2014/15 + 2018/19 – Bairnsdale (Victoria) – Turbidity, Radionuclides

Bairnsdale – Victoria – Turbidity

2014/15: Bairnsdale (Victoria) – Turbidity 5.2 NTU (Maximum detection during year)

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.

Bairnsdale – Radionuclides

2018/19: Bairnsdale Bore Water 0.41 (Bq/L). Bairnsdale Bore Sample. (82% guideline value)

Radionuclides (Other beta- and gamma-emitting)

No specific guideline values are set for beta- or gamma-emitting radionuclides.
Specific beta- or gamma-emitting radionuclides should be identified and determined only
if gross beta radioactivity (after subtracting the contribution of potassium-40) exceeds 0.5 Bq/L (27.6 Bq of beta activity per gram of stable potassium).


Several radionuclides that are classified as beta-particle or gamma-ray emitters may occasionally be present in drinking water. The significant long-lived nuclides in this group are the naturally occurring isotopes potassium-40, lead-210 and radium-228, and artificial radionuclides caesium-137 and strontium-90. Tritium, another nuclide in this group, is present in the environment both from natural sources and as a result of nuclear fall-out and nuclear power generation.

Levels of strontium-90 and caesium-137 in the Australian environment have decreased substantially since atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons ceased, and these radionuclides are not detectable in drinking water. In the absence of a nuclear power industry in Australia, these nuclides are likely to be present in significant concentrations in drinking water only as a result of transient contamination following an event such as a nuclear accident.

Potassium‑40 occurs naturally in a fixed ratio to stable potassium. Potassium is an essential element for humans, and is absorbed mainly from ingested food. Potassium-40 does not accumulate in the body but is maintained at a constant level independent of intake. The average concentration of potassium in an adult male is about 2 g/kg of bodyweight, which gives an activity mass concentration of potassium-40 of 60 Bq per kg of bodyweight. The corresponding value for females is slightly less.

Lead-210, like radium-226, is a decay product of the uranium-238 series. Food is the most important route by which lead-210 enters the human body, and the annual intake depends on diet: highest concentrations are found in fish and other aquatic species. Generally, lead-210 concentrations in drinking water are considerably less than concentrations of either radium-226 or radium-228.

Concentrations of potassium-40 in Australian drinking water supplies vary widely, from below 0.05 Bq/L in surface water sources to more that 1 Bq/L in some supplies drawn from groundwater.
There are only limited data on concentrations of other beta- or gamma-emitting radionuclides such as lead-210, strontium-90 and caesium-137 in Australian drinking water supplies. Lead-210 concentrations are probably below 0.05 Bq/L and concentrations of artificial radionuclides are negligible.