2016 – Fryerstown (Victoria) – E.coli, Lead

Center map
Fryerstown: E.coli 10orgs/100mL

30/12/16: E.coli were detected (10orgs/100mL) in a routine sample collected on 30 December 2016 at the outlet of the Fryerstown Treated Water Tanks. An investigation was undertaken in response to the detection. The findings of the investigation identified that the sample was representative of the drinking water being supplied at the time of collection and did not meet the water quality for E. coli.

An investigation into the E. coli detection was undertaken to determine the root cause. The
chlorine residual in the treated water tanks at the time of the detection was very low. Therefore,

the tanks were drained and chlorinated before being brought back online. Additional water samples were collected from the tank outlet and two sample taps in the Fryerstown water sampling locality for bacteriological analysis and all results were free of E. coli. Two pin holes were identified during the subsequent field assessment, which have been sealed, leaf debris was cleared from the roof of the tank and the tank was inspected again to confirm the rectification works. Following the positive E. coli detection, the Fryerstown tank site is being attended twice per week by operators to dose the tank with hypochlorite tablets, whereas

previously the tank was being dosed once per week.


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

7 March 2016 – Fryerstown (Victoria) – Lead

“Fryerstown: 7/3/2016: A lead sample taken as part of the sampling program returned a result
of 0.032 mg/L which exceeded the ADWG guideline value of 0.01 mg/L. The sample was
collected from a customer tap. Requested laboratory to retest the original sample. Note:
retest of the original sample returned as result of 0.031mg/L.
Two additional water samples were collected prior to corrective action, one from the original
location and a second one from another location within Fryerstown. Flushed the mains in the
vicinity of location where the sample with high lead results was collected. Additional results
all within ADWG guideline value.”

“… Lead can be present in drinking water as a result of dissolution from natural sources, or from household plumbing systems containing lead. These may include lead in pipes, or in solder used to seal joints. The amount of lead dissolved will depend on a number of factors including pH, water hardness and the standing time of the water.

Lead is the most common of the heavy metals and is mined widely throughout the world. It is used in the production of lead acid batteries, solder, alloys, cable sheathing, paint pigments, rust inhibitors, ammunition, glazes and plastic stabilisers. The organo-lead compounds tetramethyl and tetraethyl lead are used extensively as anti-knock and lubricating compounds in gasoline…

Lead can be absorbed by the body through inhalation, ingestion or placental transfer. In adults,
approximately 10% of ingested lead is absorbed but in children this figure can be 4 to 5 times higher. After absorption, the lead is distributed in soft tissue such as the kidney, liver, and bone marrow where it has a biological half-life in adults of less than 40 days, and in skeletal bone where it can persist for 20 to 30 years.

In humans, lead is a cumulative poison that can severely affect the central nervous system. Infants, fetuses and pregnant women are most susceptible. Placental transfer of lead occurs in humans as early as the 12th week of gestation and continues throughout development.

Many epidemiological studies have been carried out on the effects of lead exposure on the intellectual development of children. Although there are some conflicting results, on balance the studies demonstrate that exposure to lead can adversely affect intelligence.

These results are supported by experiments using young primates, where exposure to lead causes significant behavioural and learning difficulties of the same type as those observed in children.

Other adverse effects associated with exposure to high amounts of lead include kidney damage, interference with the production of red blood cells, and interference with the metabolism of calcium needed for bone formation…” ADWG 2011