An apparatus and method for collecting a sample from a low-yield well or perched aquifer includes a pump and a controller responsive to water level sensors for filling a sample reservoir. The controller activates the pump to fill the reservoir when the water level in the well reaches a high level as indicated by the sensor. The controller deactivates the pump when the water level reaches a lower level as indicated by the sensors. The pump continuously activates and deactivates the pump until the sample reservoir is filled with a desired volume, as indicated by a reservoir sensor. At the beginning of each activation cycle, the controller optionally can select to purge an initial quantity of water prior to filling the sample reservoir. The reservoir can be substantially devoid of air and the pump is a low volumetric flow rate pump. Both the pump and the reservoir can be located either inside or outside the well.