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Volume 32 No 4 June 2005 Journal of the Austra lian W ater Assoc iation

Editorial Board F R Bishop, Chairman B N Anderson, G Finke, G Fin layson, G A Holder, B L1bza, M Munrisov, F Roddick, G Ryan, S G ray, A Gibson, P Mosse, C Diaper • Wnter is a refereed journal. This symbol indicares rhar a paper has been refereed.

Submissions lnsrrucrions for authors can be found on page 3 of this journal. Submissions accepted at:

Managing Editor

OPINION 2 Challenging Times; Serious Fun; Different Approaches, W Craik ASSOCIATION ACTIVITIES 6 Governance and Operational Reform; Awards; Water Education Network; Young Water Professionals INTERNATIONAL 13

WaterAid Australia Update; IWA Australia; Commission for Sustainable Development

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT I 5 Details of courses, classes and other upcoming water events

Peter Stirling

Technical Editor EA (Bob) Swinton 23 Blaxland Road, Wenrworth Falls, NSW 2782 Tel +6 1 2 4757 1565 Email:


News Editor


Clare Porter Communications Manager Tel +61 2 94 13 1288 Fax: +6 1 2 94 13 1047 Email:


Water Production Hallmark Editions PO Box 84, Hampton, Vic 3 188 99 Bay Street, Brighton , Vic3 186 Tel +61 3 8534 5000 Fax +6 l 3 9530 89 11 Email: Graphic design: Mitzi Mann

Water Advertising National Sales Manager: Brian Rault T el +6 1 3 8534 501 4 Fax +61 3 9530 8911 Mobile 041 1 354 050 Email:

Water (ISSN 0310 - 0367) is published eight rimes a year in the monrhs of February, March, May, June, August, September, November and December.

Australian Water Association


Industry news



Fostering Sustainable Behaviour Workshops






Water Works 39




The Water Corporation saves 25% of its energy R Humphries, M Wai te, P Rogoysky, P Hu xtable, M Hess

PO Box 388, Artarrnon, NSW 1570 Tel +6 1 294 13 1288 Fax +61 2941.'l 1047 Email: ABN 78 096 035 773




Significant failures but little effect on stream quality


Darryl Day

Chief Executive Officer



\17turr is senr to all AWA members eighr rimes a year. It is also available via subscription.

Visit the HOME PAGE

and access news, calendars, bookshop and over I 00 poges of inlormotion ot

http:/ /


If desalination is required for irrigation, leave in the nutrients G Leslie, D Stevens, S Wilson


OCCURRENCE AND REMOVAL OF PHARMACEUTICALS AT AN AUSTRALIAN SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANT Randomly selected grab-samples are not representative of fatal daily load. S J Khan, J E Ongerth



Australian Water Association

C Beal, E Gardner, C Christi ansen, P Beavers


Chris Davis Australian Warer Association (A WA) assumes no responsibiliry fo r opinions or sratemems of facts expressed by conrriburors or advertisers. Editorials do not necessarily represenr official AWA policy. Adverrisemcnrs are included as an info rmation service to readers and are reviewed before publicmion ro ensure relevance ro the warer environmenr and objectives of AWA. All material in Wntrr is copyright and should nor be reproduced wholly or in pare wirhour writren permission.



OUR COVER: Ozwater 2005 started with a Specialist Conference in Townsville, focusing on 'Catchment to Reef and other tropical water issues. The Exerntive Director of The Great Barrier ReefMarine Park Authority highlighted the significance ofthe Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and its values, some ofwhich are exemplified in our cover photo, courtesy ofthe GBRMPA. Photo © GBRMPA.

HOUSE RULES: ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS FOR A SUSTAINABLE WORLD E Rosenblum This synopsis ofEric's keynote presentation is derived from the Introduction and Conclusion ofhis written paper (contained in the Convention CD ROM), a masterly dissertation of the distinction between these three 'E's, spanning some 12,000 words and about 70 references. His oral presentation, full ofironic commentary, transfixed his audience. A few of the many messages captured by this reporter are humbly reported. "Ir is my observation char Australia is ten co fifteen years ahead of the USA in addressing their environmental challenges. While both countries have implemented technically sound projects, Australians seem further along in dealing with the fundamental question of how we as a society can make better decisions about the environment. And in char regard, ir is my firm contention chat decisions about environmental issues that are based on

conventional econom ics, even if rhey allow for externalities, will be flawed in the long term. We need a better model guided by ethical considerations. To chat end, environmental professionals roday have a unique opporrnniry to share not only their technical knowledge bur also their

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30 JUNE 2005



understanding of the ethical values served by the projects that rhey create." Eric illustrated the absurdity of using economics as the sole basis for making important decisions by showing a photo of his own family and analysing the 'val ue' of each member according to their eco nomic contribution alone. By that measure, his daughte r, a medical srnd ent, gained a pos itive B/C ratio only by pledging her potential income (discounted for present value) while his son, a young high school srndent interested only in video games, was destined to be elim inated from the famil y, along with the family dog. Eric co ntinued with a brief history of the evolution of societal thought, beginning with the ancient Greeks for whom 'ethics' (G reek for 'custom') was th e study of co nduct chat would achieve ' the good' for man and society. The term 'economics' is also derived from the Greek for ' house' and ' rules' and was similarly aimed at acquiri ng wealth for the sake of managing the household. By contrast, Aristotle derided the pursuit of wealth for its own sake as a perversio n aki n to dru nkenness, bad fo r both the individual and the state. "The study of modern marker economics commenced with Adam Smith , who introduced the concept of rhe 'invisible hand' to demonstrate char if everyone were motivated only by rheir own self-interest in a free marker, they would produce more narional wealth (now fra med as the GDP) rhan in a regulated economy. T here are certai n flaws in that fundamental theo ry, including a narrow definition of social welfare chat equated "goods in the marketplace" with "good fo r society," and rhe excl usion of non-market impacts in determining market price. These excluded factors were termed "externalities" by economist Arthur Pigou (1932), who suggested char the "invisible hand" was inextricably connected to an "invisible elbow" whose impact has yet co be adequately calculated in the marketplace. Positive externalities include the value of services provided by Mocher Narnre, estimated at some 50 trillion USD per year,

while negarive exrernal iries include such fam iliar environmental impacts as erosion and poll ution caused by improper timber harvesting". "Today we suffer from the 'Tragedy of the Commons' as each of us extracts a little more than our sustainable share from th e environment, which magnified by our large population results in an aggregate impact of disastrous proportions. Typical current examples of this tragedy incl ude toxic emissions from auto mobile exhaust, poll uted run-off fro m urban areas, salinisation of land, and the indiscriminate mining of fossil water and fuel." Another problem Eric described in the use of conventional economic analysis is the effect of applying discount rates to future benefi ts. He explained that applying conventional interest rates (eg. 10% pa discounting ) discourages long-term environmental projects, since in effect it devalues the future. He also pointed out what he termed 'The Myth of Mo ney' wh ich can increase without limit while the value of the natural resources it represents - such as energy, water, even timber - all have foreseeab le limits. A cogent example of the fund amental incompatibility between marker-based econom ics and susta in able development is where the marker leads to species extinction. As noted in his paper, when rhe increase of certain slow-growing reso urces (e.g. hardwood trees) falls below the prevailing interest rate, the logic of the 'marker' urges rhe owner to harvest them now and invest the proceeds. Raising rhe pri ce of hardwood rh rough taxes will only increase the seller's motivatio n to "unload" his resource so he can invest in more profitable goods or save his money at interest. Eric capped his critique of econom ic analys is of environmental projects by stati ng that "the explanation char so me environmentally beneficial project is ' nor economically feasi ble' merely masks but does not excuse the fact that rhe decisio n-maker, for whatever reason, does not value the envi ronment as highly as so me other opportunity available at the same cosr. Here again we see the appropriateness of the origin al status of ethics and eco nomics as branches of moral philosophy, for no matter how elegantly we analyse them, eco nomic choices are like all ocher choi ces in rhar th rough them we reveal our values and our ideals about our righrs and ou r respo nsibility to others". As an al ternative, Eric urged the con fe rence attendees to employ ethical frameworks for evaluating the merits of their proposed proj ects prior to performing the requisite economic analyses, like environmental impact statements commonly used to determi ne long- term ecologi cal effects. Eric recommended that we perform an 'Ethical I mpact Sta tement' to co nsider such questions as "Whose rights are impacted by the project?" and "What are rhe unintended conseq uences of the project on society and the environment?" To capture the impact of our proposed projects on fu ture generations, he also suggested that we ask, "What would our grandchildren advise?" At the end of his presentation, Eric related the unusual fac t chat the utilitarian philosopher, Jeremy Bentham ("the greatest good for the greatest number"), bequeathed his considerable fo rtune to the University of London on the condition that his preserved skeleton should be brought into each meeting of the Board of Directors where he would be marked "Present but not voting." He co ncluded by saying that "It is up to us as water professio nals to consider the ethical issues involved in our projects, and to communicate chem clearly and honestly to the public and the decision-makers." Unless we do so, he said, future generations would ultimately regard us like Jeremy Bentham, as "present, but not voting".

The Author Eric Rosenblum is with the C ity of San Jose (CA) Environmental Services Department,

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keynote speakers

INNOVATIVE SANITATION FOR URBAN AND PERI-URBAN AREAS R Otterpohl d evelopmen ts until Spring when it is sp rayed by local farmers onto their fi elds, sup plying adequate quantities of nitrogen and phospho rus.

Professor Ralf Otterpohl, Director of the Institute of Mun icipal and Industrial Wastewater Management at the Hamburg Technical University, opened the Technical Sessions of the conven tion with a keyno te speech focussed on alternative wastewater systems. Ir was unusual in two respects. First, it focussed not just on recycling of water bur on recycling of nutrien ts, ie N, P , K and biomass fo r sustainable agriculture. Seco ndly, he described applications of both high and low-tech systems operating in sophisticated housing and commercial developments in Germany as well as what we term 'ap propriate technology' in Mexico, Afri ca and Eastern Europe. His main thesis was clear.. . we should separate not o nly blackwater from greywater, bu t also as far as possib le, yellow water from blackwater, and where feasi ble, treat faeces by composting in well-designed dry toilets. However, these can only operate successfully if the urine is to a large extent separated fro m the solids. Figure 1 summarises the proportion of n utrients in our excreta. Note that the majority is co n tained in the sterile urine. In southern Australia we are accustomed to th ink solely in terms of our limited water supplies. In Europe, water supply is perhaps not so critical, but wastewater d ischarge is still a p roblem and also Ralf

quoted statistics which demonstrated their unsustai nable use of phosphorous to grow their food. Almost all is su pplied from the dep osits in Africa, ie. Morocco . (Australians sho uld be reminded that we also rely on imported o r mined phosphorous). 'Yellow water' is the accepted term for the separately collected urine, for later use as ferti liser. Lest readers thi nk this is fa rfe tched, there are thousands of uri ned iverting toilets in operation, mainly in Sweden , and he showed examples (Figure 1) where large tanks or flexible containers store the collected urine from u rban

Irrespective of urine separatio n he maintained that the way of the fu ture was to design decentralised systems, min imising the volume of water involved so that it was easier to disinfect and recycle locally, the vacuum toiler being the techno logy mainly used . H e confessed that it would not be feasible to retrofit such systems into already developed co mmunities, but maintained that a start has to be made, and he has personally invested in to a housing develop men t in Lubeck-Flintenbreiche wh ere vacuum toilets fo r blackwater with mi nimal fl ush have been accepted by the residents since 2000 (Figu re 3). The concentrated b lackwater is mixed with shredded solid wastes and digested to fo rm biogas, used for power and heating. Figu re 4 is a photo of the equipment installed in the basement of the community b uilding in Lubeck-Flintenbreite, in effect a mini WWT P. Greywater is treated in a constructed wetland. Operation and maintenance is carried out by trained contractors H e noted that centralised wastewater systems have some 70-80% of their assets locked in their pipes and sewers but

TUHH Flushwater can be saved 6.000 ¡ 25.000 Greywater 25.000 -100.000 Yearly Loads kg/(P•year)

S, Ca, Mg and trace elements



Reuse / Water Cycle

Urine - 500




Feaces - 50 (option: add biowaste)

Biog as-Plant Composting . S 011- ond1t1oner

CL .

Figure 1. Average huma n excretion. (P*year = per person per year).

32 JUNE 200s


Figure 2. A Swedish suburb incorporating urine-separating toilets with 'yellow water' used for local agricultu re .

keynote speakers Ecological Settlement Liibeck-Flintenbreite

Toilets and resulting Dilution e of Toilet Flushing toilet

Pro and Con's + widely accepted waste of water hi h dilution + low water demand + well developed (ships) hi h-tec I ex ensive + little water/ little dilution + simple fertiliser reuse little experience

Vacuumtoilet Separating toilet

61 1,51

Waterless Urinal


no water I no dilution maintenance required

Compostingtoilet Desiccation toilet


no water needed high space demand maintenance needed Desiccation for hot climates


Figure 3. Efficiency of various toilet systems.

Figure 4. Peri-Urban Settlement Lubeck-Flintenbreite (400 in habitants). Vacuu m toilets plus Biogas-System for Blackwater plus Biowaste.

economy of scale applies only co the treatment plane itself. Building decentralised treatm ent systems for cluster housing or apartments would eliminate che reciculacion, and eco nomy of scale might be replaced in th e fut ure by the eco nomy of numbers, i.e. factory production of the hardware. Wich an equ ivalent population of 400, Lubeck-Flintenbreice is already competitive with conventional

OtterWasser ~ c...~,i

Vacuum Pumping Station for

Bio-Waste In let and Grinder

sewerage and he posed a question, when wou ld such systems be on sale in DIY hardware sco res? In 10-20-30 years? Ochers in Germany are develop ing similar systems. Figure 5 illustrates a project in Berlin, and Figure 6 che design for a sustainable hotel. The development of membrane systems is a large factor for successful local recycling. Dry toilets have been in use for many years but co be widely acceptable ic is essential co minimise the volume of water entering che composting chamber, both from urine and anal cleansing. T here have been recent develop ments in chis technology. One successful project by Eco-Sa n-Res of Sweden is installing dry sani tation with urine diversion inco 4-storey apartments serving 15,000 people in Mongolia. Boch the compose and the urine provide fert il iser for local agriculcure. H e quoted exa mples of successful dry to ilets in bocl1 Mexico and in primary schools in che Ukrai ne. He finis hed with two questions: W ill utilities have clients in fucure? Wi ll ucilicies cake innovative technology as a strategic cool? The above is a very briefsummary of his written paper on the CD ROM which discusses very thoroughly the advantages and disadvantages ofthese alternative systems and quotes details ofexamples world-wide.

Figure 5. Treatment equipment in basement.

~ v,cuum Hpar1Uon toilets



toilet flushing

water made from toiletfluah



~ - - - -Fertiliser

• treated water

Figure 6. Gravity separation toilets in the office building and vacuum separation toilets in the apartment house of the WWTP Stahnsdorf, Berlin. EU-Project of the Centre of Competence for W ater, Berlin Water Works/Veolia Water (Peter-Frohlich et al. , 2004).

locat water rtsources grou ndwliterlra Inw1 ter

Figure 7. Projected design for sustainable hotel (patent to Ulrich Braun, INTAQUA, Hamburg University of Technology).


JUNE 200s 33


MOVING TOWARDS CARBON NEUTRALITY R Humphries, M Waite, P Rogoysky, P Huxtable, M Hess Summary


The Water Corporation of WA - which provides water, wastewater, drai nage, irrigation and other water-related services to Western Australia - has th e largest operating area (2 .5 millio n square miles) of any water utility in the wo rld , supplies water to over 30 0 towns, and operates more than 96 wastewater treatment plants. The Water C orp oration joined the G reenhouse C hallenge Program in 200 12002, and in 20 03-20 04 reported a greenhouse gas abatement of 110,000 to nnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (COie), o r over 25 per cen t of its gross emissions fo r chat year. As a result of this, and its other actions, the Water Corporatio n was awarded the Australian G reenhouse Office G reen house Challenge Gold Award in 2003. T h is reduction was achieved through a series of initiatives includ ing imp roved energy efficiencies; increasing use of renewable energy; cap ture and combustio n of methane; fuel switching; the establish ment o f an Energy M anagement U nit (EM U) ; carbon sequestration; and an award-winni ng water education media and enforcement cam paign. T his paper describes the greenhouse gas m itigatio n actio ns that won the Water Corporation the Australian Greenhouse Office Greenho use Challenge Gold Award, the b usiness ben efits of improved management of energy, and d iscusses the likely fu m re energy and greenhouse gas emissions of rhe Corporatio n.

Introduction T h e W ater Corporation is one of Australia's largest water utilities, with nearly (A) $ 9 billion invested in water services in frastrucm re. The Corporation has the largest operating area of any water utility, and p rovides world class water and wastewater services to the rapid ly growing city of Perth and hund reds of towns and communities spread over the 2.5 m ill ion square kilometre land area of Western Australia. T he Corporatio n also provides This paper won the Michael Flynn Award for the best oral presentation.

36 JUNE 200s




.. "











1111 Electricity




Potroleum Products

209 LPG. non.transport (G J)

E] -52340

- 100000

Figure 1. Green house gas emissions and offsets, 2003/04, expressed a s tonnes C0 2-e.

d rainage and irrigation services to tho usands of households, bus inesses and farms across rhe stare. Since joining rhe Australian Greenhouse Challenge Program in 200 1, the Water Corp oration has achieved significant greenhouse gas emissio n abatement, as well as imp roved b usiness, environmental and social outcomes. This paper describes the Water Corpo ration 's app roach to energy and emissions management, its successes and fa ilures, and the Corporation's possib le fu ture actions in this area.

consumer of grid electricity in Western Austral ia and approximately 90% of th e Water Corporation 's total green house emissio ns arise from its electricity co nsump tio n. Significant G H G emissio ns, particularly meth ane, are also generated from wastewater treatment plants and sewers, from vehicles, stationary diesel engines and o ther so urces. The Co rporation's current energy use and GHG emission s profile is shown in Figure 1. Busi ness-as-usual greenhouse gas emissions for the Water Corpo ration were

Towards sustainability: a program of more efficient electricity use and other initiatives has reduced greenhouse gases by 25%, and is also saving more than a $1 million per year. The Water Corporation's Energy Use and Emissions Profile Electricity is by far rhe largest source of energy used by the business, and is also the largest single source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissio ns. Th e Corporation curren tly d raws about 50 MW of electricity (or 355 GWh/year), most of which comes fro m Western Power's sou th west power grid . The Corporation is th e second biggest

around 370,000 CO 2-equivalent ton nes in 200 3/04. However, as a result of in itiatives such as rhe water conservation campaign , use of renewable energy, increased carbon sequestratio n and a 'green motoring' program, the Corporation reported net greenhouse gas emissio ns of 321,000 CO 2equivalent ronnes, approximately 14% below business-as-usual, assuming Western Power-su pplied grid electricity as the base

case. Figure 2 shows rhe disrriburion of elecrrici ry use by business acriviry, which is dominated by water production, water treatment and water distribution. About 62% of the Corporation 's eleccriciry is consumed at 1.5 % of its sites - these are Perth's large water and wastewater rrearment planes and pumping srarions.


• Water Pumping Stations

I D Water Treatment Plants • Water - Other IJ Sewage Treatment Plants

Joining the Australian Greenhouse Challenge In August 2001, rhe Warer Corporation became a signatory to the Australian Greenhouse Challenge. The decisio n was nor lightly made, and only occurred after significant internal debate. However, the decision co join che Australian Greenhouse Challenge was supported by rhe Executive and Board of rhe Water Co rporation, and rhis assisted in its gaining acceptance rhroughour rhe business. Membership of rhe Greenhouse Challenge has provided rhe catalyst for a systematic analysis of the Corporation's patterns of energy use and GHG emissions, and has led to improved environmental and business outcomes. Th e major benefits include improved energy efficiency, reduced energy costs and


D Bores


D Sewage Pumping Stations



D Buildings & Depots D Drainage & Irrigation 2190 Sites Total Consumption 355,149 MWh 81 ,146

Figure 2. The Water Corporation 's electricity use by business activity in 2003-2004. lower nett GHG emissions, as well as supporting: • Formation of an in ternal Energy Managemen t Unit. • Reform ed energy purchasing, including an increased proportion of renewab le energy and less carbon-intensive fo rms of elecrriciry.

• Biogas capture and burning fo r sludge heating at Perch 's major wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) and rhe Oil from Sludge plant at Subiaco WWTP. • Reduced urban water use, resul ting in lower rates of pumping and hence lower energy use and lower GH G emissions. • The Greener Motoring Program.

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JUNE 200s 37

• Improved bui lding energy efficiency. • Carbon sequestration in woodlots established mainly for the disposal of treated wastewater in regional WA, and in rhe fu ture fro m native vegerarion estab lished o n degraded land. • Planning for zero nett GHG emissions for new energy- intensive in frastr ucture. Each of these elements is discussed in rum below, and chis paper concludes with a brief discussion of li kely or possible future in itiatives in this area.

The Energy Management Unit (EMU) and Energy Procurement The reporting requirements of the Australian Greenhouse Challenge, as well as business need, required a comprehensive approach to the collection and analysis of energy-related information withi n the Corporation. This led to rhe formation of an in ternal En ergy Management Uni t (EMU). T he EMU has successfully reformed the internal management of power pu rchasing, and focused attention on patterns of energy use, energy efficiency, the carbo n-intensity of various electricity supply optio ns and energy coses. The brief of the EMU is to: • Maxi mise che Water Corporation 's op portu nities in che de-regulated energy market; • Focus on areas of high dollar savings, which are expected to come from successfully negotiating energy contracts in che de-regulated electricity market; • Assess and improve energy efficiency in all pares of th e business; • Review p ractices and standards char govern energy usage; • Include all forms of energy usage across the whole business;

The Water Corporation's egg-shaped digesters, biogas reservoir and gas turbine buildings at the Woodman Point wastewater treatment plant, south of Perth.

is used for sludge digester heating and power generation in gas engines on site. At Subiaco WWTP an innovative O il-fromSl udge plant was built, but th is has since been decommissioned because ir was unable to meet the stringent atmospheric metal em ission limits in the plane's environmental licence. Ac Beenyup, the Corporation's ocher major metropolitan wastewater treatment plant biogas is harvested and is substituted for natural gas to heat the sludge digesters. A future biogas generator is planned fo r Beenyup WWTP. The capture and combustion of methane provides a sign ificant reduction in G H G emissions, as one molecule of methane is 21-times more greenho use active than a molecule of CO 2 . Biagas generation and combustion yielded an abatem ent of 3 1, 182 CO2 equivalent tonnes fo r rhe 200 3

reporting period. The "aba tement" was calculated on rhe b asis of WA grid electricity that would o therwise be required for these tasks.

Reduced Urban Water Use Perth, and much of South Western Australia, has been suffering from rhe effects of p rolonged drought since the m id-l 970s which has threaten ed the securi ty of urban water supplies. In response to this, the state government and the Water Corporation launched an urban water use reduction campaign, which has successfully reduced the annual consumption of scheme water by about 25% below normal levels. A combi ned advertising and enforcement campaign successfully reduced water co nsumption in Perch and throughout so uth-western WA.

Continued on page 67

• Balance energy cost reduction against customer service levels an d operational risks; and • Track energy use, costs and GHG emissions of the business. T he combination of these actions h as resulted in m ore efficient electricity use and lowered costs, with savi ngs of more than $ 1 mi ll ion per year. In the future , rhe Corporation will obtain about 80% of its electricity needs from p rivately-owned co mbined cycle gas turbine generators, which will reduce GHG emissions by about 60 % .

Energy Capture and Emissions Reduction at Perth's Large WWTPs Biagas, which consists mainly of methane, is collected and burnt at Perth 's three largest WWTPs. At Woodman Point WWTP, two egg-shaped digesters generate biogas which

38 JUNE 2005


An aerial view of the Albany effluent-irrigated tree farm, grassed irrigation bays and storage dam, Western Australia .

Continued from page 38

800 -~ - - - - - - ~ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ~ 800


The huge decl ine in availab le water (there has been about a 65% reduction in average annual runoff and groundwater recharge since l 974) has required the Water Corporation to modify its potable water supply regime. The majority of Perch's drinking water used to be supplied from surface water sources. However, wi th decreased rainfall, groundwater has beco me the dominant source of supply, and chis has increased energy use because of increased pumpi ng and treatment costs. Beginni ng in winter 200 1, the Water Corporation has co nti nued ro co nd uct a media and enforcement campaign to reduce the level of water use with in the Perth metro area. Over rhe 2002-2003 period this campaign resulted in a saving of 52GL of water compared to the previous "businessas-usual" consumption, which translated to an approximate GH G reduction of about 78,8 18 COz-eq uivalent tonn es for the reporti ng period, because of the lower rares of water pumpi ng and rrearmenr.

The Greener Motoring Program ln 2003, the Water Corporation co mmitted co the G reener Motoring Program with the objective to reduce CO 2 emissions from the Corporation 's vehicle fleer by 3% in the 12 months to July 2005. This represents a reduction of 200 tonnes of CO 2 per year. In the past two years we have achieved a 5% reduction in emissions (or about 305 ton nes of CO2 per year). C urrently, the Corporation's vehicle fleer emits about 10,000 ton nes of CO 2 per annum. T he introduction of rhe Vehicle Standardisation Program has led to a reduction in rhe number of high fuelconsum ing passenger and light com mercial vehicles, and rhese vehicles are now excl uded from selection fo r the fleer. There are th ree mai n elements to our Greener Motoring Program: • Four-cylinder vehicles offer fuel savings of approximately 1.5 litres per l 00 kilometres over larger 6-cylinder vehicles. T here is a recognised improvement when applying chis rule to utilities as well as sedans. Twentythree 6-cylinder vehicles wi ll be replaced by smaller 4-cylinder vehicles by J uly 2005 through the standard replacement process. • An effective way of reduci ng emissions is by mai n raining co rrect tyre pressures across the whole fleet. Improvements as great as 5% in fuel consumption have been reported in vehicles with correctly maintained tyre pressures. The tyre care inspection program has been successfull y running for over 12




Desalination Plant Commissioned

SW Yarragadee Commissioned

500 .c



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8 0

CCGT Power Contract Commences


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Total Electricity Consumption _.,_ Nett C02-e Emissions -+-- Business As Usual CO~ Em~ions


-.-Gros;""'co2-eE m1;;;,s

Figure 3. Actual and projected electricity consumption a nd COr e emissions for the Water Corporation from 2001 /02 until 20 1 l / 12, includi ng carbon sequestration. months now with the co mpany Beaurepai res. • The Corporation will offset the CO 2 emissions its vehicle fleet by enrolling in the Men of the T rees' Carbon Neutral program. T he implementation of a vehicle carbon offset program will cost in th e order of $90,000 per annu m.

Improved Building Energy Efficiency T he energy use of so me Water Corporation buildings has been audi ted, and the aud it findings have led to improvements in the efficiency of energy use, and lower costs. The Corporation's head office, the Joh n Tonkin Water Centre OTWC) in Leederville, recently achieved a 3.5 sta r Australian Build ing G reenhouse Racing and chis was recognised in a public ceremony. T he John Tonkin Water Centre is a relatively old building. It was constructed in the lace l 970s, and was fitted with the hearing and cooling systems of that rime. l n 1996 our Facilities Manager co nducted an energy audit of the bui lding, and began a systematic program of improving its energy efficiency. T he key improvements included: • Lighting - mirrored reflectors allowed one fluorescent cube to replace three cubes in each ceiling light firring. • Movement senso rs and timers have been fitted co optimise lighting and reduce power wastage. • Air conditioni ng - installation of variab le speed drives to reduce fan speeds, measurement of the temperature of returned air to optimise the use of chilled air and management of the thermal mass load of the building to draw in outside cool air at night. • Wi ndows were fi tted with ti nting and/or vertical blinds.

• Peak energy demand was lessened by spreadi ng the start-up power load over 1. 5 hours, yielding significa ntly lower electricity costs. The improvements described above have reduced the coral cost of electricity below that in 1996, and the savings have been rein vested in fu rrher energy efficiency improvements.

Carbon Sequestration Th e Water Corporation irrigates treated wastewate r onto woodlots in several locations in the South West. The la rgest of these is the Albany Effl uent Irrigated T reefarm about 400 km south of Penh , on which 45 0 ha of T asmanian blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus) is grown. All irrigated woodlots have had their carbon sequestration estimated and audited, and the carbon sequestered is offset against rhe Corporation's CO 2-e emissions (see Figure 1).

Supply of Contestable Power Load The Water Corporation recently signed a power purchase agreement with a privacelyowned company to supply the Corporation's contestable electricity load req uirements from their planned l 20MW co mbined cycle gas turbine plant. This plant will provide power with GHG emiss ions approximately 65% lower than the Western Power grid average, and wi ll be ab le to supply abo ut 90% of the Corporation's electri city demand.

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy T he Water Corporation is committed to reducing its energy consumption and gree nhouse gas emissions wherever this is



JUNE 200s 67

feasible and affordable. The Corporation has a policy of continual efficien cy improvemen t for pumps and other equipment. T he Corporation has been actively purchasing "green power" and currendy obtains between 7% and 8% of its power supply from renewable sources, and intends ro increase this as and when additional sources are available.

GHG Emissions from New Infrastructure Ongoing water shortages have driven an accelerated p rogram of investment in infrascruccure co secure supplies. H owever all of che options under evaluation have high energy requirements, either because they are remote, such as the South West Yarragadee aquifer ~250 km south of Per th, or because energy- intensive techn ologies such as reverse osmosis for seawater desalination or the reclamation of treated wastewater for industrial use are necessary co treat the source water. T he WA Government has recently announced its intention fo r the Water Corporation to build a reverse osmosis (RO) seawater desalination plane south of Perch co improve the secu rity of Perth's water supply. The Perch D esalinatio n Plant will supply 4 5 GL of water per year, or about 17% of Perch 's annual water use, and will consume 25 MW of power (or 2 02 GWh/year). This co nsticutes a significant step increase in the Corporation's use of electricity, and would cause a significant rise in its GHG emissions if they were not offset or avoided . The Perch Desalination Plant proposal received final approvals recend y, and negotiations are under way co pu rchase renewable energy to power it, so that the faciliry w ill be greenh ouse-neutral.

Towards Carbon Neutrality Figure 3 shows the accual and predicted trends in the Water Co rp oration's electriciry use and GHG emissions from 2001/02 until 2011/12, with and without taking account of carbon sequestration. The key assumptions underpinning the estimates shown in Figure 3 are: • Co ntinued 3%/year "organic" growth in electricity usage. • Perch desalination plant adds 202GWh/yr co the load, commencing November 2006 and is greenhouse neutral. • T he combined cycle gas curbine contract (CCGT) contract commences in about July 2007 . • South West Yarragadee groundwater begins co enter Perth's water system in

68 JUNE 200s water

December 2009 and adds a d emand of 45GWh/yr with its power supplied by a CCGT type generator. • The power requirement of a major new water pumping station at Nicholson Rd is included withi n the 3%/year organic growth estimate. • Water restrictions continue with th e same level of success. • Emission facto rs of 1.032kg CO2 -e/kWh for Western Power grid power and 0. 53kg CO 2 -e/kWh for grid connected CCGT power. • Assumed 90% of "normal " power needs will be on new CCGT co ntract (o nly 9 0% of our loads are "contestable" - that is, able to be supplied by ochers). Fuel switching co electricity generated by CCGT , and the use of renewable en ergy by the new Perch seawater desalination plane, combine to significandy reduce nett GHG emissions below "business-as-usual", desp ite a rapidly increasing trend in the coral consumption of electriciry. The Water Corporation's achievements in en ergy and emissions management were recognised nationally in 2003, when it won the Engineers Australia Australian G reenhouse Office Gold Award. Award recipients muse ......... . "d emonstrate that they h ave achieved significant abatement of emissions and/or o utstanding achievement in promoting and assisting Australian industry co red uce greenhouse gas emissions . Entrants are assessed against four criteria: to tal GHG abatement; engineering excellence, innovation and ingenuiry; outstanding economic and environmental performance and promotio n and achievement of signifi can t GH G abatement in Austral ian industry" . While such recognition is gratifying, we still have a long way co go in further reduci ng the ecological footpri nt of our energy use, and achieving true 'greenhouse

Water Advertising To reac h th e d eci sio n-ma l<e rs in th e w at er fi e ld, you should con si d e r adverti sing in Water Journal, the offi cia l journa l of Australia n W ater A ssoc iati o n . For in form at ion on adverti sin g rat es, pl ease co ntact Bria n Rault at H allmarl< Editi o ns, Tel (03) 8 5 3 4 5 014 or em ail bra ult@ha m .au

neutrality' - we need co concentrate on reducing the magnicude of the 'zone of op portunity' shown in Figure 3. I t is important co note that the signifi cant reduction in GHG em issions in Figure 3 will be ach ieved without significant add itional costs - in fact the Corporation's Energy Management U nit has achieved savings of $0.6-$ 1 million per year from intelligen t power purchasing and ocher acuons. The Water Corporation is actively exploring che case for moving co full 'greenhouse neutrality'. A consultant's analysis has been completed and discussions held with the (WA) Forest Products Commission and D epartment of Conservation and Land Management, and a number of options are b eing explored , the most promising being a balanced portfolio ranging thro ugh revegetatio n with a greenhouse/biodiversiry fo cus, low rainfall area plantings for greenhouse gas offsets and salinity mitigation using a combination of agricultural alley-farming, regeneration of lost or degraded native vegetation and commercial plantations . GHG emissions from the Corporation's fl eer of 98 1 vehicles will be offset in 200405 by tree planting organised by the Men of the Trees Carbon Neutral program. Corporation staff will be invited co volun tarily enrol their own vehicles in the Carbo n N eutral program. The Corporation will actively moni tor developments in renewable energy technology and costs, carbon trading and look for opporcunities to move it cowards true sustainability, for the benefit of its business, the environ ment, and the communiry we serve.

The Authors Dr Robert Humphries is Manager Sustainab iliry in the Water Corporation of Western Australia and won the Michael Flynn Award fo r the best o ral presentation, which was based on this paper, at the Ozwater conference in Brisbane in May 2005, email bob.humphries@ Michael Waite was formerly empl oyed by th e W ater Corporation and is now manager Environmental Strategy at Western Power Corporation. Paul Rogoysky, an Environmental Scientist at the Water Corporation, was responsible for co mpiling the Corporation 's annual report for the Australian Greenhouse C hallenge. Peter Huxtable manages the Water Corporation's Energy Management U nit and Mathew Hess is the Water Corporatio n's Fleet Manager.


department) was targeted for th e interview. However, as rhe management of OWTS often crossed over departments, we always attempted co include a representative from each department rhar had involvement with OWTS management. lnrerviews were also cond ucted with other key stakeholders that have a strategic role in OWTS management, such as rhe Queensland Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), SEQ Water and Department of Natu ral Resources and Mines (DNRM).

This paper presents results from a 'census' of rhe status of on-sire wasrewarer treatment systems (OWTS) management practices in rhe SEQ region as part of rhe N Healthy Waterways initiative. The current number of on-sire systems is estimated to be 127,000 with septic systems accounti ng for 80%. Key management issues were highlighted during rhe project, notably rhe frequency of greywarer fai lu re and inappropriate greywarer discharge. Septic system failures were reported mainly in rhe newer combined septic systems that receive 100% of Results and Discussion househol d water compared with rhe A summary table of the spl it blackwacer systems that receive respo nses from all surveyed Loca l about 20%. Aerated systems were 20 40 eo Authorities (see Figure 1 for inadequately main tained. However, participating Councils) was co dace, no "smoking gu ns" of poor co mpiled and is presented in the water quality from non-sewered Figure 1. SEQ Loca l Governments included in this report (Beal et al., 2003). The catchments have been clearly survey. fo llowing is a summary of rhe identified. A clear outcome of chis resu Its. survey was the need for all SEQ Methods Local Authorities to audit every on-sire Current Non-Sewered Population The objectives of this repo rt were ro system. Predictions and assessment of Based on data obtained from each SEQ gather information on on-site wastewater catchment water quality risks from on-sire Local Authority, the current number of ontreatment system (OWT S) from the systems would be greatly facilitated if data sire systems was esti mated to be 127, 000, Council officers "on the ground". T his obtained from these audi ts could be used in septic systems accounted fo r ~ 102,000 (or information was obtained via a nine-page catchment water quality modelling and risk 80%), aerated wastewater systems (AWT S) questionnaire that was distributed co each assessment. accounted fo r ~ 20,900, sand filte rs (SF) ~ Council prior co a face-co-face interview.



Introduction Several years ago rhe Moreton Bay Waterways and Catchment Partnership (MBWCP) identified rhe need co assess and manage water quality in Moreton Bay into which drains a large area of sou ch-ease Queensland, including the city of Brisbane. As a result the MBWCP developed the programme 'Healthy Waterways'. The report from which this paper has been derived is the first stage of the Healthy Waterways initiative "Audie ofNonSewered Areas in South-ease Queensland". The content of this paper was summ arised in a well-designed poster which won the Michael Flynn Award for the best poster.

Despite significant failure rates for both septic and aerated systems there was very little evidence ofsurface and groundwater contamination. However, there is a need for Local Authorities to audit on-site systems. The questionnaire covered number and type of OWTS, pre-installation procedures such as approval process, design and construction and post-installation procedures such as inspections, record keeping, monitoring and complaints handling. The relevant section of each Local Authority (e.g. plumbing

5,600 and about 325 known "other" systems (compose, wetlands).

OWTS Proportions The proportion of on-site system types is shown in Figure 2. The majority of systems were some form of septic system. Orher treatment systems such as composting


JUNE 200s 69

toilers and wetland systems have nor been separately identifi ed as rhey were uncommon. A majority of rhe septic systems in SEQ were spli t systems, where the blackwarer (toiler waste only) and greywarer (all other wastewater) are separated. The number of split blackwarer/ greywarer systems is also shown in Figure 2. The split system comprised a large proportion of all septic system types that were installed prior to rhe introduction of specific legislation and standards concerning on-sire system d esign (1993-4) . As a res ul t the split system remains the predominant on-sire system type acrually in the ground in SEQ, although since rhe lare 1990s iris nor as commonly installed. Aerobic treatment systems have grown in popularity over the last 10 years, due largely to the perceived improved treatment of effluent rhar the systems can offer, and rhe ability to collect and reuse rhe rreared effluen t o n lawns or garden bed s via surface or subsurface irrigation. The number of aerobic systems installed in SEQ is about 2 1,000 (Figu re 2).

Projected On-Site System Distributions The projected number of on-sire systems in 10 years rime is approximately 177,000 (compared with the curren t installation of ~ 127,000). The current and estimated future proportion of on-sire system types is shown in Figure 3. A decline in rhe installations of septic systems is expected for all Local Authorities except Esk. Alth ough rhe costs of alternative treatment systems are usually greater than for septic systems, the increase in demand for aerobic systems suggests a consumer preference towards publ ic health and environmental concerns rather than economics. Apart from consumer choice, there is also a tendency for regulatory authorities to favour alternative on-sire systems in areas where a high density of non-sewered allotments is proposed. In this situation, a treatmen t technology (as d istinct from a manufacturer) is sti pulated as part of rhe app roval conditions fo r new subdivisions.

Allotment Sizes An important aspect of OWTS management is allotmen t size which in turn determines OWTS d ensity in a catchment. C learly a low density of OWTS is preferable to minimise cumulative water quality impacts from efflu ent pollutants (nutrients and pathogens). T he average lot size for non-sewered

70 JUNE 200s




c Septic systems • Aerated wastewater systems (AVVTS) • Other (sand fitter, compost)

• split systems a combined systems

Figure 2. Composition of on-site system types in SEQ and separation of septic systems into split (blackwater and greywater) and combin ed.



IOyears time



Septic systems

C Septic systems

• Aerobic systems (AWTS&SF)

• Aerobic systems (AWTS&SF)

Figure 3. Current and estimated future composition of o n-site system types . dwellings in SEQ generally indicated the trend for larger lot sizes in the rural areas and smaller lot sizes in peri- urban, coastal areas. Brisbane C ity Council was an exception with many of rhe non-sewered allotments in the peri-urban regions of Brisbane averaging I 0 ,000m2 (1 hectare). Average lot sizes ranged from 800m 2 in Noosa Sh ire to 20,000m 2 in Nanango Shire. The overall average across Local Authorities was ~ 5, 100111 2 . A sustainable lot size in non-sewered areas of 200040001112 has been suggested by Geary and Gard ner ( 1998). Data o n allotment sizes were usually based on estimates from planning officers, or more frequently, plumbing inspecto rs. As a resul t, the figures have not been confirmed by a cadastral database.

Local Authority On-Site System Management Almost all rhe Local Authorities had no accurate record s fo r sep tic system numbers (both sp lit systems and combi ned) installed prior to 2000. Record keeping became a more serious process after rhe release of rhe

Qld Interim Code of Practice for On-site Sewerage Facilities in 1999 and rhe 1994 Australian Standard AS1547: 1994 Disposal systems for effluent from domestic premises.

and later AS/NZS 1547:2000 The AS/NZS 1547:2000 was not an en forced documen t in Queensland until the gazerral of the Onsite Sewerage Code in 2003. The Plumbing and Drainage Act 2 002 is now the overarching legislation in Queensland and this incorporates rhe On-site Code. The incomplete records of on-sire systems, particularly rhe older ones, meant rhar providing quantitative data for this survey was a difficult process for SEPTIC SYSTEMS many of rhe Local Authorities. Consequently data presented h ere is as accurate as the records and rhe • Regular esrimares of Council officers will programme allow. 74, 700

D No regular

programme • Developing regular programme

Figure 4. Council monitoring an d inspection programmes of on-site systems in SEQ.

Th ere are several local on-site laws and policies rhroughour Queen sland and Australia-wide rhat have been written by Local Authorities, examples include the Gold Coast C ity Council's Local Law 42, and many of these refer to the AS/NZS1547: 200 0 for technical d etail.

ll, 1iiltdliiililRl'+'ili•l'•'E~-'l"••1~1•1~J.----------1 •

On-Site System Inspection and Monitoring Protocols T o ensure compliance to the required effl uent quality standard, an effl uent monitoring programme is often implemented by Local Authorities. This is separate to the maintenance programme which is legally req uired to be carried our by on-sire system manufac mrers on their systems - usually every 3 months for AWTS and yearly fo r sand filrer systems. There is a stamtory requirement fo r a regular operational maintenance check of each system by rhe manufacturer (or nominated service agent). There is no sramtory requirement fo r moniroring the effluent quality of an on-site system. T he On-site Code does not stipu late char monitori ng must be undertaken by the Local Authority, although it is considered "desirable" fo r Councils to do so. A Cou ncil inspection generally involves sampl ing of secondary treated effluent from rhe system and resti ng against criteria listed in the On-site Code. T he purpose of ongo ing Council inspections on systems is two- fold: to moni tor rhe operational performance of the system and to monitor the treatment performa nce of the system Obviously they are linked sin ce a poo rly operatin g system will usually produce poor quality effl uent. Local Authorities that co nduct regular effluent monitoring are the better resourced ones where on-site system density is greater (eg. coas tal/hinterland ' resort' areas) and/o r there is a presence of sensitive environmental recepto rs. Figure 4 shows rhe breakdown of Co uncil moni toring and inspection programmes across the SEQ. Only about 12,000 septic systems (I 2%) are being regularly serviced in SEQ. T he systems chat are being serviced are part of an auditing process char is being undertaken by Logan C ity and Caboolcure Co uncils. T hree more Councils are also planning to undertake audit programmes char will result in a fu rther 15, 100 septic systems being monitored by Council. However, the majority of septic systems (r 75,000) are not inspected regularly by Council as part of a srrucw red program bur on a co mplaint basis only. About 20, 000 (o r 80%) of aerob ic systems are being regula rly moni rored by Council. Ni netyfive percent of Co uncils felt char there were inadequare resources fo r managing on-site system related issues.

21% *

10% ~ 10%


D Surcharge

a odour

D Off Site Risk

D Tank Disrepair

•% of responses from Local Authorities

Figure 5. C lassi fication of major septic system fai lure classifications identi fied by Loca l Authorities.

circumstances leading to trench clogging and subsequent surcharge of effluent were also classified as fai lures by Local Au thorities. These in cl ude broken baffles/o utlet filters and infrequent septic rank desludging both of which allow solids ca rry-over into the trench (Figure 6), thereby reducing its ability to "leak" effl uent into the soil. AWTS and Sand Filters A co mmonly identified mode of failure wi th AWTS and SF was lack of maintenance and odour. T his is of particular concern for systems char surface irri gate the effluent where exposure to environmental and public health risks are increased. Apart from generating odour, discoloured effl uent is more likely to be inadequately disinfected whether by chlorine or UV. Reported Septic System Failures T he number of reported failures fro m Council officers and publ ic complaints (Figure 7) did not reflect the general perception of widespread septic system failure. All Cou ncil officers that were interviewed believed there was a substa ntial disparity between reported failures and acwal incidences of fa ilure chat they have experienced. Fo r example, 200 septic fail ures reported in the Gold Coast C ity Council eq uated to around 2% of their

septic systems. T his percentage is nor realistic as far more systems were likely to be faili ng in one of categories shown in Figure 5. Similar studies performed elsewhere in Ausrralia suggest rhar poorly perfo rming septic systems are co mmon. A 17 month survey com pleted by householders was carried our in Mr Lofty Ranges, South Australia berween 1999 and 2001, to identify the perfo rmance of onsite systems in this important wa ter supply ca tch ment (Arnold & Gallasch, 2001 ). T he results of the survey suggested char almost 50% of septic systems were underperforming, with 12% (15 1 systems) exhibirino- visible surface surchargi ng of effluent. Jelliffe ( I 994) also reported a high nu mber (67%) of poorly operating, broken or surcharging septic systems in a swdy of septic systems in Maroochy Shire, north of Brisbane. T he underestimation of failures in this swdy was believed to be due to the unwill ingness of the public to report a fail ure, rhe lack of knowledge as to when a system is acwally failing and, in large allotments, the low risks perceived by householders from a "small puddle in a big area". The figures we report should only be co nsidered approximate as many Local Authorities records are nor complete or updated regularly. Poorly designed older septic (blackwater) systems and the more recent co mbined (black and greywater) systems, were the most probl ematic septic systems reported by plumbing inspectors. Many Local Authorities fo und char older septic (blackwater) systems char had been properly designed i.e with sui table trench length, were the least prone to fail. Newer com bin ed septic system, des igned postAS l 574: 1994, were reported to be the most common type to fail. T his was largely attribu ted to rhe larger volumes of water char enters the trench in co mbin ed systems. In blackwater-o nly septic systems, approximately 20% of the internal household vo lume is diverted to the trench.

On-Site System Performance Septic Systems Major failure categories identified by Local Authorities are shown in Figure 5 with absorption trench surcharge being the dominant failure mode identified. T he

Figure 6. Surcharging of effluent (rig ht) that can result from trench 'cloggi ng ' (left).


JUNE 200s 71

T he remaining fraction is greywater (e.g 80%) and is usually surface irrigated via a manually moved sprinkler. fu noted previously with the older split systems, the inappropriate discharge of greywater is of particular co ncern to Local Authori ties.

D 0-5 septics / yr (Crows Nest, Kilcoy, Toov.oorrba)

1 5-10 septics / yr (Esk, Gatton) D 10-25 septics / yr (Brisbane, Laidley, Pine Rivers, Redland) D 25-50 septics / yr (Caloundra, Ipswich, Logan) 1!1 50-100 septics / yr (Beaudesert, Maroochy) D 100-150 septics / yr (Caboolture, Noosa)

Reported AWTS and Sand Filter I 150-200 septics / yr (Gold Coast) Failures 4% 5% The breakdown of reported AWTS 9% and SF system failures per year in SEQ is shown in Figure 8. 'Failure' varied from 0 systems to 700 systems per year. The data presented in Figure 8 needs to be co nsidered in the co ntext of the failure classification used by each Local Authority, and whether or not aerobic systems are inspected Figure 7. Number of reported failures per year regularly. For example, Kilcoy reported for septic systems. Pie slice -% of total septic no AWTS and SF system failures for systems in SEQ. the last year, however they classify a failure as ' lack of maintenance' and do not carry out a regular monitoring faecal col ifor ms (i.e. <30cfu / 100mL). programme. Therefore the likelihood of Although a small number of systems were system failure being detected is much lower sampled (27), results from the study than other more proactive Councils, such as suggested a trend toward poor performance Caloundra. in systems that were not user-friendly and irregularly maintained. T his trend was also Although effiu ent quality monitoring of observed by Local Authorities who believed AWT S and SF systems is not a statutory that lack of appropriate maintenance requirement, some Councils that monitor caused most of the system failures reported. aerobic system effluent often rated ' nonAlso the peak or shock loads into ATWS compliance' as a fo rm of failure. However, were associated with poor effluent qual ity some Councils acknowledged th at nonor poorly functioning mechanical pares. compliance with effluent quality criteria Several Local Au thorities stated that the was not necessarily an accurate gauge of a septic system was not necessarily the most system's perfo rmance. Errors in sampling problematic system in regards to surface and the inherent temporal variability in water contamination. They argued that wastewater quality are fac tors chat could when A W T S and sand filcers fail, they will cause effi uent quali ty data to be an unreliable guide to the system's treatment capabilities. Furthermore, the criteria of 20mg/L BOD and 30mg/L suspended solids (On-site Sewerage Code 2003), which were the most commonly tested parameters by Councils, relates to direct discharge into waterways, and therefore may not be especially releva nt fo r discharge onto vegetated areas. A survey of 2 16 aerobic systems in Queensland by T ully and Beavers (2001 ) indicated an underperfo rmance of aerobic systems with only 30% of systems achieving the effiuent quality criteria fo r BOD, suspended solids and faecal coliforms. Khalife and Dharmappa (1 996) found a majority of the AWTS tested in NSW exceeded the effiuent quality guidelines, with only 50% of systems satisfying the limit fo r 72 JUNE 200s


surface-irrigate poorly treated effluent making them a similar if not greater environmental and public health risk than poorly performing septic systems. There was often little Local Authority confidence in service agents as inadequate maintenance or lack of care by the agents was commonly observed by Plu mbing Inspecto rs.

Greywater Systems As identified earli er in the text, split greywacer/blackwacer (septic) systems comprise the majority of complain ts and failures reported by Local Authority officers. Inappropriate greywater discharge was singled out as one of the most problematic issues associated with on-site systems. Many greywater systems disperse effiuenc via surface irrigation using a movable hose and sprinkler. It was reported that sprin klers were not being moved frequen tly and/or were located in unsui table areas (gutters, sro rmwater drains). The volume of water being discharged via greywater systems is up to fo ur times greater than that going into blackwater trenches (i. e compare 20% to 80% of household water), however, the concentrations of pathogens, nutrients, solids and BOD are likely to be much less than in surcharging septic tank effluen t. Figure 9 shows that almost 70% of the Local Authorities believe that the frequency of inappropriate discharge of greywater systems was medium or high. Some examples include hoses discharging greywarer being directed into gutters, stormwater a 0-5 aerobics / yr (Booriah, Brisbane, Crows Nest, Esk, Gatton, pswich, Kilcoy, rmba) drains, kerbside grass verges, • 5-50 aerobics / yr (Laidley, Redland) roadways or the neighbours' a 50-200 aerobics/ yr (Logan) properties. O ther surveys have a 200-300 aerobics/ yr (Beal.desert, Noosa) also iden ti fied inappropriate greywater discharge as an issue • 300-400 aerobics/ yr (Gold Coa st) (Arnold & Gallasch, 2001 ; a 400-500 aerobics / yr (Maroochy) Rawlinson, 1994). The other • 500-700 aerobics / yr (Caboolture, Pine Rivers) common definition of greywarer failure used by Local Authori ties • >700 aerobics / yr (Caloundra) was odour from blocked or overflowing grease-traps. 6%

Rented Properties and Commercial Systems




Figure 8. Number of reported failures per year for AWTS and Sand Filters. Pie slice - % of total aerobic systems in SEQ.

The number of rental dwellings with OWTS was diffic ult to quantify although fo rty-five percent of Local Authorities rared the frequency of OWTS installed in rented dwellings as medium or high.

•111 ii ltdIi ii IIIN&ii• 1•.•e•.•.•.•1•4•111-1.-- - - - - - -Managing and dare, only a few Australian a HIGH frequency of failure (Beaudesert, Brisbane, Caboolture, Caloundra, Esk, Gatton, Ipswich, maintaini ng OWTS in investigations demonstrate Logan, Maroochy, Toowoomba) co nclusive evidence of rented dwelli ngs is more • MEDIUM frequency of failure (Gold Coast, Pine Ri1ers) OWTS-sourced pollution, challenging than in ownerand these have utilised occupied dwelli ngs as tracers to track the a LOW frequency of failure (Boonah, Crows Nest, Kilcoy, Laidley , Noosa, Redland) householders are often contaminant plume transient, and ill-info rmed from the originating of the requirements of an dispersal zone effluent OWTS (such as (Gerrirse et al., I 995 ; des!udging septic ran ks Whitehead and Geary, and changing chlori ne 56% 2000; Geary, 2004) . tablets in AWT S) . Almost Stream water quality 11% 85% of Local Authorities impacts from on-sire identified the incidence of Figure 9. Frequency of greywater ' failu re' . Pie slice-% of Local systems was the key driver failure in O WTS installed Auth orities in SEQ rating each frequency of fai lure as high, medium for ch is Healthy Waterways in rented dwelli ngs as or low. sponsored project and , to either medi um or high. dare, there is very little Co un cil amibured these failures to a lack Evidence of Water Quality Impacts evidence demonstrating this. Of co urse, of knowledge about rhe sys tem from the from OWTS with rhe "silo" natu re of Local Aurhoriry tenant, and irregular use fo llowed by admin istrative structures, knowledge of Previous on-sire system studies have sudden high water use (shock loads). waterway con tamination fro m OWT S may identified a va ried degree of OWTS Although large r (>20 EP) and commercial have been overlooked during the survey. perfo rmance Qelliffe, 1994; Ki nhi ll, 1997; OWT S are the jurisdiction of the EPA, However, it is likely rhar if on-sire system Goo nerilleke et al., 2002) bu r have nor seve ral Local Authorities identified pollution had been detected by a Local clearly linked poor scream water quality perfo rm ance problems and a lack of regular Au thority, most of their Council officers with pollution from on-site systems. T here main tenance in these systems. Around would be aware of this, and it would have were no water quality stud ies identified by 22% of Local Autho ri ties rared fa ilures in been raised during the questionnaire or Local Authorities rhar specifically targeted larger O WTS as high. interview process. impacts from non-sewered catchments. To

B E STA Control Components Ph : (02 ) 9542 8977 Fx: (02) 9542 7978







JUNE 200s 73

- -

A further seep in chis p roject was co conduce an initial desktop mass b alan ce assessmen t on non-sewered areas using a cacchmenc located in che SEQ regio n . Resu lts fro m ch is scudy suggest chat no nsewered areas contribu te relatively small poll utan ts loads co catch ments, wi th t he excep tion of n itrogen in groundwater from septic absorp ti on trenches (Neum ann et al., 2004).

Stakeholder On-Site System Management Issues The ro le of gove rn ment and p ublic insti tutions in on -site systems was varied in b oth detai l and tech n ica l stan da rd. I n Q u een slan d, DNR&M were p rev iously respons ible fo r t he o n-s ire legislation and approval o f on -site systems. T hi s has no w b een passed o nto t he D epartm en t of Loca l Governme n t and P lann ing. D NR&M has authority to prod uce a code of guiding principl es for prese rving the water quality in declared catchme n ts (e.g. water supply catchme n ts) . T h e E PA are res ponsible for th e larger systems (>20 EP) an d also have che power to en courage Loca l Au thorities to co n sider "cumulative impact" un der Sect io n 33 of che Queen slan d Enviro n mental Pro tect ion Po licy (Waters) 1997, although ch is is not exp licitly consid ered by the EPA o r Local Auth o ri t ies in SEQ. T h e most p roact ive organ isation is SEQ Water, wh o supply t he bu lk (>75%) of raw water in south -ease Quee nsland. Cum ulative impact of non-sewered su bdivis ions in wate r supply catch m ents is o f p articular interest co SEQ Water and th eir com m ents under che " m aterial change of use" process o f IPA (1997) stro ngly influence th e cond itions ch at t he Local Authorities impose o n developers . Howeve r, SEQ Wate r have no legislative power an d t hey influence m ore b y p ersuasion and informed co mmen t. T h is is in co ntrast co Sydney Catchment Au th ori ty, say, wh o have a greater level of scacucory po wer co enforce water q uality pro tective m easures.

Conclusions Of the 127, 000 OWTS in SEQ, che m ajority (80%) were septic systems, of which 7 5% were split blackwater/greywacer. Blackwater systems were often installed with shorter trench lengths as they treat only 20% o f the household water. Aerobic systems are gain ing in Council and homeowner popularity, and are likely co form the bulk o f the OWT S co be installed in SEQ over

74 JUNE 200s


ch e next l O years. Failure rates in septic systems were largely attributable co poor septic rank condition, trench len gth underdes ign (some older b lackwarer systems as well as combined systems that receive I 00% of household water) and infrequent desludging - lead in g co solids carry-over. I n aerobi c systems, fa ilures related to n on-co m pliance with effl uent criteria, odour and system d isrepair. Most septic systems were not regularly inspected or maintained . The accual number of fail ing systems was believed co be substantially greater than rep orted co Council o ffi cers, but st ill lower than expected. The im pact on scream water q uality from on-s ite systems was the key driver for chis Healthy Waterways spo nsored project bur, co date, there is very little evidence demonstrating deteriorati on in non sewered areas.

It is reco mm ended that all Local Au thorities conduct au dits o n every nonsewered allotment in th eir jurisdication . Five SEQ Local Authorities are in the process of auditi ng. These aud its p resent an excell ent opportunity co compile valuable b iophysical data requ ired in OWTS risk assessments. Acknowledgements W e than k t he Moreton Bay Catchments & Waterways Par tnersh ip for th ei r fi nancial ass istance w ith this p roject.

The Authors Caro Beal is a PhD scudent at the Universi ty o f Q ueen slan d (emai l and the Coastal CRC. Col Christiansen is a technical o ffi cer at DNR&M; Ted Gordner is University of Q ld Adjunct Assoc. Prof. , P rincipal Scientist DNR&M and Coastal CRC; Peter Beavers is a Senior E ngineer, Department of Local Governmen t, Plan n ing and Spore.

References Arnold K, Gallasch T (200 l ) 'Mounr Lo fry Ranges Waste C ontrol System Project. The nature, function and potenrial for catchmen t im pact of domest ic on-site waste control and disposal in the Mount Lofty Ranges.' Adelaide Hills Council, Adelaide Hills. AS (1994) 'A ustralian Standard - 1547: Disposal systems for effluent from domestic premises.' Standards Association of Austral ia, NSW. Beal C D , Gardner EA, C h ristiansen C, Beavers P (2003) 'A review of on-site wastewater management practices in SEQ local government authori ties.' Qld D epartmen t of N atural Resources and

Mines for Moreton Bay Waterways & C atchment Partnership, Brisbane, Dec. 2003 . Geary PM (2004) On-site domestic system effluent tracing in a coastal catchment. In 'Tench National Symposium on Indi vidual and Small Community Sewage Systems'. March 2 1-24, Sacra mento, California. (Ed . KR Mankin} pp. 722-732 . (ASA E, Sr Joseph, Michigan} Geary PM, Gardner EA ( 1998) Sustainable on-site treatment systems. In ' On sire wastewa ter treatment. Proceedings of the E ighth Natio nal Symposium on Ind ividual and Small Community Sewage Systems, Orlando, Florida, USA'. (American Society o f Agricultural Engineers (ASAE); Sr Joseph; USA) Gerritse RG, Adeney JA, Dimmock GM, O liver YM (1995) Retention of ni trate and phosphate in soils of the D arl ing Plateau in Western Aust ral ia: Implicat ions fo r domestic septic ran k systems. Australian journal ofSoil Research 33, 353-367 . Goonetilleke A, Dawes L, Scuarc D (20 00) ' In vestigatio n of septic tank performan ce for t he developmen t of management s trategies.' Physical lnfrastruccure Centre, School of C ivi l Engineering, Q ueensland Un iversity of Technology, Brisbane, Qld . Jell iffe PA ( 1994) 'A scudy of t he performance o f on-sire rreatment and disposal systems in Maroochy Shire.' Jelliffe Environmental Pry Lrd. Khalife MA, Dharmappa H B ( 1996) Aerated septic tank systems: Field survey of performance. \11/ater 23, 25-28. Kinhi ll ( 1997) 'Caboolcure rural resident ial effluent treat ment and d isposal scudy.' Prepared for Caboolcure Shire Council, Caboolcure, Queensland. Neumann L, Gardner EA, Claridge J, Vieritz AM, Baisdon J, Beal CD, Beavers P , C hristiansen C (2004} ' Initial mass balance assessment on non-sewered areas.' DRAFT prepared by Qld. Dept. Natural Resources, Mines and E nergy for Moreron Bay Waterways and Catchment Partnership, Sept, 2004. Rawlinson LV ( 1994) ' Review of on-site wastewater systems.' Report prepared for Environment Protectio n Authority, New Sout h Wales, Southern Tablelands Region. Standards Aust ralia, Standards New Zealand (2000) 'AS/NZS 1547:2000 On-site do mest ic wastewater managemen t.' Uoincly p ublished by Standards Australia International Led, NSW and Standards New Zealand, Wellington). T ully, IK, Beavers PD, and Woolley A, (2001 ) Performance Evaluation of On-site Aerated Wastewater Treatment Systems 1995-19 98. Report on NLP Project No: 945065, Department of Natural resources and Mines. Whitehead JH , Geary PM (2000) Geotechnical aspects of domestic on-site efflu ent management systems. Australian journal ofEarth Sciences 47, 75-82 .

DESIGNER RECLAIMED WATER G Leslie, D Stevens, S Wilson Abstract Wastewater frequently co ntains concentrations of sale which adversely affect its use fo r irrigation of crops. This paper proposes chat instead of desali nation per se, alternative process technologies can be configured to produce irrigation water chat better meets end-user requi rements. Such processes may cost more but could add value to reclaimed water, red uce waste screams and offset the cost of desalination .

Introduction "The continued growcl, of ou r cities along with Australia's climate, available water storages, and the increasing pressure on our water supplies is cause fo r concern. ln order co manage chis increasing demand for wa ter from our cities and mainrain continued economic growth we can encourage the public to use less water bur we will also have to find alrernarive sources of water". (Prime Minister's Science, Engineering and I nnovarion Council, 28 Nov 2003) Water reclamation is emerging as one major alternative so urce of water. l e offers many advantages over seawater desali nation and new dams with respect to environmental sustainability and cost. However several challenges and opportun ities remain to advance the use of reclaimed water. These include: 1. l ncreasi ng commun ity awareness on the safety and benefits of reclaimed water by removing the stigma associated with water recycl ing; 2. Implementing water reclamation processes char manage pathogen risk and 'co ntaminants of concern' to an acceptable level, making the reclaimed water fit for the intended purpose; 3. Developing a market for reclaimed water where the price is co mparable with other water sources; and 4. lmplemenci ng water reclamation processes chat minimise the physicochemical water qual ity risk to the environment (soils, planes, water bodies) and that also optimise potential benefits. While there has been much interest in the problem of perception, the manageme11t of pathogen risk and the factors affecting the viability of recycling schemes, relatively few studies have add ressed how recycled water can either be beneficial or deleterious to the receiving environment. Therefore, this paper focuses

refereed paper

Recycled water property connection point with water meter.

If desalination is required

on the fate of recycled water and argues chat th e water industry needs to enhance its understandi ng of the desired physicochemical properties of reclaimed water and to pursue opportunities to optim ise water quality for sustainable an d profitable agriculture/ho rticul cure. Water treatme11t processes are ava ilable that wi ll not only ensure that reclaimed water is acceptable, but 'tail or it' fo r the

perhaps it is preferable to develop processes that selectively remove only the undesirable components, not all the components.

Table l . DRW compositi on of major ions required for d ifferent cro ps and crop yields.

Crop Cabbage Capsicum Carrots Cauliflower Celery Cucumber Lettuce Potato Tomato Tomato Average required (kg/ho)

Yield (t/ ha) 50 20 44 50 190 18 50 40 57 194

p (mg/ I)

K (mg/ I)

10 2 8 11 39

59 28 108 90 280



7 9


18 53

72 124 77 342




N (mg/I)

59 16 84 72 123 26 40 106 44

Ca (mg/I)

14 21 70 51


Mg (mg/I)




3 4 7


116 14 4


26 30 139

8 9 35



TDS 8 EC 8 (mg/ I) hiS/ cm)

199 124 369 318

86 130 47 27

703 143 151

69 72 153

343 250 95 1

332 207 615 530 1171 239 252 571 417 1585

A. Value should be less than stated to ensure SAR is less than 3 B. Approximate concentrations calculated by summing all major ions show in the table. (EC Electrical Conductivity) Adopted from Creswell and Huett (1998).


JUNE 200s 75

proposed use making it better than other water sources. The following considers a selection of possible treatment schemes to produce so-called 'Designer Reclaimed Water' (DRW) or water customised for specific end uses. In this sense, the product of DRW can become che carrier for nutrients or elements that need to be applied in che same area receiving the reclaimed water. The benefits of each process are weighted against a cursory estimate of both treatment costs and additional coses to deliver nutrients to the area that is using reclaimed water. This comparison highlights instances where the concept of DRW may benefit the end users and become viable in rhe not too distant future.

What is Designer Reclaimed Water? All reclaimed water must be 'fir for purpose'. State based water recycling guidelines outline the acceptable physicochemical limits for key parameters (eg Total Dissolved Salts (TDS), sodium, chloride, boron, Sodium Absorption Ratio (SAR)) depending on the application (eg. soil type and crop) (OHS SA and EPA SA 1999). However the concept of DRW extends this and asks what water quality is actually ideal, not just acceptable, fo r the proposed use. Agriculture and horticulture have a long history of applying nutrients and trace elements through water (fertigarion) to rhe soil , rather than d irect application to soil. The idea of DRW is that rhe fe rtigation concept can be applied more broadly to reclaimed water. Table 1 provides examples of potential DRW composition for d ifferent crops. These concentrations (Table 1) are based on a requirement of 2.5 ML water per hectare per crop and an irrigation depth of 250 mm per hectare. I n addition to optimising the concentration of these major ions, there is a further requirement char chloride, boron and trace contaminants (heavy metals) be minimised (typically to chloride< 100 mg/I and boron< 0.5 mg/I). There is large variation in requirements of major io ns for specific crop types and their estimated yields. The challenge is whether reclaimed water can be designed to achieve (at or near) these concentrations, and for what benefit and cost. Moreover there remain several inherent difficulties for the concept ofDRW. • Water is a bulk commodity sold as an undifferentiated product within acceptable water quality limits. Price remains the major determinate. • It is very difficult to supply a d ifferentiated product by pipe to a wide

76 JUNE 200s


Reclaimed Water Feed (High TDS)

Product Water (Low TDS)


~(Stage 1)

R/0 ~(Stage 2)

Waste stream· (Higher TDS .___ ___ __. Brine and nutrients) Figure 1. Conventional reverse osmosis [RO) process for desalting for wastewater reclamation.

range of customers. Therefore the opportun ities fo r DRW will be limited to instances where end-users have similar requirements. • The price of water and fertilisers in Australia.

Current Desalting Compared with the DRW Options A major hurdle fo r most wastewater reclamation in Australia is the salinity level of secondary treated effluent. This results from the salinity of potable water sources and saline seepage into sewers (eg Bolivar and Port Adelaide, Adelaide) and/or the high salt load resulcing from industrial and domestic d ischarges (eg Western Treatment Plant, Victoria). In order to achieve widespread reuse (agricultural and industrial), desalination is being pursued by a number of water authorities (including SA Water, Melbourne Water, Barwon Water, Grampians W im mera Mallee Water Authority, Sydney Water, and Water Corporation WA).

Currently there are several efforts at source control to reduce the salt load includ ing promotion of low salt detergents (Water Services Association of Australia) and the promo tion of cleaner production with industry to reduce trade waste discharges (City West Water). These efforts are to be encouraged; however there remains a need for further 'end of pipe' desalination. The dominant technology in this regard is now microfilcration or ultrafiltration (MF/UF) coupled with reverse osmosis (RO). In most cases, this is the most cost effective (Table 2) solution to desalination, but it does not produce DRW. Reverse osmosis is well suited to producing low TDS water for industrial and ind irect potable reuse customers, but it also (non-selectively) rejects ions (eg nutrients) that could be desirable fo r agriculmral reuse (Figure 1). The typical process performance fo r chis rwo stage RO process is a recovery of 7585% at a total cost of $0.45-0.5/m3 and a power consumption of0.9-1.0 kWh/m 3.

Protected cropping facility which is ideal for Designer Recycled Water use.

refereed paper

The produce water has a low TDS < 30 mg/Land a high (SAR> 7). Post-treatment or blending is required to adjust the Langelier Saturation Index to prevent the water b ei ng too corrosive and addition of calcium is required to lower the SAR to a level ideal for soils. T he waste stream contains brine, divalent ions, and potentially high levels of phosphorus (Total P > IO mg/I) and nitrogen (Total N > 40 mg/I) depending on the exrenr of treatment of the wastewater and wh ether nitrogen and phosphorus removal is performed in the biological srage. Wh ile recognising the limitations of this process, there are some very specific high value crops where a low TDS water is required to enable tight nutrient co ntrol fo r ferrigacio n (fertiliser+ irrigation) or hyd roponics (Ohtani, I 996). However this remai ns a wasteful process - nutrients are removed by reverse osmosis and then separate nutrients are dosed back into the product water. T his paper proposes that instead of MF/ UF-RO, alternative process technologies can be configured to produce DRW char be tter meets end user requi rements. Such processes wi ll add value to reclaimed water, reduce waste streams and offset the cost of desalination. Similar ideas have already been applied to sea water desal ination where there is potential to recover val uable by-produces (calcium carbonate and magnesium sul phate; Drioli et al., 2004).

DRW - How Do You Produce It? There is a range of process optio ns that can be pursued to produce DRW depending on the composition of the field water and the desi red product. Electrodialysis reversal and ion exchange are commercially ava ilable technologies that can be modified to adjust the co mposition of the fi nal product. However, there are limitations with these established processes. Two innovative hybrid processes are proposed. These hybrids have not yet been trialled for water reclamation. H owever, Hybrid 1 has been applied at small scale for agricultural drainage water desalting. The idea of Hybrid 2 derives from an established seawater desalination strategy and smallscale trials of membrane distillation. The authors believe that these hybrid approaches are the way forwa rd for wastewater reclamation so that it is ideal for the intended purpose.

Monovalently Selective Electrodialysis Reversal (EDR) Boch United Water International and the University of Adelaide (Heidenreich et al,

refereed paper

Reclaimed Water Feed (High TDS)



t - - - - lowTOSWateJ- - - ~ -- ---..

,,(Stage 1)

Designer Reclaimed Water R/0


,,(Stage 2 )


Waste stream ' - - - - - -1-----+(HigherTDSPreaplaled divalent k>nsandnutrlents - - - - - - ~ Brine) Figure 2. Hybrid Process 1.

2005) and CSTRO (T aylor, 2005) are investigating the use of EDR as a process for desalination of brackish water. A significant difference between EDR and RO is that with EDR the entire prod uct stream does not pass through a membrane. Instead an electric field is imposed and on ly ions are transported through a membrane. One variant of this process is to use a mo novalently selective membrane to remove sod ium and chloride whilst di valent ions (eg magnesium and ca lcium) remain in the product water. T his could be a very usefu l strategy for modifying the SAR, negating the requirement for addition of a calcium amendment (eg gypsum) to the soil. However, the capital cost of EDR is higher than RO (Leitz, et al, 2001 ), and the process technology has found limited application, with Heiden reich et al dismissing it in favo ur ofMBR on secondary effluent followed by RO.

Ion Exchange with a Varying Cation and Anion Resins One alternative process tech no logy for the desalination of lightly brackish water is ion exchange using cation and anion exchange resins. These resins can be co mbined to op timise the rejection of sodium and chloride while allowi ng passage of desirable nu trients and divalent ions.

Reclaimed Water Feed (High TDS)



,,(Stage 1)

However one limitation with ion exchange, like ED R, is that it does nor provide a barrier to key components such as some dissolved organics and requires regular regeneration by chemicals and the arrendant problem of waste disposal

Hybrid Process l - RO - ASP (Accelerated Seed Precipitation) RO Process Hybrid Process I (Figure 2) has been developed by Cohen et al (2004) fo r the processing of agricultural drai nage water in California. The traditional 2 stage RO process is supplemented with a seeded crysrall isarion seep to remove rhe divalent and trivalent ions. T his process was developed for high recovery and to prevent scaling on rhe second RO stage. T he main deviation from Co hen's work is to recover rhe precipitated components and return chem to the prod uct stream to produce DRW. An alternative process scheme proposed by the authors that is currently being developed for a pilot plant process at Melbourne Water's Western Trea tment Plant (F igure 3). Hybrid Process 2 (Figure 3) uses nanofiltration to recover divalent and trivalent ions. T he permeate from the NF containing mostly monovalent ions is


::::;;!¡- ----,T..----.~ Reclaimed

~ - - - --::-,



NH, andv_.,



Waste stream (Higher TDS Brine)

Figure 3. Hybrid Process 2 . NF = Nono Filtration, MD= Membrane Distillation.


JUNE 2005 77

Table 2. Esti mated cost comparison of three w ater reclamation p rocesses. Water reclamation process

Unit Cost of water ($/m 3)

Water reclaimed (%)

Water to waste (%)

Conventional RO !Figure l )

0.4 - 0.45/m 3

75 - 85

Hybrid Process 1 !Figure 2)

0.5 - 0.55/m 3


Hybrid Process 2 !Figure 3)

0.6 - 0.65/m 3

> 95%

Cost of treated waterA ($/ha)

Fertiliser cost ($/ha) 8

Total cost water and fertiliser ($/ha)

25 - 25

1000-1 125


- 1540-1670




< 5%


210c 210c

-1770-1 895

A. Assumes 2.5 ML/ho and overage N, P and Krequired lkg/ho) as per Tobie 1 and fertiliser costs from industry suppliers sources. B. Accounts for fertiliser value of treated water

C. Assumed fertiliser requirements for the hybrid process ore dependent on the extent of nitrogen and phosphorus removed in the biological wastewater process and the composition of the influent and the crop requirements. D. The nutrient value of the conventional RO process has been ignored. In reality there can be possibilities of increasing the nutrient value of conventional RO processes through blend ing or shandying with undesalinoted water.

processed through reverse osmosis (RO), while the divalent ions such as calcium and magnesium in the NF concentrate are blended into the fi nal product co adjust the sodium adsorption ratio (SAR). In addition, the removal of these ions enables the RO unit co operate ar higher recoveries by minimising che formatio n of alkaline (CaCO 3 based) and non-alkaline (CaSO 4 based) scale. The final seep of the process train includes pH adjustment and membrane d iscillacion co recover che ammonia in the RO con cen trate A small amount of waste heat is required co increase the vapour pressure of rhe ammonia in solutio n and drive the membrane d isrillacion unit. Both hybrid processes offer many advantages over rhe current practice of MF/UF - RO. N u trients are recovered and can be returned co the product water. The processes also enable higher water recoveries (- 95%), reduce membrane scaling and rhe use of anti-sealants and reduce rhe size of rhe pre-treatment plane (due co rhe higher recoveries).

processes (due co the fercigation value of chis nutrienr rich reclaimed water) . As the table highlights, the conventional RO process produces the cheapest water. However with the conventional RO process, there is an additional cost of $270 per h ectare for fertiliser and when the total cost (water and fertiliser) is calculated, the costs are very comparable for the three different processes. W ithin the sensitivity of rhe example chosen, Table 2 highlights rhe additional costs associated with the hybrid processes can be offset by reduced ferti liser costs. There are also furthe r arguments for the hyb rid p rocesses on sustainabiliry grounds such as reduced waste and reduced use of fertil isers.

DRW - Some Unresolved Questions/ Issues In spire of rhis positive ouclook, a number of significanr questions remain over rhe futu re of DRW. â&#x20AC;˘ W ill agricul tural and horticultural customers be prepared ro pay an additional cost for water with adjusted nutrient levels? How will rhey assess the benefit if rhey are still required co add fert iliser? â&#x20AC;˘ Potassium is a key nutrient that will be removed along with sodium in all rhe desal ination processes ou cl ined. How can potassium be recovered and returned co the product water, and at what cost?

T he capital cost of these hybrid processes will be higher than the current MF/UF RO designs as there are additio nal unit operations. However there are significant benefits regarding fin ished water quality. Preliminary estimates suggest chat the coral cosr per ML over che life of the project will be comparable for the hybrid processes and current MF/UF-RO processes. Moreover there are significant gains fo r agriculture and horticulrure customers usi ng DRW. One particular feature of these hybrid processes is that operating conditions can be adjusted to vary rhe composition of the DRW over the year. Fo r example, it may d esirable not co apply nitrogen for some pares of the cropping cycle. Table 2 provides a cosr comparison of the conventional RO and the rwo hybrid processes. I n this example it is assumed that 2.5 ML of reclaimed water is required per hectare per annum and that the fertil iser requirements are halved for the hybrid

78 JUN E 2005


Tomatoes grown in a protected crops system using a soilless culture method. A potential use for Designer Recycled Water.

refereed paper

• In an irrigation district where there is mixed cropping, there will be a requirement to maintain relatively constant level of nutrients to enable farmers to calculate the additional ferti liser to added? If th is can be keep relatively constant and a base fertiliser application applied through DRW, then fert il iser dressings or top ups ca n be kept sim ple for the gtower. • The introductio n of DRW and irrigation with high nutrient water (ferrigacion) req ui res irrigation management plans to prevent adverse im pacts on the environment associated with ru noff. {Department of Environment W.A., 2004; EPA Victoria 2003)

Conclusion Over the last twenty years, nutrient removal (N and P) has been a major driver for augmenting wastewater treatment processes. This is critical when discharging secondary treated effiuent to rivers and ocher water bodies. However with the growth of water reclamation, there are oppo rtunities to reconsider this logic and ask; what is the ideal composition of the water reclaimed from wastewater for the purpose chat it will be used for? What oppo rtunities are there to add va lue and develop more sustainab le water and agricultural sectors? Th is paper has proposed a number of hybrid memb rane processes for water reclamation fo r agricul ture reuse. The exa mples co nsidered have focused on wastewaters requiring desalination. If desal ination is required perhaps it is preferable to develop processes that only selectively remove the undesirable components, not all the co mponents. Given that we esti mated that these hybrid processes proposed would be comparabl e in cost with current MF/UF and RO processes, the benefits of tailoring the water to be "ideal for purpose" rather than fit for purpose may just make it cost effecti ve for some agro nomic systems. Tt may also help make these systems more water efficient and help decrease volumes of salty water that require disposal. Designer Reclaimed Water is an idea co improve the susta inability and efficiency of agricultural practice. le is also appli cab le co cases where desalination is not requi red. For example, DRW could be produced by configuring membrane bioreactor ptocesses to achieve nutrient rich C lass A recycled water. The authors are involved in a number of water reclamation pilot plane projects where DRW wi ll be produced. It will become clear over the next few years whether the co ncept of DRW can become a reality in Australia. Jc could be one small pare of a more integrated and susta inable water and agricultural sector.

The Authors Associate Professor Greg Leslie is ac che University ofNSW in th e UNESCO Centre for Membrane Science and Tech nology (; Dr Daryl Stevens is the joint Coordinator fo r Reclaimed Water Development in Horticulture for a project fun ded by Horticulture Australia { au) managed by Arris P/L based at che Waite Campus, Adelaide (; Dr Simon Wilson is a Senior Research Fellow in the Institute of Sustainability and Innovation, Victoria University of T echnology {si

Department of Environment W.A., Water Quality Protection Nore Irrigation with Nutrient Rich Wastewater, July 2004 Drioli, E., Curcio, E., Criscuoli, A., and D i Profio, G., "Integrated system for recovery of CaCO3, NaCl and MgSO4-7H 2O from nanofiltrarion retentate", journal ofM embrane Science, Vol 239, Issue I, 1 August 2004, p. 27-38 OHS SA, EPA SA (1999) 'South Australian Reclaimed Water Guideli nes.' Department of Human Services and Environment Prorecrion Agency, Government of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia. EPA Victoria (2003) 'Guidelines for environmental management. Use of reclaimed water.' EPA Vicroria, Sourhbank, Vicroria 3006, Australia. H eidenreich C, Martyn H , Kaeding U, O'Neill B, Colby C. Desalination of Effiuenr for Re-use. Issues of Salinity Management in t he Northern Adelaide Plains- A WA Specialty Conference: Membranes & Desalination, Harvesting Water using Alternative Technologies 23-25 February 2005, and also Water, 32, No 3 . Leitz, F., Boegli, 8., Evaluation of the Port Hueneme Demonstration Plant - An Analysis of I MGD Reverse Osmosis, Nanofiltration, Elecrrodialysis reversal Plan ts Ru n under Essentially Identical Conditions, Program Report No. 65, US Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, May 200 I Taylor, R. , Desalination of wasrewarers using elecrrodialysis - technical issues and challenges - AWA Specialty Conference: Membranes & Desalination, Harvesting Water using Alternative Technologies 23-25 February 2005 Ohrani, T., Sase, S. and Okushima, L. 1996. T he Control of Chemical Components of the Nutrient Solution in Hydroponics with Nanofilrrarion Membrane, Acta Horcicultu rae, International Society for Horciculrural Science, 440:217-222 Prime Mi niste r's Science, Engineering and Innovation Cou ncil, Recycling Water for Our C ities, 28 Nov 2003


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References Cohen, Y., Gao, J., Rahardianro, A., Shih, W., Glarer, J., Williams, M., Gabelich, C., Membrane desalination of high salinity agricultural drainage water and surface water: Mitigation of Mineral Salt Scaling and Enhancement of Product Water Recovery, North American Membran e Society, 26-30 June 2004, Honululu, Hawaii C reswell G, Huett D ( 1998) Plant Nurririon. In Awtrafian Vegetable Growing Handbook. (Ed.s J Salvesrrin) pp. 89-105. (Scope Publishing Pty Lrd: Frankston)

refereed paper

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200s 79



Investigation of eight pharmaceutically active compounds (PhACs) was undertaken at a sewage treatment plant (STP) in Western Sydney, NSW. The specific analytes were salicylic acid, ibup rofen , paracetamol, gemfibrozil, naproxen, ketop rofen, phenytoin and carbamazepine. Analysis was undertaken by solid phase extraction followed by gas chromatographymass spectrometry. Concentration variations were characterised by treatment stage (raw, primary, secondary) and over periods of time (diurnal, daily) . Comparison of five grab samples collected over a very short p eriod indicated that reproducible concentration data could be achieved. However, over a diurnal cycle, PhAC concentrations varied significantly. However, 24-hour composite samp ling over five consecutive days provided representative and reproducible daily concentration data. Most of the analytes were moderately affected by primary sewage treatment and significantly reduced during secondary activated sludge treatment.

Keywords: PhACs; sewage; treatment.

Introduction Recent reporrs from Europe and the USA indicate that PhACs are widespread contaminan ts in the aquatic environment. T h e increasing observations of a growing number of PhACs in sewage effluents (Carballa et al., 2004; Thomas and Foster, 2005) and receiving waters (Debska et al. , 2004; Sanderson et al., 2004; Weigel et al., 2004) has prompted concern for their potential ecological effects (Cleuvers, 2004; Jones et al., 2004; Richards et al., 2004). These compounds are commonly biologically active and some show resistance to conventional sewage treatment processes and environmental biodegradation. Apart from the known endocrine disrupting compound, ethynylestradiol, almost no attention has been given to the issue of pharmaceutical residuals in Australia (Ying and Kookana, 2002). Ir was therefore necessary to address some


JUNE 200s







. C:





50 0 7am








Figure 1. Diurnal concentration variation of paracetamol (JJg/1) and TOC (mg/I).

fundam ental questions prior to em barking on an occurrence analysis. The range of PhACs in use in Australia is considerable. Practical lim itations in time and resources required a well-targeted

raw, primary and secondary created sewage effluents (Khan and Ongcrth, 2004) as well as in primary and secondary sewage sludges (Kh an and Ongerch , 2002). Selected compounds identified in chis process were chosen for their predisposition to

Eight common pharmaceuticals were monitored by 24-hour composite sampling. Most were moderately affected by primary treatment and significantly reduced during activated sludge treatment. approach to the scope of the issue. Previous studies involving p redictive modelling were used to forecast the likely concentrations of PhACs and to identify which were likely to be present in m easurable concentrations in


16 ¡. - - - - - - - - - - - - -14

simultaneous quantification as well as to cover a range of pharmacological catego ries and pred icted concentration patterns. Some important categories of P hACs, such as antibiotics, were not incl uded since they

- - - - - - - - - - - - --


.::. 12




8 6

.. g



4 2 0 7am







Time [-

Salicylic acid -



-+- Gentibrozil ~ Naprox;;;-:=..._ Ketoprofe~

Figure 2. Diurnal concentrations of sa licylic acid, ibuprofen, gemfibrozil, naproxen and ketoprofen (JJg/1).

refereed paper

chemicals of concern were nor amenable to the available (GCMS) analytical method. T he selected analyres included three nonsre roidal anti-inflammatory agents (ibuprofen, naproxen and ketoprofen); two anriconvulsanrs (phenytoin and carbam azepine); one antihyperlipidemic agent (gemfibrozil); one analgesic (parace tamol) and an analgesic metabolite (salicylic acid which is the major metabolite of aspirin). All of these pharmaceuticals are used in Australia in quantities exceeding 150 kg/ l 06 people/yea r (Khan and Onge rrh , 2004). The invesrigared sewage rrearmenr plant is located in the outer western suburbs of Syd ney, NSW. Ir is a co nventional acrivared sludge plant with additional phosphorous removal. lr serves a population of 23,000 people and treats almost exclusively domes tic municipal sewage. This effluent is discha rged to a small inland creek. T he objective of rhis srudy was to undertake an initial examination of the occurrence and removal of rhe selected com pounds in rhe sewage rrearmenr plane. This exami nation was to incl ude rhe dete rmi nation of whether d iurnal variations in con centration and mass-loadi ng could be detected.

Materials and Methods Chemicals and Other Materials T he selected nonsrero idal antiin flammatory agents (ibuprofen , naproxen and ke toprofe n); an rico nvulsants (phenytoin and carbamazepi ne); antihyperlipidemic agent (gemfibrozil); analges ic (paracetamol) and analgesic metabolite (salicylic acid); N,Ob is( tr irnerhylsiIyl) rri fl uoroacera mide (BSTFA) and fluazifo p bury! were all purch ased from Sigma-Aldrich (Cas rl e Hill, NSW, Australia). Paraceramol-d4 , salicylic acid-d 6 and carbamazep ine-d 10 were purchased from Scientific T echnology (Kilaben Bay, NSW, Australia) . Acetonirri le (anhydrous spectroscopy grade) and acetone (spectrosco py grade) were purchased from Ajax Chemicals (Liverpool, NSW, Australia). A 12-porr Visiprep SPE manifold and Envi Chrom P solid-phase extractio n rubes were purchased from Supelco (Casrle Hill, NSW, Australia). These rubes feacure a styrene/ divi nylbenzene co polymer res in, 80- 160 mm particles, 20-300 A pores with a surface area of 900 m2/g. Silanised 2ml autosa mpler vials were purchased from Agilen t Technologies (Forest Hill, VIC, Australia). Wharman I (320mm, 11 pm pore) and Wharman GF/F (11 0 mm , 7 pm pore) filters were purchased from Selby Biolab (North Ryde, NSW, Australia).

refereed paper

Table l. Analytes , number of derivative g ro ups (TMS), retention times, dwell times and SIM io ns.

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 0



Retention time (min) Dwell time (ms) Target ion

Salicylic acid 0 Salicylic acid-d6 Ibuprofen Paracetamol 0 Paracetamol-d4 bParacetamol o,bParacetamol-d4 Gemfibrozil Naproxen Ketoprofen <fl uazi fop-butyl Phenytoin Carbamazepine

2 2

7.50 7.50 8.83 9.00 9.00 11 .05 11.05 16.11 22.07 28.36 30.42 31. 80 31.93 31.93 34.26 35.51 35.5 1

2 2 1

1 0 2

°ૹCorbamazepine-d 10

bPhenytoin 1 bCarbamazepine 0 o,bCarbamazepine-d 1o 0

40 40 80 40 40 40 40 80 80 80 80 40 40 40 80 40 40

267 271 263 206 210 181 185 201 243 282 282 281 193 203 209 193 203



268 272 234 280 284 223 227 202 302 383 254 253 293 303 208 192 202

209 213 278 295 299 208 212 307 287 31 1 383

324 236 246

/sotopic surrogate standard; bPartially derivatised product for monitoring only; </nternol Standard.

Table 2. Extraction recoveries a nd detection li mits of ana lytes. Compound

Salicylic acid Ibuprofen Paracetamol Gemfibrazil Naproxen Ketoprofen Phenytoin Carbamazepine

Filtered Sewage

Deionised water Recovery (%)•

LOD (ng)

Recovery (%)*

LOD (ng)

69 ± 4 57 ± 2 34 ± 4 50 ± 8 64 ± 4 79 ± 5 64 ± 10 42 ± 5

10 10 10 10 10 10 50 100

12±3 l8 ± 6 30 ± 9 25 ± 4 28 ± 8 28 ± 2 16±8 36 ± 11

50 50 50 50 50 50 250 500

*Subsequent to the dato presented in this study, analyte recoveries have been dramatically increased by the use of Oasis HLB extraction cartridges.

Sampling Two types of sampl es were collected in chis study. T hese were "grab samples" (2 I) and 24-hour co mposite samples (20 I) collected with rhe aid of a refrigerated co mposite aurosampler. Samples were collected from rhe "raw" infl uent to the primary sedimenrarion ranks, rhe effl uent from rhe primary sedimentation ranks, and the effl uent from the seco ndary clarifi ers. Analytical Sample Pre-Treatment A pre-treatment process was carried our on all samples on rhe day that they were co llected and transpo rted to rhe laboratory. Pre-treatment involved filtratio n, accurate measurement and separation of an appropriate volume fo r ex traction , storage in a clean amber boccie for extraction, and pH adjustment. Samples were adjusted to pH 2 principally fo r rhe optimal (hydrophobic) extraction of rhe acidic

analyres. However, rhe pH adjustment was undertaken during rhe pre-treatment srage of rhe analysis since it was considered char it may also serve the seco ndary purpose of limiting further biotic degradation of rhe analyres until rhe extraction could be undertaken. No resting was undertaken co confirm chis presumed secondary benefit. Wastewater samples containing high so lids were first filtered through high porosity Wharman No. I filter papers. Fi nal filtration of all samples was achieved with Wharman GF/F glass fib re fi lter paper under medium vacuum. An implication of rhis filtratio n step is char only PhACs char were dissolved or adsorbed to particles of less than 7 pm co uld have been measured in chis srudy.

Solid-Phase Extraction and Elution Prior to solid-phase extraction (S PE), an acetonirril e solution (l 00 pl) of rhe


JUNE 2005 81

chemicals of concern surrogates, paracetamol-d4 (1 0.1 1 mg/I), salicylic acid-d 6 (10.24 mg/ I) and carbamazepine-d IO (1 0.09 mg/I), were added to each sample. These surrogates were used to confirm analyte recovery fro m rhe aqueous components of samples during SPE. SPE was perfor med on Envi Chrom P carrridges. T he cartridges were precondi tioned by washing with acetoni trile (4 ml) followed by deio nised water (4 ml) adjusted to pH 2. Each 200 ml aliquot was extracted at a flow rate no greater than 5 ml/min. T he SPE cubes were then washed with a further 4 ml of pH-adjusted deionised water, then dried by nitrogen at a moderate rare for at least 3 hr until visibly dry. T he SPE rubes were eluted with 2ml of a 50:50 acero nitrile/acetone mixtu re and evaporated by a consta nt stream of N 2 at 30°C. By ch is process, the elution solvent was predominantly removed to leave an oily resi due in most cases. Solvent evaporation was undertaken directly in GC-MS sample vials so chat the enti re recovered residue could be used for the following derivatisation step.

100 80 ~ ~


;;; > 0






0 -20




o Primary settling • Activated sludge treatment

Figure 3. Percentage re moval of pharmaceutica ls d uring prima ry a nd secondary treatment.

Derivatisation All extracted samples were derivatised by reaction with BSTFA (200 pl) in acetonitrile (200 pl) at 70°C for I hour. T he number of introduced rrimerhylsilyl (TMS) gro ups are shown in Table 1. Compl ete deri varisarion of multi-functional group compounds was confi rmed fo r each sample by monitoring the occurrence of rhe partially or non-derivatised products: paracetamol mono-TMS, phenyto in mo no-TMS, phenytoi n non-TMS and carbamazepine non-TMS. Sa mples were allowed ro coo l to room temperature before add ition of the internal standard, fl uazifop- butyl (12.38 mg/I, I 00 pl).

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GC-MS Detection All mass spectrometric measurements were performed with a Hewlett-Packard HP59 73 mass-selective detector combined with HP6890 gas chromatograph. Samples were chromatographed using a HP-5MS capillary colu mn (5% Phenyl Methyl Siloxane, 30m x 0.25 mm f. D . x 0.25 pm film thickness). T he carrier gas was helium at a constant flow rare of I ml /min. The oven temperature was held at 100°C fo r 3min after sample injection, then ram ped at 30°C/min to I 70°C and then at 1°C/min to 200°C. Fi nally ir was ramped ac 30°C/min to 260°C and held fo r 15 min. A I pl injection volume was administered by means of a HP6890 series autosampler using hot splirless injection. All quant itative measurements were obtained us ing selective ion mon itoring (S IM) mode with retentio n rimes and mo nitored ions shown in T ab le 1. Analyres and their iso topic surrogates were each measured withi n a single SIM window. Two analytes, carbamazep in e and phenytoin, were also measu red within a si ngle SIM window due to their very similar retention ti mes. The partially deriva tised mono-TMS an d no n-TMS products were monitored bur were not used in the quantitative ana lys is, other rhan to exclude samp les on rhe basis of incomplete deri vatisation. The preferred method for quantitarion was to carry our each sample ex tractio n with a spiked isotopic surrogate standard of each analyre and equate the recovery of the appropriate standard wi th its "non-isotopic" counterpart. T his procedure was nor possible for all ana lyres due to the expense and difficulty of obtaining all isotopic standards. However, ir was possible ro obtain deurerated standards of three of the analytes. T hese were paraceramol-d4, salicylic acidd6 and carbamazepine-d I 0. The ratio of rhe analyte to the surrogate was determined by the ratio of the peak areas of the rwo carger ions. Calibration curves were prepared by plocci ng rhe ratio of analyre to surrogate response against analyte concentration in deionised water srandard solutions. The calibration curves were then used co derive the analyte concentrations in sewage from th e analyte-cosurrogacc ratios. T his method co mpensated fo r any matrix-induced effects and other va riability during extraction, derivarisarion and GC-MS analysis. For rhe remaining analytes, fluazifop butyl was used as an internal sta ndard as previously repo rted in rh e analysis of PhACs in water (Ternes et af., I 998) . Th is internal standard was added to samples after solid phase extraction. Recoveries of these remaining analyres were confirmed by a standard additions analys is and rhe

refereed paper

chemicals of concern results are presented in Table 2. While many of rhe recoveries are quire low, rhey were generally reproducible as shown by rheir standard deviations. Subsequent ro rhe current study, analyre recoveries have been dramatically increased by the use of hydrophilic-lipophilic-balance (HLB) SPE cartridges supplied by Waters. Due ro th e varying nature of sewage samples, recovery analys is was undertaken routinely wirh analys is of new samples of varying origin.

Results and Discussion Determination of Variation Among Grab-Samples

Sewage is a highly dynamic medium wirh rapid flu ctuation in both flow rate and composition . Accord ingly, it was necessary ro gain an understa nding of the representativeness of a single sewage grabsample. Five raw sewage samples (each 1L) were manually coll ected from rhe transfer line between rhe grit channels and rh e primary sedim entation rank of rhe ST P. Sampli ng was undertaken on a weekday and commenced ar noon. All samples were collected within a period of 10 min. The results of the grab-sample variation analysis are dis played in Table 3. The observed variations between samp les accou nt for short-term variations in flow and load , as well as variation s in th e homogeneiry of sewage, sampling, extract ion and analys is of samples. In all cases the coefficients of variation were no greater than 12%, indicating adequate reproducibil ity wi thi n data secs of this size. T he collection, extraction and analysis of these compounds was therefore considered highly reprod ucible and rhe shore-term concentration variation insign i ficanr ar th e sampling time rh ar rhe experim ent was performed. However, given rhe small service population, ir should nor be assumed rhar such conclusions would necessarily be applicable ro a larger and more diverse service population including indust ry and hospitals wirh different usage parrerns. Determination of Diurnal Concentration Variations

T he rare of flow of influent ro a municipal ST P typically exhibits a diurnal nature . T he diurnal pattern reflects parrerns of commun ity warer usage. Th e phasing of the diu rnal flow curve is influenced by rhe length of the sewers and, hence, rh e average delay incurred between was rewarer generation and rhe rime it rakes for ir ro reach th e STP. To a first approxima tion, ir may have been e xpected rhar the concentration of

refereed paper

Table 3. Short-term variation of PhACs concentration (fJg/ 1) among sewage

g rab-samples. PhAC

2 Salicylic acid Ibuprofen Porocetomol Gemfibrozil Naproxen Ketoprofen Phenytoin Corbomazepine


Sample number 3 4

2.2 133

8.9 2.0 177

1.6 4.3 0.13 <0.25 <0.50

1.5 3.4 0.12 <0.25 <0.50

8.8 2.3 147 1.5 3.8 0.12 <0.25 <0.50

Mean± s.d

Coefficient of variation %

8.9 ± 0.23 2.3 ± 0.23 148 ± 17 1.5 ± 0.06 3.8 ± 0.31 0.13±0.01 <0.25 <0.50

3 10 12 4


9.3 2.4 149 1.5 3.7 0.14 <0.25

8.6 2.6 135 1.5 4.0 0. 13 <0.25



8 8

4. Means a nd standard deviations of PhAC concentration s (fJg/ 1) over five week days .



Salicylic acid Ibuprofen Paracetamol Gemfibrozil Noproxen Ketoprofen Phenytoin Carbamazepine

Raw influent

Primary effluent

Secondary effluent

13 ± 3.3 2.7 ± 0.35 l 04 ± 1.8 1.5±0.19 6.5 ± 0.42 0.90 ± 0.08 <0.25 *(<0.50-0.52) ± (0.26-0.04)

6.1 ± 1.4 2.3 ± 0.34 28 ± 3.5 1.3 ± 0.08 5.5 ± 0.73 1.0 ± 0.18 <0.25

0.38 ± 0.13 0.22 ± 0.15 *(0.23-0.25) ± (0.27-0.25) *(0.20-0.21) ± (0. 11-0.09) 0.35 ± 0.12 0.59 ± 0.05 <0.25 *(<0.50-0.52) ± (0.26-0.04)


*Possible range given some samples below limit of quantification

contaminants may have exhibited a reverse diurnal pattern. That is, lower con centrations may have been expected wirh the increased dilution associated wirh flow-rare peaks in the diurnal cycle.

T he accual excretion of PhACs into a particular sewerage system was also expected to exhibit a highly diurnal natu re. This wou ld reflect variations in factors such as typical ri mes of drug ingestion, lapse times for excretion peaks, peak rimes of

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chemicals of concern elimination to the sewerage system and population shifts into and out of an area during a working-day cycle. To exam in e rhe diu rnal va riations in PhAC concentratio ns, samples were collected from rhe STP every 4 hours over a 24-hour period. The concentration va riations observed were, in most cases, greater than the shore-term sample variations, thereby indicating that diurnal concentration variatio n was indeed observable by this m ethod of sampling. Paracetamol concentrations were compared to T OC concentrations over the diurnal cycle (Figure 1). A significant concentration peak fo r this drug was observed in the afternoon sample (3pm). The only observed TOC concentration peak was in the evening (around 11 pm).

most cases, sign ificantly d ifferent at 7am o n the first morning compared to chose at 7am on the second morning. At chis rime, the sewage flow rate is typica lly changi ng much more rapidly than at noon wh en the short-term variation tests were undertaken. T herefo re, sh ort-term variabi li ty aroun d this rime is expected to be more signifi ca n t. Small variations in sampling time, from one day to the next, may have resu lted in considerabl e variations in sample co ncentrat ion . The observed diurnal co ncentration va riatio ns indicate char randomly selected grabsamples are not rep resentative of daily load. Furthermore, rhe diurnal patterns of PhAC concentrations app ear to be variable, even am o ng different PhACs and d o n ot reflect the diurnal vari ations of the total organic load.

The diurnal concentration variations of salicylic acid, ib uprofen, gemfib rozil, naproxen and ketop rofen were also compared (Figure 2). It was apparent that while so me aspects of the overall trends were co nsistent among the different PhACs, some considerable variations were also observed.

24-hour composite samples of raw, primary and seco ndary effluents were collected and analysed over five co nsecutive week-days . The composite periods concluded at 9am each day.

Furth ermore, it was no red rhat co ncen tratio ns of specific PhACs were, in

The average flow recorded over the week was 6.74 Ml/day with a standard deviation

Seven-Day Composite Sewage Analysis


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of 0.27 Ml/day. T he coefficient of variation was therefore calculated to be 4 .0. Since che coeffi cient of variatio n was significantly less than 10, the variation in daily fl ow was nor co nsidered ro be a significant factor in the overall measured variation in composite pharmaceutical concentrations. T he means and standard deviations of the PhAC concentrations over the five daily composites were calculated for raw influent, primary efflu ent and secondary effl uent (Table 4 ). A few of the analyres had some dai ly composites rhar were less than rhe limi t of quantitation fo r that analyte. In cases wh ere some po ints were above the limit of q uanti fication and some were below, means and standard deviations were calculated as a range presuming the extremes of the unknown data being as low as zero and as high as che limit of quantification. These cases are denoted by an asterisk in Table 4 . T he comparatively high limit of detectio n for carbamazepine (See T able 2) largely accou nts for the high number of no n-detects for this compound co mpared to ocher published studies. Signifi ca nt improvemen ts in the analys is of this compou nd are currently under way. Very co nsistent data were obtained for the 24-hour composites. Most of the factors contribu ti ng to concentration variations in the diurnal analysis were not applicable to 24-hour composites. More often than not, the concentration of ketoprofen was observed to increase after prim ary treatment. It is likely that ketop rofen was present in raw effl uent, partially as its glucuron ide conjugate, which is the predominant excreted product. This m ay then have been somewhat hydrolysed duri ng primary settling, to give further unconjugated ketoprofen. Most measured compounds exh ibited removal rates of 80-90 % d uring secondary treatment (Figure 3). Removal of paracetamol was somewhat erratic, however in one case, paracetamol con centration was observed to increase. I r is likely that competing p rocesses of aerobic biodegradation and hydro lysis of conjugates may partially exp lain the observed variability.

Conclusions A series of analytical investigations p rovided insigh t to the presence of some representative PhACs in Australian sewage and their behaviour during sewage treatment processes. It was shown char rhe m easurable analyres could be reproducibly determined from sh ort-term grab samples wirh a coefficient o f variation no greater than 12%.

refereed paper

chemicals of concern Analys is of rh e diurnal variations of PhACs in sewage concluded thac such variations we re evident and char rhese variatio ns did nor directly reflect che diurnal patterns of rhe coral organic load. Furthermore, diurnal pattern s appeared co be variable even among different PhACs. The observed diurn al behaviours of PhACs in sewage indicate char randomly selected grab-samp les are not represe ntati ve of coral daily load.

The Authors Stuart Khan is a research fellow in che Centre fo r Water and Waste T echnology at che University of New South Wales; his email address is .au. Jerry Ongerth was a visiting professor in rhe Department of Civil and Environ men cal Engineering at che University of New Sou ch Wales. He is now manager of Regu latory Planning and Analysis, Ease Bay Municipal Utility D istrict, California, USA; his email address is

References Carballa M, Omil F, Lema J M, Llomparc M, Garcia-J ares C , Rod riguez I, G omez M , T ernes T . (2004) Behavior of pha rmaceuticals, cosmetics a nd hormones in a sewage treatment plan t. Water Res. 38 ( 12):29182926. C leuvers M. (2004) Mixture toxicity of the antiinflammatory d rugs diclofenac, ibuprofe n, naproxen, and acetylsalicylic acid. Ecotox. Environ. Saft. 59 (3):309-3 15. Debska J , Kot-Wasik A, N am iesnik J. (2004) Face a nd analysis of pharmaceutical res idues in the aqua tic e nvironment. Crit. Rev. Anal. Chem. 34 (1):51-67. Jones AH , Voulvoulis N, Leste r JN . (2004) Potential ecological a nd huma n healt h ris ks associated with the presence of pharmaceutically active compounds in the aqua tic e nviro nment. Crit. Rev. Toxicol. 34 (4) :335350. Khan SJ, Ongerch JE. (2002) Estim ation of pharmaceutical residues in primary and secondary sewage sludge based on quantities of use and fugacity modelling. Water Sci. Tee/mo/. 46 (3) :1 05- 11 3. Khan SJ, Ongerrh JE. (2004) Modelling of prescription pha rmaceutical residues in Australian sewage based on quantities of use and fugacity calculations. Chemosphere 54 (3) :35 5-367 .

Ric hards SM, W ilson CJ, Johnson DJ, Castle D M, Lam M , M abu ry SA, Sibley P K, Solom on KR. (2004) Effects of pha rmaceut ical mixtures in aquatic m icrocosms. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 23 (4): I 035- 104 2. Sanderson H , Johnson DJ , Reitsma T, Brain RA, W ilson CJ, Solomon KR. (2004) Ranking and priori tizat ion of environme ntal risks of pharmaceuticals in surfa ce waters. Regul. Toxicol. Pharrn. 39: 158- 183 . T e rnes T A, Hirsch R, Muelle r J , H aberer K. ( 1998) Methods for the determination of neutral drugs as well as becablockers and b2sympathomimetics in aqueo us matrices us ing GC/MS and LC/M S/M S. Freseni us}. Anal. Chem. 362: 329-34 0. Thomas PM , Foster GD. (2005) Tracking acidic pharmaceut icals, caffeine, and triclosan th rough the wastewater treatme nt process. Environmental Toxicology a11d Chemistry 24 (1):25-30. We igel S, Berger U , Je nsen E, Kalle nborn R, T horesen H , H uhnerfuss H. (2004) De te rmination of selected pharmaceuticals a nd caffe ine in sewage a nd seawa ter from Tromso/ Norway with emphasis o n ibuprofen and its me rabolites. Chemosphere 56 (6):583592. Ying G G , Kooka na RS. (2002) Endocrine disruption: An Australia n perspec tive. Water 29 (9):42-45.

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refereed paper


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ReadyculcÂŽ Col iforms is a US EPAapproved product available fro m Merck for the rapid detection of coli fo rms and E.coli in drinking water. The combi nation of a chromogenic and fluorogenic substrate is used for the simultaneous detection of rota! coliforms and E. coli within 24 hours. T otal coliforms are detected by the prod uction of a bluegreen colour after hydrolysacion ofX-GAL by the characteristic enzyme ~-Dgalacrosidase. Unequivocal identification of E.coli is possible using fl uorescence due ro the mecabolisacion of MUG by the enzyme ~D-glucuro nidase. Add itional confi rmation is achieved through the addition of Kovacs lndole reagent di rectly onto the suspect colony, providing a measure of indole formation.

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ALLIANCE PARTNERS IN TWO WASTEWATER PROJECTS Barclay Mowlem and C H 2M H ill are joint venture partners in two Queensland wastewater treacmen r plant upgrades awa rded recen tly. In both cases, the alliance team was selected from one of two after an intensive competitive alliance process involving interviews and workshops with the respective clients' evaluation ream ro develop concept designs, target cost estimates, the relationsh ip and commercial arrangements. The alliance teams fo r the Maroochydore Sewage T reatment Plant (STP) upgrade and the Wetalla Water Reclamatio n Project (WRP), are respo nsible for the design, construction, com mission in g, process proving and ongoi ng operational support of the new and upgraded treatment plants. Stephen Jones, Managing Director, CH2M Hill Australia, said that these significant projects further establish the CH2M Hill and Barclay Mowlem Join t Venture in the fu ll solution, service and project delivery business, building on the joint venrure's recent successes in NSW.

HAMMER -TRANSIENT ANALYSIS SOFTWARE PROTECT YOUR SYSTEM FROM HYDRAULIC TRANSIENTS HAMMER from Bentley's Haestad Methods product line is a revolutionary hydraulic transient modelling solution for meeting the challenges of water hammer and pressure surge projects. For more information about this software, see the inside front cover of the June issue of Water Journal, visit, or e-mail sales.haestad@ben

86 JUNE 200s water

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Water Journal June 2005  

Water Journal June 2005