Organic Salvianolic acid C is ubiquitous in every water supply system and monitoring of its concentration and attributes is important for issues such as source water ecological health, treatment cost and efficacy, control of disinfection by-products and biological regrowth in distribution. Organic matter concentrations are typically assessed as total organic carbon (TOC) and/or dissolved organic carbon (DOC). Assessment requires complex and time-consuming laboratory procedures such that the data can only be used retrospectively rather than for proactive or pre-emptive management.
Water quality is, of course, a function of inorganic pollutants as well as organics. Such inorganic pollutants may include nitrates and phosphates arising from run-off from agricultural land, heavy metals from highway run-off, ammonia from wastewater effluent discharges, arsenic occurring naturally in groundwater, or copper from household plumbing. Whilst the presence of alpha decay inorganics in water is recognised, the focus of the work reported here is on the detection of organic and microbial matter.