2010: Girgarre (Victoria) – Chlorophenols

2010: Girgarre (Victoria) – Chlorophenols

16/09/2010: Girgarre WTP 2,4-Dichlorophenol = 1 µg/L

ADWG Guidelines: Health: 2-chlorophenol 300 µg/L Aesthetic: 0.1 µg/L

No Guideline exists for 2,4,5-Trichlorophenol


Included with the Freedom of Information request from Goulburn Valley Water were detections for 2,4,5 Trichlorophenol (8 detections) (highest level: 460 µg/L 18/10/11 Strathbogie) and 2,4-6 Trichlorophenol (96 detections) (highest level 5.2µg/L: Strathbogie 16/11/15).

According to the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines

“ Chlorophenols may be present in drinking water as a result of chlorination of water that contains phenol or lower chlorophenols, or from contamination of water sources. Chlorination of water containing natural organic compounds can produce very low concentrations of chlorophenols. Degradation of phenoxy herbicides such as 2,4,5 – T and 2,4 – D also generates chlorophenols…

Chlorophenols are used commercially as preservatives, moth – proofing agents, germicides and anti – mildew agents…. No data are available on concentrations of chlorophenols in Australian drinking waters. If present at all, it is likely that concentrations would be extremely low.”

2,4,6 Trichlorophenol is listed under the 2002-3 Goulburn Valley Water – Water Quality Annual Report as “Health – Related Organics – Organic chemicals that can impact on the health of consumers are rarely present in drinking water supplies, but could potentially be present in raw water sources as a result of accidental spills or misuse.”

Due to the unknown source of the Trichlorophenols, these detections were not included in the final pesticide data in this report, but are assumed to be a byproduct of disinfection. Average level of 2,4,6 Trichlorophenol detected 2008-16 in 33 locations: 0.93µg/L. Average level 2,4,5-Trichlorophenol detected 2011-15 in 4 locations: 72.87µg/L.

2,4-D detections in Girgarre channel supply for approximately 4 months in 2010. The average detected levels over the four month period were 1.94µg/L (6.6% of the Australian Drinking Water Guideline for 2,4-D). It is also unclear what percentage of the 2,4-D was removed by the treatment process used at Girgarre. It appears that activated carbon was not used. It is also unclear the level of dioxins contained in the 2,4-D that came down the channel. Dioxins, some of the most toxic substances known, can be created during the 2,4-D manufacturing process. “ An urgent review is underway after a Four Corners investigation found elevated levels of dangerous dioxins in a generic version of 2,4 – D, one of Australia’s most widely used herbicides. Dioxins are one of the most deadly chemical compounds in the world, but Australi an authorities do not routinely test for them. One scientist said the product tested by Four Corners, which was imported from China, had one of the highest dioxin readings for 2,4 – D in the last 10 to 20 years, and could pose potential health risks…” http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-07-22/four-corners-dangerous-dioxins/4833848

“Under the Radar” Pesticide Detections Victorian Water Supplies 2007-2016 – Anthony Amis – Friends of the Earth Melbourne October 2017