Industry best practice manual for water quality management and sterilisation on-farm

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Abbreviations and definitions

ACMF—Australian Chicken Meat Federation

ADWG—Australian drinking water guideline

Acid—A substance (usually a liquid) with particular chemical properties (it can donate a proton or accept an electron pair in reactions), including a pH of less than 7, it contains hydrogen, and it can react with other substances to form salts.

Alkalinity—Alkalinity is a measure of a solution's ability to neutralise acids (it is measured as the sum of hydroxide, carbonate, and bicarbonates).

AOP—Advanced oxidation processes

BAC—Biologically activated carbon

BF—Baffling factor

Birds—Meat chickens

Biofilm—A biofilm is a collection of organic and inorganic material that collects on the pipe surfaces of water systems. Biofilms in a drinking water distribution system can cause many water quality and operational problems.

Blue-green algae—See Cyanobacteria

Bore water—Water contained in rocks or subsoil, also referred to as groundwater.

BPD—Butterfield’s Phosphate Diluent

Campylobacter—A group of bacteria that are a significant cause of diarrhoea.

CFU—Colony forming units

Chlorination—The use of chlorine as a means of disinfection.

Chloramination—The use of chloramines (compounds formed by the reaction of hypochlorous acid or aqueous chlorine with ammonia) as a means of disinfection.

Chlorine demand—The difference between the amount of chlorine added to water and the amount of residual chlorine remaining after a given contact time.

Cleaning—Cleaning reduces the number of contaminants present, and in doing so also removes a proportion of the organisms that are present.

Coliform bacteria—A group of bacteria whose presence in drinking water can be used as an indicator of operational monitoring.

Counterion—The ion that accompanies an ionic species in order to maintain electric neutrality.

Cryptosporidium—A microorganism commonly found in lakes and rivers that is highly resistant to disinfection.

Ct—Contact time

Cyanobacteria—A bacterium containing chlorophyll and phycobilins, commonly known as blue-green algae.

Descaler—An agent used to remove limescale from metal or pipe surfaces in contact with hot water, such as in boilers, water heaters, and kettles or hard water in water distribution systems.

Disinfection—Disinfection removes most pathogenic organisms, and in addition, it is the process that destroys or inactivates most microbes in water.

Disinfecting agent—A compound or substance which, when applied as instructed to tank water or a water holding system, kills harmful microorganisms.

Disinfectant residual—The amount of free and/or available disinfectant remaining after a given contact time under specified conditions.

Drinking water—Water intended primarily for meat chicken consumption.

DOC—Dissolved organic carbon

EC—Electrical conductivity

Escherichia coli—A bacterium found in the gut, which is used as an indicator of faecal contamination of water.

Filter—A device for removing suspended particles from water.

Free chlorine—Chlorine that has not combined and is free to kill bacteria and algae and destroy organic pollutants introduced into the water.

GAC—Granular activated carbon

Giardia lamblia—A protozoan frequently found in rivers and lakes. If water containing infectious cysts of Giardia is ingested, the protozoan can cause a severe gastrointestinal disease called giardiasis.

Grab sample—A single sample collected at a particular time and place that represents the composition of the water only at that time and place.

Hardness—The sum of the multivalent metal ions in a solution.

Heterotrophic plate count (HPC)—The number of colonies of heterotrophic bacteria grown on selected solid media at a given temperature and incubation period, usually expressed as ‘number of bacteria per millilitre of sample.’

HU—Hazen units

Indicator—A specific contaminant, group of contaminants, or a constituent that signals the presence of something else, e.g. Escherichia coli (E. coli), indicate the presence of pathogenic bacteria.

Indicator organisms—Microorganisms whose presence is indicative of pollution of other, more harmful microorganisms.

Log removal—Used in reference to the physical–chemical treatment of water to remove, kill, or inactivate microorganisms such as bacteria, protozoa and viruses (1-log removal = 90 per cent reduction in density of the target organism, 2-log removal = 99 per cent reduction, 3-log removal = 99.9 per cent reduction, etc.).

Meat chicken—A chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus) grown for meat. Also referred to as a broiler in some Australian jurisdictions.

MFI—Modified fouling index

Microcystin-LR—Microcystin-LR (MC-LR) is the most toxic form of microcystin and is produced by cyanobacteria. It is used as a reference to measure the toxic load of microcystins.

Microorganism—An organism too small to be visible to the naked eye. Bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and some fungi and algae are all microorganisms.

NCH—Non-carbonate hardness

NTU—Nephelometric turbidity unit—a measure of turbidity.

NOM—Natural organic matter

ORP—Oxidation reduction potential

PAA—Peracetic acid

PAC—Powdered activated carbon

Pathogens—Disease causing organisms.

pH—A logarithmic scale from 0–14, where 7.0 is neutral. It measures the concentration of hydrogen to determine how acidic (below 7.0) or alkaline (above 7.0) a substance is.

Poultry—Domestic fowls (including chickens, turkeys, guinea fowl, ducks, geese, quails, pigeons, pheasants, partridges, ostriches, and emus) reared or kept in captivity for production purposes.


ppm—Parts per million—a unit of concentration measurement. 1ppm = 1mg/L.

Quality—The totality of characteristics of an entity that bear on its ability to satisfy stated and implied needs (ISO 9000).

Radionuclide—An isotope of an element that is unstable and undergoes radioactive decay.

Raw water—Water in its natural state, before any treatment.

Representative sample—A portion of material or water that is as nearly identical in content and consistency as possible to that in the larger body of material or water being sampled.

Reservoir—Any natural or artificial holding area used to store, regulate, or control water.

RO—Reverse osmosis

Sanitisation—Sanitising is the process of reducing the number of microbes in water to levels considered safe for consumption by meat chickens.

Scale—The deposition of mineral solids on the interior surfaces of waterlines and containers. It most often occurs when water contains carbonates or bicarbonates of calcium and magnesium.

SDI—Silt density index

Shock disinfection—A one-time introduction of a strong disinfectant to the whole water system.

Source water—Water in its natural state, before any treatment, to make it suitable for drinking.

Sterilisation—Sterilisation is the killing or removal of all organisms.

Surface water—All water naturally open to the atmosphere, e.g. rivers, streams, lakes, and reservoirs.

TDS—Total dissolved solids

TDT—Theoretical detention time

Thermotolerant coliforms—Those coliform bacteria which are produced at a temperature of 44 or 44.5 degrees Celsius (see Coliform bacteria).

TOC—Total organic carbon

Total coliforms—A group of related bacteria, including faecal coliforms and thermotolerant coliforms.

Toxicology—The study of poisons, their effects, antidotes, and detection.

Turbidity—The cloudiness of water caused by the presence of fine suspended matter.

TVC—Total viable count


Virus—Molecules of nucleic acid (RNA or DNA) that can enter cells and replicate in them.

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