Drinking Water Quality Standards

Drinking water quality standards describes the quality parameters set for drinking water . Despite the truism that every human on this planet needs drinking water to survive and that water can contain many harmful constituents, there are no universally recognised and accepted international standards for drinking water. Even where standards do e ist, and are applied, the permitted concentration of individual constituents may vary by as much as ten times from one set of standards to another. !any developed countries specify standards to be applied in their own country. "n Europe this includes the Drinking water directive and in the#S$ the #nited States Environmental %rotection $gency &E%$' establishes down standards as required by the Safe Drinking Water $ct.()*+or countries without a legislative or administrative framework for such standards, the World ,ealth -rganisation publishes guidelines on the standards that should be achieved (.* Where standards do e ist most are e pressed as guidelines or targets and very few have any legal basis or are sub/ect to enforcement. (0*1he European Drinking Water Directive and the Safe Water $ct in the #S$ are two e ceptions where there is a requirement to legally comply with specific standards. "n Europe this includes a requirement for member states to enact appropriate local legislation to mandate the directive in each country. 2outine inspection and, where required, enforcement is enacted by means of penalties imposed by the European 3ommission on non4compliant nations. 3ountries with guideline values as their standards include 3anada which has guideline values for a relatively small suite of parameters, 5ew 6ealand where there is a legislative basis but water providers have to make 7best endeavours7 to comply with the standards (8* and $ustralia

Range of standards
$lthough drinking water standards are frequently referred to as if they are simple lists of parametric values, standards documents also specify sampling location choice, sampling methods, laboratory analytical methods and laboratory $Q3. "n addition a number of standards documents also make reference to the statistical treatment of results, dealing with temporal and seasonal variations, summation of related parameters and treatment of apparently aberrant results.

Parametric values
&Parametric value also has a specific and different mathematical meaning ' $ parametric value in this conte t is most commonly the concentration of a substance, e.g. 09 mg:l of "ron. "t may also be a count such as ;99 E. coli per litre or a statistical value such as the average concentration of copper is . mg:l. !any countries not only specify parametric values that may have health impacts but also specify parametric values for a range of

9 mg:l ?romate )9 >g:l 3admium .                     $crylamide 9. (. p. +or e ample.9 >g:l 5ickel .)9 >g:l .9 mg:l 3yanide . 1hese include colour.9 >g:l Epichlorohydrin 9. organic.8 mg:l would be equal to a nitrite ion concentration of 8..9 mg:l %esticides 9.9 >g:l 5itrate .4dichloroethane 0.9 >g:l $rsenic )9 >g:l ?en@ene ).)9 >g:l +luoride ).. European Union standards 1he following parametric standards are included in the Drinking Water directive and are e pected to be enforced by appropriate legislation in every country in the European #nion.< mg:l 4 an apparent difference of nearly three fold.* 1hese guidelines provide contaminant limits &pathogen.9 >g:l 3opper . "t is possible and technically acceptable to refer to the same parameter in different ways that may appear to suggest a variation in the standard required. Simple parametric values are reproduced here but in many cases the original directive also provides caveats and notes about many of the values given. Australian standards Drinking water quality standards in $ustralia have been developed by the $ustralian =overnment 5ational . and the organoleptic parameters &taste and smell'.9 >g:l 3hromium . $ standard of 5itrite as 5 of )..9)9 >g:l ?oron ). 5itrite may be measured as 5itrite ion or e pressed as 5. turbidity.ealth and !edical 2esearch 3ouncil &5.!23' in the form of the $ustralian Drinking Water =uidelines..)9 >g:l $ntimony .constituents that by themselves are unlikely to have any impact on health.9 >g:l ). mg:l Aead )9 >g:l !ercury ).9 mg:l 5itrite 9.9 >g:l ?en@o&a'pyrene 9.. inorganic and radiological' as well as guidance on applying limits for the management of drinking water in $ustralian drinking water treatment and distribution systems. aesthetic..

4Dichloroben@ene )999>g:l .)9 >g:l Sum of concentrations of specified compoundsB Selenium )9 >g:l 1etrachloroethene and 1richloroethene )9 >g:l Sum of concentrations of specified parameters 1rihalomethanes C 1otal )99 >g:l Sum of concentrations of specified compounds Dinyl chloride 9.. .owever many countries look to the #S$ for appropriate scientific and public health guidance and may adopt #S$ standards.9 >g:l United States standards "n the #S$ the legislation controlling drinking water quality is the Safe Water $ct which is implemented federally by the E%$.   3admium 0>g:l !ercury <>g:l +or inorganic mercury -rganic speciesE    ?en@ene )9>g:l 3arbon tetrachloride 8>g:l ).9 >g:l %olycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons 9.99>g:l Selenium 89>g:l #ranium 09>g:l +or man4made pollutants potentially occurring in drinking water the following standards are proposed.owever many individual States also apply their own standards which may be more rigorous or include additional parameters.      %esticides 4 1otal 9.899>g:l 3hromium . . World Health Organisation guidelines 1hese guidelines include the following recommended limits on naturally occurring constituents that may have direct adverse health impactE        $rsenic )9>g:l ?arium F99>g:l ?oron . Standards set by the E%$ in the #S$ are not international standards since they apply to a single country...9>g:l +luoride ).

99>g:l Comparison of parametric values 1he following table provides a comparison of a selection of parameters concentrations listed by W.9>g:l Dichloromethane .9>g:l Iylenes .)9 >g: J $rsenic )9>g:l 9.< >g:l 5itrilotriacetic acid .9>g:l 1etrachloroethene 89>g:l 1oluene F99>g:l 1richloroethene .9>g:l Di&.4ethylhe yl'phthalate G >g:l ).99>g:l %entachlorophenol H>g:l Styrene .. the European #nion and the E%$...9>g:l Edetic acid <99>g:l Ethylben@ene 099 >g:l .9 >g:l J .-.84Dio ane .9 >g:l J ?arium F99>g:l ns J ?en@ene )9>g:l ).                ).4Dichloroethene .4Dichloroethane 09>g:l ). " indicates that no standard has been identified by editors of this article and ns indicates that no standard e ists.e achlorobutadiene 9.84Dichloroben@ene 099>g:l ).) >g:l )9>g:l $ntimony ns . World Health Organization European Union United States Parameter $crylamide J 9.

.9 >g:l J 3opper J . mg:l 8 mg:l Aead J )9 >g:l ).9 >g:l J 5ickel J .8mg:l )..9 >g:l J ).9 >g:l J 3hromium ..9>g:l .9)9 >g:l J ?oron .4dichloroethane J 0...)9 >g:l J +luoride ).9 >g:l J Epichlorohydrin J 9..9 >g:l J .Parameter World Health Organization European Union United States ?en@o&a'pyrene J 9.9 mg:l J 3yanide J .9 mg:l J ?romate J )9 >g:l J 3admium 0>g:l . mg:l ). >g:l !ercury <>g:l ).

!3A=s are non4enforceable public health goals.. $n !3A is the legal threshold limit on the amount of a substance that is allowed in public water systems under theSafe Drinking Water $ct.)9 >g: l J %esticides C 1otal J 9. a lack of available treatment technologies. E%$ will set the !3A to balance the cost of treatment with the public health benefits. (. 1his level is called the !a imum 3ontaminant Aevel =oal &!3A='. or if E%$ determines that the costs of treatment would outweigh the public health benefits of a lower !3A.()* 1o set a !a imum 3ontaminant Aevel for a contaminant.9 mg:l J 5itrite J 9. 1he legally enforced !3A is then set as close as possible to the !3A=. "n the last case.* .9 mg:l J %esticides &individual' J 9.)9 >g: J Selenium 89>g:l )9 >g:l J 1etrachloroethene and 1richloroethene 89>g:l )9 >g:l J !a imum 3ontaminant Aevel Ma imum !ontaminant "e#els &!3As' are standards that are set by the #nited States Environmental %rotection $gency &E%$' fordrinking water quality..Parameter World Health Organization European Union United States 5itrate J . 1he !3A for a contaminant may be higher than the !3A= because of difficulties in measuring small quantities of a contaminant. E%$ first determines how much of the contaminant may be present with no adversehealth effects. 1he limit is usually e pressed as a concentration in milligrams or micrograms per liter of water.9 >g:l J %olycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons l J 9.

such as tooth discoloration. "ndicator organisms are bacteria such as non4specific coliforms. to find out what sort of bacteria they are. they will still be e creting many millions times more indicator organisms than pathogens. "t is therefore reasonable to surmise that if indicator organism levels are low. Approach 1he common feature of all these routine screening procedures is that the primary analysis is for indicator organisms rather than the pathogens that might cause concern. if needed. "t is then possible to draw inferences about the suitability of the water for use from these concentrations. $nalysis is usually performed using culture.(0* Some contaminants may cause aesthetic problems with drinking water. E%$ establishes a 1reatment 1echnique &11' instead of an !3A. or primary standards.owever.+or some contaminants. E%$ recommends ma imum levels of these contaminants in drinking water. then pathogen levels will be very much lower or absent. 1hese recommendations are called 5ational Secondary Drinking Water 2egulations &5SDW2s'. "ndicator organisms are used because even when a person is infected with a more pathogenic bacteria. to routinely confirm that water is safe for human consumption or that bathing and recreational waters are safe to use. such as the presence of unpleasant tastes or odors. Kudgements as to suitability of water for use are based on very e tensive precedents and relate to the probability of any sample population of bacteria being able to be infective at a reasonable statistical level of confidence. . may suggest the presence of sewage. or cosmetic problems. "t is a microbiological analytical procedure which uses samples of water and from these samples determines the concentration of bacteria. if detected. for e ample. 1his process is used. When indicator organisms levels e ceed pre4set triggers.(. 1he interpretation and the action trigger levels for different waters vary depending on the use made of the water. 11s are enforceable procedures that drinking water systems must follow in treating their water for a contaminant. Since these contaminants do not cause health problems. specific analysis for pathogens may then be undertaken and these can be quickly detected &where suspected' using specific culture methods or molecular biology. Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa that are very commonly found in the human or animal gut and which. there are no legally enforceable limits on their presence in drinking water.* !3As and 11s are known /ointly as 5ational %rimary Drinking Water 2egulations &5%DW2s'. Dery stringent levels applying to drinking water whilst more rela ed levels apply to marine bathing waters where much lower volumes of water are e pected to be ingested by users. . or secondary standards ?acteriological water analysis $a%teriologi%al water analysis is a method of analysing water to estimate the numbers of bacteria present and. biochemical and sometimes optical methods.

dilutions this produces . 1he laboratory procedure involves making serial dilutions of the sample &)E)9. all methods rely on statistical principles. and as such it gives a direct measure of biological concentration and health. $t the end of . wastewater and industrial applications where. or $1%. Statistical tables are then used to derive the concentration of organisms in the original sample. for the most part. 1he production of gas at 0F Degrees 3elsius is a strong indication of the presence ofEscherichia coli '(P (esting $n $1% test is the process of rapidly measuring active microorganisms in water through detection of a molecule called $denosine 1riphosphate. samples contain a variety of components that can interfere with the $1% assay. 1his inverted tube catches any gas produced. )E)999 etc. 1his method can be enhanced by using indicator medium which changes colour when acid forming species are present and by including a tiny inverted tube in each sample tube.Methodologies ?ecause the analysis is always based on a very small sample taken from a very large volume of water. )E)99. Multiple tu&e method -ne of the oldest methods is called the multiple tube method.nd =eneration $1% tests are specifically designed for water. 1he remaining )9ml is then diluted again and the process repeated. Plate %ount 1he plate count method relies on bacteria growing a colony on a nutrient medium so that the colony becomes visible to the naked eye and the number of colonies on a plate can be counted. 1o ensure that an appropriate number of colonies will be generated several dilutions are normally cultured.9 tubes covering the dilution range of )E)9 through to )E )9999. $1% is a molecule found only in and around living cells. $1% is quantified by measuring the light produced through its reaction with the naturally4occurring firefly en@yme Auciferase using a Auminometer. 1he amount of light produced is directly proportional to the amount of biological energy present in the sample . 1he tubes are then incubated at a pre4set temperature for a specified time and at the end of the process the number of tubes with growth in is counted for each dilution. "n this method a measured sub4 sample &perhaps )9ml' is diluted with )99ml of sterile growth medium and an aliquot of )9ml is then decanted into each of ten tubes. +ewer than 09 colonies makes the interpretation statistically unsound whilst greater than 099 colonies often results in overlapping colonies and imprecision in the count. 1ypical media include %late count agar for a general count or !ac3onkey agar to count gram4 . 1o be effective.' in sterile water and cultivating these onnutrient agar in a dish that is sealed and incubated. the dilution of the original sample must be arranged so that on average between 09 and 099 colonies of the target bacterium are grown.

lactose and peptone. 3olonies that develop in the body of the medium can be counted by eye after incubation. crystal violet dye &which also inhibits certain =ram4positive bacteria'. "t contains bile salts &to inhibit most =ram4positive bacteria'. 3alculation of this is a multiple of the counted number of colonies multiplied by the dilution used.8 hours.L3 and for . Species commonly investigated in the temperate @one include Salmonella typhi and Salmonella typhimurium Depending on the likely source of contamination investigation may also e tend to organisms such as Cryptosporidium spp.8 hours and a second set at 0FL3 for . ypes of nutrient media used in analysis !ac3onkey agar is culture medium designed to grow =ram4negative bacteria and stain them for lactose fermentation.negative bacteria such as E. coli. "n tropical areas analysis of Vibrio cholerae is also routinely undertaken. Pathogen analysis When samples show elevated levels of indicator bacteria. 1he unit of measurement is cfu:ml &or colony forming units per millilitre' and relates to the original sample. $lfred 1heodore !ac3onkey developed it while working as a bacteriologist for the 2oyal 3ommission on Sewage Disposal in the #nited Mingdom. further analysis is often undertaken to look for specific pathogenic bacteria. often by a colour change in the medium. Some recent methods include a fluorescent agent so that counting of the colonies can be automated. neutral red dye &which stains microbes fermenting lactose'. Mem&rane )iltration !ost modern laboratories use a refinement of total plate count in which serial dilutions of the sample are vacuum filtered through purpose made membrane filters and these filters are themselves laid on nutrient medium within sealed plates. !embranes have a printed millimetre grid printed on and can be reliably count a much greater number of colonies under a binocular microscope. 1ypically one set of plates is incubated at . the initial analysis is done by mi ing serial dilutions of the sample in liquid nutrient agar which is then poured into bottles which are then sealed and laid on their sides to produce a sloping agar surface.. a procedure that takes a few moments and does not require a microscope as the colonies are typically a few millimetres across. $t the end of the incubation period the colonies are counted by eye. 1he total number of colonies is referred to as the 1otal Diable 3ount &1D3'. 1he composition of the nutrient usually includes reagents that resist the growth of non4target organisms and make the target organism easily identified. 1he methodology is otherwise similar to conventional total plate counts. . Pour plates When the analysis is looking for bacterial species that grow poorly in air.

medium contains peptone.* 1NE$ medium contains tryptone. colourless colonies against the faint pink background of the medium. coliform organisms ferment the lactose. agar. dipotassium phosphate. sodium sulfite. $s in !ac3onkey agar. 5on4lactose4fermenting organisms produce clear.E5D. and the colonies become red.. 1hese include 2osolic acid to inhibit bacterial growth in general. lactose.a colony count'. ?ile salts inhibit non4enteric bacteria and $niline blue indicates the ability of faecal coliforms to ferment lactose to acid that causes a p. e cept for faecal coliforms. change in the medium. common salt and A4arabinose per liter of glass distilled water and is a non selective medium usually cultivated at two temperatures &. but is now commonly used in water analysis.k. . and 0<L3' to determine a general level of contamination &a. ()* m+3 medium is a medium used in membrane filtration which contains selective and differential agents. basic fuchsin and was originally developed for the isolation of Salmonella typhi. yeast e tract. (.