2011 May + 2016/20: Maitland (South Australia) – Chloral Hydrate, Trihalomethanes, pH

Maitland (South Australia) – Trihalomethanes

Breaches to Australian Drinking Water Guidelines Levels Only

2/05/2011 14:57 Maitland CT 6 Alice St Trihalomethanes – Total 283 ug/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”. Source: https://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/ind

Maitland  (South Australia) – pH (alkaline)

Average pH Maitland (South Australia): 2016 July -2017 June: 9.131 pH units

2018/2019: Maitland (South Australia). Average pH: 9.15pH units

2019/20: Maitland (South Australia) (average) 9.23pH units

Based on the need to reduce corrosion and encrustation in pipes and fittings, the pH of
drinking water should be between 6.5 and 8.5.

New concrete tanks and cement-mortar lined pipes can significantly increase pH and
a value up to 9.2 may be tolerated, provided monitoring indicates no deterioration in
microbiological quality.

pH is a measure of the hydrogen ion concentration of water. It is measured on a logarithmic scale from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral, greater than 7 is alkaline, and less than 7 is acidic.

One of the major objectives in controlling pH is to minimise corrosion and encrustation in pipes and fittings. Corrosion can be reduced by the formation of a protective layer of calcium carbonate on the inside of the pipe or fitting, and the formation of this layer is affected by pH, temperature, the availability of calcium (hardness) and carbon dioxide. If the water is too alkaline (above pH 8.5), the rapid deposition and build-up of calcium carbonate that can result may eventually block the pipe.

When pH is below 6.5 or above 11, the water may corrode plumbing fittings and pipes. This, however, will depend on other factors such as the material used, the concentration and type of ions in solution, the availability of oxygen, and the water temperature. Under some conditions, particularly in the presence of strong oxidising agents such as chlorine, water with a pH between 6.5 and 7 can be quite corrosive.

Chlorine disinfection efficiency is impaired above pH 8.0, although the optimum pH for monochloramine disinfectant formation is between 8.0 and 8.4. In chloraminated supplies chlorine can react with ammonia to form odorous nitrogen trichloride below pH 7.

Chlorination of water supplies can decrease the pH, while it can be significantly raised by lime leached from new concrete tanks or from pipes lined with asbestos cement or cement mortar. Values of pH above 9.5 can cause a bitter taste in drinking water, and can irritate skin if the water is used for ablutions.

Maitland (South Australia) – Monochloramines

2018/19: Maitland (South Australia). Monochloramines 4.1mg/L (max), 3.469mg/L (av.)

According to the ADWG: “Based on health considerations, the concentration of monochloramine in drinking water should not exceed 3mg/L (equivalent to 4.1mg Cl as C12/L).
Some water supplies may also be disinfected through a process called Chloramination where ammonia is added to the water prior to the chlorine, which in turn can create Monochloramines. Sunlight does not degrade Monochloramines to the same extent as chlorine, meaning that water can be stored for longer periods of time.
Between January 2000 and July 2012, SA Water recorded over 50 incidences of Monochloramines breaching or the same as the 2011 ADWG.

Maitland (South Australia) – Chloral Hydrate

Maitland Chloral hydrate breaches in SA Water network 2000-2012 (3)

2/5/11 Maitland  Chloral Hydrate 53.3ug/L

16/5/11 Maitland  Chloral Hydrate 46.2ug/L

30/5/11 Maitland Chloral Hydrate 21ug/L

Chloral hydrate is a disinfection by-product, arising from chlorination of water containing naturally occurring organic material (NOM). Chloral hydrate is a sedative and hypnotic drug. Long-term use of chloral hydrate is associated with a rapid development of tolerance to its effects and possible addiction as well as adverse effects including rashes, gastric
discomfort and severe renal, cardiac and hepatic failure.

2004 Australian Drinking Water Guideline: Trichloroacetaldehyde (chloral hydrate): 0.02mg/L

2011 Australian Drinking Water Guideline: Trichloroacetaldehyde (chloral hydrate): 0.1mg/L