2014/20: Strahan (Manuka River – Tasmania) – E.coli, Aluminium, Turbidity, Total Haloacetic Acids, Iron

Manuka River Strahan (Tasmania) – E.coli

February 23 2016: Manuka River Strahan (Tasmania) Regatta Point – E.coli 167.4 MPN100/mL

E.coli detection of 1 MPN/100mL on 21/3/2017 at 204SNSP0003 Strahan / Harvey St Sample Point. Incident was declared and site was closely examined for: chlorine residual; filtered water performance; possible weak points; and breakage history. System was flushed and re-sampled 23/03/2017. The investigation did not identify the cause of the failure. The re-sample was clear of contamination.

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

Strahan – Manuka River (Tasmania) – Aluminium

June 3 2014: Strahan (Tasmania) – Manuka River – Aluminium 1.74 mg/L

February 4 2014: Strahan (Tasmania) – Manuka River – Aluminium 1.72 mg/L

October 8 2014: Strahan (Tasmania) – Manuka River – Aluminium 1.72 mg/L

November 6 2013: Strahan (Tasmania) – Manuka River – Aluminium 1.67 mg/L

May 6 2013: Strahan (Tasmania) – Manuka River – Aluminium 1.4 mg/L

Average Aluminium Levels Strahan (Manuka River) 2013/14 according to RTI data: 1.13975mg/L

September 15 2015: Strahan (Tasmania) – Aluminium 0.516 mg/L

September 15 2015: Strahan (Tasmania) – Aluminium Acid Soluble 0.515 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.

Strahan (Manuka River) – Tasmania – Turbidity

January 12 2016: Strahan (Tasmania) – Letts Bay – Turbidity 9.03 NTU

January 19 2016: Strahan (Tasmania) – Letts Bay – Turbidity 6.28 NTU

2017/18 Strahan (Manuka River) Turbidity 16.3 NTU (max), 0.58 NTU (mean)

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.

Strahan (Tasmania) – HAA’s

9/10/19: Strahan (Tasmania) Total Haloacetic Acid (HAA7) 114 ug/L

Australian Guidelines Trichloroacetic Acid 0.100mg/L, Dichloroacetic Acid 0.100mg/L

“Chloroacetic acids are produced in drinking water as by-products of the reaction between chlorine and naturally occurring humic and fulvic acids. Concentrations reported overseas range up to 0.16mg/L and are typically about half the chloroform concentration. The chloroacetic acids are used commercially as reagents or intermediates in the preparation of a wide variety of chemicals. Monochloroacetic acid can be used as a pre-emergent herbicide, dichloroacetic acid as an ingredient in some pharmaceutical products, and trichloroacetic acid as a herbicide, soil sterilant and antiseptic.” Australian Drinking Water Guidelines – National Health and Medical Research Council…

22/1/20: Strahan (Tasmania) – Iron

22/1/20: Strahan (Tasmania) – Iron 0.4152mg/L (max)

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