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Volume 39 No 2 APRIL 2012 RRP $16.95 inc. GST



Australia’s Groundwater: The Nation’s Buried Treasure – see page 68


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Journal of the Australian Water Association ISSN 0310-0367

Volume 39 No 2 April 2012

contents REGULAR FEATURES From the AWA President

Lucia Cade


From the AWA Chief Executive It’s Raining, It’s Pouring... Tom Mollenkopf


My Point of View


There Is No ‘Planet B’

50 Years of Progress

Ross Young



Industry News


AWA Young Water Professionals

Mike Dixon 44

AWA News Work is progressing on Victoria’s largest underground WRF. See page 26.



Cindy Wallis-Lage 62

Doing More With Less

SPECIAL FEATURES Ozwater’12 Conference & Exhibition: Sneak Preview Water Corporation’s Twinning Project A winning partnership with PDAM Kabupaten Bogor Water

58 Ann Hinchliffe 66

Australia’s Groundwater: The Nation’s Buried Treasure Overview of groundwater management National Centre for Groundwater Research & Training 68 Smarter Systems Procurement Understanding CIS and billing systems


Smart Metering Fact Sheet


AWA CONTACT DETAILS Australian Water Association ABN 78 096 035 773 Level 6, 655 Pacific Hwy, PO Box 222, St Leonards NSW 1590 Tel: +61 2 9436 0055 Fax: +61 2 9436 0155 Email: Web:

DISCLAIMER Australian Water Association assumes no responsibility for opinions or statements of fact expressed by contributors or advertisers.

COPYRIGHT AWA Water Journal is subject to copyright and may not be reproduced in any format without written permission of the AWA. To seek permission to reproduce Water Journal materials, send your request to WATER JOURNAL MISSION STATEMENT ‘To provide a journal that interests and informs on water matters, Australian and international, covering technological, environmental, economic and social aspects, and to provide a repository of useful refereed papers.’ PUBLISH DATES Water Journal is published eight times per year: March, April, May, July, August, September, November and December.

Flow-gauging in the Cockburn River. See page 68.

Papers 3,000–4,000 words and graphics; or topical articles of up to 2,000 words relating to all areas of the water cycle and water business. Submissions are tabled at monthly editorial board meetings and where appropriate are assigned referees. Referee comments will be forwarded to the principal author for further action. Authors should be mindful that Water Journal is published in a three-column ‘magazine’ format rather than the fullpage format of Word documents. Graphics should be set up so that they will still be clearly legible when reduced to two-column size (about 12cm wide). Tables and figures should be numbered with the appropriate reference in the text (eg, see Figure 1), not just placed in the text with a position reference (eg, see below), as they may end up anywhere on the page when typeset. • General Feature Articles, Industry News, Opinion Pieces and Media Releases Anne Lawton, Managing Editor, Water Journal – • Water Business and Product News Lynne Bartlett, National Relationship Manager, AWA –

UPCOMING TOPICS MAY 2012 – Education & Skilling for the Future; Water Recycling; Safety (Practical & Legal Aspects); Pipeline Cleaning & Maintenance


JULY 2012 – Selected Ozwater’12 Papers; Disinfection

Chair: Frank R Bishop; Dr Bruce Anderson, AECOM; Dr Terry Anderson, Consultant SEWL; Michael Chapman, GHD; Robert Ford, Central Highlands Water (rtd); Antony Gibson, Orica Watercare; Dr Brian Labza, Dept Health WA; Dr Robbert van Oorschot, GHD; John Poon, CH2M Hill; David Power, BECA Consultants; Dr Ashok Sharma, CSIRO; and E A (Bob) Swinton, Technical Editor.

AUGUST 2012 – Governance; Biosolids/Wastewater Source Management; Singapore IWW Report; IWA Leading Edge Technology – Selected Papers

EDITORIAL SUBMISSIONS & CALL FOR PAPERS Water Journal welcomes editorial submissions for technical and topical articles, news, opinion pieces, business information and letters to the editor. Acceptance of editorial submissions is at the discretion of the Editor and Editorial Board. • Technical Papers and Technical Features Bob Swinton, Technical Editor, Water Journal – AND

ADVERTISING Advertisements are included as an information service to readers and are reviewed before publication to ensure relevance to the water sector and the objectives of the AWA. Contact Lynne Bartlett, National Relationship Manager, AWA – Tel: +61 2 9467 8408 or 0428 261 496.

PUBLISHED BY Australian Water Association (AWA) Publications, Level 6, 655 Pacific Hwy, PO Box 222, St Leonards NSW 1590; Tel: +61 2 9436 0055 or 1300 361 426, Fax: +61 2 9436 0155, Email:, Web:


APRIL 2012 1


Journal of the Australian Water Association ISSN 0310-0367

Unloading of high-strength waste tanker trucks. See page 138.


Volume 39 No 2 April 2012


A German utility has installed innovative automation and telemetry. See page 122.


SMART SYSTEMS The Application and Utility of ‘Smarts’ for Monitoring Water and its Infrastructure The benefits of current and future sensor technology

D Marney & A Sharma


J Williams


A Watkinson et al.


K Billington & D Deere


W Tennant, P Feehan & L Drake


Hawkesbury-Nepean River: Long-Term Water Quality Datasets Investigating and interpreting the effects of past and future NSW Government management decisions

M Krogh


AUTOMATION & TELEMETRY Telemetry Cuts the Cost of Leak Detection Innovative technology at a water utility in Albstadt in Germany

F Tantzky


DA Young


F Blin & S Furman


K Simmonds & J Kabouris


HF Akers


CATCHMENT MANAGEMENT Catchment Management – Setting the Scene An overview of catchment management models in Australia Source Water Protection for Seqwater Techniques to assess the effectiveness of management intervention On-Site Wastewater Management: Mount Lofty Ranges, South Australia Reducing water quality risks from septic tanks in a watershed catchment Wildfires in the Upper Catchment of the Goulburn River, Victoria Responses to protect river health and water quality

INTERNATIONAL PROJECTS Small-Business Projects Deliver Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Rural Tanzania Two-and-a-half years’ experience of the MSABI project ASSET MANAGEMENT Materials Selection for SWRO Brine Environments A review of the corrosion processes involved in SWRO plants WASTEWATER TREATMENT Renewable Energy Generation Through Co-Digestion of Non-Sewage Wastes How even small WWTPs can develop a positive business case WASTEWATER Dental Amalgam, Oral Health and Water The challenging interface of public responsibility WATER BUSINESS New Products and Business Information Advertisers’ Index

148 168

OUR COVER Our Nation’s Buried Treasure: The management of Australia’s groundwater is the subject of fierce debate as we grapple with contentious issues such as climate change, coal seam gas and population growth. See page 68 for a report by the National Centre for Groundwater Research & Training.


APRIL 2012


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from the president

“There Is No Planet B” Lucia Cade – AWA President I love this quote. I read it in Richard Branson’s autobiography where he attributes it to a colleague in the Carbon War Room, former Costa Rican President José María Figueres. It resonates with me, not just because of my predilection for plays on words, but because it so clearly communicates that we only have this one earth... and if we muck it up, there are no alternatives earths to substitute.

• Solutions that are developed with the community they will serve being included in the decision-making process, rather than a consultation process that begins after the “right” solution is already decided. • 21st Century water utilities whose public health remit includes the role water plays in healthy urban environments.

I have been thinking about this a lot recently as we reviewed our strategy at AWA and revised our vision to emphasise the way we bring together people and organisations to create a sustainable water future in Australia. The change is a move from the more passive “sustainable water management” state to the more active acknowledgement that it is people working together that create the solutions we need.

Best practice water management is a concept that evolves over time as we absorb the impact our changing climate is having on our water resources and, consequently, our environment, and the level of water supply service we can sustainably provide our communities and industries. The evolution comes from new ideas emerging, additional information becoming available and the relationships between nature’s elements being better understood.

I am optimistic about our ability to create a sustainable water future, despite the challenges of a changing climate and the food and water needs of an increasing world population. But we will not achieve what is needed by doing the same things in the future as we have done in the past. With the right leadership, attitudes and skills I believe the Australian water industry is well primed to adapt, and to bring our assets, organisations and processes into the 21st Century. I am thinking of things like:

OzWater’12 is the perfect place to get up to date with all that evolution. We have developed a program of international and Australian experts, an impressive selection of papers and interactive workshops and a sell-out exhibition. This is a great opportunity for you to listen and participate and develop your thinking on the challenges in your own area of endeavour. I hope, too, that you will enjoy balancing it out with the many social and networking opportunities on offer.

• Integrated water management across catchments and regions that reflect the inter-relationships of water flow across our lands. Some of the largest and most challenging water infrastructure and water catchment issues are being faced in the mining and irrigation sectors.

I meet people in the water industry every day who have exceptional and impressive expertise, can think laterally and have the thoughtful, evidence-based approach that is all-important in creating that sustainable water future that is AWA’s vision for Australia.

• Assets that comprise intelligent technology, monitoring and prediction of failure.

This is what makes me optimistic about our future and convinced of our ability to adapt, and to make a success of our custodianship of Plan-et A.

• Operational systems that can respond to the ready availability of demand data that modern communications technology is capable of providing. • Evaluation of alternative water resource options that considers costs and benefits, across organisational boundaries and longitudinally in time – the impact that each option has on the future flexibility, resilience and operation of a system.

4 APRIL 2012 water

As always, I hope you enjoy this issue of Water Journal – if you have any feedback or comments please share them. I hope to meet many of you at OzWater in May.

regular features

from the chief executive

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring… Tom Mollenkopf – AWA Chief Executive Last weekend, while visiting my parents, one of their neighbours dropped in. After the usual greetings, he made the observation to me that: “With all this rain, you must not have much to do.” It was a light-hearted comment; harmless enough. But like much humour, therein lies just a grain of truth. For many in the community, when rain falls from the sky, there is a perception that there is nothing further for the water industry to do. And the corollary of this is that, therefore, one should not have to pay for water, or at least not very much. There are, of course, several fundamental flaws in this proposition. First, while rain may well fall free from the sky, clean drinking water doesn’t run out of the tap all on its own. Second, the industry is not just about delivering drinking water; a major part of the sector’s role is the collection, treatment and disposal of sewage, which is generally more expensive than getting the drinking water to the tap in the first place. Third, as an industry, we are required to maintain a reliable supply 24/7, notwithstanding that our preferred bulk source (rainfall) is highly unreliable and, at best, variable. These public misconceptions are no more obvious than when the question of desalination arises (at least on the east coast). There is a widespread belief that, now that rain has arrived, the investment in desalination has been a waste of public money. How quickly the critics in the media forget that several of our major cities came perilously close to running out of water in 2009 and 2010; indeed, how quickly they forget that, as sure as night follows day, we will again suffer periods of prolonged dry in the future. In these past months, much of the water story has been centred on the floods that have again struck large parts of the east of the nation. Also, in March, the final report on the devastating 2011 flooding that impacted Brisbane and surrounding towns was released. While the delivery of this report closes one chapter, it seems that the controversy surrounding this event is far from over. Among other things, the report has been critical of the conduct of the dam operators and of the dam operating manual. While those who have suffered losses (or their legal representatives) may be keen to find someone to blame, there has been no

finding that the dam could have been operated in any other way that would have further reduced the level of inundation. What is reassuring is that, overall, Wivenhoe Dam did safely and effectively serve to mitigate flood damage downstream. We should be concerned to ensure that the findings of the Commission are fully considered and evaluated before committing to any further course of action. All of these matters again demonstrate what a complex sector we operate in. Recently, Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, Senator Don Farrell, announced that the National Water Commission will continue to operate as an independent and expert national agency to oversee water reform. AWA has long supported the work of the Commission for its multijurisdictional role, strong skills and clear reform charter. It would be sad indeed – given the extensive water challenges we have and the advances already made or underway – if Australia did not maintain a national forum that engaged all governments. The Commission’s role will not only focus on reporting to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) on the National Water Initiative (NWI), it will also encompass auditing the effectiveness of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan’s implementation and evaluating the Australian Government’s management of environmental water. Last – but as they say, “not least” – this edition of Water Journal is our special Ozwater edition. The full dimensions of the sector’s challenges, successes and the opportunities on offer are all found at AWA’s Annual Conference and Exhibition, Ozwater, this year to be held in Sydney from May 8–10. It will again be an outstanding event. The interest shown over these past months from presenters, exhibitors, industry partners and participants has been overwhelming. This should ensure that in this, AWA’s 50th year, we will deliver the largest and most comprehensive Ozwater ever. As I recall the old nursery rhyme, “It’s raining, it’s pouring, the old man is snoring…” With all due respects to the neighbours, there’s no time for snoring here.


APRIL 2012 5

my point of view

50 Years of Progress – and How We’ll Meet the Challenges of the Future Ross Young – Business Leader Water Australia, GHD Ross has over 20 years’ experience in the urban water industry. He was a senior executive in Melbourne Water for over a decade and was involved in managing all aspects of the urban water cycle. In 2002 Ross was appointed Executive Director of the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA). Ross commenced with GHD in May 2011 as Business Leader Water Australia. In this role he has a particular focus on water utility clients and assisting all the Australia GHD operating centres to understand the changing marketplace and maintain close and productive relationships with key clients. The 50th birthday of a person is generally celebrated reflecting on the achievements and lost opportunities of the past. It is also a time to ponder what lies ahead and how technology and other social trends will continue to change our lives in the future. The 50th anniversary of an organisation such as the Australian Water Assocaition (AWA) is also a cathartic experience for members and the broader “water industry church”. It is a reminder to water professionals that without AWA, the collegiate and collaborative culture in the water industry would not exist. Before commenting on the past and future of the urban water industry, I have one important key message. That is, despite all of the changes that have happened in our industry and the fashionable notions often inflicted upon us, there is one constant – that is, the unpredictable nature of our rainfall and climate. Mother Nature continues to deliver in spades extreme events and variability at both ends of the climatic spectrum. At the time of writing, southern Queensland and most of New South Wales and northern Victoria are under water, while Perth sizzles under another 38°C cloudless sky. The transition between the dryness experienced at the start of this century and the flooding rains of 2011 and 2012 has shocked many, as the tipping point has happened at lightning speed with devastating consequences for all to see.

Reflections on the Past • For many decades water systems relied greatly on gravity. Gravity is a beautiful thing, particularly in a carbon-constrained world. More sophisticated water and wastewater treatment systems that are more energy intensive mean that water utilities are now some of the largest consumers of electricity in our economy. With more desalination plants being commissioned, the energy intensity of our water systems will increase in

6 APRIL 2012 water

a manner that would not have been foreseen even as little as a decade ago. • Although there is no equivalent technological breakthrough in the water industry to compare with wireless technology, silicon chips and fibre optics, nevertheless there have been great steps forward in the use of SCADA and other associated monitoring systems, which have resulted in more reliable systems and reduced risk. A recent trend has been to think of networks as being intelligent and having the ability to respond and adapt to events and incidents. • Programs to sewer our cities dominated the water industry in the 1960s and 1970s as the public health implications of septic tanks were well known (just ask those residents living in unsewered areas). This great step forward made outer suburbs finally liveable. • Utilities were often a ‘law unto themselves’ and the community would never question the wisdom of an engineer. • Risk management became de rigueur, as exemplified by the catchment-to-tap approach now enshrined in the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. • In the 1990s accountants and economists (commonly referred to as ‘bean counters’) began to have an impact on the water industry. Rate of return on the written-down value of assets and economic efficiency became the parlance of senior managers, much to the chagrin of the engineers (I believe they have now been able to reconcile with each other). • It is only in the last 20 years that utilities have been taken seriously, and since the adoption of a customer focus the industry and the customers are much better off. • To me, the 1994 COAG water reforms overseen by Sir Eric Neal were the turning point for the industry. Most people have forgotten that prior to these reforms water meters were not widespread, most people paid for their water through rates, and there was no volumetric component and no separation of service delivery from policy. The lubricants that oiled the wheels of the reform were the competition payments based on achieving milestones. Despite some of the states and territories being ambivalent about the reforms, the Premiers were never far away from the buckets of cash being offered. It is these seminal reforms that laid the foundation for the industry to be able to cope with the onset of increased climate variability and the dryness experienced at the turn of this century (as it happened the century before).

regular features

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my point of view decline, combined with the need for healthy capital budgets to fund increasingly stringent regulated standards.

• Probably the biggest technological development since the beginning of AWA would be the advances in technology associated with water and wastewater treatment, and in particular the rise and rise of the use of membranes. Without membranes, recycled water and desalination would be unaffordable. Dissolved Air Flotation was a major advance in drinking water treatment and the biological removal of nitrogen and phosphorous was an enduring breakthrough in wastewater treatment.

• Odour and corrosion are likely to become more high-profile issues in the future. Often odour is dealt with by closing ventilation systems and, of course, with the build-up of aggressive gas in the systems, increased corrosion will occur and this will greatly reduce asset life. Eventually, sooner rather than later, “payday” arrives. • Australia once had very simple water supply systems comprising a single source that flowed by gravity into the distribution systems. Due to increased climate variability and the need to mitigate climate risk, most drinking water systems now comprise more than one source of water. With diversity comes complexity and optimising these multi-source systems from a carbon, economic and customer taste perception is a great challenge.

These great advances in technology resulted in public health regulators increasing standards and allowed environmental regulators to tighten discharge standards to receiving waters. It is hard to believe that at the time AWA was conceived it was not unusual to find raw sewage being discharged to our beaches and streams. Treatment back in that era would have probably been to primary level only. Fast-forward to the standards that exist today in drinking water, wastewater and recycled water and it is remarkable how much we have advanced. To this day, the further improvement of wastewater systems is still one of the major consumers of capital for a water utility.

• In the foreseeable future I predict that wastewater treatment plants will be better known as generators of green electrons, with the generation of high quality effluent seen as a secondary benefit. A carbon-constrained world poses many challenges, but also provides many opportunities for the water industry. If we look at our wastewater system as a generator of renewable energy it will revolutionise the way that source control and other aspects of the system are managed.

A Glimpse Into the Future … Now, enough about the past; it’s time to indulge in a few random thoughts about the future. • The urban water industry is asset rich and the longer the assets can be kept functional the less capital is required to renew assets. Because of the large asset base, small increments of improvement translate into many millions of dollars saved. I firmly believe that technology advancements in the future will enable the industry to “sweat these assets” for many decades after their original estimated life.

• Infiltration and inflow are likely to be significant issues in the future, as the community now expects that, regardless of rainfall intensity, beaches and rivers should be safe to swim in. I see this as very much a sleeper issue that is particularly likely to arise during hot summers. • It is almost certain that within the next five years most people will be interacting with their water utility, and seeking information on water resource issues from apps on their smartphone. It is quite possible that people will be able to monitor water consumption continually in their home and on their smartphone. Given the interest in water I can only see this trend growing very strongly.

• As utilities have a large fixed cost base, the larger the utility the greater scope there is to extract the economies of scale not afforded to small utilities. I predict that there will be considerable consolidation in those states and territories with small utilities. These small utilities are already under pressure due to reduced revenue as the sales of water

Conclusion In concluding this piece I realised that I had ignored one vital ingredient in my rush of enthusiasm to write about pumps, treatment plants and electrons (to name a few). The vital ingredient I ignored was the people who work in the water industry. It is their commitment to ensure that all of our customers have water and wastewater services 24 hours a day. Given the scale of our cities these days it is truly amazing that we have such reliable systems spread across vast areas. The fact that our customers take for granted the services provided is a testament to those that work in the industry.


The water industry has many long-term employees and this is due to the passion they have for their industry. They understand that without vital water and wastewater services cities and towns would not survive for long.

The recently flooded Lachlan River at Forbes, NSW.

Ozwater’12 will be a wonderful opportunity for water professionals to meet up and talk about the past and the future. I suspect most will object to or disagree with my humble ramblings. And this is precisely the point – engagement, collaboration and comradeship is the raison d’être of AWA. Happy 50th Birthday AWA, and may you continue to provide opportunities for water professionals to meet and exchange ideas with colleagues and friends.


APRIL 2012 9




New maps elaborated by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre help match water supply and demand. The report reveals that large areas in Spain and Eastern Europe have on average less than 200mm freshwater available each year, while the demand for water is three to 10 times higher.

Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) plays a small but important role in meeting Australia’s future water needs. The National Water Commission has released a report on the progress in managed aquifer recharge in Australia. Visit

Intake 10 of volunteers for Engineers Without Borders is now open. Some of the roles include WASH Field Support Officer and WASH Field Construction Advisor in East Timor, and Water & Sanitation Advisor, Sanitation and Energy Technical Advisor and Sanitation Project Field Advisor in Cambodia. For more information visit the Engineers Without Borders website.

The UN’s World Water Development Report was released last month. The report says there are many challenges ahead, including providing clean water and sanitation to the poor, feeding a world population set to rise from seven billion to nine billion by 2050, and coping with the impact of global warming.

The world has met the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of halving the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water, well in advance of the MDG 2015 deadline, according to a report issued by UNICEF and WHO. However, the sanitation target is still lagging behind.

The International Water Association’s Leading Edge Technology (LET) visits Australia for the first time from June 3–7. LET showcases the latest developments in water and wastewater technology, and includes a range of sustainability topics and energy efficiency topics and technical tours. Visit for more information.

A new World Bank guide book says urban flooding is a serious and growing development challenge for fast-growing low- and middle-income countries in East Asia, underscoring an urgent need to build flood risk management into regular planning of cities and towns.

The African Development Bank has approved wastewater reuse funding worth 64.45 million Tunisian dinars ($42.7 million) for a project to improve the quality of irrigation water used on 5,000ha of arable land.

Services provided by forests, mangroves and other ecosystems should be taken into account when managing water use, says a new report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). A broader view of water productivity will be needed if demands on water resources are to be met, and global food security ensured, claims the study.

10 APRIL 2012 water

Not only should Australia’s environmental regulators be taking a tougher stand on the stockpiling of biosolids, more funds need to be invested in effective management systems, says Bruce Petrik, a leading expert with global engineering firm MWH.

Austrade has hosted a Chilean delegation to showcase Australian expertise in water conservation, management, policy and product development. Les Targ and Sam Ashby from waterAUSTRALIA met with the delegation in Adelaide.

Sydney Water, ACTEW, DERM Queensland, Water Directorate and the Centre of Excellence for Groundwater Research and Training have been the first to invest in the Australian Curriculum Project. The project will provide a strategic approach to water education across Australia. Contact Project Manager Fleur Johnson on 02 9467 8423.

Standards Australian has released a revised standard for OnSite Domestic Wastewater Management (AS/NZS 1547-2012). This replaces the former Standard (AS/NZS 1547-2000). Copies are available from their publisher SAI Global.

AWA has hosted a delegation from Japan organised by the Japan Water Works Association. Their visit included presentations from Sydney Water, South East Water and Yarra Valley Water, the Master Plumbing Association, Plumbing Industry Commission (Victoria) and site visits.

The Government has allocated $200 million over five years to the Clean Technology Innovation Program. The program will support the research, development and commercialisation of clean technology products, processes and services.

eWater has released a new software tool to support evidencebased decision-making in environmental management. The software lets users search and access a reusable knowledge bank of pieces of evidence, extracted from scientific papers, to answer cause-effect questions, make assessments, plan for restorations, and carry out critical reviews.

The Australian Green Infrastructure Council (AGIC) has launched the Infrastructure Sustainability Rating Scheme. The scheme comprises a rating tool, assessment process, education and training programs.

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crosscurrent Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) and Isle Utilities are partnering to deliver the Technology Approval Group (TAG) to Australian water utilities. TAG is an innovation forum designed to accelerate the commercialisation of new water technologies.

Chloe Munro has resigned from her roles as Commissioner and Chair of the National Water Commission to take up a fulltime position as Chair and Chief Executive Officer of the Clean Energy Regulator.

A new report assessing Australia’s progress towards the goal of recycling 30 per cent of its wastewater by 2015 has found that we are falling behind in meeting the target. The document, produced by Marsden Jacob Associates, claims that as little as 18.7% of Australia’s wastewater will be recycled by 2015.

A new auditor certification scheme for recycled water quality management systems has been developed by the Department of Health (Victoria), the Department of Environment and Resource Management (Queensland), the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) (New South Wales), the Department of Health (Western Australia), the Department of Health (South Australia), the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) and the Victorian Water Industry Association. The scheme, known as RABQSA International, seeke expressions of interest from suitably qualified individuals to be nominated as initial Skill Examiners.

The fifth wave of a Newspoll water-saving survey was undertaken in December 2011 for Smart Approved WaterMark. As with previous years, a telephone survey was conducted across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, supplemented by an online survey.

Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, Senator Don Farrell announced that the Government proposes to continue the National Water Commission to oversee the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) national water reform agenda.

South Australia Work is underway on a $30 million wetlands project in Adelaide’s South that will capture 2.8 billion litres of stormwater each year. Relevant representatives have inspected the project, which forms the second stage of the Water Proofing the South initiative.

The SA Government has approved a key policy document that will help shape the Lower Limestone Coast’s Water Allocation Plan. Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Paul Caica, presented the South East Natural Resources Management Board with the Lower Limestone Coast Water Allocation Plan Policy Principles at a meeting in Mount Gambier.

The South Australian Murray–Darling Basin Natural Resources Management (SA MDB NRM) Board, in partnership with the SA Department for Water, is seeking community ideas for environmental works and measures to improve the health of our river systems and use water more efficiently. This call for EOI provides an opportunity for the community to provide ideas and suggestions to the Australian and State Government about environmental activities for local wetlands and floodplains.

Indigenous students are encouraged to apply for a training scholarship to boost research into South Australia’s groundwater resources. Minister for Water and the River Murray and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Paul Caica, said the Aboriginal Groundwater Scholarship, now in its second year, offers a unique opportunity for indigenous people to fast-track their careers in groundwater research.

The University of Adelaide’s Professor Mike Young has been appointed to the Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser Chair of Australian Studies at Harvard University. Mike is Professor of Water Economics and Management at the University of Adelaide and was founding Executive Director of the University’s Environment Institute. At Harvard, he will aim to translate the Australian experience in water management into recommendations that are internationally applicable.


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New South Wales University of Wollongong scientists are behind the establishment of a global consortium that uses sunlight to convert water into important chemical fuels such as hydrogen gas. The research promises a significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by reducing corbon dioxide from fossil fuel use.

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has released its draft report on the prices that Sydney Water can charge for its services from July 1 2012 to June 30 2016. Most customers will experience slight falls in real terms in their annual water and sewerage bills under the draft determination, or slight increases once inflation is incorporated into prices.

A $1.3 million upgrade to the Bathurst Water Filtration Plant will save up to 192 million litres of drinking water a year, improving Bathurst’s long-term water security. The new infrastructure will recycle and treat water that would otherwise go to waste.

Graduates from Sydney and the Illawarra have joined Sydney Water’s 2012 Graduate Program. Managing Director, Kevin Young, said the award-winning program employs graduates in fields such as engineering, science, commerce and communications.

Sydney Water is leading the way in a $16 million international research project to help customers by reducing the number of water main breaks. The research began in January 2012 and sees Sydney Water collaborating with universities and other industry leaders to investigate when and why water pipes burst.

The New South Wales Irrigators Council has released a Briefing Paper on salinity in the Murray–Darling Basin. Go to to download it.

At the Water Research Lab in Sydney, University of New South Wales engineers are exploring the dynamics of floodwaters. Using the 2007 floods in Newcastle as a case study, the team has constructed a 3D replica of a single neighbourhood to validate their numerical modelling. The research is part of a $20 million overhaul of the Australian Rainfall and Runoff guidelines.

The NSW Office of Water has completed the drilling of four groundwater monitoring bores in the vicinity of three of the five Thirlmere Lakes at the Thirlmere Lakes National Park. Drilling was undertaken to address one of the data gaps identified by the NSW Office of Water in a groundwater assessment report published in December 2010. The lack of a groundwater monitoring record in the vicinity of the lakes has been a significant missing element in understanding the Thirlmere Lakes hydrogeologic environment.

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crosscurrent Stage 2 of the $2 million Sydney Water and Randwick City Council project to improve water quality at Malabar Beach has begun. The work involves installing a new pipe under Fishermans Road and into the Malabar Waste Water Treatment Plant to divert stormwater runoff away from the beach.

A report prepared by NSW Public Works on ‘Brackish groundwater: A viable community water supply option?’ has been published by the National Water Commission as a Waterlines Report. The report investigated the feasibility of using reverse osmosis technology in remote areas to treat brackish groundwater.

Victoria The Government of Victoria has launched a new pipeline to provide improved water supply in East Loddon, Bendigo. The $16.4m, 146km pressurised pipeline will provide reliable water supply for 105 land owners and 65 rural houses covering an area the size of 37,000ha.

Victoria University scientists have shown the viability of a new desalination technology that uses almost no electricity and has the potential to save huge amounts of water. Project leader Associate Professor Mike Duke said a three-month power

station trial in Newport proved desalination of wastewater – which usually relies on electricity – could instead be powered by an industry’s own waste heat.

Above-average rain and runoff were not enough to stop water storages from decreasing recently in Victoria. The four major catchments received between 10mm and 31mm of rain, at an average of 25mm. This was 70 per cent above the 30-year average for the period. The rain resulted in five billion litres of streamflow into the major reservoirs.

The Victorian Coalition Government has proposals for more than $380 million for water projects in northern Victoria under the Basin Plan, including $194 million for priority works. Victorian Water Minister Peter Walsh has called on the Gillard Government to use money set aside for water purchases to invest in priority environmental infrastructure works.

The Hon Ryan Smith MP, Victoria’s Minister for Environment and Climate Change, released the report: Review of Sustainability Victoria’s Strategic Direction. This report outlines the findings of the Sustainability Victoria (SV) Review and makes recommendations that inform the future direction of SV, including the outcomes SV must deliver. The review provides important input to the development of SV’s new strategic plan.


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crosscurrent Comdain Infrastructure has been awarded the Hattah Lakes Environmental Flows Project by Goulburn�Murray Water. The Hattah Lakes Environmental Flows Project is part of the Murray–Darling Basin Authority’s The Living Murray program. The project has been in the planning and design phase for several years with involvement from multiple stakeholders.

Docklands Science Park to construct a pipeline to export surplus water across the Bass Strait. Docklands Science Park has announced it wants to lay a six-metre diameter pipeline across the Bass Strait to pump excessive water from Tasmania’s hydro schemes to Victoria and South Australia.

Western Australia Construction has begun on the $42 million Black Rock Recycled Water Plant, which will significantly improve the Victorian surf coast growth corridor long-term water security. The Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, Senator Don Farrell, said the new infrastructure would recycle and treat water that would otherwise be discharged into Bass Strait.

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has reviewed a decision by Ballarat City Council to refuse planning permission for a dwelling in a drinking water catchment (prompted by an objection by Central Highlands Water). The tribunal dismissed submissions by other councils that refusing the permit would create a bad precedent and restrict development.

Cyclones and labour problems in 2011 at the Melbourne desalination plant in Victoria have cost the Suez Environnement group a total of �237 million, group CEO Jean-Louis Chaussade said when the group’s figures for the year were announced on February 8 2012. Chaussade also announced that, at the end of January 2012, the project was 89 per cent complete, with first water expected in mid-2012 and finalisation by the year’s end.


Water Corporation Regional Manager Hugh Lavery has announced the completion of upgrades to essential water services at the Aboriginal town based community of Bondini in Western Australia’s mid-west. Mr Lavery said in 2008 an agreement between the Department of Housing and the Water Corporation was reached for the Water Corporation to regularise water and wastewater services in selected Aboriginal town-based communities.

Kojonup is getting a major upgrade of its water supply pipeline, with more than two kilometres of pipe being replaced alongside Albany Highway. Water Minister Bill Marmion said much of the work would be undertaken in Kojonup’s central business district, but the pipeline route had been chosen in consultation with the shire to ensure minimal inconvenience to business owners and the community.

Major projects to improve and secure vital wastewater infrastructure in the Pilbara are on track, with two proponents short-listed to deliver a suite of works. Water Minister Bill Marmion said Tenix and a joint venture partnership between Thiess and Black & Veatch were the successful final two proponents that would now work closely with the Water Corporation in an alliance development phase.

The Tasmanian municipality of Waratah-Wynyard has received significant investment from Cradle Mountain Water for upgrades to water and sewerage infrastructure over the last three years. Another project about to kick off is the $1.65 million upgrade to the Waratah Water Treatment Plant.

Essential water infrastructure has been completed to help meet increased demand for water in the growing Great Southern town of Denmark. The works included a new 15 million litre water storage tank, 1.7 kilometres of associated pipeline infrastructure and three pump stations.

The Tasmanian Water Minister Bryan Green has said his government is considering a proposal by Victorian company

Water Corporation is starting $4.7 million of upgrade works to one of Karratha’s water tanks. The works will improve the


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crosscurrent security and reliability of water supply in the town. This is the final stage of a suite of works that included duplicating 2.95 kilometres of water main on Stovehill Road and Karratha Road, completed in September 2011.

Dozens of bores will be upgraded or replaced and six new bores installed as part of a $24 million water source project in Albany, Western Australia. The project will help secure the town’s mid-term water supply and allow greater flexibility to meet the seasonal water demands of Albany’s growing population.

KBR has announced that its joint venture with JGC Corporation and Chiyoda Corporation has signed the formal contract for engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) activities on the Ichthys LNG Project in Northern Australia. Gas from the Ichthys Field in the Browse Basin, approximately 200 kilometres offshore of Western Australia, will undergo preliminary processing offshore to remove water and extract condensate.

Engineering firm Monadelphous Group has won about $180 million worth of contracts in Western Australia for infrastructure work on behalf of global miner Rio Tinto and US-based energy major Chevron.

The Cape Riche desalination plant has been granted conditional approval by the Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA). Grange Resources’ proposed plant will supply 12 gigalitres of water per year to the company’s Southdown Magnetite Project, an open pit magnetite mine about 90 kilometres north-east of Albany.

The Shire of Roebourne in WA has taken the first steps towards becoming a Waterwise Council after signing a joint Memorandum of Understanding with the Water Corporation and the Department of Water. Water Corporation’s North West Regional Manager Kerrie Chapman said the aim of the Waterwise Councils program was to build cooperative partnerships with local governments to achieve water savings at corporate and community levels.

Queensland Seqwater has launched three virtual tours as part of its education program. The tours take visitors on a step-by-step, click-by-click journey of Wivenhoe Dam, Mt Crosby Water Treatment Plant and the Upper Brisbane Catchment. The online tours combine interactive design, e-learning, 2D animation, live action footage, photography and illustrations to increase community awareness of the SEQ Water Grid. The tours are part of a suite of online tools including virtual tours of the Bundamba Advanced Water Treatment Plant, Gold Coast Desalination Plant and an interactive game.



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crosscurrent TRILITY Pty Ltd has announced the delivery of first water from the $67 million Northern Water Treatment Plant (NWTP) at Kinduro near Townsville. The plant will guarantee the long-term security of water to the residents in the surrounding region, as well as increasing capacity and ensuring ongoing improvements to the quality and delivery of water supplies to the people of Townsville over the next 25 years.

The Queensland Government has announced the commencement of the Fitzroy Partnership for River Health program. The partnership, which involves governments, industry, community and research organisations, will be tasked with delivering an annual water quality report for the Fitzroy Basin.

Allconnex customers will receive water and wastewater services from their local council from July 1 2012 after legislation was passed in Parliament. Minister for Water Utilities Stephen Robertson said the South-East Queensland Water (Distribution and Retail Restructuring) and Other Legislation Amendment Act would allow the Gold Coast, Redland and Logan City Councils to withdraw their business from Allconnex and establish their own Council water businesses.

Water Utilities Minister Stephen Robertson has said the time has come for LNP Leader Campbell Newman to come clean on whether or not he expects Logan and Redlands ratepayers to share the cost of disestablishing Allconnex. Mr Robertson also called on Mr Newman to reveal how he plans to pay for his as yet uncosted four-point water plan.

QLD Premier Anna Bligh has announced a $10 million plan to give communities in South Western Queensland the chance they need to research and build essential flood mitigation projects. The $10 million boost is in addition to the Natural Disaster Resilience Program – a four-year, $44 million program designed to assist local councils and other organisations better prepare for and mitigate the effects of natural disasters.

Member News The Water Efficiency Specialist Network committee has developed a fact sheet on Smart Meters to provide information on current measurement methods adopted by utilities and technological improvement and innovations. For further enquiries, please contact or visit the Water Efficiency webpage.

After nine years of leading Siemens in the Pacific region, Albert Goller has resigned as CEO of Siemens Ltd. His successor, Jeff Connolly, Siemens’ former CFO, has been with Siemens for 27 years. Most recently he held the position of Senior Executive Vice President of Siemens China.

Barwon Water Managing Director Michael Malouf is leaving the corporation after nearly five years in the role. Mr Malouf has advised Barwon Water’s Board he does not intend to renew his contract.

AECOM has appointed two new directors to its Water business in Australia and New Zealand. Lucia Cade, President of AWA, has been appointed Director – Strategy and Development and will lead strategic growth across ANZ. Stephen Answerth has been appointed Associate Director of AECOM’s water and wastewater team in Victoria and Tasmania.

Jeff Wilson has recently relocated to GHD’s Adelaide Office in the role of Manager – Infrastructure and Resources following four years in the company’s Abu Dhabi office. With over 30 years’ experience in the water industry, Jeff has worked in the public and consulting sectors and led many engineering and environmental assignments for water infrastructure.

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crosscurrent SMEC has appointed Deane Ellwood as the Regional Director, Southern. Based in SMEC’s Melbourne office, Deane is responsible for the performance of SMEC’s Southern Region, encompassing Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia.

and greater Sydney regions. The Minister is seeking persons with demonstrated expertise and knowledge relevant to urban water resource matters related to the Lower Hunter and/or greater Sydney regions. Experience in the areas of hydrology, water systems planning, groundwater management and/or river health is desirable. For further information contact Ms Judy Biirrell on

AECOM’s Australian business has been recognised as an Employer of Choice for Women (EOCFW) for 2012 by the Federal Government’s Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA). The business has recently brought gender imbalance into sharper focus, introducing a number of initiatives under the umbrella of a wider Diversity and Inclusion program that aims to create further opportunities for female professionals in its 4500-strong Australian workforce.

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Water Management Law and Policy (WMLP) Specialist Network committee member, Anne Pye, has developed an overview on Water Quality Governance. Regulatory and policy approaches towards the use of recycled water in Australia are closely entwined with simultaneous policy developments regarding water quality in general and drinking water quality in particular. Anne Pye has written a chronological summary

KSB Australia has relocated its Sydney office at Riverwood to new premises at Eastern Creek. Please note the new phone number: 02 9830 6700. The new contact email address is:

The NSW Minister for Finance and Services, the Hon Greg Pearce, seeks nominations from suitably qualified persons for appointment to the Independent Water Advisory Panel. The Independent Water Advisory Panel provides the Minister with expert advice in relation to water planning for the Lower Hunter

of some of those developments and the ensuing policy discussions, which have been documented in various national reports.

Tyco Water has a new General Manager, Damian Mackey. Damian has been with Tyco in various roles including Managing Director of Tyco Waterworks UK. He will oversee Tyco Water’s operations from its head office at Yennora, the geographic centre of greater Sydney.

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industry news NWC’s Role Extended Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, Senator Don Farrell, has announced that the Government proposes to continue the National Water Commission (NWC) to oversee the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) national water reform agenda. Following an independent review by Dr David Rosalky in 2011, the Gillard Government has proposed to extend the NWC’s role and its ongoing provision of robust and transparent oversight of COAG water reform through the National Water Initiative. “When the National Water Commission was established under the former Coalition Government, it was for a fixed time frame only,” Senator Farrell said. “But the Gillard Government recognises the importance of the ongoing role of the Commission in overseeing the COAG water reform agenda and that’s why we believe it should continue. “The Government supports the National Water Initiative and Murray–Darling Basin reforms and sees the National Water Commission as the best means of providing independent assurance on the progress of all governments.” As required under the National Water Commission Act 2004, the Government commissioned an independent review of the NWC last year with Terms of Reference agreed by COAG. That review recommended that the NWC continue for the life of the National Water Initiative and that it should be refocused on four key functions: audit, monitoring, assessment and knowledge leadership. After considering Dr Rosalky’s review, the Government has determined that the NWC should indeed continue for the life of the National Water Initiative with core ongoing functions of audit, monitoring and assessment. This will ensure the NWC can give priority to its valuable role as a credible, specialist and independent agency supporting national water reforms.

Full Steam Ahead at the MCG Building work is well underway on Victoria’s largest underground Water Recycling Facility (WRF) in Yarra Park adjacent to the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), despite an especially wild and wet summer that plagued the east coast of Australia. The recycling facility is the major component of the $22 million scheme to treat and re-use sewage from the local sewerage network to irrigate Yarra Park and nearby Punt Road Oval, and for cleaning and toilet flushing at the MCG. Once completed, the plant will be able to produce over 600 kilolitres of Class A recycled water per day.

aesthetics of the existing parkland and maintain the availability of parking for those attending events at the MCG and other stadiums in the precinct, including Rod Laver Arena, Hisense Arena and AAMI Park. 3D modeling enabled the identification of potential construction clashes and constructionsequencing, procurement and operations and maintenance issues, resulting in a drastically reduced footprint, saving approximately 30 per cent in area, 15 per cent in the finished depth and enabling the retention of some significant trees within the parkland. The recycled water treatment process consists of screening and grit removal, biological treatment of the sewage and chemical addition for phosphate removal, filtration via membrane bioreactor (MBR) and ultrafiltration (UF) membrane systems, plus disinfection via ultraviolet (UV) and chlorination. The underground plant will have a trafficable roof, architecturally designed entry and egress with a box lift and chemical unloading area. Associated infrastructure on the inlet side includes the sewer connection, diversion pipeline, pumping station and a rising main. Other infrastructure includes the connections into the MCG under the concourse to a pre-existing storage tank and to Punt Road Oval storage, as well as a pump station and sludge return gravity line downstream of the sewerage takeoff. Tenix’s in-house engineering team has worked collaboratively with the MCC to ensure that all project requirements are met, and has also developed a number of technical and operational improvements to the original plant concept.

Tenix was awarded the contract to design, build and operate the recycling facility, along with some of the associated infrastructure. The scheme is jointly funded by the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) ($16 million) and the Victorian Government ($6 million).

Construction techniques were selected to secure and protect the root zones of trees (soil nails and directional drilling), while seeding of soil stockpiles and silt fences are being employed to further protect the parkland. The diversion offtake was moved to limit impact on traffic and local residents and truck washing is being used to reduce safety hazards due to the build-up of mud on paths and roads.

As one of the first of its type in Victoria, the Tenix-designed sewer mining facility is being built underground, out of public view, preserving valuable surface land use and park amenity. A special focus during construction has been to preserve and maintain the trees in the park, which has included a number of environmental-impact control measures.

Pre-tensioned concrete panels were used for the bunker and fabricated off-site to minimise construction time and improve safety during construction. Floors and walls of the bunker were poured in situ. The walls were constructed using PERI formwork and the roof bunker roof was water-proofed using membrane technology,used in major sporting stadiums around the world.

The MCC is keen to ensure that the design, construction and operation of the plant minimises any impact on the heritagelisted park, its users and other stakeholders, including residents and regulatory authorities. The MCC also wishes to retain the

Tenix has now completed 14 turnkey MBR and MBR/RO plants for potable water replacement, irrigation or beneficial discharge to the environment, with another three MBR plants under construction and others in design and piloting.

26 APRIL 2012 water

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industry news NWC Releases Booklet on Groundwater

Bureau Welcomes Queensland Floods Final Report

The National Water Commission (NWC) has launched a new publication titled Groundwater Essentials. Groundwater makes up approximately 17per cent of Australia’s accessible water resources and accounts for over 30 per cent of our total water consumption. Yet this precious resource is neither understood nor managed as well as it needs to be.

The Bureau of Meteorology has welcomed the release of the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry Final Report. Services Division Head, Dr Ray Canterford, said the Bureau has continued to strengthen its working relationships with state and local government authorities on a number of fronts, including improved information sharing during severe weather and flood events.

Accordingly, in 2007 the NWC initiated a comprehensive $82 million National Groundwater Action Plan to invest in projects that improve our knowledge and understanding of groundwater. As part of that plan, the Commission has developed an accessible and easy to understand booklet that sets out everything readers need to know about groundwater, including: • Groundwater’s place in the hydrological cycle; • The importance of groundwater; • The various uses of groundwater; • Surface/groundwater connectivity; • Risks to the groundwater resource. It also includes links to various water departments and authorities in each jurisdiction, as well as examples of how groundwater can be used for irrigation, potable supply, industrial use and stock and domestic use. The booklet is available to download from the NWC website at:

“The extensive flood events of last year were tragic and unprecedented. The Bureau supports the thorough examination of these events through the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry,” said Dr Canterford. “The Bureau’s flood warning services represent a partnership with all levels of government. The Bureau will continue to assist Queensland state and local governments with its technical expertise in order to build more resilient flood warning services now, and into the future. The Bureau is actively contributing to a statewide review of river and flood monitoring networks, which is being led by the Queensland Reconstruction Authority. “The Bureau has established closer working relationships with local governments in their implementation of systems for localised flash flooding alerts. This includes improved river height and rainfall collection methods, to ensure capacity is being built at the local level. The Bureau has also expanded its network of several hundred ‘storm spotters’ in Queensland to tap into local knowledge and gather on-the-ground information during widespread severe weather and flood events.


APRIL 2012 27

industry news “Together these initiatives have contributed to the collection of more comprehensive information, and ultimately built stronger links in the flood forecasting and warning network,” said Dr Canterford. In October last year, the Bureau participated in pre-season disaster management workshops in 13 towns and regional centres across Queensland, strengthening a partnership approach in emergency planning and response.

Nubian Water Systems Expands Specialist Team Nubian Water Systems, Australia’s leading onsite water treatment and recycling experts, has appointed Water Treatment Engineer, Andrea Gonzalez, to its product and solution development team. With extensive global experience in the sustainability arena, Andrea is tasked with ensuring the high standards of Nubian water treatment systems across the board. Her core responsibilities are to facilitate product development, implement solution design and support Nubian’s growing technical capabilities. Andrea brings with her a deep understanding of the global industry, having previously worked with the Bogotá (Columbia) local government in the development and implementation of wastewater policies.

AusGroup Appoints New CEO AusGroup Limited has appointed Mr Laurie Barlow as the company’s new Chief Executive Officer. Mr Barlow joins AusGroup from Fortune 500 listed company AECOM, a global provider of professional technical and management support services, where he served for five years as Managing Director – Minerals and Industry for AECOM Australia, based in Perth WA. Mr Barlow said he was pleased to join AusGroup at an exciting stage in its development. AusGroup operates in Australia and South East Asia providing fabrication, manufacturing, construction and integrated services to the natural resources sectors, assisting clients to build maintain and upgrade some of the world’s most challenging oil and gas and mineral resource development projects. Mr Barlow will be based in Perth and take over from current acting CEO and Managing Director Mr Stuart Kenny.

UN Meets Millennium Development Goal on Drinking Water The Millennium Development Goal for access to clean water has been reached, ahead of the target date of 2015. Eighty-nine per cent of the population of the world now has access to improved water supplies, up from 76 per cent from 1990. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon hailed the achievement of halving the number of people without access to improved drinking water.

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industry news He said it was thanks to people who had seen it not as a dream, but a vital step to improving health and wellbeing.

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However, improvement to clean water supplies has not been even: 40 per cent of those still without access to improved drinking water live in sub-Saharan Africa. Worldwide, almost 800 million people still drink dirty water. But in the past 20 years, two billion people have gained access to improved drinking water. While this was the first significant Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to be reached, the charity Water Aid says that the other part of the target, for safe sanitation, is more off track than any other MDG. The biggest challenge is in India, where more than half of the population, 626 million people, do not have access to a toilet. The other MDGs, including those on reducing poverty and improving access to education, are unlikely to be hit by 2015. The global economic downturn and greater pressure from increased population have pushed success even further out of reach.

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Global Company Adopts Australian Research Ground-breaking water cleansing technology developed by Australian Government scientists has been successfully commercialised and sold to the private sector. The Australian Government has announced the sale of the intellectual property for “BioGill” technology to Australian clean-tech company, BioGill Environmental Pty Ltd, a manufacturing company based in Sydney. Invented by scientists at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), the technology was the winning entry in the ABC’s 2006 The New Inventors program. The system has numerous industrial and environmental applications, including the treatment of greywater, sewage and wastewater from aquaculture, and food and beverage processing. The technology is also considered to have great potential for cleaning water on ships, offshore platforms and remote islands where protecting sensitive environments is essential. Minister for Science and Research, Senator Chris Evans, said the sale is a great example of how the Australian Government fosters ingenuity then works to get good inventions out into the commercial marketplace. ANSTO licensed the technology to BioGill Environmental in 2009 and has now agreed to the sale on mutually acceptable terms. For more information, go to: and/or

30 APRIL 2012 water

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A WORLD WATER TREATMENT PLANT SPECIALIST • Drinking Water • Desalination • Wastewater • Biosolids • Industrial Applications



industry news Climate Commission’s Report Sets Weather Record Straight

“Scientists are observing changes to when, where and how much rain falls across Australia, which poses important risks for our water security. Over the last 40 years, much of eastern and southern Australia has become drier. There have been wet years, but the long-term trend has been declining rainfall. On the other hand, it is more likely than not that heavy rainfall events will also become more frequent. Climate change cannot be ruled out as a factor in recent heavy rainfall events.”

The Climate Commission has released its latest report, The Science Behind Southeast Australia’s Wet, Cool Summer. The report was authored by internationally renowned climate scientists: Climate Commissioner and Executive Director of the ANU Climate Change Institute, Professor Will Steffen; ARC Federation Fellow and Co-Director, Climate Change Research Centre UNSW, Professor Matthew England; and Professor of Meteorology and an ARC Federation Fellow in the School of Earth Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Professor David Karoly.

The independent Commission was established earlier this year to provide an open and trusted source of information on climate change science and solutions. The Commission brings together internationally renowned climate scientists with policy and business leaders. Go to: www. for more information.

Professor Steffen commented, “There has been much confusion in the media about what heavy rains over the last two years mean for climate change. This report, The Science Behind Southeast Australia’s Wet, Cool Summer, synthesises the most up-to-date science to set the record straight.”

Desal Offers Best Insurance, Says NCEDA CEO Desalination offers drying Australia the best water and food security insurance for the drier, more heavily populated decades ahead, according to CEO of Australia’s National Centre of Excellence in Desalination (NCEDA), Neil Palmer.

“For many years scientists have painted a clear picture that the Earth’s surface is warming rapidly and the climate is changing. The wetter weather we have seen in southeastern Australia over the last two years is consistent with this understanding.” “We can expect the quintessential Australian cycle of intense droughts and flooding rains to continue. What we are concerned about is the intensification of droughts, fires and heat waves as temperatures continue to rise, as well as the intensification of heavy rain when droughts finally break.”

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Speaking on World Water Day, Mr Palmer said Australia’s growing needs for fresh, drinkable water in a long-term drying climate would be best met by increased investment in desalination technology. “Perth is already reliant on desal plants to meet half of its water needs, and CSIRO research indicates that our drying climate will only increase risks to freshwater availability.

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industry news Despite the wet summer on the east coast, repeated and extreme cycles of drought are forecast to strain water supplies and in coming years the country’s six major desal plants simply won’t have enough capacity to meet anticipated demand.” Mr Palmer says governments have to plan well in advance to invest in and implement city water security measures, and the food required to feed city residents also uses immense volumes of quality rural and regional water, forecast to become scarce in the years ahead. “Desalination is the insurance Australia has to have if we are to secure our urban populations’ water and food supplies against cyclical drought and climate change over the next halfcentury. Hopefully we don’t need catastrophic droughts and water shortages here in the First World for Australians to realise that protecting access to our most basic need of access to clean, fresh water is vital.”

Following the success of the Waterproofing Northern Adelaide initiative in June 2010, the City is constructing an additional two new stormwater reuse schemes to further reduce the city’s reliance on potable water supplies and sustain an alternative water resource. • Unity Park Biofiltration & Reuse The Unity Park Biofiltration Project features the development of a small-footprint treatment technology (biofiltration) for cleansing urban stormwater run-off. Commenced in 2010 and due for completion in June 2013, the scheme will harvest, treat, store and distribute up to 1300ML per annum of urban stormwater run-off to displace potable water use. Intensive research and development trials will be conducted, and findings from the biofiltration research will be disseminated nationwide. Cleansed stormwater will be stored for later reuse in natural underground aquifers using nine aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) wells, 230m deep, at Mawson Lakes. Recycled water

Harvesting a Precious Resource The City of Salisbury in the northern region of Adelaide is expanding its stormwater management system from a flood protection and disposal system into one that also provides environmental services and water for non-potable reuse.

34 APRIL 2012 water

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industry news will be utilised for community facilities, schools, and industrial and commercial users, and will go a long way towards enhancing the urban environment with wetlands, irrigated landscapes and recreational areas.

will be distributed utilising three distribution pumping stations located at Mawson Lakes, Para Hills and Walkley Heights. An additional 20km of reticulation in Council’s citywide purple pipe network will supply additional recycled stormwater to the community, industry and schools.

Both projects are supported by the Australian Government’s Water for the Future initiative through the National Urban Water and Desalination Plan, the State Government’s Water for Good Plan and the City of Salisbury.

• Salisbury Stormwater Harvesting Project Commenced in 2009 and due for completion by June 2012, the completed scheme will harvest up to 6.3GL of stormwater per year that is currently discharged to the Gulf St Vincent. Harvested stormwater will be treated and stored for reuse and distribution in the urban areas of the City of Salisbury.

WQRA’s Research Blueprint for the Future

The scheme will utilise the existing Whites Road Wetlands to harvest and treat captured stormwater from the Little Para River. Stormwater from the Helps Road Drain catchment will be diverted to a new biofiltration treatment facility located at Jobson Road.

Water Quality Research Australia (WQRA) has recently published its Research Blueprint: 2012–2016, which outlines the priority water quality research issues for the future.

Cleansed stormwater from both the Whites Road Wetland and Jobson Road treatment facility will be diverted to a new aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) and distribution facility located on a Council reserve at Globe Derby. Harvested and cleansed stormwater will be stored using conventional ASR practices. Water stored in six T2 wells will contribute towards recharging the depleted T2 Northern Adelaide Plans groundwater system. Recycled stormwater will be utilised for non-potable purposes in the urban area of the City of Salisbury and will be supplied via an additional 15kms of distribution mains connected to the existing distribution network. This water

A leading national research broker in the field of water quality, WQRA is a membership-based organisation that encompasses industry, government and research organisations. The successor to the internationally known Cooperative Research Centre for Water Quality and Treatment (CRCWQT), WQRA was launched as a public company in 2008.





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industry news WQRA Panel to Debate Pathogen X Micron Vertical and Horizontal Filters

WQRA will be holding a special workshop at Ozwater’12, titled: ‘What’s Bugging You? The Emergence of Pathogen X’. The workshop will pose a hypothetical situation to debate the state of current knowledge about the provision of safe water, and will feature a panel-style ‘great debate’. With a focus on pathogens of emerging concern, the workshop will look at how science can underpin regulation and drive new practices to help ensure safe water for Australians. It is targeted at anyone who wants to challenge their thinking about microbial risk assessment and the response of industry, regulators and science.

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The workshop will be held on Thursday May 11 from 1.15pm–3.15pm. For more information visit WQRA leads and facilitates research to address current and emerging public health issues in water quality, providing scientific evidence to assist the Australian water sector to ensure safe water for all Australians. The Research Blueprint gives an insight into the industry’s current and emerging issues in water quality, and provides a framework for WQRA’s research investment over the coming five years. It is the result of significant consultation with WQRA’s broad membership, as well as a review of water industry research plans, and scans of national and international technology. The consultation process for the Research Blueprint encompassed a significant number of stakeholders, including water utilities, regulators, and the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA). The Research Blueprint is structured around four key focus areas: • Characterising and evaluating water quality public health risk scenarios; • Developing water quality monitoring tools and processes;

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The Research Blueprint covers a diverse range of research topics, with a focus on research that has outputs that will deliver strong value to the water industry. Staff at WQRA member organisations can access the Research Blueprint on WQRA’s website at; hard copies will be available at the WQRA booth at Ozwater’12.

IWMI named 2012 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) has been named the 2012 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate for its pioneering research to improve agriculture water management, enhance food security, protect environmental health and alleviate poverty in developing countries.

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industry news WSAA Announces New TAG Technology Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) and Isle Utilities have announced a partnership to deliver the Technology Approval Group (TAG) to Australian water utilities. TAG is an innovation forum designed to accelerate the commercialisation of new water technologies. Twenty-nine WSAA member water utilities are participating in TAG, which will give them access to emerging technologies relevant to the Australian water industry. TAG engages end-users (the water utilities) and venture capital investors during the pre-commercial stages of technology development. Adam Lovell, WSAA Executive Director, says: “WSAA believes that innovative technologies will improve business performance and secure efficiency gains in capital and operational budgets for our Members.” The TAG model started in the UK in 2005, and allows technology start-up companies access to the experience of the Australian water utilities, the financial backing of investment specialists and Isle’s technical skills.

Northern Water Treatment Plant Delivers First Water TRILITY has announced the delivery of first water from the $67 million Northern Water Treatment Plant (NWTP) at Kinduro near Townsville in Queensland. Managing Director, Francois Gouws, said the company was pleased to see residents in the northern suburbs of Townsville receive water from the plant after the completion of operational testing in recent months.

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“This plant will guarantee the long-term security of water to the residents in the surrounding region, as well as increasing capacity and ensuring ongoing improvements to the quality and delivery of water supplies to the people of Townsville over the next 25 years,” Mr Gouws said. The NWTP project has required an upgrade to existing plant and equipment at the Douglas Water Treatment Plant and the design, build and operation of the new membrane filtration water treatment plant at Kinduro. A water-stabilisation facility has also been constructed at Crystal Creek to pre-condition water to be treated at Kinduro. Water processed through membrane filtration at the NWTP will also flow into the Mt Louisa Reservoir, which services a large part of Townsville. Funding for the plant was provided by the Townsville City Council and the Queensland Government.

Scientists Trial Waste Heat to Power Desalination Victoria University scientists have shown the viability of a new desalination technology that uses almost no electricity and has the potential to save huge amounts of water. Project leader, Associate Professor, Mike Duke, said a three-month power station trial in Newport proved desalination of wastewater – which usually relies on electricity – could instead be powered by an industry’s own waste heat. The membrane distillation technology uses waste heat to evaporate wastewater through a fine membrane, Associate Professor Duke explained. The evaporated water condenses on the other side of the membrane as treated water – at above tap water standard – for re-use around the plant.

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industry news The trial, conducted at Ecogen Energy’s intermittently operating gas-fired Newport Power Station showed the system used 50 per cent less electricity to desalinate water than traditional techniques. An updated design was then shown to use 95 per cent less electricity.

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“It has now been proven to work and as energy and water become increasingly scarce this technology is a major development. If it were scaled up to a continuously operating industry of similar size to Newport Power Station it could desalinate around seven million litres of water per day, which is the equivalent of supplying fresh water to about 25,000 people in Melbourne.” Associate Professor Duke said many factories and industrial settings produced enough waste heat for this system to operate, but that currently this heat was not being harnessed.

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“We have seen several industrial cases where there is far more waste heat available than what is needed to treat the entire site’s wastewater currently going to the sewer,” he said. “There are a lot of industries that are keenly watching this technology and we are already in consultation with the mining, manufacturing and dairy industries, as well as water utilities, to move to larger pilot trials.” “Membrane distillation technology is just emerging globally, so our demonstration on an industry site puts us at the forefront of its international progress,” Associate Professor Duke said.

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“One of the most exciting outcomes of our tests is that our system can use waste heat as low as 30°C,” he said. Conventional evaporative desalination systems use 70°C or higher.

The project was supported by the Smart Water Fund and led by Water Quality Research Australia (WQRA) and Victoria University’s Institute for Sustainability and Innovation, with support from City West Water, GWM Water and Integrated Elements. It was funded by the Smart Water Fund, WQRA and City West Water.

Art Mobile Phone ‘App’ Opens a World of Water Sydneysiders can aim their mobile phones at art posters displayed at Taylor Square in Darlinghurst and get up-to-theminute updates on the world’s underwater kingdoms, as part of the City of Sydney’s public art program. Sydney artist Lynette Wallworth’s new “immersive installation” at one of Sydney’s busiest public squares encourages people to use the latest ‘app’ technology to connect to the world’s reefs and receive data on sea surface temperatures. Ms Wallworth said the public artwork was made up of two murals and seven interactive posters on the former T2 building, which come alive when viewed through the free RKVCoral application for smartphones. “The app allows you to look at the posters and see coral models descend into a moving-image environment of a reef. If you touch your phone screen again, you get access to where coral reefs around the world are experiencing hot sea surface temperatures.” The installation, on display until the end of May, is part of a wider project called, Rekindling Venus, a metaphor for the worldwide cooperation that is needed to address “the most urgent scientific challenge of our time – climate change”. Sea temperature data used by the mobile phone app is supplied by the United States’ National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and is updated regularly. The free app can be downloaded from: For more information visit:

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Networking – It’s Not Who You Know, But Who Knows You Mike Dixon – YWP President Networking is a vital skill for Young Water Professionals (YWPs) to build a strong support base and reputation early in their career. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. I believe both are equally important to progress a career. A network means you can share experiences and knowledge with people outside your place of work and learn much more about our industry. I see networking as an investment to bring longer-term career benefits, although sometimes you can be fortunate to experience immediate results. This recently happened to me. While attending the International Desalination Association World Congress in Perth, I spoke with a researcher from Saudi Arabia. He was interested in the work I had recently completed and came to see my presentation that same day. Several months later I received an invitation from the National Centre of Excellence in Desalination Australia (NCEDA) to talk about the same research at a conference in Oman – what a great opportunity! In fact, the contact I made in Perth had recommended me to the NCED as a speaker for the Oman conference. Networking can certainly pay off.

Tips for Effective Networking As YWPs it’s common to ask how to start networking with other people. How do you avoid embarrassment or awkwardness approaching people you don’t know? Will they be engaged with your conversation? Will you create the right tone for discussion? The list goes on. Creating a new network can be difficult, particularly if you don’t know anyone at an event. The easiest option is to attend with someone who has an established network and have that person introduce you to a few people. Once you have a ‘critical mass’ of people you know in a particular field, you can likely attend most events and will always know someone to talk to. Networking works like a snowball; the more people you know the more people you will be introduced to. But what if you do need to start cold? The best advice I have taken is to approach someone standing alone. They will be relieved to have someone to talk to and, just as a sporting team can use a set play to score a goal, you can use a set play to network. In our industry a set play could be a list of questions you memorise and use every time you network. This way a conversation can start to flow. Remember most people like to talk about themselves, so ask lots of questions about what they do and what they’re passionate about. Try: “Where do you work?”; “What are you currently working on?”; and “How did you come to be in your position?”.

44 APRIL 2012 water

Building Your Networking ‘Empire’ In addition to this, you can use a few tricks to help people remember you at future events. Use their name and make a point to remember it. Julius Caesar, founder of the Roman Empire, could apparently remember each one of his troops by name. You can also help build your empire of contacts by exchanging business cards and/or connecting on LinkedIn. Many people will follow up a new contact with a short email reiterating that it was good to meet them and wishing them well with their projects. So how about the experienced YWPs out there? How can you improve your networks? Perhaps your network is filled with other YWPs – but you want to meet some more senior people? As I outlined in my first article last month, joining an AWA special interest committee or branch committee may be useful. In addition, you could create a list of influential people you may like to talk to and why.

Becoming a Connector An experienced networker can start to strengthen existing relationships outside their organisation by sharing knowledge and experience rather than purely seeking to make contacts. Recently I read an article that suggested becoming a “connector” rather than a networker; a connector sees the networks someone may need and can put them in contact with the right people. You could perhaps say that LinkedIn plays the online version of a connector; it has become a powerful tool for creating and maintaining professional relationships all around the world. You can easily keep a record of your network and all the details of what each contact does via their profile. Asking and answering discussion topics within groups on LinkedIn can also help you connect with people outside your network. Last but not least, sharing what you know on LinkedIn has the added value of helping build your reputation as a professional in the water industry. The YWPs have an active LinkedIn group that is the perfect place to practice. Our group will keep you abreast of activities for YWPs across Australia and engage you in discussions relevant for YWPs; for example, the benefits of the many mentoring programs occurring around the country. On behalf of the committee I welcome your knowledge, input and connections to widen our connections, our knowledge sharing and our experiences. Who knows where it could take you?

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AUstrALIA’s nAtIOnAL WAter COnFerenCe & eXHIbItIOn REGISTRATION NOW OPEN 8 – 10 MAY, 2012 DARLING HARBOUR, SYDNEY FEATURING 3 full days, 9 stream conference program 6 internationally renowned keynote speakers More than 200 industry speakers 15 workshops Electronic posters Technical tours Extensive networking opportunities Massive free trade exhibition with more than 300 displays OZWATER’12 THEMES & TOPICS INCLUDE • HISTORY AND HERITAGE • WATER AND PEOPLE Community Consultation and Community Participation Disaster Recovery Non-Conventional Systems Skills Development and Education • CHANGING TIMES Climate Change Floods and Flooding Future Cities Policy, Regulation and Legislation Strategic Approach to Water Sustainable Decision Making

• RURAL AND REGIONAL WATER Balancing Science, Technology & Social Issues Specific Water Basins Water for Irrigation/ Water Markets • WATER AND WASTEWATER SYSTEMS AND PROCESSES Asset Management Operation and Management Recovery of Nutrients and by Products of Manufacture Reticulation and Collective Systems Stormwater Management Wastewater Treatment Water Treatment

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awa news Join an AWA Specialist Network As an AWA member you have the opportunity to join AWA’s Specialist Networks for free. The Specialist Networks are an effective way to help you keep up to date with the latest information and events in your areas of interest. Through the networks, our members meet to share ideas, skills and knowledge with colleagues working across water-related areas at local, state, national and international levels.

What are Specialist Networks? Specialist Networks are coalitions of individuals who work in water-related areas of common interest. Their purpose is to allow members to network, share knowledge, information and skills, and make beneficial professional and business contacts across specific interest fields. Specialist Networks help to fulfil several of AWA’s core objectives by: • Providing a forum for the interchange of ideas and knowledge among people involved in the management of water. • Improving the standard of debate on water issues to foster rational, open decision making and problem solving. • Improving public, government and industry understanding of water and its contribution to economic development, quality of life and the environment. • Meeting the evolving needs and demands of an expanding and sophisticated water industry in Australia.

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• Increasing the technical knowledge and competence of people working within the water industry. • Fostering basic and applied research that will advance the cause of better water management and conservation. • Developing policy where appropriate, to help guide decisions and achieve rational outcomes.

Why join a Specialist Network? Be involved in knowledge building and networking Over the past 12 months each of the 17 Specialist Networks run by AWA have delivered some real benefits to the water sector. • Five Specialist Networks ran national conferences, reaching hundreds of water professionals; • Five Specialist Networks hosted workshops during Ozwater’11 in Adelaide; • National Roadshows were run in six Australian cities, covering topics such as Water Quality Monitoring & Analysis (WQMA); Water Sanitation and Hygiene in Developing Communities (WASH); and Australian Water Recycling Guidelines; • Training courses were run in subjects such as: Climate Change Adaptation; Membranes & Desalination; Water Recycling; and Water Infrastructure; • The Source Management Specialist Network participated in the development of a nationally coordinated approach to the delivery of a Certificate IV in Water Operations (Trade Waste);

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awa news • The Small Water and Wastewater Systems (SWWS) Specialist Network held a networking evening on ‘Raising the Bar for Decentralised Systems”. Be able to influence change Joining a Specialist Network gives you an opportunity to influence your area of specialist interest. • The Asset Management Specialist Network has contributed to the development of the ISO Standard for Asset Management; • The Catchment Management Specialist Network has developed the National Institutional Framework for Catchment Management; • The Sustainability Specialist Network has developed the Water Sector Sustainability Framework; • The Water Efficiency Specialist Network has developed a Policy Paper on The Future of Water Efficiency, as well as a Fact Sheet on Smart Meters; • The Water Management Law and Policy Specialist Network has been instrumental in the development of the Policy Principles Framework and developed an overview of Water Quality Governance; and • Articles in Water Journal have covered Water Safety Plans (WASH), the issue of salinity in recycled water (Source Management), the reasons for Catchment Management, and the principles for successful Small Water and Wastewater Systems (SWWS).

Specialist Network Activities at Ozwater’12 Five of AWA’s Specialist Networks will again be delivering workshops as part of the Ozwater program. These workshops are a great opportunity to participate in discussions on the latest issues in your field, as well as networking with your contacts and making some new ones. Workshops are open to Ozwater delegates only and are restricted to 56 delegates. First come, first served! TUESDAY 8 MAY 13.15–15.15

Water Safety Planning – The Planning is in Your Hands (WASH Specialist Network)


Impact of the ISO Standard on Asset Management in the Water Industry (Asset Management Specialist Network) WEDNESDAY 9 MAY


Achieving Sustainability in Urban Water Management Policy: Regulatory vs Market Approach (Water Management Law and Policy Specialist Network)


The Future Role of Water Efficiency in Australia: Developing and Promoting a Common Approach (Water Efficiency Specialist Network)


Towards Multi-disciplinary Management of Environmental Water (Environmental Water Management Specialist Network)

• The Water Education Specialist Network has contributed to the development of a national water education project that aligns with the new Australian Curriculum. Lead for the future Priorities for the networks include contributing to policy development across the sector, the development of training in areas such as source management and operations, leading development of the Australian Curriculum Project, and providing face-to-face networking opportunities. We also have two new Specialist Networks: • Environmental Water Management Specialist Network; and • Water Retail Specialist Network.

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How do I join a Specialist Network? If you’re already an AWA member, you can join as many Specialist Networks as you like by amending your profile. Simply log onto the AWA website ( and go to ‘Manage Your AWA Account’ to select your preferences.

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awa news Date



Biosolids & Source Management National Conference

Gold Coast

11–13 September 2012

National Operations Conference


26–28 September 2012

Small Water & Wastewater Systems (SWWS) National Conference


5–7 March 2013

Efficiency/Water Education/ WICD National Conference


16–18 July 2013

Membranes & Desalination National Conference


18–20 June 2012

New Water Retail Specialist Network The Water Retail Specialist Network was developed in late 2011 to support those working in the areas of water retailing, billing and customer communications.

Non-members are welcome to attend Specialist Network events (at an extra cost), but do not have access to the full range of benefits. For more information on how becoming an AWA member will benefit you and your career in the water industry go to: If you have any questions, please get in touch with the Project Managers – Specialist Networks on

What are the Specialist Networks doing in 2012 and 2013? Each specialist network has an ‘action plan’ detailing what it will achieve every two years. The calendar at left shows just some of the larger events planned for 2012–2013. • Raising the profile of retail functions within and beyond the water industry; • Acknowledging successful projects, individuals, and innovations;

The network is a unique platform servicing water retailers in utilities, section leaders, regulators, those working with retail billing systems, and suppliers of retail bodies.

• Defining, developing and recognising best practices within and outside the water industry with the intent of assisting industry development;

“Despite being a key component in the utility value chain, the retail sector is traditionally under-represented within the industry,” says Alex Coe* of Marchment Hill Consulting. “With increasing complexity and regulatory pressures faced by this part of business, there is great value in sharing experiences and challenges between peers”.

• Identifying and discussing regulatory, policy and operational challenges;

A committee of leading industry representatives from water utilities across Australia has been formed to drive the network. The committee includes Alex Coe, Helen Harding (Queensland Urban Utilities), Tony Holmes (Shoalhaven Water), Scott Emmonds (Allconnex Water), Margaret Haynes (Allconnex Water), Eleanor Bray, Sophie Murphy (Ben Lomond Water), Gabe Scarmozzino (Gentrack Pty Ltd), Deb Caruso (Unitywater) and Stephen Lennox (Yarra Valley Water). The committee is in the process of determining key objectives of the network. Initial committee discussions have focused on:

• Encouraging a collective response to issues and proposals in the water retail area; • Sharing of new products, systems and technologies servicing the water retailers. Members of the network will be able to access professional development and training programs, opportunities to contribute to the development of best practice, the latest news and advances, and an opportunity to network and build contacts with like-minded water professionals. To join this network you must be an AWA member. For more information visit: * See page 74 for an article by Alex on CIS Billing Systems.

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15th International


RIVERSYMPOSIUM Melbourne, Australia 8-11 October 2012

REGISTRATIONS NOW OPEN - Earlybird closes 11 July 2012 CONFIRMED KEYNOTE SPEAKERS • Priyanie Amerasinghe, Senior Researcher, International Water Management Institute, INDIA • Prof Klement Tockner, Director of the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB), GERMANY Visit the website for updates to the program including additional keynote speakers and convening partner sessions.

PROGRAM THEMES • A river runs through it: designing river cities • River health: healthy rivers, healthy economies, healthy people • River ecology: beneath the surface • River partnerships: integrating people, governance and policy • River knowledge: tools and techniques for action • River pressures: pathways to sustainability

awa news Want to get involved? Each Specialist Network has a committee made up of 10 members from around the country, working in different roles. Every two years, we call for new committee members to fill any available places. The next recruitment round will be in June 2012. Being on a committee is not time-consuming (on average about one hour per week) and gives you the opportunity to build and strengthen your industry contacts, or use your knowledge and experience to lead developments in your area of expertise. More news on the new committee will be published in the August issue of Water Journal.

The Australian Curriculum Project – Water Education in Schools AWA has received $65,000 worth of subscriptions from water businesses in support of the upcoming Australian Curriculum Project. The Australian Curriculum Project is an industrywide project that provides a chance for water businesses and government agencies to work together and, along with the education sector, influence what is being taught in schools. By working alongside the education sector, this project will ensure that best practice water education and key messages are delivered in schools across all learning areas, leading to a greater understanding of sustainable water management. This understanding will contribute to the development of informed communities that are able to make balanced decisions about water issues and infrastructure.

In 2008, the Australian Education Ministers committed to the development of a Foundation to Year 12 National School Curriculum that would replace curriculum content currently in existence in each state and territory. The curriculum is now being developed, with some subjects already being trialled in some states and territories. The Australian Curriculum Project was a response to this new curriculum and was developed by key representatives in the water sector. An initial Steering Committee was formed last year to discuss the scope of the project, and which then formed a detailed business plan ( outlining benefits to water businesses and the water industry. It was recognised that if existing water education materials are to remain relevant to teachers, resources would need to be updated to directly align with the new curriculum, gaps in resources would need to be filled, new technologies utilised, and a combined effort required. By working together as an industry there will be less duplication, existing efforts and knowledge can be shared and costs reduced. Key outcomes of the project are to: • Provide national leadership and coordination so that teachers and students have access to best practice water education materials; • Maximise the opportunity that the Australian Curriculum presents for water agencies across Australia and provide programs and materials that extend equity of access to all schools; • Extend the delivery of water education by working in

themes •

Operations of small or remote systems – challenges and successes

Emergency preparedness and response

Energy efficiency and recovery optimisation of usage, cogeneration and hydropower

Nutrient recovery from wastewater Training Water and wastewater quality issues Biosolids management and cost recovery Challenges of operating water infrastructure in a mining environment

• •

NatioNal operatioNs CoNfereNCe 12-14 september 2012

DarwiN awa’s operations specialist Network invites you to attend the 2nd National Conference, to be held at the Darwin Convention Centre. The over-arching themes of the conference have arisen from the challenges faced by operators, both in our current climate and the industry at present. As the conference will be held in Darwin, there will be a focus on small and remote operations for both utilities and industry. The aim of the conference is to once again come together and provide a learning and knowledge-sharing opportunity for all areas of water industry operations.

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• •

CoNfereNCe format This two-day conference will include a plenary session and concurrent streams. The streams will cover topics under the conference themes. There will also be a conference dinner.

loCatioN – DarwiN Darwin is Australia’s only tropical capital city. It sits on a vast harbour, enjoying a relaxed outdoor lifestyle and warm weather all year round. Darwin is also a great base to explore extraordinary places like World Heritage - listed Kakadu National Park, Litchfield and Nitmiluk National Parks, the Tiwi Islands and Arnhem Land.

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With population growth, a resources boom and the threat of climate change, now more than ever Australia’s future is dependent upon the effective and efficient management of water. UGL has been helping governments, utilities and industry to meet these challenges by designing, delivering, operating and maintaining integrated water infrastructure solutions that treats and recycles this precious resource. UGL specialises in water and wastewater engineering, construction and maintenance services. Our water capability has been developed over more than 50 years servicing the commercial, utilities and resources sectors in Australia and south east Asia. UGL is able to provide clients with services that cover the complete value chain in water management. UGL ... Creating tomorrow’s water solutions today.

Please visit us at OzWater’12 at the UGL sponsored delegate lounge. +61 2 8925 8925

awa news collaboration with the water sector, Centres of Excellence and the education sector; • Utilise new technologies used in schools and ensure information is linked with on-line education portals; • Increase student knowledge of career pathways in the water industry and improve water literacy and terminology; • Increase sustainable water management behaviours. Subscriptions for this project have already been received by key water agencies across Australia including: SA Water, Melbourne Water, Sydney Water, ACTEW, DERM Queensland, Water Directorate, National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training, Australian Centre of Excellence for Desalination, Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Board and Tamworth Regional Council. To subscribe to this upcoming industry project, or for more information, please contact AWA’s Project Manager for School and Community Education, Fleur Johnson, by email at:, phone 02 9467 8423, or visit:

Call for Volunteers for Water Journal Editorial Committee Water Journal is the official publication of the Australian Water Association (AWA) and is produced eight times a year and distributed to more than 6000 people and organisations. Each issue contains peer reviewed articles and technical papers of topical interest to the readership, as well as conference reports and water-related news from around the world. AWA is seeking to broaden the participation of the existing Editorial Committee, both geographically and in areas of expertise, and invites expressions of interest from AWA members interested in volunteering their time to be actively involved on the Committee. The function of the Editorial Committee is to assist the AWA Publications team by: • Identifying interesting, topical and emerging issues as suitable themes for future issues; • Identifying specialists who can be approached to contribute papers; • Assisting authors in the preparation of papers (where necessary); • Peer reviewing (or identifying experts to peer review) technical papers; • Assisting in reviewing submitted technical papers to ensure a high standard of integrity and reporting; and • Assisting in ensuring that reports are prepared for major AWA or affiliated conferences. Selected members will typically serve for a period of two years and may be resident anywhere in Australia. Meetings will be held approximately eight times a year in Melbourne CBD, with participation by teleconference for those members outside of Melbourne. The usual time of the meeting is from 5.30pm to 7.00pm AEST. Arrangements will be made to ensure at least one meeting per year will be “face to face” – most likely during the annual AWA Ozwater Conference & Exhibition. Applications are invited from AWA members who have significant expertise and experience in varied areas of the

54 APRIL 2012 water

water sector. Applications should include a brief CV of about 200 words and include a statement on the applicant’s areas of expertise and thoughts on the future direction of the water industry. Please email your application to Wayne Castle, National Events and Publications Manager: The current committee will initially select three or four applicants to balance representation both geographically and in areas of expertise. Applicants not selected in this first round will be kept advised of future vacancies. Selected applicants will be advised by the end of April 2012, with existing and new members of the Committee meeting for the first “face-to-face” meeting at Ozwater’12 in May in Sydney.

Linking Australia–Pacific AWA employee Fiona MacKenzie is currently on a one-year secondment as a Project Officer with the Pacific Water and Wastes Association (PWWA) based in Samoa. The PWWA is a regional not-for-profit membership body established in 1995 to support the Pacific region in meeting water Fiona with Latu Kupa, Executive challenges. Pacific island Director, Pacific Water and Wastes utilities are the primary Association. member group serviced by a voluntary Secretariat in Apia. The Association plays a vital and unique role for the Pacific water sector; however, due to lack of funds and resources it is in a precarious position. This is a unique arrangement whereby AWA enables a direct contact, capacity building and coordination in the Pacific, while PWWA has their first employee to lead the Association and their services. The primary objective of the position is to foster sustainability of the PWWA through securing donor-funded projects and cultivating their membership base. This involves implementation of the ‘Review and Recommendation Report’ initiatives proposed by Fiona during her four-month Award placement* and endorsed by the PWWA Board last year. It is expected that Fiona’s presence in the Pacific will develop the AWA/PWWA MOU relationship and identify tangible opportunities for AWA and its members to connect with our Pacific neighbours through business tenders, jobs, events, funded projects and operational expertise. In the first few months, there are plans to submit a proposal to AusAID through its International Seminar Support Scheme and also an Australian Youth Ambassador Development volunteer, and establishing news and communications between PWWA and AWA members. If you would like to find out more about the Pacific water sector or the Pacific Water and Wastes Association, visit: or contact Fiona directly at: or +685 30326. *The Endeavour Executive Award is an Australian Government merit-based scholarship program that provides support for Australians to undertake study, research and professional development abroad. Fiona’s Award entailed working with the PWWA in Samoa from June–September 2011.

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Groundwater Training The National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training is Australia’s premiere groundwater industry training organisation, and one of the world’s largest research institutions.

Short courSeS include: • the Australian Groundwater School

Groundwater accounts for over 30% of Australia’s water consumption, and with demand growing, it is more important than ever that we develop a comprehensive understanding of this vital resource.

• groundwater in mining

The centre’s industry training program has been at the forefront of educating groundwater specialists and policymakers for over 20 years and has access to Australia’s best experts, researchers and trainers.

• field methods

We offer a wide range of courses across the country — from generalist introductory courses to specialised science, engineering, modelling, mining and policy courses. Building on our professional short courses, we readily customise training, providing greater flexibility, on-site delivery and tailored topics. Or, we can even develop an entirely new program specifically for your company.

• soil and groundwater pollution • groundwater modelling for management

• groundwater and vegetation and many more! Through our superior quality training, we can help you lead the way in groundwater management. To find out more about us, including course dates and locations, visit our website or contact us using the details below. +61 8 8201 5632

Australian Research Council

awa news Branch News

Winner – Joshua Putnam from the University of NSW • NSW Young Water Professional Award Sponsored


by Leighton

Water Awards The NSW Branch recognised the significant project feats and personal contributions of the NSW Water Industry with the presentation of the NSW Water Awards held on February 16. The awards are as follows: • NSW Infrastructure Project Innovation Award Sponsored by UGL Infrastructure Highly commended – ‘Chatswood Integrated Stormwater Management Scheme’ by Willoughby City Council.

Highly Commended – Nirvana McNaughton, Project Manager, UGL Infrastructure Winner – Karl Johnson of MWH Global • NSW Water Professional of the Year Award Sponsored by Reed Winner – Greg Taylor, General Manager – Water and Enviro, John Holland Group The winners in each category will now go forward to

Winner – ‘Rosehill Recycled Water Scheme’ by Aquanet Sydney and Veolia Water Australia.

compete at the national level, where awards will be announced

• NSW Program Innovation Award

at OzWater’12 in Sydney.

Highly Commended – ‘Continuously Improving Renewable Energy Generation at Sydney Water’ by Renewable Energy Generation Alliance (Sydney Water Corporation, Energetics and Worley Parsons)


Winner – ‘Water Loss Management Program for Regional NSW Water Utilities’, a joint initiative of Local Government and Shires Associations, Water Directorate and the Federal Government through the Water Smart Australia Program.

at Crown in Melbourne on Thursday, August 30 2012. So dust

• NSW Undergraduate Award Sponsored by Tyco Water Highly Commended – Katie Jones from Hunter Water

Save the Date! AWA Victoria Branch will hold its 50th Annual Dinner at Palladium off your “black tie” gear and get ready for the celebration, as we head to Palladium for what promises to be a fabulous evening of fine food, wine and celebrations. For more information contact Gail Reardon, Branch Manager on 03 9235 1416 or email:

9th IWA Leading-Edge Conference on Water and WastewaterTechnologies The 2012 edition of the highly successful Leading Edge Technology Conference on Water and Waste Water Treatment Technologies (LET) moves to Australia, a continent which in many ways is a living laboratory for many of the challenges facing the water profession around the globe. This event is for all those interested in the latest advances in wastewater and drinking water technologies. It offers a wide range of multi-disciplinary presentations and will provide ample opportunities to learn and network with professionals in your fields of interest. Registration Open Advanced programme available on line Organized by:

Supporting publication:


56 APRIL 2012 water

3-7 June 2012 Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC) South Bank, Brisbane, Australia regular features

awa news New Members AWA welcomes the following new members since the most recent issue of Water Journal:


KPMG Sugar Australia Corporate Silver Toyota Tsusho (Australasia) Pty Ltd

Overseas Corporate Bronze Pacific Water And Wastes Association – Samoa

NSW Corporate Gold Norton Rose Australia Corporate Bronze Skillset Vinsi Partners

QLD Corporate Gold Brown Consulting (Aust) Pty Ltd Corporate Silver Gilbert & Sutherland Corporate Bronze YSI Australia Pty Ltd

VIC Corporate Bronze Advanced Valve Technologies Pty Ltd Exel Composites

NEW INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS ACT C. Low, B. Sherman NSW B. Patterson, B. Eliasson, D. Chapman, D. Hill, J. Organ, M. Jhala, R. Sharma, S. Giannakis, P. Patel, R. Peterson, R. Matthew, V. Naik, A. Andrison, K. Gharpure, M. Morahan, N. Hiscock, A. Gilchrist, A. Cowley, K. Abeysuriya, T. Bec QLD A. McPhail, A. Corbett, H. Harding, J. Burrows, J. Hold, M. Johnston, N. Smith, P. Mangano, R. Savage, R. Hoare, M. Cox, G. Blackstock, M. Sutton, T. Say, G. Crisp, K. Cranney, M. Kuss, R. Kwiecinski, R. Wang NT S. McAleer SA A. Connell, B. Nilsen, C. Murphy, C. Graham, K. Wescombe, R. Roylance, R. Velisek, S. Chan, H. Fallowfield, J. Thompson, M. Akeroyd, T. Minns TAS A. Brooks, P. Hochman, S. Murphy

VIC A. Dua, E. De Wit, J. Pruyn, J. Tawadros, K. Werksman, M. MacKenzie, P. Bateman, R. Wilson, S. Smith, R. Pimpalkar, J. Crawley, L. Duncan, R. Catchlove, M. Bruce, S. McCaffrey, V. Kulkarni, A. Purser, C. French, D. White, H. Hata, W. Rajendram, S. Lennox WA G. Hales, L. Mayne, Y. Gruchlik, W. Bean Overseas L. Kupa, S. Walton, A. Victor

NEW STUDENT MEMBERS NT G. Sharma QLD A. Bazrafkan, E. Lewis, J. Rees SA F. Ahammed, H. Meng, L. Butler VIC S. Molavi, M. Lee, S. Brown WA L. Carlisle

YOUNG WATER PROFESSIONALS NSW J. Castilla, T. Crockford, S. Darvill QLD A. Chambers, E. Bogdanova, G. Rootsey, L. Roff, S. Yeh, S. Umapathi, M. Hill VIC A. Dalal, E. Hui, H. Cat, H. Clarke, H. Aitken, J. Daicos, L. Butler, M. Medwell-Squier, O. Thomas, R. Barratt, M. Whitelaw, S. Withers WA R. Crumpler

AWA EVENTS CALENDAR This list is correct at the time of printing. For up-to-date listings and booking information please check the AWA online events calendar at: April

Tue, 17 Apr 2012 Thu, 19 Apr 2012 Thu, 19 Apr 2012 Thu, 19 Apr 2012 Fri, 20 Apr 2012 Tue, 24 Apr 2012 Tue, 01 May 2012

ACT Technical Tour – Meet Banksia Street, O’Connor Wetland, ACT VIC YWP PD – Coal Seam Gas, Melbourne, VIC SESA – Reporting by Outcomes, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide What’s New in Water Research Forum & Evening Networking, Brisbane, QLD Vic Branch Regional Forum – Colac, VIC Vic Branch Regional Forum – Traralgon, VIC NSW YWP – North Head Site Tour, North Head WTP, NSW WA Technical Event, Perth, WA YWP Networking Event – Strike Bowling, Brisbane, QLD Technical Seminar, Hobart, TAS Resource Recovery from Wastewater, CSIRO, Clayton, VIC

Tue, 08 May 2012 – Thu, 10 May 2012

Ozwater’12, Sydney, NSW

Thu, 17 May 2012

Technical Event: Advanced Anaerobic Digestion, Perth, WA

Fri, 18 May 2012 – Sat, 19 May 2012

YWP Annual Dinner 2012 – Plaza Ballroom, Melbourne, VIC

Tue, 22 May 2012

Technical Seminar, Hobart, TAS

Thu, 24 May 2012

WA YWP Water Future Forum: Boom or Bust, Perth, WA

Tue, 29 May 2012

Technical Seminar – Stormwater, Melbourne, VIC

Wed, 30 May 2012 – Thu, 31 May 2012

WICD Skills Workshop, Darwin, NT

Wed, 30 May 2012

Monthly Technical Meeting, Brisbane, QLD

Sun, 03 Jun 2012 – Thu, 07 Jun 2012 Wed, 06 Jun 2012 – Thu, 07 Jun 2012 Wed, 06 Jun 2012 Thu, 14 Jun 2012 Fri, 15 Jun 2012 Mon, 18 Jun 2012 – Wed, 20 Jun 2012 Thu, 21 Jun 2012 Thu, 21 Jun 2012

IWA Leading Edge Technology, Brisbane, QLD QLD Water Industry Operations Workshop and Exhibition, Gold Coast, QLD Technical Event: Water Efficiency, Perth, WA YWP PD Seminar – Carbon, Melbourne, VIC NSW YWP Mentoring Breakfast 2012, NSW Biosolids and Source Management National Conference, Gold Coast, QLD WA Half-Day Seminar: Groundwater and Gas, Perth, WA Seminar 2 – Privatisation & Outsourcing, Sydney, NSW Forum – Skills Retention and Motivation: The War for Talent Still Rages in the QLD Water Industry, Brisbane, QLD Water Matters Conference, Kamberra Wine Company, ACT Technical Seminar, Hobart, TAS ACT & Southern NSW Regional Operations Workshop, Kamberra Wine Company, ACT

Wed, 04 Apr 2012 Thu, 12 Apr 2012 Mon, 16 Apr 2012 – Fri, 20 Apr 2012 Tue, 17 Apr 2012



Thu, 21 Jun 2012 Tue, 26 Jun 2012 Tue, 26 Jun 2012 Wed, 27 Jun 2012


APRIL 2012 57

sneak preview

Ozwater’12: Sharing Knowledge, Planning the Future As AWA Celebrates its 50th Anniversary, it’s an ideal time to reflect on how far the Australian water industry has come in the past half-century – and to look ahead at what the next 50 years might bring. Join us at the 2012 Ozwater Conference & Exhibition and be a part of this exciting event. Water has always been critical to the habitation of Australia. Fifty years ago in 1962, with a population of 10.7 million, the country was completing major projects such as the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme and providing large water storages to ensure reliability of water supplies, but had little to show in the way of wastewater collection and treatment infrastructure. Snap to 2012 and the population has more than doubled, to 22.8 million, the nation has endured a decade of prolonged drought followed by extreme flood events, and has seen unprecedented capital expenditure – particularly into the area of non-rainfall dependent water supplies. The governance of water has changed radically over the past decades, moving to a range of corporatised structures for municipal systems, significantly reduced per capita water consumption and greater involvement of the private sector. The allocation of water for ‘environmental flows’ continues to be an issue, with the Murray–Darling allocations still to be resolved. Australia is now recognised as having world-class expertise across the full range of the water sector, including technical areas such as biological nutrient removal and membrane processes, institutional reform and governance, asset management and environmental management. It is also important to consider that, while great progress has been made, there remains a community expectation for improved levels of service, high quality of water supply, effluent and environmental water management, coupled with demands for improved efficiency. Attending this year’s Ozwater Conference & Exhibition will assist water professionals from all sectors to remain at the forefront of this knowledge and expertise.

58 APRIL 2012 water

About the Show Ozwater’12 takes place from May 8–10 at the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre at Darling Harbour. This national conference & exhibition is hailed as Australia’s premier water industry event and is the perfect opportunity to exchange ideas, network with colleagues and showcase projects and products. The waterfront venue is central to the Sydney CBD and equipped with state-of-the art audio, visual and information technology. This year Ozwater celebrates the 50th anniversary of AWA, making it a unique opportunity to acknowledge Australia’s many achievements in the water sector and to consider future challenges and opportunities. Accordingly, the theme of Ozwater’12 is: ‘Sharing Knowledge, Planning the Future’, with sub-themes such as:

feature articles

sneak preview • Changing Times – particularly with regard to Policy, Regulation and Legislation, and with a focus on a Strategic Approach to Water; • Rural and Regional Water; • History and Heritage; • Water and People; • Water and Wastewater Systems and Processes. The Conference program includes more than 200 papers that reflect the high quality of expertise and innovation within the Australian water industry, as well as overseas. Keynote speakers have been drawn from Australia, North America and Europe and have been selected for their diverse professional backgrounds and proven knowledge and standing with their peers. They will provide their own unique perspectives, experiences and learnings from within the water sector, as well as their ideas and visions for the future of the industry. Speakers include James Cameron, CEO, National Water Commission; Herbert Dreiseitl, Founder, Atelier Dreiseitl, Germany; Rich Nagel, General Manager, West Basin Municipal Water District, US; Kevin Young, Managing Director, Sydney Water; Paul Greenfield, University of Queensland; and Hugh Mackay, Social Researcher, Australia. The Trade Exhibition, meanwhile, features over 260 national and international exhibitors showcasing the latest industry, science, technology innovations, products and services. The exhibition hall is the ideal location to network and catch up with friends and colleagues while discovering what’s available in today’s marketplace.



WHO SHOULD ATTEND? Ozwater’12 is a ‘must see’ event for everyone working in the water sector or has a commercial interest in the use of water. This will be the only opportunity in 2012 to see more than 250 national and international exhibitors all under one roof. PRESENTED BY



APRIL 2012 59

sneak preview • Welcome Reception; • Gala Dinner and National Awards; • The ‘Ozwatering Hole’, which will host a ‘happy hour’ on Tuesday 8 May; • For the first time, Ozwater’12 joins the “App Age”. All delegates, sponsors and exhibitors will be able to take advantage of up-to-the-minute technology that will enable them to access information, communicate with other participants and have real-time connection with social networking. A smartphone mobile web application, sponsored by Siemens, will bring an added dimension to conference networking and information technology. This will be an Australian first for Ozwater participants. Free wireless internet access provided by Acciona will allow participants to be part of an amazing information exchange and communication revolution. Be prepared for something special!

Ozwater’12 also features more than a dozen interactive workshops where participants can engage in lively debate about the ‘hot topics’ of the day, such as water recycling, groundwater management, stormwater management, water efficiency, smart grids and environmental water issues,to name a few. Other highlights of this year’s Ozwater include: • Young Water Professionals Workshop and Breakfast;

60 APRIL 2012 water

There will also be two fascinating technical tours affording guests the opportunity to visit two of the earliest centralised water supply schemes in Australia. The Tank Stream was Sydney’s original freshwater supply and the basis for the selection of the site of the settlement. Busby’s Bore brought a new water supply in the 1830s from the swamps near what is now the Sydney Cricket Ground and Fox Studios. Both sites have only limited access and are rarely available for inspection. Ozwater’12 promises to be the most stimulating, informative and rewarding water event of the decade and one that water professionals can’t afford to miss. So, see you at the show! For more information please visit:

feature articles

sneak preview

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Doing More With Less By Cindy Wallis-Lage, President, Black & Veatch Global Water Business Productivity is the biggest issue facing Australia in 2012. Simply put, according to a recent Committee for Economic Development of Australia “Big Issues” survey, which aims to highlight issues of national importance for the business community, Australia needs to do more with less. This pressure to return more value from existing assets and resources is not new for the Australian water industry. The severe droughts in recent years forced everyone involved to consider and implement greater innovation than ever before. As the water dried up, the situation became more critical and solutions more urgent. In most states, the rains have returned. Yet the productivity challenge is real and greater than ever before, because in many respects it’s not the water this time but the finance that is becoming scarcer. The water industry needs to embrace innovation and return greater value from our investments more than ever before.

Unlocking Innovation Last year, I co-facilitated a series of roundtable discussions at the Singapore International Water Week where the focus was on innovation. The common theme that emerged from the 110 participants – senior policy makers and water utility leaders, including a number from Australia – was that innovation is beyond just technology. As an industry, we need to be unlocking innovation at every level of our operations to return the greatest value possible. This means enabling innovation in how policies and frameworks are created; how water portfolios are planned and how technologies are enabled; and how new types of financial models are viewed and explored; ultimately, in essence, how water projects are best delivered. Sometimes unlocking innovation can be realised by something as simple as changing the language. For example, no longer should the term “wastewater plants” be used. In our resource-constrained world little, if anything, inherent in wastewater should be considered a waste. Continued use of the term “wastewater plants” maintains the stigma of waste rather than promoting the resource opportunities – not only for the utilities but for the surrounding communities. Potential “resource plants” provide plentiful opportunities to positively address the growing water, energy and nutrient needs associated with increasing urban populations in Australia

and throughout the world. The innovation challenge rests in identifying how resource recovery can be implemented within existing facilities, making best use of asset investments and noting that local needs and market conditions will dictate the priority of which resources can be effectively recovered. For example, when the water level in Wivenhoe Dam was dropping significantly in Queensland and the long-term water supply appeared to be less than 18 months, the driving force was finding an additional water supply. Under enormous pressure to secure supply, the decision was made to develop three advanced water treatment plants using MF/RO/AO. These plants guaranteed that Brisbane’s water supply could be rapidly augmented should the drought continue. In such circumstances a concomitant increase in power requirements was a small price to pay for water security. The urgency of the situation prevented full consideration of nutrient recovery at the time, which clearly illustrates the way in which local needs determine how competing objectives are met. If the way we look at the functionality of assets has to change, we equally need to re-examine how all of our assets function together as an entire water portfolio.

Making Better Use of Resources There is now a further expectation that the water industry will make better use of the range of water resources at its disposal, both to serve a growing customer base and to meet environmental outcomes. In addition to traditional freshwater reservoirs, water portfolio options now include stormwater, recycled sewage and desalinated water. The growing diversity of water sources presents the industry with a new level of complexity in optimising water flows. Establishing the best economic use of these products in a financially constrained environment presents the industry with novel challenges in determining the life cycle costing for a range of new infrastructure. The question of when and how to use water from different sources needs serious consideration, similar to how base and peak providers are used in the energy sector. We also need to be innovative in how we plan for and implement proven water efficiency technologies, such as water reuse. How does the Australian water industry overcome the barriers that exist for integrating water reuse as part of the water portfolio? Initial successes have been made in establishing important organisations such as the Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence, and with non-potable reuse by industry and at golf courses, for example. However, a significant opportunity remains to find innovative ways of gaining public and political acceptance of recycled water for potable use as well as more extensive non-potable use. Sometimes unlocking innovation is about asking the right questions. A delegate at the Innovation session in Singapore put it succinctly: “Innovation isn’t an end in itself. We don’t want to innovate just for the sake of innovating; we need to innovate because we have problems to solve. We’re not always very good at defining what the problems are.”

Bundamba advanced water treatment plant in Queensland was built to supplement existing water supply.

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We need to have the right people asking those questions, too. This is a particular challenge for the water industry in Australia. The resources boom is aggressively attracting talent out of the water sector, and we need to compete to retain this talent, to ensure our potential for innovation is not lost.

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opinion we are well positioned to inform policy and provide the technical knowledge that is required to secure the nation’s future water needs in the most efficient ways possible. The Australia water sector just needs to keep doing what it has always done, keep asking the right questions and continue being sufficiently brave in its convictions to carry them through.

And, to do this, we need to be innovative throughout our organisations. A draw-card we may be able to offer, or work towards, is developing an attractive work culture, negotiating a whole-of-life proposition with new staff and imbuing a sense that it is working for the greater good. Articulating any company value proposition and living it throughout the organisation – not just paying lip service to it – will define its ultimate success. For the talented new entrants to the water industry, fresh with hard-won technical proficiency, it is essential to broaden their capabilities, and to build leadership, communication and management skills early in their career development.

Cindy Wallis-Lage is President of Black & Veatch’s Global Water Business. An author of more than 50 papers,

Asking the Tough Questions

20 technical articles and 10

Certainly, when faced with the prolonged drought, very tough questions had to be asked. The crisis changed and enhanced the way that Australian utilities did business; they looked closely at the way they delivered water and managed their assets. The result was an “era of alliancing”. This innovative, relationshipbased contracting approach is much envied by other utilities around the world as an alternative way to deliver critical infrastructure successfully.

textbook chapters, she serves on several committees for the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and the International Water Association (IWA). She is a frequent speaker at many global industry forums and was a recipient of the Top 100 Under

Australia’s water sector is, in fact, already a shining example of being productive, doing more with less. The country has sustained continued economic growth during almost a decade of drought, with only 30 per cent of the water it had previously averaged. During that period it improved its irrigation efficiencies to 85–90 per cent, according to the Asian Development Bank.

50 Diverse Executive & Emerging Leaders awards from Diversity MBA magazine in 2009. A licensed Professional Engineer, she holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from Kansas State University and a Master’s Degree in Environmental Health Engineering from the University of Kansas.

After the drought, with rain and floods across the nation, our challenge is not to become complacent. As water professionals













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Water Corporation’s Twinning Project By Terry Murphy, Communications Officer, Water Corporation of Western Australia A twinning partnership between Western Australia’s Water Corporation and a water company in Java is developing strategies to cut high levels of non-revenue water, such as leakages, which are a concern throughout Indonesia. The partnership program is focused on a district that has system losses of about 50 per cent in a largely semi-rural area south of Jakarta. It is within a wider region with a population of some four million, centred on Bogor, a city of economic, scientific, cultural and tourism importance in mountain foothills. The region is served by the water supply company, PDAM Kabupaten Bogor, which will adapt outcomes from the partnership to other parts of its operations. The program district’s water supply system is beset with problems, including sections of galvanised iron pipelines up to 100 years old, meter errors, water theft and faulty construction methods in the past. It also contends with supply pressure problems and relatively high energy costs. The twinning partnership, sponsored by the Asian Development Bank through its Regional Technical Assistance program, began in late 2010 and is expected to be completed by the end of this year. A two-person Water Corporation team has visited the district three times, while a PDAM team made a return visit to Perth. On the Perth team’s latest visit in February this year they gave a presentation on the project at a workshop in Jakarta conducted by the Ministry of Public Works and the Asian Development Bank.

Improved Communications Robert Jaunzems, the Corporation’s Energy Efficiency Unit Manager, said: “We have been focusing on providing technical advice on how to locate leakages and helping to improve efficiencies in energy use, which is one of the biggest operating costs in the district. We have developed an excellent relationship, and I have personally learned a lot about [Indonesian] culture.” This has not been an issue for the other member of the Corporation team, Operations Data Analyst Jaime Adeane, who is Indonesian and has worked for the Corporation for almost two years after completing an electrical engineering

degree at Perth’s Curtin University. Jaime said their Indonesian partners greatly appreciated the Corporation’s help and got a lot out of their visit to Perth. Robert said Jaime had proved critical to the project’s success through improved communications. The Corporation has provided leak detection equipment, including listening devices, and provided training in how to use it. It also provided 10 water meters with greater accuracy and flow ranges than those in use on customer services. These are being used to determine if they will measure more water than those normally installed, thus reducing non-revenue water. The Corporation team is using different leak detection techniques in different parts of the supply system. It is also assisting with data collection and hydraulic modelling so that the models can be checked against actual system flows to look for problem areas. But it has not all been plain sailing. Robert said that walking along streets using leak noise amplifiers proved difficult because of high levels of street noise. And in a touch of irony, planned observations of PDAM operators conducting leak detection exercises were washed out by heavy rain storms. At first, the Perth team considered a pressure reduction trial to be the best approach to deal with system losses, but as Robert explained: “They have extreme pressure losses in the supply network due to leaks, but if we reduce the number of leaks, this will create higher pressure which could cause more leaks at weak points. “However, pressure reduction might be a useful technique in future to reduce leaks.” An inspection of a successful pressure reduction trial in Perth to reduce water consumption was on the itinerary for the visiting Indonesian team, which also toured the Perth Seawater Desalination plant and historic Mundaring Weir. The team, accompanied by Indonesian Ministry of Public Works representative Luky Retno Andayani, talked with Corporation experts on asset management, hydraulic modelling, data analysis, energy efficiency and staff performance management. The partners signed a memorandum of understanding, and Corporation CEO Sue Murphy said there had been mutual learnings for the partners.

Putting an Asset Management Plan in Place

Members of the Water Corporation team, Robert Jaunzems (third from right) and Jaime Adeane (far right) with representatives of PDAM Kabupaten Bogor and the Indonesian Ministry of Public Works, Luky Retno Andayani (second from left).

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The discussions in Perth have led PDAM Kabupaten Bogor to conduct a survey of its assets and prepare an asset management plan, including a replacement business case.

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feature article “We have also discussed opportunities to improve pumping efficiency through improved refurbishment practices and selection of pumping equipment, including the use of variable speed drives.” The twinning project is part of a ‘Wavemakers’ scheme conducted by the Water Corporation to help improve water and wastewater services in disadvantaged and developing areas of the world. Projects have been undertaken in Ethiopia and Bali, as well as for Aboriginal communities in Western Australia.

What Is Twinning?

Jaime Adeane, Water Corporation Operations Data Analyst, checks an asset in the partnership district in Java with staff of PDAM Kabupaten Bogor. Robert said future needs included training in field data collection and hydraulic analysis. “The implementation of good asset management and data gathering practices will ultimately deliver lower levels of nonrevenue water, lower operating costs and improved service to customers,” he said. “It is likely that this will result in some asset renewals which may take longer to implement.

Twinning, also known as Water Utility/Operator Partnerships, is a global initiative aimed at improving water services providers and delivery. Water Corporation’s partnership with PDAM Kabupaten Bogor is part of the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Twinning Program that pairs a water utility in Asia/Pacific with a high performing utility as mentor. ADB facilitates the partnership and supports international travel costs. ADB’s Indonesian Twinning Program is supported by the Australian Government through AusAID. AWA works with ADB to promote and broker these partnership opportunities and encourage Australian participation. If you are interested in learning more about being a mentor partner, contact Ann Hinchliffe on 02 9467 8418 or email: For further information on twinning partnerships see: www.awa.asn. au/Water_Operator_Utility_Partnerships.aspx

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Australia’s Groundwater: The Nation’s Buried Treasure This article was commissioned by AWA and developed by the National Centre for Groundwater Research (NCGRT). The NCGRT would like to thank Ian Williams for his help in preparing this article. The future of Australia’s groundwater reserves – one of our most precious yet little-understood resources – is the subject of fierce debate as we grapple with contentious issues such as climate change, coal seam gas and population growth. Over the past several decades, groundwater use in Australia has grown. An estimate widely accepted by scientists and policymakers is that it now supplies about 20% to 30% of the nation’s total water needs. This figure nearly doubled during the recent drought when about 50% of water in Australia’s parched south-east came from under the ground – a time when groundwater reserves could least afford it. And there are fears that figures on current usage may be too conservative and that total usage is far greater than most imagine. Of major concern are illegal bores, which appear to be multiplying. When surface water is in short supply people sink additional bores. As a result, whenever authorities conduct surveys more illegal bores are found, even in areas that are intensely managed. Estimating the cumulative impact of these thousands of bores drawing water from complex and varied aquifers is incredibly difficult. Groundwater is the lifeblood of numerous rural towns as well as cities such as Perth, Newcastle and Alice Springs. Agriculture cannot survive without it and it is vital for many industries, including mining and manufacturing. Delicate ecosystems will also suffer if groundwater extraction goes unchecked. Over the next 40–50 years the need for fresh water will escalate as Australia’s population doubles. More droughts are expected to occur and with climate change we can expect less rain and more evaporation in the nation’s south-east. At the same time we are dealing with major policy issues such as the proposed Murray–Darling Basin Plan, which recommends a near tripling of groundwater usage from 1580GL to 4340GL a year.

“Because groundwater is underground we pay it insufficient attention – often treating it as a free and infinite resource to be tapped at will,” he says. “If that continues, we risk another tragedy of the commons. Such attitudes must change if we are to have sufficient water for the some 42 million Australians that current estimates suggest could inhabit this continent in 50 years. “Groundwater needs to feature much more prominently in our national and local water debates, planning and reform. The critical nexus between water, population, climate and energy must be a major driver for national water reform as we move into the 21st century.”

Filling the Policy Vacuum It’s a view shared by Dr Rick Evans, President of the International Association of Hydrogeologists Australia, who says that for years there was a complete vacuum regarding government policy in Australia on groundwater. Key policy measures such as the National Water Initiative have resulted in major advances and a myriad of reforms such as full-cost accounting and charging for surface water. But while huge strides have been made in cost recovery for surface water, very little progress is being made in terms of groundwater. “Surface water reforms have tended to be applied to groundwater, which in many cases has been good,” says Dr Evans. “But overall this approach is far too simplistic, because groundwater is quite different and many of the concepts and management regimes simply do not apply.” One of the critical issues with groundwater is that the processes of recharge are very long term – often thousands of years. Underground storages are not an infinite supply, yet falling groundwater levels are now a feature around the world. In the Great Artesian Basin water tables started declining within a few years of the first bores being sunk. Other aquifers in Australia have now dried out completely.

Policymakers and scientists are also working through the potential long-term impacts of coal seam gas (CSG) mining, with the National Water Commission estimating that large volumes of water will be taken from groundwater systems over the next 20 years as a result of CSG operations.

It has been demonstrated that some of the Great Artesian Basin waters are only recharged on a timescale of hundreds of thousands of years. Elsewhere, groundwater is often equally old – this gives us vital clues about recharge rates, slow flow rates and the size of aquifers.

Tragedy of the Commons

“People talk about the need for groundwater reform during the drought, but the second it rains the conversation stops,” says Dr Evans. “It’s the old story of ‘out of sight, out of mind’. But unless we get serious about the management of groundwater, then we will destroy the main water supply of the world, and the implications of that are absolutely horrific.”

Accurately quantifying total groundwater extraction from these multiple industrial and community uses is just one side of the ledger. Estimating recharge is even more challenging with just as many, if not more, unknowns. Professor Craig Simmons is one of the many groundwater researchers in Australia who is trying to find answers and drive policy change. As director of the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training, Professor Simmons is heading a comprehensive research program focused on finding answers to technical as well as social and policy issues.

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National Groundwater Action Plan Efforts to improve our understanding of groundwater were accelerated in 2007, when the National Water Commission initiated an $82 million National Groundwater Action Plan as part of the National Water Initiative.

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feature article Professor Simmons says the centre represented by far the most significant single development in groundwater research and capacity building in Australia’s history. “Since being established we’ve been involved in massive capacity building, training and up-skilling on an unprecedented scale,” he says. “The NCGRT is a huge opportunity for Australian researchers from multiple disciplines and a major focus is industry and field-based projects that deliver research in support of current management and policy needs.” The centre is addressing a major national skills shortage in groundwater expertise through some serious capacity building and links with international researchers. It is currently training about 60 PhD students and 45 postdoctoral fellows, plus about 100 honours students. Using the latest technology and infrastructure, the researchers of the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training are responsible for world-leading science that will help us to gain a greater understanding of our groundwater resources. Technical research focuses on investigating: • Characteristics of aquifers and aquitards; • Groundwater-dependent ecosystems and the potential impact of climate change; • Simulation of groundwater in complex subterranean systems; • The links between surface water and groundwater.

NCGRT research assistant Stephanie Villeneuve sampling groundwater at the Willunga Basin. A centrepiece of this was the $50 million National Groundwater Assessment Initiative to explore knowledge gaps in our groundwater systems through hydrogeological investigations.

In addition, the centre has legal and policy experts examining the highly complex but equally critical area of socio-economics, policy-making and management. These researchers work within a dedicated program that interacts closely with government, industry and the centre’s technical programs.

Impacts of Coal Seam Gas Mining on Groundwater Among the many research priorities for Australia is the impact on groundwater from Australia’s coal seam gas (CSG) industry.

A key focus has been a strategic assessment of groundwater resources and connectivity across Australia, focusing on priority areas identified by state and territory authorities.

Three major CSG projects have been approved in Queensland to mine vast stores of methane gas locked up for millions of years in coal seams. Energy companies drill wells several hundred metres to kilometres deep to release the gas, along with large quantities of underground water. This raises potential issues such as safe disposal and the risk of contamination of other water bodies with salt or chemicals.

While the challenges are considerable, Mr Cameron said the National Groundwater Action Plan is delivering the tools and mechanisms to effectively manage groundwater and pursue exciting opportunities in areas such as aquifer recharge.

The Queensland Government estimates that 25,000 to 35,000 of these wells will be drilled in future decades under collective management rules set down by state and Commonwealth governments.

National Water Commission CEO, James Cameron, said the plan has been responsible for nearly 90 projects. Many are complete and the rest will be finalised by June this year.

Groundwater Research and Training A second major initiative of the National Groundwater Action Plan has been a $30 million joint venture with the Australian Research Council to establish the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training. This funding has since been supplemented, with $15 million coming from the Australian Government’s Super Science Initiative and $10 million from collaborating universities, industry partners and government departments across Australia. Within two years the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training has established itself as a world-class centre for groundwater research and training with rapid growth of faculty and staff.

A technique called fraccing [sometimes spelt fracking], or hydraulic fracturing, is also used in some of the CSG wells to increase the flow of gas. It involves pumping water, sand and chemicals into the coal seams at high pressure to widen the gaps and allow more gas to escape. The Queensland Government reports that approximately 8% of CSG wells drilled in Queensland have been fracced, but this could rise to between 10% and 40% of wells in future. It also says the risk of groundwater contamination is minimal because of the strict safety regimes. In a position statement the National Water Commission says the CSG industry offers substantial economic and other benefits to Australia. But it also has this caveat: “At the same time, if not adequately managed and regulated, it risks having


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feature article significant, long-term and adverse impacts on adjacent surface and groundwater systems.” It is for this reason that we need strong science to underpin all policy, and for public discussions to be factbased and informed. Current estimates from the National Water Commission are that about 300GL of groundwater a year will be extracted as a result of CSG mining. To put this in perspective, an estimated 540GL is currently extracted annually from the Great Artesian Basin. Removal of groundwater on such as scale is no doubt a risky business. There is a long list of potential side effects that may or may not be realised and that may be large or small – the jury is still out on many of them. Groundwater extraction has the potential to affect both surface and groundwater systems, and there could be land subsidence and crosscontamination between water bodies. And, even if all the salt from the water is safely extracted and stored, fresh water discharge could have a negative environmental impact.

Murray–Darling Basin Plan Another tumultuous issue in Australian groundwater management is the Murray–Darling Basin, a region that covers one million square kilometres and supplies at least 40% of the nation’s agricultural production. The proposed Murray–Darling Basin Plan is a laudable attempt to restore environmental flows, implement sustainable caps and deliver a healthy and productive river system. However, a “U-turn” in suggested groundwater figures from the Guide to the Proposed Basin Plan, released in 2010, to the policy contained in the Proposed Basin Plan itself, released in late 2011, has further inflamed debate about the future of groundwater reserves in the basin. The 2010 guide proposed decreasing groundwater usage by 160GL; now the Murray–Darling Basin Authority suggests increasing groundwater usage by an additional 2760GL up to 4340GL per year.

In addition, because aquifers that are pumped dry often collapse, there is also a risk that the systems will never be restored to their previous condition for subsurface water storage.

This appears to fly in the face of a sustainable yields project undertaken by the CSIRO in 2007–2008, which found that groundwater use was already unsustainable in seven of the 20 irrigation areas in the basin. It warns that without proper management there will be major drawdowns in groundwater levels.

In order to responsibly quantify and manage these risks, and to ensure that economic benefits are balanced with environmental sustainability, these issues will be investigated by an Interim Independent Expert Scientific Committee established in January by Environment and Water Minister, Tony Burke, in a $150 million initiative to advise on CSG and large coal mining.

For its part the Murray–Darling Basin Authority says it has adopted a vision of a healthy working basin with a balance between the water needs of communities, industries and the environment. It says its recommendations have been based on hydrological modelling and input from state governments on entitlements, stock and domestic use of groundwater.

Chaired by Professor Simmons, the committee will commission and fund water resource assessments in priority regions, strategic science and provide advice to governments, based on transparent, independent science.

But the Murray–Darling Basin Authority recommendations on groundwater have been criticised by large sections of the scientific community, who argue that the reasons for the change have not been publicly demonstrated, and there is a need for

NCGRT PhD candidate Chani Welch flow-gauging in the Cockburn River.

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feature article the Murray–Darling Basin Authority to present transparent, rigorous science that is well communicated.

a functional role and most water banking is for immediate recovery not long term.

The independent Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists is urging the plan be withdrawn, saying it fails to provide information to make an informed decision on the future of the river system. The group says the modelling does not take into account the impact that increasing groundwater extractions will have on surface water flows. Many of the groundwater systems in the basin are linked to the river system.

“But at the same time I don’t want to advocate strategic reserves in places where there’s no surface water or groundwater cap. There has to be a cap in place, otherwise we’re wasting our time and we could be causing environmental havoc downstream.”

Also the plan does not identify the volume of water needed for a healthy working river system and there is no information on how effective it would be in coping with long dry periods. “The change in volumes between the guide and the proposed plan must be transparent, clearly explained and well justified so that we have the confidence in its ability to deliver ultimately what it needs to, and that is a healthy, working river system. This is a very challenging problem but one with huge national significance and one we have got to get right,” says Professor Simmons. “The key to effective groundwater management is knowledge: knowing with precision how large is the resource, how long it takes to recharge, how it connects to surface waters, and how quickly it is being depleted by competing social, economic and environmental demands on it. These are obvious and ongoing challenges, but at the heart of effective policy. “Public trust and confidence are significant issues with groundwater. We see this exemplified with current national issues such as CSG and the plan for the Murray–Darling Basin. It means we have to work even harder on making sure that our science is robust and that we are being transparent, communicating effectively and working closely with the community,” he said.

Managed Aquifer Recharge On the positive side, Australian scientists working in Adelaide, the Bowen Basin in Queensland, and around Perth, have demonstrated great scope to store surplus surface water – such as city runoff – in aquifers underground, where the water undergoes a natural cleansing process. This points to the potential for ‘underground dams’ where water is stored, safe from evaporation, for the needs of the future or for dry times to come. Dr Peter Dillon, a senior researcher with CSIRO in water recycling and diversified supplies, said Australia was a world leader in areas such as the re-use of stormwater in aquifers and managed aquifer recharge. Reinjection is already taking place in mining, with companies such as Fortescue Metals pioneering advanced recharge systems. The company recently won national recognition for its Cloudbreak Managed Aquifer Recharge Scheme, which has the capacity to replace 25GL of water each year. Dr Dillon is confident that reinjection schemes in mining, including coal seam gas, will increase to the stage where it is standard practice. But he believes government regulators should be doing more. “A big issue for me is that most regulators look at groundwater management being demand management and they are not taking seriously their role in recharge of aquifers, which is well and truly warranted,” he says. “Most government departments see themselves in a regulatory role rather than

In its Waterlines Report Series No. 13, the National Water Commission describes managed aquifer recharge as being at the cutting edge of integrated water management, with the potential to help sustain groundwater supplies and dependent ecosystems in heavily used aquifers. But so far its uptake has been low compared to other alternatives such as desalination, recycling and using groundwater. The National Water Commission says that in 2008, managed aquifer recharge delivered about 45GL to irrigators and just 7GL to urban water supplies across Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Urban use could be increased to 200GL by using aquifers mapped in Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne. Recharged water can be obtained from multiple sources including rainwater, stormwater, reclaimed water, mains or other aquifers. And in addition to significant environmental benefits, the cost savings from urban-managed aquifer recharge are also considerable – an estimated $400 million per year cheaper than using the equivalent 200GL from seawater desalination. The National Water Commission says there are also substantial opportunities for managed aquifer recharge in other cities and rural catchments that have yet to be assessed.

Keeping the Milkshake Glass Full Robert Glennon, Professor of Law at the University of Arizona and author of Unquenchable: America’s Water Crisis and What To Do About It, sees many parallels between Australia and the US in the over-exploitation of groundwater. He’s currently visiting Australia as a distinguished guest lecturer at the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training and predicts that international water woes will get worse before they start to improve. He likens groundwater aquifers to a giant milkshake glass, with each well representing a straw in the glass. “What both the US and Australia have done is to permit a limitless number of straws in the same glass, and that’s a recipe for disaster, an unsustainable use of a finite resource,” he said. “It took Mother Nature millennia to accumulate the water in our aquifers but we’re pumping that water out in mere decades. The essence of the problem is allowing limitless private access to a finite public resource.”

Looking Forward Despite these challenges, Professor Simmons is enthusiastic about the future of groundwater research, and the interest and engagement that is beginning to build around the topic. “At the beginning of the 21st century, Australia is well placed to manage the challenges and opportunities groundwater presents us,” he says. “We now have the scientific capacity and infrastructure, and the policy imperative, to begin successfully answering the big questions and making informed decisions about groundwater use and management. We have made excellent progress in this country and we must not forget that. But there are miles to go before we sleep.”


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Smarter Systems Procurement Understanding the CIS and billing systems market gives water businesses an investment head start By Alex Coe, Senior Consultant, Marchment Hill Consulting Companies contemplating a new CIS and billing system need to be informed – not just about their own needs, but about the market they are entering. There are many examples of troubled and expensive system implementations that underline the importance of early engagement with providers, and understanding what is available. Often, smarter systems procurement is based on asking the following key questions: • What systems are procured in my industry segment – and is a best-of-breed or an ERP philosophy more effective? • What are the procurement costs and characteristics of a successful implementation? • When should we make the decision to replace? • How should we prepare to engage the market, and whose experiences can we learn from?

What Systems are Procured in my Industry Segment? The size distribution of the utility industry in Australia (Figure 1) leads to distinctly different markets for CIS and billing systems. As the chart shows, the majority of water businesses have less than 100,000 customers. These smaller organisations are mostly spin-offs from councils or other state authorities, or occasionally still exist within them. Therefore, historically, this market has been dominated by local authority billing and CRM applications. The small scale of these businesses makes even mid-tier bespoke systems difficult to justify, with high establishment costs and little commercial incentive to adopt more sophisticated marketing tools. However, the commercial pressures on systems providers may drive a focus on this group, with stripped-down offerings and more commerciallyastute licensing arrangements over the next few years. Small utilities interested in new systems should be looking to drive a hard bargain while ensuring long-term maintenance support. For these smaller utilities, high value tends to be placed on replicating successful peer implementations rather than

Number of utilities

Size Distribution of Australian Utilities 50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0

Very Small





100,000+ 300,000+

Number of customers per utility Energy Distribution

Energy Retail


Figure 1. Trends in the Australian water sector CIS and billing space.

experimenting with new entrants. AquaRate and Technology One are the most successful providers here. As some of these small utilities have been aggregated and corporatised through recent industry reform, a new ‘mid-tier’ segment has emerged. Recent years have seen several new billing system implementations in this segment (many of which were Gentrack’s), as legacy systems become more costly to maintain and struggle to keep pace with regulatory and community expectations. This segment has tended to opt for modular, best-of-breed CIS and billing systems that can be implemented relatively easily. Priorities include interoperability with existing systems, and the ability to provide a ‘single view’ of customer data. Flexibility is valued, although the scale of these businesses allows business processes to work around system constraints where required. While further industry reshuffl ing may yet occur in Tasmania and Queensland, there has been a significant decline in new implementations, with the next round expected to commence in 2020. This will place pressure on the providers to be competitive in responding to future market opportunities, but may also restrain continuing support capability – now is the time for utilities to check that their support arrangements and expectations are clearly understood, refl ected in their support contracts, and that their providers are committing to long-term resourcing where required. The largest energy utilities, meanwhile, are predominantly employing SAP as a business platform that includes CIS and billing modules, in preference to retaining best-of–breed integrated solutions. These solutions offer organisations full ERP functionality and, therefore, the ability to tightly integrate their Finance, HR and Asset Management functions to provide end-to-end services. Oracle, believing that the energy industry’s logic should hold equally well in water, is making a clear play for large water utilities. Evidence from overseas, where larger water businesses are moving towards full ERP implementations, suggests that they are right. Over the last 20 years there has been little regulatory change or innovation in Australia of the sort that would necessitate new systems with new capabilities. Ageing legacy systems, therefore, have ‘done the job’. But we are now seeing the beginnings of interval metering being rolled out in the Australian water industry, and its data storage and processing requirements are orders of a magnitude higher than the simple metering it is replacing. This should gradually move more water businesses down the replacement route.



The broad range of systems adopted in the water industry, compared to the energy industry, suggests that no one product is universally applicable or suitable. As Figure 2 (overleaf) clearly shows, the market for billing systems in water is diverse. Nevertheless, our research (based on interviews with over 30 utility industry


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Figure 2. Systems market shares in water and energy, by number of accounts. utility’s number of connections: on average, typical upfront license costs amount to $14 per connection. This does not include project implementation costs or subsequent product modification (if required).

CIOs, IT Procurement Managers and Retail Managers) has shown that the following points of differentiation between vendors are the most important for a prospective systems purchaser to consider, once a budget has been set: • Is the vendor focused on the water sector? How deep is their industry knowledge and track record?

Implementation and customisation costs can make or break a system’s implementation. Successful examples tend to exhibit a number of characteristics:

• What does their integration track record look like? • Will we have a peer group outside our business that can share knowledge about this system?

• Customisation is defi ned and limited – implementing an ‘offthe-shelf’ solution gives a company greater choice of product and protects against the risk of customisations becoming overly complex, low value, or being poorly scoped. Human processes can be more easily modified than systems, and allowing planning to be constrained by ‘the way things are currently done’ can have expensive consequences. Some products are highly customisable (for instance, HiAffi nity’s XML programming capability), but the cost of maintaining in-house programming capability must also be considered.

• How many connections can it successfully handle? • Is the vendor able to provide support and upgrades over the long term? • Is it “future proof”? Do they have a clear development path? • Is the system intuitive and usable with minimal staff training? Can we fi t our workfl ows into the platform with minimal disruption, and avoid the need for customisation?

• Appropriately detailed business requirements – requirements that are either too detailed or too loose – can result in a system that does not balance efficiency and systems cost. Identifying the aspects of business process that are most critical increases the likelihood of a system that does the important things well, and the less important things efficiently.

What are the Procurement Costs and Characteristics of a Successful Implementation? A typical cost for licensing a billing/CIS system (Figure 3) shows a clear relationship between total upfront licence cost and the

Observed License Cost ($m)


Observed License Cost


• A strong, ongoing relationship with the vendor – as with any recruitment, selecting the right partner first time is crucial to preventing difficulties later on; ignoring early warning signs about the vendor may be costly in the long term.

Trend Line

40 30 20 10 0








Number of Connections ('000) Figure 3. Upfront licence costs for recent CIS and billing implementations.

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• Fully implementing the system as originally intended – the learnings gathered during the systems selection and procurement phase must be carefully sustained. Too often, a system is replaced not because it is functionally inadequate, but because the benefits and functions of the implementation were never realised.

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feature article When Should We Make the Decision to Replace? Typical drivers for replacement include escalating costs of maintaining old systems and a lack of modern functionality, such as web interoperability, user-customisable direct reporting, customer self-service functionality and comprehensive data consolidation. Often the replacement of other business systems, for example, Finance or Asset Management, can trigger early replacement of retail systems. The timing of replacement decisions is often well handled by water businesses – however, a lack of market awareness and lengthy implementations can occasionally result in systems becoming obsolete shortly after completion. CIS and billing systems typically last 10–15 years within stable environments and with regular maintenance – the lifespan may be prolonged due to the high cost of replacement in terms of business disruption. This cost tends to scale more than linearly with the size of the utility; small organisations can have relatively painless transitions, driven by an individual decision maker who can oversee the entire project and its impacts. Businesses with in excess of one million connections tend to conduct in-depth EOI / RFI and RFT processes, and spend time defining and confirming their business’s needs before any decision can be made. In terms of planning and implementation time, current projects target 18-month timeframes for procurement and execution, although this tends to understate the planning and procurement decision period by up to six months. While the decision to replace can be influenced by external drivers (regulatory requirements or group business changes), there are systems, such as DST’s HiAffinity, in the field that remain well beyond their expected retirement date because they “just work”.

How Should We Prepare to Engage the Market – and Whose Experiences Can We Learn From? Smarter systems procurement will rely on a water business’s understanding of the CIS and billing systems market in order to give them a head start. At the very least, water businesses should: • Research and engage with industry peers of the same size and type – this is a crucial step, and can provide opportunities for knowledge sharing, significantly improved leverage in dealing with vendors, and inform innovation and capability objectives. • Develop a clear understanding of the business priorities, risks and technical requirements – overly specific requirements can reduce future flexibility, and may miss the improvement opportunities of using a new platform. On the other hand, under-specification inevitably costs more time and money than it may save in the long run, and risks a system that does not meet the business’s aspirations. By taking a process view rather than a business requirements view, the ‘right’ level of definition can be obtained. • Work closely with the vendors to understand their product, support capability and roadmaps – the relationship will be a long and hopefully constructive one, so establish expectations early and ensure the mechanisms required will be in place. Finally, larger water businesses can gain insight from the experiences and challenges of energy businesses that have already adopted ERP systems. The scale, power and customisability of these systems can make for a business case and implementation plan that, for a CIO, seems to tick all the right boxes. Yet the same characteristics can derail the implementation effort; it can be difficult to define what the ERP system needs to achieve, dedicate the right volume of resources to the project, and overcome resistance to change – from both top management and users at the front line. Water businesses have an opportunity to tap into this experience from their peers in the energy industry – they should seize it.

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What Are Smart Meters? This fact sheet has been prepared by the Water Efficiency Specialist Network Committee. The intent of the fact sheet is to provide interested groups and individuals with information about aspects of water flow measurement and smart meters. Quick Outline The axiom “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” may suffer from overuse, but rarely is it an inaccurate observation. Australia, being the driest continent in the world, suffers from periodic drought conditions that make water availability a key national issue. Water utilities and industries around Australia have been under growing pressure to address water shortages caused by population growth, severe droughts, and uneven distribution of water resources caused by climatic changes. Ever-increasing water demands, coupled with dwindling water supplies, have posed great challenges to water industries to seriously consider the efficient management of water resources. After decades of inadequate metering of water use, organisations have realised that accurate, adequate and reliable measurement and monitoring practices of water consumption are essential for management of sustainable water resources (Willies et al., 2010). This fact sheet provides information on current measurement methods adopted by utilities and technological improvement and innovation that occurs in this field.

Why Do We Need Advanced Metering? The technical sophistication of meters for measuring water flows has increased markedly in recent decades. There are a number of metering options for liquids, including permanent and temporary meters, various mechanical meters, and an increasing array of non-invasive metering techniques such as the use of Doppler and ultrasound techniques (Butler, 2008). There is no conduit type (pipe or channel), no conduit material or diameter, and no moving liquid that cannot be measured. A key issue for utilities and consumers is the frequency and temporal spread of water meter reads. Most utilities record water consumption data manually on a monthly, quarterly or half-yearly basis. While monthly data provides better data set for high levels of water usage, quarterly or half-yearly data collection provides a “lumpy” dataset in which a whole year of water consumption is lumped into only two or four sets. This infrequent data collection is sufficient for billing purposes, but gives limited information on actual water use behaviour, leakage and seasonal variation.

use, with the added benefit of letting the users know where they use the water most in a dwelling (e.g. shower or bath).

What are the Processes Involved in Smart Metering Technology? A smart meter is a normal water meter connected to a data logger that allows for the continuous monitoring of water consumption. As opposed to conventional systems in which users get the information on water usage months after the events occurred, a smart metering system can provide real-time water consumption or sufficient data points to determine usage patterns (Butler, 2008). Smart metering is, therefore, the provision of near real-time information enabling customers to understand and monitor their water use and assisting the water utility to manage its network and provide better customer service (Doolan, 2011). When a water event occurs (such as a person taking a shower or using a washing machine), the event creates several pulses in a water meter that are logged by a data logger in a pre-determined frequency. These pulses can then be analysed manually or using special purpose software that can disaggregate the water events and assign them to various water uses according to a number of user-defined parameters such as flow rate, volume and time (Mead and Aravinthan, 2009). For example, a shower would be defined as having a peak flow rate between 7L/min and 15L/min and at least two minutes long but less than 20 minutes. Dishwashers and washing machines have distinct cycles that can be obtained from the manufacturer. Figure 1 explains how some events such as toilet flushing, dishwasher, basin and shower use can be discerned from the data obtained from smart metering technology using discrete patterns of those specific events. To be more accurate, these need to be correlated with the user maintaining a diary of use for the first few days to determine exactly which data spike correlates with which fixture. Subsequently, the user will be able to get an understanding of itemised water consumption that happens in his dwelling in near real-time rather than waiting for the next water bill.

The timely collection and analysis of water use data, and the timely relaying of these data to the water user, can result in significant changes in water use behaviour. The benefits include immediate leak detection and consequent remedial action that can save precious quantities of water. The data is also invaluable in designing water efficiency and re-use systems (Butler, 2007) and for the improvement of demand management policies and programs (Giurco et al., 2008). Smart meters are one step closer to bringing this dilemma into real-time monitoring of water

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Figure 1. Itemised water use events based on intensity, duration and frequency.

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feature article interval metering (≥10 seconds), automated data transfer (e.g. drive by, GPRS, 3G) and access to data from the internet. Figure 2 explains the process of acquisition, capture, transfer and analysis of water flow data.

Who Uses Smart Meters in Australia and for What Purpose? Smart meters are used for quantifying end use, assessing and evaluating the effectiveness of demand management programs and conservation initiatives, designing an end-use based pricing scheme, detecting leaks and monitoring the impact of pressure management, collecting information about a particular end use and identifying diurnal and peak demand patterns. Western Australia’s Water Corporation in Perth, Yarra Valley Water in Victoria, and Toowoomba City Council and Gold Coast City Council in Queensland conducted investigations on smart metering in their jurisdictions. Currently South-East Queensland (Urban Water Security Figure 2. Schematic flow of process for acquisition, capture, transfer and analysis of water flow data (Beal et al., 2010). Research Alliance) conducts end use study incorporating the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Advances in methods for data capture, transfer and analysis Ipswich and the Gold Coast. have improved the resolution of water volume data and made Sydney Water and various consultants have been using smart transfer and collection of data substantially more time efficient. metering technology since 1996 to conduct water efficiency Giurco et al. (2008) consider smart metering to have the following key elements: real-time monitoring, high-resolution audits for their business customers. They have also conducted

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feature article research projects on residential use (Doolan, 2011) and houses with rainwater tanks (Sullivan, 2009). Wide Bay Water Corporation trialled the application of smart metering in Harvey Bay that aimed at providing customer consumption data for the first time at city-wide level, replacing 20,000 domestic water meters within their jurisdiction with a smart metering system. The system is designed to improve leak detection and enhance the understanding of customer water use patterns at the household scale. They hope that improved innovation in remote meter reading will enable “time of use” billing (cited in Giurco et al., 2008). The Smart Water Fund in Victoria funded a project to install water meters on shower-heads with a display for users to see their consumption. The trial resulted in an average 14.8% reduction in water use in showers with the meters fitted compared to those without.

What Does the Future Hold? While smart meters are employed for various research purposes at the moment, the innovation continues in data capture, transfer and analysis, which can pave the way for real-time monitoring of water use. Commercial and industrial users have adopted the technology as a facility management tool and are beginning to compare their data with billing records. Real-time monitoring extends the end-use approach to include rapid analysis, interpretation and presentation of data by end use to provide immediate customer feedback and enable householders to alter their behaviours. As data loggers can cost around $1,000 each, plus the ongoing data transfer costs and software fees, real-time

monitoring has not been economically efficient on any significant scale to date when compared with manual meter reading. It is likely to be an area of future innovation and cost competitiveness as monitoring technology and data management systems advance.

References Beal C, Stewart RA, Huang T & Rey A, 2011: SEQ Residential End Use Study. Water Journal, Vol 38, No 1, pp 80–84, March 2011. Butler R, 2007: Saving Water Using Monitoring Auditing and Modelling. Proceedings of the 13th International Rainwater Catchment Systems Conference, Sydney, August 21–23. Butler R, 2008: The Role of Metering and Monitoring in Water Efficiency Management. Proceedings of the 3rd AWA National Water Efficiency Conference, Gold Coast, March 31, Australian Water Association. Doolan C, 2011: Sydney Water’s Smart Metering Residential Study. Proceedings of 4th AWA National Water Efficiency Conference, Melbourne, March 1–3, Australian Water Association. Giurco D, Carrard N, McFallan S, Nalbantoglu M, Inman M, Thornton N & White, S, 2008: Residential End-Use Measurement Guidebook: A Guide to Study Design, Sampling and Technology. Prepared by the Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS and CSIRO for the Smart Water Fund, Victoria. Mead N & Aravinthan V, 2009: Investigation of Household Water Consumption Using Smart Metering System, Desalination and Water Treatment, Vol 11, pp 1–9. Sullivan J, 2009: BASIX Water Savings Monitoring, Sydney Water Publication. Willis R, Stewart RA, Panuwatwanich K, Jones S & Kyriakides A, 2010: Alarming Visual Display Monitors Affecting Shower End Use Water and Energy Conservation in Australian Residential Households”, Resources Conservation and Recycling, Vol 54, pp 1117–1127.

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THE APPLICATION AND UTILITY OF ‘SMARTS’ FOR MONITORING WATER AND ITS INFRASTRUCTURE The benefits of current and future sensor technology D Marney, A Sharma Abstract What is an ‘intelligent water network’ and why is it needed? In the context of a water and wastewater network, intelligence may be considered as being informed about likely events or water network behaviours prior to their occurrence, then being able to plan for and mitigate some of the possible outcomes, or prevent their eventuality. It is needed for a number of reasons, including being able to ‘get more’ out of the existing asset base – without the need for costly augmentation, optimal utilisation of network capacity, better water network augmentation planning based on an holistic approach, improved tariff structuring for improved service delivery, minimising unaccounted-for water, minimising leaks/ overflows of wastewater to the environment, improved efficiency of treatment plants, and minimising water quality and service delivery risks, in an increasingly complex environment where we are trying to minimise carbon-energy costs, close the water cycle loop and utilise every drop for various forms of reuse and resource recovery. This list is by no means inclusive and thus is only indicative; however, the days of the ‘gold-plated’ solution by oversizing all of the assets based on extremely conservative construction principles are in the past, because there simply is not

Figure 1. Conventional water delivery system.

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the funding to support such ventures. In addition, there is an expectation for improved water accounting by both water consumers and water suppliers in the same way we manage our mobile phone use, and billing is increasingly realistic because of the improvement in monitoring and communications technologies over the last decade. Intelligent water networks will enable operation and planning managers to efficiently operate and plan networks that would reduce the capital, operating and environmental cost to the community.

Introduction The three key drivers for such innovation in our water delivery infrastructure are: • To improve the value of water services to the community; • Reduce the risks to service delivery in an increasingly complex environment where more demands are made on the existing asset base; and • Improve the system effectiveness and efficiency. The increasing complexity in our urban water systems is described here, where it is clear that modern water distribution and wastewater collection networks, as shown in Figure 2, present much more of a challenge than the old ‘once-through systems’ shown

in Figure 1, because of the desire to close the water cycle loop. There will be differing water qualities, changing end use patterns and greater complexity, all resulting in new and increased risks to manage. The management of future complex systems (Figure 2) will need a high degree of monitoring with real-time direct feedback for operations and water quality purposes, as well as monitoring of the asset performance and condition to ensure that these multimillion dollar assets, including pipes and water treatment systems, are capable of performing at their optimum. These systems will include indirect potable (IPR) and direct potable use (DPR) of recycled water including desalination, third pipe systems and connectivity to decentralised wastewater systems. The monitoring of these systems will be in the form of sensors for a range of direct and indirect (or inferred) measurements from which system performance and problems can be assessed. One scenario for the system sensors needed to collect the relevant information is depicted in Figure 3.

Need for Real-Time Information To address these requirements we need a real-time responsive system – i.e. one that can be interrogated in order to obtain information on the current

Figure 2. Modern and future closed loop water system.

technical features

smart systems

Figure 3. Sensored modern/future water network. state of the water (or waste) as well as the infrastructure. For example, if a home water collection system such as a rainwater tank is full, and there is a rain event forecast, we will need an intelligent system which, upon receiving this spatial and temporal information, can implement actions which discharge some (or all) of the existing tank water for replacement by the expected rainwater; this optimises water quality, reduces flood and prevents the discharge of ‘better’ quality water. Similarly, if a home waste treatment or septic system is malfunctioning and requires maintenance or pumping out, the relevant water utility and home occupant need the data or temporal and spatial information in order to implement processes and actions which initiate repair of the system or pumping out (if required). Such a smart system is essential in the case of a large number of onsite systems to keep them operational by ongoing notification to the operator remotely. This saves resources and prevents possible health risks from overflow by either ‘fixing’ the problem before it gets out of hand or taking no action. The case is analogous for sewer mining, where processes and actions can be implemented in a timely manner by initiating a process only when the levels of particular components are appropriate for extraction to be economical. An example of where real-time monitoring of both infrastructure and water quality would have made a difference is the Bellevue Hill landslide (Figure 4). In June 2009, a major cast-iron water main burst in Bellevue Hill, in the eastern suburbs of Sydney. The pipe had been leaking underground for at least 60 hours before rupturing. Indeed, maintenance crews falsely concluded that water coming out of the ground was stormwater; in addition, it took around 12 hours to find the nearest valves in order to isolate the catastrophe from the system. As a result of the rupture, there was a significant landslide that swallowed two cars and a power pole. The land slippage created a 25-metre-deep abyss, which sent

tonnes of sand and soil into Cooper Park. The pictorial evidence of the event is shown in Figure 4. In addition, the landslide caused the rupture of a gas main, which sparked a lockdown of the surrounding neighbourhood and closure of Bellevue Hill Public School the following day.

How could a real-time monitoring system/intelligent network have assisted (or prevented) this occurrence? • To the extent that intelligent technologies prevent or reduce the frequency of these disruptive or harmful events, or aid in the efficient and effective management of such events, the community benefits from the avoidance of associated direct and externality costs;


(b) Figure 4. Photographs of the Bellevue Hill water main burst in 2009. • Direct monitoring of the pipe by, say, an optical fibre-based array sensor system could have picked up either the leak (change in temperature around the pipe or change in background sound) or stress of the pipe due to loss of support prior to catastrophic failure; or the subtle change in pressure, due to the leakage over the 60 hours prior to the catastrophe; • More frequent placement of more sensitive pressure and flow monitoring equipment would have noted the changing trend of pumping needs and/or the subtle changes in flow and pressure around the affected zone;

• Electronic tagging and monitoring of appurtenances would have allowed the immediate location of the nearest valve to be known and turned off, or if modern e-valve systems were installed, it could have automatically closed upon the sudden loss in pressure and increase in flow.

What Information is Needed A common and often expensive phenomenon in large water distribution mains is burst pipes. This is often considered unavoidable because of the age and location (i.e. buried) of the infrastructure. The costs of disruption in service delivery have never been fully quantified because of the variation in flow-on effects of such an event, due to the dependence of the costs calculation on the location of the pipe or burst and the population type (i.e. business or household). Rarely does such an event occur in the absence of some induction or initiation process such as a slow leak, cracking or unusual stresses on the pipe, corrosion of the pipe, or change in internal water pressure. If we had spatial and temporal information on the condition of the pipe, reflecting the possible induction processes, potential bursts could be proactively managed and thus prevented. Stormwater and sewerage pipe infrastructure can be similarly monitored with respect to bursts and blockages. In addition, environmental and health risk-driven regulatory needs relating to inputs to and discharges from the system can be addressed, given the availability of spatial and temporal information on critical water quality parameters. In the case of the drinking water system, knowledge of the quantities of water consumed and lost within the system at any given time and location will allow the quantification and identification of the location of losses and, thus, this phenomenon can be managed. This will ensure service delivery requirements are met while at the same time preventing the loss of an increasingly critical resource, as well as maintaining the asset (as the loss is likely to have arisen from inadequately managed and damaged or faulty infrastructure, which can then be repaired or replaced). With knowledge of the quantities of water at any given time and at any given location within the system, demand may be better managed (i.e. optimised) and predicted in relatively simple ways in real time. Similarly the spatial and temporal information on the status of valves and fire hydrants in this system will allow more precise control of flows and proactive management of events such as failures or interruptions due to fire fighting requirements.


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smart systems Reducing Energy Consumption In line with the carbon-constrained future, there is a need to address the relatively high energy consumption of water utilities as a result of pumping at various stages. With knowledge of the system pressures, flows and levels at any location and time, the utilities can optimise pump operation and manage demand in the same way that some of them currently do, utilising off-peak energy metering to conduct most of the high energy long distance pumping.

The Digital World In future, when we will all interact with the virtual world to some degree, the availability of metrics from the type of information mentioned above, via digital means (either internet or mobile telephone), will not only give water utilities tools for certainty in timely decision making, but also empower house occupants to better manage their water usage, thus effecting behavioural change. In many respects this is no different from the way we think about our vehicles; we have monitors for engine temperature, for oil level, for battery energy level, to tell us how many kilometres the vehicle has travelled, if our seatbelt is on, that the lights are on, what speed we are travelling at, if the handbrake is on... one that activates antilock braking when it senses that the wheels are losing their grip on the road surface, and one that activates airbags in the event of a sudden loss in vehicle velocity. All of these monitors (or sensors) on our vehicles are now considered as the norm, and we utilise the information from them to make decisions to minimise risks of accidents, prolong our vehicles’ lives, and ensure our comfort and standard of transport. This monitoring has resulted in a significant reduction in the rate of vehicular accidents and, most importantly, in the risk of injury (i.e. an increase in societal benefit). Flowon economic benefits have resulted from reduced medical insurance costs, reduced injury recovery time, and a decrease in lost productivity time. The research conducted in this area will identify the relevant parameters within water networks for which real-time monitoring of waters and the associated infrastructure will bring societal, economic and environmental benefits. Further research will develop and identify the necessary network implementation tools or devices for sensor placement strategy, data collection, transfer, storage and presentation. To take advantage of the developments foreshadowed above, water utilities will

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need to make a major shift from the way their business is currently done in order to integrate their existing systems with different modern ‘plug & play’ digital technologies. In addition, their information communication technology (ICT) systems will need modernisation in order to be able to analyse very large data sets in real time. The regulator that facilitates budgets and operating guidelines/rules for these organisations will need to develop a set of policies and guidelines for the inter-operability of technologies as well as the digital management of the water distribution and collection networks in our society.

• Assessing the performance of current systems in terms of service delivery and then setting new standards which will be possible in the new informationdriven virtual world;

Information Needs in Order to Transition from our Current Status

Since direct measurements on or in buried pipes are often impossible, this research should consider some sort of inferential methodology (or proxy parameter) to be used in conjunction with any direct measurements that are possible, to monitor and evaluate the condition of the infrastructure. These proxies will need to be validated initially via a series of statistically designed laboratory trials, followed by field trials that will confirm their efficacy in the real world.

Prior to transitioning from the current status, the business case for proceeding needs to be made in order to ensure the path taken meets the service, operational and budgetary requirements of existing water utility businesses. Importantly, there is a need to ensure that technological advances can be utilised to save money by: (i) extending asset life, (ii) reducing routine monitoring, (iii) facilitating targeted actions/maintenance and (iv) facilitating lower cost and improved service. The templating or impressing of this business requirement on the transition will ensure a consistent and systematic approach for long–term change. The nature of subtasks required for this transition includes: • A comprehensive economic analysis, which will require a survey of the current systems’ control points and identification of parameters for monitoring; • Identification of the relevant governmental stakeholders, which, at the state level, will be treasury, sustainability and environment, human services and the essential services commission; and, at the federal level, Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government; • Estimation (or evaluation) of the costs (or price) of diminished service and environmental effects due to reduced water quality, infrastructure deterioration and failure, illegal discharges into the storm or sewer networks, discharge of poor quality water into the environment, etc; • Estimation (or evaluation) of the cost (or price) savings that can be made as a result of optimised leak management, reduced bursts and failures, optimised pumping, and asset repair and replacement programs;

• Identifying relevant stakeholder sensitivity to the pricing of drinking water supply, wastewater treatment and/or removal, and prevention of environmental contamination events. • Identifying the retraining or new workforce requirements and associated transitional costs.

Infrastructure Monitoring

It is likely that these proxies will include chemical, physical and microbiological measurements, with a “fingerprint” of the combination of all of them being associated with a specific type of material degradation. The exact nature of the relationships found will be characterised by a pattern of some sort; this pattern (and its recognition) will be part of the intelligent system (IS). Upon recognition of a pattern, the IS can raise an alert, spatially and temporally analyse the trend of the pattern, and associate it with known events, in order to eliminate false positives or erroneous monitor readings. Upon confirming a positive alert, it can also initiate an action plan to commence management of the situation. Another aspect of infrastructure monitoring will be the use of in-pipe data collection systems; these could be autonomous vehicles that roam the pipe network, or fixed cables that are permanently located within the pipe network. These will collect data in the form of visual images or precise internal pipe measurements, analogous to previous pipe inspection systems. With some intelligence and networking technology, these systems can provide, to the pipe owners or water utilities, information on the internal condition of the pipe and, because of its inbuilt intelligence, can allow a fully automated process, eliminating the current errorprone and relatively expensive humandriven systems.

technical features

smart systems Water Quality Monitoring Measuring water quality is something that many utilities have routinely performed for many years. Their measurements have usually utilised parameters associated with minimising risk to public health, such as from microbially-contaminated drinking water or from high levels of trace elements such as mercury and cadmium (which can cause long-term chronic illnesses). Waste streams are also regularly monitored, usually to gauge the efficacy of the treatment

process or to ensure that the treatment process is not compromised. Both drinking water sources and wastewaters are also monitored to ensure stability and to prevent possible leaks to the environment that may impact upon local ecosystems. Research is needed to examine the possibility of using water quality measurements to determine if any pipe degradation may be inferred from subtle changes in water quality. One of the challenges in this research is, as for

infrastructure monitoring, to find robust sensors that can be networked to provide a real-time measurement. The intention is not to invent new sensors, but to utilise existing ones and, if appropriate and possible, develop suitable protection for them, add networkability to them, then build in some intelligence. This last component will be the key challenge in this part of the research. The intelligence will need to include selfchecking/calibration, comparison with other sensors in the vicinity as well as with other

Table 1. What to measure Decision triggers

Parameters to measure â&#x20AC;&#x201C; temporal and spatial

Water utility advantages

Flow trends across the state

Flow, pressure, volume, tank storage levels (volume), end usage

Develop and influence changes in design standards to reduce infrastructure provision/renewal costs

Flow, pressure, volume/quantity, tank storage levels (volume), rainfall, household end usage, audio

Optimise flow storage and transfer to sweat the assets and defer capital investments (e.g. storage tanks), control use of large users, time-of-use tariffs or incentive choices for customers to change market demand and usage behaviour

Pump usage (on/off cycles, vibration, electricity usage), volume, flow, pressure, tank storage levels (vol), maintenance costs, water end usage, maintenance response time

Quantify efficiency gain and issues detection for better risk management

Flow, pressure, volume, audio

Better condition monitoring for proactive maintenance, i.e. finding leaks when small to minimise water loss, and to avoid service interruption

Quantify and locate peak demand and spare capacity Efficiency in integrated water networks and/ or decentralised systems Early leak detection Flow level/flow rate through the water systems

Flow, pressure, storage tank/reservoir levels, volume, audio

Customer usage data at local and network levels

At the household level and the domain metering district level as well as multi-district level: volume, end usage, tank storage levels, pressure, flow

Collect and analyse water demand profiles for operations and planning

Environmental parameters

Temperature, rainfall, hours of sunlight, fraction of sky obscured, humidity, wind, Class A pan evaporation

To predict expected network demand and operational settings

Pump flow rate

Volume, pressure, pump on/off times, pump vibration, flow

System operations

Asset type, material, capacity, fluid levels, pressures, flows and types, repair/failure history, audio, external environment, EC, pH, temp

Translate to knowledge of asset deterioration rate and asset life for just-in-time augmentation, extending asset life

Alternative asset condition

Fluid metabolemic fingerprint, sulphur, phosphorus and nitrogen compounds, pH, electrical conductivity, dissolved oxygen, dissolved organic carbon, suspended solids, levels, alkalinity, flow, pressure. External soil/water electrical conductivity, pH, temp. Pipe stress/strain, audio fingerprint

For the development of automatic asset condition grading assessment and alarm system

Cross connection between sewerage & drainage

Fluid electrical conductivity, dissolved organic carbon, pressure, pH, flow (velocity and direction), dissolved oxygen, turbidity

To reduce volumes of sewage treatment and to avoid pollution to environment

Time and location of sewer surcharge/spills

Flow, levels (pipes & retention dams etc), audio, external soil temp, moisture, electrical conductivity, pH

Better management of public health risks

Fluid pH, electrical conductivity, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, dissolved organic carbon, temperature

Compliance monitoring and better management of treatment doses

Better health indicators

Turbidity, pH, electrical conductivity, temperature, chlorine and chloramines, metabolemic fingerprint (corrosion, taste, odour, biofilm activity)

Pathogens detection for better management of water quality

Silting levels in drainage

Pressure, flow, suspended solids, turbidity, metabolemic fingerprint

Drainage maintenance

Asset failure details

Water quality in sewage and trade waste

Blockage detection; Inflow/infiltration response. Inform rehabilitation or management measures


APRIL 2012 89

smart systems forms of data – e.g., if there is a sudden spike in salinity, other parameters such as ionic strength often increase accordingly; an intelligent system will verify this before settling on a measurement. Specific sensors strategically placed with built-in intelligence can, for example, be used to monitor for legacy compounds such as manganese, where these types of compounds are being stripped from old sections of infrastructure, and eventually find their way into the drinking water supply.

The Information Sensors Provide In a digital world with multiple sensors and multiple sensor networks providing real-time information, one will need to be

able to quickly determine the integrity of a measurement. There will need to be built-in ‘smart’ algorithms along with an appropriate level of maintenance to ensure currency of calibration data. This again will require a set of standard specifications for sensor type, accuracy, collection frequency and integrity. Research is needed to identify sensors that can provide long-term stable measurements, and develop the algorithms to ensure any individual measurement is not considered in isolation, but in the context of the temporal and spatial trends. Further, it will need to identify the most appropriate locations to place the sensors in terms of their power requirements and risks not only to the sensor integrity, but also in terms of

the need to minimise out-of-specification water quality and maximise the asset life along with the costs associated with this. The sensors that need to be identified and considered will be simple ones that can either directly measure or inferentially determine parameters such as temperature, level, humidity, conductivity, pH, organic carbon, inorganic compounds and nutrients, etc. Although there are sensors for corrosion, their applicability for specific types of corrosion such as copper and lead that are still present in legacy systems, as well as their robustness for buried pipe applications, remain questions to be addressed.

Table 2. Measurement parameter definitions Parameter to be measured

What we mean by this parameter


Fluid (water, stormwater, sewerage) volumetric flow rate through a pipe at some time at some location within the network


Actual volume of fluid passing through or in the pipe (network) at a given time at some location within the network


The dynamic and/or static pressure of the fluid at some location and time within the network

Tank/ reservoir/pipe storage levels/volume

The level of fluid in a storage tank at any location and time within the network; this could also apply to sewerage storage basins; the levels of fluid in gravity sewers at different times and locations

Rainfall or precipitation

The amount of rainfall that has fallen at some location within a given timeframe (mm or m3)


A measure of the environmental conditions at some location and time within the network

Pan evaporation

A measurement available for the BOM, which indicates how rapidly the water on/in the soil is drying or evaporating – the rate of soil water loss has a bearing on pipe stress/strain, as well as external corrosion, because of loss of moisture and possible availability of air, both of which impact upon the rate of corrosion of metallic surfaces

Household end usage

The volume of potable and non-potable water used in a household; e.g. outdoor, shower, appliances etc


The sound due to fluid passing through a leak in a pipe at some location at some time; or the sound of the breakage of the steel wires in pre-stressed concrete pipes; or the sound of a pipe under strain/stress; or the sound of a third party interference with the pipe; or the sound of fluid pressure transients within the pipe

Audio fingerprint

The sound at some location in the network, which will change depending on pressure, flow, leakage, burst, pressure transient, etc. Characterising a baseline audio signal will allow further characterisation and ID

Pump usage

The number of cycles undergone by a pump at some location and time within the network; the work done by the pump, the amount of vibration experienced and the electricity used by the pump as an indicator of condition. These data are collected over time

Maintenance/time costs

This is a metric aimed at identifying how many dollars are spent in maintaining any component of the networks, and will include maintaining problematic assets which fail or leak or are not functioning according to service requirements

Maintenance response time

This is a metric aimed at identifying the time it takes for a water utility to respond to a water asset or water quality issue such as a leak, failed pump, odour or taste problems

Fluid metabolemic fingerprint

A characteristic of the microbial activity in the fluid; for identification of microbially influenced corrosion, odour and taste problems which are usually associated with microbial activity; for indirect identification of bacteria or pathogens in the water network;

Fluid physico-chemical parameters including pH, EC, turbidity, DO, DOC, SS, chlorine, chloramines, temp

From a water point of view these parameters reflect the water quality, and changes in them may reflect infiltration, contamination from backflows or cross-connected recycled water pipes, inadequate flows/pressures. From a sewerage point of view a number of these parameters can be used to infer sewer catchment fluid quality, and hence treatment plant or diversion strategies; in addition, a change in the fingerprint of these parameters will indicate where infiltration or exfiltration is occurring

Pipe stress/strain

These parameters can indicate where pipe support is diminishing or where there is third party intrusion, or where there are excessive external loads or internal pressures on the pipe

Pipe external environmental temperature, moisture, pH, EC,

Tracking of these parameters will indicate where sewerage exfiltration is occurring, and their use with pipe internal level indicators or flow will indicate the degree of the exfiltration

90 APRIL 2012 water

technical features

smart systems What to Sense or Monitor – and Where The decision about what parameters to monitor and where to monitor is a complex one that was recently addressed at an intelligent water networks (IWN) workshop in Melbourne. The opinions were sought from a group made up of all the Victorian water utilities, and the key decision triggers and potential advantages of having tools to address these decisions were articulated in a table. This table is presented here with an additional column suggesting the parameters to measure, which are likely to provide the information needed to address the decisions. They fall into a number of categories including information for: (i) deeper knowledge of network operations in real time; (ii) condition of critical assets; (iii) defining the economic costs to the community along with the critical point of optimising investment to provide the greatest productivity yield; (iv) optimising the asset and data risks in terms of meeting the regulator service level key performance indicators; (v) data quality and their limitations in predictive models; (vi) the optimal location of the information collectors (i.e., sensors/detectors); (vii) real time knowledge of the cause of changes in drinking water quality; (viii) the time scale of emerging and potential issues and opportunities within the network; and (ix) better demand management, especially in light of the advanced metering infrastructure being utilised in the electricity sector.

Economic Value of Intelligent Water Networks The immediate economic (not financial) value of intelligent water networks lies in addressing the following: • How water quality monitoring would reduce in intensity through remote technologies;

• How the purchase and installation costs of these technologies, once developed and commercially available, determines their placement/uptake in the Australian urban water network. These are clarified schematically in the diagram at the bottom of this page.

Water Quality The cost of monitoring surface water quality in Australia has been estimated at $142–$168 million per year (ANRA, 2002). Although this figure is not specific to urban water, it provides some indication of water quality monitoring costs (one component of the broader cost of ensuring adequate water quality, which also includes treatment costs etc). In any case, the need for water quality is typically more important for urban water than it is for irrigation water. More disaggregated water quality monitoring costs just by one water utility that could be made more efficient and automated by new intelligent technologies include: • Compliance monitoring of drinking water One of Melbourne’s water distributer utilities collects water samples from various locations around the network and sends them to a laboratory to be tested for a variety of parameters. The annual cost of this task is approximately $450,000. • Operational monitoring of drinking water (instrument cost) Current unit costs of the remote instruments/ sensors that the water utility uses to stream water quality data are $3,000– $10,000 (with a mid-point of $6,500) excluding installation, with 16 of them in use throughout the water utility’s distribution network. Given an asset life of five to 10 years (with a mid-point of 7.5 years), the annualised cost of these instruments is approximately $14,000.

maintenance) For example, staff from this water utility must travel to sensor sites to clean and calibrate the instruments, which on average takes 30 minutes plus travel. Assuming the task takes one hour in total for one individual, this equates to a total of 416 hours per year across the 16 instruments. In terms of annual cost, this total time multiplied by the average hourly wage in Australia equates to approximately $12,000. Despite the existence of other components to water quality monitoring, by their nature these represent the most likely to be reduced by the new intelligent technologies. Given the values indicated above, most of the potential would appear to be in the first category – the manual taking of samples from around the network – which is also consistent with feedback from another major water utility. If the water quality parameters that can be tested by the sensor technologies are comprehensive enough, it is conceivable that much of this labour cost could be eliminated. In addition to the observations of this smaller water distribution utility, Sydney Water Corporation (SWC) reported approximately $5 million is spent per annum on monitoring drinking water quality. This significantly higher figure reflects the structural differences in SWC’s distribution and treatment role as compared to the Victorian-based water utility, and also the intensity of water quality monitoring by SWC (post-1998). It is concluded that the potential saving through improved technologies here is some proportion of the sum of these figures ($5.5 million per annum for these two utilities alone), once extrapolated over all Australian urban water service providers.

At this point it should also be noted that the values estimated here relate to the cost saving to water quality • How much additional asset life can be monitoring. It is possible that, with realised over the long run from greater • Operational monitoring of drinking the assurance of more real-time real-time knowledge of asset condition; water (instrument cleaning and monitoring, some of the Intelligence Direct Economic Values Flow On Values cost of water treatment can also be avoided. The Public health benefits More efficient monitoring potential saving to water and treatment Environmental benefits Water Quality treatment costs has not Reduced likelihood of major Ability to address water quality been quantified at this contamination event perceptional challenges stage. Apart from the Reduced externality costs, i.e., Reduced economic level cost considerations, the impacts on broader community Infrastructure of leakage most important aspect linked to disruptive events such Maintenance More efficient asset maintenance as a burst water main of intelligent systems is Enhanced consumer satisfaction the ongoing analysis and Optimised consumption and monitoring of the system Improved demand management Reduced water scarcity Information that can alert the operators Improved capital planning Increased competitive forces for any eventuality which otherwise can take days Two examples of some of the quantifiable value of intelligent water networks are in water quality monitoring and asset management. before being noticed.


APRIL 2012 91

smart systems Asset Management


Intelligent networks provide the potential to reduce current urban water service provider capital and recurrent maintenance costs, and improve the return to asset management program expenditures (in the long run) by optimising where the replacement activity occurs to maximise asset life.

In summary, the benefits of utilising sensor technologies for the implementation of intelligent water networks are both economic and service oriented. The economic benefits include better management of customer service obligations, reduction in operational cost of water and wastewater systems, optimal utilisation of system capacity and need based augmentation of system.

Sydney Water Corporation In 2008-09, Sydney Water Corp budgeted to spend $122 million on water pipeline capital expenditure (Sydney Water, 2007). Of this figure, it has been calculated that between 64% and 74% represents maintenance expenditure, with the remainder representing expenditure on new capacities. Therefore, the maintenance capital spend was in the order of $77.6-89.7 million in 2008-09 alone, and before including the associated labour/ operational expenditure relating to the installation of this new capital.

South East Water Limited In 2008–09, South East Water budgeted to spend $11 million on water reliability capital (South East Water, 2008). Also in 2008–09 they budgeted to spend $11 million on preventable and remedial operations. Adding these figures, maintenance capital and operational spend was around $22 million.

Australian urban water network According to the WSAA Report Card for 2007/08 (WSAA, 2010b): • During 2007–08 the urban water utilities invested $835 million in replacing old and under-performing assets and $535 million in maintaining asset reliability – a total of $1.37 billion; and • Over the five years to 2013, water utilities will invest around $5 billion in replacing old and underperforming assets and around $2.7 billion in maintaining current assets – an average annual total of $1.54 billion. While it is not known what proportion of these figures represent expenditure on pipelines alone, the logic applies that whatever that fraction may be, it represents the maximum potential saving new intelligent technologies could realise in this application. The actual benefit realised would be less than this figure, as some level of capital replacement will always remain. Short of a greater understanding of the precise form and function of the new technologies themselves, and a greater understanding of what proportion of annual maintenance expenditure is avoidable/non-optimal, no potential attribution can be estimated. Having said this, even a 1% reduction in the forward estimated figure represents a significant cost saving of $15.4 million per annum.

92 APRIL 2012 water

In addition to the direct and indirect economic benefits already mentioned, there are a number of operational and community benefits. These are inherently difficult to quantify in terms of their dollar value; however, it is clear they will benefit both the community as well as the water utilities in terms of improved service delivery, less environmental disruption and enhanced utilisation of operational budgets. More specifically, some of the benefits are deferring capital expenditure by improved planning with enhanced knowledge, improvement in operation with systematic maintenance due to timely interventions, reduction in environmental degradation due to water quality and overflow event management, and proper integration of centralised and decentralised systems.

Acknowledgements Thanks to Andrew Chapman (Manager – Water Systems Leader, South East Water Limited) and Priscilla Chung (formerly Special Projects Leader, South East Water Limited, and currently Principal Consultant – Project Management at AECOM New Zealand), for organising the series of CSIRO/Victorian Water Utilities Intelligent Water Networks Science Symposia Workshops conducted during 2011.

The Authors

Sydney Water Corporation, 2007: “Sydney Water Submission to IPART”. South East Water Limited, 2008: “2009/10 to 2012/13 Water Plan”. Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA), 2010a: National Performance Report 2008–2009: Urban water utilities – Part A Comparative Analysis, April, Canberra. -2010b: National Performance Report 2008–2009: Urban water utilities – Part C Data Set, April, Canberra. -2010c: “Intelligent networks urban water industry requirements of communications national broadband network,” Position Paper No. 4.

Bibliography Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE), 2008: Urban water management: optimal pricing and investment policy under climate variability, ABARE Research Report 08.7, Canberra, August. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 2006: Water Account Australia 2004-05, Cat No. 4610.0. Business Council of Australia, 2006: “Water under pressure”. Business Council of Australia, Australia. Eiswirth M, Heske C, Hotzl H, Schneider T & Burn LS, 2000: “Pipe defect characterisation by multisensor systems”, CSIRO, Victoria. Marchment Hill Consulting, 2010: “Smart water metering cost benefit study”, Marchment Hill Consulting, Melbourne. Marsden Jacob Associates, 2006: “Securing Australia’s urban water supplies: opportunities and impediments”. Marsden Jacob Associates, Camberwell. National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), 2004: Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. Hrudey SE, Hrudey EJ & Pollard SJT, 2006: “Risk management for assuring safe drinking water”, Environment International, 32, pp 948–957. Hughes N, Hafi A, Goesch T & Brownlow N, 2008: “Urban water management: optimal price and investment policy under climate variability”, ABARE, Research Report 08.7. Productivity Commission (PC), 2008: Towards Urban Water Reform: A Discussion Paper, Productivity Commission Research Paper, Melbourne, March.

Dr Donavan Marney (email: Donavan. is a research scientist and stream leader of Intelligent Networks at CSIRO. Dr Ashok Sharma (email: Ashok. is a research scientist and stream leader of distributed and decentralised systems at CSIRO. Both work in the Urban Water Theme of Water for a Healthy Country Flagship.

Radcliffe JC, 2004: “Water recycling in Australia”, Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.


Stean PL, 2001: “The great Sydney water crisis of 1998”, Water, Air and Soil Pollution, 123: pp 419–436.

Australian Natural Resources Atlas (ANRA), 2002: “Water Resources – Quality”, 2000-2002 National Land and Water Resources Audit theme assessments, water/ quality/index.html, accessed 6 July 2010.

Rizak S & Hrudey SE, 2007: “Achieving safe drinking water – risk management based on experience and reality”, Environmental Reviews, 15, pp 169–174. Robison G, 2009: “Bellevue Hill crater: Sydney Water admits failing to detect leak”, The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 June 2009.

US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), 2008: National Water Program Strategy: Response to Climate Change. USEPA, US.

technical features

PUMP & PIPING TRAINING Pump Fundamentals Seminar

Liquid Piping Fundamentals Seminar



5 & 6 June 2012 The Chifley at Lennons Perth 12 & 13 June 2012 Mantra Hotel, Perth Melbourne 18 & 19 June 2012 The Vibe Savoy Hotel

7 & 8 June 2012 The Chifley at Lennons Perth 14 & 15 June 2012 Mantra Hotel, Perth Melbourne 20 & 21 June 2012 The Vibe savoy Hotel

KASA Redberg will be running the ever popular “Pump Fundamentals” and “Liquid Piping Systems Fundamentals” seminars in June. Both seminars are of two days duration. About These Seminars The information presented in “Pump Fundamentals” and “Liquid Piping Systems Fundamentals” includes: Pump calculations, pump types, sizing, selection, installation, maintenance, pipe and fittings selection, pipe sizing, pipeline materials and operation, wall thickness calculations, valves, instruments, drafting, relevant codes and standards and much more. Discounts apply for early registrations, dual seminar bookings and multiple registrations from the one organisation. We can also run these seminars at your own workplace or customise them to suit your needs. We have also provided customised pump/pipeline seminars to many organisations involved in the water and wastewater sector, mining and minerals processing etc including consultants and public utilities. Who Should Attend These seminars are designed specifically for those involved in the design, management and/or operation of pumping and liquid piping systems. Project Engineers, Process Engineers, Design Engineers, Sales Representatives and Project Managers would all benefit from the information presented. Specific examples, design calculations and hardware selections are included from industries such as: Mining/minerals processing, industrial water treatment, municipal water/wastewater, petro-chemicals, marine and heavy manufacturing. Seminar Materials For each seminar, all attendees receive:

Training Manual: A reference manual comprising theory, worked example problems, tables and charts, illustrations etc based on the training seminar outline. All KASA Redberg training manuals have been designed to be a valuable future resource for the office, workshop, factory or plant.

Certificate of Attendance: Each certificate states the number of hours of training and serves as documentary proof of attendance for claiming CPD hours as per the policy of Engineers Australia.

Contact Details For more information on our seminars (including a full seminar synopsis) and to obtain registration forms, call KASA Redberg on (02) 9949 9795 or email or visit Other Seminars in June 2012 For those who are involved in the pumping of sludge (e.g. wastewater treatment plants), don’t miss out on our “Advanced Slurry Pumping & Piping” seminar which will feature guest presenter - Professor Paul Slatter of RMIT. This seminar will be presented in Brisbane on the 25th & 26th of June and in Perth on the 28th & 29th of June.

KASA Redberg

Engineers & Technical Trainers

catchment management

CATCHMENT MANAGEMENT – sETTING THE sCENE An overview of catchment management models in Australia J Williams Abstract There is a wide range of catchment management models in Australia that vary according to the resources and historical framework of the particular catchment and jurisdiction. The Natural Resources Commission (NRC) has reviewed the progress of catchment management in New South Wales over the past six years and has observed the development of significant co-operative relationships, particularly involving water planning. The NRC’s experiences provide useful background to explain the general principles and goals of catchment management. This experience also highlights that continued co-operation between regional resource planners is essential to the ‘integration’ and ongoing success of catchment management in Australia.

Introduction This paper sets the scene with the stated objective of: Building co-operative relationships with land managers and CMAs about water supply aspects of catchment management. It explains the basic principles of integrated catchment management and reflects on co-operative relationships, giving particular attention to water planning. Therefore, it is structured to answer the following questions about integrated catchment management: • What is it? • Why is it important? • What are our expectations? • What do we want from it? • What is working well?

What Is Catchment Management? Catchment management is an evolving system that has developed differently in each state and territory in Australia (Bellamy et al., 2002). There is not one single, ideal model, but the basic principles of ‘integrated’ catchment management are to:

94 APRIL 2012 water

• Take a holistic approach to the management of land, biodiversity, water and community resources at the water catchment scale; • Involve communities in planning and managing their landscapes; and • Find a balance between resource use and resource conservation. As the ‘water catchment scale’ is the basic building-block for the holistic approach, water supply is often the central focus of catchment management in Australia. However, an integrated approach also recognises the importance of the communities living in that catchment, and the need for trade-offs between use and conservation of all resources (not just water). Focussing on water initially, however, integrated approaches to water supply and management began to gain increased international exposure in the 1990s. Notably, one of the four guiding principles developed at the 1992 Dublin Conference on Water and Environment was: “Water development and management should be based on a participatory approach, involving users, planners and policy-makers as all levels” (Hooper, 2006). Within the Australian context, the former Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council described integrated catchment management as: “... a process through which people can develop a vision, agree on shared values and behaviours, make informed decisions and act together to manage the natural resources of their catchment.” (MDBMC, 2001) The common themes of these national and international perspectives on water management are participation, sharing and co-operation. The entity established to co-ordinate co-operative relationships at the water catchment scale is commonly a catchment management authority (CMA). As of July 2011 there were 57 CMAs (or analogous regional organisations) around

Australia, with different structures, names, legislative powers and mandates. However, regardless of the particular framework, each state and territory has recognised the importance of integrated catchment management through its own individual mechanisms.

Why Is It Important? Addressing historic NRM challenges The development of integrated catchment management around Australia was in response to long-term challenges in natural resource management (NRM). Institutionally and administratively, NRM was fragmented into: • Voluntary stewardship by landholders – which was crucial given the diffuse nature of NRM problems and solutions; • Planning arrangements – water, land use, biodiversity, all of which were essential, but were generally managed in isolation from each other; • Monitoring and evaluation – which was limited in practice. Natural resource managers also faced a number of cultural challenges that typically blocked consensus at the regional scale: • The inherent complexity of natural and social systems; and • Very different “world-views” on prioritisation of NRM funding and actions. A third challenge has been the lack of organisational stability, as policy and legislation were often amended in response to perceived lack of success. Unfortunately this lack of governance continuity further undermined NRM, setting reform further back. While these challenges remain current across Australia and need to be addressed by any NRM model in place, the principles of integrated catchment management seek to respond to these challenges in an unfragmented, collaborative and stable manner. Fortunately, in New South Wales and

technical features

Blue Mountains Catchments Greaves Creek Dam Medlow Dam

catchment management

Woodford Dam Cascade Dams


Use of the best available knowledge to inform decisions in a structured and transparent manner.


Sydney Catchment Authority


Drinking water catchments

Haw k es

bu ry


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Prospect Reservoir

Warragamba Dam


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Ko wm


Lake Burragorang

Prospect Water Filtration Plant


r ive

Woronora Dam

Pumping station Canals and pipelines

aR or

• Determination of scale – Management of natural resource issues at the optimal spatial, temporal and institutional scale to maximise effective contribution to broader goals, deliver integrated outcomes and prevent or minimise adverse consequences.


Broughtons Pass Weir

er Riv tai Nat


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o W

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Rive r


Nepean Dam Avon Dam

Cataract Dam

Wollongong Cordeaux Dam

Wingecarribee Reservoir


Fitzroy Falls Reservoir Lake Yarrunga

Bendeela Pondage

Tallowa Dam

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other jurisdictions in Australia, integrated catchment management models have been able to mature over the past decade r ive in a reasonably stable governance Canberra environment that has allowed longerterm strategies to be implemented and their benefits to be realised. Braidwood

Addressing current and future NRM issues In addition to addressing historic challenges, integrated catchment management will provide natural resource managers with the best chance of balancing the unprecedented pressures Cooma of global population growth, urban development, climate shift, water scarcity, economic growth and other landscape issues that may emerge in the future. Integrated catchment management is important in addressing these issues through holistic and systematic target setting and planning, such as: • What environmental outcomes are we seeking? • What are our natural resource targets and how do they relate to each other? • How do we combine regulation, planning, land use, infrastructure and natural resource management to deliver our targets? This target-setting and future planning provides the basis for our expectations of integrated catchment management.

What Are Our Expectations? Case study: the New south Wales regional model By way of example of expectation setting, the next two sections of the paper focus on the model of integrated catchment


management in New South Wales, noting that other jurisdictions may have similarly articulated their expectations through their own NRM legislation and policies.

The standard The NSW Standard for Quality Natural Resource Management (Standard) (NRC, 2005) defines the New South Wales Government’s expectations of how resource managers undertake NRM to meet regional and state-wide targets. The government and public clearly expect that NRM decisions, delivered through integrated catchment management will: • Support investment where it is most needed; • Aim for the highest quality results; and • Stand up to public scrutiny. The Standard is based on the principle that high quality systems and practices are essential to make good decisions that will lead to the best possible outcomes. It also recognises that an adaptive management approach is essential to deal with uncertainties in our constantly changing environment and continually improve decisions as our knowledge grows (for further on adaptive environmental management see (Allan and Stankey (eds.), 2009). In New South Wales, CMAs are leading the way in meeting the Standard in all areas of their business. While the Standard is mandatory for CMAs, it also provides a benchmark for everyone involved in NRM. The Standard defines the New South Wales Government’s expectations of quality for seven components of NRM: • Collection and use of knowledge –

Photo: © Sydney CatChment authority

Pheasants Nest Weir


• Opportunities for collaboration – Collaboration with other parties to maximise gains, share or minimise costs or deliver multiple benefits is explored and pursued wherever possible. • Community engagement – Implementation of strategies sufficient to meaningfully engage the participation of the community in the planning, implementation and review of natural resource management strategies and the achievements of identified goals and targets. • Risk management – Consideration and management of all identifiable risks and impacts to maximise efficiency and effectiveness, ensure success and avoid, minimise or control adverse impacts. • Monitoring and evaluation – Quantification and demonstration of progress towards goals and targets by means of regular monitoring, measuring, evaluation and reporting of organisational and project performance and the use of the results to guide improved practice. • Information management – Management of information in a manner that meets user needs and satisfies formal security, accountability and transparency requirements.

The Targets The State-wide Targets for Natural Resource Management (Targets) set out what resource managers in New South Wales need to achieve to realise the government’s goal of: “Landscapes that are ecologically sustainable, function effectively and support the environmental, economic, social and cultural values of our communities.” These targets provide focus, coordination and a means for tracking progress against the state’s expectations in NRM. They encompass biodiversity, water, land and community themes. Biodiversity: 1.

By 2015 there is an increase in native


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catchment management vegetation extent and an improvement in native vegetation condition. 2.

By 2015 there is an increase in the number of sustainable populations of a range of native fauna species.


By 2015 there is an increase in the recovery of threatened species, populations and ecological communities.


By 2015 there is a reduction in the impact of invasive species.

Water: 5.

By 2015 there is an improvement in the condition of riverine ecosystems.


By 2015 there is an improvement in the ability of groundwater systems to support groundwater dependent ecosystems and designated beneficial uses.


By 2015 there is no decline in the condition of marine waters and ecosystems.


By 2015 there is an improvement in the condition of important wetlands, and the extent of those wetlands is maintained.


By 2015 there is an improvement in the condition of estuaries and coastal lake ecosystems.

Land: 10. By

2015 there is an improvement in soil condition.

11. By

2015 there is an increase in the area of land that is managed within its capability.

Community: 12. Natural

resource decisions contribute to improving or maintaining economic sustainability and social well-being.

This model seeks to balance centralised government management with regional and community responsibility, through more flexible governance and accountability frameworks promoting innovative and experimental solutions that can be readily adapted in response to new information. This is moving New South Wales away from a prescriptive rulesbased system towards an accountability framework that is flexible enough to manage complexity and uncertainty.

on-ground projects. Taking a holistic, landscape approach improves the likelihood that they will produce good results in the longer term. In NSW and elsewhere around Australia, CMA project delivery has produced observable resource condition improvement at the site scale over the past decade, a period of unprecedented drought in much of the continent.

Natural Resources Commission reviews

Integrated catchment management has provided relative continuity, in a field that has typically changed regularly. This promotes capacity building and adaptive management within regional institutions and communities.

The evaluation and accountability model is unique from a national perspective, as it tasks an independent statutory body – the NRC – to define good practice, conduct formal evaluations and publicly report on catchment management progress. The NRC’s role more generally is to provide independent advice to the New South Wales Government in managing the state’s natural resources in an integrated manner. The NRC reviews CAPs and recommends whether they should be approved and audits how effectively these plans are being implemented to meet the Standard and Targets. The NRC has developed evaluation approaches and gathered evidence through reviews and audits over six years – the most recent findings of which are in: • Progress towards healthy resilient landscapes – implementing the Standard, Targets and Catchment Action Plans (the 2010 Progress Report) (NRC, 2010); and • Alignment of water planning and catchment planning (the Alignment Project) (Hamstead, 2010).

What do we want from integrated catchment management?

What Do We Want From It?

The NRC’s 2010 Progress Report focuses on the New South Wales regional model; however, the main findings of the report demonstrate elements of integrated catchment management that are consistent Australia-wide:

Evaluation and accountability

1. Land stewardship

A key feature of the New South Wales model is the institutionalised mechanism for continual improvement and accountability to investors. Ongoing evaluation is central to the model adopted for NRM, as it is designed to drive adaptive management and provide greater confidence to government investors and the community. The model is grounded by the Standard, which defines good practice and institutionalises evaluation and reporting.

Integrated catchment management is an effective mechanism for supporting land managers to voluntarily manage their land better for both public and private benefit. Giving regional communities a more direct say in the complex task of reconciling community needs with ecosystem health is succeeding where previous top-down approaches have failed.

13. There

is an increase in the capacity of natural resource managers to contribute to regionally relevant natural resource management.

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2. Project Delivery CMAs are well positioned to deliver

3. Institutional stability

4. Improved landscape knowledge Integrated catchment management has promoted a shift in thinking on NRM, which is moving away from the conservation-based thinking of restoring landscapes to pre-1750 conditions. Instead, there is a growing understanding that landscapes are made up of human communities and biophysical processes that interact and shape each other and are constantly changing. 5. Local decision making Integrated catchment management allows local communities to be more directly involved in NRM. Environmental, social and economic challenges that frustrate national and international policy efforts are better addressed and solved at the local and regional scale.

What ‘more’ do we want from it? The regional model has progressed towards integrated catchment management and has created benefits for NRM. The NRC has recommended areas of further improvement to the New South Wales Government to fully implement integrated catchment management: 1.

Implement whole-of-government and community catchment planning.


Improve science and knowledge.


Implement adaptive management across government.


Match funding to landscape need.


Design sound policy to complement stewardship.

Achieving future improvements through co-operation With the foundations of integrated catchment management in place, the priorities for the future that the NRC has recommended will require continued co-operative relationships between land

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catchment management managers, CMAs, regional communities, industry (including the water industry) and all levels of government.

In summary, all Australian states and territories have planning processes in place for:

To achieve this, the levels of trust and co-operation will need to deepen significantly, especially as organisations face tough budgetary times where the natural inclination is to refocus on core tasks, rather than collaborate with other processes.

• The management and sharing of surface water and groundwater resources through regulation and investment; and

However, natural resource managers will only be able to maintain (and improve) healthy rivers that support multiple values across the catchment by integrating catchment planning and management, rather than focussing solely on water supply aspects of catchment management. CMAs (and their equivalent regional based organisations around Australia) have a critical role in facilitating relationships and brokering between government and the community to manage the landscape as a whole.

What Is Working Well? The findings of the 2010 Progress Report (noted earlier) highlight the strengths of CMAs in New South Wales in engaging communities and delivering on-ground works to deliver local resource condition improvements. Further details of CMA achievements are shown in the NRC’s audits; however, this paper will focus on successful relationship building that has occurred. Clearly there are many good examples of NRM and integrated catchment management practice around Australia that reflect productive co-operative relationships within catchment management and an understanding of the inter-relationships of social, community and ecological systems. However, this paper will focus on two recent examples from New South Wales, which again provide universal principles that will be familiar to natural resource managers in other jurisdictions. The first is a very successful example of co-operation between water and catchment planners (the Alignment Project in the HunterCentral Rivers CMA), while the second builds on this co-operation across other aspects of catchment planning (the recent Pilot CAP upgrades in the Namoi and Central West CMAs). 1. Alignment Project in the HunterCentral Rivers CMA One of the most interesting and exciting recent developments in integrated catchment management has been the National Water Commission-funded project to align water planning and catchment planning (Hamstead, 2010).

• The maintenance and improvement in the condition of land and water resources and ecosystems through investment incentives and regulation. These actions are usually conducted under parallel and disconnected management processes, as is the case in New South Wales, with the separate Water Management Act 2000 and the Catchment Management Authorities Act 2003 – which weren’t specifically drafted to operate together (in fact one of the barriers to proper integrated catchment management is the limited control CMAs have over water). Therefore, the National Water Commission funded a project for state and regional entities to explore the benefits and barriers to water planning and catchment planning processes working together. The NRC, in partnership with the Hunter Central Rivers CMA and two former NSW Government Departments – Environment, Climate Change and Water and Planning – trialled a process through which both plans could be based on a common values and risks assessment of aquatic assets. Encouragingly, this regionally delivered project, based on Commonwealth funding, found that a strong ‘alignment’ of CAPs and New South Wales water sharing plans (WSP) was possible within current resources and with current institutional structures. The trial demonstrated that the following actions are likely to make the biggest difference to future alignment: • There should be jurisdictional policies and objectives to manage freshwater aquatic ecosystems that apply to both water allocation and catchment plans. • There should be governance arrangements supporting ongoing co-ordination between agencies at state and regional levels. This would assist in developing plans and implementing actions that contribute to shared objectives. • Freshwater aquatic ecosystem condition, value and risk assessments should be done in a single, shared process. • Spatial representation of assessments

should be sufficiently detailed to inform within-region prioritising decisions for both types of plans. • A paired program logic map should be developed for both planning processes in each region. It should include shared freshwater aquatic ecosystem objectives that are aligned through shared, spatially defined priorities to protect and restore freshwater aquatic ecosystems. This alignment is a crucial first step to the full integration of water and catchment planning that would improve regional resource management through reduced duplication and better co-ordination.

Benefits of building co-operative relationships The Alignment Project was an important piece of evidence for the NRC’s findings in the 2010 Progress Report. It is a recent and compelling example of the benefits of: • The use of a common information base to plan from; and • Agreement on values so that different organisations can go about their business confident in shared objectives. The project was an important practical example of breaking down traditional planning silos, and to start seeing and managing landscapes as complex and connected systems. The management process itself is critical, as it promotes collaboration, institutional efficiencies and more cost-effective work programs. The process requires time, effort and commitment, and may struggle initially through differences in data, language and targets. However it is the alignment of these differences that ultimately contributes some of the greatest benefits. Encouragingly, following this NSW-based trial, the National Water Commission recommended that the alignment framework be rolled out nation-wide. Within New South Wales, the benefits of this alignment have been promoted through the pilot CAP upgrades undertaken in the Namoi and Central West CMAs recently. 2. Pilot CAP upgrades in the Namoi and Central West CMAs From 2004, CMAs in New South Wales developed the first round of CAPs, largely based on the earlier community-based Blueprints (which were predominantly CMA and community documents with less government involvement). In 2006, the NRC assessed the first


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catchment management round of CAPs and found they were reasonable given the maturity of CMAs and the regional model at the time. When the NRC approved the CAPs, it recommended that the next generation of CAPs should become whole-ofgovernment CAPs. In 2008, the NRC in partnership with the New South Wales Government commenced a pilot for upgrading CAPs in the Central West and Namoi CMAs. These pilots have been successful, with: • Much stronger evidence base; • Clearer strategic thinking; • Improved communication and accessibility;

Conclusion: Building Co-Operative Relationships The experiences highlighted in this paper show that the current Catchment Management Authorities (and equivalent regional bodies around Australia) are gaining sufficient institutional maturity and stability to make integrated catchment management feasible. The development of catchment management over the past two decades, and its encouraging results in the past few years, have shown that building co-operative relationships is a difficult, lengthy, but necessary part of its integration. Through this paper, the following lessons for co-operative relationships can be distilled: 1.

• Much better prioritisation and change management through resilience thinking, and most relevantly to this paper; • Increased collaboration. The remaining 11 CMAs in NSW are currently commencing the upgrade of their CAPs, which are to be developed by March 2013 as a priority action under the state plan NSW 2021 (New South Wales Government, 2011). The NRC is supporting these upgrades through the release of the Framework for assessing and recommending upgraded catchment action plans (CAP Assessment Framework) (NRC, 2011), which not only reflects the lessons learned from the Pilot CAP Upgrades, but also contains three ‘criteria’ that set out the NRC’s expectations for upgraded CAPs (and explains how the NRC will assess them): 1.



The CAP was developed using a structured, collaborative and adaptable planning process – the process in developing the plan, building strategic capacity and engendering ownership is more important than the final document itself. The CAP uses best available information to develop targets and actions for building resilient landscapes – being clear on planning targets and putting the new conceptual framework of ‘Resilience thinking’ into practice. (See further on resilience at (Walker and Salt, 2006; Bennett, 2003; Walker et al.; 2009 and Chapin et al., 2009). The CAP is a plan for collaborative action and investment between government, community and industry partners – on the basis of the encouraging outcomes of the Alignment Project (integrating NRM policy framework at the regional scale and greater collaboration with partners in NRM).

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Whole of government, whole of community – A collaborative approach should increase the effectiveness of both the CMA and its partners, and minimise costs in working towards common objectives. Collaboration is hard – Conflict between government and community expectations is inevitable. Resolving differences will not always be possible, but attempts to collaborate are the first step in an ongoing process. Alignment with existing plans – The Pilot CAPs and other projects have demonstrated a methodology for mapping areas of commonality and conflict between the CAP and other related NRM plans. Alignment at the strategic scale is an important precursor to collaboration and co-ordination on specific actions. Spatial representation – There is an inherent power of maps in communication – spatial representation is an important characteristic and tool of upgraded CAPs. Agreed roles and responsibilities – The test of the success of the planning process is the extent to which the key delivery partners have agreed to be assigned responsibility for CAP implementation. Agreement is often easier at the strategic level (visions and goals) than the operational level (actions).

In August 2011, AWA’s Catchment Management Specialist Network held its National Conference in Wangaratta, Victoria. The theme was ‘Healthy Catchments, Healthy Communities’ and it attracted over 150 delegates. The program committee reviewed the papers submitted and the presentations given at the conference, and decided on the top five papers. These papers are presented here. All the papers presented at the conference can be downloaded from AWA’s Online Document Library – just look under ‘Quick Links’ on the AWA homepage.

The Author Dr John Williams (email: jwil3940@bigpond. was the NSW Natural Resources Commissioner from 2006–2011. John is an eminent scientist who retired from CSIRO as Chief of Land and Water in 2004, having been Chief or Deputy Chief since 1996. John was also Chief Scientist and Chair of the Department of Natural Resources’ Science and Information Board and Adjunct Professor in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management at Charles Sturt University. John is a member of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists.

References Allan C & Stankey G (eds.), 2009: Adaptive environmental management – a practitioner’s guide, Springer (jointly with CSIRO publishing). Bellamy J, Ross H, Ewing S & Meppem T, 2002: Integrated Catchment Management: Learning from the Australian Experience for the MurrayDarling Basin, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, January 2002. Bennett E, 2003: Scenario development and resilience: local and global examples of resilience of social-ecological systems, IHDP (International Human Dimensions of Global Change). Chapin F, Folke C, Kofinas G, 2009: Principles of Ecosystem Stewardship, Springer. Hamstead M, 2010: Alignment of water planning and catchment planning, Waterlines Report, National Water Commission, December 2010. Hooper B, 2006: Key performance indicators of river basin organisations, Institute for Water Resources, August 2006. Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council, 2001: Integrated Catchment Management in the Murray-Darling Basin 2001-2010; delivering a sustainable future, Murray-Darling Basin Commission, June 2001. Natural Resources Commission, 2005: Standard for quality natural resource management, Natural Resources Commission, September 2005. Natural Resources Commission, 2010: Progress towards healthy resilient landscapes – implementing the Standard, Targets and catchment action plans, Natural Resources Commission, December 2010. Natural Resources Commission, 2011: Framework for assessing and recommending upgraded catchment action plans. Natural Resources Commission, May 2011. New South Wales Government, 2011: NSW 2021, a plan to make NSW number one. NSW Government, September 2011. Walker B, Abel N, Anderies J, Ryan P, 2009: ‘Resilience, adaptability and transformability in the Goulburn-Broken Catchment, Australia’, Ecology and Society, Vol 14, No 1, Synthesis. Walker B & Salt D, 2006: Resilience thinking – Sustaining ecosystems and people in a changing world, Island Press.

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SOurce WATer PrOTecTION fOr SeQWATer Novel techniques to assess the effectiveness of management intervention and prioritise action A Watkinson, A Volders, K Smolders, A Simms, J Olley, M Burford, H Stratton, B Gibbes, A Grinham Abstract Seqwater is responsible for supplying bulk-treated water to the South-East Queensland region. Seqwater recognises the importance of a whole-of-catchment approach, including natural and built assets, from catchment to supply. From a catchment management perspective, this process is informed by innovative and emerging techniques to establish and identify risks, assess how the risks can be effectively managed, and report on the risks and proposed mitigation at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Seqwater is also developing a suite of tools to measure the efficiency of investment in the catchment and the built infrastructure to effectively manage these risks. This results in a cost-efficient, integrated and strategic approach to managing our water resources.

Introduction In July 2008, Seqwater was formed as part of Queensland Government reforms designed to deliver long-term security of water supplies. Seqwater provides bulk water storage and treatment services to the South-East Queensland (SEQ) Water Grid, which services approximately 2.5 million people. Seqwater has the responsibility for managing 25 dams, 47 weirs and 14 bore fields across SouthEast Queensland, which supply 46 water treatment plants. As a result we have a high diversity in source water catchments and water treatment capabilities, presenting many challenges for the production of safe drinking water. Seqwater has developed a Drinking Water Quality Management Plan, which adopts the framework under the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (NHMRC/NRMMC 2004) and follows the approach of preventative management from catchment to supply. The challenge for the organisation lies in implementing and influencing change in the catchments to protect drinking water supplies, given our lack of catchment ownership or regulatory powers.

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The catchments feeding Seqwaterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s water supplies span approximately 1.4 million ha, of which Seqwater owns very little (< 5%), mostly land either underwater or directly adjacent to it. Human activity in the time since European settlement has left a significant environmental footprint on the watersheds. Only about onequarter of the original vegetation in the region remains intact, much less occurring along rivers and streams in some catchments. The hydrology of watersheds has been substantially altered through the construction of dams and weirs, but also because of changes in land use and vegetation coverage. Land use across catchments and the proportion of protected area are also highly variable; however, the majority of water supplied by Seqwater is from open catchments. That is, the majority of the area is open to public access with a variety of urban, peri-urban, recreational and agricultural pursuits being undertaken. This is in clear contrast to other major water supply areas in Australia where the majority of the catchments are owned, naturally vegetated and closed to public and economic access. The profile of land use activities within the water supply catchments of SouthEast Queensland is closely linked to compromised water quality in lakes, elevated levels of risk to end users and greater water treatment costs.

requiring attention. This is underpinned by a developing sanitary survey plan across the region to better inform risk assessment and analysis. Complementing the sanitary survey process, Seqwater is also engaged in developing tools for microbial source tracking with our research partners. This project is in development; however, preliminary work can demonstrate the value of this tool for informing risk assessment and catchment management. Initial work has focused around the use of a particular gene (gusA) of Escherichia coli that demonstrates significant variation within the gene, depending on whether it had an animal or human origin (Ram et al., 2004). This application is demonstrated in Figure 1, where analysis of the gusA gene for E. coli collected in two representative catchments shows that E. coli in these catchments is predominantly from an animal source. This finding can then provide information for catchment management and the setting of remediation targets in these areas to focus around animal-related activities (e.g. improved grazing/dairy management such as restriction of direct access to streams for animals, and reduction of feral pests). The biggest limitation of this source tracking method is that it relies on building a comparative database (library)

This paper aims to explore the integrated approach used to investigate links between water quality and catchment condition, and the steps being taken to address and improve catchment condition in Seqwaterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s catchments.

Tools to Inform Management Seqwater is engaged in a number of monitoring and research activities that directly inform catchment management processes. Information from these programs feeds directly into our qualitative risk assessments, which identify risks within the catchment

Figure 1. Microbial source tracking in two catchments.

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catchment management • % of catchment vegetated; • % of catchment within lowest 90th percentile for Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) erosion hazard. riparian condition Riparian condition provides a filter for runoff from lands suffering poor management practice, which causes sediment mobility and other pollutants. Of particular interest with regard to the riparian condition is the vegetation adjacent to the waterway, and the condition of the streambank. The indicators selected to reflect riparian condition are: • % of riparian area with vegetated cover; • % of stream length within vegetated cover. The storage condition assessment Scores are determined based on the state of the following attributes that reflect a ‘healthy’ storage: • Good catchment condition with any land use appropriately managed; • Minimal cyanobacterial (blue-green algae) blooms; • Minimal incidence of bacteria and pathogens; • Low suspended sediment and nutrient levels; • Suitability for primary human contact; and

Figure 2. Example matrix for calculation of storage grade for representative storage. A score of 1 indicates very poor water quality and a score of 0 indicates very high water quality. of known E. coli genes to match the gene found in the water sample with an origin (i.e. an animal or human). As the library grows, along with the development of complementary gene markers, the precision and confidence in this process can only improve. Seqwater has developed a condition assessment tool to aid in the understanding of catchment and storage condition and impacts. The condition assessment tool is separated into two components: a catchment condition assessment and a storage condition assessment. The Catchment Condition Assessment is based on the following analysis: Adoption of best management practice As a suitable forecast of future improvements in water quality as a result of catchment condition; this score is calculated through measurement of the following indicators: • % of grazing properties with property management plans; • % of grazing properties with greater than 90% median long-term groundcover; • % of woody vegetation with protection status; • % of agricultural properties on <30% slope; • % of sewered urban properties. catchment land-use and sediment mobility Catchment land-use is a key determinant of diffuse source pollutants, through sediment mobility. Sediment mobility through waterways and into storages is a key system driver of reduced drinking water quality. Sediment mobility is generally described as a function of geology and soil type, slope and vegetation to stabilise soils. This score is calculated through measurement of the following indicators: • % of catchment within lowest 90th percentile for likelihood of containing pollutants (EMSS index);

• Healthy ecological condition. In practical terms, this is represented by the comparison of 17 water quality indicators with set guidelines (derived from state policy documents and local water quality objectives). These indicators are divided into categories that reflect the “healthy” storage philosophy, nine of which fall under the Water Quality Index category and four each under Toxicant/Pathogens and Biological indices. An indicator score is generated for each indicator based on non-compliance and amplitude scores (Maxwell et al., 2010). Non-compliance is the probability of exceeding the recommended guideline and amplitude is a measure of the distance from the recommended guideline. The indicator scores for each of the three indices (Water Quality, Toxicant/Pathogens and Biological) are averaged to give a single score for each index. The average of the indices gives the final condition assessment score, which is then converted into a condition assessment scorecard (Figure 2). Extensive work has also been conducted to develop an index of vulnerability to poor water quality and cyanobacterial blooms based on simple measures of reservoir and catchment characteristics (Leigh et al., 2010). The index of vulnerability (VI) to poor water quality and cyanobacterial blooms in the subtropical reservoirs examined in this study was based on the percentage of agricultural land use in catchments, catchment area relative to reservoir volume, and physical characteristics of reservoirs. This VI has been successfully validated using water quality and cyanobacteria data collected from 15 drinking water reservoirs in subtropical South-East Queensland. Strong correlations were observed with increased cyanobacterial cell densities in summer months, as well as their proportional contribution to the total algal density. The index has the capability to predict vulnerability to poor water quality and summer blooms of cyanobacteria in subtropical and, potentially, tropical and temperate-zone reservoirs. Additionally, a new method was developed to detect synchronous change points in densities of cyanobacteria along the gradient of percentage grazing land cover in catchments (Leigh et al., 2010b).


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catchment management Indices such as these can be used to scenario-test how changes in catchment characteristics may impact water quality. This is illustrated in Figure 3 using the information from the study to predict water quality in a recently completed asset, Wyaralong Dam. One year after construction

1.0 0.8

Non-urban diffuse source pollutant loads have been identified in South-East Queensland to be a major contributor to poor water quality and aquatic ecosystem health in the region’s catchments, and are a significant issue for water treatment (HWL 2007). Seqwater and its research 20 years after construction

Wyaralong under current grazing cover (47%)

Wyaralong under current grazing cover (47%)

0.4 0.2

• How effective are remnant riparian vegetation and certain rehabilitation actions on reducing sediment and nutrient export to waterways?


Vulnerability Index


Decreased grazing cover (-10%)

Decreased grazing cover (-10%)

Increased grazing cover (+10%)

Increased grazing cover (+10%)

• How do we monitor and measure the success of any management interventions to inform future investment in natural assets and adaptive management?

0.4 0.2


This project will use sedimenttracing techniques, hillslope-scale plots of rainfall and run-off in grazing lands, assessment of remote sensing, aerial and LiDAR imagery, and water quality and rainfall data to answer the above questions.

0.6 0.4



• What are the pathways of sediment and nutrient transport through catchments? • What is the relationship between sediment and nutrient transport and rainfall events, and how is the transport of these pollutants impacted by land use and land management practices?



partners have developed a strategic research program to address a number of key knowledge gaps to better understand and manage non-urban diffuse source pollutant loads, including:

LN Ew Man Hin LH Mac Kur Bar Mar Wya Bor NP Moo Som Wiv

Coo LN Ew Hin LH Man Mac Bar Kur Mar NP Bor Wya Moo Som Wiv

Figure 3. Vulnerability Index summary for 16 reservoirs in subtropical Queensland, at one, five, 20 and 100 years since the planned completion of Wyaralong dam wall in 2011, given: the current percentage of grazing land cover in Wyaralong catchment (top row); minus 10% (middle row); plus 10% (bottom row). Unbroken arrows show the change in the level of among-reservoir vulnerability between grazing cover scenarios. Broken arrows show the change in among-reservoir vulnerability through time with varying grazing scenarios (Leigh et al., 2010). Table 1. Probability index (0 to 1) that the 137Cs concentration on the river sediment sample belongs to either the hillslope or channel distribution (A = rising limb, B = mid-hydrograph, C and D = falling limb). Sample Sequence

Probability Hillslope










Catchment B




Catchment C




Catchment C




Catchment C




Catchment D




Catchment D




Catchment D




Catchment E




Catchment A


Catchment A Catchment B

Catchment F




Catchment F




Catchment G




Catchment G




Catchment G




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The project will also research, develop and design appropriate monitoring programs to evaluate the effectiveness of management interventions. The project has been split into two sub-projects, the first of which focuses on sediment transport and nutrient pathways in catchments: sources, processes and their relationship with land management. The second focuses on land and stream management interventions: methods, implementation and the monitoring and evaluation of their success. Initial findings of this project have already delivered some key information around catchment processes. Effective management of sediment delivery in water supply catchments depends in part on the identification of the primary erosion process generating the sediment. At the local level, it is common for either hillslope or channel erosion to clearly be the dominant erosion process, which in turn relates to different management strategies to mitigate the impact. Channel erosion is best managed by preventing stock access to streams, protecting vegetation cover in areas prone to channel erosion, revegetating bare banks, and reducing sub-surface seepage in areas with erodible sub-soils. Hillslope erosion is best managed by promoting groundcover, maintaining soil structure, and promoting deposition of eroded sediment before it reaches the stream.

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Figure 4. Scenarios of the spatial variation of soil erosion in a defined catchment with changing frequency and magnitude of rainfall and runoff events (1-in-1yr, 1-in-10yr and 1-in-50yr events) as modelled using OzMUSLE. Fallout radionuclides (137Cs and 210Pb) have been widely used to determine the relative contribution of hillslope and channel erosion to stream sediments (Olley et al., 1993). As both fallout radionuclides are concentrated in the surface soil, sediments derived from hillslope erosion will have high concentrations of both nuclides, while sediment eroded from gullies or channels have little or no fallout nuclides present. By measuring the concentration in suspended sediments moving down the river, and comparing them with concentrations in sediments produced by the different erosion processes, the relative contributions of each process can be determined. Results from seven water supply catchments so far investigated are consistent with channel erosion being the dominant source of sediment (Table 1). Information from such analyses provide critical information for management and are key to the development of complex models to further interpret catchment processes. Models are excellent tools to take such information discussed above to further interpret catchment processes and scenario-test changes in the catchment. Models such as the Environmental Management Support System (EMSS) (Chiew et al., 2001) or more recently the E2/WaterCAST/Source Catchment Modelllng (Stewart, 2009) have had much success in identifying broad-scale regional processes; however, they lack the required predictive capability for finescale individual sub-catchment analysis. Seqwater has begun developing an empirically based predictive model to

identify potential sources of sediment and subsequent sediment delivery throughout the landscape at the catchment outlet. This SEQ GeoDynamic model (based on the OzMUSLE approach) will in time facilitate identification of sedimentassociated nutrients and other pollutants that are likely to be generated at the annual, seasonal and event temporal scales. Hence, strategies to reduce or completely alleviate the risks of sediments and associated contaminants in storages can be prepared and scenario-tested well ahead of such occurrences. An example of such applications is provided in Figure 4.

Management Approach Under Seqwaterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Asset Management Framework, assets include water treatment plants, weirs, dams, borefields, buffer land holdings and the greater catchment. This is despite the fact that, as previously discussed, Seqwater has limited ownership within the broader catchment. However, Seqwater recognised the value of the natural features of the catchments as assets and has adopted this philosophy into its strategic planning and policies. There is currently a stark imbalance between investment in natural assets and investment in built assets, driven primarily by a short-term investment strategy to consolidate processes and performance under the recently formed organisation. Seqwater has recognised that the current investment pattern over ensuing decades may lead to sub-optimal outcomes and unsustainable practices, and was not consistent with the adopted catchmentto-supply approach.

To drive this process, Seqwater is developing a Catchment Investment Efficiency Measures (CIEM) Framework which aims to address a decision-making gap and provide an economic rationale for investment optimisation and integration between built and natural assets over five-, 10-, 20-, 30-, 50and 100-year timeframes. Seqwater has committed to developing a set of metrics and tools that will provide the basis of an economic framework (cost optimisation model) that informs long-term comparative analysis of investment options in the catchments and their impact on future built asset treatment costs. Information from the aforementioned tools is necessary if Seqwater is to implement targeted catchment management strategies that are effective at reducing the loss of soil and nutrients from the land to waterways and to reduce pathogen loads where they may cause water quality problems. Furthermore, this information will provide the biophysical data on catchment processes required to develop accurate socio-economic spatial optimisation models, and aid in catchment investment decision making, which will more appropriately inform effective watershed management and investment strategies that will optimise the treatment capacity of the catchments in the mid- to long-term. Due to the limited ownership and enforcement powers that Seqwater has within the catchments, implementing identified catchment management strategies and improvements is also a major challenge. Seqwater is currently


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catchment management developing a Natural Asset Maintenance Plan (NAMP) for each catchment, which aims to effectively manage catchments through the identification, prioritisation and scheduling of actions that improve or maintain the natural assets function.

in Australia have predicted we are likely to see an increase in climate variability and the occurrence of extreme events (CSIRO and BoM, 2007), both of which can have a significant impact on any catchment management process.

The process is informed by the tools discussed above and the risk assessment framework Seqwater manages. The key to achieving any of these identified actions will be the development and continuation of the partnership with our research partners, NRM bodies such as South-East Queensland Catchments, Healthy Waterways Limited and local and state agencies.

While not necessarily related to climate change, the recent floods experienced in South-East Queensland can demonstrate how quickly long-term understanding can change very rapidly and shift the focus of catchment management activities.

challenges in a changing climate A key consideration for the planning and development of an integrated Catchment Management strategy is forecasting how activities, actions and plans may be affected by a changing climate. Key conclusions from a recent report on climate change

This is best illustrated by examining the impact the floods have had on water quality in Lake Wivehoe, Seqwaterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest reservoir at a capacity of 1,165,000 ML. Under most circumstances, Lake Wivenhoe has an excellent buffering/ assimilative capacity for flows in the upper catchment, which are typically poor water quality standard. Figure 5 demonstrates that previous significant events such as February 2008, May 2009 and March and October 2010 had a dramatic effect on the turbidity at the upper end of the lake. However, turbidity at the dam wall was only slightly affected during these events, allowing a relatively consistent and stable water source for related water treatment plants. The volume of water delivered during the flood event had a profound and significant effect on the water quality right across the lake. While it has a certain ability to assimilate small to medium events, large events such as these will not be buffered. This is demonstrated by the pronounced and large rise in turbidity seen at the Wivenhoe Dam wall (Figure 5).

Figure 5. InďŹ&#x201A;ow of water to Wivenhoe Dam and its effect on turbidity at the upper and lower parts of the lake.

This impact is compounded by the nature of the flows that Lake Wivenhoe received. During previous events, the impacts seen (particularly in the lower lake) are not prolonged, with water quality quite rapidly returning to baseline conditions. The impact of the January flood event has seen a dramatic shift in water quality in the lake that may take years to recover to previous condition. This change in water quality may have a profound effect on the ecology of the lake and water supplied for treatment. As evidenced by the increased turbidity, the January flood event carried significant sediment load into the Wivenhoe and mid-Brisbane systems. Analysis of the total suspended solids composition revealed over 90% was inorganic sediment, likely as a result of channel erosion pressures mentioned earlier. The size of the sediments present will influence how they settle and respond with time.

Figure 6. Particle size distribution from Lake Wivenhoe Dam wall, showing the large fragments settling out and the small particles persisting well after the event.

Analysis of the particle sizes in Lake Wivenhoe, over time post-flood (Figure 6), revealed the dominance of very fine suspended sediment particles. This is contrary to previous events and would explain why the water quality is not improving as rapidly as seen previously. These very fine sediments are not conducive to settling and will remain suspended with very small amounts of energy and water movement. Preliminary investigations would suggest that this elevated turbidity and flow-on effects to other water quality parameters in Lake Wivenhoe could last for years. Some very simple modelling work has been applied to the information gathered so far that would support this assessment. It relies on the principles of Stokesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Law, which assumes no external forces present (i.e. a still body of water) and looks at the predicted settling of particles based on their size, density and form in a water medium.

Figure 7. Simple modelling of changes in water column turbidity with time based on particle size and settling predictions.

104 APRIL 2012 water

Figure 7 demonstrates this as predicted over the next 12 months, with little expected change in turbidity in the dam for the next 12 months based purely on settling of the suspended particles. These results are preliminary and exclude many external processes that may influence the process (such as natural flocculation/coagulation, biological processes, mixing

technical features

catchment management events such as lake turnover and wind mixing). A more complex assessment of this will be made following the completion of data collection from this study. This profound and likely prolonged effect has led to a rapid change in the understanding and risk profile of this system and many downstream issues for water treatment. The damage sustained across the catchment and the apparent reduced ability of the reservoir to buffer these risks increases the likelihood of impact for future events and creates a significant challenge and change in catchment management philosophy for this catchment.

conclusions Seqwater is developing an integrated approach to catchment management in a challenging environment. This approach draws on applied research, innovative modelling and regional partnerships to apply our philosophy of catchment to supply management. In a business of economic rationalisation, Seqwater is developing a suite of measurement tools to demonstrate cost-effective risk reduction across the business.

Footnote: This paper was originally presented at the Catchment Management Conference, Wangaratta, VIC, August 2011.

The Authors Dr Andrew Watkinson (email: awatkinson@ is Principal Coordinator of Catchment Water Quality at Seqwater. He works collaboratively with Dr Adrian Volders, Dr Kate Smolders and Dr Ava Simms on key Seqwater research projects via partnerships with specialists at regional universities, including Prof. Jon Olley and Ass. Prof. Michele Burford from the Australian Rivers Institute, Griffith University, Ass. Prof. Helen Stratton from the Smart Water Research Centre, Griffith University, and Dr Badin Gibbes and Dr Alistair Grinham at the Centre for Water Futures, University of Queensland.

references Chiew FHS, Scanlon PJ, Vertessy RA & Watson FGR, 2001: EMSS: Catchment Scale Modelling of Runoff, Sediment and Nutrient Loads for South East Queensland. Brisbane, South East Queensland Regional Water Quality Management Strategy.

CSIRO & BoM, 2007: Climate Change in Australia: Technical Report 2007. Canberra, CSIRO: 148 pp. HWL, 2007: South East Queensland Healthy Waterways Strategy 2007–2012. Brisbane, Healthy Waterways Limited. Leigh C, Burford MA, Roberts DT & Udy JW, 2010a: Predicting the vulnerability of reservoirs to poor water quality and cyanobacterial blooms. Water Research, 44, pp 4487–4496. Leigh C, Burford MA, Roberts DT & Udy JW, 2010b: Cyanobacterial blooms: Assessing reservoir vulnerability. Water Journal, 37, pp 71–75. Maxwell P, Udy J, McGaw M, Lennox S & Moore K, 2010: The Seqwater Report Card Manual: A guide to developing a report card grade for Seqwater’s storages. Brisbane. NHMRC/NRMMC, 2004: Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. Canberra, National Health and Medical Research Council, Agriculture and Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council. Olley JM, Murray AS, Mackenzie DH & Edwards K, 1993: Identifying sediment sources in a gullied catchment using natural and anthropogenic radioactivity. Water Resources Research, 29, pp 1037–1043. Ram JL, Ritchie RP, Fang J, Gonzales F & Selegean JP, 2004: Sequence-based source tracking of Escherichia coli based on genetic diversity of beta-glucuronidase. Journal of Environmental Quality, 33, pp 1024–1033.

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APRIL 2012 105

catchment management

on-sIte WAsteWAteR MAnAgeMent: Mount Lofty RAnges, south AustRALIA

Reducing the water quality risks from septic tanks in a watershed catchment: benefits and residual risks K Billington, D Deere Abstract The Mount Lofty Ranges Waste Control Project (hereafter the ‘Project’) was initiated to audit onsite wastewater systems for risks to drinking water supplies and facilitate system upgrades as appropriate. The project has now been running for 10 years, with 2460 properties audited and 689 failing systems upgraded. This paper reviews the subsequent water quality benefits (with a focus on virus loads) and assesses the residual risk of the onsite systems to drinking water quality within the region.

Introduction The catchments of the Mount Lofty Ranges (MLR) Watershed are a significant source of drinking water for Adelaide, contributing up to 60% of the city’s water supply (EPA, 2000), while supporting a number of important aquatic environments. Unlike the ‘closed’ water supply catchments of most other Australian capital cities, the MLR watershed is also an important region for agriculture, and urban and rural living. Over time, this has led to fundamental land use conflicts that have resulted in a number of water quality issues as described in EPA, 2000.

Among other matters, the EPA 2000 report identified the important issue of waterborne parasites, Cryptosporidium and Giardia, being detected in rivers and streams.

Table 1. Status of upgrades. Total Surveyed

Total Failures

Total Rectified


590 (41%)

429 (73%)

Upper Torrens Catchment


346 (48%)

193 (56%)

Little Para Catchment


119 (41%)

67 (56%)




Audit Original MLR Project

Totals Diffuse catchment pollution such as livestock and their access to watercourses, and poorly maintained onsite wastewater treatment systems (some of which were discharging raw sewage directly to watercourses) were noted as specific causes. It was recognised that there was a large number of onsite wastewater treatment systems (OWTS) in use across the towns and rural properties of the MLR Watershed. Most systems at the time were septic/trench systems, of various construction types, operating capacities and with a broad age range – aerobic wastewater treatment systems (AWTS) were still a relatively uncommon technology in the region.

5.0E+08 On site systems WWTP and STEDS Beef cattle Dairy cattle Sheep Other stock

4.5E+08 4.0E+08 3.5E+08 3.0E+08 2.5E+08

It was suspected that a significant number of these OWTS were not functioning reliably, which presented a risk to water supplies and human health; however, there was no comprehensive basis of assessment to qualify this belief or quantify the problem. As a result, in 2001 the Adelaide Hills Council initiated the Mount Lofty Ranges Waste Control Project, aiming to audit OWTS and AWTS for risks to drinking water supplies and facilitate system upgrades as appropriate. The results of the project audit, one of the largest of its type in Australia, indicated that 44% of the OWTS were failing. A focus of this paper is the outcome of a virus model that was developed in order to demonstrate the effect the OWTS upgrades had on microbial water quality risk; and a qualitative risk assessment that was developed to analyse the residual water quality/public health risk associated with failures of OWTS in the MLR Watershed.

Mount Lofty Ranges Waste Control Project

2.0E+08 1.5E+08 1.0E+08 5.0E+07 0.0E+00 Baseline budget 30% pump stn failure

0% pump stn failure

45% OSMS failure

0% OSMS failure

0% fenced

80% fenced > Juvenile stock 2.5m setback exclusion

Figure 1. Relative loads of daily Cryptosporidium in wet conditions (Deere et al., 2008). OSMS – Onsite sewerage management systems (equivalent to OWTS).

106 APRIL 2012 water

The original Project, which focussed on the appraisal of OWTS within key towns of the watershed, and the two subsequent ‘expansion’ Projects (Upper Torrens and Little Para catchments), have resulted in the audit of 2,460 properties and the upgrade of 689 failing OWTS (Table 1).

technical features

catchment management Table 2. Waste control project failure categories (Billington & Willis, 2011). Failure category

Category 1 Failures Major (discharging directly to a watercourse) Category 2 Failures Major (within 50m of a watercourse) Category 3 Failures Moderate (within 100m of a watercourse) Category 4 Failures Moderate (may carry to a watercourse) Category 5 Failures Minor (above ground – shouldn’t carry to creek)

No. of Failures and Percentage of Total Failures

Volumetric Contribution when Failure Occurs

21 (6%)


76 (22%)


76 (22%)


90 (26%)


83 (24%)


(% of Total Effluent)

Table 3. Scenarios for virus modeling. Scenario

Failure Rate Based on Total Numbers of OWTS

Project Initiation

See Table 1

Status (as at June 2010)


Future Long-term Target


Number of OWTS in catchment (derived from Council property data)

Daily sewage production per person (150L)

Number of persons using each OWTS (2.5)

Proportion of systems failing (5 to 60%)

Contribution limited to wet period of year (May to Sept)

Proportion of effluent reaching watercourse during failure (5 to 25%)

Dilution in all modelled sub-catchments combined (45 GL/year)

Virus concentration in runoff from combined sub-catchments Daily wet period virus load deposited within and mobilised by streams

Concentration of infectious viruses in sewage (8,000 per L, as per AGWR)

Daily virus load generated in catchment

Figure 2. Virus model framework (Billington & Willis, 2011).

Compare to drinking water guidelines and targets given current SA Water treatment

Virus Modelling Pathogen studies (Deere et al., 2008 and Ferguson et al., 2010) completed in the Torrens Catchment have identified that the load of E. coli, Cryptosporidium spp. and Giardia spp. from OWTS, in catchment runoff, is extremely low relative to the load sourced from grazing animals (Figure 1). As a result, a water quality assessment that compares OWTS upgrades with changes in these water quality parameters is not likely to clearly and directly distinguish the benefits of the Project. Simply put, while the spectrum of pathogens from grazing animals may be infectious to humans (but typically are not), all pathogens from OWTS are infectious to humans. Hence, while the magnitude of pathogens sourced from OWTS is relatively low, the risk to humans is still considerable due to the infectious nature of the source; as such, it was considered most useful to evaluate how the Project’s achievements have impacted virus loads through a modelling approach. Previous semi-quantitative modelling in the Upper Torrens Catchment (Deere et al., 2005; Deere et al., 2008) has been used to develop scenarios for virus budgeting and management. The model involved simple estimates of pathogen concentrations and prevalence in stock animals and OWTS, combined with estimates of pathogen reduction through catchment mitigation options and waste management. The catchment pathogen model was created using the ‘materials budgeting’ approach to provide a framework familiar to catchment management professionals (Ferguson, 2005; Ferguson et al., 2003 in Olley and Deere, 2003, cited in Deere, 2008). The revised ‘virus budget’ was expressed in terms of daily flux deposited within and mobilised by streams during wet conditions, assumed to constitute around half of the year. Values were estimated as the quantity of virus transferred to streamlines each day and being mobilised daily if streams are flowing in the catchment. The first step in redeveloping the pathogen model for virus budgeting was to identify the processes that govern virus sources, their subsequent fate and transport within catchments and to represent these in a conceptual model (Figure 2). The second step in developing the virus budget was to create a mathematical model (base model sourced from Deere et al., 2008). One change since the 2008 report was produced, and which has been reflected in the revised model, was the use of Australian data on


APRIL 2012 107

catchment management

The model setup also required information on the proportion of failing systems and the proportion of effluent reaching the watercourses during failure. The Project audit identified five failure categories and has reported on the number of OWTS within each. In consultation with Adelaide Hills Council a percentage volumetric contribution from the OWTS to the watercourse for each of the categories has been developed (Table 2). A model of this type is not accurate at the fine level, but does provide a reasonably reliable estimate of source priorities and virus log reduction values at an order-ofmagnitude level, e.g. on a log scale.

health-Based targets and Risk scenarios The tolerable risk target for viruses in drinking water was set based on the USEPA (2006) being 2 x 10-7 viruses per L. The tolerable risk is somewhat more stringent than has been historically applied in Australia and is based on keeping waterborne disease down to very low levels. This target is approximately the same as that in the proposed revisions to Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG) (NHMRC, 2011). The target is based on ensuring that water causes no more than one infection in 10,000 persons each year. In its current draft, the NHMRC paper sets the tolerable risk target for viruses in drinking water at 3.4 x 10-6 viruses per L. However, the NHMRC values are currently being reviewed as part of a major national project and could change. Furthermore, the USEPA benchmark is widely adopted internationally and represents current best practice in the international water industry. For a major state capital such as Adelaide, it is anticipated that water authorities, such as SA Water, would continue their tradition of adopting world’s best practice. Therefore, for this review, the established USEPA targets were used. Using the model, virus concentrations were estimated for a range of scenarios (Table 3), and compared with the tolerable risk target. Scenarios represented the initial project condition (prior to any upgrades) and the current project status. In addition, a target for OWTS failure rate was derived for the Torrens Catchment that would allow SA Water to meet its anticipated drinking water targets without upgrading current treatment systems.

108 APRIL 2012 water

8 Log reductions required to meet health based targets for viruses of 2 x 10-7 viruses per L

infectious virus concentrations in sewage, as described in the Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling (AGWR). The AGWR provides a 95th percentile figure of 8,000 viruses per L in sewage effluent.

7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 Project initiation


Current best estimate

Convention filtration (coagulation, sedimentation and filtration)

Long term target



Figure 3. Assessment of Waste Control Project – virus levels as compared with health-based target (Billington & Willis, 2011). To calculate virus concentrations, it was assumed that viruses only reached watercourses during wet periods of the year when soils are fully saturated and the absorption capacity of systems is limited. The wet period is defined as being from May to September – five months. For the remaining seven months of the year, the viruses were assumed to be ameliorated within the OWTS or the immediate receiving environment. Since most of the annual flow yielded from the river arises during the wet period of the year, the viruses generated during these wettest five months of the year were assumed to be diluted in the total annual flow yielded from the catchment. Once viruses are released from OWTS, the process of transport and inactivation occurs. The two elements are complex to model and rely on site-specific conditions. Within the virus model, a 0.1 log reduction was assumed to occur via sedimentation and inactivation of viruses within the catchment. This value was based on a review of current literature: for example, Espinosa et al., 2008, which states an in-activation rate of 0.05 log per day. The transport factor was simply defined as a percentage contribution of the OWTS to the receiving water environment – a variable between 5% and 25%. Treatment performance within the SA Water system was based on the values given by NHMRC (2011). Conventional coagulation, sedimentation and filtration was assumed to reduce virus concentrations by 90% (1 log10) and chlorine disinfection at the doses applied by SA Water were assumed to reduce virus concentrations by 99.99% (4 log10).

Results The results of the assessment demonstrate that the actions completed to reduce OWTS discharge to the drinking

water catchment of the Torrens River are valuable and justified. Initially, failure rates were high (approximately 50%) in the Torrens Catchment, as identified by the Project audit. Under these conditions, virus levels in the catchment were elevated and would require a 6.8 log reduction in order to meet the health-based targets proposed by the USEPA of 2 x 10-7 viruses per L (refer Figure 3). Given that inactivation is estimated to have a 0.1 log reduction and current SA Water treatment would provide an additional 5 log reduction, a deficiency of 1.7 log would remain. This level of viruses in the catchment would not relate to outbreak levels, but a possible issue for public health – equating to an estimated 10% of background virus in the receiving community. Upgrades to OWTS within this catchment have since seen the failure rate drop to approximately 25%, and would be expected to lead to less serious modes of failure even where failures still occur. These recent upgrades were predicted to reduce virus levels affecting the drinking water supply by approximately 4-fold or 0.6 log10 orders. In this case a deficiency of 1.2 log would remain in order to meet health-based targets proposed by the USEPA. This level of viruses in the catchment is estimated to equate to 1% of background virus in the receiving community. From a public health perspective, it is considered that while mitigation actions to reduce this level of virus risk are not considered urgent, action is still required to further decrease the level of viruses in the catchment. The model was interpreted to estimate a target for OWTS failure rate that would be sufficient to preclude the need for SA Water to upgrade its treatment systems in order to control viruses. This target

technical features

catchment management Priority area

topographic risk

soil risk

• Priority area risk class

• Buffer to watercourse risk

• Water-holding capacity risk • Surface texture risk • Waterlogging risk

• Slope risk

Average risk of an OWTS failure within township or agricultural or rural residential property

Infectious virus load prior to onsite treatment per day based on the number of oWts which have not been surveyed and where there is no connection to CWMs

Water quality risk of OWTS failures in township

Figure 4. Schematic of risk assessment approach (Billington & Willis, 2011). was estimated at a 5% failure rate with a corresponding 5% of effluent volume reaching watercourses. This modelled failure rate has been recommended as the proposed long-term target for the Waste Control Project.

proposals. Charles (2009) reported similar results, stating: “Removal of all failure in system performance and buffer systems achieved a reduction of 1.6 log10 and 1.5 log10 at the 95th and 99th percentile, respectively, for the Wingecarribee region”.

If current upgrades continue and long-term targets are reached, the Project would reduce virus levels affecting the drinking water supply by approximately 55-fold or 1.5 log10 orders. Conversely, it should be noted that if this target for OWTS failure is not achieved, SA Water may have to upgrade its treatment systems to comply with NHMRC

Regardless of the specific modelling results, under every scenario Drinking Water Treatment Systems have limited reliability and, therefore, the ADWG promote the management of catchments to the maximum degree practicable and the need to control hazards at source wherever possible.

Risk Assessment The risk assessment has been divided into two general ‘zones’ (and spatial scales) – ‘towns’ and non-town or ‘rural property’ areas, which reflects the relative risk to drinking water and possible options for risk management associated with these general zones. The average overall risk-ranking of OWTS failure for each town or rural residential property is the sum of the priority area, topographic and soil risk ranks (as described below), which has a theoretical maximum of 12. Figure 4 provides a schematic of the risk assessment approach. Drinking Water Protection Priority area risk rank – Three priority areas have been developed for the MLR Watershed, indicating the relative risk of activities to drinking water projection. The risk-ranking was developed based on the classification for the majority of “dwelling properties” within the defined town zone. For example, most dwelling properties with Bridgewater are in a Priority 2 area, which has a relative risk-ranking of 3). topographic risk rank – An average risk class was defined for watercourse buffer and slope classes, by multiplying the risk class for each “dwelling property” that is not connected to sewer or Community Wastewater Management Systems by the risk class, and then dividing by the total number of properties. For example, there are 267 “dwelling properties”, which are not connected to sewer or CWMS in Bridgewater, 6 of which have a slope less than 5%; 81



9.0 8.0 1.00E+09 7.0 6.0 5.0


4.0 3.0 1.00E+07

2.0 1.0 0.0 w W oo oo d d h sid ou e gh to Ve n In rdu g n l B as ew ke oo tR d a g um ng er e ac B ird ha w Pa oo d ra c Lo om ng b w fo oo rr d es ec ton hu B nga ra db K er ury sb ro o As k sc ht ot o tC n r C ha eek rle s C he ton r C ryv a i M rey lle ou g ul nt to la rr en s








or yl



th ea



la id

ra u










an m







al B


er Lo






rid B


in irl

dg Al






Average topographic risk rank for oWts properties Average priority area risk rank for oWts properties Average soils risk rank for oWts properties Average infectious virus load prior to on-site treatment per day based on the number of oWts which have not been surveyed and where there is no connection to CWMs Relative measure of potable water quality risk based on oWts failures in township

Figure 5. The relative measure of drinking water quality risk based on OWTS failures for each town, and the estimated average infectious virus load per town per day prior to onsite treatment (Billington & Willis, 2011).


APRIL 2012 109

catchment management of which have a slope between 5.0% and 12.9%; 91 of which have a slope between 13.0% and 19.9%; and 89 of which have a slope greater than 20%. Based on these characteristics, slope risk rank was calculated as: 6 multiplied by a risk rank of 1; 81 multiplied by a risk rank of 2; 91 multiplied by a risk rank of 3; and 80 multiplied by a risk rank of 4 – divided by 267. The same approach was used for the watercourse buffer risk element and an average of the slope and watercourse buffer risk rank determined for the topographic risk rank. soil risk rank – An average risk class was defined for a given soil class (for surface texture, susceptibility to water logging and water holding capacity) by multiplying the risk class for each “dwelling property”(which is not connected to sewer or CWMS) by the risk class; and then dividing by the total number of properties. The three individual soil class ranks were then averaged to provide an overall soil risk rank. The water quality risk for each town was then estimated by multiplying the average overall risk rank by the infectious virus load prior to on-site treatment, per day, based on the number of OWTS that have not been surveyed (all surveyed OWTS were considered to not fail either now or in the near future), and where there is no connection to CWMS. The same risk classification approach has been used for individual rural properties outside of town boundaries to enable risk mapping for the Torrens, Little Para and Onkaparinga Catchments.

Results of Risk Assessment The risk assessment results for priority towns have been briefly described within this paper, while the full results can be seen in Billington and Willis (2011). Figure 5 presents the: • Average overall site risk of OWTS failure within each town (broken down into the component parts of topographic, priority area and soil risk rank); • Relative measure of drinking water quality risk based on OWTS failures for each town; and • Estimated average infectious virus load per town per day prior to onsite treatment, to demonstrate the relative microbial loads between towns. The towns of Stirling, Aldgate, Bridgewater and Crafers are identified by the risk assessment to present the most

110 APRIL 2012 water

concentrated risk within MLR Watershed. There are approximately 1,200 dwellings within the defined town boundaries that are currently not connected to sewer or CWMS. These 1,200 OWTS represent 55% of the total number of OWTS (2,200) assessed in this Review and represent a major concentration of OWTS within the watershed. The Average Overall Site Risk of OWTS failure within these four towns ranges between 6.1 and 7.0 (maximum theoretical risk of 12). When one takes into account this Site Risk and the number of dwellings with OWTS, these four towns present the highest microbial risk to drinking water quality. The most significant site risk characteristics that impact the potential for OWTS failure in this area are slope (with approximately 308 properties having the majority of the area with a slope greater than 20%), the location of towns within Priority Area 2 of the Watershed, and soil texture, which is predominately sandy loam. A total of 247 properties with OWTS have been audited (21%) within the Stirling, Aldgate, Bridgewater and Crafers area under the Project. Since the audit was completed, 67 properties have been sewered and, while this has removed some of the risk, there remains a considerable number of OWTS (approximately 991) that have not been surveyed and are not currently connected to sewer. Based on a failure rate of 41% (as identified by the Original Project survey), it can be reasonably estimated that some 406 OWTS are likely to be presently failing within these four towns.

Conclusions The 10-year review of the MLR Waste Control Project has indicated that the audit of OWTS and subsequent upgrades has reduced the risk viruses by approximately 4-fold or 0.6 log10 orders. Assuming current SA Water treatment practices of 1-log for filtration and 4-log for chlorination, a deficiency of 1.2 log remains in order to meet health-based targets proposed by the USEPA. This level of viruses in the catchment is estimated to equate to 1% of background virus in the receiving community. If current upgrades continue, and long-term targets are reached, the Project would reduce virus levels affecting the drinking water supply by approximately 55-fold or 1.5 log10 orders. Spatial risk assessment has been used to identify future priority towns and rural areas within the MLR Watershed for auditing. Towns where partial sewerage networks occur were identified as a priority.

the Authors

Karla Billington (email: karla@naturallogic. org) is a water resource management consultant and Director of Natural Logic. Dr Daniel Deere (email: dan@waterfutures. is Director of Water Futures.

References AGWR, 2006: Australian Guidelines For Water Recycling: Managing Health and Environmental Risks (Phase 1). Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council, Environment Protection And Heritage Council and Australian Health Ministers Conference. Web Copy: ISBN 1 921173 06 8. Billington K & Willis D, 2011: Mount Lofty Ranges Waste Control Project – A ten-year review. Prepared for Adelaide Hills Council. Natural Logic Australia Pty Ltd. Charles K, 2009: Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment: a catchment management tool to delineate buffer distances for on-site sewage treatment and disposal systems in Sydney’s drinking water catchments, University of New South Wales. Deere D, Ferguson C, Billington K, Wood J & Davison A, 2005: Pathogens in the Upper Torrens River Catchment. Water Futures report to SA Water and Torrens Catchment Water Management Board. Deere D, Ferguson C, Billington K, Wood J & Davison A: 2008: Pathogens in the Upper Torrens River Catchment. Water Futures report to SA Water and Torrens Catchment Water Management Board. 40 pages. EPA, 2000: The State of Health of the Mount Lofty Ranges Catchments from a Water Quality Perspective, EPA, Adelaide. Espinosaa A, Mazari-Hiriarta M, Espinosab R, Maruri-Avidalb L, Me´ndezb E & Arias C: Infectivity and genome persistence of rotavirus and astrovirus in groundwater and surface water, Water Research, 42 (2008 ), pp 2618–2628. Ferguson CM, 2005: Deterministic model of microbial sources, fate and transport: a quantitative tool for pathogen catchment budgeting. PhD. University of NSW, Sydney. Ferguson CM, Croke BFW, et al., 2010: Modelling of variations in watershed pathogen concentrations for risk management and load estimations. Denver, Colorado, The Water Research Foundation: 288. NHMRC, 2011: Health-Based Targets For Microbial Safety Of Drinking Water Supplies, Draft Discussion Paper, Australian Drinking Water Guidelines ( guidelines/consult/consultations/draft_adwg_ guidelines.htm, viewed 20 February, 2011). USEPA, 2006: Long-term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule. United States Environmental Protection Agency, 5 January 2006.

technical features

catchment management


Responses to protect river health and water quality W Tennant, P Feehan, L Drake Abstract The upper catchment of the Goulburn River in Victoria, south-eastern Australia, is highly valued for its natural values and as a source of water. In February 2009, catastrophic wild fires impacted on a significant area of the upper/mid Goulburn River catchment between Kilmore/Wandong and Alexandra. This fire event has been titled by some as “Australia’s worst natural disaster”, with the loss of life, damage to communities, and destruction of manmade and natural infrastructure and assets. Over 49% of the fire area was affected by moderate-to-high soil burn severity, and with 52% of the area having steep slopes, this put many areas within and downstream of the burnt area at increased risk of erosion and from polluted runoff (DSE, 2009). The immediate and ongoing response to the event centred around coordination between relevant agencies, development of a Turbidity Decision Support System; establishment of “real-time” monitoring, and community-based water quality monitoring (Ashwatch); support for partner agencies in the protection of aquatic-dependent threatened species; development of processes to reduce the impact on urban water treatment; and the continued review of data and information from storm and rainfall events. There were approximately 20 rainfall events recorded in the two years after the fires where water quality was affected in tributaries located in the burnt area, and in some cases the Goulburn River. This paper presents an overview of the monitoring programs initiated in response to the catastrophic fire event, and details and introduces some of the supporting and complementary initiatives and key findings.

Introduction The Goulburn River catchment is situated within northern Victoria, Australia (see Figure 1). The catchment is Victoria’s

largest, spreading in the south from close to the outskirts of Melbourne through to the River Murray in the north. The Goulburn Broken Catchment is home to 189,500 people, including a large indigenous community, and is considered by many as one of the most multicultural regional communities. Although the Goulburn catchment is only 2% of the Murray Darling Basin’s land area, the catchment generates 11% of the basin’s water resources. Water is a key asset of the region and vital to numerous communities downstream. The value of the water, together with other regional assets, our land and people, supports the generation of 26% of the rural export earnings for the state of Victoria.


Assets and Values within the Catchment The upper catchment of the Goulburn River is highly valued for its natural assets; its flora, fauna and water. Largely uncleared for agriculture, this region is home to an array of threatened flora and fauna, many listed as threatened under the State Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act, and as endangered under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. Key species include: Alpine Bent (Agrostis meionectes), Barred Galaxias (Galaxias fuscus) and Maquarie perch (Macquaria australasica). European and Indigenous heritage features are scattered throughout the upper Goulburn River catchment and the area has prized aesthetic features throughout the mountains, floodplains and rivers. Water generated within the upper catchment is vital to the numerous communities both within and downstream of the catchment and supports township supply, stock and domestic use, irrigation and food producing industries.

Strategic Framework Goulburn Broken Catchment

Figure 1. The Goulburn Broken Catchment. The catchment’s streams contain an array of ecological assets, including native flora and fauna in the streams and adjacent floodplains. The rivers and floodplains support important tourism and recreational opportunities, together with cropping, grazing, vineyards and horse studs in the plains, with irrigated dairy, horticultural enterprises and food processing industries dominating the vast Shepparton Irrigation Region (SIR).

To guide the protection and enhancement of the region’s river, wetlands and water, a Water Quality Strategy and Regional River Health Strategy have been prepared. Development of the Goulburn Broken Water Quality Strategy commenced in 1994. The Strategy aimed to reduce potential total phosphorus loads by 65%. Implementation began in 1996. The Regional River Health Strategy was prepared in 2004 and identified priority waterways on the basis of the assets provided to the regional community. Both strategies considered the areas affected by fire to be priorities for investment, and monitoring of catchment condition to be a fundamental element of Natural Resource Management programs.


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catchment management had a dramatic impact on water quality. Following the flash flood, there were very large increases in turbidity in sections of the Ovens River, peaking at 70,000 NTU on 27 February 2003 at Myrtleford. By comparison, turbidity levels in the Ovens River are usually well below 10 NTU. Suspended solid levels, which are typically less than 6mg/L in this river system, peaked at 33,000mg/L; that is, 3.3% solids.

Figure 2. Extent of wildfires in February 2009 (source DSE).

Wildfires in the upper Catchment In February 2009, catastrophic wildfires impacted on a significant area of the upper/mid Goulburn River catchment between Kilmore, Wandong and Alexandra (see Figure 2). The largest of the fires, known as the Kinglake Complex, burnt over a total of 255,000 ha of land (including 155,000 ha in the Goulburn River catchment), destroyed more than 550 homes and resulted in significant loss of life. The fire followed a path across Victoria’s Central Highlands, from Wandong, south as far as St Andrews, and east and north through Marysville, Taggerty and Flowerdale towards the upper Goulburn Valley. This fire event has been titled by some as “Australia’s worst natural disaster”, with the disastrous loss of life, damage to communities, destruction of manmade and natural infrastructure and assets. Over 49% of the fire area was affected by moderate to high soil burn severity. Along with 52% of the area having steep slopes, this put many areas both within and downstream of the fire at increased risk of erosion and runoff (DSE, 2009). While the fire did not directly affect the Goulburn River, its major and minor tributaries were affected. The 2009 wildfires were additional to a series of wildfires in 2003 and 2006 that burnt over much of north-eastern Victoria.

Impacts of Wildfires on Catchments Wildfires can have substantial impacts on the characteristics of catchments. Wallbrink et al. (2004) identified potential effects of fires on vegetation and soil cover, physical changes to soil properties after fire and their effect on soil erosion and soil wettability, and the effect of fire on erosion rates.

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In the sediment ‘slug’ dissolved oxygen levels were very low, dropping to 0.1mg/L. Dissolved oxygen concentrations of less than 1mg/L can lead to fish deaths and significantly impact on other aquatic organisms. These conditions contrasted sharply with water quality downstream of the sediment ‘slug’, which was more typical of the normal condition of the river.

In a study of fire impacts on hydrology and water quality in a wet eucalypt forest environment Lane et al. (2009) found discharge increased by around 70% after fire, and this persisted for at least three years. While there was no apparent change in the runoff processes delivering water to the stream network, suspended and coarse sediment fluxes increased by 8–9 times in the first year post-fire, but relaxed to pre-fire levels by the end of the second year. Phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N) fluxes increased by approximately 5–6 times, and showed the same recovery rate as sediment, with the majority of both P and N transported in the particulate form. Water quality recovery was a function of the groundcover recovery. Hillslope process experiments revealed the importance of soil water repellency and the spatial arrangement of saturated hydraulic conductivity in pollutant pathway length. These experimental data suggest near-stream areas to be the pollutant source areas.

Potential Impacts in the Goulburn Catchment

Event water-quality monitoring data indicates the possibility of enormous increases in instantaneous concentrations of water quality parameters. For example, downstream of extensive wildfires in the Mitta Mitta River in 2003, event concentrations of total phosphorous (TP) were up to 5.5mg/L, total nitrogen (TN) up to 65mg/L and suspended solids (SS) up to 45,000mg/L, contrasting with median background levels at the monitoring site of 0.02mg/L, 0.18 mg/L and 3.0mg/L for TP, TN and SS respectively (Ecowise Environmental, 2006).

Water quality and associated catchment values could be affected by highly turbid, silt- and ash-laden water. The impact on water quality and natural and human assets depends on a number of factors including the timing, severity and extent of the rainfall event, proximity to assets, e.g. drinking water supply offtake, the rate of flow in the mid-Goulburn River (controlled by releases from Lake Eildon) and diversions at Goulburn Weir. Direct water quality impacts from post-fire rainfall events include increases in suspended solids, nitrogen and phosphorus.

A severe storm (150mm of rain in one hour) over a small sub-catchment (10–15km2) of the nearby Ovens River after wildfires in 2003 resulted in a major fish kill in the river and threatened town and rural water supplies (EPAV, 2003). The sediment ‘slug’ resulting from this storm event

Additional water quality impacts could include increases in salinity, decreases in dissolved oxygen and changes in water temperature due to changes in shading, and alterations to instream barriers and stream debris due to incineration of timber or post-fire tree fall.

Native fish populations were severely impacted by the sediment ‘slug’. A postevent survey in March 2003 found a 98% reduction in native fish abundance in the Buckland River (a tributary of the Ovens River). Drinking water treatment plants struggled to cope with the huge suspended sediment loads, resulting in severe water restriction to reduce demand and trucking of water into towns to augment supplies.

Against this backdrop, land and water managers in the Goulburn River catchment had major concerns about the potential water quality impacts of storm events occurring over the area burnt by wildfires in 2009. The fire severity and extent of the burnt area, coupled with the unknown intensity, duration, location and spatial extent of storm events means it is impossible to sensibly plan to manage the effects of a single event.

technical features

catchment management Table 1. Direct and indirect threats (risk). Direct

Indirect Increased sediment loads

High water temperatures High pH Influx of ash

Increased nutrient loads Low dissolved oxygen Changes in barriers Changes in in stream debris

The best that could be hoped for was that managers and the community were aware of potential impacts and that scenario planning was undertaken to be prepared for whatever eventuated.

Response Action The response action taken on a regional level focussed on: • Coordination between relevant agencies; • Development of a Turbidity Decision Support System;

Figure 3. Example of real-time monitoring for regional partners (turbidity v. flow). Eventually turbidity probes were installed at key locations along the river. These could be interrogated in real time, enabling warning of events.

• Establishment of “real-time” monitoring;

Real-Time monitoring

• Community-based water quality monitoring (Ashwatch);

Stream water quality is being assessed by real-time turbidity monitoring using turbidity probes at sites across the fire-affected areas within the Goulburn catchment. Turbidity data (see Figure 3) is collected at 30-minute intervals along with stream height and rainfall, and for most sites this data can be accessed online, except where mobile phone coverage is not available. Turbidity has been chosen as an indicator of stream water quality, mainly because it can be easily measured in situ.

• Protection of aquatic-dependent threatened species; • Development of processes to reduce the impact on potable water treatment; and • Continuous review of information from storm and rainfall events.

Partners and Coordination Within the region strong partnerships have formed as the result of many years of working together. Following the fire, the Goulburn Catchment Water and River Contingency Planning Group, which was formed to collectively respond to waterway incidents, undertook a review of the potential risks to aquatic ecosystem health and water quality resulting from rain or storm events on the severely burnt catchments. The Group identified where action could be taken and areas in which detailed and ongoing surveillance was required.

Risk Assessment Key assets identified as being at risk included the Goulburn River, Lake Eildon, Goulburn Weir and downstream irrigation systems, urban water supplies and river health. Both direct and indirect risks were identified (see Table 1).

Decision Support Tool A fire event decision support system based on assumptions about turbidity levels and tributary inflows was developed as a planning tool. The tool was used to predict the water quality impacts of a number of scenarios ranging from localised severe storms to catchment-wide severe storms. For most scenarios negligible to minor changes to turbidity were predicted (negligible <5 NTU change; minor between 5 and 20 NTU change) at key locations along the river, with major impacts (> 1000 NTU) associated with very severe storms. Stakeholders agreed that responses based on coordination and liaison with alert level triggers was the most appropriate method of responding to potential events. In addition, monitoring systems already in place would be supplemented by real-time turbidity monitoring.

A number of turbidity probes have been installed at sites across the fire-affected areas. Location of sites and their installation status is as follows: • Ten sites – monitoring of turbidity (partner access to data for management and communications); • Two sites – monitoring for turbidity (monitoring the risk to threatened fish communities – Barred Galaxias).

Community-based Water Quality monitoring Prior to the wildfire of 2009, much of north-east Victoria was subjected to regional fires in December 2006. This fire affected a total area of 1,080,088 ha, spreading from Woods Point to Tatong. Most of the upper Goulburn and Broken catchments have been affected by these fires and a high increase in turbidity has been noticed in these areas after rainfall events. AshWatch was developed to raise awareness of the importance of water quality in areas affected by the bushfires. Many local residents have complained about the quality of the water as “it is usually crystal clear, but at the moment it’s flowing like mud!”. The Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority provided support for the initiatiation of a concept project by providing funding to instigate and implement the project. Sites selected after the 2006 fire were tested on a fortnightly basis for the first six months and then on a monthly basis for the following 18 months. All results from the project were reported back to the community and to the CMA. Macro invertebrate surveys, along with photo point monitoring, were conducted throughout the project. Members of the community were encouraged to come along and learn about the aquatic environment and how it was recovering from the bushfires.


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catchment management

Figure 4. Water quality data (results) through Ashwatch. Following the 2009 fires Ashwatch was re-established to collect water quality data on 12 priority river reaches (28 sites) (see Figure 4). The data was valuable and the program engaged the community in collecting the data to understand the impacts of poor water quality. The project was headed up by the Goulburn Broken Waterwatch initiative.(

Analysis of event The potential for catastrophic impacts on water quality following the 2009 fire was minimised due to the lack of high intensity rainfall in the first 12 months after the fires. There were approximately 20 rainfall events recorded in the two years after the fires, where water quality was affected in the fire-affected tributaries and, in some cases, the Goulburn River. Most rainfall events were less than 30mm and resulted in only temporary peaks in fire-affected tributaries. There were two exceptions

to this â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the first was in late September 2009 after 15mm to 45mm fell across the catchment and turbidity peaked at 270 NTU in the Goulburn River at Tabilk (downstream of the fire-affected area); the second event occurred at the start of January 2010.

flow data available. Daily flow data shows at least a twofold increase in all fire-affected tributaries (see Table 2). The Goulburn River at Goulburn Weir did not peak until 4 January, where flows increased from around 3000ML/day to 8000ML/Day.

The mid-Goulburn catchment received significant rainfall on 1 and 2 January 2010 with rainfall ranging between 52mm at Kilmore to 88mm in Yea. As a result, flash flooding and the mobilisation of sediments occurred in both fire-affected and other tributaries. The Goulburn River to the Goulburn Weir and beyond was impacted by this event with high turbidity and salinity, and low dissolved oxygen levels recorded.

Releases from Lake Eildon were decreased to compensate for the increased flows in the mid-Goulburn catchment. Releases were decreased from around 2500ML/day to 500ML/day for around five days.

Daily flow data shows the tributaries peaking either on 2 or 3 January. The exact time and magnitude of flow peaks in the tributaries cannot be established as there is only instantaneous daily

Table 2. Summary of flows in the Mid-Goulburn Catchment. Waterway

December 2009 average flow (ML/Day)

Maximum instantaneous flow* ML/Day (logged in SPM)

Date of maximum flow*

Rubicon R




Acheron R




Yea R




King Parrot Crk




Sunday Crk




Goulburn R @ Seymour




Goulburn R @ Goulburn Weir




* Instantaneous daily flow data, therefore daily maximum may be higher.

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At the time of this rainfall event there were six online turbidity sensors installed in the mid-Goulburn catchment; Acheron River at Taggerty, Yea River at Castella, Yea River at Yea Pump Station, Goulburn River at Trawool, Goulburn River at Tabilk and Goulburn Weir. Additionally, spot readings were taken on three occasions under the AshWatch program. Turbidity in the Acheron River peaked at approximately 1,000 NTU on 1 January, which was around the same time as the first peak inflows. Turbidity remained elevated for 10 days at or above 50 NTU. Since then, concentrations have mainly been around 10 NTU, with the exception of the influence of a minor rainfall event on 8 January 2010. AshWatch data was also consistent with these findings, as 60 NTU was measured on 2 January at Acheron River near the Goulburn River confluence. Turbidity in the Yea River at both sites exceeded 500 NTU on 2 January and at Yea the turbidity consistently remained above 20 NTU until 10 January. At the AshWatch site on the Yea River at Devlins Bridge, turbidity was found to be over the detection limit of the equipment (1,000 NTU). Other significant turbidity

technical features

catchment management According to Raadik et al. (2010) remnant populations of Barred Galaxias are all geographically isolated, small, and restricted to headwater streams in the forested upland portion of the Goulburn River system. Because of this, and their poor recolonising ability, the immediate and post impacts of bushfire can devastate populations (Raadik et al., 2010).

Figure 5. Goulburn Weir inflow and turbidity post-January 2010 rainfall event. concentrations in the mid-Goulburn catchment measured by AshWatch were: Sunday Creek at Seymour Road Bridge, 297 NTU; King Parrot Creek before Goulburn River, 253 NTU; and Dry Creek at Broadford, 254 NTU. Goulburn Valley Water also reported high turbidity at their Seymour town offtake (Goulburn River); in the first week of January raw water turbidity was around 300 NTU (previous maximum was around 50 NTU). Elevated turbidity levels were also observed in the Goulburn River. Due to a lightning strike no turbidity data is available at Trawool from 2 to 5 January; therefore, the full impact is not able to be determined at this site. The site came back online on 5 January and the turbidity was elevated at 160 NTU and was decreasing; however, concentrations remained above 20 NTU until 16 January. Ashwatch monitoring measured turbidity just before Seymour (the closest site to Trawool) at 633 NTU on 5 January. By 30 January 2010, Ashwatch monitoring showed that throughout the mid-Goulburn catchment water quality had reverted to previous levels with all sites below 25 NTU. The maximum daily inflow into the Goulburn Weir was recorded on 4 January. Increases in electrical conductivity (EC) , turbidity and a decrease in dissolved oxygen (DO) levels began late on 3 January at Tabilk (just upstream of Goulburn Weir). EC and turbidity continued to increase until 9 January. The maximum EC recorded was 115 µS/cm, turbidity concentrations were in excess of the detection limit (400 NTU) for 5 days, and the lowest DO recorded was around 4ppm.

There was a significant delay in the turbidity slug reaching the Goulburn Weir structure (see Figure 5). Increases in turbidity did not occur until 10 January with the maximum turbidity occurring on 13 January at 283 NTU (high spike readings not included). DO concentrations significantly reduced at the same time to below 1ppm for a number of days. By 13 January DO levels had increased above 5ppm and turbidity gradually improved, with most readings below 50 NTU by 24 January 2010. No fish kills or other impacts on aquatic life were reported.

Response Action – Translocation of Threatened Species Noting the potential impact on a number of threatened species from receiving waters carrying sediments, ash and the like, the Department of Sustainability and Environment, together with the community, commenced the translocation of key threatened species:

During a bushfire, the temperature of the water in the small headwater tributaries can become elevated, leading to fish mortailty. Post-bushfire, sudden pulses of ash and sediment carried into the stream with runoff from storm events can drastically alter water quality conditions, causing high or complete fish mortality (Raadik, 2007). High sediment loads can smother the substrate (or completely infill streams), reducing or eliminating aquatic food supplies and smothering spawning and resting habitat for fish.

Risk assessment and decision The majority of known sites for Barred Galaxias aligned with high soil-burn severity (from February 2009 fire), which increased the risk of impact and loss of individual communities and polulations. The key impact on the galaxias that were assessed included: stream inputs such as sedimentation and ash, changes/ destruction of barriers to predatory species allowing shared access to zone with galaxias, management of stream debris and salvage logging.

Translocation action

• Macquarie perch (Macquaria australasica)

Eleven sites were assessed post-fire. One site was dry and two sites were only lightly burnt. From eight sites, a total of 394 fish were collected and translocated to the Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research to prevent direct and indirect impact to the species post-fire

barred Galaxias case study

Return and captive breeding

The Barred Galaxias is a rich-orange fish with one to 10 distinct, dark oval bars on its side and clear to reddish-brown fins (Allen, 1989). The Barred Galaxias has suffered a serious decline over most of its range and has become fragmented within this reduced range (Raadik, 1993). It is currently restricted to just 11 populations in 22 known sites. The known remaining populations of Barred Galaxias (DSE, 2003) all occur in the upper reaches of tributaries of the Goulburn River system. Bushfires in December 2006 and February 2009 have burnt over all but three known Barred Galaxias sub-populations.

The translocated Barred Galaxias were returned over a 16-month period, following regular surveys by ARI to assess habitat rehabilitation at each site. These reintroductions occurred between December 2009 and March 2011. Fish from Little Rubicon River, Luke Creek and Torbreck Creek were returned in December 2009. Fish from Upper Taggerty River, Rubicon River and Keppel Hut Creek were returned in June 2010. Fish from S Creek were returned in February 2011 and those from Robertson’s Gully returned in March 2011. Although attempts had been made to breed Barred Galaxias at ARI, these

• Barred Galaxias (Galaxias fuscus); and


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catchment management had failed. Given the expected high levels of sedimentation in Barred Galaxias streams, investigations were undertaken to explore breeding success in a range of streams, with extra breeding substrate provided at some sites (e.g. rocks, pipes, tiles and other materials). Barred Galaxias eggs found in three sites were successfully reared to hatch at ARI and, along with some adults from those sites, were translocated to two new sites with good water security and free from predatory trout in the Big River catchment. For the first time, fish held captive at ARI were also successfully bred and the juvenile fish released back into their source creeks.

Water quality monitoring Two additional water quality monitoring stations were installed at Lady Talbot Drive (Taggerty River) and near S Creek. This data enabled partners to monitor water quality and detect risks to Barred Galaxias from poor water quality, high turbidity and sediments. If levels of water quality degraded to a level that threatened the species, translocations could be planned.

Conclusion and Key Findings Management of potential impacts of wildfires over large areas is a challenging and complex task. Land and water managers need to be prepared for possibilities that can range from almost catastrophic to minor and that occur months or even years after the wildfire. Managers can prepare for these possibilities by understanding the potential impacts and undertaking coordination, liaison and monitoring activities. In summary: • The impacts of the fire – both social and environmental – last well beyond the immediate event;

• Catchment response – reduced water quality, increased water yield initially; • Network of monitoring enabled understanding of conditions and ability to respond if necessary; • Positive: translocation, captive breeding and reintroduction of native fish – Barred Galaxias.

References Allen GR, 1989a: Freshwater Fishes of Australia. Brookvale, NSW: TFH Publications. Department of Sustainability and Environment, 2003: Flora and Fauna Action Statement #65, Department of Sustainability and Environment. DSE, 2009: Kilmore East-Murrindindi Complex North Fire Emergency Stabilization and


Rehabilitation Plan 10, March 2009,

The authors would like to acknowledge the contributions to this paper from: Members of the Water and River Contingency Planning Group; Fern Hames (Department of Sustainability and Environment); Tarmo Raadik and Renae Ayres (Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research); and Meegan Judd (Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority.)

Department of Sustainability and Environment,

The Authors

Victoria. Ecowise Environmental, 2006: MSOMP (Major Storages Operational Monitoring Program). Annual Report 2005 (draft), Goulburn-Murray Water. EPAV, 2003: The impacts of bushfires following a flash flood event in the catchment of the Ovens River, Environment Protection Authority Victoria. Lane PG & Sheridan et al., 2009: Dynamics of sediment and nutrient fluxes from burnt forest catchments. Final report prepared for Land & Water Australia. Raadik TA, Fairbrother PS & Smith SJ, 2010: National Recovery Plan for the Barred Galaxias

Wayne Tennant (email: waynet@gbcma. is Manager, Strategic River Health, with the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority, implementing the goals and objectives, as stated within the Regional Catchment Strategy (RCS).

(Galaxias fuscus), Department of Sustainability and Environment. Raadik TA, 2007: Barred Galaxias... Cooked, Dried or Fresh? Threatened Fishes Committee Report. Australian Society for Fish Biology, Newsletter 37(1): 59.

Pat Feehan (email: pfeehan@mcmedia. is from Feehan Consulting. He provides a variety of water quality, catchment and environmental management services to clients in northern Victoria.

Raadik TA, 1993: A research recovery plan for the

Lydia Drake (email: lydiad@g-mwater. is the Senior Project Officer in the Water Systems Health Group of Goulburn-Murray Water.

Wallbrink et al., 2004: Impacts on water quality

Barred Galaxias, Galaxias fuscus, Mack 1936, in south-eastern Australia. (Report to the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service), Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Melbourne.

by sediments and nutrients released by extreme bushfires. Report 1, a review of literature. CSIRO Land & Water.

Call for technical papers Water Journal is always seeking quality, well-researched technical papers on a range of key and regularly addressed topics. Contributions from suitably qualified individuals are always welcome on these and other relevant topics of interest. Upcoming topics for the May, July and August 2012 issues include: may 2012 (includes WaterWorks) • Education & Skilling for the Future • Water Recycling • Safety (Practical & Legal Aspects) • Pipeline Cleaning & Maintenance • IWA Leading Edge Technology Preview

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July 2012 • Selected Ozwater’12 Papers • Disinfection

August 2012 • Governance • Biosolids/Wastewater Source Management • Singapore IWW Report • IWA Leading Edge Technology Selected Papers

technical features

catchment management

HAWKeSbury-NepeAN rIver: loNG-terM WAter quAlIty dAtASetS

A valuable resource for investigating and interpreting the effects of both past and future NSW Government management decisions M Krogh Abstract The routine water quality monitoring programs undertaken by the Sydney Catchment Authority and Sydney Water Corporation contain some of the best long-term series of water data in NSW (and Australia). The data collected up until the present time represents not only a significant historical and ongoing investment, but a very valuable resource in terms of long-term information on water quality and quantity in the HawkesburyNepean River catchments. State and trend analyses of the long-term data reveal a number of improvements in water quality in the Hawkesbury-Nepean River, but these are improvements from

what was previously quite poor water quality in some areas and, for some analytes, water quality still has a long way to go before water quality objectives (e.g. ANZECC/ARMCANZ (2000) Guidelines) are met. There has been a significant reduction in flow over Penrith Weir (and at many other gauging stations in the catchment) in recent times, with current river flows being much less than the long-term average. This is a result of climate variability (lower rainfall in recent time periods), river regulation and water extraction. The long-term monitoring program represents a significant resource for investigating and interpreting the effects of both past and future NSW Government management decisions.

Introduction Long-term monitoring programs are relatively rare in an Australian and worldwide context, but where they exist they provide many opportunities for understanding the current states and trends in the condition of a river system. They can also provide some very real challenges in terms of analysis and interpretation.

Figure 1. Map of the Hawkesbury-Nepean River catchment.

The HawkesburyNepean River is one of the most important river systems in NSW. Covering approximately 22,000 km2 (Figure 1), it is the largest river/estuary system in the Sydney Region and its complex ecosystems provide habitat for a multitude of native plant and animal species. Since European settlement it has been increasingly relied upon to meet the requirements of a burgeoning population and

now provides 97% of fresh drinking water for more than 4.8 million people living in and around Sydney (Greening Australia, 2007). It also supports the agricultural industries that provide much of Sydneyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fresh food, as well as supporting numerous other extractive, manufacturing and processing industries. In addition, the Hawkesbury-Nepean River is an important recreation and tourism destination. Regular water quality monitoring in the Hawkesbury-Nepean River system dates back to at least the 1940s when the CSIRO was undertaking regular water sampling measurements as far upstream as the Cataract and Cordeaux Rivers (Rochford, 1974). More recent water quality monitoring dates back to the late 1970s and early 1980s when concerns about sewage effluent disposal, urban expansion and extraction of sand and gravel in the river and on the floodplain were first emerging (National Trust of Australia, 1977). While there have been a number of shorter term studies of water quality in the Hawkesbury-Nepean (e.g. SPCC, 1983; EPA, 1994), the longest running ongoing monitoring program for water quality and quantity is the one currently operated by the Sydney Catchment Authority (SCA) and Sydney Water Corporation (SWC). Water quality monitoring for this program commenced in the early 1980s and now takes place at a number of sites along the length of the Hawkesbury-Nepean River, as well as at a number of important tributary sites. In addition to this monitoring, some local councils also conduct routine water quality monitoring within their respective council boundaries. The SCA/SWC longterm monitoring program data forms the basis of the current paper. Analysis of the long-term data series was undertaken in response to two major drivers:


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catchment management 1.

The Hawkesbury-Nepean River Environmental Monitoring Program; and


The 2010 Sydney Drinking Water Catchment Audit.

Hawkesbury-Nepean River Environmental Monitoring Program (HNEMP) In 2006, the Metropolitan Water Plan (NSW Government, 2006) committed the government to an Environmental Monitoring Program for the HawkesburyNepean River. The HNEMP aimed to deliver broadscale surveillance monitoring of the condition of the river system and monitor the cumulative effects of management actions and changes in the catchment upon the river system. A major objective of the initial phase of the project was to collate historic data, assess recent trends and provide a benchmark for future monitoring and evaluation.

2010 Sydney Drinking Water Catchment Audit (2010 Audit) The Sydney Water Catchment Management Act 1998 is the legislation that defines the roles, functions and objectives of the Sydney Catchment Authority. The Sydney Water Catchment Management Amendment Act 2007 requires that an audit of the state of the land of the Sydney Drinking Water Catchment be undertaken every three years, and that a report on this audit be submitted to the Minister responsible for the Sydney Catchment Authority. The Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW, now the Office of Environment & Heritage (OEH)) was asked to conduct the 2010 Audit. The Audit’s Terms of Reference were to: • Assess the state of the Catchment having regard to the catchment health indicators approved under Section 42 of the Act, applicable as at the time of the audit; • Conduct the audit having regard to the current methodology used in the NSW State of the Environment (SoE) reporting; • Consult with stakeholders inside and outside the Catchment to seek information and data that may assist with the audit and seek comments relating to the state of the catchment;

The latter timeframe severely constrained what could be achieved with such a large dataset. Collectively the two programs provide a picture of water quality upstream and downstream of the major dams on the HawkesburyNepean River system, with the HNEMP study providing a much more detailed assessment of long-term trend. The aim of the current paper is to describe the broad methodology adopted in the analysis of the long-term HawkesburyNepean dataset and to provide some representative examples of the results from these analyses. More detailed descriptions of these studies can be found in DECC (2009) and DECCW (2010).

Methods Water quality and quantity data for the Hawkesbury-Nepean were obtained from the Sydney Catchment Authority (SCA) and Sydney Water Corporation (SWC) databases. Not all water quality indicators have been sampled at the same location, at the same time, for the same duration, or by the same organisation as other indicators. Fortunately, in most cases, the same laboratory (SWC Laboratory at West Ryde) and sampling organisation (AWT/ SWC) have been used to collect and analyse most water quality samples.. Water quantity (flow or level) data for many sites is currently recorded at 15-minute intervals; however, for the purposes of this study a daily flow rate (ML/day) was calculated and then used in all analyses. Water quality is currently monitored (at most sites) on a four-weekly basis, although the period between successive samples has varied over time, particularly in earlier monitoring periods. An exception to this is North Richmond (site N42) where water is extracted for water supply purposes and water quality monitoring is undertaken on a weekly basis. Where multiple records for water quality existed at a site on the same day, the median of readings has been calculated and used in all graphics and analyses. The following approaches to analysing the data were adopted: 1.

• Include long-term trend analysis. The timeframes for completion of the two tasks were vastly different; the HNEMP provided opportunities for approximately 18 months of analysis; while the 2010 Audit analysis was restricted to a three-month period.

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Quality Assurance/Quality Control checks of the data were undertaken using Control Charts and by graphical techniques focussing on water quality data from the same sites or adjacent sites on the same day. Initial assessment of water quality ‘state’ was undertaken by dividing the available data at each site into periods, and then calculating percentiles (minimum, quartiles, maximum) and comparing these

percentiles to the ANZECC/ARMCANZ Australian Guidelines for Fresh and Marine Water Quality (ANZECC/ ARMCANZ 2000; hereafter referred to as the ANZECC Guidelines). 3.

Loess smoothing (Cleveland, 1979) and flow exceedance curves (Empirical Cumulative Distribution Functions; R Development Core Team, 2000) were used to look at trends in the long-term water quality and flow records and to investigate differences among different time periods.


Generalised linear models (GLM) and Generalised additive models (GAM) were used to model long-term temporal trends (HNEMP study only).

The HNEMP analyses considered water quality and flow data downstream of the major dams and diversion weirs up until August 2007 (DECC, 2009). The 2010 Audit considered water quality and flow data upstream of the major dams and diversion weirs up until June 2010 (DECCW 2010).

results A full description of the results of the analyses of the HNEMP and 2010 Audit is outside the scope of this paper and interested readers are referred to DECC (2009) and DECCW (2010). Selected examples are provided to illustrate the techniques used and the results obtained.

quality assurance/quality control While most of the data collected by both organisations yielded similar values where they were collected at the same place on the same day, there are some instances where there were inconsistent records for individual samples that did not fit in well with the general relationships to be found in the data (e.g. Figure 2). A number of outliers were also detected using quality control charting techniques (see Figure 2). The occurrence of errors and/or outliers in a monitoring program of this (temporal and spatial) magnitude is probably inevitable, but highlights a need for close scrutiny of the long-term data series prior to analysis. The importance of and time required to undertake this task can often be underestimated.

ANZeCC (2000) Guideline Comparisons Downstream of the dams Water quality in the Hawkesbury-Nepean downstream of the dams is variable and highly dependent on rainfall, flow, instream processes and nearby catchment sources. Phosphorus levels (both total and filterable) have generally been declining throughout most of the river

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catchment management ANZECC guidelines, the ANZECC guidelines for conductivity in lowland rivers are quite broad (125–2200 µS/cm). This is an area that requires further consideration of the causes underlying the increasing salinity and its potential consequences for the river system. Chlorophyll-a levels have mostly declined or remained stable at most sites. Cyanobacteria cell counts have largely remained stable, although slight increases are suggested at some sites. Most recent blooms downstream of the dams have been dominated by Aphanocapsa, and not Microcystis or Anabaena, although Anabaena was the dominant species in the January 2007 bloom at Maldon Weir.

Upstream of the dams Water quality is variable across the catchment as a result of geology, land use and a variety of in-stream processes. The geomorphology of the catchments has been significantly modified in many areas (e.g. by dams, weirs, stream bank and gully erosion). Based on water quality percentiles, a number of areas in the catchment can be identified where water quality remains relatively poor when compared to ANZECC guidelines (see DECCW 2010 for more details). Increasing trends in total nitrogen were suggested at a number of sites in the Upper Coxs River and in the Woronora River at The Needles. Decreasing trends in total and dissolved phosphorus were suggested in the Nattai River and Wollondilly River at Murrays Flat. Increasing trends in chlorophyll-a were suggested in the Wollondilly River at Joorilands, Lake Cordeaux (Dam Wall), Lake Avon (Upper Avon Dam Chamber) and Wingecarribee Lake. Increasing trends in conductivity were suggested at a number of sites in the Upper Coxs River sub-catchment and in the Nattai River. A decreasing trend in conductivity was suggested for the Wollondilly River at Joorilands. Trends in other water quality indicators were variable among sites. Some of these putative trends at upstream sites need to be backed up by further statistical modelling (e.g. GLM and GAM), allowing for temporal variations in flow.

Figure 2. Graphical summaries and quality control (Shewhart) chart for conductivity at Wisemans Ferry (N14), identifying outlying points (circled). system. However, phosphorus levels downstream of Penrith STP remain elevated compared to many other areas in the system. Nitrogen levels have also declined at many sites throughout the river system. Exceptions to this are Sharpes Weir (downstream of West Camden STP) and Wallacia Bridge, where nitrogen levels, particularly oxidised nitrogen, appear to be increasing. Despite decreasing trends at many sites, nitrogen levels often remain above ANZECC guideline levels throughout much of the river system. Dissolved oxygen and temperature levels have largely remained steady, although slight increases in temperature are suggested at sites upstream of Wallacia Bridge. Conductivity levels appear to be increasing at the majority of monitoring sites. Although the absolute magnitude of this increase is not large and conductivity levels are still well within

The influence of STPs and urban centres on water quality in catchment streams upstream of the dam is particularly noticeable. The influence of other licensed discharges on water quality can also be important in some sub-catchments. This is particularly true for conductivity and metal levels downstream of power generation and mining discharges in the Upper Coxs River sub-catchment. High algal biomass (as reflected by chlorophyll-a levels) was identified at some river sites and in a number of the dams. Some of the dams and reservoirs in the Wingecarribee, Upper Coxs River and Upper Wollondilly River sub-catchments have both high nutrient levels and high algal biomass. Persistent algal blooms often occur in Wingecarribee Reservoir.

empirical cumulative distribution functions Analysis of the long-term flow records illustrated the effects of river regulation and major river management decisions overlaid on natural climatic cycles. In 2003, in response to the extended drought, the SCA commenced water transfers from the Shoalhaven to Fitzroy Falls Reservoir and Wingecarribee Reservoir, which were then released to the Nepean or Wingecarribee River (to flow by ‘run of river’ – to Lake Nepean or Lake Burragorang respectively). In June 2005, due to continuing drought conditions, the environmental flows from Warragamba Dam were halved. The effects of the reduction in environmental


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catchment management assumed to be normally distributed with 0 mean. Models were fitted using the GLM procedure in the SAS statistical software (Enterprise Guide V4.1; SAS 2006).

Penrith Weir (NSW Government, 2006). The exact environmental flow rules that will apply to Warragamba Dam in the future are still under consideration.

The GAM used for trend assessment had the general mathematical form:

Upstream of the dams, the 2010 Audit generally identified a return to periods of higher rainfall than had been experienced in previous audit periods where drought conditions had prevailed over much of the last decade. This return to wetter conditions was reflected in higher stream flows in some, but not all, areas. Continued declines in flow compared to longer-term statistics were noticeable in some areas (e.g. Werriberri Creek) but there was insufficient time during the 2010 audit to relate observed changes and/or trends in flow back to varying rainfall patterns across the catchment. Some areas in the Hawkesbury-Nepean catchment are experiencing continued rainfall deficits when compared to the long-term rainfall records (e.g. Russell et al., 2010).

Y = µ+ α*s(logflow) + β*s(logflow_lag1) + δ*s(loginflow) + γ*s(time) + η*cos_time + φ*sin_time + ε Where s(logflow) was a non-linear smoothed term for log10-transformed flow at Penrith Weir on the day of sampling; s(logflow_lag1) was a non-linear smoothed term for log10-transformed flow at Penrith Weir on the previous day; s(loginflow) was a non-linear smoothed term for log10transformed flow on the day of sampling at the closest tributary; cos_time and sin_time were seasonal components; and s(time) was a non-linear smoothed term for time (in days) from the start of the data record. The error structure (ε) was assumed to be normally distributed with 0 mean. Models were fitted using the mgcv package (Wood, 2006) in R Version-2.5.1 (The R Foundation for Statistical Computing 2007).

Figure 3. Flow exceedance curves at Penrith Weir (top) and Wingecarribee River at Sheepwash Bridge (bottom). flows and commencement of water transfers can be seen in the flow exceedance curves (see Figure 3).

Generalised linear (GlM) and Generalised Additive (GAM) models for trend Since it was clear that variation in flow affected water quality in the HawkesburyNepean River, a series of base statistical models were developed that sought to relate variation in water quality parameters at various sites over time, after allowing for variation in flow. These base models also included terms that attempted to allow for seasonality in the response variable. The GLM used for trend assessment had the general mathematical form: Y = µ+ α*logflow + β*logflow_lag1 + δ*loginflow + γ*time + η*cos_time + φ*sin_time + ε Where logflow was the log10-transformed flow at Penrith Weir on the day of sampling; logflow_lag1 was the log10-transformed flow at Penrith Weir on the previous day; loginflow was the log10-transformed flow at the closest tributary on the day of sampling; cos_time and sin_time were seasonal components; and time was a linear data series (in years) from the start of the data record. The error structure (ε) was

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Trends in water quality were identified at a variety of sites using these statistical models (see DECC, 2009 for a full description). In general, the results of the GLM and GAM provided similar conclusions, although the GAM was preferred where trends through time were clearly non-linear. A comparison of predictions from the GLM and GAM models for chlorophyll-a levels at North Richmond is illustrated in Figure 4.

discussion trends in flow Analysis of the Hawkesbury-Nepean flow data indicated that there has been a significant reduction in flow over Penrith Weir (and at many other gauging stations) in recent times, with current river flows being much less than the long-term average. This is a result of both climate variability (lower rainfall in recent time periods) and river regulation. The construction of dams in the HawkesburyNepean catchment has had a major effect on river flows (Sammut and Erskine, 1995; DECC, 2009). At Penrith Weir this is particularly evident for medium flows and the smoothed trend line for flow at Penrith Weir now consistently falls below that of the unregulated Colo River for the first time since records began (DECC, 2009). It is also relevant to note that in recent years extremely low flows at Penrith Weir have also been eliminated, due to a requirement to ensure that a minimum flow of 50ML/day is maintained over

Upstream of the dams, the influence of water transfers on flow statistics was particularly important, with sites in the Wingecarribee and Upper Nepean Rivers experiencing the greatest effects. The greatest increase in flows occurred in the Wingecarribee River at Sheepwash Bridge (downstream of Wingecarribee Dam), where the median flow during the 2010 audit period (July 2007–June 2010) was almost seven times its historic long-term median. Median flows had been even higher in the preceding three years (2004–2007). Large increases in flow due to water transfers have the potential to exert geomorphic stress on both the Wingecarribee and Upper Nepean River systems. Flows can also be affected by increased water extractions and these effects were also considered in the 2010 Audit (DECCW, 2010). The NSW Office of Water (NOW) has recently exhibited their Draft Water Sharing Plan for the Greater Metropolitan Region, which covers the Hawkesbury-Nepean River system (NOW, 2010). This Plan identified a significant existing allocation of water in the Hawkesbury-Nepean River catchment. It is notable that NOW has assessed most valleys to currently be at or close to their limit of sustainable water extraction (NOW, 2010).

Water Quality Trends Since many water quality variables are significantly affected by flow, assessments of changes and/or trends in water quality necessarily need to consider variation in flow. This was achieved for sites downstream of the dam using generalised linear and generalised additive models (DECC, 2009). Upstream of the dams trend assessments were

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Figure 4. Chlorophyll-a levels over time showing GLM (black line) and GAM (grey line) fitted values. Records of flow for the Grose River commenced on 19/11/87 and so earlier records for chlorophyll-a could not be modelled when this co-variable was included in the model. restricted to percentile comparisons over differing time periods (DECCW, 2010). Trends in water quality were variable across the catchment and highly dependent on where in the river system the monitoring site was located. While some improvements in water quality at sites in the Hawkesbury-Nepean River catchment can be demonstrated from these studies, these are improvements from what was previously quite poor water quality in some areas and, for some analytes, water quality still has a long way to go before water quality objectives (e.g. ANZECC Guidelines) are met.

Conclusion The routine Water Quality Monitoring Network undertaken by the SCA and SWC contains some of the best longterm series of water data in NSW (and Australia). This is to the credit of the organisations (and their predecessor organisations) and individuals involved in its initial design, implementation and continuance. The data collected up until the present time represents not only a significant historical and ongoing investment, but a very valuable resource in terms of long-term information on water quality and quantity in the Hawkesbury– Nepean River catchments. These data series represent a significant resource for investigating and interpreting the effects of both past and future NSW Government management decisions. In addition to past Government initiatives (e.g. river regulation and nutrient reduction programs), recent trends in the hydrology and water quality of the Hawkesbury-Nepean River also need to be interpreted in terms of longer-term climate cycles (e.g. El Niño Southern Oscillation and Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation; Power et al., 1999; Kiem

& Franks, 2004; Verdon et al., 2004, McNeil and Cox, 2007). Major new Government initiatives (such as the Metropolitan Water Plan) and planned urban expansion will also impact heavily on the Hawkesbury-Nepean River in the near to medium future. In the longer term, there is also the potential for climate change to have important effects in these areas (IPCC AR4, 2007; Chiew et al., 1998; Nicholls and Kariko, 1993).


This analysis could not have taken place without the provision of data (from SWC and SCA) and funding from the SCA. These organisations and many individuals within these organisations are thanked for their assistance. Dr Klaus Koop of OEH was the auditor for the 2010 Audit of the Sydney Drinking Water Catchment and kindly reviewed and improved an earlier draft of this paper.

the Author Martin Krogh (email: martin.krogh@environment. is the Project Team Leader (Monitoring) in the Office of Environment and Heritage, Department of Premier and Cabinet. He was responsible for the Hawkesbury-Nepean River Environmental Monitoring Program Final Technical Report and the Project Manager for the 2010 Sydney Drinking Water Catchment Audit.

references ANZECC/ARMCANZ, 2000: Australian and New Zealand Guidelines for Fresh and Marine Water Quality. Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council and Agriculture and Resource Management Council of Australia and New Zealand, Canberra. Chiew FHS, Piechota TC, Dracup JA & McMahon TA, 1998: El Niño/Southern Oscillation and Australian rainfall, streamflow and drought: Links and potential for forecasting. Journal of Hydrology, 204, pp 138–149. Cleveland WS, 1979: Robust Locally Weighted Regression and Smoothing Scatterplots. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 74, pp 829–836, 1979. DECC, 2009: Hawkesbury-Nepean River Environmental Monitoring Program. Final Technical Report, February 2009. NSW Dept of Environment and Climate Change, Sydney. DECCW, 2010: 2010 Audit of the Sydney Drinking Water Catchment. Report to the Minister for Water. NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water.

EPA, 1994: Water Quality, Hawkesbury-Nepean River System, June 1990 to June 1993. NSW Environment Protection Authority, Chatswood. Greening Australia, 2007: HawkesburyNepean River Recovery Factsheet, www. hawkesburynepean-river-recovery IPCC, 2007: The AR4 Synthesis Report. International Panel on Climate Change, November 2007, Valencia, Spain. Kiem AS & Franks SW, 2004: Multi-decadal variability of drought risk, eastern Australia. Hydrological Processes, 18(11), pp 2039–2050. McNeil VH & Cox ME, 2007: Defining the climatic signal in stream salinity trends using the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation and its rate of change. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 11, pp 1295–1307. National Trust of Australia, 1977: Hawkesbury River Symposium Proceedings, National Trust of Australia, Sydney, NSW. Nicholls N & Kariko A, 1993: East Australian Rainfall Events: Interannual Variations, Trends, and Relationships with the Southern Oscillation, Journal of Climate, 6, pp 1141–1152. NSW Government, 2006: Metropolitan Water Plan 2006. NSW Government, Sydney. NOW, 2010: Draft Water Sharing Plan for the Greater Metropolitan Region unregulated river water sources: background document, May 2010. ISBN 978 1 74263 044 1. Power S, Tseitkin F, Mehta V, Lavery B, Torok S & Holbrook N, 1999: Decadal Climate Variability in Australia during the Twentieth Century. International Journal of Climatology, 19, pp 169–184. Rochford DJ & Newell BS, 1974: Measurable changes in water quality attributes of NSW estuaries. Pp 76–92 in Australian UNESCO Committee for Man and the Biosphere. Publication No. 1. Report of symposium on The Impact of Human Activities on Coastal Zones. University of Sydney, 9–11 May 1973. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra. R Development Core Team, 2007: R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. ISBN 3-900051-07-0, Russell GN, Green RT, Spencer J & Hayes J, 2010: Thirlmere Lakes groundwater assessment, NSW Office of Water, Sydney. Sammut J & Erskine WD, 1995: Hydrological impacts of flow regulation associated with the Upper Nepean Water Supply Scheme, NSW. Australian Geographer, 26, pp 71–86. SAS Institute Inc, 2006: SAS Enterprise Guide 4.1. SPCC, 1983: Water Quality in the HawkesburyNepean River. A study and recommendations. NSW State Pollution Control Commission. The R Foundation for Statistical Computing, 2007: R version 2.5.1 (2007-06-27) ISBN 3-900051-070, Verdon DC, Wyatt AM, Kiem AS & Franks SW, 2004: Multidecadal variability of rainfall and streamflow: Eastern Australia. Water Resources Research, 40. W10201, doi:10.1029/2004WR003234. Wood S, 2007: Generalized additive models: an introduction with R Chapman and Hall/CRC.


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TELEMETRY CUTS THE COST OF LEAK DETECTION F Tantzky Abstract A medium-sized water utility in southwest Germany has installed innovative technology that permanently monitors the network and alerts the central office as soon as a leak appears. The average run-time of a leak event has been reduced to one-and-a-half days, thus enabling reduction of water losses to lower levels than ever before. In addition to this, the effort and cost of localisation has been reduced by 98%, with all analysis being performed in the office.

Introduction Albstadt is a town located in southwest Germany, about 80km south of Stuttgart. Albstadtwerke is the utility network distribution provider in this region, supplying potable water, natural gas and electricity. In addition to managing and maintaining the local distribution assets in Albstadt, Albstadtwerke operates and maintains two more potable water distribution networks, seven natural gas distribution networks and an electricity supply. Albstadtwerke is efficiently run with 80 employees for the entire operation and construction of its networks and facilities. It has been a corporate policy for many years to continuously evaluate current methodologies and introduce new innovative methods in leak detection and trenchless pipe installation.

The Challenge Figure 1 shows a picture of the Albstadt region, which is spread across three valleys and has a height variation of 400m. This geographical landscape creates a number of operational challenges, including: • A large number of different pressure zones;

Figure 1. The Albstadt region in Germany. suppliers. We are about 80km away from the Lake of Constance, which is one of the biggest lakes in Europe. Our current Non-Revenue Water is 20% (500,000 cubic metres), which has increased from 10% five years ago. The increase in the NRW percentage is due to a 50% reduction in total consumption; our water loss has remained constant.

data sent to our office on a daily basis with alarms to advise us if there was an increase in minimum night flow (MNF). This is shown in Figure 3.

The ground is limestone, which means that almost no leak is visible on the surface as there is always good drainage. We have had massive leaks of 25L/S disappear underground (Figure 2). Our first investigation was in the Braunhartsberg reservoir zone. This zone consists of 52km of pipework with a mixture of cast iron, UPVC and ductile iron, and it contains most of the factors that make leak detection difficult.

Water Loss Innovations Our first strategy to improve network efficiency was to install a flow meter on the reservoir outflow and have the

Figure 2. Typical limestone ground.

• Long sections of trunk main; and • Long distances for maintenance staff to drive to reach the extremities of the network. Approximately 50% of the water supply comes from our raw water catchment and is processed in several stages at our water plant to produce high-quality drinking water. The other 50% is purchased from a total of three

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Figure 3. Flow meter installation.

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Zonescan correlating noise logger deployed magnetically on a hydrant.

Figure 5. Braunhartsberg pressure zone in Zonescan net software.

Zonescan Repeater installed on Streetlamp

microphone and correlator to pinpoint the leak. We have been using this equipment for many years and we have found that only loggers with radio communication could be used efficiently. The loggers are mounted directly on the pipeline with a magnetic connection to provide a good sound recording. It would often take this two-man crew five to ten days to find the leak in this large zone, driving an hour each way every day. The next strategy made to improve efficiency was to install additional flow meters within the zone to localise the leak position to a smaller area within the zone, and reduce the amount of time spent searching for the leak. We were not measuring or analysing total flow into sub-zones, we were just looking at significant changes in daily water flows to localise the leak positions.

Our Next Improvement – the Optimal Solution? Zonescan Alpha installed on a mast above the water tower

Figure 4. Installation pictures of the noise logger, radio repeater and GPRS data collection unit. In addition to providing an alarm warning us the MNF was rising, we could also quantify the size of the leak. Leak detection was performed by sending a team out in a van to deploy noise loggers with radio communication and then download the data in a driveby survey the following day to localise the leak position and use a ground

With the previously identified systems, we were able to achieve good results. However, there was always still a certain amount of effort to carry the measured data to the office for any detailed analysis and then send a crew to pinpoint the leak before the leak is repaired. Because of our geographical situation, a lot of time was wasted driving back to the office to analyse the data and then back to the field to pin-point the leak. Therefore, we decided to introduce a system that transmits the data every day to the decision makers in the office to reduce the response time and travelling time.

Noise loggers have been deployed through the network; as previously, they record the noise levels and sound. If pre-determined limits are exceeded, the logger sends a leak alarm to headquarters. Each logger is connected by radio with a repeater. All repeaters are in contact with a data collector (ALPHA), using radio to collect the data from the repeaters and GPRS to send the data to the server. We then have immediate access to the measurement data and can make a leak assessment. By modeling the system with geographic network data, the loggers are able to recognise their position in the network and create the relationship to its “neighbouring” loggers. This fact allows a direct correlation between the loggers and, thus, a quite precise determination of the leak. The installation was fast and economical, without any structural changes to the distribution system. Eighty loggers, 42 repeaters and two Zonescan ALPHA were deployed in the Braunhartsberg pressure zone, enabling fully automated leak monitoring of the entire zone, consisting of 52km of pipe.

Assessment Communication reliability: We found the communication to be very good, without the need to install an antenna close to the surface. Batteries lifetime: We operate in a temperature range from –30°C in winter to +30°C in the summer. In 12 months of operating the Zonescan, there have been no problems.


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Figure 7. A leak found by Zonescan.

Conclusions With this technology we have been able to continue to maintain our MNF to 0.4L/S, with an average run-time of a leak event being 1.5 days, enabling us to reduce our water losses to lower levels than ever before. In addition to this we have reduced the effort and cost of localisation by 98%. With very good maps of the pipeline network the Zonescan produces a precise location of the leak. Considering the excavation cost is â&#x201A;Ź3,000, we still confirm the leak position with a ground microphone before digging.

Figure 6. Correlation graph and cross spectrum graph.

The Monitoring Platform The data is hosted on the Gutermann webserver and accessible via log-in to the Zonescan net software. There is mapping, amplitude distribution graphs, frequency spectrum and correlation data in this software platform. Figure 5 shows a map in the Zonescan net software; the green, orange and red dots are the loggers. They are colour-coded green for no leak, orange for possible leak and red for probable leak. The fuzzy orange dot is a correlated leak position. It is also possible to show the loggers in a satellite picture; this provides better orientation. When this particular leak appeared it was identified with correlations from over 15 logger combinations and we repaired the leak in record time, it started on February 9 and was repaired on February 10.

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We can identify mechanical noises, which reduces the amount of time wasted searching for noises that are not leaks. Figure 6 (top) is the correlation graph and shows the location of noise on the pipeline to identify the leak position with the big peak, which is 22.9 metres from logger 1 and 63.6 metres from logger 2. Figure 6 (bottom) shows the frequency spectrum of the noise detected. False alarms can be created from low frequency noises in the 50 to 150Hz range, while leaks are usually at a higher frequency.

We had no communication problems during a particularly cold winter, with a thick layer of snow on the ground. We found small leaks that our experienced leakage team would not have discovered, and the leak hunters tell me they can hear the worms cough!

The Author Frank Tantzky (email: frank.tantzky@ is Network Operations Manager at Albstadtwerke. The original paper was presented at the Global Leakage Summit, London 2011.

All of this analysis is performed in the office before any employee goes out to the site.

This edited version has been prepared by Andrew Clark, who is International sales and marketing director for Gutermann, a company specialising in intelligent leakage management.

A leak can be seen in Figure 7; the correlation provided by the Zonescan system was less than half-a-metre from the actual position.

Since the paper was presented at the Global Leakage Summi, Albstadtwerke has started installing the equipment over the whole of their network.

technical features

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international projects

refereed paper

SMAll-BuSIneSS ProjecTS DelIver WATer, SAnITATIon AnD HYgIene In rurAl TAnzAnIA

Two-and-a-half years’ experience of the MSABI project DA Young Abstract MSABI is a replicable, expandable and sustainable model for the implementation of low overhead community-based water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) projects that are owned, managed and operated by small local businesses. In two-and-a-half years, MSABI has managed the training and creation of local WASH supply businesses for more than 45 local families, facilitated the installation of 220 new water point businesses (increasing safe water access to over 45,000 disadvantaged rural Tanzanians), initiated a pilot trial of compost latrines, established a plan for irrigation cash crop lease arrangements, and developed a ceramic water pot filter for commercial release.

Introduction MSABI (a Swahili acronym) is a water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) program model that uses a multi-layered approach, from direct interventions to development of sustainable local businesses, economic stimulation and capacity building. This ensures the continuity of the project by generating revenues for the involved communities, alleviating poverty and promoting wellbeing on a local scale. MSABI commenced operations in the rural villages of the Kilombero Valley, Tanzania, and was founded by Australian water/wastewater process engineer Dale Young in 2009 in response to regular cholera, typhoid and diarrhoeal outbreaks in the region and a lack of safe water and sanitation services. A paper in the August 2010 issue of Water Journal outlines the project’s plans and the appropriate sustainable technologies chosen. This paper concentrates on the ‘business’ aspect, which is ensuring sustainable progress.

Background Access to clean and safe water is a widespread problem throughout Africa that has serious consequences for both health and economic independence.

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There is an existing trend to use topdown management approaches and expensive, difficult-to-repair-and-maintain foreign technologies (especially water pumps). Consequently, the rollout of these programs, and the capacity of the community to maintain the infrastructure, is limited. A study in 2008 by the International Institute for the Environment and Development concluded there are over 50,000 abandoned water points in Africa, representing a waste of US$215–US$360 million (Skinner, 2009). This demonstrates that a different approach for the delivery of sustainable wash services is needed. Water is a basis for health, wellbeing and economic status. WHO research concluded that for every US$1 invested in improved access to safe water there is an economic benefit of between US$5– US$28 through improved health, time availability and agricultural productivity (Hutton and Haller, 2004). The Millennium Development Goal 7 is specifically targeted to “halve by 2015 the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and sanitation”. To achieve this target, solutions are required that address the local community – educating and empowering them to create and manage their own water and sanitation assets using low cost, simple, locally manufactured technologies that are easy to maintain and repair.

Methods Business-themed community-based interventions MSABI uses simple, affordable and sustainable technologies to improve the health of the local population. MSABI is closely collaborating with local communities through businessorientated community projects. 1. Water point installations (manufacture, installation, service and water sales) MSABI has adopted the use of manual “rota sludge” drilling and rope pump technology. This technology is cheap,

simple, robust, easy to use and, most importantly, easy to repair. These technologies were matched to the local social, environmental and economic situation. In the absence of safe water points, there is an existing culture of rural community members paying for access to shallow hand-dug contaminated open wells. These wells are polluted primarily from infiltration from surface pollutants and the mixing of pit latrine waste within shallow aquifers. MSABI boreholes are drilled to depths of between 20m–30m (on average 28m). This provides safe, deeper aquifer water separated by multiple overlying sand and clay layers. A concrete sanitary seal is matched to above clay layers to provide a barrier separating shallow aquifer water. The rope pump and apron ensure a sealed water delivery system. Privatisation of water supply has led to the creation of three core business activities. These include: a.

Manufacture of drilling equipment and rope pumps;


Drilling and rope pump installation;


Maintenance/repair services.

Rope pumps and “rota sludge” drilling equipment are manufactured by a local private welding fabrication business. This is a complementary value-adding service line to their existing fabrication services. MSABI facilitated the training of staff to learn how to manufacture the pumps and drill sets. MSABI purchases the manufactured equipment from the local business under a contract arrangement. The demand for new water point installations is driven by the community. A contract agreement is made between the client, MSABI and the drilling/ installation contractor. There is a fourtiered pricing and contribution structure: a.

Groups consisting of multiple families pay US$200 equivalent;


Private families who agree to share/sell water to the community pay equivalent US$300;

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refereed paper


Private families, businesses, government and other NGOs pay the cost price of US$2,020 (which is inclusive of contract rates and MSABI operational costs);


Public institutions such as schools pay no upfront contribution; however, they sign a service agreement contract whereby they pay US$3 per month for guarantee of spare parts and repair of the pump.

Groups and private families sharing water also contribute materials (sand, gravel, bricks), labour to assist with drilling (4â&#x20AC;&#x201C;6 persons), and food/ accommodation for the drill team. This equates to a monetised total contribution equivalent to 20% and 28% of the total cost of installation. The community contribution price is aimed at matching equivalent local service prices for an open well or augerdrilled borehole. Both these technologies produce sub-standard water quality. Drillers are paid on a contract basis. The role of MSABI is to contract, manage and supervise work and ensure quality control. MSABI is also handling accounting and paperwork associated with all drilling and rope pump installations. A recent innovation is the creation of a monthly service subscription whereby owners pay the equivalent of US$3 per month for on-call service, guaranteeing fast repair services and replacement of spare parts. This creates maintenance service units with local knowledge on water asset maintenance and repair. MSABI is working towards a system whereby owners can pay fees remotely through mobile phone SMS technology.

Owners will also be able to update the status of their water point asset through SMS, and this information will be reported to a live mapping platform, with any maintenance issues reported directly to the responsible maintenance unit. 2. Sanitary installation (construction and fertiliser) MSABI also designs above-ground compost and split-septic irrigation systems. The objective is to initiate progressive behaviour change towards a community preference for treatment systems that protect shallow aquifers and create value-adding fertiliser/ compost. The compost systems are designed for family loads (4â&#x20AC;&#x201C;15 people). Provision has been made in the design for optional urine separation and use of the facility for showering (a separate drain to a rough gravel filter is used to split wash water from the compost material). A similar subsidy business program to that of the water points is under trial. Community members approach MSABI and enter into a contract agreement for the construction of an environmentally sound latrine. They contribute money (equivalent to US$100), materials (bricks, sand, cement, gravel) and labour (1 x person to assist with construction). This equates to 55% of the total cost. The contribution is aimed at matching local service costs for deep-pit latrines, which are a major cause for aquifer pollution throughout the region. An approved local building contractor is engaged to construct the latrine system. The sub and super structure is brick and the roof is iron sheeting. MSABI is responsible for contract management, supervision and quality control.

Figure 1. Rota sludge drilling in action. The technology is essentially manual percussion drilling. The gentleman at the front controls the pressure in the drilling pipe, releasing the pressure at the top of the motion to release cuttings from the bottom of the borehole.

A complementary value-adding business venture is to combine the use of urine and compost fertiliser with agriculture activities. This can be done by the latrine owner on a family garden adjacent to the latrine (shower water and urine can be combined to drip irrigation). Alternatively, the urine and compost could be transported to a central depot facility and on-sold for larger agriculture activities. MSABI is trialling the

establishment of a community fertiliser business in an attempt to stimulate interest and change towards composting latrines. MSABI will create a market for the purchase of urine and compost and utilise these fertiliser products on irrigated cash crops. Previous studies have proven the value of urine and compost, and MSABI aims to create demand for these products locally through demonstration. 3. Irrigation (irrigated cash crop lease arrangements) Tanzania experiences distinct wet and dry seasons. In the Kilombero Valley, the wet season provides opportunity for broadacre rice and sugar cane production. However, farming activities are limited during the dry season due to a lack of surface water and rain. With an average water table less than 10m, there is great opportunity for irrigation services. MSABI is pioneering an irrigation lease arrangement targeted at small-scale rural cash crop businesses. Land owned by MSABI or leased from the village government is put under irrigation. Simple low-tech solutions are used for supply and delivery of water. MSABI is trialling a combination of solar power and rope pump technology with drip tape irrigation. The business model is aimed at high-value cash crop production of fruits and vegetables, creating a business opportunity for disadvantaged rural Tanzanians during the normally non-productive dry season. This idea is in its infancy of model development. Various cost recovery and business models will be evaluated, such as a monthly rental fee per unit area, or an upfront minimal deposit with rental payment completed on sale of produce. Initially MSABI will farm a portion of the irrigated plot as a proof of concept. If successful, MSABI will facilitate the scaling and rollout of this business venture, working with private landholders or local government to establish irrigation lease businesses. 4. Water treatment systems (clay pot filters) In 2008, MSABI undertook a survey to obtain feedback on preferred household water treatment options. There was a clear preference for a clay filter pot compared to boiling water, solar disinfection (SODIS), and chemical treatment options. As a result, MSABI is developing a clay water filter for household-based water treatment in close collaboration with a local womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pottery group. MSABI has been working with the international organisation, Potters for Peace, to obtain specific manufacturing advice. The objective is to establish


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international projects a regional manufacturing and retail distribution business using simple, low-cost production methods. The pots are handmade from a mixture of clay and rice husks and are fired in a kiln designed and built by MSABI. The filters are designed to fit into an existing water collection bucket. The filter pots are in the final stages of laboratory testing and will be commercially released within the next three months at a cost equivalent to US$10 each. 5. research and training: WASH centre of excellence (Tanzanian professionals) The MSABI WASH program is establishing a centre of excellence in Ifakara with the aim of training and developing the next generation of WASH experts. These programs will educate, train and capacitate both Tanzanians and foreigners and prepare them for a working career in WASH. MSABI also has linkages with the Swiss Tropical Public Health Institute and Ifakara Health Institute to perform health impact and monitoring assessments. GHD will be involved with engineering research and development. Programs underway include rope pump and drilling technology developments, a randomised health evaluation comparison between various drinking water sources (open well, river, borehole), water point mapping, pump operability monitoring, water quality monitoring and lab testing of filter pots.

results Safe water point manufacturing, installation and service In less than three years MSABI has stimulated the generation of over 45 service delivery jobs under the privatisation of water and sanitation delivery services. A total of seven new business lines have been established with another three under trial and development. The privatisation of

water installation businesses and local ownership has resulted in over 220 new water points installed in less than two years. This has provided safe water access to an estimated 45,000 disadvantaged rural Tanzanian people. This equates to an average cost of US$8 per person to provide safe water to rural communities (or a US$5 per person program cost ex-community contribution). Local owners of pumps have also benefited from business generated from the sale of water. Evidence from the field suggests a return on capital investment, which ranges between four and 12 months depending on the local demand and price of water. For example, an average pump selling 100 buckets per day at US2c per bucket generates US$2 per day or US$60 per month, or a pay-off time of seven months. Manufacturing of pumps and drilling equipment is undertaken by a small local fabrication business. At present, MSABI engages the services of six drilling and rope pump installation teams (two to three persons each team). To date, MSABI has signed 22 maintenance service contracts. This business is gaining momentum as the pool of new clients increases. All staff working under these local contract businesses were sourced from local villages. More than 90% of the staff have primary school education or less. MSABI facilitated the initial training and continues to provide ongoing education and mentorship to these persons. MSABI is working towards contractor independence by 2013.

The budget cost of a MSABI borehole and rope pump installation is US$2020, which includes overheads for management, office, administration, accounting, motorbikes and water quality testing. This estimate also includes a research and solidarity contribution (US$150) and a risk contingency of 10%. The cost of manufacturing the rope pump is US$85. Spare parts resell for US$7 for a new rope, US$10 for a new handle, and US$5 for new bearings. The program or subsidy cost for a new water point installation varies between US$550 for private shared installations to Figure 2. The rota sludge equipment fully loaded onto a tricycle. US$750 for group The MSABI team has the capability to reach remote locations where conventional truck-mounted or trailer rigs cannot. installations.

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The main clients requesting services have been 34% private shared, 29% groups, 15% schools, 13% government and 4% private. The failure rate due to lack of water, rock issues or broken equipment down hole has been 5%. Monetary contributions from community and local government clients total TZS 37.2 million (US$24,800). “Rota sludge” drilling has been effective in drilling into alluvial sand and clay substrates at rates of between three and 10 metres per day. The efficiency and proficiency of drill teams increases significantly over time and with competition. Average job completion times have reduced from 10–14 days to 3–7 days over a two-year period. The drilling of sandstone and hard rock is problematic. Drilling of sandstone results in rates of 0.2-1.0 metre per day. Drillers are compensated with higher contract rates for each metre of rock drilled. An annual pump survey in 2010 found all pumps operational, with the exception of one pump that had been replaced by an electrical submersible pump. MSABI is currently undertaking the 2011 survey. An initial result from a sample of 30 pumps has found 100% functionality and high user satisfaction. This sample includes the first pump, which was installed two years ago and has required no major service repairs. Average rope life is heavily dependent on the number of users. For example, one pump with over 500 users per day has a rope replacement every three to four months, while some pumps with low usage have rope life >1 year. MSABI has recently introduced a ceramic guide block to turn the rope at the bottom of the borehole – replacing a simple galvanised pipe design. It is expected that rope life will increase significantly with this modification.

clay filter pots MSABI has developed a production site for prototypes and established lab testing procedures in collaboration with the Ifakara Health Institute. Recent lab results from two batch samples of 65 pots each have shown excellent filtration performance results with an average FCU removal of 98% and an average iron removal of 99%. Hand production of the pots has been problematic in ensuring quality control. Problems include cracking, clay quality and irregularity in wall thickness. Recent modifications to the kiln design (improved air flow mixing), sourcing of high quality clay, increased drying time, and the introduction of a hydraulic pot press,

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have significantly improved the uniform quality of pots. MSABI will focus on market delivery and commercialisation steps over the coming 12 months.

Sanitation MSABI has installed a total of 25 private split compost systems and four large twostage septic irrigation systems for schools (+2,300 children). After a 12-month evaluation period in 2011, MSABI is preparing for the region-wide scale-up of private sanitation services in 2012. The cost of a split system compost latrine is US$303 and a private septic system US$416. A large proportion of the cost is appropriated to the high quality superstructure (approximately 55% and 40% total cost). The cost of a school two-stage septic and irrigation system is determined by the design load (number of users). The first installation for a student body of 800 cost $3,500 and a later installation for 350 students cost $2,500. Each school contributed materials and labour equivalent to US$1,300 and US$1,000 respectively. The estimated cost is between US$4-US$7 per student for clean sanitation with a high build quality and environmentally sound technology.

research Initial work in 2010 surveyed over 750 water points. Over 75% of water collection points in the surveyed villages of Idete, Namwawala, Mofu, Mbingu, Mngeta and Mangula are shallow open wells or river/streams. 94.5% of interviewed open well users reported health problems from drinking water from these sources. The average depth of an open well was 4.5m compared to an average depth of 22m for MSABI water points. MSABI is currently undertaking water quality surveys comparing all water sources. Initial results (from an insignificant sample size) found a faecal count >200 FCU per 100mL for (three) surveyed open wells and 1–2 FCU for MSABI water (over three) boreholes, which was comparable to the control sample of bottled water 2 FCU per 100 mL.

Discussion Sustainability through local business In many parts of rural Africa, government services have limited capacity to deliver water and sanitation services. MSABI promotes the stimulation of local business to improve access to safe water and sanitation. As businesses develop, money is internally recycled back into the community. Further, it is hoped that

over time local government capacity is increased through taxation revenue generated from such businesses. MSABI has pioneered a unique water business model for the ownership and management of water assets. In essence, MSABI is facilitating Private Public Ventures (PPV) between Figure 3. Typical MSABI rope pump installation. either private workmanship and uniformity in providing or government clean, safe water. Key recommendations subsidies matched with local community to the success of the program to date contributions. Sustainability is achieved include the following: through stimulation of local small enterprise businesses to provide ongoing • Strongly supporting members infrastructure and service delivery. of the community who spearhead MSABI believes that these types of models present an opportunity for replicable scalability for rural and periurban communities throughout east Africa and beyond. MSABI does not recommend a cookie-cutter approach, rather a template for adaption to meet the specific cultural, environmental and economic requirements of individual communities across different regions. MSABI has found great success from using rope pumps. However, long-term sustainability of the pump and continued community support cannot be guaranteed without paying close attention to: • The quality of workmanship of the pump manufacture; • The quality of workmanship on the pump installation (and borehole to provide safe, clean water); • The vested ownership and buy-in by the pump owner; • Combined with support systems for maintenance and repair (and affordability). In the Ifakara region community uptake was initially slow for the first six to 12 months. Demand increased rapidly once the broader community understood the simplicity, reliability and affordability of the pump, combined with the money-making business potential of selling water. Community members buying water will preferentially source clean, safe, “sweet” water compared to dirty, unsafe, open well water. MSABI has also established a reputation for quality

demand as first acceptors of program interventions (technology), while the wider community sits on the fence and passes judgment. This is an important step in obtaining credibility and momentum for change within a community. • Investing significant time and energy into continuous training, education and personal development of local staff to reach a level of self-independence, confidence and business sustainability. From MSABI experience this is a twoto-four-year process, dependent on the level of education and prior experience of local persons employed. • Instilling a strong sense of local business ownership to both the water service providers (manufacturers, drillers, service teams) and the owners of pumps. This is their business and they should be proud of their achievements and independence. MSABI is there to assist in start-up, but ultimately they will have to operate by themselves without external assistance. Over time, the aim is to shift attitudes from dependence to independence. • Providing a quality and affordable product. Word of mouth in rural communities will determine the success or failure of WASH programs and businesses. Instilling a strong work ethic into local service providers is crucial to widespread and continued community acceptance. • Multi-stakeholder engagement is critical to understanding the local context and drivers within the region of operation. Open encouragement for


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project involvement helps to eliminate surprises, jealousies, competition and power struggles. Many stakeholders will be wary of a new start-up organisation. Gaining the support of the community and working closely with your supporters helps to obtain broad stakeholder acceptance. • Spending considerable time in the field working side-by-side with the community is a key to respect and acceptance. Further, considerable energy is required to transfer skills and knowledge. It is important to acknowledge the education gap between rural populations and to work patiently and repetitively to facilitate personal growth over years (not days or weeks). Often program managers spend too much time in the office and not enough in the field – creating status and class boundaries. Tapping into the wealth of keen and available skilled university trained volunteers is an excellent resource for achieving great results for minimal cost. The benefits of fostering the development of multiple new small businesses within rural communities with limited opportunity are significant. There is a greater need to promote growth of local micro economies as a stepping-stone for rural communities to improve their level of economic independence and to reduce their reliance (and expectation) on others for delivery of services. Governments and NGOs should consider the short- and long-term cost benefits of up-skilling and capacitating local communities. For example, a standard NGO budget for a new borehole is between US$10,000-–US$15,000, with work completed by large contractors outside of rural communities. This is over five times more expensive than a MSABI water point, and the money is spent and exported outside of the local economy. Mechanisms should be explored that support value-for-money contract delivery. Currently there is a conflict of interest whereby many NGOs and government bodies retain 10%–15% of the value of a contract as an internal management fee – thus favouring expensive infrastructure delivery programs. Attitudes in the NGO industry are shifting towards greater emphasis on budgeting for ongoing service and maintenance of assets. Local privatisation is a cost-effective and sustainable option that deserves investigation and investment by such institutions. Capacity building is a long process and sometimes not favoured by large funding agencies, due to the difficulty in proving tangible results within a funding cycle.

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Figure 5. MSABI assisted a women’s pottery group to construct a kiln. The privatisation of water-point ownership and charging for water per usage was an existing practice prior to MSABI working in the Kilombero Valley. MSABI is creating safer, high quality water and sanitation options compared to open wells and pit latrines. MSABI believes that they are improving access to marginalised community members by increasing the availability of safe water at an affordable per bucket rate. Many cultural groups (such as the Maasai and Sukuma) are forced to live in remote areas far from village resources. MSABI has completed many water points in locations inaccessible by road (or drill truck). For example, we have drilled boreholes 27km from the nearest road, using tricycles to transport equipment. The uptake of ecosan compost technology is constrained by the willingness of the local communities to change their toilet behaviour (and the power/tools used by NGOs to facilitate change). The villages in the Kilombero Valley can be considered open defecation-free. Common practice involves pit latrines and washing with water. There is a preference for upgrading to pour-flush technology. This is one behavioural challenge, as compost toilets function successfully as a dry system. MSABI can meet pour-flush demands as we have successfully modified the compost sub-structure design for a septic system. The real challenge comes when trying to stimulate the community into wanting to convert their existing pit latrines to environmentally safer technologies. This is something with which MSABI has made little ingress so far, and which we have identified as an area requiring greater capacity input.

The subsidised price is comparable to a locally produced pit latrine with brick structure; however, MSABI build quality is considered superior. MSABI will investigate offering more affordable baseline sanitation designs in 2012 (various superstructure options). Still, current demand for private compost latrines is strong and we believe households are motivated by status, comfort and long-term value. After a six-month trial, MSABI found problems with owners using toilets for showers and wash water flooding the compost pits. Instead of asking users to stop showering, it was decided to promote the use of showering and divert wash water. This involved a design modification of a separate drain to a gravel filter. An interesting result was the preference for squat plates over sit-down toilets. ‘First adopters’ asked for sit-down toilets; however, after three months all users asked for a return to squat plates. Further community participatory methods are required to involve the wider community to explore new options for uptake of environmentally safe latrines. The use of compost and urine for cash crops has yet to be demonstrated. There is concern by the local population over handling and safety. MSABI has laboratory access to test for the presence of viable helminth eggs, protozoa and pathogenic bacteria and will do this prior to promoting use. Further trials are to be conducted to evaluate the potential of burning maturated compost (in situ in the compost chamber) as a sterilisation mechanism. Each split chamber is designed to store >1 year of compost. The first compost should be ready

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mid-2012. To date, the use of separated urine for fertiliser has largely not been accepted. Over the coming summer, MSABI will invest in working closely with the 25 pioneer users to demonstrate the advantages of recycling fertiliser – and prove the concept to the wider village community. If this is not successful, then MSABI will recommend converting the compost latrines to septic systems with shallow irrigation. There has been ready acceptance by schools of the large two-stage septic treatment systems with mound irrigation. These systems are pourflush. Schoolchildren learn about the advantages of recycling wastewater through involvement with banana and papaya plantations grown around the irrigation system. Positive testimonies from schools have relayed similar stories with increased attendance at school linked to reduced time collecting water and lower illness rates due to drinking safe water and accessing safe sanitation. There has also been a general improvement in children’s cleanliness and hygiene linked to availability of water for washing and clean sanitation.

Future directions MSABI will keep following its vision of helping to improve the health of rural communities in Tanzania and internationally. The NGO will continue its present activities and explore new business-orientated community-based interventions that will improve health, increase local skills and stimulate the local economy. Training courses on water and sanitation for advanced professionals (Tanzanian and foreign) are planned for 2012. The NGO has strengthened relationships with its strategic partners and is in contact with potential new donor organisations and with the Tanzanian government to develop and expand its services and, therefore, improve access to safe water and sanitation to more and more people.

Partnerships MSABI is proud to be associated and partnered with GHD, the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Ifakara Health Institute, Tanzania Breweries Limited, Novartis Foundation, Kilombero District Government, Engineers without Borders-UK, Global Development Group and USAID.

For additional information please contact: or visit: or www.tanzaniawater.

The Author Dale Young (email: is a Wastewater Process Engineer with GHD, Australia. Dale’s wife, a doctor, went to Tanzania on a medical mission and he accompanied her. While there he was appalled at the poor standard of basic health. He stayed on and is still working hard there to spread the message. msabinews@gmail. com gives regular updates.

references Hutton G & Haller C, 2004: Evaluation of the Costs and Benefits of Water and Sanitation Improvements at the Global Level, © World Health Organization WHO/SDE/WSH/04.04. Skinner J, 2009: Where every drop counts: Tackling rural Africa’s water crisis, International Institute for Environment and Development, Briefing paper pdfs/17055IIED.pdf Young D & Ochre P, 2010: Sustainable Success in Rural Tanzania. Water Journal, 37(5), pp 71–74.


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MATERIALS SELECTION FOR SWRO BRINE ENVIRONMENTS A review of the corrosion processes involved in SWRO plants F Blin, S Furman Introduction Since first appearing in the 1970s in the Middle East, desalination plants are now found in more than 150 countries around the world. This is due to a combination of population growth, increase of industry and agriculture, and fresh water scarcity1. The method of producing fresh water from the sea or brackish groundwater has been evolving from a distillation process to Reverse Osmosis (RO) process, where water is forced at high pressure through a membrane that separates salts from the water1. New techniques being researched to reduce the energy required by the desalination process include forward osmosis, carbon nanotubes and biometics1. With each change in technology there are associated durability challenges for construction materials. This paper is an abridged version of a publication presented at the 2010 Corrosion & Prevention conference in Adelaide2. It considers the guidelines provided in ISO 13823 – general principles on the design of structures for durability3.

Environmental Exposure: Brine As the reject stream from the Seawater Reverse Osmosis (SWRO) process, brine contains concentrated levels of the ionic species present in the seawater feed stream. The concentrated seawater or brine has a resultant increase in aggressivity to materials compared with seawater. Equipment and structures typically found in the brine circuit includes: pumps, valves, storage tanks, clarifiers, outfall tunnels and diffuser systems. The materials for all these components need to be resistant to the effects of brine or be maintainable for the nominated design life. SWRO desalination plants operating in Australia prior to 2008 typically produce brine with seawater ion concentrations of 1.5 to 1.8 times that of seawater4. This concentration factor is gradually increasing as membrane and processing technologies improve, and modern plants are approaching a brine concentration of 1.9 times that of seawater. For the

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Table 1. Typical composition of seawater and brine (approximate values). Environment


Chlorides (ppm)

Sulphate (ppm)

Magnesium (ppm)











Table 2. Environmental classifications to Australian Standard.

Design life (yrs)1 Concrete exposure classification Steel

AS 5100.5 [ 5]

AS 3600 [ 6]

AS 4997 [ 7]

AS 2159 [ 8]

AS 3735 [ 9] 2


50 ± 20%


50 & 100




Not defined

Not defined




Not defined

Not defined


Notes: 1. The design lives specified in this table are as defined in the respective Australian Standards. 2. Guidance is provided in Supplement 1. 3. The classification depends on whether elements are predominantly submerged or in alternate wet and dry conditions.

purpose of this paper, a 1.9 concentration factor is considered; that is, a brine solution with a chloride concentration of up to 39,500 ppm and a sulphate concentration of up to 5,400 ppm, as shown in Table 1.

60-year design life in accordance with AS 3735, no specific guidance is given when a longer life is required. In addition, none of the standards listed above propose an exposure classification for steel elements in contact with brine.

According to ISO 13823, “in designing for durability, the structure environment (the macro-environment) contains influences outside the structure (atmospheric and ground conditions, including pollution) and inside the structure (indoor atmosphere and materials), that are transformed into one or more agents on the surface of or within a component (the microenvironment) causing environmental action”. In the case of SWRO brine, the influences (structure environment) would be defined as outside and inside water (that is, the fluid) and the agents causing environmental action are chlorides, sulphates and magnesium, as listed in Table 1. However, this environmental exposure is not easily classified using the key Australian Standards for concrete and steel structures, as illustrated in Table 2.

Reinforced Concrete in Contact With Brine

While the exposure classifications for concrete elements exposed to brine can be defined for structures with a 40- to

Typically, concrete elements in contact with brine produced in desalination plants are reinforced using either steel bars or steel fibres. While unreinforced concrete may be used, the cement matrix is still susceptible to attack by sulphate and magnesium ions as described below. Within brine solutions, the key agents causing deterioration of the concrete matrix or steel reinforcement are sulphate, magnesium and chloride ions10, 11. More information on the deterioration mechanisms can be found in the literature2. The following discussion on durability measures to mitigate the risk of deterioration of reinforced concrete elements (using steel bars or fibres) exposed to SWRO brine is based on information obtained from literature as

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asset management well as experience. This is based on the assumption that the fundamental parameters listed below are adequately addressed: • The aggregates that form part of the concrete matrix satisfy geometrical requirements and have adequate physical properties and strength12, as well as comply with the durability requirements of AS 2758.113. • The mixing water complies with the requirements of AS 137914, specifically its impurity levels. • Cracking is minimised as it can provide a direct route for contaminants to enter the concrete. Appropriate design, using standards and tools such as CIRIA C66015, as well as adequate joints, concrete specification, curing and constructions practices, can ensure that the risk or extent of thermal and drying shrinkage cracking or plastic shrinkage and plastic settlement cracking is minimised. • Adequate curing is required to avoid detrimental effects on short- and long-term strength, shrinkage, porosity, resistance to the penetration of contaminants, resistivity, and surface properties including strength, hardness and abrasion resistance. Note that the linking of curing efficacy to compressive strength results is not considered appropriate by the authors. There are many publications that provide recommendations to design concrete to minimise the risk of sulphate attack. However, there does not appear to be a universally agreed approach in the literature to help predict or estimate the likely extent of sulphate attack, in particular, magnesium sulphate attack; and the relevance of findings from laboratory testing on mortar bars is still being debated16. In the absence of an accepted “rate of sulphate deterioration”, a cautious approach would be to allow for a sacrificial layer that could be fully degraded over a concrete element’s design life without affecting its structural integrity. The SWRO brine environment is not specifically covered by Australian Standards, especially if a long design life (for example, 100 years) for concrete structures is required. Two approaches could be considered: 1.

Increasing the exposure classification or taking the maximum cover from the standards. However, extrapolating the requirements in standards is debatable, requires interpretation and can lead to different outcomes.


Modelling the penetration of chlorides through concrete over time to estimate the required cover. While there are many models available in the literature that attempt to predict the time to corrosion initiation and propagation of steel in concrete, there is no consensus as yet. As such, the selection of a model would require all parties to agree at the start of the design stage (therefore limiting potential difficulties and interpretations later on, especially during construction).

The “high” covers (say, in excess of 55mm) for conventionally reinforced concrete nominated by standards or predicted by modelling may not always be possible, so alternative options to provide the required durability may need to be considered. For example: • Stainless steel reinforcing; • Cathodic prevention. As all cabling TRU and anodes would typically be expected to require replacement approximately every 30 years, one option is to use cathodic prevention for the first 30 years, after which the concrete will provide the primary protection for the steel reinforcement; • Provision of electrical continuity (via adequate welding) for the reinforcement located within high durability risk zones (e.g. any tidal/splash zone in contact with brine and/or areas that are difficult to isolate and access for maintenance, or where detailing and/or construction constraints make it likely that localised defects may occur); • Protective coatings to the concrete or the reinforcing bars; • Linings can not only enable lower covers, but also the use of concrete with less onerous requirements. The lining effectively acts as a waterproof membrane within a concrete shell; • Corrosion inhibitors can be added to the concrete mix, but while some have been reported to be effective over short-to-medium periods of time, there is still some uncertainty regarding their long-term performance. An alternative approach would be to consider the use of steel fibre-reinforced concrete (SFRC). Although the durability of SFRC is not specifically covered in any Australian Standards, it has been reported to perform well in chloridecontaining environments. It does not result in the same pattern of delamination and spalling, as is usually the case for conventionally reinforced concrete structures17. It should be noted that the structural effectiveness of the fibres relies

on the integrity of their anchorage within the cement matrix. As corrosion will disrupt this, it would appear valid to apply the same durability principles mentioned above for plain reinforced concrete elements exposed to SWRO brine to SFRC structures and, in particular, with regards to sulphate (including magnesium sulphate) and chloride attacks. A key difference compared with conventional reinforced concrete is that chlorides do not have to diffuse down to a certain depth for corrosion of the steel to initiate. Therefore, the following durability design approach is suggested based on an allowance for sulphate attack and the same modelling tool that predicts the depth of chloride penetration with time: • The mix is designed to minimise the risk of sulphate attack, as outlined above; • A sacrificial layer of SFRC is allowed for, in which both the concrete matrix (sulphate attack) and fibres can fully deteriorate (sulphate attack and chloride induced corrosion); • Beyond this first layer, all fibres can be allowed to fully corrode down to a certain depth (chloride induced corrosion). The simple modelling tool discussed above could help estimate this maximum permitted depth of chloride penetration. However, a different model that takes into account a higher corrosion threshold as suggested in the literature could be developed18; This approach is a suggestion only and, while possibly conservative, it has the merit of presenting a scenario that can also be modelled by structural engineers to check the long-term integrity of the SFRC elements in service.

Metals in Contact With Brine Within the brine circuit of a SWRO plant, metals and alloys are the materials of choice for regions of high pressure and high flow rates. Typical components include valves, pumps and the highpressure brine piping in the energy recovery system. Guidance on the use of metals in the typical high-chloride brine environments found in SWRO plants is very limited. The preferred source for design engineers is usually Australian or International Standards, although these are usually only pertinent to steel in natural environments. Information relating to the predicted performance of materials in process environments like brine is generally not provided in standards. Alternative sources of information for performance data in brine environments include research and technical articles


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asset management and, occasionally, technical data sheets for specific alloys. Due to the problems associated with the supply of fresh seawater, much of the early research for high-chloride environments was undertaken in sodium chloride solutions. However, as the rate-controlling steps of the corrosion process are often associated with the minor ionic species and the organic materials and organisms present in seawater19, 20, this research is considered to be of limited use. Other materials research is associated with distillation desalination processes that produce de-aerated brine21. Deaerated brine is less aggressive than the brine produced through the SWRO process, so this information is also not particularly applicable. Currently the most commonly used alloys in high-chloride environments are highly alloyed stainless steels. Although high-nickel alloys and titanium perform well in high-chloride brine environments the cost of these materials usually limits their use. In brine environments containing up to 39,500ppm chlorides, the most common form of deterioration of metals and alloys is corrosion. The various mechanisms of corrosion that may be observed include pitting, crevice, galvanic, and erosion corrosion or other flow assisted corrosion mechanisms. The specific corrosion mechanisms that may be observed are dependent on the type of material, exposure conditions (for example, flow rate) and engineering configuration (for example, presence of crevices). Overall it is estimated that approximately 40% of all failures in desalination plants are as a result of pitting corrosion, though many of these may be associated with the

higher temperatures encountered in the distillation processes used in some desalination plants22. Pitting and crevice corrosion are reported to be the most common mechanisms of corrosion of stainless steels in brine environments. Although there are different ways of assessing stainless steels and nickel alloys with respect to their resistance to chloride environments, the most commonly accepted measure is the pitting resistance equivalent number (PREN), which is calculated from the composition of the alloy23-27. PREN values provide comparative predictive behaviour alloys. The PREN values for a range of alloys used in desalination plants are presented in Table 3. Experience has found that super-duplex and super-austenitic alloys with a PREN greater than 40 usually have adequate pitting resistance to seawater and brine environments. PRENs are not the only predictive performance tool for assessing the corrosion performance in chloride environments, as charts have also been developed for assessing the risk of pitting and crevice corrosion. As shown in Figure 1 and Figure 2, these charts28 indicate that the risk of pitting and crevice corrosion for stainless steel increases with temperature and chloride concentration in the immersed environment. Pitting and crevice corrosion is predicted to occur at chloride concentration greater than the line drawn for each alloy. The likelihood of galvanic corrosion in the brine circuit is high due to the complex nature of pumps, valves and other mechanical equipment that is used. Galvanic corrosion can be controlled by three different strategies:

â&#x20AC;˘ Electrical isolation of the different alloys; â&#x20AC;˘ Only allowing direct connection between alloys within the same category (refer to Table 4); and â&#x20AC;˘ Ensuring the surface area of the anodic alloy is substantially larger than the cathodic alloy to reduce the rate of acceleration of acceleration of the anodic alloy. The risk of galvanic corrosion should be low if the dissimilar alloys both have a similar response to the environment. Table 4 shows the different categories of alloys in seawater. It is possible to connect the materials within each category without causing galvanic corrosion. Although these categories are for seawater, similar behaviour is expected in brine solutions. Examples of each type of alloy have been included in Table 4, but this list is not exhaustive. Erosion-corrosion or other flow-assisted corrosion mechanisms of stainless steel are unlikely to occur within the brine circuit as a direct result of the flow conditions. In seawater at velocities between 1 and 40 m/s stainless steels have been found to be largely immune to flow-assisted corrosion as the flow actually assists with the stabilisation of the protective oxide film30. The limited technical data that deals with SWRO brine does not mention either failures or corrosion issues associated with erosion-corrosion for super duplex or super austenitic stainless steel alloys. High-nickel and titanium alloys in seawater also show negligible flowassisted corrosion in seawater. Stainless steels, high-nickel alloys and titanium are expected to have similar behaviour in aerated brine solutions to that observed in

Table 3. Chemical composition and PREN values26. Alloy


304L 316L

Nominal Composition (wt %) Fe






















LDX 2101














Other 19











254 SMO


















1% Nb


Zeron 100














Incoloy 825






2.25% Cu


Inconel 625






3.6% Nb


Hastelloy C-276






3.9% W


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technical features

asset management Table 4. Alloy groupings for immersion in seawater at ambient temperature29 Category


Alloy • Nickel-chromium-molybdenum alloy (Mo>7%), including: Inconel 625 (UNS N06625), Hastelloy C276 (UNS N10276) and Hastelloy C22 (UNS N06022).


• 6% Mo austenitic stainless steel, including: 254 SMO (UNS S31254), 654 SMO (UNS S32654), Werkstoff 1.4529 (UNS N08295)

Noble; passive

• Super-duplex stainless steel, including: 2507 (UNS S32750), Zeron 100 (UNS S32760), ASTM A890 Gr.5A • 904L (UNS N08904) 2

• 22% Cr Duplex including; 2205 (UNS S31803/S32205), ASTM A890 Gr.6A

Passive; not truly corrosion resistant

• Alloy 825 (UNS N08825) • 316L (UNS S31603)

3 4A 4B

Moderate corrosion resistance

• Copper alloys • Austenitic cast iron • Carbon steel

Poor corrosion resistance

• Cast iron • Aluminium alloys

seawater. However, most copper alloys to some extent are subject to erosion-corrosion and flow-assisted corrosion. Erosion-corrosion can be controlled by limiting the rate of flow to which the copper alloys are exposed. The risk of most forms of corrosion can be minimised through appropriate selection of corrosion-resistant alloys. It is important to select materials that have adequate durability or corrosion resistance for the nominated design life without over-specifying or being too Risk of pitting corrosion 80°C

conservative due to cost implications. Where components are readily accessible for maintenance, either due to redundancies in equipment or because availability demands allow regular access, then material selection options may include durability strategies other than the requirement of minimal corrosion over the design life. Such strategies may include the use of protective coatings or the use of less resistance material with frequent programmed replacements. A life-cycle cost analysis that includes maintenance and replacement costs should be undertaken as part of the alloy selection process. 1.4307 1.4404






254 SMO/ SAF 2507

40 30 20 100





Figure 1. Risk of pitting corrosion in chloride environments28. 80°C



1.4404 904L




254 SMO/ SAF 2507

40 30 20 100





Figure 2. Risk of crevice corrosion in chloride environments28.

For flanged components and high-integrity seals on valves and pumps, it is important to select materials that are resistant to pitting and crevice corrosion. An indication of pitting resistance is provided by the pitting resistance equivalent number. Experience and research has shown that for service in seawater and concentrated chloride/brine environments it is super-duplex or super-austenitic stainless steels with PREN>40 that usually have the best resistance.

Several of the high-nickel alloys including Hastelloy C-276 and Inconel 625, which also have a PREN>40, also perform well, but the cost of these alloys is usually higher than the stainless steel alloys. In addition to the requirement for a PREN greater than 40, it is also important that welding is undertaken using codes and standards prepared specifically for these corrosion-resistant alloys. This is to ensure that the corrosion resistance of the weld and the heat-affected zone adjacent to the weld has the same corrosion resistance as the parent metal. Poor weld detailing and finishing will result in zones that have lower durability characteristics than the design requires, which will almost certainly be the sites for early corrosion initiation. It is recommended that all weld oxide scales, welding defects, weld spatter and surface irregularities are removed on completion of welding processes. In addition, pickling and passivation should be undertaken following all welding and fabrication processes to ensure the maximum durability is achieved prior to use of these alloys in the aggressive brine environment. Pickling and passivation should be performed to ASTM A38031.

Polymers and Composites in Contact With Brine Economic considerations for the construction of the SWRO brine circuit result in the need to use non-metallic materials where suitable conditions exist, which include low pressures and low to moderate flow rates. Glass fibrereinforced plastic (GRP) composites are extensively used for brine piping, as well as components of the outlet system and risers, and for components of the brine circuit clarifiers in many plants.


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asset management Unreinforced polymers can also be used in contact with brine, for example, within the RO vessels, for pumps and valve components, and many other applications. The selection of unreinforced polymeric and composite materials is usually based on experience, chemical resistance data provided by materials suppliers, or technical literature.

Conclusions This paper aimed to present an overview of the challenges posed by selecting materials for the aggressive SWRO brine created by desalination plants. Guidelines for material selection based on a combination of literature and experience presented are summarised below. For reinforced concrete:

For polymers: • Selection of suitable polymers with established performance; • For UV-exposed components select UV stabilised versions; • Quality detailing around joints and fastenings is a major factor on service life performance.

Acknowledgements The authors would like to acknowledge the works of Dr Frank Collins and Dr Marita Berndt. We would like to also thank Miles Dacre and Rob Kilgour for their feedback and comments and Alessandra Mendes for her significant help.

The Authors

• Understanding the performance characteristics of different cement binders in this environment; • Measures taken to minimise cracking (including undertaking CIRIA C660 analyses); • Adequate curing (at least seven days’ wet curing, but preferably 14 days); • High concentration of Supplementary Cementitious Materials for sulphate resistance; • Provision of a sacrificial layer of concrete to account for sulphate attack (in particular magnesium sulphate); • A recognised modelling approach for the prediction of chloride ingress with adequate modelling parameters (including chloride surface level, chloride diffusion coefficient as measured by an accepted testing method, chloride threshold for corrosion initiation, maturation coefficient and safety factor); • Cover requirements as determined by the modelling (or applicable standards if suitable/available); • Additional protection: coatings, provision for future CP, inhibitors, liners.

• Welding undertaken in accordance with the appropriate codes and standards; • Post-weld treatment, including the removal of weld spatter and surface preparation of welds to remove surface irregularities; • Post-fabrication treatment, including pickling and passivation to ASTM A380.

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13 AS 2758.1: “Aggregates and Rock for Engineering Purposes – Concrete Aggregates”, Sydney, Standards Australia International, 1998. 14 AS 1379: “Specification and Supply of Concrete”, Sydney, Standards Australia International, 2007. 15 Schieβl P & Raupach M: “Laboratory Studies and Calculations on the Influence of Crack Width on Chloride-Induced Corrosion of Steel in Concrete”, ACI Materials Journal, 1997, 94(1), pp 56–62. 16 Neville AM: “The Confused World of Sulphate Attack on Concrete”, Cement and Concrete Research, 2004, 34, pp 1275–1296. 17 Report on the Physical Properties and Durability of Fibre-Reinforced Concrete, ACI 544.5R-10, Reported by ACI Committee 544, American Concrete Institute, First Printing March 2010. 18 Raupach M et al., “Corrosion Behaviour of Steel Fibres in Concrete Containing Chlorides’, Eurocorr 2004, Nice, France.

Dr Frédéric Blin (email: Frédéric.Blin@ and Sarah Furman (email: are both Associate Directors with the Strategic Asset Management and Advanced Materials Group at AECOM.

References 1

National Geographic, April 2010.


Blin F & Furman S: “Durability guidelines for materials in aggressive brine exposures”, ACA Paper 032, Corrosion and Prevention 2010, Adelaide, SA.


ISO 13823- “General principles on the design of structures for durability”, ISO, Switzerland, 2008.


“Emerging Trends in Desalination: A Review”, November 2008, National Water Commission.


AS 5100.5: “Bridge Design. Part 5: Concrete”. Sydney, Standards Australia International, 2004.


AS 3600: “Concrete structures”, Sydney, Standards Australia International, 2001.


AS 4997: “Guidelines for the design of maritime structures”, Sydney, Standards Australia International, 2005.


AS 2159: “Piling – Design and installation”, Sydney, Standards Australia International, 2009.


AS 3735: “Concrete structures for retaining liquids”, Sydney, Standards Australia International, 2001.

For metals: • Alloys with a PREN > 40 for superduplex stainless steel, super-austenitic stainless steel or nickel alloys;

12 Bertolini L et al., “Corrosion of steel in Concrete”, 2004, Weinheim: Wiley-VCH.

10 Ben-Yair M: “The durability of concrete and cement in sea water”, Desalination, 1967, 3, pp 146–154. 11 Awerbuchl L. & Daye MA: “Durability of concrete structures in the hostile service environment of desalination plants”, Desalination, 1994, 97, pp 221-232.

19 ASM Handbook Vol. 13C, Corrosion: Environments and Industries, ASM International, 2006, pp 27–41. 20 Wallen B: “Corrosion of stainless steels in seawater.” ACOM No. 1-1998, Avesta Sheffield AB, Sweden, 1998. 21 NiDI 11003 Nickel stainless steels for marine environments, natural seawater and brine, 1987. 22 Malik AU, Al-Fozan SA & Al Romiahl M: “Relevance of corrosion research in the material selection for desalination plants”, Presented in Second Scientific Symposium on Maintenance Planning and Operations, King Saud University, Riyadh, 24–26 April, 1993. 23 “Calculation of pitting equivalent resistance numbers (PREN)”, php?article=111 24 Hussan AM & Malik D: “Corrosion resistant materials for seawater RO plants”, Desalination, 74 (1989), pp 157–170. 25 Al-Odwani A, Carew J, Al-Tabtabaei M & Al-Hijji A: Materials performance in SWRO desalination plant at KISR research and development program”, Desalination, 135 (2001), pp 99–110. 26 Olsson J: “Stainless steels for desalination plants”, Desalination, 183 (2005), pp 217–225. 27 McCoy SA: “Corrosion Performance and Fabricability of the New Generation of Highly Corrosion-Resistant Nickel-ChromiumMolybdenum alloys”, 28 “Stainless steels for desalination processes”, 29 Francis, Roger: Galvanic Corrosion – A practical guide for engineers, NACE International 2001. 30 Morrow SJ: “Materials selection for seawater pumps”, Proceedings of the 26th International Pump Users Symposium, 2010. 31 ASTM A380-Standard practice for the cleaning, descaling and passivation of stainless steel parts, equipment and systems.

technical features

M ade in ia l s u A tra

wastewater treatment

RENEWABLE ENERGY GENERATION THROUGH CO-DIGESTION OF NON-SEWAGE WASTES Even small WWTPs can develop a positive business case K Simmonds, J Kabouris Introduction Traditionally it has been considered by the water industry that biogas production at wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) is only cost effective at a large scale, unless the facilities have existing digestion and primary sedimentation facilities. The current perception is that smaller WWTPs – typically less than 20 MLD in size – are limited in their opportunities for beneficial biogas generation. This perception has arisen due to two key factors: • Smaller facilities have limited sludge volume, which typically means lower biogas production; and • The capital costs associated with installation of the new infrastructure required to generate biogas and produce power and heat for use as a renewable energy source are proportionally high, meaning these facilities are not cost-effective at the smaller scale. However, recent project experience has shown that these smaller WWTPs can also produce biogas cost-effectively. The secret to success? The introduction of non-sewage high-strength waste streams. These wastes can be codigested with sewage sludge to boost biogas production. In some instances, these biogas generation facilities can also provide a new revenue stream through power production and tipping fees for the

owning and operating company. The increased biogas yield, coupled with the income from tipping fees, can “tip” the scales, so to speak, which improves the business case for these facilities markedly. The other advantages of these facilities are the beneficial utilisation of the high-strength wastes in producing green energy, and a reduction in waste to landfill.

Barriers to Co-Digestion Facilities So why aren’t these types of facilities increasingly being installed throughout Australia? There are, in fact, a number of non-sewage waste anaerobic digestion and biogas generation facilities in operation throughout Australia that operate successfully. However, the co-digestion of sewage and non-sewage wastes is not as prevalent in the industry in Australia as it is in other countries, including the USA and Europe. Typical barriers to these projects have been footprint availability and the perceptions identified earlier, as well as a lack of local experience. Traditional thinking has led the owners and operators of these smaller WWTPs to believe that the WWTP should include primary sedimentation and digestion in the existing treatment process for these types of projects to be feasible and cost-effective. However, recent project experience has disproved the need for

Figure 1. Summary of the anaerobic digestion and biogas generation process.

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pre-existing primary sedimentation and digestion process units, and shown that the cost of retrofitting these WWTP facilities to include primary sedimentation at the smaller scale may actually outweigh the benefit obtained. It can be more cost-effective to install high-strength waste and waste-activated sludge codigestion facilities at the smaller WWTP flows without the inclusion of primary sedimentation and primary sludge as a digester feed source. This results in a smaller footprint for the facility upgrades, as well as cost-effective and simpler implementation and integration with the existing facility in most cases. Of course, this needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and depends on the waste streams available and the biogas production efficiency of those wastes.

Biogas Production So how do we generate biogas efficiently, and which waste streams are preferred? Biogas is a renewable energy source, and at WWTPs it is produced through anaerobic (“without oxygen”) digestion of wastewater sludge. The biogas produced typically has a high methane and energy content (60%–70% of the energy content of natural gas), with energy content typically in the range of 22,000 kJ/m3 –24,000 kJ/m3. Biogas produced in small facilities can be used to produce heat and power through co-generation using a reciprocating engine or microturbine. The electricity produced can be utilised onsite to offset the site power requirements, while the heat can be used for digester and on-site building heating. Biogas can also be used to replace natural gas consumption in boilers. Anaerobic digestion has additional benefits, including reduction in the volume and mass of the solids residual (biosolids) produced, stabilisation and pathogen reduction for the biosolids which can allow for their beneficial reuse, and decreasing the environmental footprint of the WWTP.

technical features

wastewater treatment Table 1. Key strengths and weaknesses of the available anaerobic digestion technologies. Anaerobic Digestion Type

Process Summary

Strengths Easy to operate.

Mesophilic Anaerobic Digestion (MAD)

Occurs optimally around 35°C–38°C.

More tolerant to changes in operating conditions compared to thermophilic digestion. Medium gas production and volatile solids destruction.

Thermophilic Anaerobic Digestion (TAD)

Occurs optimally around 50°C–57°C.

Higher biological activity due to increased temperatures results in smaller reactor volumes and lower capital costs. Higher temperatures can facilitate increased pathogen destruction.


Larger reactor volume and higher capital cost. Potential for high-strength waste to “break through” due to incomplete digestion.

Medium-low process stability – requires increased operational attention. Higher energy consumption for process heating. Typically not used in small facilities.

Low rate of stabilisation. Large footprint.

Lagoon Digestion

First stage is anaerobic digestion. However, some plants are known to have aerated lagoons up front.

Reduced sludge production. Lagoons have a 30-year life.

Requires covers over the lagoons – difficult to properly cover and seal over a large area.

Membrane lagoon covers capture biogas.

No mechanical equipment required for gas production.

No process control – therefore difficult to control/maintain.

Simple to operate.

Contents of lagoons are susceptible to temperature fluctuation – e.g. temperature drop could adversely impact lagoon health.

Increased pathogens destruction. Temperature Phased Anaerobic Digestion (TPAD)

Two Phase (AcidGas) Anaerobic Digestion

TPAD is TAD for 5 to 10 days, followed by MAD for 10 to 15 days.

Able to deal with co-digestion of grease and co-mingled food waste. Medium-high process stability. Mesophilic digestion following thermophilic digestion helps prevent breakthrough odours.

Two Phase Acid-Gas Digestion is similar to TPAD in that solids are digested in two phases. First (acid) phase has a hydraulic retention time (HRT) of 1–3 days. Second (gas – methane) phase typically has a 10–14 day HRT.

Reduced foaming and improved gas yield. Suitable for small facilities. Very high process stability.

Increased process complexity. Typically not used in small facilities. Some wastes are more challenging for stable operation as TPAD has lower stability than Two Phase AcidGas Digestion.

More process complexity. Requires consistently high organic loading of the acid reactor.

Reduced digestion volume by 30%–50% results in low capital cost.


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wastewater treatment The digestion process begins with bacterial hydrolysis to break down organic polymers such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, amino acids, fatty acids and sugars to make them available for other bacteria. The sugars, fatty acids and amino acids are eventually converted into methane and carbon dioxide (see Figure 1). The key thing to note from this diagram, and the anaerobic digestion process, is that it is the carbohydrates, fats, proteins, sugars, fatty acids and amino acid content which are the critical “food source” for methane production. Therefore, waste streams that contain these compounds in higher concentrations will result in higher biogas production.

Available Anaerobic Digestion Technologies There are a number of technologies that can be considered for energy production through the generation of biogas in WWTPs. The processes available include various types of anaerobic digestion, either in large tanks (digesters) or via low-energy covered anaerobic lagoon systems. The key strengths and weaknesses of the available anaerobic digestion technologies are summarised in Table 1.

Preferred Waste Sources To aid biogas generation at smaller WWTPs the addition of non-sewage waste streams can be beneficial. Alternatively, wastewater flows can be increased through sewer mining of additional sewage flows in the catchment (if they are available), or from trucked wastewater sludges. In many catchments additional wastewater is not available and, therefore, non-sewage waste streams should be considered for co-digestion to improve biogas production. These nonsewage wastes should be high-strength wastes (HSWs) and would be trucked into site in solid, semi-solid or liquid form.

An example of HSW unloading at an anaerobic digestion and biogas generation facility. Most wastes currently being sent to landfill can be considered for codigestion. However, some wastes are preferred over others for biogas production, typically dependent on their energy content and physical characteristics. Wastes that are typically available and have been considered for these types of facilities include: • Municipal and industrial process wastewater/sludge; • Food and drink manufacturer process waste (i.e. beverage, meat processing, dairy, brewery or winery); • Paper/pulp waste; • Greasy waste/fats, oils and greases (FOG) (i.e. grease trap pump-outs); • Residential food and green waste (via trucked collection); • Residential/commercial food waste (organics rubbish bins); • Food waste (from markets or supermarket chains). Greasy wastes, food waste and FOG are preferred over wastes such as lawn clippings or grape skins from winery waste as the components of these (skin/ stalks) can be difficult to digest. However, it should be noted that solid food waste

can have considerably higher pretreatment requirements when compared to other waste types and this should be considered when evaluating the cost effectiveness of its use in co-digestion. Many non-sewage wastes are seasonal in production (i.e. dairy processing and meat production such as lamb processing) and there are a number of drawbacks in using seasonal waste sources. One of the key concerns is the over-sizing of facilities. Anaerobic digestion requires continuous feed (quality and flow), therefore the required storage would need to be sufficiently large to store seasonal waste when it is generated, and then slowly feed the waste continuously into the digestion process over the low season. This increases the potential of the digestion process becoming less stable and the likelihood of foaming occurring as the loading rates are changed. The additional capital investment required for the larger storage and processing facilities is also significantly higher than any benefit realised from the addition of a seasonal waste stream. The preferred waste material for co-digestion will also depend on the availability of the waste at an economic haul distance and expediency (i.e. can it be held at the source until needed or must it be accepted at the whim of the generator), as well as the biogas yield potential of that waste stream.

Implementation of a Biogas Production Facility

Simultaneous unloading of HSW tanker trucks.

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There are a number of other considerations when investigating the feasibility of implementing a biogas production facility. Some of these include planning and regulatory approvals, legislation, disposal of the by-products (digestate and biosolids), odour control and, of course, the expected lifecycle financial benefits and investment payback period.

technical features

wastewater treatment Some of the key environmental approval and planning considerations to consider for a co-digestion facility at an existing WWTP include: • Existing environmental approvals: - Will the buffer distances meet the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) guidance for current treatment operations? - Will the discharge permits be met? • New environmental approvals: - Onus on the operator/owner to demonstrate adequate controls to manage any impacts due to insufficient buffers for both existing and proposed works; - Heritage and ecological surveys may be required. • Planning: - Surrounding zoning may include sensitive land uses (residential) within recommended buffer distances. On the other hand, some of these implementation issues can result in positive outcomes, including finding reuse opportunities for biosolids. The need for solids reduction is becoming increasingly evident as the volume of waste to landfill grows, while the available space for landfills shrinks. Biosolids produced as a by-product of the digestion process contain many nutrients required by plants for strong growth, including nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and micronutrients. Therefore, biosolids can be an excellent fertiliser for use in agriculture and forestry, and as a soil improver in composting. Adding biosolids to soil can improve water retention, help retain nutrients, accelerate plant growth, and potentially reduce stormwater runoff and erosion. There are also opportunities for funding and revenue generation at codigestion facilities to improve payback. The most likely opportunities for revenue generation are: • Large Scale Generation Certificates (LGCs); • Revenue from excess electricity fed back into the grid; • Tipping fees for the acceptance of highstrength waste streams that can be equal to those charged at landfills. Recent experience with these types of projects has found that the tipping fee is a very important parameter for reducing pay-back periods and increasing lifecycle savings. The availability of LGCs coupled with on-site savings from electricity and heat production also improve the costeffectiveness of these facilities significantly.

Existing Facilities – Lessons Learned There are a number of facilities in operation globally that co-digest sewage and non-sewage wastes, including some that operate only on non-sewage waste streams. Through extensive desktop study and case study review of local and global facilities, commonalities have been identified. Some of the key findings include: • Facilities that have supplemented sewage sludge with non-sewage waste streams have observed significant increases in biogas yield. • The most effective waste streams for biogas production have high energy content. Examples include fats, oils, grease, cheese whey, abattoir waste, piggery waste, sewage sludge (from the earlier stages of the process), some forms of sugar wastes such as concentrated syrup or molasses, and food waste. • The biogas produced from various wastes will vary in quality and sometimes requires treatment prior to combustion – this will reduce the risk of wear and tear on engines and equipment downstream, as well as increase co-generation system efficiency. • The types of wastes used, the ratios at which each is fed into the digestion process, and the approach to collection, treatment and combustion of biogas, are all highly variable and site specific. • The overall beneficial effectiveness of a biogas facility is multifaceted – the reduction of industrial waste, reduction of environmental impacts of the wastes, increase in renewable energy capability in a community, reduction of dependence on fossil fuels, reduction in fugitive emissions and general increase in process efficiency, are all positive aspects common to all case studies.

Summary The utilisation of anaerobic digestion of various high-strength wastes for the production of energy, heat and other end products is a highly beneficial process that is increasingly becoming adopted around the world. There are an increasing number of small-scale wastewater treatment facilities worldwide that take advantage of the availability of highstrength wastes for increased biogas production. The additional benefit of heat and power generation, and subsequent

reduction in environmental footprint and lifecycle operating cost, is aiding many facilities in meeting sustainability objectives. The co-digestion facilities also allow improved management of a second waste source, diverting waste away from landfills or separate treatment facilities. The processes used and the waste streams fed into the system are wellproven at full scale implementation, and there are many examples of successful schemes from many perspectives including financial, social and environmental. Work continues at laboratory, pilot and full-scale developments to further optimise these practices and technologies; however, there is general consensus that this is a highly beneficial technology that is likely to significantly increase over the coming years throughout the world.

Acknowledgements The authors would like to acknowledge Zeynep Erdal, Wastewater Technology Leader, and Timothy Shea, Technology Fellow, both at CH2M HILL (US) for their contribution and review of this article.

The Authors Kate Simmonds (email: Kate.Simmonds@ has nine years’ experience in the water and wastewater industry, working as an environmental engineer and project manager in New Zealand, the United Arab Emirates and Australia. Kate is CH2M HILL’s ANZ Region Sustainability Coordinator, and in this role communicates the value of sustainable water, assisting with developing, integrating, delivering and coordinating the resources, tools, training and strategies for sustainability services and projects in the ANZ region. Dr John Kabouris (email: is a Senior Technologist with CH2M HILL. He has expertise in process optimisation and advanced biosolids and biogas solutions. He has worked in projects involving high-strength waste codigestion and conducted laboratory research on the codigestion of municipal sludge and fat, oil and grease under conventional and advanced digestion. He also co-authored the 2010 Water Environment Federation (WEF) Technical Practice Update document on codigestion of Fat Oil and Grease (FOG) and High Strength Wastes (HSW).


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DENTAL AMALGAM, ORAL HEALTH AND WATER The challenging interface of public responsibility HF Akers Abstract This paper examines the historical context of a complex interface involving the dental profession’s commitments to oral health and public responsibility. It also traces Australian developments, particularly the evolution of Dentists for Cleaner Water: an initiative to reduce amalgam sludge in sewerage systems across Victoria.

Introduction For well over half-a-century, in most dental surgeries around the world, dentists have removed and inserted the filling material dental amalgam (hereafter amalgam). Consisting of approximately 50% mercury, amalgam remains durable, cost-effective and widely used. While many national governments impose regulations on mercurial levels in food and potable water, few restrict the use of amalgam. Dental practices also require water. This intersection between mercury, mercurial derivatives and water means that dentists’ use of amalgam has generated environmental concerns both within and outside the dental profession.

The Background: Mercury Mercury, an odourless liquid at ambient temperature and pressure, is a distinctive heavy metal. Its chemical forms are loosely classified as elemental (Hg0), inorganic (Hg+ mercuric and Hg++ mercurous) and organic (shorter-chain alkyl and longer-chain aryl). Liquid mercury vaporises at room temperature, has a long half-life, is highly lipid-soluble, traverses cell membranes and disrupts some enzymatic functions. Given appropriate conditions, its high surface tension facilitates characteristically mobile globules that disperse. This attribute allows liquid mercury to impregnate flooring, shoes and vacuum cleaners. While elemental liquid and vapour are only slightly water-soluble, they linger in dental surgeries. The vapour is inhaled, absorbed via the lungs into the bloodstream, transported across blood-brain barriers and rapidly ionised. Hence, for decades, dental associations have published protocols to minimise occupational exposure to mercury.

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Other chemical and biological properties of mercury and its derivatives are important to the environmental sciences and to human and veterinary pathologies. Mercury is reactive, accumulates in soil and fulfils neither a biochemical nor a physiological role. Homeostatic controls are also limited. Potential mercurial biotransformations include: oxidation of elemental vapour to ionic forms; reduction of ionic mercury to elemental forms; methylation of inorganic forms; and conversion of organomercurials to inorganic forms.

mention environmental concerns. The foci of pre-1990 dental research were occupational health and safety issues, the physical and chemical properties of amalgam and the relationships between intra-oral bioavailable mercury and human pathology. Significant evidence suggests that until the mid-1990s, dentists generally viewed the environmental effects of the management of amalgam waste as only one small part of much larger anthropogenic and natural problems.

Some organo-mercurials are water-soluble and bio-accumulate in the aquatic food chain. In the network connecting plankton and algae to large predatory fish, findings of mercurial magnifications of up to 100,000 appear in the literature. Short-chain alkyl mercurials are also lipid-soluble. They penetrate and disrupt ecosystems. Hence, mercury and its derivatives are chameleon-like: mobile, invasive and potentially harmful. These physical, chemical and biological properties mean that mercury has gained notoriety for accumulation, transformation, biomagnification and toxicity.

The mercurial footprint of dental practice is linked to the dentist’s management of another essential commodity, water. This introduces an even bigger picture. A necessity for life and widely perceived as communal property, water is embedded into the environment, society and the individual. Quality, quantity, location and permanency of water supply influence culture, land use, population growth and patterns of both economic development and community disease. A perennial traveller, a master of disguise and an infiltrator of surrounds, water moves through not only life forms and the environment but also national and state boundaries. Today, water is harvested, harnessed, recycled, corporatised, rationalised and traded. Desalination, multi-purpose use and bio-solid reclamation are also commercial realities.

Mercury comes from natural and anthropogenic sources. The former involves degassing of the earth’s crust, emissions from volcanoes and evaporation from water. The latter source involves inter alia coal combustion, dental practices, electronics industries, gold mining and smelting. While estimates of production from natural versus anthropogenic origins vary, the consensus is approximately 1:1. Throughout the 1970s, the Australian dental profession used approximately 400 kilograms of mercury per annum, which was 6.2% of the annual import. In the 1980s, annual global production of mercury for anthropogenic use was 10,000 tons: 3% to 4% being used in dentistry. In 1986, at the National Institute of Dental Research International State-ofthe-Art Conference on Restorative Dental Materials, eminent US researcher DB Mahler presented “Research On Dental Amalgam: 1982–1986”. It did not

The Background: Water

The water cycle is an international phenomenon, which connects the diverse responsibilities of many decision-makers and stakeholders. The engineering profession and policy administrators have long been familiar with these concepts and views. In contrast, and although authoritative evidence is lacking, it is reasonable to suggest that dentists, like many groups in society, have historically viewed water as a disposable and single-use commodity that disappears down the sink outlet. Moreover, until the new millennium, few dentists were aware of the environmental significance of the prolonged and intimate contact between amalgam, mercurial derivatives and wastewater.

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wastewater Amalgamation Dismissing the wide differences in treatment offered in each dental practice, there are many variations in a dentist’s contribution to the mercurial load in wastewater. Before discussing these, a simple explanation of the metallurgy of amalgam is warranted. Amalgamation is the rigorous mixing (trituration), using high velocity oscillation, of similar proportions of encapsulated alloy powder (silver + tin + other metals) and liquid elemental mercury. The mercury dissolves the alloy powder. The initially plastic mix is incrementally condensed into the cavity, where amalgamation progresses to form a crystalline heterogeneous solid. In the oral cavity, amalgam is covered by biofilm and is a dynamic entity that interacts with its immediate environment. However, at body temperature and in the absence of pressure and electrolysis, amalgam is virtually insoluble in saliva and devoid of free elemental mercury. Dentists’ long-established view is that amalgam is a functional, stable and durable restoration. Furthermore, and again in contrast to engineers and environmental scientists, dentists’ conventional concerns regarding mercury were mainly limited to investigations involving the patient’s oral and general health. Amalgam has evolved throughout the last 50 years. The content of the selected amalgam was one variable that contributed to ramifications outside the dental surgery. Amalgam can be classified by alloy powder composition into two types: either conventional or copperenriched. The latter had largely displaced the former by 1980. Amalgamation involves complex metallurgical phenomena. However, for conventional alloys, reactions are generically expressed as Ag3Sn + Hg Ag2Hg3 + Sn7Hg + Ag3Sn γ + Hg γ1 (silver-mercury phase) + γ2 + γ (remnant tin-mercury phase). The end result is silver-tin particles embedded in a matrix of reaction products involving Hg and the γ1 and γ2 phases in a network. The high-copper amalgams generate either substantially lower or no γ2. The weak link is the γ2 phase. It is more prone to mercury and mercurial derivative release. Accordingly, pre-1980 choice of alloy is one potential variable in environmental outcome from waste generation. Operator variables in the insertion and the removal of amalgam also influence the formation of the γ2. Good technique throughout mixing and condensation

means that γ2 is virtually compressed out of the restoration. This optimises the properties of the placed amalgam, but the excess is more likely to contain γ2. Furthermore, the removal of amalgam from previously restored teeth and the carving and re-contouring of freshly inserted amalgam generates aerosols, chunks, dusts, grit, slurries and vapours. The particulate components vary in composition, number, size and surface area. Their expectoration into spittoons and their evacuation into aspirators transfer solids, which, if not captured chair-side, are destined for wastewater and sewerage sludges. This is a realm where chemical, corrosive, electrolytic, galvanic and microbial actions and pH, pressure and thermal changes can arise. Hence, over the last decade, mercurial biotransformation and accumulation in wastewater and landfill generated multidisciplinary streams of research.

Chairside Collection The physical properties of amalgam are advantageous to retrieval of scrap within the dental unit. Having a specific gravity of approximately 10, amalgam sinks, settles and resists movement from passing water and air. Scrap amalgam has always been trapped chair-side in coarse line filters and wells. Assuming the presence of a spittoon and its regular maintenance, many variables such as sludge concentration, its rate of feed, particulate size and water flow rate influence capture of solids. These inconsistencies partly explain disparities ranging from 40% to 80% in estimates of efficiency of chairside retention of residue in early systems. Although dental associations published contemporaneous protocols for cleaning and plumbing maintenance, these connected primarily with workplace health and safety recommendations, not environmental considerations. While captured and unused amalgam waste is easily handled and safely stored, its disposal presented a practical problem across Australia. Until the early 1990s, scrap amalgam was sold to itinerant precious metal merchants who visited dental practices. By means unknown to the author, they allegedly recovered the silver. These dealers disappeared coincidentally with the emergence of various environmental protection and clinical waste legislations. Throughout most of the 1990s, to the author’s knowledge, there was no registered recycler of amalgam in Australia. Circa 2000, in Queensland, it became an offence to give regulated waste to an unlicensed person for

transport, storage, treatment or disposal. Unlike most biomedical clinical wastes, registered contractors would not incinerate amalgam: heat released elemental vapour. Hence, throughout and after the 1990s, collection and transport of amalgam waste from dental practices were problematic. Stockpiles of appropriately stored amalgam waste, now officially a hazardous chemical material, accumulated in dental surgeries. In the author’s case and after numerous requests, a local authority offered eventually to dispose of harvested waste in sealed landfill. In 2006, Australian dentists were advised that “It may be possible to return amalgam scrap for refining” to the Victorianbased Southern Dental Industries. This was impractical for many practitioners. By default, sealed landfill remains the accepted protocol for disposal for many practices across Australia. While chairside harvest of amalgam waste is responsible and commendable, latent problems are not resolved. Particulate matter and fine sludges may avoid chairside capture and then enter both high-volume dental aspirators and plumbing outlets. Residues may accumulate and adhere in inaccessible locations, namely along horizontal lengths and at low points in outlet pipes, as well as at turns, constrictions and corrugations. Residues may also move downstream. Moreover, to treat odour and biofilm, to dissolve waste and to lower microbial counts, dentists use detergents and disinfectants such as ammoniates, hypochlorites, chlorides, bromides and iodiophors in chairside plumbing. Given appropriate circumstances, these agents may release either mercury or mercurial derivatives from amalgam. Furthermore, amalgam in contact with another metal is amenable to corrosion, galvanic action and electrolysis. All may affect wastewater infrastructure and may enhance either mercury or mercurial derivative release from amalgam.

Separators: An International Standard The World Health Organization (WHO) has been officially monitoring and reporting on mercury and the environment since the 1980s. National dental organisations were generally comfortable with these early reports. However, by 1990, most countries in the Western world had either legislated or regulated controls on mercurial levels in industrial waste. Several nations within the European Union had included dental practices within these controls. In 1992, a special issue of Advances in Dental


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wastewater Research presented researchers’ views and findings expressed at the National Institute of Health Technology Assessment Conference on Effects and Side-effects of Dental Restorative Materials (ArenholtBindslev, 1992). This conference appears to be the genesis of formal international concerns regarding the environmental effects associated with dentists removing and inserting amalgam. While several European nations had previously set compliance standards for separators, in 1999 the International Standard Organization set Standard 111 43. It warrants a minimum (mass fraction) retrieval of 9.5mg from 10gm of amalgam particles suspended in a one-litre solution of water containing sodium pyrophosphate as a dispersant to minimise the formation of air bubbles. Particle size distributions measured by largest dimension must be: 60% mass fraction equal to or less than 3.15mm and greater than 0.5mm; 10% mass fraction equal to or less than 0.5mm and greater than 0.1mm; 30% mass fraction equal to or less than 0.1mm. A minimum 95% retention has to be achieved when the litre of suspension is passed once, at a uniform rate spanning 2 minutes, through the separator. The calculation of efficiency is executed three times at empty (0% of fill) and peak (70% of fill) level. Compliant separators operate on either one or more of the following principles: gravitational sedimentation; filtration with networks, membranes, slats and granules; and water-driven centrifugation. Some later models incorporate an ion exchange system. The first formal evidence for separators also appeared in the Australian dental literature in 1999. In February, a Working Party from Australia’s peak health advisory body, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), published “an informed position statement on the health effects of dental amalgam and mercury in dentistry” (NHMRC Working Party, 1999). It commented peripherally on the NHMRC’s guidelines for disposal of amalgam. By December, The Australian Dental Journal had published the NHMRC Working Party Chairperson Professor John Spencer’s “Dental Amalgam and Mercury in Dentistry” and Chin et al.’s “The Environmental Effects of Dental Amalgam” (Spencer, 1999). At this time, as detailed hereafter, there were operational issues and reservations regarding separators. Nonetheless, both Spencer and Chin et al. provided evidence that endorsed the need for separators in dental surgeries across Australia.

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Dental amalgam has been used for well over half-a-century.

Dentists’ Use of Amalgam Contention regarding amalgam has persisted within and outside the dental profession for over a century. Amalgam does not fit the profile for an ideal restoration: no material does. In the 1980s, a number of investigators authoritatively confirmed that amalgam contributed to the mercury burden of dentists and patients. These and associated discoveries reinvigorated European and North American dental research into both mercury and amalgam. These investigations focused not only on the influence of amalgam-derived mercury and derivatives in human physiology and pathology, but also on general environmental concerns. This background fuelled public debate about the safety of amalgam, which evolved into manufacturers’ promotion of and patients’ demand for alternative restorative materials. Social and political sensitivities regarding amalgam were growing. In contrast to European and North American trends in research, Australian investigations into amalgam declined after the 1980s. There are several explanations. Throughout the 1990s, highly acclaimed Australian research focused on promising non-amalgam materials, such as composite resins and glass ionomers. These cannibalised interest and competitive bids for sparse funding of dental research. Moreover, significant evidence confirms that amalgam was being phased out of dental practice. For example, in Australia between 1983 and 1997, the placement of amalgam fillings nearly halved. In 1997– 1998, Australian dentists used amalgam in only 28% of restorations (NHMRC Working Party). In 2002, another Australian study involving 560 dentists reported that 59% of participants had decreased their use

of amalgam over the preceding five years. This decline in amalgam use reflected patient demand for aesthetic restorations, the widespread acceptance of adhesive (non-amalgam) dentistry, changing patterns of dental caries in the community and paradigm shifts in both caries diagnosis and management. Public opinion regarding mercury in amalgam was another factor that influenced dentist-patient selection of the restorative material. In 1995, a widely circulated Australian study, involving 5,101 subjects, confirmed that 37.5% of dentate respondents were concerned about mercury in fillings (Spencer, 1999). Explanations involve conjecture but anecdotal evidence suggests: perennial post-1875 warnings about dentists’ “poisoning of thousands of people all over the world”; the aforementioned physical and chemical properties of mercury; escalating environmental awareness and concerns about anthropogenic pollution; mass poisonings, such as the consumption of fish and shellfish contaminated from perennial discharge of industrial waste into Minamata Bay (Japan); and even Lewis Carroll’s dyskinetic character “The Mad Hatter”. For whatever reason, in significant sections of the community, amalgam has a public image problem. Again evidence is anecdotal, but throughout the 1990s many dentists in Australia believed that amalgam was on the cusp of extinction. Despite a plethora of research into alternative materials, in 2012 the dental profession still needs amalgam. It remains “the most widely used and widely taught direct restorative material for load-bearing posterior restorations”. Echoing endorsements from many dental organisations and

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wastewater health authorities across the globe, the national representative body for dentists in Australia, the Australian Dental Association Inc (ADA Inc), recently labelled amalgam as a “necessary” option and “the restorative material of choice in many situations” (ADA Inc, 2011). The realities are: amalgam is not only one of the most common replacements for biological tissue in the human body, but also one of the most extensively researched; scientific and health authorities continue to endorse the safety of amalgam; dentists prescribe amalgam in clinical situations, particularly those involving low socioeconomic patients, because they have to; and its removal from the market will pose problems for the delivery of dental services in many nations. There is another inescapable conundrum. While the population load of amalgam is unknown, dentists will remove it from teeth for decades. Clearly, if dentists want to continue to either use amalgam or remove it from teeth, associated mercurial problems in wastewater have to be addressed.

International Developments By 2000, both overseas and in Australia, anthropogenic sources of mercury had attracted mounting government and regulatory body attention. Mercury was on the European Union’s Dangerous Substances Directive, the US Government’s List of Hazardous Substances, the UK Department of Environment’s Red List (of dangerous substances) and the WHO List of Industrial Pollutants. Reports almost invariably cited dental surgeries as significant contributors to the mercurial burden in wastewater. In the new millennium, three streams of investigation emerged in the dental literature. They focused on: dentists’ contributions to mercurial component of wastewater; need for and efficiency of separators; and institutional responses. At an international level, dental organisations began to openly acknowledge the environmental footprint of amalgam. North American evidence dominated analyses of dentists’ contributions to the mercurial component of wastewater. Canadian researchers estimated that Ontario dentists removed 1,880.32kg of amalgam (940.16 kg of mercury) throughout 2002. Compensating for dentists’ use of amalgam particle separators, researchers estimated that 861.78kg of amalgam (430.89kg of mercury or 170.72mg per dentist daily) was released throughout 2002. The use of amalgam separators by all dentists could reduce the quantity of amalgam

(and mercury) entering wastewater to an estimated 12.41kg (6.21kg of mercury, or 2.46mg per dentist per day). Two earlier studies, with a number of acknowledged limitations, estimated that dentists collectively discharged 686kg and 781kg mercury per annum into wastewater. In California, where some sewage sludge was being incinerated, the annual discharge of mercury, in the form of amalgam from dental facilities, to publicly operated treatment works was estimated at approximately one ton. These statistics not only fuelled concerns regarding collection and management of amalgam waste, but also provided further impetus for solutions. The conclusions were obvious: separators dramatically reduced amalgam and mercury loading in wastewater. Efforts to quantify the transfer of dental practices’ mercurial loads to wastewater were not without problems. Many poorly defined variables and confounding factors permeated researchers’ methods. For example, the aforesaid influences on pre-1999 separator efficiency influenced mercurial load to outlets. Additionally, some estimates were extrapolations from monitoring of waste in selected practices. Researchers almost invariably investigated small numbers of clinics. Few investigations were blind. Other analyses used models based on purchase statistics of amalgam and generic estimations of waste production. These projections ignored other important variables: the size, type and design of the bur used in amalgam removal, the presence of a spittoon and the work habits of the dentist. Each dentist has a characteristic profile in terms of treatment provided and waste generated. All these variables influence particulate size and efficiency of chairside capture. Another investigation measured urinary and faecal mercurial levels from dentate patients with amalgam restorations and estimated the community contribution to mercurial sewerage loads from this source. The extrapolation ignores the surface area, location, type and age of the restoration: all vary from patient to patient. Nonetheless, while many of the above studies were pilot investigations, and while investigators acknowledged limitations in their methods, the emerging trend in evidence was convincing. Dental surgeries significantly contributed to mercurial burden in wastewater. Some national dental organisations sought solutions. Concurrent research into separators exposed operational issues. Standard 111 43 was subject to patent rights and international ratification

by 75% of the members of the worldwide federation of national standard bodies. The standard did not enunciate a specification for measuring the mercury content of effluent water and ignored the mercury content of influent water. Moreover the tiniest particles, which are most likely to avoid harvest in separators involving high levels of fill, have a high surface area to volume ratio. Consequently, they are amenable to accelerated degradation in downstream infrastructure. Installing a separator did not mean automatic compliance with mercurial controls in wastewater legislation. The paucity of authoritative dental research in the clinical setting and “wide disparity in amalgam removal efficiency in the same amalgam separator system” further hampered authoritative responses from national dental organisations. By 2002, and notwithstanding a dearth of independent scrutiny of manufacturers’ claims, 12 separators had appeared on the US market. All exceeded the ISO 111 43 requirement of 95% amalgam removal efficiency. However, this laboratorybased trial found significant statistical differences in the efficiencies of the separators. Total mercury concentration and total dissolved mercury concentration in the effluent varied widely for each amalgam separator. The researchers concluded: “Additional research is needed to develop test methods to evaluate the efficiency of amalgam separators in removing small amalgam particles, colloidal amalgam particles and ionic mercury in solution.” However, even with all the inherent problems in research method, several findings were clear. Separators worked. Moreover, controlling mercurial waste at chairside was practical and far preferable to attempts at downstream containment. International scrutiny of all generations of anthropogenic mercury escalated rapidly in the first decade of the new millennium. In November 2003, the Government of Sweden commissioned the Swedish Chemicals Inspectorate to investigate the feasibility of a ban on the handling, import and export of mercury. Within two years, the WHO had published Elemental Mercury and Inorganic Mercury Compounds: Human Health Aspects and the associated policy paper Mercury in Health Care. The latter cites mercury in amalgam as “the greatest source of mercury vapour in non-industrialized settings” (Department of Protection of the Human Environment, 2005). It also alludes to 7.41 tonnes of mercury from dental amalgam discharged into sewers in the United Kingdom.


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Expectoration into dental spittoons can transfer solids to wastewater and sewerage. In 2007, the WHO’s Exposure to Mercury: A Major Public Health Concern advocated national monitoring and assessments of mercurial use, the promotion of alternatives to mercury and its elimination where possible (WHO 2007). The WHO also recommended a global approach to disposal and development of clean-up strategies. Official international concerns about mercurial penetration of the environment came to a head in February 2009. The Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) agreed on a need to develop a legal instrument to internationally manage mercury. The UNEP Global Mercury Partnership proposal embraces over 140 national governments and activities that range from gold mining and coal combustion to dentistry. The global management of anthropogenic mercury is currently being prescribed. A treaty is due for submission to the Governing Council at the Global Ministerial Environment Forum in 2013. Further legislative intervention, both internationally and in Australia, is inevitable.

Australian Developments The relationships between commonwealth and state constitutional powers mean that a network of authorities administer the water industry in Australia. It involves three tiers of government, environmental protection and waste management agencies, private corporations and water boards. Also reflecting the constitutional divisions in health administration, dental associations in Australia are largely autonomous state-based organisations that intermittently campaign under the umbrella of one national body, the ADA Inc. Against a post-2000 backdrop of

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tightening ad hoc trade waste legislations across Australia, state dental associations realised that, if the retention of amalgam was to be an option, they would have to negotiate at national level. The enormity and serious nature of emerging mercurial problems added momentum for a national approach. Impediments to negotiations appeared early in the new millennium: the presence of many administrators and decision makers; the inadequate transport and recycling infrastructure across Australia for the management of amalgam waste; and fears of reflex regulatory responses based on either state government or local authority parochialisms. Of course, like many businesses in Australia, dentists faced these developments at a time when the cost of compliance with many regulations was escalating rapidly. The presence of limited, if any, authoritative Australian data about dental surgeries’ contribution to mercurial load to wastewater was another problem. However, circa 2002, there was an unusual development for dental politics in Australia. Following backflow prevention discussions with the Plumbing Commission, water industry representatives and the Environmental Protection Agency, a fortuitous window of opportunity opened up in Victoria. The Australian Dental Association Victorian Branch (ADAVB) began negotiations with the maze of authorities that included representatives from the state government, the EPA and water industry. The ADA Inc and other state dental associations discreetly observed developments. Data from Australia relating to chairside capture of amalgam waste was inadequate. In 2006, the Australian

Industry Group, the ADAVB and South East Water engaged the engineering and consultancy agency URS Australia to investigate waste management practices for amalgam and Victorian dental surgeries’ contributions to mercurial loads in sewers (Ash, undated). One key motivator was the mercurial contents of biosolids, which were at and above “EPA Victoria’s biosolid land application and geotechnical fill guidelines.” Methodology involved literature review and recovery of amalgam waste from six private practice surgeries. Australia’s only EPA licensed recycler of mercurial waste, CMA Ecocycle, provided distillation technologies to execute mercurial analyses. The study aimed to assess amalgam waste generation, its contribution to mercurial load in sewerage systems and the effect of installation of ISO 111 43 compliant amalgam separators. The investigation estimated a per annum discharge of 210 kilograms of mercury from dental surgeries, with 80% deposited in Melbourne’s sewers. Another cooperative effort accompanied the URS Australia investigations: a survey of ADAVB members’ practices regarding amalgam harvest, storage and disposal. These projects, costed at $80,000, were funded by the Australian Industry Group through EPA Victoria ($35,000), South East Water ($40,000) and the ADAVB ($5,000). The Victorian-based waste management company, Sweeney Todd, resolved transport issues. Within 12 months, the ADA Inc had recommended separators in its Practical Guides and, more importantly, its Policy Statement 5.15. CMA Ecocycle became more involved. It introduced the trade waste approved and EPA licensed Amalgam Separator EC0AS04. It is compliant with Standard 111 43 and has 99.5% efficiency, no moving parts, no electronics and no power. Furthermore, it requires no maintenance from the dental auxiliary. The sealed unit is installed, intermittently collected and immediately replaced. The collected unit is forwarded for recycling, cleaning and eventual return. Throughout these negotiations and developments, the ADAVB remained committed to self-regulation. The ADAVB suggested an incentive scheme that led to a memorandum of understanding that evolved into another partnership program. In 2008, Victoria’s Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Gavin Jennings, launched a three-year million-dollar project, Dentists for Cleaner Water, a water industry alliance between the Australian Industry Group, ADAVB and EPA Vic in partnership with water retailers. The former President of the Australian Dental Industry Association, Mr

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wastewater Ian Crawford, who was familiar with dental equipment and trusted both within the profession and dental equipment industry, was engaged to liaise between parties. For the first two years, a subsidy of the either $1000 or 20% of purchase and installation costs (if exceeding $5,000) for compliant separators was paid. In the final year, the rebate fell to $500 or 10%. The projected costs for purchase and installation across Victoria ranged from $5 to $10 million. In late 2010, over 550 dental surgeries had installed ISO 111 43-compliant separators. In March 2011, 902 practices were committed to separators. South East Water published a CMA Ecocycle estimate that from July 2009 to September 2011 more than 328 kgm of mercury was harvested from amalgam waste. Further statistics are imminent.

Conclusion Given the wisdom of hindsight, problems with the historic management of mercurial waste from dental practices are identified. They relate to isolated silos of research that required multidisciplinary and crossdisciplinary investigation. The chameleonlike nature of mercury is confirmed. Within the oral environment, amalgam provides little bioavailable mercury:

the same is not true in wastewater. In bygone eras, dentists, like many in society, did not fully understand the mobility and invasiveness of water. These misconceptions have disappeared. Moreover, until comparatively recent times, Australia did not have the recycling infrastructure to resolve amalgam-related issues. The Victorian exercise also confirms that networking, consultation and self-regulation can work. In this regard, Crawford was a pivotal appointment. This pilot project carries ramifications for all dental practices across Australia.

Disclaimer The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.

References ADA Inc, 2011: Dental Amalgam a Necessary and Environmentally Responsible Option, National Dental Update, September: 1. Arenholt-Bindslev D, 1992: Dental Amalgam – Environmental Aspects, Advances in Dental Research, 6(1), pp 125–130. Ash R, undated: Reducing Amalgam Waste & Mercury loads to Sewers from Victorian

The Author Dr Harry Akers (email: au) is currently employed by Queensland Health as a Senior Dental Officer at the Brisbane Dental Hospital, Turbot St, Brisbane. He is a former Senior Lecturer in Clinical Dentistry at the University of Queensland School of Dentistry. He has many post-graduate qualifications, including a PhD thesis: Water Fluoridation in Queensland 1930 to 2008: A Critical Analysis. He classifies himself as a dental historian with a penchant for the behavioural and political sciences.

Dental Surgeries, URS Australia, Melbourne, downloaded from uploadedFiles/Amalgam (accessed 2 January 2012). Department of Protection of the Human Environment, 2005: Mercury in Health Care, WHO, Geneva: 1–2. NHMRC Working Party, 1999: Dental Amalgam and Mercury in Dentistry, NHMRC, Canberra: 13, 9. Spencer AJ, 1999: Dental Amalgam and Mercury in Dentistry, Australian Dental Journal, 45(4) pp 224–234. WHO, 2007: ‘Exposure to Mercury: A Major Public Health Concern’, WHO, Geneva: 1–4.


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The second product will be the new Aerzen Turbo range of blowers. Aerzen has combined the revolutionary design aspects of a leading Korean Turbo design with innovative German engineering to produce a range of Turbo Blower units that will quickly become sought after. The Aerzen Turbo unit has a proprietary design, permanent magnet motor and variable speed controller combination to provide greatly improved efficiencies for water and wastewater treatment applications. The airfoil bearings and cast stainless steel impellor are additional design features that optimise the equipment design. Turbo units are fast becoming the preferred equipment for some high-flow, energy-conscious users, and the Aerzen Turbo units will certainly meet many of the process requirements. Aerzen is the only equipment manufacturer that can offer the four leading technologies for water and wastewater treatment applications.

Whether it is the traditional rotary piston blowers with large turn-downs and robust design or the 100% oil-free screw compressor packages for those higher pressure applications, the new Delta Hybrid or Turbo units will allow for an unbiased assessment of the process requirements, and a proposal of the best technology to meet these requirements. Come and see the latest blower, turbo and hybrid machines at the Aerzen Australia stand at Ozwater’12.

PROGRESS OF THE VICTORIAN DESALINATION PROJECT In the 30 months since construction began on the Victorian Desalination Project – one of the largest infrastructure projects undertaken in Australia in recent years – a great deal has been achieved; from an empty paddock in September 2009 to April 2012 when the complex construction project – which, in effect, comprises five different projects and multiple work sites – is now on the home stretch. The project was originally commissioned to tight deadlines. Ironically, Victoria has experienced adverse weather conditions, including significant rainfall, since construction began. While progress has been delayed as a result (although the plant will still be at full production by the end of 2012), the urgency for the desalination plant to complement Melbourne’s water supplies following 12 years of drought has been reduced. Engineering and construction achievements to date have been significant: more than 15 million man-hours have been worked, with no serious injury; and four out of the five project areas have now been completed by our construction contractor, Thiess Degrémont Joint Venture. Construction of the two underground tunnels, measuring 1.2km and 1.5km long and 4.6 metres in diameter, and of associated marine works was finished in 2011, ahead of schedule. Commissioning of the marine structures and tunnels has commenced and the tunnels were successfully filled with seawater in February this year.

The 84km, 1.9m-diameter transfer pipeline that will provide water to communities throughout Melbourne, South Gippsland and Westernport as required is also complete. Hydrotesting of the pipeline was finished just before Christmas 2011 and the pipeline is now ready to receive and transport drinking water supplies from the desalination plant. Another recent major achievement is the completion of the 87km underground power cable. Building and energising the longest 220kV HVAC underground power cable of its type in the world to the satisfaction of stakeholders and safety regulators is no mean feat. The work was successfully completed in March 2012, and power from Melbourne’s grid is now hooked up to the site’s two 22kV transformers. The plant’s 29 buildings will progressively be energised over the coming months. With construction nearing completion, the complex task of commissioning, which involves more than 200,000 tests, is now underway. The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) recently issued approval for the commissioning activities under Section 30A of the Environment Protection Act 1970. As these tests are completed, more and more parts of the plant will be brought online. At the heart of the plant, the Reverse Osmosis (RO) building, where filtered seawater is pushed through 55,000 membranes to separate salt from water, a team of more than 30 commissioning engineers, including some of the world’s best specialists, are putting the thousands of pieces of equipment and control systems through an extensive series of tests and checks. Feedback from visiting experts has confirmed that the equipment procured and installed is of a very high quality. Back outdoors, the largest green roof in the southern hemisphere, covering more than 26,000m2, has been planted out with around 100,000 indigenous plants, blending the building into the surrounding natural landscape, a key feature of the design and which, along with the size of the plant, distinguishes it from all other desalination projects in Australia. There are a number of other significant milestones on the horizon, including the completion of the Sea Water Lift Pump station in April, and the first pumping of seawater into the plant around May to mark the start of the process commissioning. Within months, Melburnians will have access to a reliable, high-quality, rainfallindependent water source.


APRIL 2012 149

CHALLENGER VALVES AND ACTUATORS “the right choice for valves and actuation”

new products & services HIDDEN HYDRAULICS IMPROVE FLOOD MANAGEMENT OPTIONS An increase in the availability of real-time flood data within the water industry is generating opportunities for the improvement of water control infrastructure. Information involving where water goes and how it gets there is no longer theoretical. Flood mitigation solutions include diversions and isolation of waterways. Australia’s largest designer and manufacturer of water control infrastructure, AWMA, is well positioned to offer proven solutions to manage high flows within natural and manmade environments. Many water control structures are installed Australia-wide within dedicated flood management structures as well as natural waterways that are subject to flooding. During flood events, water overtopping control gates can cause significant damage to both gate and actuation Typical debris loads from flooding. infrastructure. To eliminate the issues associated with flood damage, AWMA has developed a range of gates with ‘hidden’ hydraulic actuation. The submersible actuation system allows for manual or remote gate movement without the need to supply power directly to the gate. It also eliminates any requirement for headstock structures above the gate that could obstruct flood water, collect debris and be damaged during flood events. The innovative hydraulic solution can usually be installed or retrofitted without the need for expensive civil modification. The hydraulic actuation system is manufactured from Grade 316 stainless steel, has triple seals and, when installed correctly, is effectively maintenance-free for the life of the gate. The hydraulic actuation option can be designed for mains power, solar power, manual actuation and SCADA connectivity. Capital expenditure for AWMA hydraulic actuation systems is comparable to traditional actuation arrangements, with the benefit of reducing the risk of infrastructure damage during flood events. For further information please contact Michael Arthur, at AWMA on 1800 664 852 or visit


Authorised representatives www.challenger

150 APRIL 2012 water

The Romans used concrete to build their empire because of its strength, versatility and durability, and for its ability to retain water. The same reasons apply today and concrete is one of the most widely used construction materials, particularly in the water and wastewater industry. Reinforcing concrete with steel creates a composite material with high compressive and tensile strength. However, steel is vulnerable to corrosion attack from the surrounding environment, which can reduce the overall strength and integrity of the structure. Issues experienced in the water and wastewater industry In the wastewater

Soft water attack exposing the aggregates of the concrete column.

water business

new products & services industry, Hydrogen Sulphide gas (H2S) is produced, leading to the formation of sulphuric acid (H2SO4). The acidic water can lead to severe degradation of the structure, potentially resulting in the exposure of supporting steel re-bar, prone to corrosion in the absence of concrete cover. This problem is most commonly experienced in enclosed environments such as anaerobic digestion tanks, sewer linings and manholes. It is hard to believe that similar deterioration is seen in the clean water industry – not because of corrosive H2S, but due to soft water, which is very pure. It is known to eat away at the cement within the concrete because it tries to strip away the minerals that are absent from the water. Over time, without protection, all concrete structures deteriorate to the point where the structures and the owner are faced with the loss of a valuable asset or contamination of the surrounding area. The cost and time implications of unplanned remediation are severe, and often in the water and wastewater industry this is not possible as some areas cannot be shut down for extended periods of time. A more effective solution is to embed a maintenance ritual into the plant’s existing schedule to include any necessary remediation of the structure prior to treating the asset with a highly waterproof, protective coating. The use of protective coatings not only reinstates the water-retaining characteristics but also increases the longevity of the concrete structure, thus increasing the return on the initial investment. Protective coatings International Paint has introduced the Intercrete® product range, a compact group of products used for concrete repair. They are Portland cement

Intercrete 4801 may be applied to fill large defects before using Intercrete 4840 to provide lasting protection.

Chemical attack on concrete. based and show excellent compatibility by chemically reacting with the concrete substrate to become ‘one’. These repair mortars and protective coatings can be used in a maintenance context to significantly extend the service life of an existing asset, or at the construction phase to provide long lasting concrete protection, minimising future maintenance. For the wastewater sector The use of Intercrete 4840 significantly enhances the durability of the concrete in an acidic environment. It is a technologically advanced epoxy and polymer modified cementitious coating with enhanced chemical resistance as well as impact and abrasion resistance. Test reports demonstrate that Intercrete 4840 shows good chemical resistance to H2SO4 even at 20% concentration. The key benefits of the product is that it is easy to install, no substrate primer is required and it can be applied on damp concrete, making it an economic and practical solution to speed up the remediation process. For cases where steel reinforcement bars are exposed, 2 x 1mm coats of Intercrete 4871 may be brushed over to rapidly reinstate the passivating layer providing long term corrosion protection. A repair mortar such as

For the clean water sector For protection against soft water attack, Intercrete 4841 is designed for the water industry. It demonstrates no detrimental effect on the quality of drinking water and is commonly used internally on water towers, tanks and reservoirs. For leaking joints, cracks and areas where movement is expected, International Paint offers a range of solutions including Intercrete 4872, a crack bridging flexible tape, and Intercrete 4842, a modified polymer-rich flexible cementitious coating to ensure all your protection requirements are met. Additional features The Intercrete product range is waterborne, limiting H&S issues commonly encountered when performing maintenance in confined spaces. The Intercrete range is a compact selection of highly engineered products that can be applied rapidly and effectively in damp conditions with short drying times, enabling fast return to service. All the products provide cost-effective waterproofing, resisting positive and negative pressure of up to 10 bar. The advantage of having a concise range of highly engineered products is that it simplifies product selection, allowing immediate focus on solving the problem. Intercrete complements our existing range of coatings that have resistance to H2S and AS4020 approval for potable water such as Polibrid® 705E Elastomeric Urethane and Interline® 975. For more information, contact International Paint toll-free in Australia on 131 474, toll-free in New Zealand on 0800 808 807, email pc-australasia@akzonobel. com or visit

There are surprising opportunities when you work in water

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Visit water APRIL 2012 151

new products & services CST WASTEWATER SETS NEW BENCHMARK WITH SMITH & LOVELESS’ 95% GRIT REMOVAL DOWN TO 150 MICRONS Advanced inlet screening and grit removal technologies that set new performance benchmarks for municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plants are being introduced to Australasia by CST Wastewater Solutions. The technologies, which will be on display at Ozwater’12, include the latest Smith & Loveless PISTA® 360™ wastewater grit removal chamber, which extracts an unprecedented 95% of grit as small as 100 microns. “The established standard for grit removal has been 95% removal at 250 microns, so achieving the same removal efficiency at 150 microns (140 mesh) sets an entirely new benchmark,” says Michael Bambridge, Managing Director of CST Wastewater Solutions. In addition to the PISTA chamber, which uses a patented V-Force Baffle™ to increase the effectiveness of the grit removal, CST Wastewater Solutions’ latest technologies include highperformance inlet screening, new vertical screens, lateral membrane pre-screens and clarifiers. All the technologies are engineered to reduce investment, operational and maintenance costs, says Mr Bambridge, whose company’s globally renowned technologies provide new and retrofitted solutions for municipal and industrial applications, backed by over 25 years of hands-on experience. Also on show will be water and wastewater technologies including Dissolved Air Flotation (DAF); clarifiers, tube settlers and thickeners; shaftless conveyors; sludge dewatering; septic receival stations; continuous sand filters; UV disinfection; anaerobic pre-treatment and biogas reuse systems; and packaged sewage systems. “The versatility and efficiency of our clarifier product has been demonstrated in a number of applications undertaken recently in partnership with Smith & Loveless, including an installation on a remote island, where two 11m-diameter

152 APRIL 2012 water

clarifier mechanisms were provided for the upgrade of a sewage plant. Due to its remote location, the clarifiers were supplied in kitset form, including the steel tank, to minimise on-site work and optimise installation. The grit removal and pre-treatment technologies displayed by CST Wastewater Solutions at Ozwater are complemented by the latest pre-engineered Smith & Loveless TITAN MBR (membrane bioreactor) wastewater system for municipal and industrial applications. The innovative TITAN MBR system marries the wastewater treatment engineering expertise of Smith & Loveless with existing submerged membrane technology, says Mr Bambridge. The combination yields a dynamic membrane biological reactor (MBR), a system that provides end-users with highquality treatment performance, minimal operational requirements, and a robust design that will stand the test of time. Plants come in standard and custom designs, and result in smaller footprints than conventional systems. Integral zones can be added to meet particular effluent goals, including nutrient removal, disinfection and post-aeration. Smith & Loveless supplier CST Wastewater Solutions is an Australian company formed more than 20 years ago by Michael Bambridge to introduce specialised wastewater screens to the industrial and municipal wastewater markets. CST has sold many screens in Australia and internationally, particularly into Asia and China.

WORKING TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE WATER FUTURE WITH HOBAS HOBAS is working towards a more sustainable water future for residents in Queensland – the Australia’s famed ‘sunshine state’. Completed in 2010, the ‘Pimpama Waterfuture Master Plan Initiative’ delivered multiple water sources to over 7,000 hectares of new homes located in Pimpama, 50 kilometres south of Brisbane. Installed by micro-tunneling company Rob Carr Pty Ltd, the project entailed construction of deep shafts (using concrete caissons) and manholes, as well as installation of the DN1400 gravity sewer at grades as low as 0.1%.

In an Australian first, 820 metres of DN1400 HOBAS jacking pipe was micro-tunnelled in medium to extremely hard rocky terrain, under areas of environmental sensitivity. The HOBAS jacking pipe was successfully installed in multiple drives of almost 300 metres with loads of under 250 tonnes, crossing under dense bushland and regions of environmental sensitivity to build a gravity sewer as part of the $190 million works.

Over the past 10 years, CST has broadened its ability to service its markets by being able to supply a range of specialised wastewater treatment equipment that is competitively priced and of high quality. CST has an international network of representatives, with sales to Europe, Asia, China, Africa, South America and the US. Among CST’s capabilities are water and wastewater screening; inlet screening, grit removal and dewatering systems; septic receival stations; dissolved air flotation; sedimentation and clarifier systems; shaftless conveyors; sludge dewatering; lime handling; continuous sand filters; microfilters; UV disinfection; anaerobic treatment and biogas reuse; and packaged wastewater treatment systems.

HOBAS Jacking Pipe was the obvious first choice due to its low-risk properties. The ground conditions of hard, broken rock had proven to be very problematic for a nearby project that was jacking clay pipes. HOBAS was chosen because of its performance and successful jacking track record in similar varying and challenging ground conditions.

For further information, please contact Michael Bambridge, phone 61 2 9417 3611; fax: 61 2 9417 0097; email: or visit:

The project has delivered a new and improved wastewater management system that will stand the test of time thanks to the 100+ asset life of HOBAS jacking pipe.

The decision to choose HOBAS was also made easy thanks to its superior trenchless installation abilities and low impact on the environment. Due to the environmental sensitivity of the creek and surrounding flora and fauna, installing contractor, Rob Carr was keen to minimise the carbon footprint of the project.

water business

new products & services HOBAS Achieves Australian First With Pipe-In-Pipe Relining

ITS has recently entered into an exclusive long-term relationship with the M3 Group (the technology owners) to develop the Tunneline system throughout Australia. The first contract to be completed using this technology for VicRoads has given the asset a new 100-year lease of life and has eliminated the risk to Australia’s most prominent highway from potential damage, had the culvert not been repaired.

HOBAS has also played an integral role in a $130 million sewer upgrade at Bulimba and Oxley Creek in Queensland, providing a pipe-in-pipe relining application to rehabilitate the ageing concrete assets. With the original concrete pipes debilitated and eroded due to years of gas attack, HOBAS was chosen for its structural integrity, corrosive-resistant properties and 100+ year life expectancy. 1360m of HOBAS pipe was installed to reline the Oxley Creek sewer system, while 1280m was used to reline the Bulimba network. Andy Holman, managing director of Global Pipe and Australia’s exclusive HOBAS supplier, said the use of the technologically superior HOBAS GRP pipe would help improve the capacity of the current wastewater system and better support the waterways in times of flooding or high water. “Not only did this project achieve an Australian first for HOBAS by implementing HOBAS pipe-in-pipe relining for the very first time on Australian shores, it has also created an improved

and fully-sealed sewer system with a greater hydraulic capacity,” he says. HOBAS is preferred internationally due to its high corrosion resistance and 100-plus year life design.

CONCRETE LINING OF CORRUGATED STEEL CULVERT UNDER HUME HIGHWAY ITS Trenchless has identified an innovative, patent-protected structural concrete lining system for renovating deteriorating and ageing man-entry pipelines, culverts and tunnels for water/wastewater, road and rail applications. Developed in and widely used throughout the UK, the award-winning Tunneline system is a simple in situ concrete lining technique utilising lightweight manhole accessible formwork and highstrength pressure injected concrete.

The system combines high-strength concrete with steel reinforcement and specialist pumping technology, together with an innovative bespoke formwork system. This results in the ability to install a pressure-placed compacted reinforced in situ concrete lining that

Existing invert erosion.

the odour management experts

Providing odour control products and services to Australia for over 20 years, including:

Consultation and expert advice on odour issues Evaluation and reporting on (sewer) odours Custom design of odour control systems Supply and installation of activated carbon systems Supply and installation of packaged and open biofilters Supply and installation of chemical dosing systems Supply and installation of odour neutralising spray systems Supply of McBerns vent filters and well washers Industry partners:

Solve your odour problems ... call the experts today! PO Box 179 Islington NSW 2296

154 APRIL 2012 water

P 02 4907 8200 F 02 4969 4218

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U-50 Series Multi-parameter Water Quality Meters Experience the durability and performance of an instrument that exceeds your expectations in the field testing of ground water and surface water applications. Intuitive software assures ease of use and operation efficiency.

Measure and Display up to

11 Items


Control Unit Features: Easy to read LCD Display One-hand operation ■ On-screen icon displays battery power and GPS, USB and probe unit connectivity ■ Quick-connect connector (cable to control unit) ■ Shock resistant cover ■ Backlight display ■ ■

Rugged Outdoor Design

Operating instructions

Sensor Probe Unit Features: Ultra-sensitive turbidity sensor Minimum dissolved oxygen sensor maintenance with screw-on type membrane cap ■ Chemical resistant materials of construction ■ Optional ToupH pH electrode that is difficult to break ■ Field replaceable sensors ■ ■

pH • ORP • Conductivity • Turbidity • Dissolved Oxygen • Temperature • Salinity • TDS • Depth • GPS • S.G. Australian Distributor

Australian Scientific Pty Ltd PO Box 335 Kotara, NSW 2289

Tel: 1800 021 083 Fax: 02 4956 2525


new products & services that provided full structural support in a new 2.0m diameter culvert that was installed within the existing host culvert. ITS Trenchless installed the lining in 10 days. Using this technology is a first for ITS Trenchless, a first for VicRoads and the first successful installation of this technology in Australia.

The completed lining. can be designed to act as a stand-alone or composite liner in accordance with relevant Australian Standards. Tunneline is a one-pass operation and requires little or no pre-works to stabilise the existing host condition. It is able to line all existing profiles and will also accommodate both vertical and horizontal bends, as well as size and shape transitions within the existing hosts. It can be used to line all known culvert material types. One of the specific benefits that Tunneline offers is the use of highstrength concrete and reinforcing steel to achieve a structure that meets Road and Rail design standards. In larger diameter applications, having the option to choose a fully structural, rigid solution is an attractive proposition. The VicRoads project involved the rehabilitation of an existing 2300mm id multi-plate corrugated steel culvert, 100m long, under the Hume Highway at Broadford in Victoria. The existing culvert had severe corrosion in the invert and its close proximity to an adjacent access culvert was giving rise for concern. Tunneline technical specialists, working with ITS Trenchless, developed a design

• Full structural design to Australian Codes and Standards;

• Reduced carbon footprint from less site traffic; • Significant time savings from one-pass operation. Project Highlights: • Utilisation of a new technology into the Australian market; • Designed to meet Australian Codes and Standards; • Self-supporting structure;

• Formwork design and manufacture;

• No LTIs or incidents;

• Concrete mix design and testing;

• No complaints;

• Reinforcement scope and design;

• 100-year design life guarantee.

• Installation of the concrete lining;


• Formation of inlet and outlet structures; • Hand-over and commissioning. The site works commenced on February 13, 2012 and handover was achieved on February 28, 2012. Placing of the concrete took only 10 days, despite severe flood disruption. The use of the Tunneline system technology has resulted in substantial cost and time savings over conventional lining operations, with no impact to the operation of the highway. Other key advantages are: • No advance repairs required to the existing host structure;

Corrosion is recognised as one of the most serious and costly problems to control and eliminate. Estimates on the cost of corrosion worldwide indicate a dollar figure in excess of AU$2.2 trillion, including AU$13 billion in Australia and AU$246 billion in the US. Wherever metal, concrete, timber or fibreglass come in contact with water, whether fresh or salty, deterioration and corrosion eventually becomes a troublesome issue. Once it gets hold it’s hard to stop. What if there was a product that could change all that? Rust Bullet® can do just that: stop

PIPE JOINING SOLUTIONS STRAUBTM PIPE COUPLINGS only have a maximum of three bolts, so installation is easy and quick. A couple of bolts and a bloke with a torque wrench, versus 16 bolts? YOU do the maths… STRAUBTM PIPE COUPLINGS are also the solution for angular deflection, axial misalignment, and gaps between pipe ends. They can also be used with differing pipe materials, require no pipe-end preparation, and are reusable. Think how easy that makes removal for inspection, maintenance or repairs. STRAUBTM PIPE COUPLINGS. Where space is confined. And for where it isn’t.

N EW !

For more info about StraubTM products and how they can help you save time, money and hassle, call (+61) 3 9728 3973 or visit for a video demo or a quote.


Bet you wish you were paying 19th century wages…

The project scope included:

• Excellent coefficient of friction, resulting in improved flow capability;


Still using 19th Century technology?

Project Profile: The project involved the rehabilitation of a 100m-long 2300mm id Corrugated Steel Plate culvert. ITS Trenchless deployed the unique Tunneline technology to install a fully structural in situ concrete lining inside the host pipe to deliver a final diameter of 2,000mm.

• The concrete is protected from flow, even if the sewer or culvert floods, and will not be affected during placement or during the set;

156 APRIL 2012 water

Think pipe couplings – Think KCES

Coupling YOU to SUCCESS

water business

The Victorian Desalination Project is one of the most complex construction projects to have been undertaken in Australia in recent years. The project was originally contracted to tight deadlines – 27 months years from financial close to 150GL of water being produced and 33 months to completion of commissioning. Significant rainfall has fallen on Victoria since construction began. While progress in some areas has been delayed as a result (although the plant will be at full production by the end of 2012), the urgency for the desalination plant to top up Melbourne’s water supplies following 12 years of drought has been reduced. In just over two years significant engineering and construction feats have been achieved. As at April 2012 four of the five project areas are complete. By the end of 2012 the stateof-the-art facility will be at full production and Melburnians will have access to a reliable, high quality, rainfall independent water source.





More than 15 million man hours worked to date. No significant injury.

Intake tunnel

1.2 km intake tunnel complete and filled with seawater – currently undergoing commissioning.

Outlet tunnel

1.5 km outlet tunnel complete and filled with seawater – currently undergoing commissioning.

Transfer pipeline

84 km pipeline completed and hydrotested. Ready to receive and transfer drinking supplies from the desalination plant.

Marine structures

Underwater structures that connect the intake and outlet tunnels to the ocean: complete.

Underground power cable

87 km underground power cable – the longest 220kV HVAC underground power cable in the world – complete and energised.

Plant site energisation

Power from Melbourne’s grid now hooked up to the plant site’s two 22kV transformers.

Plant commissioning

Commissioning process involving team of around 80 specialists, and more than 200,000 tests underway.

Regulatory approvals

EPA approval for commissioning activities under Section 30A of the EPA act obtained.

Sea Water Lift Pump Station

In process of being flooded. Commissioning will start once electricity connected.

Due April 2012

Green roof

The largest green roof in the southern hemisphere, covering more than 26,000 m2, is being planted out with around 100,000 indigenous plants.

Due April 2012

Process commissioning

Start to pump seawater to the plant.

May 2012

ahead of schedule

ahead of schedule

on schedule

ahead of schedule

on schedule

new products & services corrosion and deterioration of almost any surface – and it is now available in Australia. Rust Bullet provides exceptional protection from the damaging effects of extreme weather conditions, waters, UV rays, abrasive objects, harsh chemicals, oils and other destructive elements. The unique patented technology provides a supertough, high-performance, rust-inhibitive, low-maintenance protective coating. This means Rust Bullet’s uses are unlimited, from deteriorating manholes, clarifiers, pump station infrastructure, corroded pipe-work, storage tanks, scaffolding and machinery, to a rusted galvanised roof, degraded concrete floors, or even car, caravan, boat and trailer repairs.

benefits of residential water metering are being further enhanced with the deployment of electronic water meters with automatic reading features. Intelligent water meters open up a whole palette of opportunities for customer services, AMR and data management.

Rust Bullet industrial coating. by the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Federal Aviation Administration, US Dept of Transport, US Coast Guard, Space Lift Range Systems Contract, and US Naval Undersea Warfare Centres. Rust Bullet® Australia has appointed McBerns Pty Ltd as the Australian distributor. Rust Bullet is now available online or by phone and can be shipped anywhere in Australia. For more information visit: or phone (07) 5445 1646.

WATER CRISIS CALLS FOR INTELLIGENT WATER METERING Rust Bullet blackshell coating. Primarily used to kill corrosive rust, its versatility and strength is incredible. It has been scientifically assessed and found to be the best rust-preventive, corrosion-inhibitive, protective coating on the market today. Its unique formulation is strong, flexible and UV resistant; it won’t yellow or chalk. It is self-levelling and will fill holes and cracks up to 3mm depth. Rust Bullet is waterproof, chemical resistant, impact resistant and has good thermal stability. Rust Bullet’s advantage over its competitors is that it is eco-safe, and contains no lead, zinc, chromates or heavy metals. Little or no preparation is required before applying; simply remove all loose surfaces and dirt, then follow the application instructions and the job is done. It can be painted directly over rusted surfaces. Applied to clean new surfaces, it will prolong the surface life providing strong permanent corrosion protection with phenomenal adhesion. Rust Bullet was developed in the US for use in the Aero Space Industry. It is now used extensively throughout the world and has become a world leader in corrosion prevention and treatment. Currently Rust Bullet is used in the US

158 APRIL 2012 water

Extreme weather conditions, pollution, overpopulation... the causes of water stress are numerous and diverse; and the need for conservation of water globally attracts still more political attention. The situation becomes all the more critical as the water supply problem is interwoven with environmental, development and security issues. And the problem cannot be said to be limited to economically undeveloped regions. High living standards seem to entail high water consumption. Given the very different drivers such as water intensive agriculture, urbanisation and tourism, practically no country will be left untouched by the water crisis. Even in less challenged areas in midand Northern Europe, water costs for domestic use are approximating to the level of energy costs. Hence consumer awareness is growing, and people are demanding fair billing and a high degree of professionalism and efficiency from their water supplier. Concurring with rising water prices, correct and fair billing has caught the attention of the customers who demand documented precise metering of this vital commodity. Recognising pricing as an efficient incentive for saving water, measuring water consumption on a household level is required. But the

The newest electronic water meters on the market seek to address all-important aspects concerning global requirements and utilities’ needs for usability, customer servicing and sound economy. Automatic meter reading (AMR) There is a growing need for automatic reading of water meters as a rationalisation of an otherwise expensive and bothersome part of managing a water utility. Besides, AMR brings the water utility in control of the meter reads and conveys a fuller overview of the consumption pattern. Electronic water meters have a variety of capabilities in terms of automatic meter reading, be it integration into a radio mesh network or wireless reading by means of handheld devices. A new and very easy to use wireless meter reading method is a small USB stick, making AMR a usable and economic feature and allowing even small utilities to benefit from it. The use of ultrasonic technology for measuring water consumption stands out with respect to measuring low flow rates. Capturing low flow rates is extremely important in order to match a typical household consumption. The latest electronic water meter on the market, MULT1CAL 21, is designed to resemble a traditional water meter, but contains a microprocessing calculator and an ultrasonic flow sensor in the same hermetically sealed meter case. The meter case is made of composite material (PPS) to shield the essential parts from contact with the water. The absence of mechanical parts in the ultrasonic water meter efficiently prevents wear and tear; the meter can be mounted regardless of the pipe construction, and it is immune to impurities and sediments in the water to which traditional mechanical water meters are sensitive. For more information email: or visit

water business

Infrastructure & Environment Proven exPertise on your side

From wastewater treatment plants, to cooling water pipes, to desalination plants, RPC Technologies has over 30 years of experience. rPC technologies designs, manufactures and installs a comprehensive range of FrP / GrP solutions. our turnkey service offers: • •

odour Control – Biotrickling Filters in partnership with Azzuro odour Control – ducts & Covers

• • •

Marine and offshore Works GrP Liners GrP/Gre Pipes & Fittings

• • •

GrP tanks & vessels site GrP/Gre installation Works dampers & expansion Joints

Your next project matters, so contact RPC to have our proven expertise on your side. Come and see us at Ozwater 2012 | 8-10th May | Stand No. 5A1 For further information call +61 2 9624 9800, or visit

new products & services WIRELESSLY CONTROLLING WATER AND WASTE SYSTEMS Automation and telemetry processes have evolved considerably from a time where dials, gauges, meters and recorders were used to observe automated devices. As far back as the 1960s, automated systems have been put in place to: reduce manpower requirements; decrease costs through the precise control of operations; maintain continuous monitoring and control of processes; initiate malfunction warnings; accurately react to system inconsistencies and observe operations from a central location. Automated processes have long been utilised by the water sector for functions such as turning a pump on and off under preset conditions such as pressure or water level, analysing chlorine residual in plant effluent or operating a complete system from a distant location. Telemetry, the language used by machines when “talking” with each other, was used in conjunction with automated systems to transmit information to a central location far removed from the actual operation. While telemetry systems are still utilised to perform similar functions today, wireless technological advances have transformed the way telemetry is used to remotely control, measure, monitor and transfer data from sites often dispersed

over a wide area or based in difficult to access locations.

Case study: Remote controlled sewer systems South East Water is one of Melbourne’s three providers of water, sewerage, trade waste and water saving services. The Victorian Government-owned water retailer services over a million residential and business customers in an area spanning the South East of Melbourne to South Gippsland. With an increasing number of properties requiring a reliable pumped sewer system in areas where traditional gravity methods are not feasible, South East Water faced the challenge of remotely monitoring and controlling pressure sewer stations located throughout backlog areas in Victoria without access to fixed-line infrastructure. As part of an ongoing commitment to change and improvement, South East Water’s SCADA Manager, Andrew ForsterKnight, approached NetComm Wireless to discuss the deployment of a customised wireless communications solution designed to pass data from the sewer stations back to the SCADA host system over the Internet. Following a thorough screening process, a high-speed HSPA M2M Router was selected to develop wide area networks utilising the flexibility of 3G.


Designed to support remote installation and exposure to harsh environments, NetComm Wireless’ HSPA M2M Routers support pointto-point or point-to-multipoint communications in mountainous terrains, high water table districts, environmentally sensitive regions, high gravity zones and other areas typically serviced by pressure sewers. With the need for constant network surveillance and regulation to ensure a reliable solution for customers, South East Water required a heavy-duty router designed to support multi-level system monitoring for undisrupted communications. “We chose NetComm Wireless as they had the experience and flexibility to tailor their technology to meet our needs now and in the future. We have found the device to be extremely robust in design and operations,” says Andrew ForsterKnight, South East Water. “The device underpins the Touchpoint technology used by South East Water to enable proactive monitoring and predictive control of the pressure sewer networks and related infrastructure. Over time the benefits realised will be huge, thanks to the innovative solution involving NetComm Wireless’ products.”




Which do you want to overcome? • Energy costs (aeration) spiralling out of control? • H₂S creating social and infrastructure problems? • Trouble meeting discharge requirements (BOD, TSS, NH4)? • High sludge volumes increasing transport and handling costs?

EcoCatalysts product line is specifically designed for municipal wastewater treatment and organic trade waste where reducing energy costs, sludge production, odour and corrosion provide a significant economic, environmental and/or social gain.

Make a difference. You deserve the benefits! go to: 160 APRIL 2012 water

Freecall: 1800 207 009

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new products & services While the possibilities are almost endless for industries using wireless Internet connectivity to remotely monitor and manage end-to-end processes, reliable M2M communications can only be achieved using gateway technology that supports undisrupted wireless network access from virtually any location, even in harsh and demanding environments. Selecting an appropriate wireless network access gateway will help to overcome challenges associated with the management of resource-hungry applications. NetComm Wireless’ industrial-grade wireless M2M products use 3G networks to provide cost-effective high performance data communication capabilities for virtually any resource-hungry application. Products are developed to meet the latest requirements of modern telemetry, M2M communication, WAN and legacy serial applications to effectively address a range of SCADA solutions. For more information please visit:

INNOVATION IN WATER TREATMENT Nirosoft’s innovative financing and leasing options are specifically designed to offer small to medium-sized projects a level of flexibility previously only available to large-scale projects. At the forefront of Nirosoft’s distinctly flexible approach are BOOT (Build-OwnOperate-Transfer) packages, which enable treatment systems, service agreements and commercial arrangements to be customised to individual requirements. The advantages of BOOT include faster project delivery, maximum operational efficiency, as well as optimised water quality and quantity. Nirosoft offers its clients complete turnkey solutions – the company designs, constructs, finances, operates and

maintains advanced water and wastewater treatment systems. The company delivers tailor-made water solutions for the mining industry, municipalities, agricultural sector and industrial operations, backed by flexible financing. Nirosoft offers clients the choice of purchasing a system outright, leasing, or selecting a financing option to suit their individual circumstances. Nirosoft’s innovative mediumsize project finance approach transforms the way mid-sized water treatment facilities are built, operated and financed in Australia. Build Under this traditional model, Nirosoft custom designs, builds and installs the equipment purchase. Ongoing support through periodic servicing and maintenance can be provided under a separate contract. BO (Build-Own) Nirosoft’s Build-Own option enables the client to defer capital expenditure. In addition to designing, building and installing the system, Nirosoft also finances the equipment purchase. BOO (Build-Own-Operate) A BuildOwn-Operate agreement reduces the client’s business risk, provides faster delivery and guarantees water quality. Nirosoft can entirely operate and maintain the water treatment system on the client’s behalf. Charges apply per cubic metre of water produced. Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) BOOT preserves the client’s operating capital while Nirosoft finances the project construction, billed monthly in set instalments. Under the BOOT model, charges only apply after water is supplied or wastewater is treated. At the end of the project term (typically five to 20 years), ownership is usually transferred to the

client. The client has the option of taking over the operation of the facility, or choosing Nirosoft to continue this role. Purchase Outright, Lease or Finance Nirosoft offers highly competitive pricing on the outright purchase of water supply and wastewater treatment systems. Alternatively, leasing provides immediate reduction of operating expenses. When availability of capital is limited, a leasing or finance solution enables water treatment needs to be met immediately. There are also practical advantages to leasing equipment. A leasing arrangement can be used to thoroughly evaluate a product, prior to purchasing. It may also enable rapid deployment of a back-up or replacement system in an emergency. Nirosoft Australia is part of the RWL Water Group, a worldwide supplier of water, wastewater treatment systems and waste-to-energy solutions. An international network of sales, service, technical and engineering professionals supports Nirosoft’s expanding Australian operation. Nirosoft has successfully delivered many projects under challenging Australian conditions. For the droughtaffected rural Queensland town of Oakey, Nirosoft produced a reverse osmosis desalination system supplying 2,500m3/ day of potable water.

Know what’s happening in your water every minute of every day DCM Process Control specialises in “real-time” water quality parameter measurement utilising

the s::can range of UV/Vis spectro::lyser’s in both the water and wastewater industries.

Our unique in-situ water characterisation capabilities are ideal for optimisation, event detection, design, water security and plant control processes. The multi-parameter s::can spectro::lyser has NO moving parts, NO reagents or consumables and is fully submersible. Eliminate the guesswork.

Call 1300 735 123 to find out more about our Data Supply Rental Service options Stormwater, Sewer & Trade Waste / Wastewater & Re-Use / Rivers, Reservoirs & Organics / Com::pass feed forward coagulation control

162 APRIL 2012 water

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Monitor and control the performance of your site from virtually anywhere

Instantly respond to leakage, pressure, temperature and pump performance irregularities from any computer, laptop or smart phone using an industrial-strength NetComm Wireless 3G M2M Router. • • • • • • • • • •

Continuous real time monitoring of multi-level systems Observe geographically isolated assets over 3G networks No fixed line ADSL or cable requirements Remotely manage multifaceted infrastructure Accurately react to system inconsistencies Decrease maintenance costs Reduce costly site visits Easily integrated into existing enclosures Advanced security Withstands extreme temperature and environmental conditions

Taking control of remote assets and systems with automatic point-to-point or point-to-multipoint communications over vast distances using the flexibility of 3G is easier than you think. NetComm Wireless’ range of cost-effective 3G M2M Routers are easy to install, meet the latest requirements of modern telemetry and can be customised to meet specific requirements.

email us or phone 02 9424 2070

NetComm Wireless is a leading Australian owned and operated developer of innovative broadband technologies. Since its establishment 30 years ago, NetComm Wireless has engineered networking technologies to support modern telemetry, Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communication, WAN and legacy serial applications for business, enterprise and government.

new products & services


Nirosoft Australia is continuing to expand with the recent addition of a Queensland office. Adding to the company’s capabilities, Aeromix and Eurotec, two of the world’s leading water companies, are now represented by Nirosoft in the Australian marketplace. Implementing an effective water or wastewater system involves several critical stages. The design, manufacture, commission and after sales service of the project must all work seamlessly together. Nirosoft provides onestop water and wastewater treatment solutions, including expert operation and maintenance services tailored to the client’s needs. Following completion of the building stage, delegating the day-to-day operations of the water treatment facility can be a cost-effective alternative. By outsourcing responsibility for the operation of the system, one can reduce the business risk and free up valuable resources within the company. Nirosoft has the depth of experience to manage complex operations around the clock, anywhere in the world. Service options include onsite manpower, remote monitoring, or a combination of both. Ongoing maintenance is essential to ensuring optimal performance from water treatment systems. Nirosoft can perform a detailed program of monthly, quarterly and annual activities. Nirosoft offers customised maintenance packages, operating all year round and servicing any location. This can include remote monitoring and control services such as equipment analysis, real-time status of process parameters and system performance, early detection and rapid response to water leakage or equipment failure, remote video monitoring, online monitoring and intervention. For more information contact Nathan Miller, CEO Nirosoft Australia, phone 61 3 8532 5353 or email:

ENGINEERING WATER INFRASTRUCTURE As part of Northrop Consulting Engineers, our water infrastructure professionals offer specialised solutions in civil, hydraulic and structural design. With our practical and innovative approach, we provide planning, detail design and construction administration services to support our client’s water infrastructure projects.


164 APRIL 2012 water

Founded on the basic principles of communication and collaboration, we provide good service for good fees. We understand that each client has unique needs, a challenge faced by all engineering firms. At Northrop we prioritise relationships and engage with clients on the front line to meet these challenges head on and make the most of the opportunities they present. Effective communication is essential in this process, so we take the time to listen and understand our clients’ needs.

Northrop works with water authorities and contractors, bringing the combined benefits of innovation, dedication and experience to deliver a service that meets the unique demands of the project. To deliver outstanding outcomes, we draw upon our own structural, civil, mechanical and electrical engineers for the planning and design of ancillary components of water infrastructure, such as access roads, access platforms and walkways, pump houses, power supply and controls. By utilising our broad in-house skills we are able to ensure the alignment of all aspect of the engineering design and delivery. Water management is constantly evolving, influenced by society’s need for water security and a sustainable approach to water allocation and use. These demands are on top of the need to deliver projects within ever tightening budgets. At Northrop, we’re committed to remaining just as dynamic as the industry, always looking for better ways to engineer water infrastructure, and welcoming your ideas. We aim to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your money. For decades, Northrop has serviced regional areas through the design of local facilities, including schools and infrastructure throughout the eastern states. We know how to service projects outside of the major centres, and are confident you’ll be impressed by the support you get through the design and construction phases of the project. Call our water infrastructure specialists for more information: Sydney – Stephen Fryer, phone 02 9241 4188 or email: stephenf@; Canberra – David Gribble, phone 02 6285 1822 or email: dgribble@; Newcastle – Andrew Brown, phone 02 4943 1777 or email: abrown@

A ONE-STOP SHOP FOR ODOUR CONTROL There is a significant development in the odour control industry with the forging of an alliance between three major players: Odour Control Systems Australia, Bioaction and BL Camtek. The consortium’s team of experts includes names well known in the industry, including Mike O’Brien, Larry and Peter Botham and Tony Ryan. The combined expertise and range of diverse technologies now under one

water business

Aerzen - one step ahead

Solution for tomorrowâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s world Water and wastewater treatment is a part of modern environmental technology. Aerzen now has four different technologies rotary piston, screw compressor, the Hybrid lobe compressor and the all new Turbo unit. With these alternatives you can be sure we have the right range of equipment to meet all your oil free air supply needs. Aerzen led the way with the Generation 5 Delta blower packages. These rotary piston blower units incorporate the patented 3 lobe blower stages with integrated pulsation cancellation for lower noise and longer bearing life, reactive discharge silencers without packing to ensure no fouling of downstream components, self tensioning belt drive, compact design and low noise enclosures. Revolutionary Delta Hybrid unit offers many of the features of the G5 blower package but with the increased pressure capability to 1.5 barg, and improved efficiency to reduced operating costs. The all NEW Aerzen Turbo range of blowers will be introduced at OzWater 2012. These units incorporate world leading Korean turbo unit design of airfoil bearings, motor and variable speed controller to provide for greatly improved efficiencies. This will result in dramatic savings in energy costs. Come and see the latest blower, turbo and hybrid machines at the Aerzen Australia stand at the Oz Water exhibition.

Aerzen Australia

57-59 Rodeo Drive, Dandenong, Victoria . Phone: + 61 3 9188 3684 Email: . Web:

A wholly owned subsidiary of Aerzener Maschinenfabrik GmbH, Germany

new products & services roof creates a ‘tour de force’ of odour control capabilities. Ryan says that such is the diversity of technologies at hand, customers and clients can be assured that a suitable solution can be offered for almost any kind of odour problem. He stresses the importance of investigating the causes of an odour problem before determining the best control strategy. Typical applications include wastewater systems from pump station and pipeline networks through to the treatment plants, landfill sites, abattoirs and rendering plants, food processing, and composting. Solutions may range from simple vent filters, through to chemical dosing, biofilters, carbon filters, hybrid biological and absorption system for high level treatment, and misting systems or micronutrients, to name just some of the options available. Many of these systems are turnkey solutions provided on skid-mounted constructions to expedite installation and logistics. For more information contact: Brad Levey 0414 694219, email: brad@odours. or Tony Ryan 0438 694219, email: or visit:

TOUGH AND TOLERANT TANGENTIAL NOZZLES ARE EASY TO INSTALL As the exclusive Australian and New Zealand distributor of the PNR range, Tecpro is pleased to offer the easy-to-fit PNR Tangential Nozzle that suppresses dust in even the most challenging conditions. Manufactured from tough glass-filled polypropylene, the PNR Tangential Nozzle is durable and effective in suppressing fugitive dust in a range of environments. Its large internal chamber makes the nozzle clog-free in most applications, making it suitable for use even with dirty recycled water. “Its off-centre spray chamber design produces fine droplets, even with large volumes of water being used,” says Graeme Cooper, Managing Director of Tecpro Australia. “The micro-sized water

droplets produced are similar in size to the dust particles, making it easier for them to combine and fall to the ground aided by gravity. This makes the PNR Tangential Nozzle ideal for dealing with dust problems in many settings, such as underground and open cut mines, quarries and recycling plants.” A key advantage of the PNR Tangential Nozzle is the availability of a matching clamp, enabling it to be quickly installed to spray bars. “It’s simply a matter of drilling a hole in the water pipe. The hinged clamp goes over the pipe, a spigot fits into the hole and is sealed by an O-ring. A single stainless steel screw is used to lock the clamp together,” says Mr Cooper. ” Both the nozzle and the clamp are made of corrosion-resistant, glassreinforced polypropylene. This also makes them cost-effective to manufacture. The technical team at Tecpro Australia is experienced in advising on all aspects of dust suppression. An on-site dust suppression consultancy service is also available. For more information, phone 02 9634 3370.

Designer and manufacturer of high efficiency, low speed floating and fixed surface aerators from 3kW to 220 kW with an unmatched 5 year, unlimited hours guarantee. By-Jas offers flexible financing and delivery solutions including rental, purchase and fully maintained operating leases. Ring now for a current stock list. Other products in our range include settling tanks (12 designs), packaged sewage and water treatment plants, reuse filters and clarifiers to Class B and Class A standard. For more information, contact: By-Jas Engineering Pty Ltd PO BOX 424, HASTINGS VIC 3915 Tel: (03) 5979 1096 Fax: (03) 5979 1524

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Advanced Concrete Repair and Protection • Waterborne Portland cement based technology suitable for use in confined space • True waterproofing solution – will resist up to 10 bar positive and negative pressure • Resistant to harsh water and wastewater chemical environment • Fast return to service due to rapid setting properties and application on damp concrete • Fast track construction possible due to the ability to waterproof green concrete



True Water Barrier Contact us for your next project: Toll Free Australia 131 474 / Toll Free New Zealand 0800 808 807


new products & services AD VE RTISER S’ INDEX 3M Australia






Aerzen Australia


31 160

Franklin Electric


NWC – New Water Corporation Australia


Odour Control Systems

154 147

Agru Australia


Global Hobas


Pall Australia



Grundfos Pumps


Parchem Construction Supplies 125

Hach Pacific


PAX Water Technologies

Hobson Engineering


Pipe Lining & Coating


Piping & Automation Systems


Plasson Australia


Plasson Australia




Aqua Guardian Group


Aqualab Scientific


Aquasure Aquatec-Maxcon Australian Innovative Systems Australian Scientific

157 8 77 155

Australian Vinyls


AWMA Water Control Systems


AWMA Water Control Systems 164 BASF Australia Bintech

153 27

Brown Brothers Engineers Aust 166 By-Jas Engineering


Calgon Carbon Corporation


Campbell Scientific Australia


Cardo Australia


Challenger Valves & Actuators 150 Comdain Infrastructure Comp Air Australasia Cromford Group

7 IFC 67

CRS Industrial Water Treatment Systems


Hydro Innovations




Hygrade Water




International Water Centre –


PMT Water Engineering


Projex Group


River Symposium




Iplex Pipelines Australia


ProMinent Fluid Controls


ITS Trenchless


RPC Technologies


James Cummings & Sons


SA Water


JPM Global


Schneider Electric






KASA Redberg


Sulzer Pumps




TecPro Australia


KSB Australia




Ludowici Water




Maric Flow Control


Tyco Water



UGL – United Group Infrastructure 53




Water Infrastructure Group







65 43

National Centre for Groundwater Research



CST Wastewater



CST Wastwater – Pista


Nov Mono Pumps



DCM Process Control


Nu Flow Technologies 2000


Xylem Water Solutions Australia 12

Filter Nozzles for Every Application New & inexpensive Filter Nozzles make system upgrades easy Custom designs can also be made to match the specifications of existing nozzles if required Call (02) 9634 3370, or email for a comprehensive catalogue and the right technical advice

Technical Solutions You Can Rely On

168 APRIL 2012 water

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Any TAnk. Any Size.™

Stabilise the Water Inside Your Tanks The PAX Water Mixer is a high performance, energy-efficient solution to… • Reduce nitrification risk • Lower bacteria and disinfection byproducts • Combat residual loss

PAX Water Mixer circulates residual throughout the entire tank.

…and is more economical and reliable than Deep Cycling, Draft Tube Mixers and Passive Nozzles. Easy installation, without draining reservoir Low energy requirements, solar or grid powered Low voltage, submersible DC motor SCADA ready

Available in Australia through Metaval. Call (03) 9761-4000 or visit


Mining. Building Services. Irrigation.

Founded in Indiana USA in 1944, since 1962 Franklin Electric has been manufacturing, distributing and servicing the Australian water industry. The people of Franklin Electric have strived for over 60 years to design, produce and support the best products available for domestic, irrigation, industrial and agricultural markets. That is why Franklin products are relied upon above and below ground around the world. We know Franklin Electric is better for your business, because Moving Water is Our Business. 1300 FRANKLIN (1300 372655)

PumPs • motors • Drives • Controls FE712A 1/12

Water Journal April 2012  
Water Journal April 2012