1997-1999: Mimili (South Australia) – Nitrate, Total Dissolved Solids, Fluoride

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Mimili (South Australia)

Monitoring shows that the community water supply comes from two bores, M-1 and M-3. From November 1998 to March 1999 usage exceeded 2800 KL/month (“‘345 L/person/day) from these two bores; the maximum abstraction was in January 1999 and was 3800 KL ( “‘470 L/person/day).

The salinity of these groundwaters is 1050-1090 mg/L TDS with nitrate concentrations of 73-83 mg/L and fluoride concentrations 1.9-2.3 mg/L. These concentrations exceed the levels suggested in the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (1996).


Excessive nitrates in the diet reduce blood’s ability to carry oxygen. In infants, this can cause the potentially life-threatening Blue Baby Syndrome, where the skin takes on a bluish colour and the child has trouble breathing. Housing provides bottled water for infants under three months in communities with high nitrates. Long term solutions would likely include asset replacements or upgrades or finding new water sources, or a combination of these.

Child Heath Levels Nitrate: 50mg/L. Adult Heath Levels Nitrate: 100mg/L

Total Dissolved Solids

“No specific health guideline value is provided for total dissolved solids (TDS), as there are no
health effects directly attributable to TDS. However for good palatability total dissolved solids
in drinking water should not exceed 600 mg/L.

Total dissolved solids (TDS) consist of inorganic salts and small amounts of organic matter that are dissolved in water. Clay particles, colloidal iron and manganese oxides and silica, fine enough to pass through a 0.45 micron filter membrane can also contribute to total dissolved solids.


“Fluoride occurs naturally in seawater (1.4 mg/L), soil (up to 300 parts per million) and air (from volcanic gases and industrial pollution). Naturally occurring fluoride concentrations in drinking water depend on the type of soil and rock through which the water drains. Generally, concentrations in surface water are relatively low (<0.1–0.5 mg/L), while water from deeper wells may have quite high concentrations (1–10 mg/L) if the rock formations are fluoride-rich.” 2011 ADWG. Health Guideline: 1.5mg/L