• 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 2023

Project Description


This project is being driven by the need for water utilities and regulators to have up-to-date and peer-reviewed information on the pathogen risk associated with different animals being found in treated treated water assets or storage tanks. Without this, a lack of up-to-date and peer-reviewed information may lead to responses that may not be risk-based.

The underlying hypothesis is that different animal carcasses have different pathogen risk profiles, but current evidence is poor, and not consolidated.

The project will work with experts to:

  • Produce, edit, and publish a peer-reviewed literature review identifying the likely prevalence of zoonotic Cryptosporidium and Giardia species (but also a high-level indication of potential zoonotic bacterial and viral pathogens) in animals of interest.
  • Examine available evidence on whether the pathogen profile would be expected to vary between animals in urban and rural settings.
  • Identify gaps in the knowledge base that need to be filled with respect to pathogen risk.
  • Where sufficient evidence is available, provide advice/recommendations on the human health risk associated with the known/expected pathogen profile associated with the identification of each type of animal from the list above in treated water storage assets (i.e. treated water means water intended for use as drinking water that has a chlorine residual typical for Australian drinking water supplies; disinfectants of interest chlorine and chloramine; typical residuals – chlorine ≥ 0.2 mg/L free chlorine; chloramine – ≥ 0.5 mg/L total chlorine).