The Australian Water Quality Centre provides a comprehensive analytical service in the field of Inorganic Chemistry. The constituents of water regularly tested include cations, anions, nutrients, heavy metals, physical parameters and a range of wastewater related tests. Analyses are conducted on drinking water, environmental, wastewater, biosolids, and sediments.
Results of these analyses assist in the evaluation of water quality using the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines, process control of water and wastewater treatment plants, industrial waste discharges to sewer and environmental surveys.
Conductivity and pH
These simple, but important parameters are measured regularly using pH and conductivity meters. Conductivity provides a rapid estimation of the total dissolved solids or salinity, which is important in assessing the suitability of water for various uses. pH measures how acidic or basic a substance is. Adjustment of pH is important for the control of corrosion and the optimisation of the disinfection process.
The major ions present in water tested include Cations: Calcium (Ca), Magnesium (Mg), Sodium (Na) and Potassium (K) and Anions: Bicarbonate (HCO3-), Sulphate (SO4-), Fluoride (F-), Chloride (Cl-), Nitrate (NO3), Bromide (Br-) and Iodide (I-). They are analysed using a range of equipment that include fully automated plasma emission spectrometers, computer controlled automatic flow analysers, automatic titration equipment and an ion chromatograph. The concentration of these ions has a significant effect on water quality and can influence important characteristics such as taste, hardness and corrosive tendency.