Detailed water analysis suite

Microbiological parameters

 

Parameter
ADWG Limits*
Comment
E. coli (cfu/100mL)  Health  <1cfu/100mL E. coli is the most common thermotolerant coliform present in faeces and is used as an indicator of recent faecal contamination because it is not capable of growth in the environment.
The presence of these organisms can indicate faecal contamination of the water supply.
Parameter
ADWG Limits*
Comment
Heterotrophic plate
Count (HPC)
(cfu/mL)

No limit set HPC is not an indicator of the presence of pathogens, however an increase in numbers over time can be a useful indicator of inadequate treatment, loss of disinfection residual, and stagnant water.

Chemical parameters

 

Parameter
ADWG Limits*
Comment
Aluminium
(mg/L)
Aesthetic 0.2mg/L Aluminium occurs in water from natural leaching from soil and rock. Aluminium salts are also used as coagulants in water treatment.
Parameter
ADWG Limits*
Comment
Ammonia N
(mg/L)
Aesthetic 0.4mg/L Presence of ammonia may indicate sewage contamination and/or microbial activity.
High levels may corrode copper pipes and fittings.
The odour threshold is 1.5mg/L.
Parameter
ADWG Limits*
Comment
Arsenic
(mg/L)
Health 0.01mg/L Sources of arsenic in water include dissolution of minerals and ores, industrial effluents, fossil fuels, gold mines and some sheep dips.
Parameter
ADWG Limits*
Comment
Barium
(mg/L)
Health 2.0mg/L Barium is a naturally occurring component of the earth’s crust. Soluble barium compounds are more toxic than insoluble compounds and acutely high doses may cause hypertension and kidney disease.
Parameter
ADWG Limits*
Comment
Boron
(mg/L)
Health 4.0mg/L Boron is an essential element for plant growth however may be damaging at high concentrations (greater than 2mg/L).
The ingestion of large amounts of boron can affect the central nervous system.
Parameter
ADWG Limits*
Comment
Cadmium
(mg/L)
Health 0.002mg/L Cadmium in water may result from impurities in the zinc used in galvanised pipes or solders, or environmental releases of waste from metallurgical industries.
Long term exposure can cause kidney dysfunction.
Parameter
ADWG Limits*
Comment
Calcium
(mg/L)

No limit set

Calcium contributes to the total hardness of the water.

Small concentrations of calcium carbonate may prevent corrosion of metal pipes by forming a protective coating. High levels of calcium may cause scaling problems.
Parameter
ADWG Limits*
Comment
Chloride
(mg/L)
Aesthetic 250mg/L Chloride in water comes from the dissolution of salt deposits. It can cause corrosion of pipes and fittings. The taste threshold is 200-300mg/L.
Parameter
ADWG Limits*
Comment
Chromium
(mg/L)
Health 0.05mg/L Chromium is present in the environment in the trivalent (Cr(III), most common) and hexavalent (Cr(VI)) states.
Hexavalent chromium is more readily absorbed than the trivalent form and is carcinogenic to humans.
Parameter
ADWG Limits*
Comment
Cobalt
(mg/L)

No limit set
An essential trace element for animals.
Parameter
ADWG Limits*
Comment
Colour (True)
(PCU)
Aesthetic 15PCU Colour may come from soil, decaying vegetable material, naturally occurring minerals, corroded iron or copper pipes, and microorganisms.
Parameter
ADWG Limits*
Comment
Copper
(mg/L)
Health 2.0mg/L Occurs due to corrosion of pipes and fittings by salt and/or low pH water.
Taste threshold is 3mg/L.
Concentrations of copper of greater than 1mg/L may stain fittings.
High concentrations colour the water blue/green.
Aesthetic
1.0mg/L
Parameter
ADWG Limits*
Comment
Iron
(mg/L)
Aesthetic 0.3mg/L High iron concentrations can cause taste and staining issues.
The concentration of total iron in irrigation water should not exceed 1mg/L as it may clog irrigation equipment.
Parameter
ADWG Limits*
Comment
Lead
(mg/L)
Health 0.01mg/L Occurs in water via dissolution from natural sources or household plumbing containing lead (eg pipes and solder).
It is a cumulative poison that can severely affect the central nervous system.
Parameter
ADWG Limits*
Comment
Magnesium
(mg/L)

No limit set
Magnesium contributes to the total hardness of the water and can contribute to scale formation when heated.
Parameter
ADWG Limits*
Comment
Manganese
(mg/L)
Health 0.5mg/L Manganese concentrations of greater than 0.1mg/L may cause taste and staining issues.
It is an essential trace element for plants and animals.
Aesthetic 0.1mg/L
Parameter
ADWG Limits*
Comment
Molybdenum
(mg/L)
Health 0.05mg/L It is an essential trace element for plants and animals and is present in ground and surface waters at very low concentrations.
Parameter
ADWG Limits*
Comment
Nickel
(mg/L)
Health 0.02mg/L Drinking water contains very low concentrations of nickel; however concentrations can increase after prolonged contact with nickel plated fittings.
Parameter
ADWG Limits*
Comment
Nitrate N
(mg/L)
Health 11mg/L Nitrate and nitrite ions are naturally occurring oxides of nitrogen that make up part of the nitrogen cycle.
Nitrite is relatively unstable and forms from nitrate in poorly oxygenated waters. Fertilisers and sewage effluents can increase nitrate concentrations in some waters.
High concentrations of nitrite can cause methaemoglobinaemia in bottle fed infants.
Parameter
ADWG Limits*
Comment
Nitrite N
(mg/L)
Health 0.9mg/L Nitrate and nitrite ions are naturally occurring oxides of nitrogen that make up part of the nitrogen cycle.
Nitrite is relatively unstable and forms from nitrate in poorly oxygenated waters. Fertilisers and sewage effluents can increase nitrate concentrations in some waters.
High concentrations of nitrite can cause methaemoglobinaemia in bottle fed infants.
Parameter
ADWG Limits*
Comment
Ortho Phosphorus P
(mg/L)

No limit set
Phosphorus is essential to the growth of organisms and high levels may promote their growth.
Parameter
ADWG Limits*
Comment
pH Aesthetic 6.5 to 8.5 For domestic and stock use pH should be in the range of 6.5 to 8.5.
A pH of more than 8.5 may cause scale and taste problems.
A pH of less than 6.5 may be corrosive to pipes and fittings.
Parameter
ADWG Limits*
Comment
Potassium
(mg/L)

No limit set
Potassium is an essential element for plants and animals.
Parameter
ADWG Limits*
Comment
Silica as SiO2
(mg/L)
Aesthetic 80mg/L Dissolved silica can react with the surfaces of glass to form a white residue.
It can also contribute to scale deposits in boilers and steam turbines.
Parameter
ADWG Limits*
Comment
Sodium
(mg/L)
Aesthetic 180mg/L High level of sodium is indicative of salt water intrusion and may cause taste problems.
Parameter
ADWG Limits*
Comment
Sulphur as SO4
(mg/L)
Health 500mg/L High sulphate concentrations may cause taste problems. The taste threshold is 250–500mg/L.
Purgative effects may occur if the concentration exceeds 500mg/L.
It can also increase corrosion of mild steel pipes.
Aesthetic 250mg/L
Parameter
ADWG Limits*
Comment
Total Alkalinity as CaCO3
(mg/L)

No limit set
Important for interpretation and other parameter estimation.
Parameter
ADWG Limits*
Comment
Total Dissolved Salts
(mg/L)
Aesthetic 600mg/L A high TDS may be associated with excessive scaling, corrosion, and unsatisfactory taste.
Parameter
ADWG Limits*
Comment
Total Hardness as CaCO3
(mg/L)
Aesthetic 200mg/L Hardness is caused mainly by the presence of calcium and magnesium.
A concentration of 200-500mg/L may cause scaling problems.
Water with low hardness (less than 100mg/L) may be more corrosive.
Parameter
ADWG Limits*
Comment
Turbidity
(NTU)
Aesthetic 5NTU Turbidity is a measure of the light-scattering property of water caused by the presence of suspended matter such as clay, silt, plankton and other micro-organisms.
Turbidity of greater than 1NTU may reduce the effectiveness of disinfection processes.
Parameter
ADWG Limits*
Comment
Zinc
(mg/L)
Aesthetic 3.0mg/L The concentration of zinc from natural leaching is usually less than
0.01mg/L. Tap water can contain much higher concentrations as a result of corrosion of zinc-coated pipes and fittings.
Concentrations of greater than 3mg/L may cause taste issues.
Parameter
ADWG Limits*
Comment
Conductivity @ 25oC
(µS/cm)
No limit set
Conductivity is used to estimate the concentration of total dissolved salts.
Conductivity of less than 1300µS/cm indicates low to medium salinity and is suitable for livestock and irrigation of all but low salt tolerant crops. Conductivity of 5000µS/cm is unsuitable for most crops.
Most livestock (except poultry) can tolerate conductivities up to 10000µS/cm.
Sea water has a conductivity of approximately 55000µS/cm.
* Taken from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Australian Drinking Water Guidelines 2011; (NHMRC Australian Drinking Water Guidelines)