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Water quality

We are committed to providing the highest quality of water at all times and have ongoing monitoring and management programs to ensure we consistently meet expectation.

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Scientific Services laboratory

Scientific Services Laboratory

The City of Gold Coast laboratory service (Scientific Services) is a National Association of Testing Authorities, Australia (NATA) accredited laboratory with an experienced team of chemists, microbiologists, environmental scientists and technical support staff specialising in microbiological, chemical and physical water quality testing. Our focus is on developing high value relationships with our customers.

The Scientific Services laboratory is co-located with a world-class research team at the Smart Water Research Centre, which is part of the Griffith University Health and Knowledge Precinct, offering a range of new testing techniques.

The inclusion of the City's Scientific Services laboratories within the Smart Water Research Centre provides a unique opportunity to create an integrated centre for excellence in water management that offers water research and development into advanced diagnostic water quality testing services all at the one location.

Our value-add services

  • monitoring and sampling of wastewater, recycled water and bio solids produced from treatment plants
  • sampling and testing of drinking water quality, trade waste discharge points, waterways and ground water
  • laboratory consultation services including the ability to develop customised testing solutions for customers
  • expertise in planning and conducting investigations into environmental incidents
  • the only purpose-built water testing laboratory open 24 hours, seven days per week, including free on-site parking for customers
  • the capability to test on-site in our laboratory using the latest technical equipment
  • sample collection service via boat or motor vehicle
  • attainment of multiple certifications and accreditations ensures you receive expert quality testing and technical advice across a broad range of industries, along with an extensive knowledge of water regulations and policies.

The laboratory's boat and motor vehicles contain on-site testing equipment, enabling a wide range of samples to be collected and tested. Some of the sample sources include, but are not limited to:

  • cooling - samples are taken from water towers
  • drinking water - from potable water supply, new mains, rainwater tanks and bores, or town water supply
  • irrigation - from bores, spear pumps, Class A+ recycled water mains or desalinated water
  • recreational - natural waterways, swimming pools and spas
  • seepage - source identification
  • domestic sewage discharge - from sewage treatment plants, domestic and onsite sewerage systems and septic tanks
  • industrial sewage discharge - from commercial and industrial discharge sites, trade waste.

Our equipment and testing

Scientific Services has a wide range of specialised analytical equipment including gas chromatograph mass spectrometer, two flow injection analysers, inductively coupled plasma -optical emission spectrometer and a mercury analyser.

The laboratory has specialised rooms to accommodate these instruments as well as chemical and microbiological work areas, a balance room to ensure accurate preparation of reagents and standard solutions and a cold room to facilitate sample storage.

Scientific Services is accredited with the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) in accordance with ISO/IEC 17025. It complies with the Hazard Analysis Control Points codex, Quality Management ISO9001 and Environmental Management ISO14001 standards.

Scientific Services and the Smart Water Research Centre staff members are currently developing and establishing collaborative rapid testing techniques for chemical and microbiological paramentes in environmental and waste waters.

Uncertainty of a measurement

All laboratory measurements are subject to some level of uncertainty. This is calculated and reported as an estimated uncertainty of measurement (UM).

The National Association of Testing Authorities, Australia (NATA) is Australia’s national accreditation body for laboratories.

NATA accreditation is formal recognition that facilities produce reliable technical results which increases community confidence and trust in a facility’s services.

An assessment involves a thorough evaluation of all the elements of the facility's operation that contribute to the production of accurate and reliable data. These elements include:

  • management system
  • staffing, including training and supervision
  • methods, including validation/verification
  • quality control and proficiency testing
  • equipment, including calibration
  • recording and reporting of results
  • the physical environment in which the activities are performed.

This laboratory is accredited to comply with ISO/IEC 17025: General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories.

ISO/IEC 17025 Section 7.8 Reporting of results

Test reports shall include information regarding an estimate of the uncertainty of measurement, when a customer instructs the facility to provide the information, when it is relevant to the application of test results, or when it affects compliance to a specification limit. This information may include a hyperlink to the UM calculated values for each parameter. Refer to the Uncertainty of a measurement fact sheet for more information.

The laboratory shall not make a statement of conformity on a report, unless instructed by the client.

The detection of any E.coli regardless of number, in a drinking water sample shall be regarded as not complying with the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Drinking Water Quality Guidelines.

Testing potable water, sewage, recycled water and other water products

The laboratory monitors City products to ensure the effective operation of our treatment plants and network. Some of these products include:

  • sewage
  • recycled water
  • Class A+ recycled water
  • bio solids produced from our sewage and recycled water treatment plants.

The laboratory staff also provide training to the City's sewage treatment plant operators to help them monitor plant performance on a daily basis. The laboratory undertakes a broader range of complex tests weekly within the treatment plants using specialised equipment.

Potable water quality monitoring and testing for customers

Providing customers and the community with safe, reliable and high quality drinking water is our priority.

Our scientific staff conduct comprehensive water monitoring through regular sampling and testing at different distribution points. Staff are then provided with the results for assessment to ensure the highest levels of water quality.

Summary of services

Water use Example tests
Drinking - from bores, tanks, taps, new mains or town water supply pH, alkalinity, turbidity, true colour, total dissolved salts, metals, trihalomethanes, nutrients, E.coli, total coliforms, and plate count
Cooling – from towers pH, alkalinity, hardness, chloride, Legionella, E. coli, and plate count
Irrigation - from bores, spear pumps, Class A+ recycled water mains or desalinated water pH, total dissolved salts, iron, salinity, conductivity, sulphate, nutrients, E.coli, thermotolerant coliforms, and plate count
Recreational – from natural waterways, swimming pools or spas pH, alkalinity, calcium hardness, chlorine, total dissolved salts, conductivity, nutrients, metals, Enterococci, E.coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, plate count, and algal identification
Sewage discharge, domestic - from onsite sewage systems and septic tanks BOD, suspended solids, chlorine, pH, nutrients, Enterococci, and thermotolerant coliforms
Sewage discharge, industrial – from commercial or industrial sources BOD, suspended solids, pH, nutrients, metals, oil and grease, and petroleum hydrocarbons
BOD = biochemical oxygen demand
Nutrients = nitrogen and phosphorus compounds

* turnaround times vary depending on test complexity, incubation periods and result immediacy.

Experienced laboratory scientists also offer consultation and advice on environmental issues related to water quality and water pollution.

They have the expertise to plan and conduct investigations into environmental incidents involving the release of chemicals, fuels and other pollutants into aquatic environments.

Our staff will facilitate the modernisation and expansion of the laboratory services to ensure ongoing participation in emerging opportunities and will provide a greater capacity to satisfy customer needs.

Who should be testing?

Commercial swimming pool owners - for pools contained within theme parks, hotels and resorts, gyms, hospitals, aged care, campsites and schools.

Developers (construction projects) - when developing new mains, performing civil engineering / building works and supplies.

Trade waste dischargers - such as laundries, car washes, fuel, wineries, breweries, manufacturing, quarries, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, concrete, food and beverage industry.

Water cooling tower - for example hospitals, aged care facilities and retail centres.

Property managers - real estate agents, property developers, hoticulture, landscaping, nurseries.

Find a downloadable brochure about our services, plus data sheets about the water quality testing carried out by the Scientific Services team on our Scientific Laboratory Services resources page.

Opening hours

Emergency: on-call service is available in the event of an emergency
Business hours: 8.30am-4.30pm

Contact details

For information about scientific tests and fees, please call Scientific Services on 07 5581 1960 during business hours, from 8.30am to 4.30pm, excluding public holidays.

Scientific Services
Smart Water Research Centre
Northern end of Edmund Rice Drive
(access from Nerang Southport Road)
Southport Queensland 4215

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