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Water Quality Laboratory

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TropWATER's Water Quality Laboratory provides a water quality assessment service for James Cook University’s research and consulting projects and a commercial analytical service to government agencies and industry. While our focus is on the analysis of water, wastewater and related samples, staff expertise also includes experience in many facets of water quality research. This includes providing support for studies which examine freshwater streams, rivers, wetlands and reservoirs, ground waters and marine waters.

TropWATER's water quality laboratory team, 2014
TropWATER's Water Quality Laboratory team, 2014

Capabilities and expertise includes:

  • Design and implementation of monitoring programs
  • Sampling of water, sediment and biota
  • Analysis of waters, wastewaters, sediments and biological tissue samples
  • In-situ monitoring and data logging
  • Interpretation of analytical results and statistical analysis of water quality data
  • Discharge license compliance monitoring
  • Testing of water and wastewater treatment efficiencies


    In addition, TropWATER researchers have established working links with other JCU Centres. This enables them to draw on the experience of specialists from a wide variety of disciplines, which provides the capability to address the diversity of water quality issues and adopt a holistic approach to water quality evaluation.


    Equipment and Resources

    TropWATER's Water Quality Laboratory is located in modern, custom-built laboratories in the Australian Tropical Sciences and Innovation Precinct (ATSIP). The new facilities include capacity for standard titrimetric, colorimetric and gravimetric analysis techniques, supported by a range of high quality modern instrumentation which enhances the efficiency of routine analyses and provides sophisticated state-of-the-art investigation capabilities.

    Items of equipment include:

    • Three channel ALPKEM Flow Solution auto-analyser
    • 2 x three channel O.I. Analytical Flow Solution IV, Segmented Flow auto-analysers
    • Shimadzu UV-Vis Spectrophotometer
    • Gallery Discrete Analyser
    • Access is also provided to freezers and refrigerated storage areas which allows for efficient storage of large numbers of samples


    Research Scientists

    In order to provide expert advice, develop new techniques and process research-related analyses, the Water Quality Laboratory works closely with research staff and postgraduate students from JCU and other universities. In recent years, support has been provided for a wide range of projects, including those associated with:

    • Sediment and nutrient run-off from farmed and grazed upper-catchment areas to the Great Barrier Reef
    • Identifying pesticides in river systems in agricultural areas
    • Monitoring water quality in flood plumes following extreme water events (e.g. cyclone Yasi)
    • Environmental impacts on wetland areas surrounding mining and other industrial activities


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      Commercial Clients

      Water quality services provided for commercial clients in government and industry are primarily related to the environmental monitoring of water for physiochemical parameters and metals, nutrients, salts and bacteria. Examples of clientele and services provided include:

      Suger Mills, Aquaculture Facilities and Mining Operations Horticulture Industry (water and bore water)Swimming Pools
      EPA Compliance Australian Drinking Water Guidelines QLD Health Swimming Pool and Spa Water Quality and Operational Guidelines
      Total Suspended Solids (TSS) Faecal Coliforms and E. coli Faecal Coliforms and E. coli
      Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Total coliforms Pseudomonas aeruginosa
      Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) Heterotrophic Plate Count (HPC) pH
      Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) pH and EC Free and Total Chlorine
      Total Alkalinity Chlorine
      pH Turbidity
      Electrical Conductivity (EC) and Salinity Nitrate


      Major Cations and Anions
      Chlorophyll a Total Hardness
      Total Nitrogen and Total Phosphorus (TNTP) Biocides
      Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrite and Nox
      Filterable reactive phosphate (FRP) / Orthophosphate
      Total Organic Carbon
      Major Cations and Anions
      Metals - ANZECC (2000) Suite
      Sodium Absorption Ration (SAR)
      Total Hardness
      Residual Alkalinity
      Oil and Grease


        Costs and Submission Process

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        For a formal quotation for analytical services, please contact the Laboratory Manager (Michelle Tink):


        Complete an Analysis Request Sheet

        Attach the Analysis Request Sheet when you submit your samples

        2014 TropWATER Water Quality Laboratory price list

        Please contact Water Quality Laboratory staff:

        • Prior to submitting samples in order to ensure appropriate procedures for sample collection and preservation
        • For appropriate sample bottles and pre-labelled kits

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        Water Quality Laboratory

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