Environmental Public Health
Our public health team provides environmental health testing and is made up of four laboratories.
The water microbiology, trace inorganic, and clinical and environmental toxicology laboratories work with the NSW Health Water Unit to ensure water utilities in NSW are providing safe drinking water. We test a wide range of waters to ensure they comply with public regulations and investigate incidents and outbreaks of waterborne illness in NSW.
The Water Microbiology Laboratory provides microbiological testing of swimming pool and spa pool waters, recreational water, rain water, packaged and processing water, wastewater, effluents and water used for haemodialysis.
The Trace Inorganic Laboratory analyses physical and chemical parameters in waters, biological material, food, soils and similar samples. It undertakes monthly fluoride analysis of fluoridated drinking water samples under the Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies Act 1957 and supports the work of the Illicit Drugs Analysis Unit by testing miscellaneous samples for chemical precursors used in illicit drugs manufacture. We also support the Forensic Toxicology Laboratory by testing biological samples (mainly blood) for heavy metals.
The Clinical & Environmental Toxicology Laboratory tests water, fruits and vegetables, environmental and biological samples for a range of pesticides residues, disinfection by-products, algal toxins and other contaminants for compliance with the ADWG and the Australian & New Zealand Food Act. We can test for several groups of pesticides and also supports the work of the Illicit Drugs Analysis Unit.
The Legionella Reference Laboratory, in collaboration with the NSW Health Public Health Units, is involved in the surveillance of Legionella bacteria throughout NSW. Our expert team analyses water samples from cooling towers, evaporative condensers of air-conditioning systems, evaporative coolers, warm water systems, thermostatic mixing valves, spa and hydrotherapy pools. We also examine potting soil and soil-based products. Our laboratory also helps NSW Health investigate cases of Legionnaires’ disease.