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What you should know about the new 2015 Blue Drop Limits (SANS 241:2015 Drinking Water)

Written by Janice M on . Posted in Water & Environmental

The new SANS 241:2015 Drinking Water Standards were published in March 2015. Blue Drop limits will be based on this.

The Drinking Water Standards list the determinands and corresponding limits that need to be measured in order to determine that the quality of drinking water is safe for us to drink.

You can purchase the SANS 241-1 and SANS 241-2 :2015 Standards here at the SABS webstore

What has changed since SANS 241:2006 and SANS 241:2011?

  • Some determinands have become more lenient (such as cyanide and selenium) and others are more stringent (such as lead). These changes are based on new research and changes in the WHO Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality
  • There are 18 new determinands (such as barium and boron) and 9 determinands have been removed
  • Under Microbiological determinands, there is increased focus on two protozoan parasites, Cryptosporidium and Giardia species
  • Also, compliance with SANS 241 Microbiological Determinands is highly rated in a Drinking Water quality system by DWA. Chemical determinands have a secondary high rating. The remaining three determinands are: Physical, aesthetic and operational

Table of 2015 Blue Drop Limits (derived from SANS 241)

Determinand Unit

2014 BLUE DROP LIMITS
Department of Water Affairs

WHO limits
might equate to
SANS 241: 2013 limits
↑relaxed limit, ↓more stringent limit

2015 BLUE DROP LIMITS

(derived from SANS 241:2014)
 

SANS 241: 2011

WHO 4th ed Guidelines  
Risk Standard limits Risk Guidelines Risk Standard limits  

MICROBIOLOGICAL DETERMINANDS

Bacteriological                

Escherichia coli (E.coli)

count/100ml Acute Health Not Detected (ND)     Acute Health Not Detected (ND)

 

Faecal coliforms
count/100ml Acute Health ND     Acute Health ND
Protozoan                
Cryptosporidium species
count/10ml         Acute Health ND  

Giardia species

count/10ml         Acute Health ND  
Total coliforms count/100ml Operational < 10     Operational < 10  
Heterotrophic plate count count/1ml         Operational < 1 000

PHYSICAL & AESTHETIC DETERMINANDS

Free Chlorine mg/l Chronic Health ≤ 5 (new) Chronic Health ≤ 5  
Monochloramine mg/l Chronic Health ≤ 3 (new) Chronic Health ≤ 3  
Colour Pt-Co     Aesthetic < 15
Conductivity at 25°C mS/m Aesthetic ≤ 170     Aesthetic ≤ 170
Total Dissolved Solids mg/l Aesthetic ≤ 1 200     Aesthetic ≤ 1 200
Turbidity NTU Operational ≤ 1     Operational
Aesthetic
≤ 1
≤ 5

pH at 25°C pH units Operational ≤ 5 to ≤ 9.7     Operational ≤ 5 to ≤ 9.7

 

CHEMICAL DETERMINANDS – MACRO-DETERMINANDS

Ammonia as N mg/l Aesthetic ≤1.5     Aesthetic ≤ 1.5
Calcium            
Chloride as Cl mg/l Aesthetic ≤ 300     Aesthetic ≤300
Fluoride as F mg/l Chronic Health ≤ 1.5 Chronic Health ≤ 1.5 ↑ Chronic Health ≤ 1.5
Magnesium as Mg            
Nitrate as N mg/l Acute Health ≤ 11 Acute Health ≤ 11 (new) Acute Health ≤ 11  
Nitrite as N mg/l Acute Health ≤ 0.9 Acute Health ≤ 0.9 (new) Acute Health ≤ 0.9  
Nitrite-nitrate ratio           Acute Health ≤ 1  
Nitrate and Nitrite as N mg/l      
Sodium as Na mg/l Aesthetic ≤ 200     Aesthetic ≤ 200
Sulfate as SO42- mg/l Acute Health ≤ 500 Acute Health ≤ 500↑ Acute Health
Aesthetic
≤ 500
≤ 250

Zinc as Zn mg/l Aesthetic ≤ 5     Aesthetic ≤ 5
CHEMICAL DETERMINANDS – MICRO-DETERMINANDS
Aluminium as Al µg/l Operational ≤ 300     Operational ≤ 300
Antimony as Sb µg/l Chronic Health ≤ 20 Chronic Health ≤ 20 ↑ Chronic Health ≤ 20
Arsenic as As µg/l Chronic Health ≤ 10 Chronic Health ≤ 10
Barium as Ba µg/l     Chronic Health ≤ 700  
Boron as B µg/l     Chronic Health ≤ 2 400  
Cadmium as Cd µg/l Chronic Health ≤ 3 ↓ Chronic Health ≤ 3
Chromium (total) as Cr µg/l Chronic Health ≤ 50 ↓ Chronic Health ≤ 50
Cobalt as Co µg/l      
Copper as Cu µg/l Chronic Health ≤ 2000 Chronic Health ≤ 2 000 ↑ Chronic Health ≤ 2 000
Cyanide (recoverable) as CN µg/l Acute Health ≤ 70 Acute Health ≤ 70 ↑ Acute Health ≤ 200
Iron as Fe µg/l Aesthetic ≤ 300 Chronic Health ≤ 2000
(new)
Chronic Health
Aesthetic

≤ 2 000
≤ 300
Lead as Pb µg/l Chronic Health ≤ 10 ↓ Chronic Health ≤ 10
Manganese as Mn µg/l Chronic Health ≤ 500
(new)
Chronic Health

Aesthetic
≤ 400
≤ 100
Mercury as Hg µg/l Chronic Health ≤ 6 Chronic Health ≤ 6 ↑ Chronic Health ≤ 6
Nickel as Ni µg/l Chronic Health ≤ 70 ↓ Chronic Health ≤ 70
Selenium as Se µg/l Chronic Health ≤ 10 ↓ Chronic Health ≤ 40
Uranium as U µg/l Chronic Health ≤ 15 (new) Chronic Health ≤ 30  
Vanadium as V µg/l      

 

CHEMICAL DETERMINANDS – ORGANIC DETERMINANDS
Dissolved organic carbon as C mg/l      
Total organic carbon as C mg/l Chronic Health ≤ 10 Chronic Health ≤ 10 (new) Chronic Health ≤ 10
Trihalomethanes (total) mg/l      
Trihalomethanes:                

Chloroform

µg/l Chronic Health ≤ 300 Chronic Health 300 Chronic Health ≤ 300  
Bromoform
µg/l Chronic Health ≤ 100 Chronic Health 100 Chronic Health ≤ 100  
Dibromochloromethane
µg/l Chronic Health ≤ 100 Chronic Health 100 Chronic Health ≤ 100  
Bromodichloromethane
µg/l Chronic Health ≤ 60 Chronic Health 60 Chronic Health ≤ 60  
Trihalomethane ratio           Chronic Health ≤ 1  
Total Microcystin as LR µg/l Chronic Health 1 (new) Chronic Health ≤ 1  
Phenols µg/l Aesthetic ≤ 10     Aesthetic ≤ 10
DISINFECTANT RESIDUALS
Free Chlorine:                
Treatment works
mg/l         Operational > 0 to ≤ 0.5  
Points of consumption
mg/l         Operational > 0 to ≤ 0.2  
Monochloramine:                
Treatment works
mg/l         Operational > 0 to ≤ 0.5  
Points of consumption
mg/l         Operational > 0 to ≤ 0.2  
                 

*Source: Department of Water Affairs, 2015 Blue Drop Limits

Download the print version at the DWA website

Instruments used to measure the Determinands of Water Quality:

A modern photometer can be used for measuring the physical and chemical determinands of water quality.

You could use a handheld Lovibond® MD600 photometer OR a benchtop Lovibond® SpectroDirect Spectrophotometer

A Microbiological Test Kit will also be required to test the microbiological determinands.

 

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