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Water testing services

Water testing performed at Sonic Food & Water Testing (SFWT) varies, from ascertaining that potable, tank and bottled waters are safe to drink, and pools and spas are safe to swim in, to ensuring that airconditioning cooling towers and warm water systems in public places remain free from harmful bacteria.

WaterAt Sonic Food & Water Testing, we offer testing of the following water sources:

  • Air-conditioning towers
  • Purified, treated and filtered waters
  • Water tanks, bores, wells, dams, springs and creeks
  • Swimming pools and spa baths
  • Bottled water and ice-making water
  • Recycled water for irrigation, agriculture or industry
  • Monitoring stream water pollution - tracking sources of pollution, identifying origin of seepage water
  • Testing of any other water source

Legionella count

Artificial water systems can provide environments that allow Legionella bacteria to proliferate to hazardous levels. These man-made systems include showers, spa pools, fountains, and also cooling towers associated with air conditioning and industrial cooling processes.

The Department of Health has established regulation for the maintenance, microbial control, and testing of cooling towers and warm water systems.

Owners of premises that have cooling towers, public spa pools, or warm water systems are required by law to conduct regular maintenance, cleaning and disinfection of this equipment to reduce the risk of Legionella contamination and spread.

Performing a Legionella count monitors the effectiveness of such measures.

 Download Legionnaires' disease infosheet

Tank water for drinking

Tank water may be contaminated with faecal bacteria from birds, possums, and rodents.

Thermotolerant coliform and E. coli counts can be used to indicate such pollution. If these organisms are found to be present, then the water may also contain harmful bacteria, viruses, or parasites, and therefore require boiling or chemical disinfection before use for drinking or cooking. Direct testing for viruses or parasites is not routinely performed, as these tests require a large sample volume (up to 100 litres).

Bore water

Bore water routinely contains minerals and chemicals. The levels of these substrates can be measured in order to gauge suitability for domestic or agricultural use.

Swimming pools & spas

The Department of Health has published a booklet - Public Swimming Pool and Spa Pool Guidelines, which outlines appropriate water testing protocols for pools and spas. Monitoring includes monthly microbiological testing. The government guidelines can also be used for private facilities.

Bottled water

The Department of Health's Code of Food Handling includes guidelines for the testing of water for sale.

Trade water and recycled water

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may request testing in certain situations to demonstrate that levels of pollution do not exceed acknowledged safety and regulated levels. Local government bodies, industrial companies, golf clubs, owners of large septic tank systems, and landholders adjacent to waterways may receive such requests.

Microbiological water testing

Independent testing for microbiological water safety.

Sonic Food & Water Testing is NATA accredited to perform the following microbiological testing upon water samples:

  • Heterotrophic plate counts
  • Thermotolerant coliform counts
  • Total coliform counts
  • E. coli counts
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa counts
  • Enterococcus counts
  • Legionella counts

Chemical water testing

Sonic Food & Water Testing perform the chemical analysis of the following water samples: (recommended testing for some of these scenarios, also includes certain microbiological analyses)

  • Tank water or rainwater that tastes or smells unusual.
  • Bore water to determine suitability & safety for drinking: pH, conductivity, sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, nitrate, chloride, sulphate, lead, copper, iron, aluminium.
  • Bore water which is discoloured or causes staining: pH, turbidity, iron, copper, manganese.
  • Bore water which causes scaling or corrosion: pH, total dissolved solids, ammonia, sodium, chloride, iron.
  • Bore water which tastes or smells bad: pH, total dissolved solids, ammonia, sodium, chloride, sulphate, copper, iron, manganese, sulphide.
  • Any water source to be sold as bottled water for human consumption: arsenic, barium, borate, cadmium, chromium VI, copper, cyanide, fluoride, lead, manganese, mercury, nitrate, nitrite, radioactivity, selenium, sulphide, zinc, total organic carbon.
  • Testing for agricultural use (eg animal drinking water): pH, total dissolved solids, sulphate, nitrate, sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, phosphate, sodium absorption ratio, aluminium, arsenic, copper, lead, zinc, nitrite.
  • Testing for agricultural use (eg for irrigation use): pH, total dissolved solids, sulphate, nitrate, sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, phosphate, sodium absorption ratio.
  • A single chemical test e.g. lead, zinc, fluoride, arsenic.
  • Asbestos.
  • Pesticides: generalised (e.g. DDT) or a specific chemical.