2006-2008: Esperance (Western Australia). Lead & Nickel in Rainwater Tanks, Hardness, Total Dissolved Solids

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Esperance (Western Australia) – Lead and Nickel

Esperance Rainwater Samples 2007: Highest Lead Reading 0.68mg/L (27% of samples above ADWG)http://www.dec.wa.gov.au/content/view/3484/1729/

(ADWG/Australian Drinking Water Guideline for Lead is 0.01mg/L)

“Sampling and testing by DEC and the Department of Health (DoH) found that some rainwater tanks in Esperance had lead and nickel levels exceeding Australian Drinking Water Guidelines  and a number of residents had elevated lead levels in their blood. With lead and nickel found in the soil, air, dust and/or rainwater in Esperance, concerns were raised that people and animals spending time in Esperance might be exposed to unacceptable health risks. The shipping of lead through Esperance Port was stopped in March 2007 and a stockpile of lead carbonate was
quarantined until a safe removal plan could be agreed upon.” http://www.dec.wa.gov.au/content/view/3484/1729/

During December 2006 – March 2007, people in Esperance, Western Australia, noticed a significant number of bird deaths in the area. Tests later revealed their bodies contained high levels of lead.

Esperance – Western Australia – Hardness

2007/08: Esperance (Western Australia) – Hardness 358mg/L (Highest Detection Only)


“To minimise undesirable build‑up of scale in hot water systems, total hardness (as calcium
carbonate) in drinking water should not exceed 200 mg/L.

Hard water requires more soap than soft water to obtain a lather. It can also cause scale to form on hot water pipes and fittings. Hardness is caused primarily by the presence of calcium and magnesium ions, although other cations such as strontium, iron, manganese and barium can also contribute.”

Australian Drinking Water Guidelines 2011

Esperance – Western Australia – Total Dissolved Solids

2007/08: Esperance (Western Australia) – Total Dissolved Solids 813 mg/L (Maximum Level)


“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.

Total dissolved solids comprise: sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, sulfate, bicarbonate, carbonate, silica, organic matter, fluoride, iron, manganese, nitrate, nitrite and phosphates…” Australian Drinking Water Guidelines 2011