of the environmental problems industrial and commercial facilities face and can help you get into compliance with stormwater permits and other applicable environmental laws and regulations, ensuring your business stays out of trouble and in compliance.

Our staff members have been on-site at thousands of operations across the country, so when we say we've seen it all and done it all, we mean it. We've helped everyone, from globe-spanning, multi-national organizations to small "mom & pop" operations. No matter your size or location, we'd love to learn how we can help.

So, if you're having any type of issue at your facility and need the help of an environmental consulting firm with a proven track record, reach out. Even if we can't help, we’ll do our best to steer you in the right direction. Feel free to contact us at info@rmagreen.com, click here to contact us, or give us a call anytime at 888-RMA-0230 to learn how we can help your facility deal with stormwater permits and other environmental regulations.

Additional Stormwater Permit Information

Tags: ,

Need a hand? Let's talk.

Keep Reading

Stormwater Permits
6 mins to read

What do stormwater monitoring results mean?

Learn what you need to know about your sample results and what to do with them next. If I had a dollar for every time I heard this, I'd be rich. We get asked "what do my stormwater monitoring results...

Why do I need stormwater training?
Environmental Compliance
8 mins to read

Why do I need stormwater training?

Here we discuss why you need annual stormwater training, who benefits from it, and what its goal is. A lot of our clients initially came to us when they needed help with their stormwater permits....

Stormwater Permits
10 mins to read

A Quick Summary of Changes in the NEW North Carolina NCG19 Marina Stormwater Permit

Learn what’s changed for NCG190000 stormwater permit holders in North Carolina. Here in North Carolina, marinas are now required to comply with the newest version of their applicable stormwater...

Learn how we can help your organization get into compliance, take sustainable steps, and manage environmental hurdles with ease.


Copyright © Resource Management Associates