2005/20: Bealiba (Victoria) – E.coli, Trihalomethanes, NDMA, Hardness, Total Dissolved Solids, Chloride, Turbidity, Iron, Sodium, Chlorine

Bealiba (Victoria) – E.coli

22/3/06: Bealiba (Victoria) 1org/100mL. 98.1% compliance with no compliance during year.

Due to operator error, the liquid chlorine supplying the chlorinator at Bealiba Tank had been depleted and was not refilled. Liquid chlorine was immediately supplied to the plant after notification of failure.  After a review of the incident a range of measures were implemented to ensure improved management of chlorine supplies. This included staff counselling, training and reassignment.


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

Bealiba (Victoria) – Trihalomethanes (Highest Level Only)

2006/7: Bealiba THM’s 0.39mg/L

2008/9 Bealiba THM’s 0.33mg/L

2009/10 Bealiba THM’s 0.27mg/L

2010/11 Bealiba THM’s 0.24mg/L

2011/12 Bealiba THM’s 0.24mg/L

2012/13 Bealiba THM’s 0.24mg/L

2013/14 Bealiba THM’s 0.28mg/L

2016/17: Bealiba THM’s 0.34ug/L

2019/20: Bealiba THM’s 0.31mg/L

Bealiba (Victoria) – Trihalomethanes

4/3/20: Laanecoorie THM 0.25mg/L. The concentration of Total Trihalomethanes (THMs) exceeded the health-based guideline value (i.e. 0.25 mg/L) specified in the ADWG in samples
collected in the Laanecoorie water supply system between March and April 2020. The raw water for the Laanecoorie WTP is sourced from the Loddon River. Historically, raw water from the
Loddon River is high in Natural Organic Matter (NOM) and bromide. The water age in the
Laanecoorie system is also high due to the size of storage tanks and lengthy water mains. The
high-water age, along with the high levels of NOM and bromide, leads to the formation of excessive disinfection by products (DPBs). To manage this issue, primary disinfection at the Laanecoorie WTP is achieved through chlorination, and then the treated water is chloraminated. Nitrification is a common problem for chloraminated water supply
systems, which causes difficulties in maintaining adequate disinfectant residual. Therefore,
the disinfection process at the Laanecoorie WTP was changed from chloramination to chlorination to manage nitrification issue in the distribution network for a short
period of time (i.e. between 17 February 2020 to 14 April 2020).

The elevated THM results were due to a combination of the following: the temporary switch to
chlorination; high concentrations of NOM and bromide in the raw water; and the high-water age in the system.

The non-compliant results that were recorded are as follows: 04/03/2020
Customer tap Laanecoorie 0.27 mg/L 12/03/2020. Bealiba Tank Outlet 0.26 mg/L; Tarnagulla Tank Outlet 0.31 mg/L; and  Customer tap Tarnagulla. 0.30 mg/L 29/04/2020 Bealiba Tank outlet 0.28 mg/L; and Customer tap Bealiba 0.31 mg/L

Trihalomethanes Australian Guideline Level 250μg/L (0.25mg/L)

Why and how are THMs formed?
“When chlorine is added to water with organic material, such as algae, river weeds, and decaying leaves, THMs are formed. Residual chlorine molecules react with this harmless organic material to form a group of chlorinated chemical compounds, THMs. They are tasteless and odourless, but harmful and potentially toxic. The quantity of by-products formed is determined by several factors, such as the amount and type of organic material present in water, temperature, pH, chlorine dosage, contact time available for chlorine, and bromide concentration in the water. The organic matter in water mainly consists of a) humic substance, which is the organic portion of soil that remains after prolonged microbial decomposition formed by the decay of leaves, wood, and other vegetable matter; and b) fulvic acid, which is a water soluble substance of low molecular weight that is derived from humus”. US EPA

2020/21 – Bealiba (Victoria) – NDMA

8/7/2020: Bealiba NDMA 210ng/L (max), 0.062ng/L (av.)

The concentration of NNitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) exceeded the health-based
guideline value (i.e. 0.0001 mg/L) specified in the ADWG in a sample collected from a Bealiba customer tap sample point. NDMA is a disinfection by-product (DBP) of the disinfection process known as chloramination.
The investigation that was undertaken showed that the elevated NDMA results were due to a transient change in raw water quality.

A number of corrective actions, including optimisation of pH and chlorine to ammonia ratio, were completed to minimise NDMA formation in the future. The samples tested for NDMA after the implementation of the corrective actions indicate that the actions were effective in reducing the concentration of NDMA in the treated drinking water.

“Based on health considerations, the concentration of NDMA in drinking water should not
exceed 0.0001 mg/L (100 ng/L). Action to reduce NDMA is encouraged, but must not compromise disinfection, as non disinfected water poses significantly greater risk than NDMA.

NDMA is used as an industrial solvent, an anti-oxidant, a rubber accelerator, and in the preparation of polymers, where it may be used as an initiator or a plasticiser. The compound has been used in the production of rocket fuel, as a biocide for nematodes, and an intermediate for 1,1-dimethylhydrazine to inhibit nitrification of soils.

NDMA is formed under mildly acidic conditions by the reaction of natural and synthetic secondary, tertiary or quaternary amines with nitrate and nitrite. Precursor amines include alkylamines, dimethylamine (DMA), tetramethylthiuram disulfide (thiram) and polyelectrolytes used in water and wastewater treatment. NDMA is also produced as a by-product of chloramination of drinking water (due to the presence of dimethylamine in source waters subject to wastewater discharges or the oxidation of natural organic matter by chlorine in the presence of ammonia) and to a lesser extent by chlorination. NDMA formation can be facilitated in soils by biochemical pathways in micro-organisms, and this compound is resistant to microbial degradation under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Ozonation of drinking water contaminated with the fungicide tolyfluamide can also lead to the formation of NDMA…

There are no data in the public domain or peer reviewed literature on NDMA in Australian drinking water distribution systems and water treatment plants. Anecdotal evidence suggests a bi-modal distribution, with several water authorities indicating that NDMA is present at levels at or near the limit of determination of 1 to 2 ng/L, whereas preliminary sampling and analysis by other authorities indicates levels in the range of 60-90 ng/L. A recent report from South Australia has indicated that NDMA may originate from rubber components of newly commissioned drinking water pipelines, regardless of the disinfectant used. This
may account at least partly for the divergent results reported by different water suppliers…” ADWG 2011

Bealiba – Victoria – Hardness (max levels only)

2005/06: Bealiba Hardness 420mg/L

2006/07: Bealiba Hardness 460mg/L

2007/8 Bealiba Hardness 580mg/L

2008/9 Bealiba Hardness 470mg/L

2009/10 Bealiba Hardness 640mg/L

2010/11 Bealiba Hardness 310mg/L

2011/12 Bealiba Hardness 230mg/L

2015/16 Bealiba Hardness 260mg/L

2016/17: Bealiba (Victoria) – Calcium Carbonate 300mg/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

Bealiba – Victoria – Total Dissolved Solids

2005/06: Bealiba (Victoria) – Total Dissolved Solids 1700 μS/cm (max)

2006/07: Bealiba (Victoria) – Total Dissolved Solids 2300 μS/cm (max)

2007/8 Bealiba Total Dissolved Solids 2700 μS/cm

2008/9 Bealiba Total Dissolved Solids 2400 μS/cm

2009/10 Bealiba Total Dissolved Solids 3200 μS/cm

2010/11 Bealiba Total Dissolved Solids 1500 μS/cm

2016/17: Bealiba (Victoria) – Total Dissolved Solids 1400 μS/cm


“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

Bealiba (Victoria) – Chloride

2007/8 Bealiba Chloride 690mg/L

2008/9 Bealiba Chloride 630mg/L

2009/10 Bealiba Chloride 690mg/L

2010/11 Bealiba Chloride 540mg/L

2011/12 Bealiba Chloride 270mg/L

2016/17: Bealiba (Victoria)  Chloride 330mg/L

2019/20: Bealiba (Victoria)  Chloride 270mg/L (max), 210mg/L (av.)

“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

2005/6 – Bealiba (Victoria) – Turbidity

2005/6 – Bealiba (Victoria) – Turbidity 5.7NTU (maximum detection)

Chlorine-resistant pathogen reduction: Where filtration alone is used as the water treatment
process to address identified risks from Cryptosporidium and Giardia, it is essential
that filtration is optimised and consequently the target for the turbidity of water leaving
individual filters should be less than 0.2 NTU, and should not exceed 0.5 NTU at any time
Disinfection: A turbidity of less than 1 NTU is desirable at the time of disinfection with
chlorine unless a higher value can be validated in a specific context.

Aesthetic: Based on aesthetic considerations, the turbidity should not exceed 5 NTU at the
consumer’s tap

Bealiba –  Victoria – Iron

2007/08: Bealiba (Victoria)  – Iron 0.45mg/L (max)

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

2017 – Bealiba – Sodium

2007/8: Bealiba Sodium 320mg/L

2008/9: Bealiba Sodium 270mg/L

2009/10: Bealiba Sodium 260mg/L

2010/11: Bealiba Sodium 190mg/L

“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

Bealiba (Victoria) Chlorine

7/11/15: Bealiba Chlorine <5mg/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