2016/22: Kingaroy (Queensand) – E.coli, Trihalomethanes, Hardness, Colour, Turbidity, Sodium, Chloride, Iron, Silica, Total Dissolved Solids

Mayor Says Kingaroy Water Safe

March 21, 2022

South Burnett Regional Council has reassured residents Kingaroy’s water supply is safe following the discovery of two bodies in Gordonbrook Dam on Saturday.

The dam is the primary water source for Kingaroy, and normally uses a blend of 70 per cent water from Boondooma Dam and 30 per cent from Gordonbrook.

Mayor Brett Otto said the Council became aware of the issue on Saturday night and immediately switched to 100 per cent Boondooma water.

However, he stressed this was not a reflection on water quality or safety.

“Council undertakes regular testing of the water supply, both raw and treated, from all water supply sites, including Gordonbrook Dam,” the Mayor said.

“This monitoring ensures all water meets health guidelines before it enters the reticulation system.”

He said ongoing testing over the past month had raised no anomalies.

“At this stage, South Burnett Regional Council is currently drawing 100 per cent of raw water from Boondooma Dam, and will continue to do so until circumstances change,” Mayor Otto said.

“Council and the water treatment plant operators will continue to work with Queensland Health to ensure the safety and reliability of the water supply to Kingaroy.”

He said Council’s contacts with the Darling Downs Public Health Unit indicated they had no concerns about the quality of treated water from the site.

Speaking to southburnett.com.au, Mayor Otto said the switch to Boondooma Dam water had not been due to concerns about water quality but was simply to alleviate any anxiety in the community.

2016/17 – Kingaroy (Queensland) – E.coli

The 2nd non-compliance was detection of E.coli sampled on 26/11/2016 of 6 mpn/100mL located at the Drive In reservoir.

South Burnett Regional Council Annual Drinking Water Quality Management Plan 2016/17

“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

2014/17 – Kingaroy (Queensland) – Trihalomethanes

2016/17: Kingaroy (Queensland) Trihalomethanes 277μg/L (max) [site King 5]

2016/17: Kingaroy (Queensland) Trihalomethanes 277μg/L (max) [site King 6]

2017/18: Kingaroy (Queensland) Trihalomethanes 290μg/L (max), 200.89μg/L (av.) [site King 6]

2016/17: Kingaroy (Queensland) Trihalomethanes 321μg/L (max) [site King 9]

2017/18: Kingaroy (Queensland) Trihalomethanes 320μg/L (max), 236.33μg/L (av.) [site King 9]

2017/18: Kingaroy (Queensland) Trihalomethanes 250μg/L (max), 185.91μg/L (av.) [site King 3]

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”. US EPA

Council still working to ensure Kingaroy water safe for pregnant women


The South Burnett council says it is working with health authorities to ensure Kingaroy’s water is safe for pregnant women to drink.

The council raised the alarm last week as a precaution after testing at the Kingaroy water treatment plant found elevated levels of trihalomethanes (THMs).

Mayor Wayne Kratzmann says tap water should be safe by the end of the week.

“Our staff will continue to monitor and work with Queensland Health,” he said.

“It is a result we believe of chlorination of organic matter that’s found in raw water supply. All Australian reticulated water supplies have these THMs, just they’ve escalated to a higher level so we wanted to make sure that the precaution was taken for women who are pregnant.

“We just want to go through this and make sure that we get these levels down, these trihalomethanes and once that’s done we’ll advise everyone accordingly.

“We’re working with Darling Downs Public Health Unit as well, so as soon as we can get the levels down as soon as possible we’ll let everybody know.”

Kingaroy Water Quality ‘Improving’


February 26, 2014

South Burnett Regional Council is confident Kingaroy’s water supply will get the “all clear” soon following recent tests of the supply.

On January 22, Council alerted pregnant women to the presence of elevated levels of trihalomethanes (THMs) in the Kingaroy water supply and advised them not to drink the water.

This warning is still in place despite the switch of supply from Gordonbrook Dam to Boondooma Dam as it takes time to flush the system.

SBRC General Manager Infrastructure Russell Hood told southburnett.com.au today Council had been conducting weekly tests at six points in Kingaroy to measure THM levels.

The latest test indicated levels were now below the maximum level recommended in the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG).

The ADWG guidelines recommend that THM levels in drinking water should not exceed 250 micrograms/litre however concentrations of 1000 micrograms/litre for short periods are unlikely to pose a serious health risk.

Mr Hood said the THM level when the alert was issued was between 400 and 500 micrograms per litre.

The latest tests showed this had now dropped to below 200 micrograms/litre.

He said Council would now complete two more tests. If the results of these tests were still below the recommended maximum level, Council would approach Queensland Health on Wednesday or Thursday next week to issue the “all clear”.

THMs are a by-product of the disinfecting process of reticulated water. They are created when chlorine is added to the water.

However, not adding chlorine – which kills bacteria – would pose a far greater risk to consumers.

The ADWG states: “Action to reduce THMs is encouraged, but must not compromise disinfection, as non-disinfected water poses significantly greater risk than THMs.”

Mr Hood said Council had an allocation to receive water from Boondooma Dam until June when it would be renegotiated.

Kingaroy – (Queensland) – Hardness

2016/17: Kingaroy (Queensland) – Hardness 436mg/L (Highest Detection), (Site Boon R)

2016/17: Kingaroy (Queensland) – Hardness 661mg/L (Highest Detection), (Site Gord R)

2016/17: Kingaroy (Queensland) – Hardness 636mg/L (Highest Detection), (Site Gord B)

2017/18: Kingaroy (Queensland) – Hardness 396mg/L (max), 329.8mg/L (av.) (Site Gord R)

2017/18: Kingaroy (Queensland) – Hardness 327mg/L (max), 181.1mg/L (av.) (Site Gord B)


“To minimise undesirable build‑up of scale in hot water systems, total hardness (as calcium
carbonate) in drinking water should not exceed 200 mg/L.

Hard water requires more soap than soft water to obtain a lather. It can also cause scale to form on hot water pipes and fittings. Hardness is caused primarily by the presence of calcium and magnesium ions, although other cations such as strontium, iron, manganese and barium can also contribute.”

Australian Drinking Water Guidelines 2011

Kingaroy  (Queensland) – Colour

2016/17: Kingaroy (Queensland) – Colour 52 (max) [site Boon R]

2016/17: Kingaroy (Queensland) – Colour 63 (max) [site Gord R]

2016/17: Kingaroy (Queensland) – Colour 100 (max) [site Gord B]

2017/18: Kingaroy (Queensland) – Colour 23 (max), 17.5 (av.) [site Gord R]

2017/18: Kingaroy (Queensland) – Colour 23 (max), 14.5 (av.) [site Gord B]

1 breach during the year

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…

Kingaroy (Queensland) – Turbidity

2016/17: Kingaroy (Queensland) – Turbidity 51 NTU? (Max). [site Boon R)

2016/17: Kingaroy (Queensland) – Turbidity 69 NTU? (Max). [site Gord R)

2016/17: Kingaroy (Queensland) – Turbidity 40 NTU? (Max). [site Gord B)

2017/18: Kingaroy (Queensland) – Turbidity 7 NTU (Max), 1.4NTU av. [site Boon R)

2017/18: Kingaroy (Queensland) – Turbidity 10 NTU (Max), 4.8NTU (av.). [site Gord R)

2017/18: Kingaroy (Queensland) – Turbidity 12 NTU (Max), 2.7NTU (av.). [site Gord B)

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.

2016/17 – Kingaroy (Queensland) – Sodium

2016/17: Kingaroy (Queensland) – Sodium 180mg/L (max) [site Boon R]

2016/17: Kingaroy (Queensland) – Sodium 330mg/L (max) [site Gord R]

2016/17: Kingaroy (Queensland) – Sodium 310mg/L (max) [site Gord B]

“Based on aesthetic considerations (taste), the concentration of sodium in drinking water
should not exceed 180 mg/L….The sodium ion is widespread in water due to the high solubility of sodium salts and the abundance of mineral deposits. Near coastal areas, windborne sea spray can make an important contribution either by fallout onto land surfaces where it can drain to drinking water sources, or from washout by rain. Apart from saline intrusion and natural contamination, water treatment chemicals, domestic water softeners and
sewage effluent can contribute to the sodium content of drinking water.” ADWG 2011

2016/17 – Kingaroy (Queensland) – Chloride

2016/17: Kingaroy (Queensland)  Chloride 490mg/L (Highest Level) [site Boon R]

2016/17: Kingaroy (Queensland)  Chloride 910mg/L (Highest Level) [site Gord R]

2016/17: Kingaroy (Queensland)  Chloride 850mg/L (Highest Level) [site Gord B]

“Chloride is present in natural waters from the dissolution of salt deposits, and contamination from effluent disposal. Sodium chloride is widely used in the production of industrial chemicals such as caustic soda, chlorine, and sodium chlorite and hypochlorite. Potassium chloride is used in the production of fertilisers.

The taste threshold of chloride in water is dependent on the associated cation but is in the range 200–300 mg/L. The chloride content of water can affect corrosion of pipes and fittings. It can also affect the solubility of metal ions.

In surface water, the concentration of chloride is usually less than 100 mg/L and frequently below 10 mg/L. Groundwater can have higher concentrations, particularly if there is salt water intrusion.

Based on aesthetic considerations, the chloride concentration in drinking water should not exceed 250 mg/L.

No health-based guideline value is proposed for chloride.” 2011 Australian Drinking Water Guidelines

Kingaroy (Queensland)  – Iron

2016/17: Kingaroy (Queensland)  – Iron 12mg/L? (Highest level only) [site Boon R]

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

2016/17 – Kingaroy (Queensland) – Silica

2016/17 – Kingaroy (Queensland) – Silica 1420mg/L (highest level) (site Gord R)

To minimise an undesirable scale build up on surfaces, silica (SiO2) within drinking waters should not exceed 80 mg/L.
Silica present in water is usually referred to as amorphous silica (i.e. lacking any crystalline structure). When silica is dissolved within water it forms monosilicic acid:
SiO2 + 2H2O à Si(OH)4
When the concentrations of monosilicic acid increase, polymerisation of the silica occurs, forming polysilicic acids followed by formation of colloidal silica. Monosilicic acid and polysilicic acids are the forms of silica analysed when determining dissolved silica content.
The deposition of silica from solutions can occur via various mechanisms. The deposition of silica that can cause the most problems for the water industry is via silica’s ability to deposit on solid surfaces that have hydroxyl (OH) groups present. Surfaces that commonly have hydroxyl groups present are glass and metallic surfaces. For example, dissolved silica will react with the surfaces of glass and begin to form a white precipitate. The silica forms silicates on the surface, resulting in silica build-up. In cases where customer complaints occur due to scale build-up, water hardness and silica concentrations should be investigated to determine the cause.
Silica can be a problem in water treatment due to its ability to cause fouling of reverse osmosis (RO) membranes (Sheikholeslami and Tan, 1999, Ning 2002, Sahachaiyunta and Sheikholeslami 2002). This occurs when the dissolved silica of the concentrate becomes super-saturated, causing silicates to form in the presence of metals, and these deposit on the membrane surface. The silicate then dehydrates, forming hard layers on the membrane that reduce the effectiveness of the process… 2011 ADWG

2016/18 – Kingaroy (Queensland) – Total Dissolved Solids

2016/17: Kingaroy – Queensland Total Dissolved Solids 1480mg/L? (high) (site Gord R)
2016/17: Kingaroy – Queensland Total Dissolved Solids 1420mg/L? (high) (site Gord B)
2017/18: Kingaroy – Queensland Total Dissolved Solids 822mg/L? (max), 685.4mg/L (av.) (site Gord R)
2017/18: Kingaroy – Queensland Total Dissolved Solids 675mg/L? (max), 398.5 (av.) (site Gord B)


“No specific health guideline value is provided for total dissolved solids (TDS), as there are no
health effects directly attributable to TDS. However for good palatability total dissolved solids
in drinking water should not exceed 600 mg/L.