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Volume 30 No 1 February 2003 Journa l of the Australia n Water Association

Editorial Board F R Bishop, C hairman B N Anderson, R Considine. W J Dulfc r, G Finke, G Finlayson, G A H o lder, B Labza, M Muntisov, P Nadebaum, J D Pa rke r , J Rissman, F R oddick, G R yan, S Gray

CONTENTS

•, Wmer is a refereed journal. This symbol indicates that a paper has been refereed.

Submissions Instructio ns for authors can be found 011 page 14 o f this journal. Subm issions accepted at: www.awa .asn .au / p ublications/

OPINION 2

Special Projects; Water from the Bush; Aquaphemera; My Point of View, Big Dry Lesson • Conserve, Recycle, Plan; Towards Healthier River Systems: A Flawed Process; Let's Make a Difference

Managing Editor Pet er Stirlin g

News and Supervising Editor Brian M cRae AW A T echnical Director Tel: (02) 94 13 1288 Fax: (02) 9413 1047 Email: bmcrae@awa.asn.au

Technical Editor

ASSOCIATION ACTIVITIES 12

Including AIWA and WEF Reports

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT 14 Details of courses, classes and other upcoming water events

NEWS BYTES

EA (Bob) Swinton 4 Pleasant View C res, Wheelers Hill Vic 3150 Tel/Fax (03) 9560 4752 Email: bswinton@bigpond.net .au

CONFERENCE REPORTS

Water Production

20 Water Industry Master Classes,

15

Hallmark Editions PO Box 84, Ham pto n, Vic 3188 Level I, 99 Bay Street, Brighton, Vic 31 86 Tel (03) 9530 8900 Fax (03) 9530 891 I Email: hall111ark@halledit.com.au Graphic design: Mitzi Mann

Water Advertising National Sales Manage r: Brian R ault Tel (03) 9530 8900 Fax (03) 9530 8911 Mobile 04 11 354 050 Email: brault@halledit.com .au

SPECIAL FEATURE WATER TREATMENT 25

AWA

29

NATURAL ORGANIC MATTER IN DRINKING WATER: PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS Project proposals at the CRC WQT. M Drikas

33

NOM AND MIB: COMPETITION FOR ACTIVATED CARBON Microporous carbons are most affected by low molecular weight NOM. G Newcombe, C Hepplewh ite, DRU Knappe

Federal President B a rry Norm an

Executive Director

REVIEW OF NEW DRINKING WATER TREATMENT TECHNOLOGY IN AUSTRALIA Covering: DAFF, Microfiltration, Ozone/BA(, ACTIFLO, MIEX, UV. M Muntisov, M Chapm a n, G Finlayson , N Johnston, M Green

Australian Water Association PO Box 388, Artarmon , NSW 1570 Tel +6 1 2 9413 1288 Fax: (02) 9413 1047 Email: info@awa.asn.au A BN 78 096 035 773

C Porter

IWA' s 6th International Symposium on Off-Flavours in the Aquatic Environment Ozone Experience TECHNOtour, C H inchcliffe TECHNOtour: Integrated Urban Water Management Ozwater Builds Water Industry Knowledge, Networks, B Sanders

Water (ISSN 0310 · 0367) is publish ed eight tim es a year in the mo nths of February, March, May, June, August, September, November a nd D ecember.

Featuring selected highlights from the AWA email News

WASTEWATER AUSTRALIAN

WATER

Chris Davis ASSOCIATION Australian Water Association (A WA) assumes no responsibility for o pinions o r statements of fa cts expressed by contributors o r advertisers. Editorials do not necessarily represent official AWA policy. Advertisements are included as an information service to readers and are reviewed before publicatio n to ensure relevance to the water environment and obj ectives of AWA . All material in Water is copyright and should not be reproduced wholly or in part without th e written permission of the Managing Editor.

Subscriptions Water is sent to all AWA members eight times a year. It is also available via subscription.

37

41

BIOSOLIDS MANAGEMENT IN USA: SOME KEYS TO SUCCESS Some practical aspects of large scale land applications. M Scharp

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GUIDE TO MANAGING BIOSOLIDS Australian experience and cost estimates for the various technologies.

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P Darvodclsky, C Morri s

BUSINESS 45

ASSESSING WATER UTILITY'PERFORMANCE A review of Australian and international initiatives. B M c Rae

50

·, THE WALKERTON ENQUIRY: LESSONS FOR TRAINING AND CERTIFICATION Operator training was at fault in Walkerton. Is Australian training effective? D Mac ka y

Visit the n Wnt r oc1 t o 1 HOME PAGE and access news, calendars, bookshop and over 100 pages of information at

OUR COVER: The photo shows the M IEX plant i11 the fo regrou11d of the Water Corporation's conventional groundwater treat11te11/ plant at f;J/a11neroo, as viewed fro 111 the north . The 1vJ.JEX plant treats the so/.lrce water post-aeration with the treated water then passing to the clarifiers . Photo courtesy of the Wa ter Corporation . WATER FEBRUARY 2003

1


FROM

THE

PRESIDENT

SPECIAL PROJECTS H aving been aro und now fo r 40 years, A W A is a mature associatio n; we've got stable management and leadership and some money in the bank. W e run a usefu l range of activities and provide m embers with valuable services. M ost of our activities are operated on a breakeven basis or, if we do well, return a surplus. T he Board of AWA has decided to retain a basic reserve fund (equal to a third of an nual turnover) and has indicated that it is w illing to invest some of o ur discretiona1y fu nds in projects that are natio nally significant and beneficial to achieving our goals. T hese would effectively be projects which could not be undertaken with.in our normal operating budget. For example, one such project may well be to become much more proactive in water education (aimed at comm unity and schools), engaging a staff memb er for th at area sp ecificaJly and helping to coordinate national water education efforts. Given the w ide scope of water activities and issues, there is a wide spectru m of potential proj ects. W ith some imagi-

Barry Norman

nation, I' m sure the sky's the limit. The constraints, of co urse, are congruence with AW A's mission of promoti ng sustainable m an age m e n t of w a t e r and , more mundanely, fitting within the quantum of

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WATER FEBRUARY 2003

funds available. There are no rules th.ere , but a reasonable range would seem to be from $20,000 to $100,000 for any given project, with a bias coward the lower end. Any candidate projects need to be well considered and muse have a corpus of members which is willing to champion it and co direct the project if it's successful. T hat may well imply chat Branch es would b e best placed to conceive and execute proj ects, but they do need to be nationally relevant. The Board has no preconceived ideas on any of chis, so projects will be priorities on their merits and affordability and the Board w ill also exercise its own j udgement on how much to expend in total. So, there's a challenge - w hat inspirational proj ects can AW A tackle starting later this yea r to make sustainable water management a reality in Australia? Ideas can be se nt to the national office in Artarmon . If they are to be submitted to the Board on 5 April, they should be with the office by mid-M arch at the latest. Barry Norman

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WATER TREATMENT

A REVIEW OF NEW DRINKING WATER TREATMENT TECHNOLOGY IN AUSTRALIA M Muntisov, M Chapman, G Finlayson, N Johnston, M Green Abstract Th is paper reviews th e performance of n e w drinki ng water technologies in Au stralia based on th e authors' combin ed experience. Th e technologies reviewed includ e DAFF , M i c rofi l tration , Ozone/BAC, ACTIFLO, MIEX and UV. Introduction Australians have a traditio n o f being qui ck to adopt new technology. This approac h is also e vident in the Water Industry especiall y in recent times wh ere the re has bee n an e mph asis on effi ciency at least cost and o n wate r qua li ty risk re duction. T echnology wh ich pro mises th ese outcomes has been sough t after. A numbe r of new drinki ng water treatme nt techno logies have bee n introd u ced to Australia over the last fifteen years o r so. This pape r reviews a selecti on of these tec h nologies based o n th e expe ri ence o f th e autho rs and assesses how successful th ey have been and th eir ]jkely application into th e future . Dissolved Air Flotation/ Filtration (DAFF) The DAFF pro cess has been th e u ndoubted su ccess story in drinking water treatme nt in A ustralia over the last 15 years. The DAFF process has proven itself to be highly sui tabl e to treat Australia's organic-ri ch surface wate rs, especially those that are susceptible to algal acti vity . The process has pro ve n to be co st- effective b eca use of th e typ ical co-location of the filte r and flotation processes in the same tan k . It has therefore been very popula r wit h Des ign a nd Construct contractors seeking to achieve specified outcom es at the lowest possible price. lt is parti cularly attractive for Australian conditions w here sou rce reservoirs are often subject to algal events. The majority ofDAFF plants draw their source water from Figure impoundme nts, alth o ugh th ere

Figure 1 . One of Austra lia's first OAF plants at Richmond, NSW. e xceeds around 100 NTU. In on e case, early filter breakthrough or shortened filter run times were encounte red w he n a high raw wate r colo ur (> 100 HU) o ccurred with ele vated turbidity (> 50 NT U ). Op eratio na l prob lem s wh ich have been e ncou nte red include inadequate coagulati on control due to unstable p H. adjustmen t, insu ffi cien t flash mj xing, rap id deterioration o f filte red wate r turbidi t y u p o n OAF fa ilu r e , and mudballing due to excessive polymer dose and inadeq uate backwash rates. DAFF plants are sensitive to polym er dose and in many cases i t is not used. The operating power cost o f around 100 kWhr/ ML is h igher compared to sedim entation / filtratio n (of the order of 50 kWhr/ ML) but this ca n be offset by a ge nerally more stable start/stop operation which means advan tage can be taken of low cost overnight power and less o pe rato r attendan ce is o ft e n possible. C are is n eeded in providing sufficient depth b etwee n float layer and the top of the filter bed and in the layout o f backwash launde rs to avoid air entrainment into the filt er bed and short filter run times. There is also a practical 2. Typical small scale microfiltration plant (4 ML/ d). lim itatio n on DAF cell length of are examp les of run-of-the-river plants including U lverstone (Tas), R ed C liffs (Vi c) , Sh epparton (Vic), W est Bank (Qld). Th e authors have been involved in mo re than 30 DAFF plants in A ustralia. From this ex pe rience, we note that process problem s with DAFF pla nts are usually rare. Howeve r problems are known to have occurred at H am il ton (Vi c), W est B ank (Q ld) and M yponga (SA). Operating expe rience has indicated issues related to turbi dity constraints on th e source wate r. Plant perform ance in te rms of fi ltered water tu rbidi ty begins to d eteriorate w h en th e feed turbid ity

WATER FEBRUARY 2003

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WATER around 15 metres to avoid excessively long hydraulic float rem oval. Th ere is an increasing trend towards mechanical rollers for float removal w hich are more effi c i e n t and produ ce less wastewater. The DAFF p rocess has been s u ccess fully ope rat e d w ith powdered activated carbon doses up to 50 m g/L. Particle removal efficiencies are good with about 2 to 3 log removal in the 2 to 10 m icron Figure ranges which is relevant fo r Cryptosporidium and Giardia removal. O verall the DAFF process is a viable cost-effective process und er many Australian conditions. Howeve r it is important to understand raw water quality variability and coagulant requirements to ensure optimum design. Microfiltration Australia was somewhat of a proving ground fo r microfiltration through the development of high volume membrane t ec h nology by Au st rali an com pany Memtec Ltd. T he steady decline in the cost of membrane systems, largely du e to improved technology, in conjunction with the apparent robustness of th e membrane filtration process has contributed to microfiltration gaining defacto, preferred technology status for sm aller rem ote water supply systems. How successful has microfiltration been? There is no doubt that microfiltration produces excellent particle removal under all feed conditions. H owever, it is clear that microfiltration is also still a technology in development as evidenced by a number of examples of installed plants which were unable to ach ieve required net filtered water production and w hich produce high levels of cleaning chemical waste . T hese issues remain problems today as is evidenced by the retrofitting of membranes to ach ieve capacity of plants, for example at Romsey (Vic) and Tumut (NSW) .

The decline in membrane capacity with time is one area that, in the authors' opinion, the m embrane suppliers do not yet fully understand under the complete range of conditions that can be encountered. Key issues include fouling by silica, manganese and soluble iron, and the optimisation of backwashing and cleaning processes.

26

WATER FEBRUARY 2003

TREATMENT co ntin u e to d ecli n e d u e to technology developments, increased competi tion and as the issues discussed above are progressively resolved by m embrane suppliers. The tec hnolo gy is particularly relevant as the fo cus on water quality risk reduction increases. T he development of oxidantresistant m embranes and large volume submerged configuratio ns (eg Bendigo (Vic)) will also increase the attractiveness o f microfiltration.

3. The Edenhope Ozone/BAC plant.

On the other hand, the membrane physical life guarantees may be realistic based on the experience of some early installations of M emtec's. An example is the M e r ed ith (Vic ) plant whose m embranes lasted seven years compared with the guarantee of five years. The actual guarantee agreement is ve1y important and a key issue. The authors' view on how to implement a microfiltration project to account for these issues is set out 111 Finlayson (2001). lt is important to understand the raw water quality and coagulation requirements to ensure correct membrane selection and appropriate m em brane area is provided . In summary, major advantages of this tec hnology include minimal operation attendance, limited or no coagulant usage in some applications and greater than 4 log removal of particles in the 2 to 10 mi cron range. Disadva ntages incl ud e higher power usage (of the o rder of 200 kWhr/ ML), m embrane replacement costs, chemical cleaning requirements and the need for coagulants in coloured water. Our view is that m icro filtration w ill gain in popularity and usage as prices

Ozone/ BAC The first municip al ozo n e Biological Activated Carbon (BAC) plant built in Australia was at Edenhope (Vic) in 1997 to trea t a lake supply subj ect to chronic blue-green problems (Muntisov et al, 1998). Since then it has become increasingly popular in treating similar supplies with toxin risks or ones where o ngoing tastes and odours are an issue . O ther examples include Trentham (Vi c) , N oosa (Qld), B endigo (Vic), H amilton Island (Qld) and CaloundraMaroochy (Qld - under construction). T he expe rience with ozone/BAC appears to be that it produces an aesthetically pleasing trea ted water. Long term organics removal through the process varies between 10 and 25% depending on the site. The process will generally reduce c hlorination by-p ro du ct formation, although care is needed in waters with high bromide concentrations as brominated species may predom inate (Kostakis & Nicholso n, 2001). Th e life o f th e activated carb on beds remains unresolved as the plants are only in their first years of operation. The carbon at th e Ed enhope plant was replaced after about 3 1/ 2 years of service primarily at the request of a later D&C

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Raw Water

Figure 4. The Wanneroo MIEX Process Schematic (Smit h et al, 2002).


WATER

TREATMENT

contractor installing a small reverse osmosis plane after the ozone/ BAC process. Information on ozone by-product forma tion, particularly bromate, in actual operating planes is limited. The privately operated plants generally have a bromate limit of 0.02 mg/ L in the contract. The authors believe that the use of ozone/ BAC will increase in Australia, as utilities strive to produce aesthetically pleasing wa ter to the ir customers and to reduce the risks associated with algal toxins or p esti cides. MIEX The Magnetic Ion Exchange (MIEX) process was originally developed by the CSIRO. The process is very efficient in removing certain organics from water (Bo urke & Slunjski, 1999). There are two full-scale planes in Australia, the 112 ML/ d Wann eroo plant (WA) and the 2.5 ML/d M t Pleasant plant (SA). Figure 4 shows a process schematic of the Wanneroo plant. A t W anneroo a comparison over 6 months between the existing conventi onal plant and the MIEX-enhanced process (MIEX ahead of the conventional plant) found (Smith, 2002): • The MIEX process used 45% less alum; • MIEX process reduced the Filterable Organic Carbon (FOC) by a fu rther 24%; • The MIEX product water produced less total trihalomethanes (TTHMs) (56% less than conventional product water); and • The MIEX product water had a lower chlorine demand (on average 18% less) . Some of the key technical challenges associated w ith MIEX are resin recycle efficiency and disposal of the waste stream. At W anneroo the resin loss in the proving period was 4.2 L per ML treated and the wastes are discharged to the ocean (Smith et al., 2002). Cost data is not yet publicly available from the two planes. Therefore the cost-effectiveness of the MIEX process is not yet able to be fully evaluated at this time. The attractiveness ofMIEX is mainly in applications where organics rem oval is important and may increase if guidelines for TTHMs were to be lowered. MIEX do es not remove algal taste and odour compounds.

ACTIFLO A C TIFLO is a patented ballasted flocculation process that offers high- rate clarification. It uses dosing of a microsand (100 - 150 micron) to weigh down the fo rmed floe to accelerate the settling process. A CTIFLO clarifiers have been operated at up to 80 m/ hr. This compares with conventional clarifier rates of up to 3 m/ hr and DAF rates of around 10 m/ hr. There are no drinking water applications of ACTIFLO in Australia but the process has been used for treating wastewater eilluencs at Shepparton (Vic) and wastewater storm flo ws at Beenleigh (Qld). The experience at Shepparton treating a highly organic algal- laden lagoon efiluent shows that the ACTIFLO clarifiers could operate effectively at up to 40 m/ hr. However, microsand losses and polymer use was higher than expected. Further, the exp erience there showed the importance of appropriate filtration design following the A CTI FLO process as carryover of polymer can o ccur. A CTIFLO may find application on high solids feed waters w here land area is limited. Ultraviolet (UV) Disinfection UV has been used on small supplies in Australia for many years. T he installations have typically suffered from being undersized or not appropriate for the water quality being treated and do not have a long term disinfectant residual. As a result UV has a history of failing to meet basic microbiological criteria (E. coli and T otal Coliforms) reliably.

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WATER

Recently it has been found that UV is effective in inactivating Cryµtosporidi11111 and Ciardia at relatively modest dose rates (Bukhari & C lan cy, 2002). This treatment effica cy is formally recognised in th e USA w ith up to 3 log inactivation credit for Cryµrosµoridi11111 and up to 4 log c r e dit for Ciardia (Scharfenaker, 2002) but this is not yet the case in Australia. T here are no known applications o f UV sp ec ifica ll y for Cryptosµoridi um control in Australia, but the re are in New Zealand. Care is needed in selection of transmissivity value at the design stage and in provision of correct automatic lamp sleeve cleaning technology , UV dose mo n itor and lamp failure d ete ction equipment. Duty/standby arrangements are important because there is no active disin fec tant residual. The authors' view is that UV offers a ve1y cost-effective means of 1nitigating Cryptosporidi111n risks in the right applications. Raw w ater quality and the distribution arrangement is important. Cold waters with low algae, turbidity, iron and colour levels, and systems with sho rt detention times to customers are the most suitable. UV is best applied to filtered water.

TREATMENT

Conclusions Based on the experience of the authors: • The DAFF water treatment process has been su ccessfull y applied to Australian waters and is best suited to reservoir waters with high algae and m oderate to h igh colour and turbidity. • Mi crofiltration use is growing and w ill continu e to grow although th ere remain technical issues which need to be managed carefull y. • Ozone/BAC has found a nic he in the Australian marke t and will continue to be used particularly on waters subj ect to algal problems such as tastes, odours and toxins. • MIEX is very effective at reducing organics and will find appli cation w here this is important. • AC TIFLO m ay fi nd appli cation with high solids fee d waters where land area is limited. • UV has significant potential as a costeffective means of reducing Cryµtosporidium risks. It is best suited to filte red water conditions or raw waters with consistently low iron, turbidity and colour. References Bourke, M and Slunjski, M. MIEX DOC Process Launched in W estern Australia, Water, Novembe r/ Decembe r 1999

Bukhari, Z and C lancy, ]. M edium Pressure UV for Oocyst lnactivation,J o11mal A W WA Vol 91, No. 3, March 2002 Finlayson, G . R eal World Implementation of Microfiltration, AWA 1 9t h Federal Con vention, C anbe rra, April 2001 Kostakis, C and N icholson, B.C. Impact of Ozon e on Disinfection B y-produ c ts: Comparison of Three Surface Wate rs w ith Differing C haracter, C ls.C for Water Quality & Treat me nt, R esearch R e po rt No. 9, N ovember 200 I Muntisov, M. , M cMillan, R. and A rche r, H. Australia's First Ozone/ BAC Drinking Water Treatment Pl ant , A WW A W atertec h C onference, Brisbane, 1998 Smith , P., Botica, C., Long, Band Allender, B. D esign, Constructio n, C ommissioning and Operation of the World's First Large Scale MIEX W ater Treatment Plant. AWWA Convention , N ew Orleans, 2002 Smith, P. Personal Com munication, 2002 Sharfenaker, M. Draft LT2 E SWTR Out of the Box jo11mal A WWA, Vol 91 , No. 2, February 2002

The Authors Mike Muntisov, Mike Chapman, Greg Finlayson and Nigel Johnston are members of the Water Technology Team in GHD Melbourne. Mike Green is with GHD Perth.

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WATER FEBRUARY 2003


WATER TREATMENT

NATURAL ORGANIC MATTER IN DRINKING WATER: PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS M Drikas Summary The results of selected projects from within the C RC fo r Water Quality and T reatment that have researched the impa ct ofNOM in water treatment were prese n ted a t a works h op h e ld in N ovember 2002. The papers presented are summa rised below, giving an insight in to ways of improving current water treatment practices that co uld be adopted by th e Au stralian water industry . Introduction N atural organic matter (NOM) is present in all surface waters and causes the yellow -brown colour sometimes observed. H owever, eve n w hen waters appear colo urless, the level of organics in th e wate r may stiJI be relatively hi gh . NOM is a complex matrix of organic chemicals that can be derived from soil, livin g organ.isms and/ or plant detritus and partial degradation fro m any or all of th ese sources. Th ere have bee n nu merou s attempts to determine the structu re of NOM. H owever it has been co ncluded that NOM can not be simply defined as parti cular chem.ical structures but only broadly characterised in terms of its properties. The character of the N O M is dependent on the source from which it is derived and the chemical and biological degrad ation to wh.ich it has been subjected. Whilst the presence of NOM in water has b een acknowl edged for many years it was n ot u ntil the late 1970s that NOM was identified as reacting with chlorine to form a range of disinfecti on byprodu cts known as trihalom eth anes; the major comp onent being chloroform. Since th en the reaction of NOM with disinfectants and other chemicals used in water trea tment and the influence it exerts on v irtua lly every aspe ct of wat er treatment has begun to be appreciated. Impact on Water Quality and Treatment Increased coagulant and disinfectant dosage Na tura l organic matter is one o f th e key facto rs in determ inin g both coagulant

-

raw 20% DOC removed 50% DOC remo ved 80% DOC remo ved

40

60

80

::::>

I-

60

-~ -e::,

40

z

:Q

I-

20

0 0

20

80

Alum dose (mg L.1 ) Figure 1. Change in turbidity of River Murray water with increasing alum dose (for samples with varying proportions of DOC removed).

and disinfectant dose. Previous studies (Bursill el al, 1985; M orran et al, 1996) have shown that th e rem oval of NOM from raw water w ill result in a decrease in th e am ou nt of coagulant required to treat that water to achi eve aesthetically acceptabl e quality. T his is illustrated in Figure 1 for River Murray water where removal of increasing proportions of NOM , as measu red by dissolved organic carbon (DOC), resu lts in lower doses o f alum to achieve effective coagulation and a redu ction in turbidity . Increased removal of natural organics will also lower the chlorine dose

that is needed to achieve the required chlorine residual. M ore importantly th is also resu lts in an increased pen etration of chl orine th roughou t th e distri butio n system, resulti ng in better microbiological quality at th e customer tap. Disinfection By-products

The in teraction of natu ral organics with disinfectants not o nly results in high er doses being required but also results in th e formation of by-p rodu cts, a number of whi ch have adverse health effects. Chlorine is still the major disinfectant used in A ustralia, and indeed the world , and reaction w ith chlori ne has

Table 1. Relationship between DOC and Formation of Trihalomethanes Dissolved Organic Carbon (mg/ L)

Trihalomethane Formation Potential (ug/L)

Lexton Reservoir

11.4

Victoria

8.5

243 143

5.3

77

4.4

55

Wanneroo

7.0

Western Australia

4.9

395 294 183

3.0

WATER FEB RUARY 2003

29


WATER

TREATMENT

was fractionated into various been shown to produce a Table 2. Bact erial Regrowth Potential through a molecular weight ranges and the range ofby-products of which Conventional Treatment Pl ant and Distribution System adsorption of MIB retested in trihalomethanes are only a waters containing these fractions small proport i on. Data BRP as acetate equivalents (ug/ L) Location with equivalent NOM concensummarised in Table 1 illus75 Raw Water tration. Figure 2 illustrates that trates very effectively the 54 After Treatment some of these fractions compete impact of increasing concen66 more strongly with MIB for the After Chlorinat ion trations ofNOM on the extent adsorption sites; th e smaller 128 Customer Sample Tap 1 of trihalomethane formation compounds (<500) having a 83 Sample Tap 2 Customer when reacting w ith chlorine greater effect than the larger under specific experimental compounds (>30 000). It is also conditions (Morran et al, 1997). system prior to the membrane; this also worthwhile noting that the competition Table 1 also illustrates the importance of causes a decrease in membrane flux and from the natural water is stronger than the character of the NOM as waters with lifetime. either fraction suggesting that some similar DOC concentration can have vastly Interaction with activated carbon smaller compounds would have been lost different by-product formation. However during the preparation of the fractions. Natural organic matter is adsorbed the solution is not simply to apply an alterThis again emphasises that it is not only strongly by granular activated carbon, at native disinfectant, as NOM will be the concentration of NOM that is least for a short period of time. T his oxidised by a range of other disinfectants important but also the nature of NOM of the activated carbon reduces the ability such as ozone and even ultraviolet light. present. makes the activated to remove pollutants, The extent of by-product formation w ith carbon less efficient and reduces the It is very clear that the presence of these o t her disinfectants is slowly effective lifetime of the carbon beds. Even natural organic matter affects a number becoming clearer. when powdered activated carbon is used, of aspects of water quality and water Bacterial Regrowth the NOM competes with the pollutant for treatment technology and may well be the Natural organic matter is a food source adsorption sites on the carbon and the key component controlling the cost of for bacteria in distribution systems and all removal efficiency of the pollutant can be treatment and the fi nal water quality. waters that contain assimilable organic significan tly reduced. The CRC Approach carbon (AOC) will promote bacterial Figure 2 shows the removal of the taste H aving recognised the key role that growth. This has become very apparent and odour compound 2-methylisoborneol NOM plays in water quality and water in European distribution systems in recent (MIB) by activated carbon in both pure treatment, the Cooperative Research years where ozone is used as the primary and natural water (Newcombe et al, 1997). Centre for Water Quality and T reatment disinfectant, generally followed by The greater adsorption of the M IB by has directed a considerable portion of its secondary disinfection with chlorine. carbon in the pure water, and the signifresearch program to addressing the NOM Ozonation w ill oxidise NOM to smaller icantly reduced removal in the natural issue from a number of aspects. A brief more biodegradable organics that are easily water with the higher NOM concenoutline of the processes investigated, to assimilated by bacteria and this has caused tration, is apparent. This is a result of the considerable increase in biofilm growth in date and proposed for the future, within NOM in the natural water competing with distribution systems that utilise ozone for the Water Trea t ment Technology the MIB for the adsorption sites on the disinfection. However, although ozonation Program are summarised here: carbon. The NOM in this natural water exacerbates this problem, any oxidation tends to increase bacterial growth. The increase in bacterial regrowth potential 0) (BRP) after chlorination and changes • Mw ~a oo observed on passage through a distribution C MW »300 00 system are illustrated in Table 2 (Withers • No turol walor, M y~o ngn Ruorvo lr C et al, 1999). BRP is a measure of AOC; 10000 0 a, N 0 M fr ot w g tor ·. : values above 40 ug/L are considered to be cu indicative of biologically unstable water .... that will support bacterial growth. C

e ,r;

.s. ...

Cl)

Membrane fouling

Natural organic matter adsorbs irreversibly on membranes, fouling them and limiting both their effectiveness and lifetime and hence their use in the water industry. T his is a particular problem with membranes with smaller effective pore sizes such as ultrafiltration and nanofiltra tion memb ranes. H owever even microfiltration membranes, w hich have been more w idely used in Australia, suffer from NOM problems. T he problem with these systems is that they do not remove colour (caused by NOM) and generally coagulation is required as a pretreatment 30

WATER FEBRUARY 2003

(.)

1000

C 0 (.)

Cl)

(.)

.::,cu..

10 0

Cl)

a:l

:E

10

10 1 00 1 000 M 1B s olut ion concentration (n g l

1 )

Figure 2. Logarithmic plots of MIS adsorption isotherms in t he presence and absence of NOM.


WATER Coagulation

Conventional trea tment, consisting o f coagulation/ flo cculatio n follo wed b y sedim entation/ filtration is still the major process used for water treatment. R esearch has b een u ndertaken into optimising the coag ulation process fo r remo val for NOM using increased coagulant doses and/ or p H control - a pro cess defi ned as enhanced coagulation. Assessment has inclu ded th e use o f different coagulants including ferric sales and a range o f polyelectrolytes. Further work is proposed w ith polymerised inorgan ic salts as well as promising novel coagulants. Ion Exchange Resins

The capacity of a range of commercially available ion exchange resins fo r their r emo val of NOM ha s bee n evaluated. So me evaluation o f the effe ctivene ss of M IEXÂŽ1 for rem oval of NOM, in co mparison to alum coagulation has also been completed. Further work is proposed which will include data obtained fro m the two operating MIEXÂŽ plants (Mount Pleasant, SA and Wan neroo, WA). Collaboratio n wi ll be set up with th e two industrial partners, SA Water and

TREATMENT

WA W ater C orpo ration, and various studies will be performed in parallel to their operatio n. Membranes

Scudies investigated the impact of NOM fractions on the fouling o f microfiltratio n m embranes, the use of hybrid processes co enhance NOM removal and reduce membrane fo uling, and the develo pme n t o f n ew m e mbrane su rfa ce coatings to increase the rej ection ofNOM and lower the fo uling rate of membranes. T he hydrophili c neu tral compo nent o f NOM was identified as th e major fou lant for m icrofiltracio n membranes, and it was furth er sho wn to be a small component o f this fraction that had th e major fou ling effect. Additional w ork is proposed to further identify th e chemica l components of NOM that most signifi cantl y foul MF membranes in an atte mpt to d evelop better indica tors of membrane fouli ng rates. The extent of me mbrane fouling is know n to be greater for hydrophobi c membranes compared with hydroph ilic m embranes, indicating that foulin g from NOM involves an adsorption step. It is proposed to inhibit this adsorption step

I. M I EXÂŽ is a registered tradem ark of O rica Australia Pty Ltd.

via c h e mi ca l con d i tionin g w ith hydrophilic, lo w fo uling molecules as a m eans to lower the extent of fouling. H ybrid m embrane systems that adsorb NOM and remove the adsorb ent and N O M o n the membrane, and the perform anc e o f subme rge d hollo w fib re m embrane modules in hybrid membrane systems, will also be investigated . Oxidation

Studies have been unde rtaken to clarify how th e nature of NOM affec ts AO C and d isinfec tion by -produ c t form ati o n w he n using ozo ne an d ozo ne/ chlorine for disinfectio n. Th e effect of NOM on the ozonacion of algal m etabo li tes such as th e taste and odour compounds M IB and geosmin have also been determined. The effect of ultraviolet (UV) irradiation eith er alo ne o r in conju nction with hydrogen peroxide at varying irradiation doses on NOM has bee n evaluated. Wh ilst it was considered that this wo uld be unlikely to be a cost effec tive treatment process, possibl e byproduct fo rmatio n from UV irradiation of NOM at high doses was of interest. Furth er work wi!J be undertaken utilising


WATER the oxidation processes within biological treatment. Activated Carbon

T he work so far has led to an increased understanding of th e factors affecting the adsorption of MIB, in terms of the surface chemistry and structure of the activated carbon. Of greater importance in the practical application of powdered activated carbon (PAC) is the kinetics of adsorption, which can now be predicted with confidence with minimal experimental input. The effects of NOM on adsorption can be qualitatively explained, in terms of molecular weight dist ributions and character of the NOM. Further studi es have investigated the use of granular activated carbon (GAC), as an adsorb er and a substrate for biodegradation, alone, or in combination with ozone. The effects of water quality have been investigated, with the emphasis on the removal of the algal metabolites, MIB, geosmin and algal toxins. It is proposed to determine th e effect of coagulants on the application of PAC in a range of waters with different NOM concentration and character, and turbidity. This will result in useful informatio n on the size, density, strength and

TREATMENT

fractal dimension of floes under different water quality conditions in the presence and absence of PAC. Biological Degradation

Some work on biological degradation of microcystin has been undertaken and this will be furth er extended with the establishment of a new project shortly. H owever the usefulness of biological treatment as an effective treatment process for a range of compounds is clear. It is proposed to research effective treatment processes, most likely biological, to remove that fraction of NO M not removed by coagulation processes and also responsible for causing the fo uling of m embrane system s. In addition this should be extended to include the use of biological treatment for removal of all NOM. The Author M a ry Drikas is Program Leader, Water Treatment Technology, at the CRC for Water Quality and Treatment and Principal R esearch Chemist at the Australian .Water Quality Centre. PMB 3, Salisbury, 5108, South Australia . Email : mary .drikas@sawater.co m.au

References Bursill D B, Hine P T and Morran J Y (1985) The Effect of Natural Organics on Water Treatment P rocesses, Proceedi11gs of the A11strali1111 Water mid vV11s1ewater Associ111io11 ¡1 lt/1 Federal Co1we111io11, Melbourne Morran J Y, Bursill DB, Drikas M. and Nguyen H A (1 996) New Tech nique for the R emova l of Natural Organ ic Matter, Proceedi11gs of the A WWA WaterTECH C(){!fere11ce, Sydney MorranJ Y, Bursi!! D B, Drikas M. and Nguyen 1-1 (1997) A Simple Method co R educe D isinfectio n Byproduct Fom1ation, Proceedi11gs ,if the A WWA 17th Federal Co1wrntio11, Melbourne Newcombe G, Drikas M. and Hayes R.(1997) T he Influence of C haracterised Natural Organic Material on Activated Carbon Adsorption: II Effect on Pore Volume Distribution and Adsorption of MIB, Water Resenrcli, 31 (5), 1065- 1073 Withe rs N, Drikas M. and Kaeding U. (1999) Assessing Water Quality using the Bacterial R egr owth Potential (BR.P) M eth od. Proceedi11gs of the A WWA 18th Federal Co11ve11tio11, Adelaide (CD -ROM).

Acknowledgments The author gratefully acknowledges the use of extracts from project proposals prepared by CRC staff and data generated by staff of th e AWQC.

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WATER FEBRUARY 2003

-


WATER TREATMENT

NOM AND MIB, WHO WINS IN THE COMPETITION FOR ACTIVATED CARBON ADSORPTION SITES? G Newcombe, C Hepplewhite, D R U Knappe Abstract The adsor pti on of an odour compound common in drinking water, 2-mechylisoborneol (MIB), was studied on two powdered activated carbons in the presence of 13 well-characterised natural o rgan ic matter (NOM) solutions. It was found that, although the carbons and the NOM solutions had a wide range of characteristi cs, the maj or competitive mechanism was the same in all cases. The low molecular weight NOM compounds were the most competitive, participating in a direct competition with the MIB molecule fo r adsorption sites. Equivalent background concentration (EBC) calculations indicated a rel atively low concentration of directly competing compounds in the NOM. Some evidence of pore restriction was also see n , with microporous carbons most affected by low molecular weight NOM, and mesoporous carbons impacted by the higher molecular weight co mpounds. Keywords: activated carbon , adsorption , natural organic material, castes and odours, adsorption competition Introduction Removing taste and odour compounds from drinking water is a challenge for water authorities worldwide. In particular, 2-rnechylisoborneo l (MIB ) ca n be detected by consumers at levels as .low as 10 ng L- 1 as a musty odour; therefore a ve r y effective treatment method is required to remove this compound down to levels not detectable by the consumer. The major inhibition to the removal of MIB using activated carbon is reduced adsorption due co the presence of dissolved natural organic material (NOM), which is found in drinking water sources

This paper is an edited version of a paper presented at the IWA 6th International Symposium on Off Flavours in the Aquatic Environmenr, Barcelona. 2002.

Table 1. Starting materials and activation methods of the two activated carbons. Raw material and activation PCO

Steam activated coconut

HP

Chemically-activated wood

at levels generally between 2 and 15 mg of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) per litre. Even at the low end of the range, NOM concentrations are at least tens of thousands of times chat of the problem compound . As a result the adsorption of MIB can be reduced by as much as 98% in the presence ofNOM compared with the adsorption in organic-free water (Newcombe et al 2002). In practical terms this results in a significantly increased dose requireme nt for powdered activated carbon , and a reduced lifetime for granular activated carbon filters. The aim of chis work was to identify and characterise the compounds in the NOM providing the most competition with MIB, and to determine the most likely mechanism responsible fo r the large reduction in adsorption of MIB seen in the presence ofNOM. With this understanding it may be possible to minimise the competitive effect, and regain a proportion of the adsorption capacity of activated carbons for MIB and other microcontaminants. To achieve chis aim, the adsorption of MIB was studied with two activated carbo ns in the presence of a total of 13 NOM solutions of different character. The characteristics of the adsorbents and the

NOM were determined with the purpose of clarifying the mechanisms responsible for the decrease in the adsorption of MIB. Activated Carbon Characterisation Table 1 gives the starting materials and activation methods of the two activated carbons. A range of characte risation techniques was u sed to investigate the two carbons. In summary, the major difference between the carbons is the pore size distribution. HP has a typical structure for a chemically activated wood based carbon, with a large volume of larger pores, and a more open internal structure. This carbon is capable of adsorbing some of the .larger NOM molecules. In contrast, PCO is microporous, with a higher volume of pores in the size range suitable for the adsorption of a small molecule like MIB. Natural Organic Material Characterisation A total of 13 NOM fractions and raw waters, from two water sources, were Table 2. Hope Valley NOM fractions Hope Valley NOM Resin isolates M

Anion exchange

D

DAX resin

X

XAD resin

Molecular weight fractions F1

<500 ultrafiltration fraction

F2

500-1000 ultrafiltration fraction

F5

>30000 ultrafiltration fraction

Table 3 . Myponga NOM fraction Myponga NOM Myp Raw

Raw Myponga Reservoir water

Myp <500

Anion exchange isolate, <500 ultrafiltration fraction

Myp >500

An ion exchange isolate, >500 ultrafiltration fraction

Myp neutral

Effluent from anion exchange, isolated on DAX8/XAD4 mixed bed , eluted with acetonitrile

WATER FEBRUARY 2003

33


WATER

0 .08 0 .07

TREATMENT

- - M F1 - - DF 1 - - X F1

--MF 2 - - DF2 - - XF2

0 .08

0 .06 C1>

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0 .05

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a.

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Ap pa rent mo lecu la r weight

-MF 5 - D F5 - XF5

- - Myp - - Myp - - Myp - - Myp

0 .07

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raw <500

0.06 C1>

"'0

"'a.

0.04

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0.03

0.05 0.04

0 .03

>

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0 .01

0.0 0

0.00 100

1000

10 0

10000

1000

A ppa re nt mo le c ula r w e ight

10000

App arent mo lecular weight

Figure 1. High performance size exc lusion chromatograms of NOM sol utions .

in vestigated in this study. T ables 2 and 3 show the fractio n designation and the method used to o btain the frac tions from H ope Valley and Myponga Reservoirs respectively. Figure 1 shows the molecular weight distributions of the fractions. Competitive Adsorpt ion

Figu res 2 and 3 show the eq uilibrium adsorp tion isotherms of MIB onto PC O and HP respectively in the presence of the N O M fractions . For these experiments

different doses of PAC were added to the NOM solu tions spiked with M IB. The amount of M IB removed by the carbon (in micrograms of MIB per mg carbon) was plotted against the concentration of MIB remaining in solution. In each figu re the higher the line for the adsorption iso therm, the higher the adsorption of

T""

' C) E C)

Table 4. Theoretical estimates of the concentration of the competitive NOM based on the equivalent background compound model.

.g

Competitive NOM concentration (mg L·1 DOC)

C:

C:

g C:

~ 0 .0 1 0

u

MF1

0 .07

MF2

0 .01

MF5

<0.01

DF1

0 .38

DF2

0 .10

DF5

0.02

XF1

0. 29

XF2

0.09

XF5

0 .01

34

~

• • ...

...

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M F1 DF1 X F1 XF2 DF2 M F2 M F5 XF5 DF5

P CO

Q)

u

~ ::J

Cl)

• 1 E-3

WATER FEBRUARY 2003

MIB , and therefore the lowe r the adsorption competition with the NOM. T he M yponga fractions were only tested with HP. These graphs have different yaxis scales as the adsorption of MIB onto HP is much lower than onto PCO for all fractions. This is due to the lower volume of micropores in HP in the appro-

0.01

S o lution concentration (µg L

-1

)

0 .1

Figure 2. MIB adsorption isotherms in the presence of different NOM fract ions . PCO ca rbon.


WATER pria te size range fo r MIB adsorption. For bo th carbons fraction DF1 produces the greatest competitio n for adsorption sites, evidenced by the lowest surface concentration o f the adsorptio n isotherms, and MFS contributes the lo west competitio n of the N 0M solutions. T he solid lines in Figure 2 represent a theoretical fit of the dat a using the equi valent backgro und compo und (EBC) mod el. This m odel utilises the ideal adsorbed solution theory (IAST), which describ es the comp etition betwee n two ideal compo unds, to model the adso rptio n competition between a known c ompound (MIB ) an d th e u n kno wn co mpetitive co mpound in NOM (th e equi val ent ba ck gro un d co mpound ) . U sin g thi s mod e l a th e o retical estimate of th e con centration of co mp eting compounds can be calculate d. These are given in T able 4 fo r PC 0 . DAX iso lates ha ve a hig her concentratio n of competitive compo unds in a particular molecular weight fraction, acc ording to th e model, and the concentrat ion o f the competitive N0M is higher fo r the lower molecular weight fra c tions. Also, the concentratio ns of the co mpetitive part of the N0M are low co m.pared with the concentration of th e total N0M in th ese fractio ns (total DOC= 10 m g L- 1) . Similar estimates were made for HP. Two of th e model fits are shown in Figure 3 (dotted lines) . The ren1.aining data are fitted by a log-log line ar plot, as the EBC fits for the HP data we re not as close to the experimental data. The reason for this discrepancy is still u nd er investigati on. T hese results give a clear indication that the component of the N0M contributing mo st to the competitive effect is in the low molec ular weight range. This was co nfirmed when adsorption of MIB (a t a solution concentration of0.050 (g 1 - 1) was pl o tted against th e amount of N0M of apparent molecular weight 500 (Figure 4).

TREATMENT

~

0

";O>

""V

HP

0.0 1

E O>

2,

...

C

0 :;::

Myp Myp<5 00 Myp>500 M yp neutral

... ...

• •

.

T

...

• *

~

MF1 DX1 XF1 MF2 DF2 XF2 MF5 DF5 XF5

C

(1) ()

C

0 () (1) ()

~

4-

1 E-3

::,

Cl)

0.04

0.02

0.0 6

0 .08

0. 1

Solution co ncentration (µ g L"')

Figure 3. MIB adsorption isotherms in the presence of different NOM fractions. HP carbon.

This correlatio n wa s b es t for this molecular w eight, and wa s n ot as con vincing fo r the average molecular weight values. Th e relationshi p is goo d fo r PC0, indi cating that the adsorption competition increases with in crease in th e N 0 M in this size range. The trend is th e sam e for HP, although the relationship is not as strong. As can be seen in Figure 3 , as the N0M. fractions become more competitive, th e adsorption isotherms on HP show small er differences, and in fa ct appear to reach a limit. C onsidering th e y- axis scale for HP, the differences between the competitive effects of th e M yponga raw and neutral, and Hope Valley fractions XF1 , DF2 and DFl could be considered negligible. T he average MIB surface concentration for these N0M solutions is 7.3 X 10-4 µg mg- 1 activated carbon, a very low value that m ay represent the limit in the competitive effect between N0M and MIB. That

is, this amount of MIB might be expected to adsorb o nto HP carbo n in a noncompetitive manner, regardless of the concentration of competitive compounds. Adsorption Kinetics

The kinetics o f adso rptio n of MIB were also studied over a period of 4 hours. The analysis of th e kinetics is difficult in a system like this as the rate of adsorption in the initial stages is strongly affected by the equilibrium capacity o f the carbon, as well as by its pore structure and the competitive effects of N0M. For this study a simple method of comparison was used, the relative adsorptio n rate (RAR). T his is the ratio of th e amoun t o f M IB adsorbed at 5 minu tes to that adsorbed at 4 hours. The relative adsorption rates of M IB onto the two carbons are shown in Figure 5 as a function of the number average molecular weight of the N0M solution. In this case the average was used

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WATER

as a simple method of identifying any trends in the effect on kinetics. The figure shows that the adsorption rates of HP are consistently higher than those of PCO. This is du e to the more open pore structu re of this carbon, affording easier access to the adsorption sites (although HP has fewer adsorption sites for M IB). The trends that are apparent are opposite, indicating that the rate of adsorption of MIB increases with increasing molecular weight for P CO, and decreases for HP. T his effect has been seen before fo r a · range of carbons (Newcombe et al., 2002) and has been attributed to the larger molec ular weight NOM compounds restricting, but not blocking, access to the adsorption sites for HP, whereas the large molecu lar weight compo unds cannot access the interior of the microporous PCO. For this carbon the lower molecular weight compounds both compete directly for adsorption sites and restrict access pores, and thus affect the kinetics of adsorption of MIB. Conclusions The majority of the compet1t10n between NOM and MIB in this system can be attributed to compo unds of similar size and stru cture to the target compound. As a result, the production of an activated carbon with the aim of minimisation o f the com petitive effect becomes problematic. On a practical level, a powdered activated carbon with an extremely narrow pore size distribution, aUowing only access to MIB, and minimal access to very low molecular weight NOM, is diffi c ult , and therefore expensive , to manufacture, and could be expected to display very poor kinetic properties. An ideal carbon for the adsorption of MIB would have a bimodal pore distribution , with a high volume of primary micropores, representing a large adsorption volume, and also a moderate volum.e of mesopores, allowing rapid access t o adsorp ti on sites, w hil e minimising pore blockage and restriction by low molecular weight NOM. This conclusion was also reached by Pelekani and Snoeyink (2000, 2001) in their study focussing mainly o n the adsorption of atrazine and model competing compounds on carbon fibres. Such an adsorbent could also be expected to show good adsorption of the microcystin group of algal toxins, an important aspect of the treatment of water affected by algal blooms. The Authors Gayle Newcombe is a Senior Research Scientist at the Cooperative R esearch Centre for Water Quality and

36

WATER FEBRUARY 2003

TREATMENT

'c,

E

30

Cl

c::

~

'...J

••

25

Cl

c::

0

-

20

g

15

-

10

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HP PCO

r=-0.93, P=0 .0003

( ll

c:: ~ c::

r= -0 .59, P=0 .026

Q) (.)

(.)

c:: 0

5

Q) (.)

~::,

0 0

Cf)

5

10

15

20

25

UV response at 500 g mol

30

35

-1

Figure 4. Surface concentration of MIB (solution concentration 50 ng L·1 ) as a fun ction of NOM of apparent molecular we ight 500 g mol·1 .

Treatment, PMB 3, Salisb ury, South Australia 5108, email gayle .newcombe@ sawater. com.au Chris Hepplewhite is a post doctoral researcher a t the D epa rtment of Environmental E ngin eering and Science, Clemson Unive rsity, 342 Compute r Court, Anderson, SC 29625 U SA. Detlef Knappe is an Associate Professor at the D epartment of C ivil Engineering, North Carolina State University, Campus Box 7908, Raleigh, NC 27695-7908, USA.

References N ewcombe G , Morrison), H epplewhite C and Knappe D R. U (2002). Simultaneous adsorption of MIB and NOM onto activated carbon: II Competitive effects. Carbo11, 40 (12), 2147-2156. Pelekani C and Snoeyi n k V L (2000). Competitive adsorption between atrazine and methylene blue o n activated carbon: The importance of pore size distribution. Carbon, 38 (10), 1423-1436. Pelekani C and Snoeyink V.L (2001). A kinetic and e q uili brium study of competitive adsorption between atrazine and Congo R.ed dye on activated carbon: The importance of pore size d istribution. Carbot1, 39 (1), 25-37 .

100

!

!!"

90

<1'

PCO HP

~

C:

0

;

0..

80

~

0 Cl)

"O (ll Q)

70

~

e

~

(I)

a:

60

e

50 300

400

500

600

700

800

Mn Figure 5. Relative adsorption rates of MIB as a function of number average molecular weight.


WASTEWATER

BIOSOLIDS MANAGEMENT IN USA: SOME KEYS TO SUCCESS M Scharp The biosolids are unloaded from the railroad in to containers, w hich contain 20 metric tons. T he se m i tract0r-tra iler transp orts the biosolids to the application site w here the biosolids are unloaded like dump tru cks. All bi osolids are delive red immediately to th e appli cation site for appl ica tion within 14 days. T he bioso lids are appl ied at agronomic rates, about 4.4 dry to n n es per hectacre, to permi tted application sites, typica lly for dry-land winte r wheat. Based upo n ten years of operations, we have d etermined that th ere are so me maj o r keys to th e su ccess of this proj ect. Th ey are th e participating fa rmers, o ur ability to work with the press and the elected officials, and our wi lli ngn ess to ma ke the proj ect successfu l, t he mana ge ment and operation of the proj ec t, the actual locatio n and the relati ve tim ing of th e project.

The following is a11 edited 11ersio11 of the prese11tatio11 by Mike Scharp of Biosolids 1Vfa11ngeJJ1 e111 foe . at the Austra/ia,1 Water A ssociation's Biosolids Co 11Jere11ce, ]1llle 2002. Unlike Australia, the United State's in te rior is a fertile area known as th e "Bread Basket of th e World". Th e lan d application operations that we operate in Colorado is where vast fe r t ile p lains m ee t ch e Ro c ky M o u ntains. T h e prese n tation covers th e following points: • New York City Land Application Program • C limax Mine R eclamation P rogram • L egislative/ Permi tting Processes P ublic Acceptanc e Markets for Biosolids • H eavy Metals New York City Land Application Program New York City has bee n applying biosolids to land in Colorado as part of various programs since 1992. T he implementation of this proj ec t was aw a rded the USE PA 1999 P ublic Educatio n Award and in 200 1 it was aw a rd e d a n Environme n ta l Achieve ment Award, the first tim e a biosolids project ach ieved th is award in the U nited States. T he project is currently being operated by Parker Ag Servi ces, LLC and it rece ives about 150 wet metric tons per day of b iosolids sh ipped by rail over 2,400 km in sealed watertight cargo- type containers. T h e biosolids are ge n era te d in the skyscrapers of N ew York City and transported to the 'skyscrapers' of Colo rado, w h ich are better know n as grain silos. Why take th e biosolids two-thirds th e way across the United tO land-apply it in Colorado? W e had tO be prepared for such a qu esti o n. The reasons we selected this pa rti cula r area in P row e rs Coun ty Colorado include the re moteness of the are a. T he entire county, w hich is over 400,000 ha, has about 13,000 people living in i t of w hic h 10,000 peopl e live in o ne town, Lamar. T he average fa rmer manages ove r 8,000 ha of mainly flat country,

Climax Molybdenum Mine Reclamation Program

co mpared to a farmer in Illi nois, who manages o n average 400 ha. Th e average pH of the soil in th e Western United States is 7.5, compared tO Eastern U ni ted Stares of about 6.0. Th is was an issue prior tO the 1993 Federal R egulation 40 C FR 503 being issued. The ave rage rainfa ll in Southeastern Colorado is about 300 111111 compared tO 900 111111 in lll inois, where there are problems with site access o n muddy fi elds. Du e to the dryness o f th e climate, crops are planted every other yea r in order to allow moisture to bu ild up in the soil. Southeastern Colorado is also serviced by ra il, w h ich is critical ifbiosolids are t0 be transported by rail. Finally, th e State o f Colorado is bl essed w ith an active research program from C olorado Seate Uni vers ity and a stro ng and supportive regulatory program.

The proj ec t is a cooperative effort to solve both the problem o fbiosolids managem ent in the rugged mountains of Colorado and reclamation o f a large disturbed area from hist0rica l min ing acti viti es. T his proj ect received a special U SE PA award in 2001 because of its u niqueness . Although th e m ine needs reclamation , if o ffers so me very extre me conditions. T hey in clu de over 1,600 hectacres of disturbed land , a soil pH of 3.0, a growing season of less th an six weeks, an elevation of 3,700 me te rs and an average annual snowfall of 10 m ete rs. A bed of woo dc hips, acqui red from clearing operati ons within the county, is laid down and the biosolids unloaded onto it. The woodch ips and biosolids are blended toge th er and finished compost is recycled tO the blend at a ratio o f 1: 2:2. The composting operation continu es fo r abou t six months. Th e co m po st is processed in an aerated static pile which has air blo w n through the piles fi fteen minutes out of every hour for the first thirty days . On ce a C lass A produ ct is produ ced it is applied t0 the disturbed land WATER FEBRUARY 20 0 3

37


WASTEWATER

at the rate of 67 dry tonnes/ha together w ith 222 ton nes/ha oflim.ing material in order to raise the soil pH. Legislative/Permitting Processes In the United States there are typically at least two if not three levels of permission required in order to land-apply biosolids. They are federal, state and local. Typically, the federal regulations, 40 CFR Part 503, are easy to manage. T hey are set by federal law and are the sam e through out the United States. They deal w ith techn ical issues such as pathogens, vector attraction reduction and pollutant concentrations. These regulations are m anaged by the US E n vironmental Protection Agency and take a considerable amount of time to change. T he state regulations vary drastically but are based upon Part 503 but add an expanded function to deal w ith site selection. Some examples include slope constraints, buffer zones, and depth to groundwater. These regulations are managed by the various state environmental protection agencies such as the department of natural resources, the

state EPA or department of health. These regulations are usually void of politics but at various times have been influenced by the process. Local regulations vary drastically and ca n be implemen ted by many different local government bodies. They usually try to deal with social issu es rather than technical issues such as noise, odour, and location. Many times these implement

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public notificatio n procedures and are almost always politically motivated. Public Acceptance Public acceptance is a difficult task today. Many individuals and groups believe a large variety of conspiracy theories. T hese include such fab les as the fact that: • Neal Armstrong's walk on the moon over th irty years ago was faked, • Airplane contrails are spreading Prozac as a mind control drug in the U nited States in order to control the population, • Space ships from outer space are located at Area 51 because the US governmen t will not tell the general public what is go ing on there, • Fluoridation of water sources is a mind control scheme. All of these theories are out there with a varying amount of support. There is disbelief in almost every scientific endeavor, and this includes the science of land application of biosolids. Another tool working against biosolids acceptance is the Internet. It was once said that a lie could travel the world before the truth can get its shoes on. T hat is part of the problem with the Internet. It is fast but there is no way to d.istinguish the truth from a lie. As an industry chis is a tool we need to understand better and utilize more in order to gee more general acceptance of our programs and we have utilized it co our advantage fo r our own projects. There are also many issues that are working against us that we ourselves perpetuate . The Preca utionary Principle is one example. It basically says let's not do anything until we understand it completely. If we applied this to all science we would still be in a cave d.iscussing the pros and cons of fire. There are also problems of so-called environ-


WASTEWATER

mental groups caking on some other cause and after defeating one "evil" crying to fi nd some other injustice to stamp o ut. T h ese are dangerous groups beca use the have casted the blood of battle and they enjoy it and it becomes less of an argum ent about what is right for the environment and more about being in the spo tli gh t. Behind every public debate the root reasons muse be understood. Are there truly scientific differences, I find this is rarely the case unless it is som e minor local condition chat someone bel ieves is "sp ecial" . Most are issues w hich are more political or personal in nature. I have met many people w ho were opposed co a particular biosob ds application site o nly to fin d out later that it was really some famjly feu d dating bac k years over some nonrelated issue. There are also the syndromes that we have to deal with on a day-to-day basis They include such documen ted beliefs as: • NIMBY - Not in My Bac k Yard • BANANA - Build Absolutely Nothing Aro u nd Nobody Anywhere

• NOPE - Not On Plant Earth • NIMTOO - Not In My Term Of Office One aspect that few of us in the biosolids industry understand is the changing role of the press. T hey are not there co report the facts fairly from ou r point of view. They are a business and that business is co sell newspape r or airtime. As a result a story without controversy is fourth or fifth page news but a story of the "City" verses the "poor downtrodden masses" is front-page stuff In the world of the n1.edia one accusation equals two tons of scientific reports. There are plans and programs that are e merging to deal with these issues . T hey include ISO 14001 and Environmental Management Syste ms (EMS). Both are based upon th e concept of pla n , do, act and chec k in order to verify that w hat is being said in being done . Dealing with the public is a messy business at times; however, it must be don e. My opinion is that the public meeting is the lease effective way co educate the publi c. le is more typically a showcase

for those opposed co your program than for you co provide information co the public. le is my opinion that you have co plan public meetings very carefully using the same tactics as chose opposed co your plan or you have lost the battle. Such tactics include having supporters attend the m eeting and breakjng the meeting up into topic groups so that group dynamics do not control the meeting. Th e most effective way to educate the public is on a one-on-one basis. This is coo hard for the entire general population but w hen the concept of gatekeepers is introdu ced it b ecom es manageable. Gatekeepers are individuals whom the general population will seek out for advice o n a topic. Such peop le regard ing biosolids would be loca l elected o fficials, agricu ltural experts, water professionals, and aca d e mia and h ea lth officials. Edu ca t ing gatekeepers can be time consumjng but it is more manageable than crying co educate the general public. In Colorado we as an i ndustry we try co get ou t a positive messages, w hich include:

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• Biosolids land applicatio n is recycling. • Biosolids is safe . • It has been used on fa rms in one fo rm o r ano th e r for centuries. • It saves landfill sp ace . • The reason w e have biosolids is because w e are cleaning the w aters of o u r country . Markets for Biosolids Th ere are m o re and more C lass A processes available today but a key thing to rem ember is that being C lass A d oes not m ea n it is a produ ct. A product is, by m y defi nitio n , a m aterial that people are w illin g to sti ck th eir hands into and use around their hon1e. Many C lass A mate rials m ay not fie into chis de fin ition so we ma y have to understand our reasoning for wa nting a "Class A " m aterial o r product. Some exampl es of Class A produ cts t ha t I am fam iliar w it h include heat d ri ed pe ll e ts, compostin g either in- vessel or static piles and the direct distributio n of chat m aterial eith er to the homeowne r o r in soil blends, and lime treated bi osolids. Class B typicall y works well for land appli cation and su ch programs include

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liquid o r cake land appli catio n o n row crop farml and , reclam ation o f disturbed lands suc h as mine lands, sand hills o r the aftermath of fo rest fires. The key is determining your m arke t and the n p roducing a m aterial that w ill fit into it. M aking a product o r material fit into the existing m arket is where m any individuals run into problems. If Class B land applicatio n is the m arket target but yo u do no t want co haul it n1ore than so m any miles, there m ay be issues if that is still well withi n suburbia. It is c ritical to matc h m aterials, produ cts or not, with th e marke t you wa nt to target. If this is not done the progra1n is doomed co failu re . Heavy Metals Th e topi c o f ' h eavy m etals' is frequen tly discussed. H o w ever, heavy m etals have o ther names such as pollutants and m icronu trients. As an industry we spe nd a considerable amount of ti me w o rrying abo ut a topic w hich already has a conside rable research base co mpl e ted. Colorado State University, Penn State and the University of Minnesota have research on various plots in excess of twe nty years and in some cases thirty.

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T he term 'heavy m etals' only refers co the position of the elem ent on the p e riodic tabl e. It is interesting that many of us take a daily multi-vitami n such as C entrum, yet look at the label. This produ c t, w hic h is w idely acce pte d , includ es i ro n , pho sphoru s, i o dine, m agnesium, zinc , selenium , c opper, m a n g an ese, c hr o mium, c hlorid e, po tassiu m, boron, ni ckel, tin , vanadium, molybde num, and calcium. Many of these parameters are th e sam e elem.ents that are tested for regularly in biosolids. Therefore it is a question, no t of t he elem ent, but of the dosage. It is my experien ce tha t fe w people understand chat the periodic cable of elem ents make up everythin g kn o w n to m an and there are roughly l 10 ele ments. M any peopl e wa nt co ignore scie nce and c hoose co bel ieve, as the Greeks did 2000 years ago , that air, water, fire and earth are th e fo ur ele m.e nts that m ake up the earth and that eve rything else is bad. Scie nce has prove n over and over that the m etals in biosolids do no t ca use harm to the environment or publi c health if the gu idelines o r regulations are used. These are based upon a lo ng history of research as m e ntioned abo ve and other resources such as the risk assessm e nt . Public policy w ill play an impo rtant role in the am o unt of m etals in the envir o nm e n t. H o w e v e r , w e mu st rem embe r that th e en vironment is made o f th ese exac t param eters. So do we let scien ce o r fear of th e u nknown di ctate th ese po li cies? Summary In conclusio n , I want co assure th e listeners and readers of this paper o f a fe w basic tho ug hts. • The re are m any unheard o f successful land applicatio n programs op erating throughout the world and it is possible to develop new o nes. • R eg ulati o n s a re i m p o rtant a nd m anageable. • Public involve m e nt 1s a necessary activity. • Bioso lid s m a n age m e nt a c t i v iti es , including public participation and applica tion m e th ods, are a very site-specific acti vity. • H ea v y m e t al s a r e p a r t o f o ur environm ent . The Author Mike Scharp is the CEO o f Biosolids M anagem en t Inc , C olorado Springs CO 80920, U SA. Email scharpm@ aol. co m. H e is th e Biosolids Spokesman for WEF . H e has developed land applicatio n projects in at least sixteen of th e states of USA.


m

WASTEWATER

GUIDE TO MANAGING BIOSOLIDS P Darvodelsky, C Morris Summary The purpose of this paper is to outline th e general principl es for managing biosolids. It is a structu red approach to managing biosolids which helps minimise the risks associated with cost, environme ntal and co mmunity issues for a water business. The paper comptises a series of general notes and tables derived from experience PSD has gained from some 40 biosolids proj ects in Australia. Approach to Developing a Biosolids Management Program Wh en deve lopin g a p rogra m to manage biosolids, the most effective approach involves four key stages . These are show n simplistically in Figure l. A stage d approac h to biosolids mana ge m ent h as prov en the m ost successful both nationally and internationally. W ith out a sound , sustainable ou tlet or market for the biosolids produ cts the r e is a dem onstrably high risk that a biosolids manage ment program will fail. Adopting a biosolids processing solution without carefully assessing the nature of the available markets for beneficial use gives a high risk of produ cing a produ ct, w hi ch doesn't m atch th e needs of potential use rs o f biosolids. An exa mple of thi s might be produ cing a lime stabilised biosolids product in an area that has alkaline soils. Each of the four main steps of a biosolids management plan are discussed bri e fly below . Characterising Biosolids It is important to know how mu ch biosolids is generated and w hat the quality of the biosolids is. The qu antity and quality both play an important rol e in working out what the best products and markets are. Quality requirem ents fall into two cate gories; stabilisa tion and co ntaminant sta ndards. Stabilisation standards relate to the level of pathogen ic organisms in the biosolids. Pathogens must be controlled to acceptable levels before biosolids is suitable fo r beneficial use . Contaminant standards relate to the level of metal and sy nthetic organic compounds in the biosolids. The allowable uses for biosolids of different qualiti es are se t b y state Environment Protection Authorities and

Step 1Determine the quality and quantity of biosolids ®U®I?) ~ !ID®{fflffi @wd~@~~@ liiiil@~ {l@!J' ~~-~~~

step 3Define suitable biosollds products for the markets Step 4DMlop treatment proc8l18I to make those blosollds Figure 1

does not include landfill, as this is not c o nside red a be neficial use , unl ess biosolids are used to rehabilitate th e site.

must be followed. Biosolids should be analysed according to the applicable state standard to determine its quality, w hi ch in turn impacts on potential uses.

Guide to Suitable Products Once potential m arkets are defin ed, su itable products can be identified. T able 2 provides a general guide to match suitable products with particular markets. Table 2 is based on conunon Australian and international biosolids management practices. By far the most common

Sustainable Biosolids Markets T able 1 provides a general guide to determining approptiate biosolids markets. The availability and suitability of th ese markets w ill vary from place to place and mu st be co nfirm ed with a ca re ful assessment of local markets. This table

Table 1. Guide to Suitable Markets .!!!

Market

...u

!...

II)

II)

:, "O

:,

ct

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.:I!

IQ :E "O Cl)

r. .!!! j:i

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E Cl) Q.

N

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u u

ct

0

0

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111 l&I

ct

ct

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...

Q.

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f!

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Cl

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·...

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"'z

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... ... ...

z

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IQ :E II)

E

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a;

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./ ./

X X

./ ./

./ X ./

X

CJ

0

..I

II)

0

CJ ~

0

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... ...':i 0

"O Cl)

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Agriculture Cropping

./

./

Pasture Horticu lture

./ ./

X

Viticulture

X

X

./ ./ ./ ./

Forestry

./

X

Landscaping

./

X

Soil Rehabilitation

X

Site Rehabilitation

./

./ ./ ./

Energy Recovery Key

X

./

./

./

./

./

./ ./ ./

./ ./

X

X

X

X

./

./

X

X

./

X

./

X

./

./

./ ./

./

./

X

X

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X

X

./

./

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./ ./

./

./

X ./

./

./

X

./

./

./ ./

X

X

./

./

./

./

./ X

X No ./ Yes

Notes: 1) Simplicity of biosolids operations, such as spreading and incorporation. 2) This is a measure of how close the market is to treatment plants and the distribution of biosolids quantities.

WATER FEBRUARY 2003

41


WASTEWATER

markets for biosolids both nationally and internationally are of digested, dewatered products in broad acre agriculture.

Table 2. Suitability of Biosolids Products for Various Markets Markets

Products

Guide to Suitable Biosolids Processes

Liquid Biosolids

There is a wide range of pro cesses suitable for biosolids. Most comm only these are classified in terms of the degree of pathogen kill achieved by the process. The most commonly used processes for biosolids are set out in Table 3 and are classified by the stabilisation grade the process achieves. Grade A stabilisation is a near total pathogen kill. Grade B stabilisation is a high level of pathogen reduction. T his list does not attempt to be exhaustive and is based on Australian and international practices. A number of these pro cesses fall into both categories because they can be built and operated in different configurations, w hi ch produce differen t bioso li ds products in terms of stabilisation grad e. Evaluating Costs of a Biosolids Management Strategy

O nce potential markets and products and the cost of accessing these markets are defined, the relative cost of variou s processing alternatives needs to be evaluated. A rigorous cost evaluation mu st consider all of the following elem ents: 1. The cap ital cost of pro cessing equipment and plant; 2. T he capital cost of product storage; 3. Ongoing operating and m aintenance costs for processing equipment and plant; 4. Ongoing operating and maintenance costs fo r biosolids storage; 5. Ongoing operating costs for transport and application ofbiosolids at application areas and the associated environmental

Dewatered Lime Amended Biosolids Biosolids

Composted Biosolids

Thermally Dried Biosolids

,I ,I

Agriculture Cropping

,I ,I

,I,I

,I,I

)(

Pasture

,I,I

,I,I

,I,I

)(

,I,I

Horticult ure

)(

)(

,I

,I

)(

Viticulture

)(

)(

)(

)(

)(

Forestry

,I,I

,I ,I

,I,I

)(

,I,I

Landscaping

)(

)(

,I

,I,I

,I

Soil Rehabilitation

,I

,I ,I

,I,I

,I

,I,I

Site Rehabilitation

,I

,I ,I

,I ,I

,I ,I

,I ,I

Energy Recovery

,I ,I

,I,I

)(

)()(

,I ,I

Key

)()(

Represents unsuitable due to the stabilisation or contaminant grade or nature of the biosolids

)(

Market is possible, but generally not a practical strategy

,I

Market is possible, but limitations or market size cou ld limit viability

,I ,I

Represents good market possibility

monitoring and management costs to run the biosolids m anagement program. In Australia and internationally, water auth oriti es rarely gain in come for biosolids products; hence an income stream is generally excluded fro m a cost evaluation. Th ere are some exceptions where an incom.e stream is generated but it rarely, if ever, offsets to any great extent, the overall cost of biosolids management. This is generally because the current value of biosolids is low and it is a relatively difficult p roduct to handle when compared with other fertilisers and soil conditioners. T he type of biosolids product is critical because it has a direct bearing on the transport and application costs. T ypically transport and application costs

make up 30-50% o f the total cost of biosolids management and range from $30-$75 per tonne of product. Fo r a 100,000 equivalent population plant the following figures show th e

Long Term Storage NPV = $13 million 2.6

5.9 2.2

0.3

Lime Stabilisation N PV = $22 million

1.9

Com posting NPV = $22 million

o Capital Cost- Process

3.6

6 .4

â&#x20AC;˘ Capital Cost - Storage

1.8

o Operation and Maintenance -

10 .0

Pro ce ss D Opera tion and Maintenance Storage

o Transport & Application

8.9 Figure 2

42

WATER FEBRUARY 2003

Figure 3


WASTEWATER

the material from 'cradle to grave' typical cost distribution ofbiosolids Table 3 . Common Biosolids Stabilisation Processes and shou ld not adopt approaches m anagement. Annual costs are w hi ch attempt to transfer all the Stabilisation Grade B presented as a present value over Stabilisation Grade A risk to the a contractor. a 20 year period . Anaerobic Digestion Heat Drying • Biosolids and liquid streams are Figures 2, 3 and 4 show not Aerobic Digestion Energy Recovery Processes only how the proportional costs interrelated. C hanges m ade in Lime Stabilisation Lime Stabi lisation vary widely between different both areas of practice must consider Composting ing Compost o ptions, but how the total cost the other area of the plant. Lagoon Storage Autothermal Thermophi lic varies. For example, transport and • Biosolids st orage is critical Aerobic Digestion (ATAD) app lication costs ca n vary from as because there is usually a lag Long Term Storage little as around $1 million for heat between the continual pro duction dried product to up to more than of biosolids produ cts and the $7 million fo r other processes over intermittent use of product by the 111 th e overall cost of biosolids the life of a biosolids programme. This Some form of storage is also market. management. Processes which make is du e to the volume of product needed for distribution. Storage facilities relatively high volumes of product, such generated by the different processes. must be designed and operated to as lime stabilisation and compostin g are Moisture co nt ent and volume min imise environmental impacts and o ften not cost competitive when the reduction directly impact the amount of sufficient budget should be allocated for whole cost of beneficial use is borne by product, as do additives such as lime or this. water business. These pro cesses are the green organics. Table 4 shows quantities • Diversity of market is important, gene rally co mp e titi ve w h e n t h e o f vario us biosolids products produced especially for larger plants. The water beneficial use portion of the biosolids from a reference 100,000 equivalent au thority has little control over th e population plant. The table also calcumanagement programme has little or no market demand. It is important to lates annual costs fo r biosolids produ ct cost to the water business. Successful develop a strategy w ith a number of transport and ap plicati on for the plant. product marketing can therefore signiflayers of con tingency plans and avoid T able 5 shows typical rankings for icantly alter the outcomes o f a biosolids committing to expensive processing some of the biosolids processing altermanagem ent strategy. options without a large, secure market. natives. T he first column illustrates Other Issues how processing alternatives typically rank Typical Observat ions in Australia Th ere are m any issues that will on capital cost alone. The second and General experi ences from assisting influ ence the success of a biosolids thi rd columns illustrate how transport many water authorities around Australia o f theses managem ent strategy. Som e and application costs impact the relative include: w h ole of life cost and clearly show that include: least cost processing is note necessarily • Low technology solutions such as cold • An effective trade waste policy is least whole of life cost approach. digestion in lagoons and stockpiling are needed to maintain the biosolids product generaJly least cost processing solutions It is important to note that this table quality. C hemical contaminants limit the for small to m edium rural communities; is generic and specific situations will market possibilities and are best removed affect the relative viabili ty of certain • An authority must be careful to grow at so urce. strategies. Issues such as plant size, market and nurture a biosolids market to the risk • Water authorities as the generator can't proximity and regulatory drivers are of the authority being left with a avoid liability for biosolids products. The fac tors that typically influence the product and no market. The most auth ority must be diligent in managing relative rankings of managemen t alterna tives. T his comparison also h ighlights the Table 4. Relative Quantity and Transport/Application Costs for Biosolids importance the market, or end use, plays Prod ucts(1l

Th e rm a I Drying NPV = $17 m ii lion

0 .2 0.8

Product quantity (tonnes per day of product)

Compost

Lime Amended Blosolids

Dewatered Digested Cake

Dewatered cake ( air dried to 6 5%)

Dried Pellet s

75

50

30

9

7

$0.9

$0.5

$0.3

$0.1

$0.1

$2.1

$1.4

$0.8

$0.2

$0 .2

Transport and application cost ($mill ion per annum) Unit rate $30 per product tonne) Transport and application cost ($ million per annum) Unit rate $75 per product tonne)

Note (1). Reference case is 6 dry tonnes per day of 1496 Waste Activated Sludge cake (100,000ep plant).

Figure 4 WATER FEBRUARY 2003

43


WASTEWATER

successful biosolids programs are Table 5 . Typical Ranking of Biosolids Processing and Management Alternatives built on good reliable markets and ongoing communicatio n between Ranking Capital Cost of Low costs for transport Medium-High Transport producers and users of biosolids. and Application Process Only and Application (If <$30 per tonne) • T ransport and applicatio n costs Costs (If >$30 per tonne) are a significant po rtion of the Low cost Lagoons and Long Term Lagoons and Long Te rm Lagoons and Long Term overall costs of managing biosolids Storage Storage Storage and sho uld never be overlooked. Composting Digest ion and dewatering Therm al Drying Over a 20 year period, which is the Lime stabilisation Energy recovery Energy Recovery t y pi ca l life for pro cess in g Digestion and dewatering Thermal Drying Lime stabilisation equipment, the cost of transport and Thermal Drying Lime stabilisation Digestion and dewatering application range from 50% of the High cost Energy Recovery Composting Composting cost o f th e processing plant up to 600% of the cost of the processing plant. database of around 40 biosolids related • T he amount ofb iosolids produced by impact on biosolids management. These proj ects where PSD has acted as a a com munity if made into compost issues are show n in Figure 5. T o specialist consultant. The information generally fa r exceeds the de mand of the ac hieve bes t p ractice o r least cost should be applied carefully as decisions co m munity fo r compost. bioso lids manage m e n t the fac tors to manage biosolids are specific to each outside of the treatment plant site must • Broad acre agriculture is the most lo cation. be considered. successfu l market in Australia using dewatered digested biosolids and lime Conclusion The Authors stabilised dewatered biosolids. Biosolids ma nagement is a specialist, Paul Darvodelsky is a principal and • Com post is generally a good product broad and mu lti-discipli nary field. In Chris Morris is a senio r engineer of for small plants and quantities. Issues to develop ing a suc cess fu l bioso li ds Pollution Solutions & D esigns Pty Ltd be wary of are that market demands can ma nagement strategy o r program me it (PSD) . PSD specialises in biosolids change qu ickly . For exa mple, the is essential to consider the impact of the t rea t m e nt a n d man age m e nt . movem ent towards organic certification very broad range of iss ues which www .psd .net.au . vvill impa ct use of biosolids products because use of biosolids products is not accepted.

l

General Note The information provided in this note is generic in nature and derived from a

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ASSESSING WATER UTILITY PERFORMANCE B McRae Abstract The art and sci ence o f perform ance monitoring is relatively new ; its applicatio n co Australian water utilities newer still. This pap e r rev ie w s both th e th e ore tical fram e work and Austrahan and international in itiatives fo r assessin g water utility perfo rma n ce. T he inte nt is to pron1ote broad er und e rstandin g of the purpose, be nefits and limi cati ons of existing reports and practices and stimulate debate rega rdin g pote ntial future deve lopm ents.

A Primer on Performance Monitoring A wide range of information regarding wate r utili ties, or any business or industry, is avai labl e for collection and repo rting. Facts, characteristics o r co ntextu al data , comprise the most fundam ental level. Exarnples would be the num ber o f da ms or the length o f pipelin es. The m ost important conside ratio ns of a ny data collection and re porti ng initi ative, co,11111011 defi11itio11s and accuracy, are easiest co mee t at th is leve l. H owever, the information is like ly to be t he least useful for assess ing perform ance or facilitating co mpari so ns. Data collection is expe nsive at any leve l; ho w ever, facts are generally less co mpl ex and less expe nsive to coll ect than th e data requi red for the och er levels discussed belo w . This is a very broad gene ralisation - th e coses associated w ith the le ngth o f a utili t y's pipeli nes could range fro m a "simple" manual asset register co a sophisti ca t ed (and expensive) G IS-based syste m. Performance indicators p rovide in fo rmation regardin g h ow w ell, o r po orl y, a business is doing. Compari so ns are p ossible for th e performance of a single business over time, or fo r several businesses fro m a single period. N et profit is a familiar measure of business " perfo rman ce". Profit expressed on a unit basis allows comparison of the relative performance of multiple busin esses, (e.g. as a percentage of gross reve nues or per conn ected property) . While repo rting and co mparison o f corporate fin ancial data is co mmo n , it is a 1nistake to assume the data offe rs a true c o1npa riso n. E ve n where th e sam e accountin g standard is used , the standard is li k ely to include flexibility ch at leads to diffe ring degrees of appl icati on. Financial con'lpa risons o f uti li ties - w hi ch are capital-intensive, heavily regulated and do

not ope rate in a fre e market - in volves additio nal confoundi ng faccors. N o n- finan cial indi cators, suc h as wate r loss per kilo me tre of main , introduce additional complexities (e.g. relative age and condition of the infrastructure, type of pipe material and nature of the substrate). Trends in pe rforman ce indica co rs ca n o ffe r reaso nable insight regarding the pe rfo rmance o f a single business over time. On an industry-scal e, th ey may help ide ntify 'best practice' . An y atte mpt co seriously pursue inter- utility compari so ns requ ires com pletely unambiguo us definitions and centralised auditing. Th e usefuln ess of the exercise wi lJ depend on che indicators chosen and th e relati ve similarity o f the bu sin esses with respec t to those indi cators. Inter-utility compa1ison is by no means easy and the investment of time and expense can be co nsiderable.

Benchmarking in volves indi cators specifi cally designed co ensure comparability, e ith er betwe en busin esses (or uni ts w ith in a busin ess) o r for a sin gle business against an established targe t. Metric o r produ ction benchmarking see ks to m easu re outcom es. Process benchmarking fo cu ses o n th e specifi c operational practices used by a bu sin ess co ac h ieve th e me tric outco mes. Average durati o n o f interruptions is a metric bench mark . A related process be nchmark w ould conside r th e specifi c op erational practi ces and procedures used by a util ity in respo nse to se rvice inte rru ption s. Th e m etric be nchmark migh t ide ntify o ne o r more utilities w ith low average du rations. Process be n chmarkin g w ould see k to identify t he specifi c prac tices that lead to the low average duratio ns. In o rde r to ass ure co mpa rab ilit y betwee n utilities, fa ctors suc h as syste m

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density (properties per km main) merit consideration. However, a high density could mean shorter travel times and/or the need to perform repairs in areas with heavy traffic; the former advantageous and the latter a liability. This illustrates the complexity of designing benchmarks. Another aspect of benchmarking may be the development of a standard or target - some level of perforn1ance that demonstrates " b est performance". An organisation that wants to improve its efficiency will eventually need to enter the realm of benchmarking. The endeavour requires careful planning. The Australian Urban Water Industry An und erstan ding of Australia's regulatory and institutional structures is important co the following discussion. As most of the readers of this journal are likely to be familiar with th ese arrangements, this section only highlights some of the characteristics that distinguish the Australian industry. Control of water resources in Australia is largely vested with the six states and two territories, which have generally pursued one of three models: a single stategovernment based utility; multiple utilities at the local-government level; or regional u ti lities, spanning multiple loca lgovernment jurisdictions, but not an entire state. These arrangements result in about 300 urban water utiliti es, typically grouped into three broad categories: • 22 large utilities (servicing >50,000 properties each), which form the core membership of the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA), and collectively service - 70% of the Australian population. • -64 medium utili ties (10,000-50,000 properties each), referred co as the NonMajor Urban (NMU) u tilities and collectively servi cing -17% of the population. • -200 small utilities, servicing the remaining -13% of the population. The total p ool available for these businesses is less than the population served by the largest WSAA member, Sydney Water. Ocher indusny characteristics important to performance monitoring include: • Australia's conditions are characterised by extremes - high geographic and temporal variability, evapotranspiration rates and rainfall-to-runoff ratios. Australian dams are often several orders of magnitude larger than would be required elsewhere to provide similar security of supply. • Not only do Australian utilities span the fu ll spectrum of possible scales, similar 46

WATER FEBRUARY 2003

variability is evidenc in hydro logi c regimes, customer demographics, private sector participation and outsourcing. • While there are national drinking water quality guidelines, the states retain regulatory authority and the actual standards in place range from th e 1984 W odd H ealth Organisation guidelines to the most current version of the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (1996 plus amendments) . • Australian utilities provide both water supply and sewerage services, with few exceptions. This is noteworthy, as many parts of the world use two separate utilities to provide these services. Australian Performance Reporting The earliest na cional performance report on the Australian water industry is the ARMCANZ (1987-92) Water lnd/.lstry Pe,formance Review (commencing 198586). T he report focuses on financial indicators co assess econom.ic performance, although some non-financial "output indicators" are included. Seven metropolitan utilities and six nonmetropolitan aggregates are included. This document was followed by a series of reports initiated by the Steering Committee on National Performance Monitoring of Government Trading Enterprises, with the Producti vity Commission (PC) as Secretariat (1998). The reports cover seven industry sectors, w ith the water sector including 14 utilities. The origins of Australian performance monitoring are traced here to the late 1980's, when reduced tariffs on imports and international competition raised an awareness of productivity and performance in Government Trading Enterprises. The PC reports distinguish three distinct "phases of evolution": commercialisation , corporatisation and National Competition Policy (NCP). The NCP was a package of reforms agreed to by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) and promulgated in 1995. COAG's original objective was co catalyse reform by encou raging 'yardstick' competition - transparency would increase accountability, giving rise to improved petfonnance. Subsequent structural and governance reforms are credited with creating more competitive pressure than national performance monitoring and Governn1ent's subsequent focus moved along the spectrum from transparency and reform co the perspective of a shareholder representative, with indicators shifted towards o u ccome measures important to key stakeholders "consumers, shareholders, the community generally and employees".

Alongside th ese reports are the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Water Acco1111ts, (1993-94, 1996-97) describing the physical flo w of water resources from th e enviro nm ent th rough var ious economic sectors. Water supply, use, reuse and regulated discharge information is presented for different industries. Two Water Accounts are available (1993-94 and 1996-97) and a third (2000-0 1) is due for release in 2003. Virtually all water providers are included, but the level of detail in the responses varies. The ABS reports sic firmly in the category of facts or statistics and provide an interesting dimension by looking at the larger role of w ater, beyond the industry. In addition to these national reports, there are various state-based reports, the earliest being the 1986 NSW Water S.1pply and Sewerage Pe,fonnance Comparisons, produced by the Department of Public Works. There was a pilot report in 1985, followed by a report covering 58 NSW councils. The most recent, now produced by the NSW Department of Land and Water Conservation (2002) covers all of the 127 NSW urban water utilities. The report includes disaggregated cost data for each utility to facilitate process benchmarking, the result of a syndicate benchmark pilot project of7 large NSW utilities, jointly initia ted by DLWC and the Local Gove rnment and Shires Associations. The WA Office of Water Regulation (2001) recently produ ced a report covering 32 systems, all but two operated by the Water Corporation of WA. The Victorian Regulator General (now the Essential Services Commission) produces a report on the 3 Melbourne retailers and the Victorian Water Industry Association (VicWater, 2002) has produced an independent annual report on the state's utilities since 1996/97 . Finally, th ere are three independent national reports on Australian water businesses currently produced each year. Th e longest running of these is f1VSAA.Facts, which covers the 22 largest utilities and 1 New Zealand utility. WSAAFacts was first produced in 1996 (covering 1991/92 - 1995/96). (WSAA 2001) The Non-Major Urban Pe,formance Atfonitoring Report (NMU, 2002) covers 71 utilities, each with 10,000 to 50,000 properties . The Australian Irrigation Water Provider Benchmarking Report (ANCID, 2002) covers 40 supply systems. International Initiatives

A comprehens ive discussion of international ac tivities, especially historically,


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is beyond the scope of chis paper, but a few highlights are warranted. The UK r egulato r , 0 FWAT, commenced reporting following the 1989 privatisation of the UK utilities as part of a substantial public reporting initiative. Two Australian utilities - Sydney Water and the Water Co rporation - have participated in OFWAT benchmarking. The Netherlands has bee n very active in this arena, as discu ssed below. Th e American Water Works Associatio n ha s produced a collection of information , largely statistical, on North Am e ri ca n utilities in e lectro nic form.at called WaterStats and is developing a b e nchmarking comp o n ent for its QuaJServe program. T he World Bank has a voluntary program that provides a basic toolki t and then makes the basic data available on its website.(Salech et al 1999) One of the most recent efforts to establish an international framework for the water industry is the International W ater Association (!WA) publication

Process Bench111arki11g in the J,Vater Industry: Towards a Worldwide Approach (2002) (Larsso n M et al 2002). T his !WA Manual of Practice (Mo P) was developed by t he IW A Task Force on P e r fo rm ance Monitoring, w hich seeks co provide a com.mon reference for definitions, indicators, m ethodologies and adequate mod els of aggrega ti on. T h e Process Bench111arking MoP followed the Pe,jon11ance Indicators for Wat er Supply Ser11ices (Alegre, H et al 2000) MoP , which gro ups performance indicators into seven ca tegories: water resources; personnel; physical assets; o perations; quality of service; and financial. The Process B enchm arking MoP co ntinues the ea rlie r theme. A cursory hist ory of activities around the globe includes a m e ntion of syndicate benchmarking activity pioneered in NSW (which follow ed an international process benchmarking project by Sydney Water). T h e m ethodology presented, derived fron.1 systems developed and used in the Netherlands, involves compa risons of pe rformance, bu t the goal is to identify best-practice that results in cost savings and performance improvements. Indicators are exp r essed against fou r key areas: â&#x20AC;˘ water quality and environmental impact (both expressed as a single figure); â&#x20AC;˘ service based o n poll data of client's per ceptio n ; and â&#x20AC;˘ tariffs and costs collated 111 a closed model. Coverage extends o nly to drinking wa t er (no sewerage). The Pe,jormance Indicators MoP , provides a way to " identify areas of under-perfor-

mance w here changes need to be made", whilst the Process Be11chmarking MoP "is a vehicle for achieving that change". The key difference in mecharusms relates to the way fi nancial data is handled. Fo r the forme r, coses and revenues are considered for the whole of the business. Th e latter looks at the costs and outputs of each process (production, distribution, sales, genera l), providing a focus on activitybased coses. The inputs are similar, but they are di vided and considered differently. T he two docum en ts need to be read together, as the latter relies on the former for indicato r definiti ons. The set is an esse ntial reference for anyone seriously engaged in a benchmarking initiative. It sho uld be noted of course that th ese man uals represen t only one particular approach to performance indicators and process benchmarkin g. Irrigation activity is also receiving international attention, with H ector Malano of the Uni versity of Melbourne o ne of the two authors for the United N ations Food and Agriculture O rganisatio n C11idelinesfor

Be11ch111arking Pe,jor111a11ce in the Irrigation and Drai11age Sector (Malano & Burton200 1) .

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Recent Australian Developments The NMU Report, produced by the AW A and overseen by a working group comprised of representatives from state, territory and Commonwealth agencies grew out of the COAG reforms, as did the ANCID Report. Both have evolved over the last t hree years; the future of the documents will be guided in part by recent specific exercises. The author recently prepared a pointby-point comparison of the NMU R eporr and WSA A Facts for the NMU working grou p. The most recent versions of the two reports each contain -250 separate data points. Collectively, there are -400 indicators in the two reports, about a third of which are common co both reports. Thus, about 1 /2 of the co ntent of each report is sha red and l /2 is uniqu e. The working gro up fo r the NMU R eport is d ue co m eet soon and consider this analysis and possible changes to the report. ANC lD's recent activity cook a different approach. While there is more than one urban report, the ANCID report does not have an Australian equivalent co use as a sou rce of co mpariso n . T he ANCID Board conducted a workshop in

H

T

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total

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WATER FEBRUARY 2003

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June of th is yea r with report participants and external stake ho ld ers, includin g consultants working on a report fo r the Murray Darling Basin C ommissio n, a rep resenta tive of the World Bank, and representatives from the ABS , AWA and W SAA. The two- day discussion included acti ve discussion of the differences between facts, perfo rmance indicators and benchmarks. One o f the most interesting perspectives evolving fro m the ANC ID workshop was the distinctio n be tween these three data ca tegories in terms o f audience and purpose. Facts are o f po ten ti al interest to th e broadest possible audience, but o ffer low potential to imp rove business perform an ce. Pe rfo rman ce indi cato rs m ay provide some perfo rmance benefi t and are likely to be impo rtant to shareholders/ custom ers, particularly governments. Benchmarking may benefit all stakeholders as u tilities are public en terprises, but the key audi ence is the busin esses th emselves. In addition to the above di stin cti ons, th e workshop identifi ed benchmarking as an expensive exercise. This view stands in c ont ra st to th e NSW S y ndi c at e

Benchmarking project's identification o f savings o f over $20 M (net present valu e) for a total project expenditu re of abou t $200,000. The divergent views may reflect ac tual differences between urba n and ru ral industries or simply inaccurate o r incomplete understanding o f po tential benefits. Another interesting view from th e ANC ID worksh op was that ben chma rkin g mi ght reve al co mmerc ialin-confidence aspects, a concern in an industry with pri vate secto r participation. This can lead to the view that benchm a rkin g i s n1or e a ppropri a te ly a pri vate/industry activity, as o pposed to a public reporting fun ctio n. This is a resul t of the move to corporatise/pri vatise government busin esses, rather than an inherent characteristi c of benc hmarki ng. Future Focus Fern ando Go nzales o f the W orld Bank spoke at th e recent A NC lD workshop abo ut "holistic ben chmarkin g", emph asisin g reporting that mee ts both utility and custo mer needs. His model included "th ree pillars of analysis", consisting o f: techni cal indi cators; Rapid App raisal

BOOK REVIEW Handbook on Sediment Quality. Taskforce of the Water Environment Federation. Published 2002. ISBN 1-

57278-201-3 . Available bookshop@ awa.asn.au There is a fair bit of material o f a descriptive nature available o n the morphology and behavio ur o f aquatic m acro and micro-invertebrates and sp ecies of micro life inhabiting th e sediment layers of Australian rivers, lakes and streams. Populations here vary with the geology, geography and climate of the region, ri ver flow behaviour and the presence or absence of human and animal inputs. There is even less to be sourced concerning the chemical relationships o ccurring in the sediments and facilitated by these va1i ous species and the associated role of symbiotes m ediating exchanges between sediment dwellers and aquatic plant life. Interest has centred more on th ose species which can serve as bioindicators o f changes in water quality and hen ce, methods for identifying and quantifying their presen ce in a select water environment. As a result, what we do have are a series of publications on aquatic ecology and w ater quality in Australia, but v ery li ttle as y et on sediment life . Not surprisingly, with their access of mo re research fonding, the Americans 48

WATER FEBRUARY 2003

h ave a d va n ce d c ons id e r ably i n knowledge of sediments in bo th a chemical and physical behavioural sense. Handbook o n S e d im e nt Quality prepared by a T askforce from W ater Enviro nment Federation, published at the end of 2002 is an excellent co ntribution to the literature for environmental scientists and engineers dealing with water quality issues in water, wastewater or industrial treatment operations. T his Handbook covers sorption pro cesses, bioavailability , sedime nt collection and assessment techniques, toxicity testing, advantages and disadvantages of ch emical sediment quality g uidelin es, and sedim e nt qu ality m o d eling. There are a number of sections w hich are particularly good: specifically those covering sediment geochemistry, toxicol0gy and water quality interactions. Also valuable is th e section on bioavailability, especially in the light of its importance in reporting to th e Australian W ater Quality Guidelines (2000) . This resource also offers suggestions on identifying, assessing and managing con taminated sediments. Highly recommended , this is a good reference with new m aterial.

Diane Wiesner A WA snr scientist

Process (RAP); and R eport C ards. Th e RAP is a periodic survey (eve1y few years) by trained independen t personnel to assess systems and verify that improvement is actu ally occu rring. Mu ch o f the time is spent in the field and financial performance takes a back seat to operational considerations (due to su itability to the approach, not impo rtance) . T he repo rt ca rd is a user feedbac k fo rm that is part of a customer co nsultati on p rocess . Whilst the program is designed for irrigation water systems, the co ncept adds an in teresting dimension. Performan ce m o nito ri ng o f water utili ties to date, as presented in this article, perhaps provides a "supply-side" view of the industry. This is useful, but is it en o ugh ' C usto m er p references ofte n occ upy the central foc us o f contemporaty ma nage ment paradigms. Potable water is an emotive public issue; o ften considered a " ri ght". M arket fo rces are a driver fo r th e industry - but th ey are weaker fo r u tilities compared to oth er busin esses and there are a number of other importan t drive rs. Whil e co nsumers may have strong emotional feelings about water - at least drinking water qual ity, if not other service aspec ts - consumers are unlikely to have acti vely considered many of th e service-related issues th at are th e fo cus of u tiliti es and regul ato rs. D eve lopin g in fo rm e d , a w ar e a nd co n ce rn e d consum ers, able to express their preferences and understand the cost implications, m ay be o ne of the m ost important challenges fo r the industry. C ustomers are (a t least) th e fo ll owing i nt rig uin g mi x : se r v ic e r ece ive r s (c o nsum ers); spe cial inte rest gro ups; econ o mic , environm ental and h ealth regulators; owners/shareholders (including CoAG a nd t h e NC C) ; i nt e rnal nianage rne nt; and c ontract ser vi ce providers. This audi en ce enco mpasses a wide range of expectations, promoting the proli fe ration of perfo rmance m easures and reporting regimes. The sophistication of their expectations, and th e co nco mitant disclosure dem ands vary. Service provider agreem ents, scientific uncertainty and 'co mm e r c i a l co n fi d e ntialit y' m ay exacerbate the di ffic ulty of m ee ting exp ectations. The indu stry needs co maintain as logical a link as possible between m easures of output p erform ance and input perfo rm a n ce, t o yi e ld a fr a m e work for considered debate of reasonable service standards, based on a firm understanding o f the costs and bene fits. In addition to domestic needs th ere is a legitimate indust1y desire to pursue benchmarking at the international level. T he costs are significant and it is vital that performance


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measurement activities are based on a suite of conventions and approaches designed to efHciently meet the full requirements. The Vic Water Triple Botto111 Li11e Reporting G11ideli11es released in June 2002 deserve mention here. The Guidelines, based on the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), provide specific tools for water utility business reporting, The GRI provides a fram.ework that has been applied internationally, largely in the private sector. The VICWater release provides an opportunity for utilities to assess their operations in terms of economic, environmental and social performance. There is considerable overlap with indicators currently in use, as recent Australian reports have expanded in this direction. The Guidelines introduce a contempora1y international dimension that should enrich Australian reporting practices and utility operation. Conclusion Australia and indeed the water industty in general is still coining to terms with both performance reporting and benchmarking. Recent activities in Australia indicate that, far from resting on its laurels, transparent introspection will continue to evolve in a fashion that is contemporary with, and contributes to, international developments. The process is complex and fraught ·with pitfalls. Water industry businesses share a number of features common to any business, but also have geographic and site-specific drivers that influence outcomes. Meaningful comparisons require consideration of trends over a number of years for a suite of disaggregated and well-defined performance indicators. The challenge for the industry is to make good use of the rich data source that is now available, while being careful to avoid inappropriate conclusions. A key message from this discussion is that an increasing diversity of measures arc being used in local and international fran1eworks, indicating a widening appreciation of what makes a successful water business. This proliferation of measures can also be problematic. There is a need to ensure that the effort of collecting and reporting data delivers benefits that exceed the costs involved. The benefits may be actual cost savings at the utility level, or non-fiscal benefits such as satisfying the need for public disclosure. A long-term participant in Australian performance reports remarked that this article highlights the need for a workshop on the overall issue to promote a synthesis of what best suits current and emerging performance measurement and analysis. Acknowledgements A number of individuals who have been part of performance reporting in Australia reviewed and contributed comments on

this paper, including: Ken Aitken (QLD DNRM); Mark Lister (VicWater); Stuart Peever (ABS); Haydyn Reynolds (Haydn Reynolds & Associates); Sam Samra (NSW DLWC); and Leon Trethowan (Productivity Commission). The author is grateful for their comments and accepts full responsibility for errors, omissions or offensive opinions. References Most of the documents below are available from bookshop@awa.asn.au. Alegre H et al (2000) Peiformance Indicators for Water Supply Services, International Water Association Manual of Practice, London. AN CID (2002) Amtra!ian Irrigation Water Provider Benchmarking Report for 2000/01, Australian National Committee on Irrigation and Drainage. ARMCANZ (1987/88-1991/92) Water llldt1stry Peiformance Review Prepared by a sub group of the Financial and Corporate Management Committee of the Water Forum of the Agriculture and Resource Management Council of Australia and New Zealand. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2000) Water Accoimt for Australia, (1993-

94 to 1996-97) 4610.0 Canberra. http://www.abs.gov.au/ ausstats/ ABS@.nsflmf/4610.0 AWA (2002) Peiforma11ce Mo11itori11g Report 2000-01: A11stralia11 1Vo11 Major Urba11 Water Utilities, Australian \Vatcr Association, NSW. Larsson M, et d (2002) Process Be11d1111arki11g i11 the l,Jlater Industry: Towards a worldwide approach, International Water Association Manual of Practice, London. Malano Hand Burton M (2001) G11ideli11esfi1r Br11c/111wrkil1g Pe,formm1ce i11 the Irrigation @d Drai11age Sector, International Programme for Technology and Research in Irrigation and Drainage, Rome. NSW Department of Land and Water Conservation (2002) 2000/0 I NSf-V lVarer S11pply a11d SeJl'era,~e Pe1for111a11ce Comparisons. www.dlwc.nsw.gov.au/care/water/supply_ and_sewcragc/ Productivity Commission (1998) Pqfomu111ce (!f Co!'l'nll!IC/11 ·nuli!(R E11tl'rp1ises /991-92 /() 1996-97, Research Report, Ausinfo, Canberra, October. VicWater (2002) Triple Bof/0111 Li11e Reporti11,~ C11ideli11es, Victorian Water Industry Association, Melbourne. WA Office of Water Regulation (2001) Statistical Pro_(ile and Per(on11m1ce Bend1111arki11g cfM'arer Supply Sen 1ices in 32 AfqJm· lVesrem Aus1mlia11 Tow11s 199912000, Perth. Saleth MR Rand Dinar A (1999) EFalua1i11g Water lustitutiom a11d Water Sector Performa11ce, World Bank technical paper no. 447, Washington, D.C. WSAA (2001) '111e Australia// Urban Water luduslly: WSAAFacts 2001, Water Services Association of Australia, Melbourne.

The Author

Brian McRae is the Technical Director for the AWA and produces the NMU Report on behalfof AWA and the NMU Working Group. He holds a Masters in Environmental Planning and Policy, a Bachelors in Biology and Natural Histo1y and is currently a Student at Law with the NSW Legal Practitioners Admissions Board. He may be reached at bmcrae@awa.asn.au.

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THE WALKERTON ENQUIRY: LESSONS FOR OUR TRAINING AND CERTIFICATION D Mackay Introduction Most readers of this journal w ill be familiar with the issues of the Walkerton (Canada) tragedy that has now become the subject of the major report called R eport

ef the

Table 1. Licence Requirements for Waterworks Operators in Ontario Education

Experience

Exam

Other

Operating-intraining

Grade 12 or equivalent

N/A

70% on operatorin-training exam

Cannot be in charge of a facility

Class 1

Grade 12 or equ ivalent

1 year of experience

70% on class 1 exam

Walkerton Inquiry - A Strategy for Safe Drinking Water - Justice D ennis O'Connor (Commissioner). As well as the operational issues surrounding the gross failure of this water system the Commissioner identified failings in the Ontario Certification and Training system (Report C hapter 12) that may have some relevance to our thinking for vocational education and training in the Australian water industry.

Class 2

Grade 12 or equivalent

3 years of experience

70% on class 2 exam

Must hold a class 1 licence

Class 3

Grade 12 or equivalent + 2 years of additional education or training

4 years of experience with at least 2 years as "operatorin-charge"

70% on class 3 exam

Must hold a class 2 licence

Background

Class 4

Grade 12 or equivalent + 4 years of additional education or training

4 years of experience with at least 2 years as "operator-incharge"

70% on class 4 exam

Must hold a class 3 licence

Failure of a public water supply can have ca tastrophic consequences as was amply demonstrated in the Walkerton case. Seven people died and 2300 became ill imposing once- off costs up to $280 million to implement the Inquiries' recommendations with ongoing costs up to $49 million per year. Once-off costs of steps taken by the provincial government since the Walkerton tragedy are estimated at up to $520 million with ongoing costs by provincial governm.ent up to $200 million per year. Indeed the cost of failure, even of small treatment system s, can be extraordinarily high and would dwarf the cost of significant vocational edu cation and training provision to such a fac ility.

In many respects the provision of public water and wastewater services in Canadian provinces are similar to those confronting the Australian states. 80% of se rvices are supplied by municipal government and in recent years there has been a cutback in state- provided vocational education and training for the industry and a perceived lack of control of education/training standards in the indust1y. These issues regarding education and training, provision and standards are the subj ect of chapter 12 of the Report

The Walkerton Commissioner's Recommendations Mandatory Certification

Recommendation 59. The Ministry of Environment should continue to require the mandatory certification ofpersons who peiform operational work in water treatment and distribution facilities. Education, examination, and experience are essential components of ensuring competence. The mandatory certification program in Ontario seeks to • provide safe drinking water to the residents of Ontario • ensure that operators have the required knowledge and experience to peiform their duties safely and efficiently • promote professionalism and maintain standards for operators The Commissioner also called for Licensing of operational staff in Ontario and the Licence is to be applicable to the class of the facility. Copies of operators Licences are to be posted at the facility and renewed every 3 years. 50

WATER FEBRUARY 2003

and do provide the Australian tra ining industry and regulators with some challenges and implications for current training practice in Australia. A sununary of the Commissioner's recommendations follows, with a co mpari son of the situation in Australia. Mandatory Certification Currently, mandato1y certification is an issue that has been avoided in most Australian jurisdictions. Achievement at high school is not a mandatory prerequisite for the current Australian training system but most in our indust1y would agree with the virtue of this proposition. How can an operator "Monitor or Report" a water issue to 21st centmy standards if they lack literacy or numeracy ski!Js1

The Cornmissioner also made the point of a minimum Year 12 education as a prerequisite fo r all levels of Licence. "A fo rmal education is necessary to ensure that the individual is literate, has problem solving abilities and possesses mathematical and other skills. The successful completion of a high school diploma or equivalent education is a precondition to competency and should be enforced".


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The-Co111111issia11er also rrflected 011 thl' mrrc11t trainill<,.q expc11dit11reS 'prmddcd by the 011t,1rio go11em1i/c11t._ 1'The govcm111c11t sl1011ld ensure that the Certiflcatio/1 progrmi1 is 4Jequately jimded a11d s_tq[fcd a11d)ws 'flw 11i_â&#x20AC;˘cessary _resources to silpport the Program,Currently, funding for water industry training in Australia is also problematic based on a "purchaser provider" model which tends to favour the lowest cost option derived through competition rather than addressing the substantial educational needs of the industry. This model has tended to cause training providers to acquiesce to the funding model or disappear. The significant issues pertaining to educational quality are easily lost with this funding model.

Both the - Assoda(fon ef Boards ef Ccrtijlrntion (ABC} au 01gm1isatio11 that prouidt'.'l -resources and g11id(/11cc to -cert{ficatfon a11th01ities i,; the U11iicd States, a11d the USEAâ&#x20AC;˘f take-the pOsitfo11 that ,goflem111c/lts -11111srpro11ide siiflldeilt n:so11rces tt, adcq11ately .f1111d and s11sidi11 the operator certificatio11 pro,grani,

Grandparented Operators

Rccom111c11di1_tio11 _60. The lVIinistiy qf the E1wiro11111e11t s/1011/d ri:q11ire water system operators who currc11tly hold certificates obtai11ed through the ,gm11dparc11tiu~~ process lo beco111e certified t/Jn,11i1 examinatiolt withlh two years and it s!ui11ld require ,Jperators to- l,e recertified periodically.

"Grandparented" operators ,vere never oflicially recognised in Queensland although they certainly existed and some still do. The ABC certification standards applying in the USA include three con1ponents, education, experience and examination. Australian Training packages only give "guidance" to training providers with Performance Criteria, Evidence Guides and Contexts of Assessment. This is a contentious issue amongst educators and trainers and was derived to provide "flexibility" within the system to address the variable needs of all industry sectors. It is questionable as to whether the water industry needs this level of flexibility ,vith respect to its reasonably unifonn standards. The current assessment system could be easily manipulated to avoid the rigour that is usually required by a professionally

developed industry wide examination as advocated by the Commissioner.

The Cm111idssio11t!r co11tin11cd his recomilll_'iidatiinis'_ 'JOi, reasoO.', efp11bilc sqfety qnd to qm1re that (~mndparc11tcd) operators are properly q11al[fied_ to cl,1_rry_oi1t their d11tie,s) it is importm1t, tluu_o_per ii111e':illl On_t_qrfo Operators be rcqa_ired to pass acc,:tificat,i_o11 exami11atfo11. _17ii.'l approa(li_is in co,!fo1111ity with the hiideline~ - tJ{ the USEPA_, 11i/iich_ 1'cqi1irc _t/wt 1iiithi11 'a spec{llcd t_ii11c gra11dpare11'ted 'opCmtofs meet ;111 the req11ire111e11ts ]Or cert!ficatio11." 1

In recent times in some Australian states there has been a general move away from licences and licensing boards (perhaps due to economic rationalisation of government services) yet few would deny the need for a licence to drive a $30,000 car. Currently in Australia if you drive a $30 million plant you do not have to be licensed. With the tragedy of Walkerton in mind one must ask the question "Is the potential risk of nuisance or harm through inadequate water plant operations any less?" As Australia aspires to the same quality of life and public health amenity and standards as the USA and Canada, underwritten by efficient and cost effective potable water supplies and wastewater treatment, it may be timely to review the need for national or state based licencing of all operational staff.

Currently in Australia it is up to individual training providers to decide what knowledge, evidence and contexts that the training delivered requires. However the levels of assessment/performance criteria listed in Training Packages arc subject to a range of interpretations that can allow less rigour than the training package developers envisaged. For example, most of the Competencies described in the Water Training Package require the student to perform tasks consistent with "organisational practices or procedures". Many water authorities/ employers do not have written practices or procedures and if they do they are often inadequate. I-low is this to be interpreted by the training provider? In earlier times "standard procedures or best practice" advice was forthcoming from the responsible state government departments. However with the recent rationalisation of the technical advisory roles of the various departments that were responsible "best practice" procedures have tended to disappear as well. (To be fair a small number of these procedures are now incorporated within Australian Standards "Codes of Practice"). This lack of consistent "best practice" operational procedures can only produce an inconsistent result with respect to training performance, something the training packages were meant to overcome and something the Walkerton Commissioner identifies as a problem.

Training Curriculum

New Operators

Reco1w1ie1ulathm 61. The 1V!hiistry qf the E11viron11wnt sho11ld require all appliM cants for a11 operators licence at the e11iry level to complete a tmiili11g m11rse tltat lws spcclflC wrriwl11m to e11s11re a /Jasic 111iJ1i11111111 knowledge o.f principles i11 rcleJJm1t sul!icct 'arCils. The Commi.'lsioncr wrote that ''At prese11t it is not 11ecessary }Or 'a prospective operator to complete a training w11rsc that , has a spccijlc W/'/'iC11l111n. n Unfortunately the same may be said about qualifications available in Australia today. Current qualifications only have to be consistent with the qualification formulas defined by the Water Industry National Training package (NWP-01) and these by design may be quite vatiable. The Australian training system purports to be "outcome" driven however it is in support of the outcomes that our systems looses some credibility.

Reco111111e11datfo11 62. The i\Ji!listry qf thC E1wiro11mc11t sho11ld de1Jclop a compi-c.:. {w11sivd -trai11i11sf mrrlw/11111' m1d slio11ld consolidate tlic current il/1/lllal tmliii11g requireme1it ill O11tari0'(40 homs trai11i11g pCr ycm) 'and thi? proposed rcq1dre111e11t C?.f ministry appro1Jed training i11'to a si11,qle, integrated pro,qram approlled by the 1Vli11i.'ltry of the E1wiro11111e11t. One of the principal aims of the Australian Qualification Framework is to produce a range of qualifications across the country that arc equitable and transportable across state borders. The simplest way to achieve this is to have a consistent curricula and relevant high quality learning resources to support the curriculum. The role of the Industry Training Advising Boards is to define "outcomes" that are nationally consistent and define the requirements for the range of qualifications that have been described 111 the National Training Package. WATER FEBRUARY 2003

51


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Unfortunately this does not result in a nationally consistent curriculum or even a consistent state-based cuniculum, in fact it tends to produce the reverse. T he curriculum defines the essential teaching/learning content and obj ectives of particular programs. Quite often this may meet the requirements of a "competence" but often it will not . Currently, it has been left up to the training providers to derive a curriculum for themselves leading to a range of possibilities with respect to the achievement of "competence". Competence like beauty may be in the eye of the assessor!

The Commissioner made the point that it was rite "inconsistent e1iforceme11t of

trainillg" and "that currently there is no requirement t!tat training fowses on. technical issues i11volving water treatment or human healt!t" a11d t!tat "there is no requirement that training be tailored to the class iffacility in which the operator works" as issues contributing to the breakdown in technical standards.

A question that must arise for VET educators is "Was the flexibility required by ANT A to cater for whole of indust1y needs across the total spectrum of all indust1y relevant to the needs of the water indust1y?" For example, water industry outcomes with respect to potable water are defined by the NHMRC - Guidelines and quality issues for Wastewate r Treatment are reasonably defined by ANZEEC - Guidelines for Fresh and Marine Waters. National acceptance of these Guidelines provide for relatively regulated industty outcomes relative to the product outcomes of most other industries e.g. Agriculture or T ourism. Recognition of this difference begs the question "Would we be better served with a national /state curriculum, supported by a national/state developed set of teaching resources and assessed through a set of na tional/state examin ations to meet recognised licence requirements?" This would ensu re the delivery of the essential underpinning knowledge seen to be lacking by the Walkerton Commissioner as well as p rovide a standard m easure of traini ng quality. A current problem with systematic VET audit requirements is they are very good at recognising issues within the training process but generally fail to measure the training product through standard assessments at all (the market is now suppose to do that). In th e end shou ld ensu ring training product quality 52

WATER FEBRUARY 2003

be the responsibility of an independent organisation similar to the ABC in the USA or state-based regulat01y authorities? The notion of statewide examination will be seen as heresy to som e in the training indust1y, but as can be seen from Walkerton, the results of incompetent performance can be catastrophic in our industry. (For comparison, compare a tou rism industry worker who may make .a m istake with your airline bookings, certainly a disadvantage to the customer but generally not life threatening) .

The Commissioner went on to advocate "3 6 !tours every 3 years of continuing education (post q11al!fication) consisting if for111a l cotmes, taught by qualified illstmctors and subject to end of co11rse eval11atio11. These courses arc also to be govemment approved and are to be a co11dition of "licence re11ewal ". T!te curricultmt must 'Joms on public health and safety of drinking water systems". In Australia we currently have no fo rmal requirement fo r ongoing education in the industry. Training Course Accessibility

R ecommendation. 63. The M inistry of the Environ ment should take measures to ensure trainiHg courses are accessible to operators in small and remote com1nun.ities a11d that courses are tailored to meet the needs of the operators if these water syste111s. The Commissioner made the very pertinent point "The existence if good training materials fo r Opemtors will help ensure the delivery if sefe drinkiHg water". Most would concur w ith this point of view. Australia essentially has the same problem., but there are a range of solutions, many of which have been developed by Australia's O pen Learning Network w hich bas world leadership in this area. However, in a "market driven" system it is very difficult to convince educati onal bureaucrats to fund ve1y costly on-line or distance education products for a relatively small and reducing market. Q uestions shou ld be asked as to how to best fund and deliver to the ve1y widely dispersed Australian water industty the high quality training resources required. It is highly unlikely that the Australian water industty needs or can susta in more than one specialist well resourced distance education facility servicing this industty for example. Would it be better to co ncentrate the

limited available funds and expertise one well resourced facility?

111

Regulators Role in Training

Reco11t111en.dation 64. The Ministry if the Environment should 1//eet with stakeholders to evaluate exisrin;R trai11ing courses a11d to determine the long ter111 training requirements of the waterworks industry. The Ministry should play an active role in e11surilw the availability of an array of courses on tlte subjects required to train operators. The Co1w11issio1ier outlined the history of operatio11s training i11 O11tario. In the 1960's the MOE provided courses and a trai11ing centre t/Jas established i11 the 1970's. I n 198 7 tlte Ontario E1wiro1m¡1e11tal Trai11i11g Co11sortiu111 {OTEC) Ul(IS established al!d training linkages were 111ade tvith Co1111111mity Colleges. By 1990 training costs had increased tvith utilities unable or reluctant to absorb the costs. S011te large 1111t11icipalities began to develop their own training progran-ts with son-,e private sector and Community College co urses becoming available. By 1995 the MOE ceHtre was closed down, the com111u11ity colleges only provide courses "on de111and" and "although private sec/or trai11i11g does exist, the quality if so1ne courses has been questio11ed" and "no process curreutly exists to systematically evaluate the quality if opera tor training courses offered in Ontario" . This scena1io sounds ve1y similar to the Australian experience. Th e reality is everybody wants training but few accept the need or responsibility to pay for it. In our market driven "user pays" system the looser may be educational quality and accessibility, as it has apparently been in Ontario. This should be the subject of a national debate. It is no secret that to train workers in the technologies is significantly more costly and less profitable for market driven colleges. What price quality? It was the Commissioner's view in Ontario that these issues could be addressed for approx $19 per person. Conclusions The Walkerton Inquiry has identified that training and certification and th e system that supports it as a central element to the development of the tragedy and although there are some significant differences in ou r countries training frameworks there are also significant commonalities. In many respects the Australian VET system has been willing to explore for better and m ore compet-


BUSINESS

itive training pra ctices consistent w ith established edu cational th eory. However, as with all other human endeavours there is often a gap between traini ng theory and successful implementation in the real world. P erhaps in the light of the analysis provided th rough the Walkerton R eport we have an opportunity to further review our training processes to ensure inadequate trai ning could not be the cause of such an event in Australia. 1ndeed we have a responsibility to minirnise the risk o f such an outcome in this countty into the future. ( I t ca n h appe n h e r e, r eme mb e r Cryp tosporir/11111 /Sy dney 1998). The Author Don Mackay is the Principal T eacher, Water and Wastewater T reatm en t Open Learning lnstitute Brisbane. In chis posi tio n he has been responsible fo r representing Queensland o n th e National and State IT AB 's as well as the developm.ent and delivery of operatio ns courses to stud ents th roughout Australia and South East Asia. He has been a Comm ittee M e mber of AWA Queensland Branch for 21 years. Any views expressed in this paper are those of th e Author and are no t co be seen as representing those of th e O pen Lea rning Institute o r T AFE Queensland.

BOOK REVIEW Endocrine Disrupters in Wastewater and Sludge Treatment Processes. By Jason Birkett and John Lester. From CRC Lewis Publishers. ISBN 1 84339 0310 A vailable by email from bookshop@ awa.asn.au or by fax to (02) 9413 1037.

While the effects on human beings at this stage do not appear to be detectable, there is an increasing volume of evidence conce rnin g hormonall y m e di at ed changes to geni talia, sperm produ ctio n, and species resistance to viral and other potential threats to survival.

End ocrin e di srup t e r substances (EDCs) are a hot topic in the water and enviro nment business today because residues of m any co mmo nly use d chemi cals appear to impact on sensitive species of microlifc in the environment raging from native fish such as Ga111b1-1sia spp to alligator eggs to fro gs. Besides presenting the latest research o n known an d potenti al e ndocrine disrupter substances, this book breaks new ground by integrating the knowledge about their sources, fate and behavio ur. R ecent research has highlighted the existence of horm onally active compo unds in sewage and industrial effluents and their potential for recycling back into the env ironn1ent w ith the potential fo r furth er bioaccumuJa tion.

T he chapters in this book scope the problem , identi fy sources of endocrine disrupters, methods for the determination o f what are, and are not, endocrine disrupters. T heir fate and behaviour in wastewater and issues associated with their p resence in recycled produ ct for re use especialJy as drinking water, are comprehensively discussed as well as strategies to integrate the science with EDC management. T here are many d etailed and co mprehensive tables that provide speedy access to precise and recent data - a great help w hen w riting a report. Th e useful index is also a big help. Diane Wiesner A WA mr scientist

environment u N

5

B

5

E

5

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BOOK REVIEW Relnventfog W ater and Wasteivater Systems. Global Lessons for Improving Wat er Manag ement. Edited by Seidenstat, Haarmeyer and Hakim. ISBN 0-471 - 06422-X From Wiley I nternational. Price $219.95 Available by em a il t o bookshop@awa.asn.au Wr i tte n in r espo n se to the worldwide crisis in water management, this book aims to provide practical solutions to make drinking water more affordable and available as well as offering strategies for improving water sanitation to satisfy the dema~ds of a growing global p opulation. It begins w ith an overview of private sector participation in the global and US water and wastewater sector and this focus on

ways that the two sectors can best work together to achieve common goals is maintained throughout. Extensive data and case histories demonstrate the potential success with privatizing water delivery in Mexico and the Phillipines; and wastewater treatment facilities w ith examples fro m U SA. T he final section looks at the history of owning and operating wa t er treatment facilities in the past and then fast-forwards to the twenty first century t o predict fu ture outcomes . Not surprising, desalination technology scores a mention. But so too does th e structure of regulation with the increasingly difficult tasks facing industry as discharge levels for contaminants are racheted ever downwards. Another

chapter points to the need for water and wastewater business to better address the challenge of the infom1ation technology revolution and exploit the opportunities offered by the internet. Contributed chapters are provided by leading global enginee rs and economists from the World Bank, Stone and Weber Consultants, Atlantis Water Fund and the Anglian Water Company. Coverage by these experts includes papers exploring regulatory frameworks, financing the water and wastewater infras tr u ctu re and its upgrading, reinvigorating public sector operations and the fu ture for the global water industry. Diane Wiesner A WA snr scientist

INTERNET DIRECTORY · A Guide to Useful Water-related Sites 1

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Greenspan Technology, suppliers of water monitoring equipment, boasts a range of single or multi parameter sensors and also automated nutrient analysers. Greenspan Technical Servic es, (GTS) provide professional consultation services for all your hydrographic needs.

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,1/ Coagulation Monitoring & Control SPILL STATION is a one stop shop for Environmental/Spill Protection Equipment. Our fu ll range of spill response kits and contents, chemical/product compatabilities and containment and filtration equipment. Check the new products page for regularly updated innovations. www.spillstation.com.au e-mail sales@spillstation.com.au

ACROMET - manufacturer anddktributor of a range of metering/feeding and special purpose pumping equipment has, since 1962, led the woywith 'stale of the art' equipment, innovative design, quality manufaclure and anon-going commitmenl to ..... the better way. The Company mission is to excel with product, product support and application engineeringin providing solutions lo requirements for the accurate metering and sale handling of industrial chemicals whether of lhe liquid, gaseous or dry malerial variety.

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Systems UtilisingAdvanced Streaming Current Technology • for Coagulant and Flocculent Chemical Dosing. Other Monito rsAvailable. Em5il: envlro2@ynhoo.com ,nu

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Water Journal February 2003  

Water Journal February 2003