Water testing

Bottled Water Testing

Testing water that appears suitable for use as a bottled water source.

About this Testing

Testing water for its suitability for bottling becomes more and more expensive as the process of setting up the plant and gaining access to markets progresses. As an initial step though, some basic parameters are covered by our Routine Water profile. There are many bottled water standards including those produced by the International Bottled Water Association and the Australasian Bottled Water Institute, however the guidelines referred to below are from the ABWI.

Test

Typical Range

ABWI Model Code 2005

Comment

pH

5.5 - 7.5

3.5 - 8.5

Aesthetic parameter and the limits provided are for guidance only.

Conductivity

NA

< 1500us/cm

Important for ion balance check and other parameter estimation. Used to calculate TDS.

Turbidity

NA

< 0.5 NTU

Aesthetic parameter and the limits provided are for guidance only.

TDS

10-500mg/L

NA

Minimum of 250ppm for mineral water

Alkalinity

NA

NA

Important for interpretation and other parameter estimation

Calcium

NA

NA

Major ion, used to calculate hardness.

Magnesium

NA

NA

Major ion, used to calculate hardness.

Hardness

0.1 - 2 mg/L

NA

Sodium

NA

NA

Major ion, indicative of salt water intrusion, can cause taste problems

Potassium

NA

NA

Major ion

Nitrate

NA

< 10 mg/L

Important nutrient indicative of fertiliser application and other anthropogenic inputs, health concern (can cause methaemoglobinaemia in bottle fed infants)

Chloride

NA

< 250 mg/L

Major ion, indicative of salt-water intrusion, can cause taste and corrosion problems.

Sulphate

NA

< 250 mg/L

Major ion, can cause taste problems.

Arsenic

NA

< 0.05 mg/L

High levels of Arsenic have been found in some bore waters, usually from geothermal sources.

Iron

0.1 - 2 mg/L

< 0.3 mg/L

Manganese

<0.05 mg/L

< 0.05 mg/L

Copper

NA

< 1 mg/L

Zinc

NA

< 5 mg/L

EColi

Not Usually Detected

<1 in 100mL of sample

 

Note that the parameters above do not include many inorganic, organic, radiological and microbiological parameters required by the ABWI Model code. Therefore this testing should only be considered as a first step.

The bottled water industry has grown considerably over the last 15 years in New Zealand, however there appears to be an increasing international backlash against bottled water because of concerns about the carbon footprint of the final product. In order to get around these issues, some producers use glass or bio-plastic containers, or are looking at bulk container shipments. Nevertheless, in countries where municipal water is of dubious quality or is produced primarily from waste water, bottled water would be the preferred option for many people.

With this in mind, New Zealand with its abundance of pure fresh water would seem to have a bright, albeit challenging future, however the source of water should be chosen with care. Water exhibiting any sign of problem contaminants such as heavy metals or pesticides should not be considered. The security, age and magnitude of the aquifer should also be determined.

Taking a Sample

When taking the sample, it is very important to follow the instructions provided, especially for the Ecoli test. This requires a sterile container (square plastic 400mL) and the tap needs to be sterilised to make sure that no contamination occurs. Also note that we need the samples back with 24 hours and less than 10°C, otherwise the results will not be valid. For clients who are not within easy driving distance from Hamilton or Christchurch, we suggest taking your sample in the early afternoon and sending it overnight to the laboratory.

Request a Routine Water Kit from the Laboratory. It contains 3 sample containers which are all required for one test, i.e. they should all be filled from the same sampling point, not from 3 different points.

Unsure about the correct container to use to submit a sample? Consult our container catalogue

Contact Us

Freephone 0508 HILL LAB (44 555 22) or email Env.CSM@hill-labs.co.nz

Hill Laboratories can test your bottled water