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Reporting incidents

One essential part of the Drinking water quality management plan (DWQMP) is a verification monitoring program. This means providers must monitor the quality of water supplied to customers, and ensure it meets health standards and values.

When a provider notices their water doesn’t meet these values, the incident has to be reported immediately. The provider must take actions to remedy the incident; and we then work with Queensland Health to ensure the actions are timely and appropriate.

There are some differences in reporting depending on whether the provider is operating under a DWQMP or a Monitoring and Reporting Requirement Notice.

Providers with an approved DWQMP

For providers with an approved DWQMP, section 102 Notice of noncompliance with water quality criteria applies.

The water quality criteria for your service is defined in Standard Condition 1 of your approval notice. This includes:

  • the standards for drinking water stated in the Public Health Regulation
  • any criteria stated in a guideline by the QWSR, and
  • any parameter that has a health guideline value in the current Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG).

Parameters with aesthetic guidelines only are not reportable.

Standard Condition 2 details the reporting requirements for parameters without an ADWG health guideline value, and for events.

An event is a situation that has escalated beyond your ability to control, and you believe that public health may be affected. For example, non-disinfected water entering reticulation should be reported as an event.

A parameter without an ADWG health guideline value is typically an emerging contaminant. For example, unregulated disinfection byproducts (such as brominated or iodinated compounds, or chlorate) or pesticides and herbicides that do not yet have established guideline values.

Timeframe: If the provider becomes aware of an incident under either Condition 1 or 2, the provider must immediately inform the regulator on 1300 596 709. To help report incidents, use the incident reporting flowcharts. Timeframes are outlined in the Water Quality and Reporting Guideline for a Drinking Water Service.

Providers operating under a Notice

Detection of any of the following parameters must be reported to the regulator within the timeframes stipulated in the notice:

  • detection of Escherichia coli (E. coli)
  • detection of a pathogen
  • fluoride greater than 1.5 mg/L
  • detection of parameter that does not meet a health guideline value in the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG)
  • detection of radiologicals that exceeds gross alpha and gross beta screening values in the ADWG
  • detection of parameter for which there is no guideline value in the ADWG
  • an event or series of events that has the potential to compromise the ability to adequately treat or provide drinking water.

This list is detailed in Appendix C to the Drinking Water Quality: Quarterly Report Explanatory Notes and Instructions (PDF, 176.0KB)

Timeframes for reporting all incidents:

  • Within 3 hours: all instances where the health-related drinking water quality criteria are not met.
  • Within 24 hours: if a parameter is found for which there is no guideline value in the ADWG.
  • As soon as practicable: for an event or series of events likely to affect drinking water quality or that will cause difficulty in the ability to adequately treat or provide drinking water.

Note: All incident reports must be made directly to the Queensland Water Supply Regulator by phoning 1300 596 709. Download the necessary incident reporting forms.

To help report incidents, use the incident reporting flowcharts. Timeframes are outlined in the Water Quality and Reporting Guideline for a Drinking Water Service.

Non-reportable parameters (under a Notice)

Non-reportable parameters are those not considered an incident. They may be subject to certain conditions and only apply to certain circumstances.

The following list is subject to change, so providers should review it regularly:

  • Alkalinity
  • Calcium
  • Cobalt
  • Geosmin
  • Langelier Index
  • Magnesium
  • 2-methylisoborneol (MIB)
  • pH
  • Potassium
  • Silica
  • Temperature
  • Tin
  • Total organic carbon (TOC)
  • Dissolved organic carbon (DOC)
  • Heterotrophic plate count (HPC)
  • Total coliforms

Elevated disinfection levels (under a Notice)

We have determined that chlorine or monochloramine in the treatment or transmission systems will now be considered non-reportable parameters, subject to certain conditions:

  • an exemption applies to incident reporting for chlorine or monochloramine levels above the ADWG values found in the water treatment or transmission system where, as an operational practice, dosing of chlorine or monochloramine levels higher than ADWG health value is required to achieve adequate disinfection in the reticulation system
  • an exemption applies when there is a monitoring point prior to the delivery of water to customers, to demonstrate the disinfection values are within the ADWG health guidelines
  • where water is supplied from a transmission system owner by one provider to a reticulation system of another provider, the owner of the reticulation system must be aware of the practice
  • providers must continue to report on chlorine or monochloramine levels above the ADWG in a reticulation system.

The regulator recommends that all providers who choose to dose chlorine or monochloramine at levels higher than the ADWG health value consider the risks of disinfection by-products being formed, and include these in their regular monitoring program as appropriate.

Last updated
17 January 2014