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

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  4. Pre-treatment systems
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Salinity treatment

Performance goal: Treatment achieves optimal water salinity for bird health and scale minimisation.
Description: TDS consist of inorganic salts and small amounts of organic matter that are dissolved in water, including: sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, sulphate, bicarbonate, carbonate, silica, organic matter, fluoride, iron, manganese, nitrate, nitrite and phosphates.

Although TDS is not generally considered a primary contaminant (e.g. no meat chicken health effects directly attributable to TDS), it is used as an aesthetic indication of drinking water characteristics, and as an aggregate indicator of the presence of a broad array of chemical contaminants.

High TDS can reduce the palatability of drinking water. It can also increase the disinfectant demand of water and contributes to biofilms.
Performance criteria: Optimal water salinity levels are maintained and scale accumulation is minimised.

Best practice levels: TDS 0–1000mg/L, potassium 0–300mg/L, sodium 0–32mg/L, chloride 0–14mg/L

Maximum acceptable levels: TDS 0–3000mg/L, potassium 0–500mg/L, sodium 0–150mg/L, chloride 0–150mg/L, fluoride 0–2mg/L
Minimum requirements
Measure TDS weekly.
Measure potassium, sodium, chloride and fluoride annually.
Best practice options
Nutritionist considers salinity concentrations in the water when formulating diets.
If concentrations are above maximum acceptable levels, a pre-treatment to lower salts is applied to drinking water. See Table 15 (below) for a comparison of the effectiveness of pre-treatments against salinity.

Table 15. Effectiveness of pre-treatments against salinity

Effectiveness against salinityTDSPotassium Sodium Chloride Fluoride
PP filter
Ceramic filter
Pleated filter
Rapid sand filters
Semi-rapid sand filters
Slow sand filters
Centrifugal filtration
Ion-exchange resinsMHMHMHMHMH
Chemical coagulates
Lime softening
Chemical oxidation
Reverse osmosisHHHHH
Electrodialysis reversalMHMHMHMHMH
Capacitive deionisationMHMHMHMHMH
Membrane capacitive deionisationMHMHMHMHMH
Electronic water conditioning
L: low, LM: low to moderate, M: moderate, MH: moderate to high, H: high, –: N/A
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