2015/16 – Morven (Queensland) – Zinc

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Morven (Queensland) – Zinc

2015/16: Morven (Queensland) – Zinc 7.8mg/L

Based on aesthetic considerations (taste), the concentration of zinc in drinking water should
be less than 3 mg/L. No health-based guideline value is proposed for zinc.

Zinc is widely distributed and occurs in small amounts in almost all rocks, commonly as the sulfide. It is used as a coating to prevent corrosion of iron and steel products, and in the manufacture of brass. Zinc oxide is an important component in the manufacture of paint and rubber products, including tyres.

In surface and ground waters, the concentration of zinc from natural leaching is usually less than 0.01 mg/L. Tap water can contain much higher concentrations as a result of corrosion of zinc-coated pipes and fittings. Zinc concentrations in galvanised iron rainwater tanks are typically 2 mg/L to 4 mg/L but have been reported as high as 11 mg/L.

Taste problems can occur if the zinc concentration in drinking water exceeds 3 mg/L. Water with a zinc concentration above 5 mg/L tends to be opalescent, develops a greasy film when boiled, and has an undesirable dry ‘metallic’ taste. Zinc is present in plant and animal tissues, and food is the major source of zinc intake. Drinking water usually makes a negligible contribution to total intake. 2011 ADWG