2002 + 2016/17: Yorketown (South Australia) – Chloral Hydrate, Aluminium, Ammonia, Iron, pH

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Yorketown (South Australia) – Chloral Hydrate

12/8/02 Yorketown  Chloral Hydrate 30ug/L

Chloral hydrate is a disinfection by-product, arising from chlorination of water containing naturally occurring organic material (NOM). Chloral hydrate is a sedative and hypnotic drug. Long-term use of chloral hydrate is associated with a rapid development of tolerance to its effects and possible addiction as well as adverse effects including rashes, gastric
discomfort and severe renal, cardiac and hepatic failure.

2004 Australian Drinking Water Guideline: Trichloroacetaldehyde (chloral hydrate): 0.02mg/L

2011 Australian Drinking Water Guideline: Trichloroacetaldehyde (chloral hydrate): 0.1mg/L

Based on health considerations, the concentration of chloral hydrate in drinking water
should not exceed 0.1 mg/L. Action to reduce chloral hydrate is encouraged, but must not compromise disinfection, as non-disinfected water poses significantly greater risk than chloral hydrate. (2011 ADWG)

Yorketown (South Australia) – Aluminium

November 28 2016: Yorketown (South Australia) – Aluminium 0.512 mg/L

According to the ADWG, no health guideline has been adopted for Aluminium, but that the issue is still open to review. Aluminium can come from natural geological sources or from the use of aluminium salts as coagulants in water treatment plants. According to the ADWG “A well-operated water filtration plant (even using aluminium as a flocculant) can achieve aluminium concentrations in the finished water of less than 0.1 mg/L.

The most common form of aluminium in water treatment plants is Aluminium Sulfate (Alum). Alum can be supplied as a bulk liquid or in granular form. It is used at water treatment plants as a coagulant to remove turbidity, microorganisms, organic matter and inorganic chemicals. If water is particularly dirty an Alum dose of as high as 500mg/L could occur. There is also concern that other metals may also exist in refined alum.

While the ADWG mentions that there is considerable evidence that Aluminium is neurotoxic and can pass the gut barrier to accumulate in the blood, leading to a condition called encephalopathy (dialysis dementia) and that Aluminium has been associated with Parkinsonism dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the NHMRC, whilst also acknowledging studies which have linked Aluminium with Alzheimer disease, has not granted Aluminium a NOEL (No Observable Effect Level) due to insufficient and contradictory data. Without a NOEL, a health guideline cannot be established. The NHMRC has also stated that if new information comes to hand, a health guideline may be established in the future.

In communication with Aluminium expert Dr Chris Exley (Professor in Bioinorganic Chemistry
The Birchall Centre, Lennard-Jones Laboratories, Keele University, Staffordshire UK) in March 2013 regarding high levels of Aluminium detected in the South Western Victorian town of Hamilton
“It is my opinion that any value above 0.5 mg/L is totally unacceptable and a potential health risk. Where such values are maintained over days, weeks or even months, as indeed is indicated by the data you sent to me, these represent a significant health risk to all consumers. While consumers may not experience any short term health effects the result of longer term exposure to elevated levels of aluminium in potable waters may be a significant increase in the body burden of aluminium in these individuals. This artificially increased body burden will not return to ‘normal’ levels when the Al content of the potable water returns to normal but will act as a new platform level from which the Al body burden will continue to increase with age.

Yorketown (South Australia) – Ammonia

October 4 2016 – Yorketown (South Australia) Ammonia Free as N 0.59mg/L

October 4 2016 – Yorketown (South Australia) Ammonia Free as NH3 0.71mg/L

May 15 2017 – Yorketown (South Australia) Ammonia Free as NH3 0.56mg/L

Based on aesthetic considerations (corrosion of copper pipes and fittings), the concentration
of ammonia (measured as ammonia) in drinking water should not exceed 0.5 mg/L.
No health-based guideline value is set for ammonia.

“…Most uncontaminated source waters have ammonia concentrations below 0.2 mg/L. High concentrations (greater than 10 mg/L) have been reported where water is contaminated with animal waste. Ammonia is unlikely to be detected in chlorinated supplies as it reacts quickly with free chlorine. Ammonia in water can result in the corrosion of copper pipes and fittings, causing copper stains on sanitary ware. It is also a food source for some microorganisms, and can support nuisance growths of bacteria and algae, often with a resultant increase in the nitrite concentration.” ADWG 2011

Yorketown – South Australia Iron

November 28 2016: Yorketown (South Australia) – Iron (Total) 0.6102mg/L

Based on aesthetic considerations (precipitation of iron from solution and taste),
the concentration of iron in drinking water should not exceed 0.3 mg/L.
No health-based guideline value has been set for iron.

Iron has a taste threshold of about 0.3 mg/L in water, and becomes objectionable above 3 mg/L. High iron concentrations give water an undesirable rust-brown appearance and can cause staining of laundry and plumbing fittings, fouling of ion-exchange softeners, and blockages in irrigation systems. Growths of iron bacteria, which concentrate iron, may cause taste and odour problems and lead to pipe restrictions, blockages and corrosion. ADWG 2011

Yorketown  (South Australia) – pH (alkaline)

Average pH: 2016 July -2017 June: 9.085 pH units

Based on the need to reduce corrosion and encrustation in pipes and fittings, the pH of
drinking water should be between 6.5 and 8.5.

New concrete tanks and cement-mortar lined pipes can significantly increase pH and
a value up to 9.2 may be tolerated, provided monitoring indicates no deterioration in
microbiological quality.

pH is a measure of the hydrogen ion concentration of water. It is measured on a logarithmic scale from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral, greater than 7 is alkaline, and less than 7 is acidic.

One of the major objectives in controlling pH is to minimise corrosion and encrustation in pipes and fittings. Corrosion can be reduced by the formation of a protective layer of calcium carbonate on the inside of the pipe or fitting, and the formation of this layer is affected by pH, temperature, the availability of calcium (hardness) and carbon dioxide. If the water is too alkaline (above pH 8.5), the rapid deposition and build-up of calcium carbonate that can result may eventually block the pipe.

When pH is below 6.5 or above 11, the water may corrode plumbing fittings and pipes. This, however, will depend on other factors such as the material used, the concentration and type of ions in solution, the availability of oxygen, and the water temperature. Under some conditions, particularly in the presence of strong oxidising agents such as chlorine, water with a pH between 6.5 and 7 can be quite corrosive.

Chlorine disinfection efficiency is impaired above pH 8.0, although the optimum pH for monochloramine disinfectant formation is between 8.0 and 8.4. In chloraminated supplies chlorine can react with ammonia to form odorous nitrogen trichloride below pH 7.

Chlorination of water supplies can decrease the pH, while it can be significantly raised by lime leached from new concrete tanks or from pipes lined with asbestos cement or cement mortar. Values of pH above 9.5 can cause a bitter taste in drinking water, and can irritate skin if the water is used for ablutions.