Environmental Microbiology and Toxicology

Our Environmental Microbiology & Toxicology (EM&T) team provides a wide range of microbiological, physical and chemical water testing services.

EM&T staff work collaboratively with NSW Health, the Environmental Health Branch and the Public Health Network to ensure the quality and safety of water within the NSW community. This is achieved through the provision of diagnostic analytical support to NSW Health staff in legislative compliance monitoring activities, investigation of alleged waterborne disease outbreaks, and other environmental investigations.

EM&T is comprised of the following laboratories:

The Water Microbiology Laboratory has the capability to test drinking, recreational, dialysis and waste waters for a range of microorganisms (including pathogens such as Salmonella and thermophilic Campylobacter). The emphasis is on compliance testing with the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines and various NSW Health guidelines.

For further information: NSWPATH-FASSMicrobiology@health.nsw.gov.au

The Trace Inorganic Laboratory tests physical parameters (pH, turbidity, hardness, total dissolved solids and true colour), nutrients (phosphorus, sulfate, nitrate and nitrite) and heavy metals (including but not limited to lead, mercury and arsenic) for compliance with the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. It also undertakes monthly fluoride analysis of fluoridated drinking water samples under the Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies Act 1957

For further information: NSWPATH-FASS-CET-TI@health.nsw.gov.au

The Clinical & Environmental Toxicology Laboratory analyses water for pesticide residues, algal toxins, disinfection by-products and other organic contaminants. The laboratory also assists NSW Health with testing of e-cigarettes for the presence of nicotine. 

For further information: NSWPATH-FASS-CET-TI@health.nsw.gov.au

The Legionella Reference Laboratory tests water from high-risk public healthcare facilities throughout NSW to determine total Legionella present and, where required, further determine if L. pnuemophilia serogroups 1,2-14 or species are present. Our laboratory staff also work closely with NSW Health staff to investigate outbreaks of Legionnaires' disease in the community.

For further information: NSWPATH-FASSLegionella@health.nsw.gov.au