• Project No 1156
  • Project Name Pathogen risk associated with dead animals in treated water assets/storage tanks
  • Lead Organisation Coliban Water
  • Research Lead Murdoch University
  • Main Researcher Una Ryan
  • Completion Year 2024

Project Description

Ensuring the safety of our drinking water is a critical aspect of public health, with disinfection playing a pivotal role in safeguarding against microbial contaminants. However, despite effective disinfection protocols, certain pathogens, such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia, present unique challenges due to their resilience to standard disinfection methods.

This project was driven by the need for water utilities and regulators to have up-to-date and peer-reviewed information on the pathogen risks associated with different animals being found in treated water assets or storage tanks. The research identified potential risks posed by these pathogens in treated water storage tanks, particularly in scenarios where dead animals, including bats, birds, cats, dogs, frogs, reptiles, marsupials, rabbits, and rodents, are found. It also highlighted the importance of maintaining adequate residual chlorine concentrations in water distribution systems to prevent recontamination and the persistent challenges posed by Cryptosporidium and Giardia, especially in storage tanks where disinfection efficacy can be compromised.

By identifying gaps in current knowledge and emphasising the importance of ongoing research, this project offers a roadmap for enhancing water safety protocols and prompts reflection on the broader implications of animal reservoirs and transmission pathways, shaping future strategies for mitigating risks to public health.