2006-23: Macarthur (Victoria). Arsenic, Hardness, Chloride, Sodium, Total Dissolved Solids, Chlorine

Macarthur (Victoria) – Arsenic


June/July 2011 (15 days): Macarthur Arsenic 0.031mg/L Wannon Water (Highest Level)

Arsenic: Australian Drinking Water Guideline = 0.01mg/L

June 6 2009: Macarthur Arsenic 1.2mg/L Source Water (Highest Level)

November 5 2008: Macarthur Arsenic 0.64mg/L Water Treatment Plant (Highest Level)

July 21 2009: Macarthur Arsenic 0.074mg/L Reticulation  (Highest Level)

“MACARTHUR residents have been told to stop drinking the town’s water due to potentially unsafe levels of arsenic.This week Wannon Water informed residents that the Minister of Health could declare the town’s water as regulated water – or unfit for human consumption – due to the current arsenic levels in the water. And if approved, signs will shortly go up in the small town warning residents and travellers not to drink the water. The finding has sent a ripple of confusion through the town about why they were not informed earlier about the ‘dangerous’ levels of arsenic in their water and how it could affect their health. Yet Wannon Water chief executive, Grant Green, said the finding should not alarm residents. He said Macarthur’s water supply had been well below arsenic health regulations until Australia had adopted a stricter standard for drinking water. “Macarthur’s water is sourced from a local groundwater bore, and this bore has always contained elevated levels of arsenic at approximately 400 to 500 micrograms per litre of water. “(Through filters) Macarthur’s water treatment plant reduces arsenic levels down to 25 micrograms, and this level was compliant with the 50 microgram limit set down by the World Health Organisation Guidelines (1984) for arsenic in drinking water. “This is still the standard for many countries throughout the world. But this changed overnight when Australia adopted its own drinking water guidelines in 2004, and under Victoria’s Safe Drinking Water Act (2005) the regulated level is now seven micrograms of arsenic per litre.” Spectator-Observer Partnership 20 Jul 2006

“MACARTHUR resident and business woman Merilyn Cook says she will not even wash her clothes in the town’s drinking water, despite Wannon Water’s announcement that the mains supply is now drinkable. ‘People are not dancing in the streets about this announcement,’ Ms Cook said. “The quality of the water hasn’t actually changed; it’s not a good quality for domestic use.” Former Victorian Health Minister Bronwyn Pike declared the town’s water supply – sourced from a local bore – unpotable in August 2006, when World Health Organisation standards changed, reducing the amount of arsenic permitted in potable water to be less than 0.007mg/L or less than seven parts per million; the ruling was gazetted by the government in September that year. Arsenic is a residual substance, occurring naturally and lingering in areas of high volcanic activity and, poisonous to humans and animals, it remains a problem in many parts of the world. For the past four years, signs have existed at all public water points across the town, warning visitors not to drink the town’s water supply. On May 18, Health Minister David Davis declared Macarthur’s water drinkable, after Wannon Water completed installation of a new water treatment facility…” https://www.spec.com.au/?sp=2&id=12219

Arsenic: ADWG Guideline = 0.01mg/L

Arsenic is bioaccumulative and symptoms may take 10-15 years to develop after expsoure at high levels. Drinking water can be contaminated with inorganic arsenic through wind blown dust, leaching or runoff from soil, rocks and sediment. Groundwater sources such as bores will usually have higher arsenic levels than surface water. In major Australian reticulated water supplies concentrations of arsenic range up to 0.015mg/L, with typical values less than
0.005mg/L. https://www.health.qld.gov.au/ph/documents/ehu/2676.pdf

Macarthur – Victoria – Hardness

2011/12: Macarthur (Victoria) – Calcium Hardness 330mg/L (Highest Detection Only)

2012/13: Macarthur (Victoria) – Calcium Hardness 300mg/L (Highest Detection Only)

2013/14: Macarthur (Victoria) – Calcium Hardness 320mg/L (Highest Detection Only)

2014/15: Macarthur (Victoria) – Calcium Hardness 330mg/L (Highest Detection Only)

2015/16: Macarthur (Victoria) – Calcium Hardness 350mg/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

Macarthur (Victoria) – Chloride

2011/12: Macarthur (Victoria) – Chloride 1000mg/L (Highest Detection)

“Chloride is present in natural waters from the dissolution of salt deposits, and contamination from effluent disposal. Sodium chloride is widely used in the production of industrial chemicals such as caustic soda, chlorine, and sodium chlorite and hypochlorite. Potassium chloride is used in the production of fertilisers.

The taste threshold of chloride in water is dependent on the associated cation but is in the range 200–300 mg/L. The chloride content of water can affect corrosion of pipes and fittings. It can also affect the solubility of metal ions.

In surface water, the concentration of chloride is usually less than 100 mg/L and frequently below 10 mg/L. Groundwater can have higher concentrations, particularly if there is salt water intrusion.

Based on aesthetic considerations, the chloride concentration in drinking water should not exceed 250 mg/L.

No health-based guideline value is proposed for chloride.” 2011 Australian Drinking Water Guidelines

Macarthur (Victoria) – Sodium

2011/12:  Macarthur (Victoria) Sodium 440mg/L (Highest Level Only)

“Based on aesthetic considerations (taste), the concentration of sodium in drinking water
should not exceed 180 mg/L….The sodium ion is widespread in water due to the high solubility of sodium salts and the abundance of mineral deposits. Near coastal areas, windborne sea spray can make an important contribution either by fallout onto land surfaces where it can drain to drinking water sources, or from washout by rain. Apart from saline intrusion and natural contamination, water treatment chemicals, domestic water softeners and
sewage effluent can contribute to the sodium content of drinking water.” ADWG 2011

Macarthur – Victoria – Total Dissolved Solids

2011/12: Macarthur (Victoria) – Total Dissolved Solids 1200mg/L (Maximum Level)

2011/12: Macarthur (Victoria) – Total Dissolved Solids 1000mg/L (Maximum Level)

2013/14: Macarthur (Victoria) – Total Dissolved Solids 1000mg/L (Maximum Level)

2015/16: Macarthur (Victoria) – Total Dissolved Solids 1100mg/L (Maximum Level)

2017/18: Macarthur (Victoria) – Total Dissolved Solids 1000mg/L (Maximum Level)

2018/19: Macarthur (Victoria) – Total Dissolved Solids 1000mg/L (Maximum Level)

2020/21: Macarthur (Victoria) – Total Dissolved Solids 1060mg/L (Maximum Level)

2022/23: Macarthur (Victoria) – Total Dissolved Solids 1000mg/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.

Macarthur  (Victoria) – Chlorine
Macarthur: 29 October 2011–1 November 2011 (4 days) Free Chlorine 7mg/L

Based on health considerations, the guideline value for total chlorine in drinking water is 5 mg/L.

Chlorine dissociates in water to form free chlorine, which consists of aqueous molecular chlorine, hypochlorous acid and hypochlorite ion. Chlorine and hypochlorites are toxic to microorganisms and are used extensively as disinfectants for drinking water supplies. Chlorine is also used to disinfect sewage and wastewater, swimming pool water, in-plant supplies, and industrial cooling water.

Chlorine has an odour threshold in drinking water of about 0.6 mg/L, but some people are particularly sensitive and can detect amounts as low as 0.2 mg/L. Water authorities may need to exceed the odour threshold value of 0.6 mg/L in order to maintain an effective disinfectant residual.

In the food industry, chlorine and hypochlorites are used for general sanitation and for odour control. Large amounts of chlorine are used in the production of industrial and domestic disinfectants and bleaches, and it is used in the synthesis of a large range of chemical compounds.

Free chlorine reacts with ammonia and certain nitrogen compounds to form combined chlorine. With ammonia, chlorine forms chloramines (monochloramine, dichloramine and nitrogen trichloride or trichloramine) (APHA 2012). Chloramines are used for disinfection but are weaker oxidising agents than free chlorine.

Free chlorine and combined chlorine may be present simultaneously (APHA 2012). The term totalchlorine refers to the sum of free chlorine and combined chlorine present in a sample.

Chlorine (Free) ADWG Guideline: 5mg/L (Chlorine in chloraminated supplies 4.1mg/L). Chlorine dissociates in water to form free chlorine, which consists of aqueous molecular chlorine, hypochlorous acid and hypochlorite ion.

Chlorine (Total) ADWG Guideline 5mg/L (chloraminated supplies 4.1mg/L): The term total chlorine refers to the sum of free chlorine and combined chlorine present in a sample