2007/18 – Leonora (Western Australia) – Hardness, Total Dissolved Solids, Nitrate

Leonora – Western Australia – Hardness

2007/08: Leonora (Western Australia) – Hardness 207mg/L (Highest Detection Only)

2011/12 Leonora (Western Australia) Hardness 220mg/L (max), 197mg/L (av)

GUIDELINE

“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

Leonora – Western Australia – Total Dissolved Solids

2007/08: Leonora (Western Australia) – Total Dissolved Solids 740 mg/L (Maximum Level)

2008/09: Leonora (Western Australia) – Total Dissolved Solids 757 mg/L (Max), 732 mg/L (mean)

2009/10: Leonora (Western Australia) – Total Dissolved Solids 761 mg/L (Max)

2010/11 Leonora (Western Australia) Total Dissolved Solids 802mg/L (max), 759mg/L (av)

2011/12 Leonora (Western Australia) Total Dissolved Solids 809mg/L (max), 767mg/L (av)

2013/14 Leonora (Western Australia) Total Dissolved Solids 621mg/L (max), 601mg/L (av)

2014/15 Leonora (Western Australia) Total Dissolved Solids 607mg/L (max), 523mg/L (mean)

2015/16 Leonora (Western Australia) Total Dissolved Solids 736mg/L (max), 628mg/L (mean)

2016/17 Leonora (Western Australia) Total Dissolved Solids 605mg/L (max), 601mg/L (mean)

2017/18 Leonora (Western Australia) Total Dissolved Solids 622mg/L (max), 607mg/L (mean)

GUIDELINE

“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

1996-2018 Leonora (Western Australia) – Nitrate

“…According to the Water Corporation (2013) in 1996, the Western Australian Department of Heath exempted the following remote towns from meeting the water quality guidelines regarding excessive nitrate levels in drinking water: Cue, Meekatharra, Mount Magnet, Nabawa, New Norcia, Sandstone, Wiluna, Yalgoo, Laverton, Leonora, and Menzies. These exemptions are still current. Community health nurses are instructed to provide bottled water free to nursing mothers, at no cost…” Unsafe drinking water quality in remote Western
Australian Aboriginal communities Geographical Research 184 • May 2019 • 57(2), 178–188

The most significant chemical issues for water quality come from nitrates and uranium, which occur naturally and are common in the Goldfields and Pilbara. Excessive nitrates in the diet reduce blood’s ability to carry oxygen. In infants, this can cause the potentially life-threatening Blue Baby Syndrome, where the skin takes on a bluish colour and the child has trouble breathing. Housing provides bottled water for infants under three months in communities with high nitrates. Long term solutions would likely include asset replacements or upgrades or finding new water sources, or a combination of these.

In 2013-14, fourteen of 84 communities in the Program recorded nitrates above the safe health level for bottle-fed babies under three months. Two communities had readings above the standard for adults (Figure 5).

Child Heath Levels Nitrate: 50mg/L. Adult Heath Levels Nitrate: 100mg/L