How Do I Interpret My Water Test Results?

7 months ago | by

Bore Water Test

How do I interpret my water test results?

Your test report will contain your results as well as a column containing the guideline values from the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. There will also be some notes at the bottom of your test report with further explanations.

Further information for each parameter tested as part of our shortwater package is provided below.

If you would like an explanation of your test results you can call the laboratory on 02 6648 4460 and one of our qualified technical officers can assist.

ParameterAustralian Drinking Water Guideline ValueDescription
pH6.5 – 8.5A pH of 7 is neutral, greater than 7 is alkaline, and less than 7 is acidic. Water with a pH below 6.5 or above 11 can corrode plumbing fittings and pipes. This can release harmful metals such as lead or copper. Water with a pH above 8.5 can cause deposition on pipes.
Total Dissolved Solids<600 mg/LDissolved material, usually salts, can affect taste. Water with high TDS may cause scale on the inside of plumbing fittings and pipes or lead to corrosion. No health effects have been associated with specifically high TDS concentrations.
Conductivityn/aConductivity of water is directly related to the total concentration of ions in the water and is used to calculate other parameters such as total dissolved solids and salinity.
Salinity<1 pptSalinity is a measure of the content of salts in water. Salinity may be produced from natural processes such as weathering of rocks and from irrigation or industrial processes. High levels of salinity may cause corrosion in pipes and fittings.
Turbidity<5 NTU (<1 NTU is desirable)Turbidity is caused by the presence of fine suspended matter in water. Water with a turbidity above 5 NTU may be noticeable in a glass as a cloudy or muddy appearance. Turbidity greater than 1 NTU can shield some microorganisms from disinfection.
Calcium Hardness60 – 200mg/LHardness is caused by magnesium and calcium salts. Water with a hardness greater than 200mg/L may lead to excess scaling of pipes and fittings, is difficult to lather, and can also lead to taste problems. Water with hardness of less than 60mg/L may increase corrosion depending on other factors such as alkalinity and pH. There is limited evidence that soft water may adversely affect mineral balance.
Alkalinity Alkalinity is the sum of carbonate, bicarbonate and hydroxide content. Alkalinity is used to calculate the Langelier Index which is used as a general indication of potential corrosion.
Aluminium0.2 mg/LAluminium may be present in water through natural leaching from soil and rock, or from water treatment and industrial processes. Aluminium has been associated with neurotoxicity and neurodegenerative diseases.
Arsenic0.01 mg/LArsenic is a naturally occurring element which can be introduced into water through the dissolution of minerals and ores, from industrial effluent, atmospheric deposition, or drainage from old gold mines. Consumption of elevated levels of arsenic through drinking water is causally related to the development of cancer at several sites, particularly skin, bladder, kidney and lung.
Boron4 mg/LBoron can be present in drinking water through the natural leaching of boron-containing minerals or contamination from fertilisers, algicides, herbicides, insecticides or industrial processes. Symptoms of boron poisoning include gastrointestinal disturbances, skin eruptions, and central nervous system stimulation and depression.
Cadmium0.002 mg/LCadmium may enter water supplies from impurities in galvanised pipes, solders used in fittings, heaters, water coolers, and taps, fertilisers, or waste from metallurgical industries. Long-term consumption of water with high cadmium levels can cause kidney dysfunction.
Calcium Calcium is a contributor to Total Dissolved Solids, alkalinity and hardness. Excessive calcium can cause rapid build-up of deposits or scale in hot water pipes and fittings.
Chromium0.05 mg/LChromium is found in soil and rocks and industrial waste discharges. Consumption of water with high levels of chromium can cause cancers.
Copper2 mg/L (health) 1 mg/L (aesthetic)Copper is widely distributed in rocks and soils, and is used in water supply pipes and fittings. The taste threshold for copper is in the range of 1 – 5 mg/L. Concentrations above 1mg/L may cause blue or green stains. Copper consumption can cause nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, cirrhosis of the liver and in severe cases death.
Iron0.3 mg/LIron occurs commonly in soil and rocks and has many domestic uses and industrial applications. Iron has a taste threshold in water of about 0.3mg/L and becomes objectionable above 3mg/L. High iron concentrations give water a rust-brown appearance and can cause staining of laundry and plumbing fittings.
Lead0.01 mg/LLead may enter a water supply from natural sources or from pipes, solder or roof flashings. Lead is a toxic heavy metal that can affect the central nervous system, cause kidney damage and interfere with red blood cell production and calcium metabolism. Infants, fetuses and pregnant women are most susceptible to lead poisoning.
Magnesium Magnesium is a contributor to Total Dissolved Solids and hardness. Excessive magnesium can cause rapid build-up of deposits or scale in hot water pipes and fittings.
Manganese0.1 mg/LManganese is likely to enter water supplies from natural sources or contaminated sites. At concentrations exceeding 0.1 mg/L manganese imparts an undesirable taste and stains laundry and plumbing fittings. Manganese is an essential element and is required for normal growth. Manganese deficiency may be associated with anaemia and bone disorders in children.
Nickel0.02 mg/LNickel may enter water supplies from burning fossil fuels or from nickel-plated tap and plumbing fittings. Long-term exposure may result in toxic effects to the kidney.
Potassium Potassium is a contributor to Total Dissolved Solids. Excessive potassium can cause rapid build-up of deposits or scale in hot water pipes and fittings.
Sodium180 mg/LSodium 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 also contribute to sodium in water supplies. While there is evidence linking excessive sodium intake with cardiovascular disease, sodium intake via the water supply only makes a modest contribution to the total intake. People with severe hypertension or congestive heart failure may need to restrict their overall dietary intake of sodium if the concentration in drinking water exceeds 20mg/L. The guideline value for sodium is based on the taste threshold.
Zinc3 mg/LZinc is widely distributed and occurs naturally in almost all rocks. It is used as a coating to prevent corrosion of iron and steel products. Taste problems can occur if the concentration of zinc in drinking water exceeds 3mg/L. Consumption of very high amounts of zinc can result in nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal cramps.
E. Coli0 cfu/100mLThe presence of E.Coli indicates faecal contamination of water and the possible presence of enteric disease-causing microorganisms.
Langelier Index Langelier index is used as a general indication of potential corrosion and is affected by the pH, total dissolved solids and alkalinity. A langelier index of < -2.0 is considered highly aggressive and can cause significant corrosion. A langelier index of between -2.0 and 0.0 is considered moderately aggressive and may cause corrosion. A langelier index greater than 0.0 is considered non-aggressive.