Improving Water Quality in Australian Schools and Hospitals

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The testing regime was selected after careful examination of current Australian Standards such as AS/NZS 4020:2018 and AS/NZS 5667.5:1998 – Water quality – Sampling – Part 5: Guidance on sampling of drinking water and water used for food and beverage processing. 22 Reference was also made to other Australian authorities including the 2016 study performed by Macquarie University, and later during testing to enHealth’s June 2019 draft guideline

‘Reducing exposure to metals in drinking water from plumbing products’. 23 In addition, overseas guidelines such as those issued by Health Canada in 2017 24 and by the USA’s EPA in 2016, were also cross referenced. Based on this information, and after consulting several NATA approved laboratories, the following methodology was used:

First Draw-Off This is the option recommended by the reference material when testing for the effects of different materials on the water quality coming out of the taps. Typically, first draw samples will result in a higher concentration of lead than a flushed sample if the end of line fitting is the primary cause.

24 Hour Stagnation Time This is the highest stagnation time in the reference material and what is used for some testing in AS/NZS 4020. Typically, a longer stagnation time will result in higher lead concentrations than shorter stagnation times.

80ml Sample Sizes This is the typical size of bottles used by NATA testing laboratories in WA when conducting infield water quality testing. Typically, a smaller sample size will have a higher lead concentration than a larger sample size if the end of line fitting/tap is the primary cause.

The testing was performed in a controlled laboratory at the UWA utilising custom made testing apparatus. Deionised water was used to minimise the potential of lead being introduced into the tests via the water supply. It should be noted that deionised water is considered aggressive on certain materials, so any resultant leaching could be higher than is expected in the field.

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