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Environmental Microbiology & Toxicology Testing

Testing to support the environmental health and safety of NSW communities.

About our Environmental Microbiology & Toxicology Testing service

Our Environmental Microbiology & Toxicology teams are part of NSW Health Pathology’s Forensic & Analytical Science Service (FASS).

They provide specialised microbiological and chemical testing for NSW Health’s legislative compliance monitoring activities including investigation of possible waterborne-disease outbreaks.

The teams work with NSW Health, the Environmental Health Branch and the Public Health Network to ensure water quality and safety.

Service Overview

Water Microbiology Laboratory
  • Tests drinking, recreational, dialysis and waste waters
  • Detects microorganisms including Salmonella and thermophilic Campylobacter pathogens
  • Tests for compliance with Australian Drinking Water Guidelines and various NSW Health guidelines.
Trace Inorganic Laboratory

Tests for compliance with Australian Drinking Water Guidelines for:

  • Physical parameters (pH, turbidity, hardness, total dissolved solids and true colour)
  • Nutrients (phosphorus, sulfate, nitrate and nitrite)
  • Heavy metals (including but not limited to lead, mercury and arsenic)
  • Fluoride in drinking water samples under the Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies Act 1957.
Clinical & Environmental Toxicology Laboratory

The laboratory assists NSW Health testing of:

  • water for pesticide residues, algal toxins, disinfection by-products and other organic contaminants, and
  • e-cigarettes or vapes for nicotine and heavy metals.
Legionella Reference Laboratory
  • Tests water from high-risk public healthcare facilities in NSW for total Legionella present
  • Where required, determines if L. pneumophilia serogroups 1,2-14 or species are present
  • Works with NSW Health to investigate Legionnaires' disease outbreaks in the community.
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