• Project No 1036
  • Project Name Treatment requirements for Australian source waters to meet health-based targets
  • Lead Organisation Water Futures
  • Research Lead UNSW Sydney
  • Main Researcher Daniel Deere, Arran Canning
  • Completion Year 2014

Project Description

The ADWG 2011 lacked objective, quantifiable criteria for measuring pathogen removal from source waters. The WHO requires that health-based targets (HBTs) are used to ensure safe drinking water. HBTs can be set by making ‘Disability Adjusted Life Year’ (DALY) calculations which incorporate information about a population; the average Australian lifespan and the impact of infection on the length of a healthy life. Pathogen levels in water that correspond to micro-DALYs with minimal population-level effects are too low to be detectable by existing tests. This problem is addressed by calculating ‘log removal values’ (LRVs). Pathogens can be measured in source and treated water after the application of a defined method. When 90% of the pathogen is removed, the LRV equals 1, while 99% removal has an LRV of 2. HBTs incorporate LRVs, which are based on objective, quantifiable criteria, to reduce pathogen loads to levels that correspond to acceptable Australian micro-DALY levels. This research collated existing datasets about pathogens in source waters and the efficiency of their removal by treatment plants around Australia. From this, default pathogen levels for a range of Australian source waters and climate events, and LRVs for different treatment methodologies were obtained.