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Integrating Resource Management

Water Analysis

The quality of our water; be it for Human Consumption, Agriculture, Horticulture, Aquaculture, or to identify contamination or to monitor the Environmental Health of Waterways is critically important.  Within out laboratory at Forrestdale we test water samples in accordance with the Australian Standards (AS 4020) using sophisticated analytical equipment, such as an Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer (AAS), spectrophotometry (UV/VIS) and High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC).  

Samples can be analysed for the Bioscience standard potability suite:

  • electrical conductivity
  • pH
  • ammonia
  • nitrate
  • phosphate
  • sulphate
  • carbonate
  • chloride
  • potassium
  • calcium
  • magnesium
  • sodium
  • iron
  • manganese
  • copper
  • zinc
  • .
The average turn-around-time for analysis is five working days.  Many other non-routine and regulatory compliance analytes can be tested, including heavy metals such as arsenic, mercury, lead. In addition to chemical analysis we also perform Microbiological examinations, or Chlorophyll α and Phaeophytin measurements are available where eutrophication is a concern.  

A minimum volume of 500 ml is required for chemical analysis. 

When collecting water, ensure the sample containers are clean and free from contamination.  Wash containers in a phosphate-free detergent and rinse thoroughly.  Low density polyethylene bottles are preferred however; soft glasses may be used if the samples are stored for only a short period of time.


Sample Collection Methods

To ensure the sample is representative of the water source: Surface waters (dams & lakes) - collect a representative sample by collecting three random samples of equal volume 500 mm below the surface. Streams and rivers - sample the middle of the stream at mid depth. 

Bore water - allow the water to flow for at least 10 minutes before collecting the sample. 

The chemical composition of samples can change during storage. Avoid aeration of the sample. Fill bottles to the top with no air and seal as soon as possible.
Transport to our laboratory as soon as possible to avoid deterioration. Cooling down to 4°C is preferred if samples are in transport for more than 24h.