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Macova M.,University of Queensland | Toze S.,CSIRO | Toze S.,University of Queensland | Hodgers L.,CSIRO | And 3 more authors.
Water Research | Year: 2011

A bioanalytical test battery was used for monitoring organic micropollutants across an indirect potable reuse scheme testing sites across the complete water cycle from sewage to drinking water to assess the efficacy of different treatment barriers. The indirect potable reuse scheme consists of seven treatment barriers: (1) source control, (2) wastewater treatment plant, (3) microfiltration, (4) reverse osmosis, (5) advanced oxidation, (6) natural environment in a reservoir and (7) drinking water treatment plant. Bioanalytical results provide complementary information to chemical analysis on the sum of micropollutants acting together in mixtures. Six endpoints targeting the groups of chemicals with modes of toxic action of particular relevance for human and environmental health were included in the evaluation: genotoxicity, estrogenicity (endocrine disruption), neurotoxicity, phytotoxicity, dioxin-like activity and non-specific cell toxicity. The toxicity of water samples was expressed as toxic equivalent concentrations (TEQ), a measure that translates the effect of the mixtures of unknown and potentially unidentified chemicals in a water sample to the effect that a known reference compound would cause. For each bioassay a different representative reference compound was selected. In this study, the TEQ concept was applied for the first time to the umuC test indicative of genotoxicity using 4-nitroquinoline as the reference compound for direct genotoxicity and benzo[a]pyrene for genotoxicity after metabolic activation.The TEQ were observed to decrease across the seven treatment barriers in all six selected bioassays. Each bioassay showed a differentiated picture representative for a different group of chemicals and their mixture effect. The TEQ of the samples across the seven barriers were in the same order of magnitude as seen during previous individual studies in wastewater and advanced water treatment plants and reservoirs. For the first time a benchmarking was performed that allows direct comparison of different treatment technologies and covers several orders of magnitude of TEQ from highly contaminated sewage to drinking water with TEQ close or below the limit of detection. Detection limits of the bioassays were decreased in comparison to earlier studies by optimizing sample preparation and test protocols, and were comparable to or lower than the quantification limits of the routine chemical analysis, which allowed monitoring of the presence and removal of micropollutants post Barrier 2 and in drinking water. The results obtained by bioanalytical tools were reproducible, robust and consistent with previous studies assessing the effectiveness of the wastewater and advanced water treatment plants. The results of this study indicate that bioanalytical results expressed as TEQ are useful to assess removal efficiency of micropollutants throughout all treatment steps of water recycling. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Smolders A.,Queensland Bulk Water Supply Authority trading as Seqwater | Smolders A.,University of New England of Australia | Rolls R.J.,University of New England of Australia | Ryder D.,University of New England of Australia | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Environmental Management | Year: 2015

The provision of safe drinking water is a global issue, and animal production is recognized as a significant potential origin of human infectious pathogenic microorganisms within source water catchments. On-farm management can be used to mitigate livestock-derived microbial pollution in source water catchments to reduce the risk of contamination to potable water supplies. We applied a modified Before-After Control Impact (BACI) design to test if restricting the access of livestock to direct contact with streams prevented longitudinal increases in the concentrations of faecal indicator bacteria and suspended solids. Significant longitudinal increases in pollutant concentrations were detected between upstream and downstream reaches of the control crossing, whereas such increases were not detected at the treatment crossing. Therefore, while the crossing upgrade was effective in preventing cattle-derived point source pollution by between 112 and 158%, diffuse source pollution to water supplies from livestock is not ameliorated by this intervention alone. Our findings indicate that stream crossings that prevent direct contact between livestock and waterways provide a simple method for reducing pollutant loads in source water catchments, which ultimately minimises the likelihood of pathogenic microorganisms passing through source water catchments and the drinking water supply system. The efficacy of the catchment as a primary barrier to pathogenic risks to drinking water supplies would be improved with the integration of management interventions that minimise direct contact between livestock and waterways, combined with the mitigation of diffuse sources of livestock-derived faecal matter from farmland runoff to the aquatic environment. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Smolders A.,Queensland Bulk Water Supply Authority trading as Seqwater | Smolders A.,University of New England of Australia | Smolders K.,Queensland Bulk Water Supply Authority trading as Seqwater | Watkinson A.,Queensland Bulk Water Supply Authority trading as Seqwater | And 2 more authors.
Lake and Reservoir Management | Year: 2014

A previous water quality risk assessment of source water supply reservoirs in subtropical southeast Queensland (Australia) evaluated little black cormorants (Phalocrocorax sulcirostris) roosting on intake infrastructure as potentially posing an extreme risk of microbial contamination through direct deposition of fecal matter to the aquatic environment. To evaluate this risk rating, we assessed populations of little black cormorants occupying 3 intake structures across 2 reservoirs, enumerated Escherichia coli (E. coli) levels collected from fecal matter, and estimated a daily E. coli load to the reservoir for each population. Concurrently, we supplemented the existing routine monthly water quality monitoring program with targeted water sampling to measure E. coli concentrations in water at the 3 water intake points and at 2 sites without extant cormorant populations. Up to 3.9 × 1014 E. coli organisms were estimated to be produced per day by the largest population surveyed. Cormorants were present at intake sites and absent from reference sites; however, concentrations of E. coli were not significantly higher in water at intake sites compared with reference sites (p = 0.793 vs. p = 0.1069, respectively), and there was no significant relationship (p = 0.9671) between cormorant numbers and water column concentrations of E. coli. The inability to quantify significant differences in microbial concentrations among sites suggests a more intensive sampling regime is required to clarify the relative contribution of contamination sources. Populations of roosting cormorants in our study reservoirs are unlikely to pose an extreme risk to source water quality when compared to other catchment-based inputs that dominate microbial pollution. © Copyright by the North American Lake Management Society 2014.

Hawker D.W.,Griffith University | Cumming J.L.,Griffith University | Neale P.A.,University of Queensland | Bartkow M.E.,Queensland Bulk Water Supply Authority trading as Seqwater | Escher B.I.,University of Queensland
Water Research | Year: 2011

Augmentation of potable water sources by planned indirect potable reuse of wastewater is being widely considered to address growing water shortages. Environmental buffers such as lakes and dams may act as one of a series of barriers to potable water contamination stemming from micropollutants in wastewater. In South-East Queensland, Australia, current government policy is to begin indirect potable reuse of water from reverse osmosis equipped advanced water treatment plants (AWTPs) when the combined capacity of its major storages is at 40% capacity. A total of 15 organic contaminants including NDMA and bisphenol A have been publically reported as detected in recycled water from one of South-East Queensland's AWTPs, while another 98 chemicals were analysed for, but found to be below their detection limit. To assess the natural attenuation in Lake Wivenhoe, a Level III fugacity based evaluative fate model was constructed using the maximum concentrations of these contaminants detected as input data. A parallel aquivalence based model was constructed for those contaminants, such as dichloroacetic acid, dalapon and triclopyr, which are ionised in the environment of Lake Wivenhoe. A total of 247 organic chemicals of interest, including disinfection by-products, pesticides, pharmaceuticals and personal care products, xenoestrogens and industrial chemicals, were evaluated with the model to assess their potential for natural attenuation. Out of the 15 detected chemicals, trihalomethanes are expected to volatilise with concentrations in the outflow from the dam approximately 400 times lower than influent from the AWTPs. Transformation processes in water are likely to be more significant for NDMA and pharmaceuticals such as salicylic acid and paracetamol as well as for caffeine and the herbicides dalapon and triclopyr. For hydrophobic contaminants such as cholesterol and phenolic xenoestrogens such as 4-nonylphenol, 4-t-octylphenol and bisphenol A, equilibrium between water and sediments will not be attained and hence fate processes such as removal in outflow are predicted to become relatively important. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Hawker D.W.,Griffith University | Cumming J.L.,Population Health Branch | Watkinson A.,Queensland Bulk Water Supply Authority trading as Seqwater | Bartkow M.E.,Queensland Bulk Water Supply Authority trading as Seqwater
Journal of Environmental Monitoring | Year: 2011

Salts of 2,2-dichloropropionic acid, such as dalapon, are well known as herbicides and are regulated as such in potable water in Australia and elsewhere. It is also an identified disinfection by-product (DBP), but little is known about the compound's formation and typical levels from this source. This work presents results from a sampling campaign where 2,2-dichloropropionate was found at levels between 0.1 and 0.5 g l-1 in potable water samples from a major treatment plant in South East Queensland, Australia. However, levels were below the reporting limit (0.01 g l-1) in the immediate source water for the plant. Also, temporal trends in 2,2-dichloropropionate observed in treated water during sampling mirrored those of trihalomethanes albeit at much lower concentrations, suggesting that the occurrence is due to in situ formation as a DBP. This could present a regulatory dilemma in some jurisdictions. © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2011.

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