Working with our clients, ECE can develop Water Quality Risk Management Plan, WQRMP, designed to align with management frameworks and to serve as a key reference for persons who are responsible for water quality and its management.

As a central point of reference there are clear sets of guidelines and processes that help enable fit for purpose applications of water, such as raw water, potable water, recycled water and cooling tower systems. The WQRMP centralises the key areas of water management such as monitoring schedues, training and trigger action response plans (TARPs) so as to allow industry to demonstrate due diligence as well as meet appropriate obligations prescribed by Government Regulations and Acts.

WQRMPs developed to our clients’ needs can also later be expanded to include other types of waters such as sewage, final effluents, hot water systems, cooling systems – Legionellae, kitchen grease traps and recycled waters.

  1. ECE Compliance of reporting is vital with so many subtleties that if not presented correctly can potentially undermine the validity of your reported data.
  2. Sample receipt and preservation times – are you certain that the laboratory you are using is providing laboratory analysis times and not just receipt at their postal hub.
  3. The ECE laboratory and field management systems as well as analyses are NATA ISO IEC 17025 accredited. This includes field SOPs and systems that can be made available to you such as:

(a) Sample collection
(b) Field analysis
(c) Field instrument calibrations including certified reference standards to challenge/check calibrations
(d) Chain of Custody – customised for your operators
(e) Data management

  1. Confidence in accredited services is essential and this is underpinned by ensuring that persons conducting the work are certified competent to do so. All employees at ECE are competent to conduct specified work, including field operations and we don’t use unqualified persons for example perhaps backpackers to collect your field samples.
    Note: The criticality of field analysis and representative sampling cannot be overstated.
  2. Bacteria suites for potable water: A scenario that focuses only on E.coli analysis is limiting and potentially introduces considerable risk. There should be at least two bacterial indicators for (a) water quality health risks and (b) water system performance.

Complete Water Management: Enviro-Check Enterprises

ECE ensures a complete water management package that in summary includes:

  1. Water industry certified water plant operators
  2. Water industry certified field operations – sample collection, pH, chlorine etc
  3. NATA accredited field procedures and reporting on the day to plant operations
  4. NATA accredited laboratory analysis; Accreditation number 14542
  5. In-time responses by virtue of lab report turnaround times of
  6. Informative reports that provide a single point of reference for all laboratory and field analysis as well as QCs and EA requirements.
  7. Nationally accredited training in water industry operations; AQTF Registration 31336
  8. Expertise in water treatment and water chemistry
  9. Expertise in water management quality assurance programs and risk management
  10. Ensured communications and coordinated responses of all stakeholders
  11. Data management and trending
  12. Support 24/7, local availability and depth of experience

Bacteria

Potable water, effluents, recycled waters, discharges and waste waters.
Our NATA report turnaround times (TATs) are 18-24hrs for all key bacteria and bacteriophage. These TATs are vital to ensure “in-time” responses for water and wastewater plant operations as well as for control of environmental discharge.

1. Key bacteria for monitoring drinking water: Arguably some operators indicate that E.coli is the principle indicator of health risks associated with water and tend to ignore other bacteria known to be medically relevant. However, consider the all too often scenario with the presence of other faECEl derived bacteria being found in a water sample in the absence of E.coli.
Should you ignore this result? No! According to many authorities, including the ADWG; From the ADWG fact sheets, “Thermotolerant coliforms 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 faECEl contamination.”(2011).

The weaknesses in an E.coli only focused scenario become even more evident when you consider the following:
(a) Numerous publications depict E.coli derived from faeces as being unable to survive outside of the gut (such as in aquatic environments), compared to the many other faECEl derived bacteria which have a greater resilience and extended life spans.
(b) There are upwards of 3000 variants of E.coli available from recognised culture collections (e.g. ATCC) and this fact should be a consideration as to whether the method your laboratory utilises can identify these as E.coli, particularly if relying on just this organism to define water quality and not the broader group, thermotolerant coliforms.
(c) Methods of detection of thermotolerant coliforms, including E.coli, can also potentially be significant. For example methods based on most probable number (multiple well/tube); as stated in the APHA, “the precision of multiple tube fermentation tests is rather low”. Furthermore it can be interpreted that precision can only be attained if several samples from that point are tested given this authority’s further statement of “ when several samples from a given sampling point are estimated separately and the results are in their geometric mean, the precision is greatly improved.”

The methods utilised by ECE to determine E.coli, thermotolerant coliforms and coliforms for drinking water are quantitative and not semi-quantitative as are MPN estimates. For drinking water our methods isolate these key organisms and allow direct quantitative counts.

2. Bacteria suites for potable water: A scenario that focuses only on E.coli analysis is limiting and potentially introduces considerable risk. There should be at least two bacterial indicators for (a) water quality health risks and (b) water system performance.

Chemistry

Water chemistry analysis programs are, for example based on application, water type, location, catchment history, industrial activity, agricultural activity, water treatment processes, health obligations, environmental obligations and other factors. Our NATA Report turnaround times (TATs) are 3-7 days for key parameters. These TATs are vital to ensure “in-time” responses for water system and plant operations.
– Priority TATs are available whereby results can be issued within 2-24 hrs for many key parameters

Legionellae

Water aerosols, cooling systems, showers and risk management
ECE will help ensure your management of risks associated with Legionellae is measured and controlled by:

(a) Conducting risk assessments and recognising applications of high risk plant such as cooling systems verses other activities such as vehicle wash down systems.
(b) Conducting laboratory analysis as prescribed by current Australian Standards (ASNZS 3896) for Legionellae, a legal requirement of this reportable disease.
(c) Utilising water management practices aligned with those prescribed for cooling systems, such as from ASNZS 3666, SSASNZ HB32 and others to develop maintenance programs as well as Trigger Action Response Plans.

Blue Green Algae or Cyanobacteria

These organisms present considerable risk to community health particularly through direct exposure via drinking water if not treated as well as by secondary exposure via skin contact through swimming or wetting. The toxins produced by these algae are strongly implicated in being causative agents of liver disease as well as neurological disorders such as moto neuron disease. These toxins appear to bio-accumulate and therefore it is imperative to eliminate exposure.
– Peer reviewed scientific publications and publications by authorities such as Water Quality Research Australia (report 74) describe risks and toxin exposure limits but also include qualifying statements that describe the available data as being limited.

Thus monitoring schedules and laboratory analyses of Cyanobacteria or BGA are vital both in terms of representative counts as well as the presence of toxins.

ECE can also assist with your assessment of water treatment systems in order to help ensure removal of algal cells but most importantly to advise regarding the barriers required to help remove potential toxin associated with these photosynthetic organisms.

Note: There are other hazards and implications that BGA can have on water quality that ECE can also help to address.