Identification of the sources of metal (lead) contamination in drinking waters in north-eastern Tasmania using lead isotopic compositions

P. J. Harvey*, H. K. Handley, M. P. Taylor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study utilises a range of scientific approaches, including lead isotopic compositions, to differentiate unknown sources of ongoing lead contamination of a drinking water supply in north-eastern Tasmania, Australia. Drinking water lead concentrations are elevated above the Australian Drinking Water Guideline (10 μg/L), reaching 540 μg/L in the supply network. Water lead isotopic compositions from the town of Pioneer (208Pb/207Pb 2.406, 206Pb/207Pb 1.144 to 208Pb/207Pb 2.360, 206Pb/207Pb 1.094) and Ringarooma (208Pb/207Pb 2.398, 206Pb/207Pb 1.117) are markedly different from the local bedrock (208Pb/207Pb 2.496, 206Pb/207Pb 1.237). The data show that the lead in the local waters is sourced from a combination of dilapidated drinking water infrastructure, including lead jointed pipelines, end-of-life polyvinyl chloride pipes and household plumbing. Drinking water is being inadvertently contaminated by aging infrastructure, and it is an issue that warrants investigation to limit the burden of disease from lead exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12276-12288
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Volume22
Issue number16
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Aug 2015

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