2009-16: Pioneer (Tasmania) – E.coli, Lead, Aluminium, Colour, Iron, Manganese, pH, Temperature, Turbidity

Center map


Pioneer (Tasmania) – E.coli

July 14 2015: Pioneer (Tasmania) – 3.1 MPN100/mL

August 11 2015: Pioneer (Tasmania) – 2 MPN100/mL

December 15 2015: Pioneer (Tasmania) – 1 MPN100/mL

January 27 2016: Pioneer (Tasmania) – 2 MPN100/mL

March 8 2016: Pioneer (Tasmania) – 1 MPN100/mL

April 19 2016: Pioneer (Tasmania) – 2 MPN100/mL

May 17 2016: Pioneer (Tasmania) – 7.4 MPN100/mL

June 15 2016: Pioneer (Tasmania) – 3.1 MPN100/mL

Escherichia coli should not be detected in any 100 mL sample of drinking water. If detected
in drinking water, immediate action should be taken including investigation of potential
sources of faecal contamination.

“Coliforms are Gram-negative, non-spore-forming, rod-shaped bacteria that are capable of aerobic and facultative anaerobic growth in the presence of bile salts or other surface active agents with similar growth-inhibiting properties. They are found in large numbers in the faeces of humans and other warm-blooded animals, but many species also occur in the environment.

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 2011

Pioneer – (Tasmania) – Lead 2009-16

November 17 2015: Pioneer (Tasmania) – Lead 0.0166 mg/L

November 17 2015: Pioneer (Tasmania) – Lead (Dissolved) 0.0099 mg/L

March 22 2016: Pioneer (Tasmania) – Lead 0.0113 mg/L

June 21 2016: Pioneer (Tasmania) – Lead 0.0108 mg/L

In 2009-11, the following Tasmanian communities also had lead readings above the ADWG, Whitemark 0.017mg/L, Pioneer 0.015mg/L & 0.0109mg/L and Avoca 0.0106mg/L.

The RTI data reveals that Lead continued to be a problem in the small community of Winneleah, particularly around February/March in 2014. So serious was the problem that an alternative water supply option was provided. According to a story nationally aired by the 7.30 Report: http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2015/s4222652.htm

“After testing 179 water, rock and soil samples, they’ve found the source water is clean and the lead contamination is coming from old pipes, infrastructure and the household plumbing. MARK TAYLOR: The natural catchment waters are not contaminating the drinking water supply. That contamination is coming from the infrastructure that is in the town and in people’s homes. MICHAEL ATKIN: The most alarming finding is lead levels inside houses in Pioneer are 22 times above the safe drinking standard. MARK TAYLOR: It’s pretty clear that these numbers that we can see coming out of people’s taps are the worst that we’ve seen in Australia.

Oddly enough these massively high lead levels detected at Pioneer were not reflected in the data provided by the TasWater RTI. It is also strange that Rosebery had recorded a level of lead 5 times higher than that of Winneleah, in August 2013, yet a similar focus on Rosebery’s lead crisis avoided media scrutiny. The average lead detection at Pioneer 2013/14 was 73.7% of the Australian Drinking Water Guideline

Highest Lead detection Pioneer 2013/14: 12ug/L

A Snapshot of Tasmanian Non-Microbiological Detections in Drinking Water July 2013-June 2014. Selected Breaches of Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (Friends of the Earth Australia)

Pioneer – (Tasmania) – Aluminium

June 3 2014: Pioneer (Tasmania) – Aluminium 1.9863mg/L

August 25 2015: Pioneer (Tasmania) – Aluminium 0.816 mg/L

August 25 2015: Pioneer (Tasmania) – Aluminium (Dissolved) 0.567 mg/L

According to the ADWG, no health guideline has been adopted for Aluminium, but that the issue is still open to review. Aluminium can come from natural geological sources or from the use of aluminium salts as coagulants in water treatment plants. According to the ADWG “A well-operated water filtration plant (even using aluminium as a flocculant) can achieve aluminium concentrations in the finished water of less than 0.1 mg/L.

The most common form of aluminium in water treatment plants is Aluminium Sulfate (Alum). Alum can be supplied as a bulk liquid or in granular form. It is used at water treatment plants as a coagulant to remove turbidity, microorganisms, organic matter and inorganic chemicals. If water is particularly dirty an Alum dose of as high as 500mg/L could occur. There is also concern that other metals may also exist in refined alum.

While the ADWG mentions that there is considerable evidence that Aluminium is neurotoxic and can pass the gut barrier to accumulate in the blood, leading to a condition called encephalopathy (dialysis dementia) and that Aluminium has been associated with Parkinsonism dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the NHMRC, whilst also acknowledging studies which have linked Aluminium with Alzheimer disease, has not granted Aluminium a NOEL (No Observable Effect Level) due to insufficient and contradictory data. Without a NOEL, a health guideline cannot be established. The NHMRC has also stated that if new information comes to hand, a health guideline may be established in the future.

In communication with Aluminium expert Dr Chris Exley (Professor in Bioinorganic Chemistry
The Birchall Centre, Lennard-Jones Laboratories, Keele University, Staffordshire UK) in March 2013 regarding high levels of Aluminium detected in the South Western Victorian town of Hamilton
“It is my opinion that any value above 0.5 mg/L is totally unacceptable and a potential health risk. Where such values are maintained over days, weeks or even months, as indeed is indicated by the data you sent to me, these represent a significant health risk to all consumers. While consumers may not experience any short term health effects the result of longer term exposure to elevated levels of aluminium in potable waters may be a significant increase in the body burden of aluminium in these individuals. This artificially increased body burden will not return to ‘normal’ levels when the Al content of the potable water returns to normal but will act as a new platform level from which the Al body burden will continue to increase with age.

Pioneer –  (Tasmania) – Colour

August 25 2015: Pioneer (Tasmania) – Colour Apparent 202 PCU

November 17 2015: Pioneer (Tasmania) – Colour Apparent 195 PCU

March 22 2016: Pioneer (Tasmania) – Colour Apparent 199 PCU

June 21 2016: Pioneer (Tasmania) – Colour Apparent 118 PCU

Based on aesthetic considerations, true colour in drinking water should not exceed 15 HU.

“… Colour is generally related to organic content, and while colour derived from natural sources such as humic and fulvic acids is not a health consideration, chlorination of such water can produce a variety of chlorinated organic compounds as by-products (see Section 6.3.2 on disinfection by-products). If the colour is high at the time of disinfection, then the water should be checked for disinfection by-products. It should be noted, however, that low colour at the time of disinfection does not necessarily mean that the concentration of disinfection by-products will be low…” ADWG 2011

Pioneer – Tasmania – Iron

August 25 2015: Pioneer (Tasmania) – Iron 776ug/L

November 17 2015: Pioneer (Tasmania) – Iron 1660ug/L

November 17 2015: Pioneer (Tasmania) – Iron (dissolved) 902ug/L

March 22 2016: Pioneer (Tasmania) – Iron 1880ug/L

March 22 2016: Pioneer (Tasmania) – Iron (dissolved) 368ug/L

June 21 2016: Pioneer (Tasmania) – Iron 895ug/L


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

Pioneer (Tasmania) – Manganese

March 22 2016: Pioneer (Tasmania) – Manganese 0.134mg/L

Manganese: ADWG Guidelines 0.5mg/L. ADWG Aesthetic Guideline 0.1mg/L
Manganese is found in the natural environment. Manganese in drinking water above 0.1mg/L can give water an unpleasant taste and stain plumbling fixtures and laundry.

Pioneer (Tasmania) – pH (acidic)

Average pH: 2015 July-2016 June: 6.099 pH 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.

Pioneer – Tasmania – Temperature

December 15 2016: Pioneer (Tasmania) – Temperature 22.2C

January 27 2016: Pioneer (Tasmania) – Temperature 20.2C

February  9 2016: Pioneer (Tasmania) – Temperature 21C

March 3 2016: Pioneer (Tasmania) – Temperature 20.5C


“No guideline is set due to the impracticality of controlling water temperature.
Drinking water temperatures above 20°C may result in an increase in the number of

Temperature is primarily an aesthetic criterion for drinking water. Generally, cool water is more palatable than warm or cold water. In general, consumers will react to a change in water temperature. Complaints are most frequent when the temperature suddenly increases.

The turbidity and colour of filtered water may be indirectly affected by temperature, as low water temperatures tend to decrease the efficiency of water treatment processes by, for instance, affecting floc formation rates and sedimentation efficiency.

Chemical reaction rates increase with temperature, and this can lead to greater corrosion of pipes and fittings in closed systems. Scale formation in hard waters will also be greater at higher temperatures…

Water temperatures in major Australian reticulated supplies range from 10°C to 30°C. In some long, above-ground pipelines, water temperatures up to 45°C may be experienced…

The effectiveness of chlorine as a disinfectant is influenced by the temperature of the water being dosed. Generally higher temperatures result in more effective disinfection at a particular chlorine dose, but this may be counterbalanced by a more rapid loss of chlorine to the atmosphere (AWWA 1990).

Pioneer – Tasmania – Turbidity

November 10 2015: Pioneer (Tasmania) – Turbidity 6.11 NTU

December 15 2015: Pioneer (Tasmania) – Turbidity 6.65 NTU

January 27 2016: Pioneer (Tasmania) – Turbidity 9.63 NTU

April 19 2016: Pioneer (Tasmania) – Turbidity 7.79 NTU

May 17 2016: Pioneer (Tasmania) – Turbidity 13.3 NTU

June 15 2016: Pioneer (Tasmania) – Turbidity 13.8 NTU

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.