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

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  4. Recommended monitoring frequencies and systems
  5. Water quality microbial, chemical and physical analysis monitoring

Water quality microbial, chemical and physical analysis monitoring

To assess water quality, you should consider:

  1. Raw source water supply (river, dam, mains, bore water quality for the chicken farm).
  2. Water after treatment (after pre-treatment and disinfection).
  3. Water as consumed (at the end of the shed water line).

This will allow you to identify potential water quality issues from the source water and assess the effectiveness of water treatments and disinfection.

Some water quality monitoring can be carried out regularly on-farm, while laboratory water quality testing should be performed annually (see Table 6). If the annual guideline screening levels are exceeded or show problems, increase monitoring frequency to quarterly. Water quality should be assessed more regularly if source water quality has large seasonal fluctuations or there are significant events, e.g. storms, spills, algae blooms, etc.

Table 6. Generic frequencies for monitoring drinking water quality

Frequency of samplingComments
Source water, treatment and distribution system inspectionFrequency: risk-based
Will be dependent on source water characteristics
MicrobialFaecal coliformsRecommended annual sampling
Algal cell countsFrequency: risk-based
CryptosporidiumFrequency: risk-based
GiardiaFrequency: risk-based
SalmonellaFrequency: risk-based
PhysicalpHColour / Ultraviolet (UV) 254 / Turbidity, Hardness, TDSTDS
Colour / UV 254 Turbidity
Frequency: If reverse osmosis is used, or there are known salinity issues, otherwise quarterly.
If there are known salinity issues or water is treated for hardness
Water treatment related chemicals (if used)Disinfectant residualCoagulant chemical residualsAny related organic contaminantsOnly if coagulant is used.
Organics toxicantsNitrate
Recommended annual sampling
Bromate, formaldehydeFrequency: risk-based
It is a by-product of ozone.
ChloriteFrequency: risk-based
It is a by-product of chlorine dioxide or liquid chlorine.
InorganicsCalcium, copper, iron, lead, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium, zinc, chloride, fluoride, sulphatesFrequency: More frequent monitoring when detected at elevated concentrations; otherwise sampling reduced to annually, seasonally or event-related (e.g. storm events, reservoir turnover events).
Pesticides toxicantsIf detected or potential presenceIf not detectedFrequency: Monthly or quarterly sampling for pesticides / organic toxicants previously (or potentially) detected; seasonally annually, or event-related (e.g. storm events, spills) for other pesticides or organic toxicants.
RadiologicalRadionuclidesFrequency: New supplies should be assessed. Then every 5 years.
Red: on-farm, blue: laboratory analysis
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