2012/14 + 2018/20: Parnngurr (Western Australia). Uranium, Naegleria Species

Parnngurr (Western Australia) – Uranium

Uranium: ADWG 0.017mg/L

10 tests above ADWG Guideline 2012-2014

3 tests above ADWG Guideline 2018-2020

3 tests (~9%) above or equal to Uranium ADWG guideline 2017-2019

2017: 0.024mg/L (highest level). ~0.006mg/L (average)

2018: 0.006mg/L (highest level). ~0.0045mg/L (average)

2019: 0.026mg/L (highest level). ~0.009mg/L (average)

WA Auditor Report – Delivering Essential Services to Remote Aboriginal Communities

Water management plans involving blending water from multiple bores have only been partly successful in managing uranium levels. They have been used in Bow River, Burringurrah and Pia Wadjari but have only been successful in Bow River. Tests in Burringurrah have detected uranium above ADWG guideline levels every year since 2012-13 and in Pia Wadjari since 2015-16. According to the Department’s 2017 RAESP Capital Works program, an estimated $2.7 million is needed to improve water quality in these 2 communities. People living in Burringurrah and Pia Wadjari face ongoing risks from higher uranium levels than specified as safe in the ADWG guidelines. P21

Uranium (Information Sourced From 2011 Australian Drinking Water Guidelines)
“Based on health considerations, the concentration of uranium in drinking water should not exceed 0.017 mg/L.”

Parnngurr (Western Australia) – Naegleria Species

3 tests above ADWG Guideline 2012-2014

“GUIDELINE No guideline value is set for Naegleria fowleri in drinking water, but an ‘action level’ is recommended for water supplies likely to be contaminated. If the organism is detected, advice should be sought from the relevant health authority.

Naegleria fowleri is a free-living, thermophilic amoeboflagellate which causes the waterborne disease primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). This rare but fatal condition has followed use of water for swimming, or domestic bathing. The organism occurs naturally in freshwater of suitable temperature, feeding on bacteria. Its occurrence is only indirectly related to human activity, inasmuch as such activity may modify temperatures or promote bacterial production. PAM has been reported from many countries, usually associated with thermally polluted environments, geothermal water or heated swimming pools. N. fowleri is almost exclusively aquatic, and water is the only known source of infection. Numerous nonvirulent Naegleria species are known in Australia.

PAM cases have been recorded from South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland and New South Wales; Naegleria fowleri has been detected in water in each of these states and in the Northern Territory. Australia is the only country where N. fowleri has been detected in public water supplies (Dorsch et al. 1983). Most of the available data on the density of N. fowleri in water relates to water supplies in South Australia (including the highest reported densities). In temperate Australia, significant seasonal cycles of density occur, from below one organism per litre to hundreds or thousands per litre in poorly disinfected water (Robinson and Christy 1984). N. fowleri detected at water temperatures below 18°C is likely to be present as cysts, which are not infectious, but which may seed a suitable environment.” Australian Drinking Water Guidelines 2011.