2003/16 – Adelaide River (Northern Territory) – B. pseudomallei, E.coli, Iron, Manganese

Adelaide River (Northern Territory) – B. pseudomallei

Between 2013 and 2016 B. pseudomallei was detected in untreated water from the Katherine, the Darwin River Reservoir, McMinns borefields and the Adelaide River. Katherine B. pseudomallei detections are from unchlorinated parts of the water treatment plant. The positive detections in Darwin were from samples of raw water collected prior to the disinfection process. The Adelaide River positive detection was from a sample of the sediment in a tank that was offline for cleaning.

B. pseudomallei is the agent responsible for Meliodosis, an infectious disease

Adelaide River (Northern Territory) – E.coli

2006/07: Adelaide River E.coli: 1 exceedance. 97.5% samples within guideline

2009/10: Adelaide River E. coli 1 exceedance 95.8% samples within guideline


Thermotolerant coliforms are a sub-group of coliforms that are able to grow at 44.5 ± 0.2°C. E. coli is the most common thermotolerant coliform present in faeces and is regarded as the most specific indicator of recent faecal contamination because generally it is not capable of growth in the environment. In contrast, some other thermotolerant coliforms (including strains of Klebsiella, Citrobacter and Enterobacter) are able to grow in the environment and their presence is not necessarily related to faecal contamination. While tests for thermotolerant coliforms can be simpler than for E. coli, E. coli is considered a superior indicator for detecting faecal contamination…” ADWG

Adelaide River (Northern Territory)  – Iron

2003/4: Adelaide River Iron 0.4mg/L

2004/05: Adelaide River Iron 1.3mg/L

2005/06: Adelaide River Iron 1.14mg/L

2007/08: Adelaide River Iron 0.89mg/L

2009/10: Adelaide River Iron 0.62mg/L

2010/11: Adelaide River Iron 0.64mg/L

2011/12: Adelaide River Iron 0.64mg/L

2012/13: Adelaide River Iron 0.46mg/L

2013/14: Adelaide River Iron 0.45mg/L

2014/15: Adelaide River Iron 0.33mg/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

Adelaide River – Northern Territory – Manganese

2005/06: Adelaide River (Northern Territory) – Manganese 0.35mg/L (highest level)

2004/05: Adelaide River (Northern Territory) – Manganese 0.35mg/L (highest level)

Manganese: ADWG Guidelines 0.5mg/L. ADWG Aesthetic Guideline 0.1mg/L
Manganese is found in the natural environment. Manganese in drinking water above 0.1mg/L can give water an unpleasant taste and stain plumbling fixtures and laundry.