Guidelines to water quality suitable for

pigs to drink

 

Element

Maximum mg/kg of water

(1 kg = 1 lt mg/kg = ppm)

Aluminum

0.1

Arsenic

0.01

Beryllium

0.1

Boron

5

Cadmium

0.005

Calcium

1000

Chloride

250

Chromium

0.05

Copper

1

Fluoride

1.5

Hardness calcium carbonate

< 60 classified as soft

120-180 classified as hard

> 180 classified as very hard

Iron

0.3

Lead

0.01

Magnesium

50

Manganese

0.05

Mercury

0.001

Molybdenum

0.5

Nickel

1

Nitrites

1

Nitrates

45

Phosphorus

2.2

Potassium

3

Sodium

200

Selenium

0.01

Solids (dissolved)

500

Sulphate

500

Uranium

0.02

Vanadium

0.1

Zinc

5

Total viable bacterial counts (TVC) per ml

37C (99F)

22C (72F)

Bacterial counts should be low and not vary between samples

<2 x 102

< 1 x 104

Coliforms/100 ml

Zero

pH

6.5 to 8.5

Temperature

<=15C

 

 

 

Issues with specific contaminated water supplies

 

Sulphate:

 

High water content in the water supplies has been associated with:

1.                  Diarrhoea/scouring at > 3000 mg/kg

2.                  Poor gain and feed efficiency

3.                  Nervousness in various age groups

4.                  Increased water intake growing pigs and also

5.                  Decreased water intake lactating sow

6.                  Decreased feed intake

There is an association with alkalinity. Note the laxative effect of sulphates are more pronounced in young (smaller) pigs.

 

Total dissolved solids

< 1000 mg/kg No risk

1,000 3,000 mg/kg Mild diarrhoea in pigs not adapted

5000+ mg/kg Avoid in pregnant and lactating sows

7000+ mg/kg Avoid in any pig

 

Total dissolved solids. These can be removed but generally expensive. More of an issue in producing water for AI:

Filters

Reversed osmosis

Water softeners

 

Iron (Fe)

Iron levels in excess of 0.3 mg/kg can stain clothes. At this concentration it may also support iron bacteria, which result in foul odors and plugging of water systems. Levels over 0.3 mg/kg may also result in reduced water intake.

 

Sodium (Na)

Sodium sulphate is a well-known laxative and its association with sulphate is therefore a concern. Water with over 400 mg sodium/l may warrant an adjustment to the sodium concentration in the diet, but note that chlorine deficiency does not ensue. 800 mg sodium/l can cause diarrhoea.

 

Coliforms E. coli bacteria for example

  1. Check for sources of contamination with animal manure
  2. Shock chlorination (using sodium hypochlorite at 5.25% chlorine solution) will disinfect and destroy many microorganisms.
  3. At high level of organic matter will affect free chlorine into chloramines. This interferes with the ability of disinfectants to work.

Counts should be kept at 1/100 ml to ensure that diarrhoea does not ensue.

 

Algae

Green algae control growth by applying 1g copper sulphate per 1000 litres of water.

 

Blue green algae find a different water source. The water will poison the pigs.

 

Other diseases that may be transmitted via the water supply

Erysipelas, Salmonellosis and Leptospirosis as examples