The AWQC has a long history and a very strong record in water quality sampling dating back to the early 1930's when a state wide monitoring program for drinking water supplies in South Australia commenced. Since that time sampling capabilities have grown significantly and the AWQC now has one of the most comprehensive sampling facilities available anywhere in Australia, covering all of the major scientific disciplines.
One of the great strengths that the AWQC has to offer is its ability to undertake sampling or collect samples from most areas within South Australia. The AWQC offers a comprehensive sampling service which includes the provision of experienced staff with fully equipped vehicles, specialist sampling teams for specific surveys and a comprehensive courier system including links with courier providers and sampling personnel in remote locations. The AWQC is one of the few organisations in Australia with NATA accreditation for sampling and conducts all sample collection according to the documented procedures outlined in its Sampling Manual.
The Field Services team collectively visit approximately 3150 sampling locations, collect 5100 samples, and undertake 2080 field tests per month. The AWQC Field Services Unit has thirteen vehicles in the field each day covering a radial area of 400km from Adelaide, including two covering the Eyre Peninsula region. Each AWQC Technician covers an average of 75,000 km per year routinely sampling all types of water from a variety of locations including:
- Wastewater - wastewater treatment plants and recycled water systems;
- Source water - reservoirs, rivers/streams and groundwater;
- Potable supplies - water treatment plants, distribution systems, storage facilities and customer taps;
- Marine and freshwater boat surveys;
- Mine sites, power stations, food and beverage industries;
- Hospitals - collection of legionella samples from dialysis machines and hot water systems
- Residential - rainwater and private groundwater bores
- Remote communities - non-potable systems
- Effluent lagoons and wetlands
Frequent out of hours work is also carried out in response to various water quality triggers and incidents. The team responds to:
- Customer sample requests
- Follow up service with repeat samples
- Routine boat surveys,
- Environmental observations,
- Event based sampling
- Research and investigative based sampling
Bar Coding and Field Data Unit Technology
The AWQC employs bar coding and field data unit technology and this provides an efficient and reliable method for the collection and delivery of field data. Many customers have requested the provision of computer generated labels in order to aid the tracking of samples and speed of results delivery.
The continued use of global positioning system (GPS) technology by the AWQC, offers customers cutting edge technology and has helped to improve the ease and consistency of sampling in open water bodies.
Water quality monitoring is of central importance to many customers. As the AWQC is a business unit of SA Water, the delivery of safe drinking water to the people of South Australia is a major focus for the business. Water sampling and field analysis play an integral role in the delivery of a successful monitoring program. The activities cover both routine sampling programs and responses to event-based triggers across South Australia.