Water from private bores can be a valuable resource as it can contribute to your yearly water needs particularly to irrigate garden areas. However, experience has shown that bore water may be contaminated by micro-organisms and chemicals. Reverse Osmosis, DMI 65, Ultra Filtration, Iron Removal Systems can all be used to Clean Bore water
Where does my Bore Water come from?
Water from rain and rivers seeps through layers of rock to underground areas. Water impermeable layers of rock or clay can separate and/or confine underground water bodies at different depths and in different areas. These are called aquifers.
Just like rivers found on the earth's surface, water in aquifers can flow in a particular direction and as it moves through the ground, it can dissolve minerals or chemicals and transport pesticides and micro-organisms.
It is possible for the chemicals and microbiological properties of bore water taken from an aquifer at varying depths or from different aquifers at identical depths not to be the same. As the water in an aquifer is constantly moving it is also possible for the chemical and microbiological quality to change over time.
More information about your groundwater may be obtained from the Department of Environment and Conservation.
Is Bore Water Protected from Contamination?
No. Most domestic bores obtain water from shallow unconfined aquifers that are neither located in controlled areas nor protected from surface contamination.
Bores operated by licensed water providers such as the Water Corporation for drinking water are protected from contamination as they are located:
within aquifers (mostly at depth);
in areas with restricted development and land usage; and
are controlled by catchment management plans.
For more information on source protection and catchment management contact the Department of Environment.
How can Bore Water be contaminated?
Bore water can be naturally contaminated by minerals, chemicals, bacteria and viruses. However, human activity usually has the greatest impact upon shallow ground water quality as a result of:
Excessive or inappropriate use of fertilizers, animal manures, pesticides and insecticides;
Poorly maintained septic tanks and other liquid waste disposal systems;
Leaking fuel and chemical tanks;
Intensive agriculture, industry or mining;
Leaching from waste disposal areas; and
Accidental spills of chemicals.
Are all Bore Water Contaminants a Health Risk?
Some contaminants are simply a nuisance as they cause a stain, smell or discoloration. An example of this can be found in some metropolitan areas where iron oxide leaches out of the soil causing a red brown stain on walls and footpaths.
Other contaminants such as nitrate, arsenic, pesticides and petroleum products are of health concern, particularly if bore water is used for drinking or watering vegetables.
What is the Best Way to use Bore Water?
The safest way to use bore water is to irrigate the garden, flush toilets, wash cars and clothes.
Bore water should never be used for drinking, bathing, filling swimming and paddling pools, food preparation or cooking unless it has been professionally tested and treated.
Can I tell if my Bore Water is contaminated?
It is not always possible to tell if your bore water is contaminated. However some signs of potential trouble are:
A low pH (acid water);
A chemical or petrol smell;
Soap suds around sprinkler outlets;
A change in water colour; and
Dying or wilting plants.
If this occurs contact your local Environmental Health Officer.
Can I Test my Garden Bore Water?
Aqua Wise offers the complete answers including design and testing its simple
*Send us a water sample or a resent water test from a qualified laboratory