2006/15: Camperdown Urban (Vic). E.coli, Lead, Ammonia, Aluminium

Center map

June 11 2014 – Camperdown (Victoria) – E.coli

Camperdown Urban – E.coli–4 org/100mL. Validation of the plant performance and system via trending of online monitoring and field testing results, validation of contact time for disinfection at time of event; retest sample site then flush area. No issues found. No E.coli detected in resample. DH notified of initial and resample result.
February 9 2015 – Camperdown (Victoria) – E.coli

Camperdown Urban – E.coli–1 org/100 mL. Validation of the Camperdown WTP plant performance and system was conducted via trending of online monitoring and field testing results. Other validation included calculation of contact time for disinfection at time of event.

retest of sample site then flushing. No issues were found at the plant or in the reticulation.
No E. coli detected in the resample. DHHS notified of initial and resample result. Identified other
improvements including offline tank management and monitoring to ensure chlorine residuals are maintained


Escherichia coli should not be detected in any 100 mL sample of drinking water. If detected
in drinking water, immediate action should be taken including investigation of potential
sources of faecal contamination.

“Coliforms are Gram-negative, non-spore-forming, rod-shaped bacteria that are capable of aerobic and facultative anaerobic growth in the presence of bile salts or other surface active agents with similar growth-inhibiting properties. They are found in large numbers in the faeces of humans and other warm-blooded animals, but many species also occur in the environment.

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 2011

Camperdown (Victoria) – Lead

The highest recorded lead level 2005-11 in Victoria was recorded in the central Victorian community of Koriot 0.094mg/L (Wannon Water 2006/7), Gordon Lead 0.065mg/L (Central Highlands Water 8 October 2008), Camperdown 0.049mg/L (2006/7), Port Fairy 0.047mg/L (2006/7), Warrnambool 0.036mg/L (2005/6). The highest Melbourne level was recorded in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne at Mitcham 2007/8 at 0.028mg/L.

The Australian Drinking Water Guideline for Lead is 0.01mg/L

Camperdown (Victoria) – Ammonia

2011/12: Camperdown (Victoria)  – Ammonia 0.45mg/L (Highest level only – Ammonia as N)

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. (0.41mg/L mg of Ammonia as N)

“…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

Camperdown Urban (Victoria) – Aluminium

2006/07: Camperdown Urban (Victoria) Aluminium 0.28mg/L (Highest Level Only)
2008/09: Camperdown Urban (Victoria) Aluminium 0.87mg/L (Highest Level Only)
Australian Guideline: Aluminium 0.2mg/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.