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Volume 39 No 4 JULY 2012 RRP $16.95 inc. GST


The many faces of Ozwater’12


– see page 34 for a full report


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Journal of the Australian Water Association ISSN 0310-0367

Volume 39 No 4 July 2012

contents REGULAR FEATURES Photo: A. hollingworth ©SCA

From the AWA President

Unpredictable weather events are presenting ever-increasing challenges in water management. See page 6

Lucia Cade


Tom Mollenkopf


My Point of View Water Management in an Unpredictable Climate Ian Prosser




An Australian Story

From the AWA Chief Executive

Time for Celebration

Industry News


Young Water Professionals

Ozwater: The YWPs’ Perspective

Mike Dixon 28

AWA News


SPECIAL FEATURES Ozwater’12: ‘Sharing Knowledge, Planning the Future’ – Special Report


Keynote speakers and highlights


Technical paper and poster highlights


Groundwater Workshop


Water Quality Research Australia (WQRA) Workshop


WASH Workshop


Water Management Law & Policy Workshop


Interview: AWA Meets Phil Duncan, Chair of the FPWEC 48 Phil talks to Ann Hinchliffe about the outcomes of the First Peoples’ National Water Summit 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.

EDITORIAL BOARD 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.

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 Clare Porter, Technical Editor, Water Journal – AND

Neva Collins addressing the First Peoples’ Water Engagement Council at the National Water Summit. See page 48

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 AUGUST 2012 – Governance, Biosolids/Wastewater Source Management, Singapore International Water Week Report SEPTEMBER 2012 – Membrane Technology, Enviro 12 Selected Papers, Agricultural Use, Irrigation Advances, Coal Seam Gas Water NOVEMBER 2012 – GHG Emissions, Carbon Footprint, Odour Management, Demand Management

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:


JULY 2012 1


Journal of the Australian Water Association ISSN 0310-0367

Solid mercury in a UV lamp sleeve. See page 63


Volume 39 No 4 July 2012


Revegetation at Majuba Creek water intake in North Queensland. See page 52


COMMUNITY ISSUES Indigenous Partnerships: Opportunities And Obstacles How water service providers can form economically viable relationships with traditional owners

L Powell & D Phillips


C Wallis-Lage et al.


M Ferguson


Operating And Maintaining UV Disinfection Systems At Drinking Water Treatment Facilities A North American perspective

T Elliott & P Swaim


Disinfection By-Products Occurrence of non-regulated disinfection by-products from the Capalaba region’s distribution system

MJ Farré et al.


T Foster & B Dance


V Shah et al.


KS Le Corre, J Keller & C Ort


ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS Phosphorus Recovery With A New Ultra-Low Adsorption Process Pilot testing shows good results WATER EFFICIENCY A 12-Month Rainwater Tank Water Savings And Energy Use Study Household drinking water demand reduced by 21% DISINFECTION

PUBLIC HEALTH Water-Washed Diseases And Access To Infrastructure In Remote Indigenous Communities How water is fundamental to improving the health status of Indigenous children Tracing Faecal Contributions From Wet Weather Wastewater Overflows Using Faecal Sterol Ratios A study to assess microbiological water quality WASTEWATER Pharmaceutical Residues In Municipal Wastewater Are hospitals a major point source? WATER BUSINESS New Products and Business Information


Advertisers’ Index



JULY 2012


from the president

An Australian Story Lucia Cade – AWA President With this issue of Water Journal you will receive our 50th anniversary commemorative booklet, 50 Years of Water in Australia 1962–2012. It is a short history of both the AWA and the water industry in Australia over the last 50 years … our very own Australian Story.

So what next, after we have mastered shunting water around to access ore coal and other resources, diverting and distributing rivers for irrigated agriculture and hydro power, and converting it from seawater for drinking, then “disappearing” it away when we have used it?

Our heartfelt thanks go to Chris Davis for his tireless efforts in trawling through archives and collecting the stories of AWA’s activities, collaborating with long-standing members, branch committees and all manner of custodians of AWA’s memories. Many thanks go also to all those who supported Chris in this epic endeavour, in particular Frank Bishop, Rod Lehmann, Richard Marks, John Parker and Barry Sanders.

Well, the focus has shifted from creating courageous environment-shifting infrastructure to adapting these big interventions of the past to minimise their negative impact on the environment today.

The result of all this effort is the beautifully written history that we are now sharing with you. I hope you derive a lot of pleasure reading it. As I read this history, one of the things that struck me (once again) about the Australian water industry is the importance of the people within it – visionary people who change the way things are done, challenge the norm and create new directions for the industry. It is they who have set the scene for an Australian water industry that is the envy of many around the world. It is not just the audacious supply schemes that changed land use and regional economies, like the CY O’Connor pipeline that opened up the Kalgoorlie goldfields, or the Snowy scheme that opened up the agricultural foodbowl of the southern Murray-Darling system – as well as almost doubling Australia’s electricity generation capacity. It is also the ‘big picture’ outlook and careful planning of our municipal authorities in constructing the significant dams, distribution and sewage schemes that service our major population centres, delivering safe and cost-effective services.

Craig Knowles’ address in last month’s Journal (see page 44, May 2012 issue) explained well the process that is being followed for the Murray-Darling system. This was preceded by returning some of the flows to the Snowy River to restore that system. The last decade of increasing recycling water and integrated water planning is also changing our longer-term planning options. And Kevin Young finished his superb presentation at this year’s Ozwater opening session with some inspirational ideas of potential future features of the water industry. So the next chapters of our story are the ones we are writing now, and that our young water professionals will continue writing. Chris Davis’ closing comment on AWA’s first 50-year history is: “The only certain prediction must be that the next 50 years will be at least as dynamic as the last”. As the next few decades unfold, where will you be heading and taking your organisations, research and projects? What kind of thinker, leader and practitioner will you be? I hope you will continue to gain inspiration for the future from your involvement with AWA.

Supply decisions and the resulting infrastructure have left a bold handprint on much of Australia’s surface and have changed the natural course of water. We have adapted our environment to even out the variability of the rainfall and water availability to suit our relatively consistent water requirements.

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from the chief executive

Time for Celebration Tom Mollenkopf – AWA Chief Executive Water Journal this month includes a wrap-up of some of the outstanding highlights from Ozwater this year in Sydney. I am still receiving compliments many weeks later, including praise from our international speakers who were overwhelmed by the depth of discussion and industry commitment and the warm welcomes they received. But the unsung champions of Ozwater are the AWA members who give so freely of their time, experience and intellect; this commitment is no more evident than with the volunteers on the Conference Committee who worked for two years to make Ozwater’12 a success. My thanks go to Andrew Kasmarik, Cheryl Marvell, Erin Cini, Grant Leslie, Kate Miles, Richard Stuetz, Tony Church and Committee Chair, Dr David Barnes. It is also worth celebrating some of the outstanding industry achievements that were recognised in the AWA National Water Awards, which were presented at the Ozwater Gala Dinner. See page 46 of this issue for a list of the winners and awards. I have often spoken of the talent in the Australian water sector and the experience and knowledge we have to share. Taking this story to the world is an important part of AWA’s role. It is all part of building a strong water sector, maintaining our leading edge and providing development opportunities for our people. AWA does this directly through our many international affiliations and connections and, in recent times, through the waterAUSTRALIA initiative. This year at Singapore International Water Week, Australia will again be well represented. In addition to the Australian Business Forum hosted by AWA, waterAUSTRALIA has established an outstanding Australian Pavilion with participation from Australia’s various centres of excellence and industry. We are pleased to again have the support of Parliamentary Secretary for Urban Water, Senator Don Farrell, plus speakers and participation from across government and industry. This year, Austrade will not be supporting an Australian water industry pavilion, which means that industry cooperation and collaboration is all the more vital, not just in Singapore, but also in other global forums and markets.

source, treat and deliver from various sources (recycled, groundwater and now stormwater) and of differing quality to meet the standards required for consumptive purpose. Recently in the US, I learned that some in the water sector there are troubled by the apparently fragmented way in which water is viewed. Key industry players wonder about the plethora of associations and bodies that seek to organise and represent the industry there, nominally broken down along the lines of drinking water, “wastewater,” recycled water and desalinated water. As technologies and management practices converge, this model will be increasingly irrelevant and inefficient. AWA acknowledges and supports diversity in the water sector: first, by providing an environment where various specialists and interest groups can come together under one association umbrella; second, by maintaining collaborative and cooperative relationships with other key institutions or industry bodies. A good example of a constructive relationship is the recent joint meeting of the Boards of AWA and the Water Services Association of Australia. This reinforced the desire of the two principal water associations in Australia to work together for the benefit of the industry and the community. Finally, in my May column, I spoke of some important new initiatives at AWA in the training and professional development area. These services are offered through a combination of branch events, national programs and a range of partnerships, including an exciting joint venture with Opus International Consultants (NSW). This latter initiative will trade under the name AWA Opus Water Industry Training Institute (WITI). I incorrectly stated that WITI is a Registered Training Organisation. AWA Opus WITI currently offers two nationally recognised qualifications, Certificate II and Certificate III in Water Operations, in partnership with The Learning Collaborative (RTO No 32350).

A compelling aspect of Australia’s water story is the holistic way in which we consider water management. Our utilities tend to be integrated, managing both drinking water and sewage; they


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my point of view

Water Management Under an Unpredictable Climate Dr Ian Prosser, Science Director – Water for a Healthy Country Flagship Program, CSIRO Ian Prosser helps lead CSIRO’s Water for a Healthy Country Flagship Program, which has over 300 research staff working across Australia to improve management of water resources for urban, rural, industrial and environmental uses. Ian has 25 years’ research experience in river basin hydrology and water quality, leading national programs on water research. He also recently authored and edited the book, Water: Science and Solutions for Australia (CSIRO Publishing). After the unprecedented water shortages of the millennium drought and the devastating floods of the following two years, one could be forgiven for thinking that climate is a completely chaotic and unpredictable beast. Beneath the apparent chaos, however, are some consistent patterns that can assist water management decisions across southern Australia. Water is one of the most vulnerable sectors to climate variability and change. For every 10% increase or decrease in annual rainfall there is typically in Australia a 30%–40% increase or decrease in runoff. Australia is fundamentally water limited, because in most places potential evaporation exceeds rainfall, resulting in a strong reliance on large stores of water to see us through dry times. Climate can also fundamentally change the hydrology of the landscape.

The rains of the last two summers filled dams, soaked parched soils, refilled wetlands and resulted in devastating floods – but we cannot expect that in most years. In particular, the rains of the 2010–2011 summer were the result of an unusual coincidence of (1) a very strong La Niña episode in the Pacific Ocean and (2) unusual conditions in the Southern and Indian Oceans, which – together with overall warm ocean temperatures – brought strong tropical rainfall into southeastern Australia. As the rains were tropically driven, Brisbane felt the strongest effects, followed by Sydney, with only moderate drought relief in Melbourne and little relief in Perth. The drought has ended and the pressure on water supplies has passed for now. However, while south-eastern Australia had two of the wettest years on record in 2010 and 2011, autumn rainfall in those years was only slightly above average and the long-term deficit continues in the southernmost parts

Our good understanding of Australia’s climate and hydrology comes from the decades of detailed measurements of the oceans, atmosphere and rivers, as much as from global climate models that are most useful for explaining the observed patterns and for projecting forward. The South East Australia Climate Initiative (SEACI – a partnership of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, the Australian and Victorian Governments, CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology), along with other programs, has investigated these records and their implications for water management.

Causes of the Millennium Drought

The millennium drought was broken by the past two years’ wet summers. However, summer rainfall and autumn rainfall are driven by quite different processes, which provides some insights into future climates.

6 JULY 2012 water

Photo: A. hollingworth ©SCA

SEACI found that the millennium drought in south-eastern Australia was largely the result of a persistent reduction in autumn rainfall and high temperatures. This had a greater than expected influence on runoff because it is usually autumn rains that soak catchments. Without these soaking rains in 2010 and 2011, unusually low runoff persisted well into spring – even though winter and spring rainfall was not as low as autumn rainfall.

Heavy rain in the drinking water catchments for Sydney earlier this year caused Warragamba Dam to fill and spill for the first time in over a decade.

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my point of view of the country including Melbourne, Perth and the Victorian part of the Murray-Darling Basin. This persistent autumn dryness is associated with intensification of the atmospheric high-pressure cells over southern Australia. These cells, associated with clear skies and dry weather, have been intensifying since 1900, with strong intensification since 1979, correlated with increasing global mean temperatures since 1900, and consistent with a predicted expansion of the subtropical dry zone under global warming.

Climate Change Signal The millennium drought partly reflects the natural variability of Australia’s climate, and was more intense than the projections for reductions in mean annual rainfall under global warming – but there does appear to be a persistent climate change signal beneath this variability. The floods and recent wet summers were also a feature of climate variability, but the atmosphere’s waterholding capacity increases with global mean temperature so, arguably, there is also a signal of climate change in those floods. In the next few decades, changes in mean annual runoff will be of less concern than the possibility that the severity of droughts and floods could increase. Mean annual runoff is projected to change by up to 30%, but the variability of runoff from one year to another is as high as 300% around the mean, so it is still floods and droughts that will dominate how we experience and plan for the impacts of climate on water. It is pertinent then to plan for a range of circumstances in future, including circumstances outside of historical precedence. Some of these scenarios may have a low probability of occurrence,

but their consequences could be high and require advanced planning. Formal risk management approaches provide a framework to deal with such circumstances. It would be of great benefit to better forecast future drought and flood risk. Lead indicators of seasonal weather combined with recent runoff are good predictors of the upcoming season’s runoff, and such forecasts are now made routinely by the Bureau of Meteorology. In modern cities with diverse water supplies, seasonal forecasts can be used to choose the mix of supplies to manage risks such as floods or diminishing storages. Groundwater, for example, provides a much larger store of water than our dams, but is renewed more slowly. Groundwater can thus be used as an additional supply in dry times, especially if supplemented by managed aquifer recharge. Desalination plants can be brought online to manage both dwindling storages and a need to leave more air space in storages in times of high flood risk. Of greatest value to water planning would be to forecast water availability several years in advance, to help schedule new sources of water for growing cities. However, seasonal forecasts are based largely on El Niños and La Niñas, and these features tend to break up each autumn with uncertainty over how they will reform, so multi-year predictions are inherently difficult. Despite these challenges, there is much more that is known and predictable about the influence of climate on water than is at first apparent. This knowledge is growing all the time and can be usefully applied to water management.


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crosscurrent consumption over the past five years, the report says, the effects were more than offset by substantial increases in water prices. Industry revenue is forecast to expand by 10.7 per cent this year, as prices increase well ahead of inflation.

International The World Bank water practice, including the Water and Sanitation Program, has launched The Water Blog to foster collaboration, innovation, and knowledge exchange on water for development, including food (agriculture), drinking water and household use, sanitation and hygiene, energy, ecosystems and environment, industry, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and disaster risk management. The Water Blog will include opinions and insight from water experts working on the ground and around the world.

Researchers at the University of Hull are developing a way to produce constant supplies of sterile water, powered simply by sunlight and air. The device is aimed at remote communities where conventional systems using chemicals or electricity are not a viable option. The research, funded by the Sir Halley Stewart Trust, will make use of molecules which, in response to sunlight, produce a form of oxygen that is highly toxic. Lead researcher from Hull’s Department of Chemistry, Dr Ross Boyle, originally developed these molecules to attack cancer cells, but has spotted a new application for their use in the developing world.

Over 75 per cent of the member countries of the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW), polled in a United Nations survey, are implementing national water laws and nearly half are executing national plans for integrated water resources management in line with the Africa Water Vision for 2025, according to a new report launched during the 8th General Assembly of AMCOW.

National An IBIS World updated report on Australia’s water supply industry says it is expected to generate revenues of $9.87 billion in 2011 to 2012. Although severe drought has reduced water

Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, Senator Don Farrell, has announced that the Government would provide almost $4 million to support the adoption of the eWater ‘Source’ platform to aid water planning and management across Australia. Senator Farrell said the adoption of the water modelling system would formalise a 2008 COAG agreement to develop a state-of-the-art national strategy to help ensure future water planning and management represents best practice.

Australia’s First Peoples’ Water Engagement Council (FPWEC) has met with the CEO of the National Water Commission, James Cameron, to formally hand over advice on how Indigenous water should be managed in Australia. FPWEC Chair, Phil Duncan, said, “The Council has used the outcomes of the First Peoples’ National Water Summit which we convened in March, and other work from over the last two years, to develop formal advice to the Commission on Australia’s First Peoples’ national water issues. The issue of freshwater management is critical to Aboriginal peoples. The First Peoples of Australia are the traditional owners and managers of Australia’s land and waters and we have maintained strong and vital relationships with this heritage since time immemorial.”

National Water Commission CEO, Mr James Cameron, has called for the improved and systematic monitoring of water plans to provide confidence that they are effective in meeting their environmental objectives. Releasing two reports at Ozwater’12, which identify priorities and resources for improving environmental water performance, Mr Cameron said that environmental water management has been evolving in all Australian states and territories, but there is still a way to go.

AQUAPHEMERA The draft report on Secondary Water Use in the ACT by the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission (ICRC), released in May, is a refreshing analysis of non-potable water sources. A key finding (for an economic regulator) was that secondary water options should be considered for their economic, environmental and social contribution to the water system as a whole. Financially, if the potable water system already provides water security for many years, then new secondary water systems are not assisting in deferring further potable supply infrastructure and should be compared with the marginal cost to end users of treatment and reticulation, about 30c/kL. Similarly, the ICRC did not find it evident that the costs of Government intervention for stormwater re-use systems and water-sensitive urban design were outweighed by the benefits. It recommended well-designed monitoring and evaluation programs with clear and measurable criteria on which to gauge their viability. The ICRC proposed an adaptive, integrated single analytical framework that is responsive to changing circumstances and considers all potential options and the interaction between them on the water system as a whole. Environmental criteria such as impacts on environmental flows (e.g., that recognising secondary water use does reduce river flows); biodiversity and micro-climate benefits of ponds and green spaces; greenhouse gas emissions from pumping and any treatment; all needing to be included and evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Social criteria such as recreation, amenity value and equity – i.e., access to the water, especially during potable water restrictions; community support or opposition; and public health and safety, particularly with effluent re-use and highly variable quality of urban stormwater – all require inclusion with community generated weightings. The more often all supply and demand options are considered on a consistent triple bottom line basis, the less likely poor decisions are made with the community’s resources. – Ross Knee

8 JULY 2012 water

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JULY 2012 9

crosscurrent The Gillard Government will invest $350 million to support water reform in the Murray-Darling Basin, continuing its commitment to irrigation infrastructure in this year’s budget. “The Gillard Government has made clear that we are committed to delivering a plan for the Murray-Darling Basin that restores our rivers to health, and ensures strong regional communities and sustainable food production,” Mr Burke said. “That’s why we are committing additional funds to support modernisation of irrigation infrastructure, helping irrigators improve water efficiency on farms.

will take effect on 5 July 2012, except for the amendment relating to a new Person Category (Category J – Owners or Operators of Hydrologically Significant Sites), which will not come into effect before 2013. The amendments were drafted following consultation undertaken in 2011. Many of the comments received through this consultation were incorporated into the amendments.

The National Water Commission has published an update to its December 2010 position statement on coal seam gas. The update addresses the issue of estimating co-produced water volumes.

Degrémont and partner, Transfield Services, have been selected by the Water Corporation to operate and maintain the water production and wastewater treatment assets of Perth. The contract is to operate and maintain, in partnership with Water Corporation and Transfield Services, 19 water treatment plants, 14 wastewater treatment plants and two advanced water recycling plants as well as 13 dams. It will start in July 2012, for a period of 10 years, with a possible further extension of five years.

Ten new innovative desalination research projects will share in $2.7 million from the Australian Government funded National Centre of Excellence in Desalination Australia (NCEDA).

The second in the Graham Centre’s series of monographs is now available. Written by Professor Kath Bowmer, Water Resource Protection in Australia: Water quality and quantity as a feature of agricultural land management systems is a major review of the subject area Professor Bowmer has worked on over the past three years. The Graham Centre monograph series aims to provide an in-depth review of topics relevant to agricultural systems in southern Australia. The Graham Centre is a strategic research alliance between Charles Sturt University (CSU) and the NSW Department of Primary Industries.

Australia’s consulting engineering, architecture and associated industries are set to experience a chaotic next three years with continual restructures required in order to remain globally competitive, according to Consult Australia’s 2012 Economic Forecast Report. The Report, written by former BHP Chief Economist, Geoffrey Bills, is considered one of the industry’s most valuable economic predictors and is used by many of Australia’s largest firms, including Parsons Brinkerhoff, SMEC, Hyder, GHD and AECOM.

The ACCC is required to provide the minister (currently the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities) with reports on the results of its monitoring, consistent with an agreement between the minister and the ACCC. The purpose of the ACCC undertaking monitoring is to inform the minister and stakeholders more broadly about regulated water charges and transformation arrangements, and the degree of compliance with the rules, in the MDB. The ACCC has provided the second monitoring report to the minister covering the 2010–2011 financial year.

In May 2012, the Governor-General amended the water information provisions of the Water Regulations 2008. Changes have been made to each of the 10 water information categories to enhance the quality and usefulness of water information received by the Bureau of Meteorology. Most of the changes

10 JULY 2012 water

Western Australia

Esperance community members are invited to have their say in the development of a plan to ensure the continued availability of high-quality drinking water. Department of Water Manager, Water Source Protection Planning, Nigel Mantle, said the released Esperance Water Reserve Drinking Water Source Protection Plan: Draft for Public Comment is part of a strategy that aims to protect drinking water sources throughout Western Australia.

The Liberal-National Government has delivered its fourth State Budget. The key initiatives within the budget that affect the water sector include $3.7 billion on capital works to be delivered by the Water Corporation, Department of Water, Aqwest and Busselton Water Board over the next four years, to upgrade and build essential new water infrastructure.

The Government of Australia will invest $28m to investigate priority groundwater sources to better serve future water demands in Western Australia. As part of the groundwater investigations, the Government will oversee water availability in a number of aquifer systems. Some investigations will determine the potential to safely abstract more water from currently used sources. Western Australia Water Minister, Bill Marmion, said $21m in funding from Royalties for Regions will cover four years of investigations in priority areas in the South Coast, SouthWest, Mid-West, Pilbara and Kimberley.

A new water allocation plan for the Peel region will provide certainty about groundwater availability for a range of important industries while supporting growth in the region. Water Minister, Bill Marmion, said the Murray groundwater allocation plan confirmed that 40 gigalitres of water was available for licencing. “Groundwater in the Murray area is a vital resource for the regional economy,” Mr Marmion said. “It supports agriculture, horticulture, mining, industrial, urban and recreational activities as well as the internationally recognised significant ecosystems and wetlands of the Peel region.”

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A hands-on intelligent approach Comdain Infrastructure is a leading infrastructure construction and maintenance services business specialising in the water, irrigation and gas sectors. Our water capabilities include construction of major pipelines, distribution and reticulation networks, pump stations, treatment plants; civil mechanical and electrical works, automation control, network maintenance and emergency response. We place importance on professional excellence and best practice in all aspects of our construction and maintenance services work, most particularly on safety.

Current & recent projects: Manningham City Council (Vic) – Templestowe Reserve Stormwater Harvesting System: Construction of a 200KL concrete storage tank, pump station, UV treatment system and associated pipework. Goulburn-Murray Water (Vic) – Hattah Lakes Environmental Flows Project: Construction of seven 750mm pump columns, a 2100mm RCP, 900mm PE branch pipeline, large regulating structures, penstock gates and levee banks. State Water Corporation – NSW Metering Managing Contractor: Planning and installation of over 1200 river and groundwater extraction meters. Unitywater (Qld) – SPS141 Upgrade: Upgrade existing pump station, construction of DICL rising main and D&C of electrical system and building.

Intelligent Doers, Dependable Delivery

Barwon Water (Vic) – Clifton Springs Sewer Pump Station 1 & 2 Emergency Storage: Construction of 1.3ML Emergency Storages and associated works including supply, installation and commissioning of standby power. water JULY 2012 11

crosscurrent An updated water allocation plan for the Ord River area will support hydropower and irrigation expansion while protecting the downstream river environment. The Ord Surface Water Allocation Plan: for public comment, released by the Department of Water, outlines water availability and licensing policies for the area. The department invites public comment until 14 September 2012.

Victoria Many of Victoria’s water authorities have released consultation papers on their draft water plans for public comment, which includes their plans for future investment in water and sewerage infrastructure. The four-month consultation period will give all Victorians the chance to review their local water plan and proposed water pricing, which will cover proposed services and prices for the period from 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2018. Minister for Water, Peter Walsh, said he strongly encouraged all members of the community to provide comment on the draft plans, which will outline the pricing structure for water.

Modelling by the Victorian Coalition Government has revealed the health of the Murray River can be secured using far less water than that proposed under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. Water Minister, Peter Walsh, said the findings would save the Commonwealth up to $1.3 billion if they were adopted.

The Government of Victoria has signed an agreement with Mobil Oil Australia to stop the discharge of industrial wastewater into the Yarra River. Petroleum producer Mobil Oil Australia has held an Environment Protection Authority (EPA) licence to discharge its wastewater produced at Spotswood into the Yarra River since 1973. But, in a 2011 review of licensing arrangements, EPA entered into discussions with Mobil to investigate appropriate options to amend Mobil’s Spotswood infrastructure to comply with the Environmental Protection Act 1970 (VIC) and the State Environment Protection Policy on wastewater discharge.

New South Wales The National Water Commission and the NSW Office of Water have funded a large-scale investigation into the chemical characteristics of groundwater to improve our understanding of the possible impacts of high-volume groundwater pumping on groundwater quality. The studies, undertaken in collaboration with consultant Parsons Brinckerhoff, took place in the highyielding aquifers of the Namoi, Macquarie, Lachlan, Murrumbidgee and Murray valleys, all within the NSW part of the Murray-Darling Basin. Over 1,000 groundwater samples were taken from Government-owned monitoring bores and private production bores.

The Sydney Metropolitan Catchment Management Authority (SMCMA) is upgrading its Catchment Action Plan (CAP) for the Sydney region. The CAP is the overarching document guiding natural resource management in the region and is central to the delivery of natural resource management in Sydney. A new feature of the CAP is that it is to consider the long-term resilience of Sydney and its natural resources. To this end, consideration will be given in the CAP to social/cultural, economic and governance impacts as well as environmental and natural resource issues. SMCMA would like to invite you to provide input in to the new CAP by completing an online survey.

Abigroup has been awarded a $40 million project by the Hunter Water Corporation to build a new water recycling plant as part of the Hunter Treatment Alliance program of works. The Kooragang Industrial Water Scheme (KIWS) involves constructing a new water reuse plant that will use Micro-filtration Reverse Osmosis processes with a 9ML/day output, including provision for a future expansion to 12ML/day. Abigroup’s Ian Hutchinson, who is the Hunter Treatment Alliance Program Manager, said, “I’m very excited that Hunter Water Corporation Board has decided to deliver the KIWS project using the Hunter Treatment Alliance delivery model.”

Minister for Water, Peter Walsh, has announced Chris Chesterfield as Chief Executive Officer of the newly-established Office of Living Victoria. The Office of Living Victoria has been created by the Victorian Government in response to independent advice from the Living Victoria Ministerial Advisory Council contained in the Living Melbourne, Living Victoria Implementation Plan. Mr Walsh said the Government supported the vision outlined in the implementation plan for creating a smart resilient water system for a liveable, sustainable and productive Melbourne.”The Office of Living Victoria will be established to drive reform by coordinating water and urban planning,” Mr Walsh said.

Deep cracks in soil that appear during long dry spells can remain open underground even after they have visibly sealed on the surface, a new study has found. Researchers at the University of NSW have developed an innovative technique for examining the flow of water through cracks in soil by measuring electrical resistivity. It was discovered that even when cracks appear visibly closed on the surface, they often remain open underground. The exact time when underground cracks close can now be detected, which will have big implications for agricultural management of water.

The average residential customer with East Gippsland Water will see no real increase in their water bill for five years under a proposal put forward by the corporation. Prices will only adjust in line with inflation. This is one of a number of proposals put forward by East Gippsland Water in its draft Water Plan for 2013–2018, Water Plan 3, which is now available for customer and stakeholder comment.

Sydney Water and the Water Infrastructure Group were praised for their commitment to safety when presented with a national award at the AWA National Water Awards in May 2012. Sydney Water Managing Director, Kevin Young, said the AWA National Safety Excellence Award 2012 was proof of the organisation’s strong safety record while rehabilitating the Bondi Ocean Outfall Sewer, a key part of Sydney’s infrastructure.

12 JULY 2012 water

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crosscurrent Elster has announced that Sydney Water has selected Elster as one of its suppliers to deliver V100 volumetric water meters and Helix water meters over the next three years, commencing on July 1, 2012. These meters will help Sydney Water to manage their water resources.

Tasmania Cradle Mountain Water welcomes the release of the first independent investigation of pricing of Water and Sewerage Services with the release of the Office of the Tasmanian Economic Regulator’s First Pricing determination. “It is pleasing that the Regulator has seen fit to support Cradle Mountain Water’s bid to implement a more equitable way of charging for services,” said CEO Andrew Kneebone. “Essentially, the Regulator has supported Cradle Mountain Water’s position, with the exception of the treatment of water charges in Burnie.”

The construction of Tasmania’s biggest ever irrigation scheme is ready to start in the Midlands. Final approvals had been given for the $104 million Midlands Water Scheme and major design and construction contracts have been awarded, creating 130 direct jobs during the two years it will take to build the scheme.

Queensland The Queensland Water Commission has released the Draft Underground Water Impact Report for the Surat Cumulative Management Area (UWIR) for public consultation. Queensland Water Commissioner, Mary Boydell, said the report was a key part of the regulatory framework for managing the impacts of groundwater extraction by petroleum tenure holders, including coal seam gas (CSG) operators.

Queensland Urban Utilities will invest $1 million over nine years to participate in the newly established Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Water Sensitive Cities. The centre will undertake a national research program, which aims to revolutionise urban water management in Australia by influencing and guiding more than $100 billion in water investments and $550 billion in private sector urban investment over the next 15 years. The centre will deliver socio-technical urban water management solutions, including education and training programs and industry engagement to ensure Australian towns and cities are water sensitive. The Bureau of Meteorology continues to expand the coverage of Water Storage, with data from a 20th provider recently added. Lake Awoonga in Queensland is the latest addition, thanks to the support of the Gladstone Area Water Board. Water levels and stored volumes in Lake Awoonga are now available through the Water Storage webpage and iPhone app.

The Department of Natural Resources and Mines (NRM) says it is carefully monitoring water courses in the Fitzroy Catchment at the moment, with a number of factors likely to cause a temporary increase in salinity levels. NRM Acting Regional Services Director, Darren Moor, said a number of factors influence salinity readings in the catchment, including a lack of good rain to

dilute salt levels in waterways. “That means groundwater, which is naturally more saline, and flows into a number of streams across the basin, causing readings to rise,” Mr Moor said.

South Australia Independent Senator Nick Xenophon has condemned cuts to water programs in the Budget. Funding for water projects has been slashed overall, but in an area where water project funding has increased – On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency – SA is expected to miss out because local farmers are already too water efficient to qualify. The budget cuts include: Raising National Water Standards Program and the Australian Water Fund: Termination of program; Water for the Future – Driving Reform in the Murray-Darling Basin: $61.2million cut; Water for the Future – National Urban Water and Desalination Plan: $25.7million cut; and Water for the Future – National Water Security Plan for Cities and Towns: $16.5million cut.

John Holland, together with joint venture partner, Leed, has successfully delivered the first major component of the Network Integration and Ancillary Works Project (NIAW), on time, for SA Water. Completion of Stage 1 was reached with the delivery of the Eastern Pipeline, which will allow the first water from the Adelaide Desalination Plant to enter the NorthSouth Interconnection System Project (NSISP).

A one-off Water Security Rebate will be introduced to help alleviate the cost of increased water prices in SA. The rebate will go to more than 600,000 residential customers, meaning this year’s price increase for the average water and sewerage bill will be about nine per cent. The Water Security Rebate has been factored into the 2012–2013 pricing decision in recognition of substantial price increases experienced by consumers over the past few years.

The South Australian Government is investigating the feasibility of diverting surplus fresh water from the South East drainage network into existing South East wetlands and the Coorong South Lagoon. The South East Flows Restoration Project (SEFRP) is in the early stages of investigation and it is yet to be determined if the project is feasible – both technically and financially. Department for Water South East Water Manager Glenn Shimmin said the project proposes to use a combination of natural water courses, newly constructed floodways and existing drains to divert surplus water, which currently flows into the sea, towards the Coorong.

Member News Nalco, an Ecolab company, has been named the 2012 Water Technology Company of the Year by Global Water Intelligence. The award, given for Nalco’s contributions in the field of water technology, was presented during the 2012 Global Water Awards ceremony in Rome. Recipients are selected by subscribers of Global Water Intelligence and Water Desalination Report, as well as members of the International Desalination Association.


JULY 2012 15

crosscurrent KBR has announced that David Zimmerman has been appointed to the new position of Group President for Australia-Asia. David will serve as KBR’s principal executive in the region, serving as the company’s executive leader for regional corporate, political and regulatory relations, as well as supporting KBR’s Business Units in their key sales efforts and project executions. David will also have responsibility for increasing stakeholder engagement and alignment to ensure KBR’s corporate strategic initiatives are designed and executed throughout the region.

Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM) is pleased to announce the appointment of Mark Hather as Group Manager Transport Clients within the firm’s Water and Environment Business Unit. Mark has more than 25 years’ experience in environmental planning and impact assessment, including the project direction and management of major environmental impact statements and route assessment projects.

Doug Neufeld has joined Halgan Pty Ltd as the new National Key Account Manager. Doug is based in Brisbane and can be contacted at:

AWA and IWA have published a new book titled Disinfection ByProducts and Human Health. The book, written by Steve E Hrudey and Jeffrey WA Charrois, provides drinking water professionals with a pragmatic assessment of the current evidence and emerging issues concerning disinfection by-products and public health. This book is an essential, practical and accessible guide for drinking water professionals, engineers, chemists and public health professionals. The book is $130 for AWA members and $171 for non-members. This price includes postage and GST. To order your copy, email

Leaders in the Australian water industry were recognised at the National Water Awards, hosted by AWA during Ozwater’12. The Awards were presented by Adam Spencer at the Gala Dinner, attended by over a thousand guests to help recognise excellence in the sector. AWA CEO Tom Mollenkopf commended the high standard of entries for this year’s awards and stated that the genuine commitment shown by the finalists in water leadership and management is acknowledged by their nomination to the Awards.

One of the Victorian Water industry’s most experienced and well-regarded leaders has been appointed Managing Director of Western Water. Neil Brennan, current Managing Director at Central Highlands Water, will commence in the role on 9 July. Mr Brennan will lead Western Water as it delivers the infrastructure, customer service and innovation to meet the demands of one of the fastest growing areas of Victoria. His appointment follows a highly competitive national recruitment process.

eWater welcomes two highly experienced hydrologists to its new team, as it becomes an independent hydrological modelling organisation from July 2012, following wind-up of the CRC. Dr Ashis Dey, a highly experienced urban hydraulics and flood engineer, joins eWater as Principal Hydrologist (Urban) from XP Software, where he was Head of Water Engineering and Software Development. New Principal Hydrologist (Rivers) Dr Geoffrey Adams has worked extensively in water resources planning, operations, research and risk management including roles with the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, CSIRO, Goulburn-Murray Water and the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority.

Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM) has bolstered its capability to service the booming coal seam gas market in Australia, following the appointment of highly respected hydrogeologist Gordon Kennedy. Mr Kennedy, who has relocated to Brisbane from the United States, brings to SKM more than 30 years experience in a wide variety of projects in water resources supply and development, along with oil and gas exploration and development.

The theme for 2012 World Water Week in Stockholm is Water and Food Security. In over 100 events, participants will tackle the global water challenge especially in terms of food security. The Australian Stockholm Junior Water Prize winner I-Ji Jung will travel to Stockholm to compete for the international Stockholm Junior Water Prize.

Nominations for the 2012 AWA WA Branch Water Awards, which recognise significant contributions by organisations and individuals to water management in WA are now open.

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industry news Underground Mozzie Reveals Blood-Sucking Twist Photo: StePhen Doggett, UniverSity of SyDney

An exotic species of mosquito found across much of Australia has revealed a new twist on the insect’s famous ‘blood-sucking’ reputation to researchers at the University Culex molestus of Sydney, who have discovered that rather than breeding in ponds, pools or wetlands, the Culex molestus mosquito has adapted to life underground, particularly in septic tanks and disused stormwater pipes. Unlike other mosquitoes, Culex molestus can also develop its eggs without first requiring a blood meal.

“The curious biological trait of this underground-dwelling mosquito shows that people in cities need to take mosquitoes’ amazing adaptability into account when designing water storage systems,” said Dr Cameron Webb, from the University’s Department of Medical Entomology and Westmead Hospital, who is team leader of the study. “We have spent the last two years chasing the species, which has adapted superbly to life beneath our cities. Instead of wandering through pristine wetlands, we were snooping around stormwater drains and other polluted structures. However, the toilet blocks in urban parklands were where we really struck gold. The disused septic tanks associated with these structures are where this mosquito is commonly found.” Culex molestus is thought to have been introduced into southern Australia in the 1940s, hitching a ride into the country with American military personnel. Since then, the mosquito has been found in all states except Queensland and the Northern Territory. While the majority of pest mosquitoes require blood to develop their eggs, the female of this species can develop and lay a batch of eggs using nutrients stored earlier in its life cycle. This phenomenon is known as autogeny. “One of the major implications of this work is that we must be mindful of the mosquito risks when designing subterranean water storage systems in our cities so we do not create new opportunities for mosquitoes,” said Dr Webb. “Ensuring water storage structures are screened or designed to limit the opportunities for mosquito access is crucial. Perhaps more importantly, when assessing the risks of mosquito-borne disease, these underground habitats shouldn’t be ignored.”

Nanoparticles Seek and Destroy Groundwater Toxins Iron nanoparticles encapsulated in a rust-preventing polymer coating could hold potential for cleaning up groundwater contaminated with toxic chemicals, a leading water expert says. Hundreds of sites around Sydney where soils have been contaminated from past industrial waste, landfills and gas leaks are known to exist, including the former HMAS Platypus submarine base in Neutral Bay and the Orica site in Botany Bay. “Toxic contamination of soils is an historical problem,” says Dr Denis O’Carroll, a visiting academic at the UNSW Water

18 JULY 2012 water

Research Lab. “Until the 1970s, people wrongly believed that if we put these toxins into the ground they would simply disappear – that the subsurface would act as a natural filtration unit. The possibility of this waste polluting the environment, and potentially contaminating groundwater sources and remaining there for decades was ignored.” Far from magically disappearing, chemical contaminants from spilled gas and solvents, when not directly polluting surface waters, seep down into the earth, travelling through microscopic soil cracks, where they accumulate and can eventually reach the groundwater table. Traditional clean-up methods have focused on pumping out the contaminated water or flushing out toxins with a specially designed cleansing solution, but these are limited by difficulties in accurately pinpointing and accessing locations where contamination has occurred, says O’Carroll. His approach is to tackle toxic contaminants with nanotechnology. O’Carroll, who is visiting UNSW from the University of Western Ontario in Canada, has been trialling an innovative new groundwater clean-up technology using metal nanoparticles 500 to 5,000 times narrower than a human hair. The iron particles are injected directly into contaminated soil where they flow to the contaminants and initiate a redox reaction, whereby electrons are transferred between the particle and the pollutant. This reaction changes the oxidation state of the pollutant and diminishes its overall toxicity to safer levels. “The tiny scale of these nanoparticles allows them to move through microscopic flow channels in soil and rock to reach and destroy pollutants that larger particles cannot,” he says. In addition, iron nanoparticles are particularly safe for use in the environment as they are not very mobile and dissolve quickly. This, in fact, is somewhat of a detriment as it limits the nanoparticles’ ability to seek out and degrade toxins. To optimise the nanoparticles, O’Carroll is experimenting with different formations of iron, and encapsulating the particles in a rust-preventing polymer, which slows the dissolution process and increases their mobility, without any adverse environmental impacts. Two contaminated sites in Ontario have been used for field trials of the technology and “significant degradation” of the contaminants at both sites has been observed.

Research Separates ‘Frack’ from Fiction Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, has generated growing controversy in the past few years. Recent research from the Pacific Institute finds the real issues around its impacts on water are shared by stakeholders from government to industry to environmental groups – and all point to the need for better and more transparent information in order to clearly assess the key water-related risks and develop sound policies to minimise those risks. Much of the public attention on hydraulic fracturing has centred on the use of chemicals in the fracturing fluids and the risk of groundwater contamination. However, the new study finds that while chemical disclosure can be useful for tracking contamination, risks associated with fracking chemicals are not the only issues that must be addressed. The massive water requirements for fracking and the potential conflicts with other water needs, including for agriculture and for ecosystems, pose major challenges. Methane contamination of drinking water wells is also a concern according to some field studies, as are the serious challenges associated with storing, transporting, treating and disposing of wastewater.

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industry news The report, Hydraulic Fracturing and Water Resources: Separating the Frack from the Fiction, is a detailed assessment and synthesis of existing research on fracking as well as the results of interviews with representatives from state and federal agencies, industry, academia, environmental groups, and community-based organisations. Interviewees identified a broad set of social, economic and environmental concerns, foremost among which are impacts of hydraulic fracturing on the availability and quality of water resources. “Despite the diversity of viewpoints among the stakeholders interviewed, there was surprising agreement about the range of concerns associated with hydraulic fracturing. Among the most commonly cited were concerns about spills and leaks, wastewater management, and water withdrawals,” said Heather Cooley, codirector of the Pacific Institute Water Program and lead author of the report. “In addition to concerns about impacts on water resources, social and economic concerns were identified as well, such as worker health and safety, and community impacts associated with rapidly industrialising rural environments.” Hailed by some as a game-changer that promises increased energy independence, job creation and lower energy prices, fracking has led others to call for a temporary moratorium or a complete ban due to concern over potential environmental, social and public health impacts. The research finds that the lack of credible and comprehensive data and information is a major impediment to a robust analysis of the real concerns associated with hydraulic fracturing. “Much of what has been written about the interaction of hydraulic fracturing and water resources is either industry or advocacy reports that have not been peer-reviewed, and the discourse around the issue to date has been marked by opinion and obfuscation,” said Cooley. “More and better research is needed to clearly assess the key water-related risks and develop sound policies to minimise those risks.” The report can be downloaded free of charge from the Pacific Institute website at:

Water Treatment Alliance to Target CSG Industry Ausenco has formed an alliance with South African-based water treatment specialist Proxa (Pty) Ltd to provide solutions for the coal seam gas (CSG) industry in Queensland. Ausenco CEO, Zimi Meka, said the alliance was established to provide sustainable and innovative solutions for the treatment, handling and beneficial use of water extracted from coal seams in Queensland. “Through the Ausenco-Proxa Water Alliance, we are able to provide a unique service offering to the local CSG industry, combining Proxa’s many years of water treatment design, construction and operations experience and Ausenco’s local coal footprint, project delivery track record and asset management capability,” he said. “Industry predicts approximately 126GL to 280GL of water will be produced from Queensland’s CSG industry each year once the CSG/LNG projects enter production in 2014. Through our alliance’s tried and tested technologies, we can return high yields of quality water from CSG extraction – providing a valuable resource for environment, agricultural and industrial use.” Proxa CEO, Elie Sakhat, said he believed the water challenges and client base in Southern Africa and Australia had a number of similarities and the alliance’s expertise would provide a valuable offering to the Australian market.


JULY 2012 19

industry news New Titles from CSIRO

climate change and competing access to water for livelihoods, industries and ecosystems. It provides an important new historical perspective on this significant region of Australia, exploring how people, rivers and floods have remade each other.

The CSIRO has published two books of interest to those in the water industry. Floods in the Murray-Darling Basin are crucial sources of water for people, animals and plants in this often dry region of inland eastern Australia. Even so, floods have often been experienced as natural disasters, which have led to major engineering schemes. Flood Country explores the contested and complex history of this region, examining the different ways in which floods have been understood and managed, and some of the long-term consequences for people, rivers and ecologies.

In The Value of Water in a Drying Climate, the authors ask: Are we making the best use of water? How do we judge this? Are there trade-offs between upstream and downstream water use? What are these and how are they resolved? Disputes over water allocations are, second to climate change, the dominant environmental and public policy issues of the present era. We are called upon to resolve such controversies using the principles of sustainable development, which integrates ecology, economics and ethics. This timely book establishes a template for all types of resource allocation disputes, whether in Australia or overseas.

The book examines many tensions, ranging from early exchanges between Aboriginal people and settlers about the dangers of floods, through to long-running disputes between graziers and irrigators over damming floodwater, and conflicts between residents and colonial governments over whose responsibility it was to protect townships from floods.

An expert team of ecologists, economists and sustainability experts spent three years interviewing people in the Little Swanport catchment, seeking answers to the optimal allocation of water on the Tasmanian East Coast. The hinterland of this area produces some of the most valuable merino wool in the

Flood Country brings the Murray-Darling Basin’s flood history into conversation with contemporary national debates about

The Value of Water in a Drying Climate

Flood Country: An Environmental History of the Murray-Darling Basin

Tor Hundloe: University of Queensland & Christine Crawford: Tasmanian Aquaculture & Fisheries Institute, University of Tasmania

Emily O’Gorman: University of Wollongong Paperback: August 2012 ISBN: 9780643101586

ISBN: 9780643101609

RRP: AU$49.95

RRP: AU$59.95 Publisher: CSIRO Publishing

Publisher: CSIRO Publishing













Image_Chris_Hall_180x130mm.indd 1

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AGRU Australia Pty. Ltd. NSW,WA & QLD tel: 1300 136 698 Fax: 1300 136 608 e-mail: internet:










● Water and gas management ● Energy industry ● Chemical and heavy industry ● Semiconductor and pharmaceutical industry ● Tank and apparatus construction ● Airplane and ship buliding industry ● Mining Industry ● Landfill and hydraulic engineering ● Building construction and underground engineering 15.02.2012 09:13:41 regular features



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industry news world, the estuary grows mouth-watering oysters, and much of the land is in near-pristine condition, providing valuable biodiversity resources.

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The book is written in an easy-to-read style and gradually evolves to become the story of the everyday life of one small Australian catchment. It is about people living in rural settings in the upper catchment with soils and rainfall suitable for farming; people residing in coastal settlements in the lower catchment; people working and relaxing in the estuary where fishing and aquaculture occur; and people and their business in adjacent towns. Go to for more information.

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National Water Commission CEO, Mr James Cameron, has called for the improved and systematic monitoring of water plans to provide confidence that they are effective in meeting their environmental objectives. Releasing two reports at Ozwater’12 that identify priorities and resources for improving environmental water performance, Mr Cameron said that environmental water management has been evolving in all Australian states and territories, but there is still a way to go. “Getting the appropriate monitoring arrangements in place, focussing on clearly articulated planned ecosystem outcomes, is critical to determining the extent to which water plans are delivering real benefits to the environment and to build community confidence in how well we are using our environmental water,” he said. The improved knowledge and lessons learned as a consequence of monitoring are also fundamental to the effective review of plans and consequent adaptive management.” The Australian Environmental Water Management Review 2012 and its companion framework report present a comprehensive roadmap of Australia’s current environmental water management arrangements and chart progress since the publication of the Commission’s 2010 baseline report. “To get the best environmental outcomes most efficiently we must also look beyond our water-specific management arrangements and consider how water and broader natural resource management policy frameworks can be better coordinated to manage our precious ecosystems,” he said,

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Monitoring the Key to Optimal Environmental Water Management

This action was a key recommendation in the Commission’s 2011 Biennial Assessment and requires the identification of priority actions that can work with environmental watering to achieve ecosystem outcomes. “Finally, the report highlights the need for effective coordination between the multiple agencies involved in managing environmental water and complementary actions, particularly in the Murray-Darling Basin,” Mr Cameron said. “This will ensure that our management of environmental water fully integrates environmental objectives with social, economic and Indigenous water objectives. “The Commission hopes that this report on the progress of Australia’s states and territories in managing their environmental water will encourage a national discussion amongst our jurisdictions and promote better practice.” The Australian Environmental Water Management 2012 Review and the Australian Environmental Water Management Framework Criteria are available on the National Water Commission website at:

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industry news PepsiCo wins the 2012 Stockholm Industry Water Award Global food and beverage company PepsiCo has been named the recipient of the 2012 Stockholm Industry Water Award. PepsiCo has successfully reduced water consumption in its production, conserving nearly 16 billion litres of water in 2011, from a 2006 baseline, through the application of water-saving equipment and technologies, creative recycling and re-use, and by deploying a water management system throughout its manufacturing facilities.

Products. Support. Expertise. When you buy direct from Hach Pacific you will receive access to the largest offering of the highest quality lab and process water analytics as well as outstanding service and application support. Hach is your trusted partner in water analysis.

In addition, by assisting farmers in growing more waterefficient crops, implementing better agricultural practices and irrigation techniques, and by supporting watershed management initiatives, PepsiCo has saved water along its agricultural supply chain. PepsiCo will receive the Stockholm Industry Water Award on 28 August at a ceremony during World Water Week in Stockholm. For more information go to:

Darling Street Stormwater Project is Flowing Along Darling Square, Powlett Reserve and several tree-lined median strips in East Melbourne will thrive well into the future with the completion of the Darling Street stormwater project. Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said this was a world-first inroad stormwater harvest scheme that would help save more than 20 million litres of water and safeguard Darling Street’s surrounding parks and trees.

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“Sustainability is at the core of all thriving cities around the world and this $1.725m project is at the cutting edge of stormwater harvesting technology,” the Lord Mayor said. “We are accustomed to adverse weather conditions of all kinds in Melbourne – whether it be extreme heat or cold, drought or flooding. Darling Street is one of a number of stormwater projects we have invested in across our city to ensure we are prepared when the dry weather hits.” Councillor Cathy Oke, who has responsibility for the Eco City portfolio, said that despite recent rains many of Melbourne’s trees were still feeling the effects of the drought.

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“We will continue to experience extreme weather events. Adapting to climate change is about being smarter with limited resources and it is vital that we do all we can to protect our renowned parks and gardens from any future impacts of drought,” Cr Oke said. “This project allows us to treat and use water that otherwise would be lost to our waterways. When you look at Darling Street and its surrounding green spaces you wouldn’t know that there is a sophisticated stormwater tank at work under the street keeping the area healthy and green.” Melbourne Water has contributed $200,000 towards the Darling Street Stormwater Harvesting Scheme. Construction works on the project began in March this year. Melbourne Water’s Acting General Manager of Waterways, David Ryan, said the project provided the dual benefits of restricting demand on the city’s drinking water supplies and reducing pollution loads into local waterways. “We applaud the City of Melbourne for embracing this approach to reusing stormwater that would otherwise gather pollution from the streets and flow into our rivers and creeks,” said Mr Ryan. “Projects such as this help conserve drinking water, improve local amenity and enhance Melbourne’s status as one of the most liveable cities in the world.”

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industry news Hyder Welcomes New Business Director

systems for the scheme. Design work is set to start in May 2012, with site mobilisation expected to commence in December 2012. The project is expected to be completed by mid-2014.

Hyder Consulting has appointed Lochlan Gibson as the new Business Director for Energy, Water and Environment. Hyder’s Sector Managing Director for Energy, Water and Environment, Peter Morgan, said it was a pleasure to welcome Lochlan to the team.

The Hunter Treatment Alliance is carrying out a $240 million five-year program of works with the Hunter Water Corporation, designed to enable the region to cater for increased population growth and ensure the plants operate reliably and sustainably into the future.

“Lochlan’s appointment supports Hyder’s growing EWE business, and with his experience leading multi-disciplined teams he will be a valuable addition to the business. Lochlan has a reputation for client delivery and this is a good match with our client-centric culture,” he said.

The program includes the upgrade of 13 existing wastewater treatment plants in the Newcastle region. The scope of work varies for each of the wastewater treatment plants but mainly includes the design, procurement, construction and commissioning of the upgraded plants.

Lochlan said his focus will be building the current team and leading them to grow strongly over the next few years. He has over 17 years’ experience, having started his career in environmental science with a focus in oil, gas and energy. Lochlan’s experience includes leading environmental projects in the oil and gas and mining sectors.

IDA Calls for Papers for 2013 World Congress

He also has international experience as a Principal and Partner of IRC North America, an international risk consultant. His work in Australia has taken him to live in Perth, Melbourne, Hobart and Brisbane.

The International Desalination Association (IDA) has issued a Call for Papers for its 2013 World Congress: ‘Desalination: A Promise for the Future’, to be held 20–25 October at the Meijiang Convention and Exhibition Centre in Tianjin, China. Abstracts will be accepted from 1 July 1 to 1 October 1, 2012. Authors whose abstracts are accepted will be notified in December, and the first draft manuscripts will be due 1 February, 2013.

Abigroup Wins Water Recycling Plant Project

The theme of the Congress emphasises the importance of desalination as a sustainable, reliable source to meet the world’s growing water needs. Tracks in the Technical Program will cover:

Abigroup has been awarded a $40 million project by the Hunter Water Corporation to build a new water recycling plant as part of the Hunter Treatment Alliance program of works. The Kooragang Industrial Water Scheme (KIWS) involves constructing a new water reuse plant that will use Micro-filtration Reverse Osmosis processes with a 9ML/day output, including provision for a future expansion to 12ML/day.

• The governance and finance of desalination;

Abigroup’s Ian Hutchinson, who is the Hunter Treatment Alliance Program Manager, said, “I’m very excited that Hunter Water Corporation Board has decided to deliver the KIWS project using the Hunter Treatment Alliance delivery model. We believe that the KIWS team have found the best technical and value-for-money solution available to Hunter Water Corporation for this type of project.” The project includes an on-site education centre building, discharge and return water pipelines and the design, construction and commissioning of all telemetry and control

• Sustainable desalination: environmental impacts and adapting to climate change; • Efficient and effective operations; • Innovative desalination technologies; • Desalination history, culture and industrial archaeology. Submissions will be evaluated on the basis of contribution and impact, originality, accuracy, quality of presentation, and appropriate comparison to related works. Abstracts must be submitted online to the IDA Paper Management Site by logging in at: For questions or assistance, please contact the World Congress Technical Program Manager, Ms Darlene Seta, at:, or for more details visit the IDA website at:


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JULY 2012 27

young water professionals

Ozwater: The YWPs’ Perspective Mike Dixon – YWP National Committee President While many delegates were yet to leave their home states for Sydney, the Young Water Professionals (YWPs) were already in the Ozwater groove, attending our annual workshop on the eve of the main conference. This year the workshop, Doing More With Less: Resource Efficiency in the Water Sector, featured four leaders of our industry – Alan Jones (City of Sydney), Dan Deere (Water Futures), Bill Barber (AECOM) and Phillip Von Huben (SKM). As guest speakers they shared valuable insights into the effects of climate change, population growth, increased energy prices and the innovations to help deal with these issues. What really made the day fun, besides Kylie Cochrane’s excellent facilitation, was a breakout session to solve a hypothetical scenario. One scenario involved the fit-out of a space-craft for a year-long space journey requiring self-sustaining water and energy. This particular scenario produced creative ideas such as energy-generating dance floors, which led to an interesting display of ‘energy-generating’ dance moves! The YWPs are dedicated to becoming our industry’s next leaders and on Day 2 we were out in force for a networking breakfast. Our high-quality guest speakers focussed on professional development and Sydney Water’s CEO, Kevin Young, encouraged YWPs to leap at every opportunity. Kevin’s success story from his experience travelling overseas and being offered a job in the United States could all be traced back to one opportunity... he drove a senior manager to the airport! Andrew Kable, of H2O Talent, then painted a picture of the current job market and imparted the best methods for YWPs to become valuable people in their organisations.

concentrate’ in place of brine. On the subject of community and perception, it was evident there has been a key shift in community consultation. While once only lip service was paid to this, the public are now being truly engaged in many projects. One paper at the conference covered modelling public response to certain projects – a novel concept for our industry. A key win from community speakers was that water demand has not increased since water restrictions have been lifted. The education programs and information campaigns about sustainable water use and related initiatives have certainly influenced behaviour for the longer term. The keynote speech from Herbert Dreiseitl (sculptor, artist and interdisciplinary urban planner) regarding the aesthetic design of urban water projects before engineering solutions was remarkable. The positive effects of this approach in communities were astounding and a significant message for our industry. Herbert’s presentation was certainly different to the norm at Ozwater and indicated how YWPs may need to think and operate in the future. Another key theme was ‘spending $1 now to save $3 later’, much like the old adage ‘a stitch in time saves nine’. This was relevant for many areas including asset management, community engagement, water treatment and operations and maintenance. This is a challenge for our future leaders within the YWP as not only will it be important to deliver projects on time and to budget, it will be equally as important to foresee and integrate the longer term impacts and needs as part of a project.

Reflections and Findings

Mining and the Carbon Tax

Ozwater included 190 technical presentations, plus workshops and associated events. Over the three days of the conference a team of YWPs diligently assessed every technical paper and considered what was good, what wasn’t so good, what was novel, what had been done to death, and who the outstanding presenters were. At the end of each day we discussed our findings and Chitwan Jawanda, Ozwater YWP Chair, and myself were tasked with boiling everyone’s thoughts down to a six-minute presentation for the closing ceremony. I will now share some of our conclusions.

There were one or two papers covering water for mining and the carbon tax; on reflection we agreed these topics may have been under-exposed. The number of gigalitres of mining water required is fast approaching the number required for municipal water; hence, more papers on this topic are required. Fortunately AWA is running several sessions in the coming months around this topic. Also, with the introduction of the Federal Government’s Carbon Tax 51 days after Ozwater, more papers covering the implications of the tax for our industry, and how we can act to minimise our expenditure in the area, would have been welcome.

The official Ozwater theme was Sharing Knowledge, Planning the Future. This was most evident in Kevin Young’s opening speech where he spoke about Sydney Water ‘Looking Back – Thinking Forward’. We found his presentation a great opening and a way to stimulate forward thinking at the conference, as well as providing practical examples of how what we do affects our customers. Several speakers noted the perception of language was important for community engagement and participation. It can be as basic as referring to ‘biosolids’ instead of sludge, or ‘saline

28 JULY 2012 water

Although the Ozwater theme was Sharing Knowledge, Planning the Future, as YWPs we found the foremost topics were regulation, pricing and value for the customer. Obviously regulation and pricing are a focus for many people over the next 12 months and the customer continues to drive business decisions for all of us. On behalf of the YWPs I can say we always look forward to being involved and sharing our thoughts.

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awa news See You at Enviro 2012! Enviro 2012, which takes place in Adelaide 24-26 July, is the 7th event in a series that is Australia’s largest meeting of business and the environment. Every two years, industry, government and the environmental service sectors gather to shape policy and progress on sustainable enterprise. Experts and innovators join with business leaders, practitioners and policy makers to advance Australia’s position as a leader in sustainable business. Visit for details or contact AWA on 02 9436 0055.

Queensland Branch News

This conference, which takes place in Cairns from 20–21 September, will focus on efforts at continual improvement of the essential ingredients of a sustainable water business in North

NEW CORPORATE MEMBERS QLD Corporate Bronze Australian Water Recycling Centre for Excellence Corporate Silver Fuji Clean Australia Pty Ltd

SA Corporate Bronze Blue Sky Water Partners Pty Limited

VIC Corporate Bronze Avivapure Holdings Pty Ltd Rock Solid Group

The Queensland Water Awards have received a record number of nominations across all categories. Good luck to all of the nominees when the winners are announced at the Queensland Gala Dinner & Awards Night on Friday 27 July. Don’t forget to book a table! Email: for more information.

Victorian Branch 50th Annual Dinner

Following on from recent Local Government amalgamations, large scale capital works programs, and managing the impacts of highprofile climatic events, the water industry in North Queensland now hopes to draw breath and focus on the longer term.

AWA welcomes the following new members since the most recent issue of Water Journal:

Queensland Water Awards

Victorian Branch News

Water Business Sustainability in North Queensland Conference

New Members

Queensland and what various industry segments can do to play their part. The program details are being finalised and will be available on the AWA event website soon.

The Victorian Branch of AWA invites you to attend one of the premier events in the Victorian water industry – its 50th Annual Dinner. The dinner will be held at the Palladium at Crown Level 1, Crown Towers, Southbank on Thursday, 30 August 2012 (7pm for pre-dinner drinks). Cost for AWA members is $185; Non-members $230; and for a Corporate Table of 10 $1,800 (available to AWA Corporate Members only). This is a black tie event. Register before 21 August by contacting Victorian Branch Manager Gail Reardon on 03 9235 1416 or email:



ACT S. Houzey NSW L. Botham, G. Duffell, M. Oliver, T. Snape, A. Potter, K. Stallard, T. Leckie, F. Naji, J. Cesar, L. Tenisons, L. Joyner, G. Delfs, K. Murphy NT L. Locksley, D. Annesley, L. Kleeberg QLD A. Djozan, A. Mofidi, A. Priory, D. Froehlich, G. Pinto, E. Kemp, F. Briody, L. von Gynz-Guethle, S. Yance, S. Hepburn, T. Otowa, P. Moua, J. Chapman, S. Knight, M. Ball, G. Dufel, L. Fog, K. Alexander, N. Garson SA K. Morison TAS C. Miller VIC A. Palmer, D. West, M. Holliday, L. Newberry, S. Nye, K. Achilles, H. Watts, R. Lazarescu, G. Allum, G. Dooley, M. Monaghan, K. Berg WA D. Lovelle, F. Tessele, J. Carr, W. Hays, S. Grewal, N. Blight, T. Brom, R. Kettle, D. Osborne, P. Kesners, C. Chua, N. Penney, J. Gherbaz

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YOUNG WATER PROFESSIONALS NSW B. Herulah, R. Pitkanen, W. Whitney QLD A. Silwal, C. Veal, J. Fox, J. Nott, J. Mueller, M. Yii, Y. Huang SA I.B. Usher, S. Drewer VIC A. Downing, D. Warwick, E. Scarbro, L. Locke, R. Schwarzman, S. Pollock, R.P. Cheok WA H. Aboutalebi, S. Vujcich

Save the Date: 31 ocTobEr – 1 novEmbEr 2012



“ThE musT aTTEnd EvEnT for all waTEr lEadErs in ausTralia” HYATT HOTEL CANBERRA

Each year AWA brings together domestic and international water sector leaders to discuss the state of the sector and the critical issues facing it. Both the speakers and those attending are at the top of the profession and leaders in their fields. The Summit provides an unparalleled opportunity to hear from those who are shaping the sector’s future and to network peers who are critical to its success.

EnquiriEs Tel: +61 2 9436 0055 email: Web:

The line-up of speakers in 2012 will be prestigious: Utility and private sector CEOs, Ministers and commentators from Australia, the United States, Europe and Asia will be present to provide their views on challenges and opportunities the sector will face in coming years. The Summit will also include the release of the 2012 AWA/Deloitte State of the Water Sector Survey 2012.

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awa news 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: July

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Sun, 01 Jul 2012 – Thu, 05 Jul 2012

Singapore International Water Week 2012, Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Tue, 03 Jul 2012

ACT Water Matters Conference, Rydges Hotel Lakeside, ACT

Wed, 04 Jul 2012

ACT & Southern NSW Regional Operations Workshop, Rydges Hotel Lakeside, ACT

Wed, 04 Jul 2012

WA Technical Event: Water Efficiency, Perth, WA

Thu, 05 Jul 2012

QLD Cairns Technical Meeting, Cairns, QLD

Wed, 11 Jul 2012

QLD Mine Water Management: Technical Meeting, Brisbane, QLD

Sun, 22 Jul 2012 – Tue, 24 Jul 2012

2012 LGSA Water Management Conference, Wagga Wagga, NSW

Tue, 24 Jul 2012 – Thu, 26 Jul 2012

Enviro 2012, Adelaide, SA

Tue, 24 Jul 2012 – Fri, 27 Jul 2012

Coal Seam Gas – Workshop and Panel Discussion, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane

Wed, 25 Jul 2012

TAS Technical Seminar, Hobart, TAS

Wed, 25 Jul 2012

WA Water Industry Lunch, Hilton Hotel, Perth, WA

Thu, 26 Jul 2012

NSW Seminar – Asset Management & Ageing Infrastructure, UTS Aerial Function Centre, NSW

Fri, 27 Jul 2012

TAS Technical Seminar, Launceston, TAS

Fri, 27 Jul 2012

QLD Gala Dinner & Awards Night 2012, Brisbane, QLD

Fri, 03 Aug 2012

NSW Heads of Water Gala Dinner 2012, SCEC, Sydney, NSW

Wed, 08 Aug 2012

QLD Industry Briefing: Technical Meeting, Brisbane, QLD

Tue, 14 Aug 2012 – Wed, 15 Aug 2012

WICD Skills Workshop, Darwin, NT

Wed, 15 Aug 2012


Fri, 17 Aug 2012 – Sat, 18 Aug 2012

SA Branch Conference & Operators’ Forum 2012, Glenelg, SA

Tue, 21 Aug 2012 – Wed, 22 Aug 2012

Coal Seam Gas – The Science, Sydney & Brisbane

Tue, 28 Aug 2012

NSW YWP Mentoring Breakfast 2012, Sydney, NSW

Thu, 30 Aug 2012

Vic Branch 50th Annual Dinner, Melbourne, VIC

Thu, 06 Sep 2012

ACT Water Leaders Dinner 2012, Boathouse by the Lake, ACT

Wed, 12 Sep 2012 – Fri, 14 Sep 2012

National Operations Conference, Darwin, NT

Wed, 12 Sep 2012

QLD Futurism & Long Term Trends for the Water Industry: Monthly Technical Meeting, Brisbane, QLD

Thu, 20 Sep 2012 – Fri, 21 Sep 2012

NTH QLD Regional Conference, Cairns, QLD

Mon, 24 Sep 2012 Water Distribution Systems Analysis Conference 2012, – Thu, 27 Sep 2012 Adelaide, SA

Call: 1800 207 009 Email: Web:

32 JULY 2012 water

Wed, 26 Sep 2012 – Fri, 28 Sep 2012

Small Water & Wastewater Systems National Conference, Newcastle, NSW

Wed, 26 Sep 2012 – Fri, 28 Sep 2012

Water NZ 2012 Annual Conference & Expo, Rotorua, NZ

Thu, 27 Sep 2012

Catchment Management Seminar, Country Club Resort, Launceston, TAS

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JULY 2012 33

Ozwater’12 Special Report

Ozwater’12: ‘Sharing Knowledge, Planning the Future’ Report by Clare Porter, Diane Wiesner and Frank Bishop Eight keynotes, nine streams, more than 150 papers, 70 posters, 14 workshops, a full trade exhibition, a new smartphone application and a plethora of meetings, connections and celebrations are just some of the activities that occurred over the three days of Ozwater’12. It’s no wonder delegates, exhibitors, presenters, volunteers and staff were all exhausted by the end of the program! A summary of highlights is presented here as a reminder to those who were there, and as an overview for those unable to attend.

Day 1 – Opening and Keynotes The Opening Ceremony engaged the audience with a dynamic dance, illusion and magic routine, the prelude to the opening address by Peter Robinson, past AWA President and MC for the day. Peter welcomed delegates to Ozwater’12 in AWA’s 50th Anniversary and invited Russell Dawson to give a traditional – and not-so-traditional – Welcome to Country. David Barnes, Chair of the Ozwater’12 Committee, reflected on the great changes in the water industry in the past 50 years and outlined some of the major developments in technology, science and engineering, our understanding of water-related issues, and the expectations of the community. He challenged the audience to imagine what the future will hold for the water sector in a further 50 years’ time. AWA’s CEO Tom Mollenkopf acknowledged some of the challenges the industry had faced in the previous 12 months, including floods, rising water prices and structural reforms. He stressed the need for good science and the importance of generating value, and reminded attendees of AWA’s desire to work with individuals and organisations on collaborative partnerships that contribute to our water future. Significant this year was the celebration of AWA’s 50th anniversary and recognition of all that the organisation has achieved. Lucia Cade, AWA President, outlined the first meeting in 1961 and the first National Conference in Canberra in 1964 (with 64 delegates), the first issue of Water Journal (published as a bridge between theory and practice in 1974) and the first foray into training and professional development, also in the early ’70s. She acknowledged the key leadership of AWA CEOs, Chris Davis and Tom Mollenkopf, and the neverending enthusiasm and dedication of AWA’s volunteers. Lucia also paid tribute to AWA’s former Technical Editor Bob Swinton, who passed away in April. Bob had been an AWA member since 1964 and had been involved with the Journal since 1974. Lucia praised Bob’s ability to listen to a mass of information and distill it into something concise and meaningful.

The first keynote presenter was Kevin Young, Managing Director of Sydney Water, with a presentation titled ‘Looking Back – Thinking Forward’. Kevin outlined the historical trend in the water sector of focusing on engineering projects and engineering skills, and highlighted some innovative steps taken by a previous MD at Hunter Water, Dr John Paterson, whom he called ‘a revolutionary leader’. Dr Paterson challenged the status quo and approached the running of Hunter Water with fresh eyes. He travelled to the US for best-practice examples and called for new talent in a full-page advertisement in the Sydney Morning Herald, using language such as: ‘New talent wanted! It’s time for change, come and join me, we can do fantastic things!’ Dr Paterson highlighted the role of women in the workforce and, among other achievements, introduced a user-pays system (overcoming both community and employee concerns), achieving a 30 per cent drop in water use in 1992. However, the main theme of Kevin’s presentation was about driving value for customers, with a projection ahead of embarking on what may seem simple but is incredibly difficult – an era of ‘value to customers’ and ‘value water solutions’ that will require a very real paradigm shift for the water industry. He outlined some of the challenges of social media and encouraged the water sector to improve on their listening and engagement skills using a variety of methods. Finally, he outlined the opportunity the water sector has to work with the community on affordable water solutions to ensure our future liveable cities. Hugh Mackay, Social Researcher, highlighted some of the broader social scenarios that have developed in Australia over the last few decades, including falling rates of marriage, higher rates of divorce, the increase in the average age of mothers and the falling birth rate to below replacement rate. More pertinent to the water sector is the phenomenon of the shrinking household, with the fastest-growing demographic being the single person household and the expectation that by 2026 a third of all Australian homes will house just one person. Hugh also reflected on the social climate since the late ’90s, suggesting that many big-picture scenarios such as climate change and the global economy brought about a sense of powerlessness and caused disengagement and a shifting of focus to inward, more-localised agendas that could be controlled. We obsessed about renovations, our backyards and cosmetic surgery, and racked up record levels of personal and household debt. News and current affairs programs lost ratings and dropped out of the top 10 television shows. Our consumption of tranquillisers and anti-depressants tripled in early 2000. Then, in about 2006–2007, the tide turned. There was a sense of fresh hope, of collective action and a high sense of expectation. But quickly, it sank again into another trough, bringing about the current feelings of uncertainty, disengagement and more conservative thinking.

Kevin Young, Sydney Water.

36 JULY 2012 water

So what does all this mean for the water sector? Hugh advocated that in turbulent times communities need leadership and inspiration, especially from the natural resources sector. However, he warned that given the contemporary mood people are very cynical and there is a need for transparency, clarity, honesty, easy-to-understand information, and a shared understanding of where we’re going and why we need to go there.

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Ozwater’12 Special Report Day 2 – Keynotes

Day 3 – Keynotes

The Plenary Session on Wednesday 9 May featured two international keynotes – Herbert Dreiseitl from Germany and Xavier LeFlaive from the OECD, based in France. The proceedings were opened by James Cameron, CEO of the National Water Commission (NWC), who provided an overview of the Commission’s role and its goals and priorities. A number of the NWC’s initiatives have provided the basis for improved science and policy, particularly in areas such as water trading, groundwater management, urban water reform, recycled water, stormwater harvesting and managed aquifer recharge. Subsequent speakers paid tribute to the Australian water science and policy leadership that the Commission has fostered.

Jodieann Dawe, CEO of WQRA, opened this session and introduced the first keynote speaker, Professor Paul Greenfield, Chairman of ANSTO and the International Water Centre. Professor Greenfield’s chosen topic was ‘The Inherent Challenges to Achieving Sustainability in the Water Sector’. He began by pointing out a common failing among humans to identify problems such as overly heavy rainfall as a ‘crisis’, provoking an immediate exaggerated but invariably short-term response. The more useful and holistic environmental outcome would have been a slower, more considered and sustained response over time.

In an uplifting presentation, Herbert Dreiseitl provided a picture tour of Ecological Waterscapes, using examples of what has been achieved in cities in Europe and is being followed elsewhere, including in China and Singapore. The lesson he sought to instill was that it is possible to design and engineer cities where intelligent water use is planned so that it achieves social as well as environmental benefits. He pointed out that such dynamic integration of water systems involving stormwater harvesting, filtration and treatment, while at the same time creating a pleasant social environment, should be an integral and integrated part of future urban planning. His key message: infrastructure doesn’t have to be ugly – it can incorporate aesthetics, the environment and the biosphere. Xavier LeFlaive provided an insight into the OECD’s ‘Water Outlook to 2050’. He began by encapsulating the OECD’s approach to water, which it sees as a major driver for economic growth. The key issues identified for concern are water pricing, allocation across communities, governance and water quality (including pollution). His talk drew from the recent OECD report (available at the OECD website), where the focus was on describing the baseline scenario for global water resources – that is, a situation where the current supply, accessibility and stresses remained the same in 2050, a situation the OECD considers undesirable. Its aim is to trigger a policy response that is geared to avoiding the baseline future with a focus on four main areas: impacts of climate change, biodiversity issues, water and the environment, and health. The water chapter covers demand issues, water stress, supply depletion, qualitative issues such as pollution of rivers and lakes, and access to water. It predicts a 55 per cent increase in demand by 2050 and points to India and Africa as particular trouble spots. These countries, together with China, are also likely to be most at risk from chemical runoff from agriculture, increased nitrification and eutrophication of waterways. Yet the OECD considers many of the problems will be site-specific, which will provide opportunities for adaptation. Building flexibility into planning for potential climate change impacts on water supplies will also be important.

Xavier LeFlaive, OECD, France.

Looking to Australia’s water supply future with a similar stance, Professor Greenfield proceeded to show that future sustainable development requires a long-term commitment to exploring different options for guaranteeing supply; a regime that incorporates wastewater management, treatment and reuse as well as maintaining aquatic ecosystem health. The South-East Queensland Water Grid was cited as an example of sustainable water-use planning, a project undertaken in the context of under-investment in infrastructure over the long term. The SE Water Grid plan involved construction of new dams, new treatment plants, a desalination plant and delivery of substantial water recycling capacity. A side benefit to the Grid plan was a significant reduction in the proportions of nitrogen and phosphorus nutrients discharged from the catchment into Moreton Bay – an example of an holistic environmental benefit from this approach to infrastructure planning. Resource recovery in the context of achieving sustainability in the water sector was next addressed by Professor Greenfield. He argued that gains from the attempts at recovering resources undertaken with domestic wastewater were low and could be delayed until it became more worthwhile. His suggestions included lower base licensing costs (not economically viable under current arrangements), required economies of scale, and the need for water utilities to recognise their limitations when looking to market products other than water. Finally, Professor Greenfield talked about the need for effective monitoring and reporting systems tied more closely to research and management – at present, the links are not working. And his concluding comment? That future sustainability goals are getting harder to achieve. The second keynote to speak at this Thursday Plenary was Richard Nagel, General Manager, West Basin Municipal Water District in California. Richard provided a broad sweep of the district for which he is responsible and its approach to planning for water supply. As part of a comprehensive Water Recycling Plan to 2020, and with popular support, effort has been directed towards delivery of recycled water of variable quality to meet the needs of a diverse range of customers, ranging from agriculture to industry to people. Richard claims that water reuse is the way to a sustainable future. Technology has brought the cost of seawater desalination from 30 times the cost of imported water in 1947 to 1.8 times the cost of imported water in 2011. A community poll in his region in the US in 2002 found that 70 per cent favoured saltwater desalination. Richard’s vision for 20 years hence is Direct Potable Reuse. Finally, closing off the keynotes, Mary Ann Dickinson, President and CEO of the Alliance for Water Efficiency in the US, outlined the good (savings on big infrastructure investments, savings in energy and greenhouse emissions, labelling), the bad (verification unfunded, demand is hardening, drains are blocked with low flows) and the ugly (revenue loss, water rates rise anyway, programs are cut after heavy rains) in water efficiency programs in North America.


JULY 2012 37

Ozwater’12 Special Report

Technical Paper & Poster Highlights The Conference featured a number of technical paper presentations that examined different issues following on from the Queensland floods of early 2011, ranging from those concerning disaster planning and mitigation to management of treatment plants and improvements to community engagement. One of the first papers aired on Day 1 was delivered by Simon Toze from CSIRO, who spoke about ‘Pathogen Decay in a Reservoir Impacted by the January 2011 Floods’. The decay of selected pathogens (Salmonella enterica, Campylobacter jejuni, adenovirus and Cryptosporidium parvum) and the microbial indicator E. coli, present in samples taken from Wivenhoe Dam, were tested to determine the rate at which they decayed using diffusion chambers. Toze pointed out that using diffusion chambers precludes the role that sunlight would have on the organisms – i.e., light cannot penetrate the chambers. The tests showed that the extreme flood events with their associated turbulence, high sediment loads and mixing, which would significantly impact water quality, did not have a major impact on the decay of most pathogens. However, comparisons with decay rates measured in the dam prior to the flood event showed that changes in water quality did influence the decay of some organisms, increasing the decay of Campylobacter at depth, but slowing the decay of Cryptosporidium and adenovirus. Nonetheless, Toze concluded that all the organisms showed 1-log decay times of 46 days or less, indicating that natural treatment systems within the dam could still be relied on to do their job. A joint paper by students at Adelaide University and delivered by Ronnie Ling in the Undergraduate Water Prize judging provided some useful information for water managers seeking to better target consumers with rewards for saving water. The paper, titled ‘Optimum Use of Subsidies for Reducing Domestic Water Consumption’, focused on rebate programs in South Australia, specifically those targeting installation of dual-flush toilets and rainwater tanks and those associated with showerhead replacement. The goal was to investigate the trade-off that exists between how much a policymaker is willing to spend and the volume of water savings that can be achieved for different rebate policy combinations. To this end the team developed a framework to identify Pareto efficient rebate policy that maximises program yield while minimising cost. A simulation model of uptake, water savings and cost was designed to identify optimal combinations of rebate levels. Domestic water use at the householder level was simulated using behavioural stochastic end-use simulation. Application of the framework showed that a Pareto efficient policy mix could have achieved the same water-saving outcomes by reducing the rebate incentive for the dual-flush toilets and rainwater tanks and increasing the incentive for low-flow showerheads. In other words, use of a comparable modelling scenario in advance of future

38 JULY 2012 water

demand management plans would provide a more cost-effective and targeted use of available funds, as well as a guide to where water savings can be best achieved. Further, the team argued that the framework developed is sufficiently robust to allow for optimal policy combinations to be identified for cost or water-saving yield targets or at levelised unit cost targets comparable to supply augmentation. Sensitivity analysis demonstrates that optimal policy combinations are extremely sensitive to the inclusion of washing machine and low-flow showerhead rebates in a rebate program. By considering consumer uptake, this framework extends beyond traditional leastcost planning methods to allow for ex-ante estimation of yield. Chris Hertle of GHD presented a joint paper with Jurg Keller of AWMC, titled ‘Adapting to Climate Change using Low Energy, Fit-for-Purpose Water Recycling Systems’. With a goal of identifying the most promising energy-efficient, innovative methods for treating wastewater, a number of treatment options was considered for shortlisting for subsequent bench and pilot testing. Regardless of the final use of the water, the technologies were required to have some form of organic carbon removal, nitrogen and phosphorus recovery/removal potential, and the ability to control pathogens and viruses. • To achieve organic carbon removal, two types of anaerobic treatment systems were considered – mainstream processes such as anaerobic ponds, high-rate anaerobic reactors and anaerobic MBRs; and side-stream anaerobic digestion as required for concentrated wastes. • Significant removal of nitrogen is a high-energy intensive process, as many Australian plants are finding. The Anammox process and various tweakings of its operation have been used with some success, particularly in Europe. A novel alternative to achieve nitrogen removal is the Denitrifying Anaerobic Methane Oxidation (DAMO) process, which relies on the oxidation of ammonium to nitrite and/or nitrate, but uses methane as the carbon source for denitrification. • Three suggestions were made to achieve phosphorus recovery: biological phosphorus removal, chemical precipitation and recovery as struvite from anaerobic sludge dewatering liquor. • Pathogen and virus control can be achieved with lowpressure membrane processes or a combination of dissolved air flotation/filtration (DAF) with biological activated carbon, with or without UV or ozone depending on the Class of recycled water required. Kamal Fernando from NSW Public Works in a paper on ‘Brackish Groundwater: A Viable Community Water Supply Option?’ discussed the success of reverse osmosis technologies in making it possible for a small number of communities in Australia to make use of brackish groundwater to meet their

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Ozwater’12 Special Report water supply needs. Yet the process is not always straightforward, due to problems with the quality of the initial supply source perhaps having high levels of minerals and/or high salinity, the availability of skilled personnel to service the plant, disposal of brine concentrated wastes, and costs. Kamal discussed the problems faced by a water authority drawing from the experiences of communities where such treatment systems have been set up. Among the key issues to be considered once a decision is made to access a brackish water source are: location of the borefield so that infiltration of runoff waters from adjacent dwellings does not occur, integration with existing systems, brine disposal, choice of the most appropriate treatment system and its commissioning and maintenance, power supply (electricity and/or solar power boosting) and environmental impacts. Critical to the ongoing success of adopting this form of water supply option is operation and maintenance. Whether or not existing staff in the community can adequately and safely maintain the plant is important in deciding whether or not to take up a full service contract with the installer of the associated treatment plant. The most frequent complaint received by wastewater service providers and utilities concerns odours from sewers. In a paper titled ‘Controlling an Environmental Nuisance: Odours,’ Phil de Groot and Alice Connell of TRILITY in SA, discussed ways in which their team addressed smells from the sludge lagoons associated with the Victor Harbor Wastewater Treatment Plant. Water capping was found to be the most immediate effective method for containing the odours. The installation of underdrains in the existing lagoons and the decommissioning of sludge thickening were found to be the most efficient and cost-effective long-term solution. While this reduced odours by 20 per cent and was deemed acceptable by the residents, continual improvements in the operation of the lagoon system is occurring – a solution the EPA is keen to see, as well as continued improvements in communication with community members. A paper on a plant trial at a power station, ‘Water Recycling Using Membrane Distillation’, prepared by a team including researchers from Victoria University, City West Water, Integrated Water, GMWWater and Water Quality Research Australia, presented the results of work undertaken to demonstrate the potential for a membrane distillation (MD) process to exploit waste heat from heavy industry to treat saline effluent, producing high quality water for on-site reuse without an increase in greenhouse gas emissions. Importantly, this paper provides a conclusion to work initially presented at Ozwater’11, where a series of industries in Melbourne’s western suburbs were examined to identify opportunities where membrane distillation could treat effluent to reduce discharge volumes to sewer and recover water of potable quality, driven by an inexpensive, low energy demand process. The project operated a 240L/day capacity pilot plant for a threemonth plant trial at Ecogen Energy’s Newport Power Station, a natural gas-fired 500MW electricity generator. The pilot plant treated effluent from an ion exchange resin demineralisation plant of approximately 3000mg/L TDS, by employing the power station’s waste heat as the driving force for the MD process. During the trial, permeate flux was relatively consistent up to reject concentrations of 62,300mg/L, after which flux decline was observed. The maximum water recovery achieved in the final phase of the trial was 92.8per cent with a reject concentration of 71,400mg/L and salt rejection of 99.97 per cent. Overall, it could be concluded that the membrane distillation process performed well and its results were consistent. It is encouraging to see a system such as this demonstrate that waste heat at input temperatures as low as 30°C can achieve a permeate flux of 3–4L/hr/m2 of highly desalinated water.

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INVITATION TO OZWATER’13 The Call for Papers is now out for Ozwater’13, ‘Competing for Water in a Climate of Change’, which will be held in Perth, WA, from 7–9 May 2013.

Au St R A l i A’S i n t E R n At i o n A l WAt E R C o n f E R E n C E A n d E x h i b i t i o n


Photo courtesy of Water Corporation, photography by Corey Littlefair

“ComPEting foR WAtER in A ClimAtE of ChAngE” The Australian water sector has been at the forefront of reform and adaption for many years, but cannot rest on its laurels. New challenges constantly emerge and the sector is now particularly tested as it grapples with climate change, extreme events, competition for scarce water resources and capital, skills shortages, and community issues such as indigenous water rights and concern over rising water prices. The growth of the mining industry, its demands for water and the problems of mine water management will also need to be dealt with, as will issues of agricultural water use, the environment’s own rights to water. Ozwater ‘13 as the national largest water-focused conference provides the opportunity to explore these issues.

CAll foR PAPERS oPEnS mondAy 4 JunE 2012 The Australian Water Association (AWA) is calling for submissions to present papers for platform or poster presentation at Australia’s leading water event – Ozwater ‘13. You are invited to submit an extended abstract that presents a challenging and practical perspective on any of the themes that have been identified for this conference. The Ozwater ‘13 Committee hopes that a wide range of people with diverse interests in water will come together and share their views to encourage innovation and development through the exchange of ideas. Competition for water is a major and growing world issue. In Australia it has a variety of facets with sub-sets occurring in different states or regions, adding greatly to its complexity. As the nation grows and climate change increases its grip on already scarce water resources in many areas, more and more sectors are making their voices heard in demanding their share of the pool.

Perhaps now more than ever it is essential that effective communications and knowledge sharing take place so we can plan responsibly and with vision to achieve the best outcomes for the industry, our stakeholders and customers. In doing this we also need to maintain high levels of coordination and togetherness among all the players. Ozwater ’13 will be the perfect forum to air and discuss many of these pressing issues, and I urge you to become involved.

Conference themes are: Water Technology; Climate Resilient Water; Mining and Resources Industry Water Management; Operations and Asset Management; Institutions, Customers and Community; and Water Business. Prominent among these is the resources sector which is surging ahead in several states, not the least in Western Australia where projects valued at about $307 billion are under construction, committed or under consideration. The sector itself has taken up the challenges involved in the business of providing water supplies and is working with government agencies in some areas of WA to plan solutions. Trying to satisfy all of these demands is a huge issue for our industry which is also facing a continuing round of change in a diverse range of other areas. Partner

Putting aside conference business for a moment, the people of Western Australia are known for their hospitality and will give visitors a warm welcome backed by world class attractions including spectacular scenery, a highly regarded wine industry and superb cuisine. Sue Murphy Chair, Ozwater ’13 Committee

association Partner

PrinciPal sPonsor

Presented by

Abstracts and workshop submissions are due Thursday 30 August 2012.

Groundwater Workshop Sponsored by the National Water Commission (NWC) and chaired by Chris Davis, National Water Commissioner Chris Davis opened this packed session, drawing attention to the connectedness of surface and groundwater resources, a natural process that has not always been recognised, and the problems that can arise if there is contamination of groundwater. The key message that the NWC wishes to convey is that it considers improvements in groundwater management to be a high priority; a commitment to promoting the sustainable management of groundwater and associated support to groundwater management plans and community education. The first speaker, Matt Kendall, explained how the NWC intended to address the issue of managing the connectedness of groundwater resources in the context of the goal of achieving water security, sustainability, facilitating water trading, better and more inclusive policy decision making, monitoring and metering, and improved water accounting. Among the interesting data cited in support of the focus on groundwater was that it constitutes 17 per cent of Australia’s available water (from recharge and runoff) and that this resource is used by 32 per cent of Australian for consumptive use. It is also the only source of water in many parts of Australia. The importance of the Great Artesian Basin was also mentioned. The next speaker was Rick Evans from SKM, who spoke about managing the connectedness of groundwater and surface resources. In explaining connectivity, Evans explained that it was not always easy for people to understand and accept that while they might draw water from the hill above a river where they could see water flowing, there was an inevitable time lag before the aquifer from which they were drawing their needs would be replenished by movement of the water as it moved slowly and unseen from the river. The issue of licensing of extractions and pricing differences between surface and groundwater for water trading purposes were identified as problems that those involved in the political process failed to grasp, as vested interests refused to accept the interaction between surface and groundwater. Evans concluded by talking about planned conjunctive use. He referred to spontaneous conjunctive use, which does occur; however, this could be improved by planned conjunctive use. Planning for combined

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Ozwater’12 Special Report use of surface and groundwater would increase yield per megalitre, despite the different characteristics of surface and groundwater. However, to gain the benefits of planned conjunctive use, essential to meet future water needs, would require changes to institutional structures. Mike Williams from NSW Office of Water adopted a stategovernment perspective in addressing the issue of groundwater management. The issue in NSW has been in deciding what is an acceptable level of drawdown of groundwater by users such as irrigators. This has implications for storage levels in accessible aquifers, groundwater-dependent ecosystems and the quality of the groundwater. Williams chose to argue his case with an example, that of water trading in the Lower Namoi Valley where groundwater entitlements had been reduced so as not to exceed sustainable diversion limits. Compensation was available to those landowners/irrigators affected, but many remain dissatisfied and have moved to legal action.

Matt Kendall, from the National Water Commission.

Neil Power, Chair of the National Water Working Group, was the final speaker in this morning session. He drew attention to recent improvements in groundwater interest, management and understanding, many as a result of the work and active promotion of groundwater by the NWC – improvements in groundwater regulation to achieve a nationally compatible market is a goal, together with regular monitoring and review as well as looking at water accounting and forecasting. In relation to future goals for the Groundwater Policy Group, Power committed the members to providing continued support to the National Water Initiative, trying to reconcile and align differences between the states in definition and management and, finally, new guidelines for groundwater and surface water connectivity. The afternoon session continued the theme and was pursued by the NWC looking at special challenges, emerging priorities and future directions. Speakers included Craig Simmons from the National Centre for Groundwater Training and Research. Understandably, Simmons concentrated on the role of education in building scientific expertise in groundwater management. He was followed by Peter Dillon, Stream Leader – Recycling and Diversified Supply from CSIRO. Dillon’s focus was on managed aquifer recharge, and the opportunities it presents for storage and treatment, especially for recycling water, including that harvested from stormwater capture. Tony Boston from BoM provided an overview of BoM’s role in collecting and consolidating rainfall and runoff information, and its significance in providing data on recharge rates and volumes to groundwater. Peter Hyde from the Murray-Darling Basin Authority closed the presenters’ section by updating the audience on progress in finalising and implementing policy for the Murray-Darling Basin with multiple stakeholders, competing interests and political-institutional barriers.

Small Water and Wastewater Systems

SWWS National Conference 26-28 September 2012 Newcastle, NSW Are you up to date in your knowledge of decentralised water systems? Do you want the opportunity to learn more and share your experiences? Decentralised water systems are re-emerging as long term solutions to water scarcity and constraints of the centralised approach. Hear from leaders in the field including Robert Siegrist, Joe Van Belleghem and Ted Gardner. Make sure YOU are up to date and join us at AWA’s Small Water and Wastewater Systems National Conference in Newcastle.

Register now at

Gold Sponsor


JULY 2012 41

Ozwater’12 Special Report Water Quality Research Australia (WQRA) Workshop What’s Bugging You? The Emergence of Pathogen X WQRA CEO Jodieann Dawe opened this workshop. Andrew Bath of Water Corporation, David Cunliffe from SA Health, Mark O’Donohue from National Centre of Excellence in Water Recycling, and Martha Sinclair of Monash University, provided a short overview of their backgrounds and perspectives on recent developments in drinking water quality management and policy. Of these, possibly O’Donohue provided the most controversial insight to his views by aligning himself firmly in the camp supporting the value of guidelines as flexible and continually evolving documents, setting targets for meeting drinking water quality goals while allowing for the easy incorporation of new scientific knowledge as it emerged. He argued that such an approach via essentially a ‘living’ documentary process has multiple advantages over the more limited and constrained environment that pertains when mandatory regulations are imposed. The single international guest on the discussion panel was Dr Joan Rose from Michigan University in the US. A public health microbiologist by trade, Rose has a long history of contributions to the field of quantitative microbial risk assessment practice. Over the past eight years, her work in Michigan has centred on recreational water quality. Rose described some of the new monitoring and genotyping techniques now being used for these purposes: chip technology, nanogenomics and analyses undertaken in combination with data from epidemiology. This data is identifying the increasing role of multiple forms and types of viruses, seasonal patterns of their occurrence and the ease of spread from animals to other species. Recombinant species with altered resistance to disinfecting agents are now beginning to appear. Attention was drawn to the need for more information on the shedding of viruses by various species. More data is needed on microbial source transport routes (especially in regard to integrated water systems and non point sources), tracking and survival, dose response and transmission routes between species. The discussion was followed with questions from the audience seeking to tease out issues associated with monitoring and testing to identify causal agents.

WASH Workshop Water Safety Planning – The Planning Is In Your Hands! WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Developing Communities) Specialist Network hosted an informative interactive workshop on Water Safety Plans for developing communities in the Asia-Pacific Region. The workshop engaged 30 participants who brought knowledge and experience from a range of water professionals, including regulators from NSW and Victoria, American Water Works Association representatives, consultants and utility staff. A Water Safety Plan (WSP) is a comprehensive, systematic hazard assessment and risk management approach that looks at the entire water supply system from catchment to consumer. The approach is endorsed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as part of the Framework for Safe Drinking Water under the Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality (2004, 2011). The objectives of the workshop were to: • Provide an overview of WSP tools;

42 JULY 2012 water

David Sutherland, WHO. • Identify successes and challenges in the implementation of WSPs in developing communities, using case studies from East Timor, the Philippines, Vietnam, Nepal and the NT; • Workshop through three distinctive areas that challenge WSP adoption; and, • Provide opportunities for Australian water professionals to become further involved in WSPs.

Presentations Presenters offered an interesting combination of insights and experiences. These included case studies on grass-roots efforts at building capacity on developing and implementing WSPs in a number of countries. They also outlined international program initiatives and provided an opportunity for feedback and support. David Sutherland (Regional Coordinator for the AsiaPacific Region, WHO, Bangkok and Thailand) provided an overview of WHO’s global WSP initiative, with particular regard to WSPs in the Asia-Pacific Region. David explained how the WSPs are key mechanisms in the long-term partnerships between WHO and agencies such as AusAID and regional development banks such as the Asian Development Bank. Mien Ling Chong (WSP Network Coordinator, WHO, Manila and Philippines) outlined the development and role of the Asia-Pacific WSP Network. The objectives of the network are to effectively advocate WSP, communicate with target groups, and research and facilitate implementation. The network portal contains information on developing and implementing a WSP with training modules, tools and case studies. To access the portal visit David and Mien Ling outlined the various ways Australian experts can get involved, such as in project design, training trainers, advisory support, individual assessment and recommendations, research and study tours. Kathryn Green (Project Manager Water Plans, Power and Water Corporation, NT) provided practical case studies from her work on water safety planning in small rural water supplies in Nepal through Engineers Without Borders, and in the Northern Territory through funding from the National Water Commission and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Regional Services. This included the adoption of the Community Water Planner and Field Guide in remote Indigenous communities and the challenges, successes and lessons learnt from both projects. Asoka Jayaratne (Water Quality Specialist, Yarra Valley Water/WHO, Melbourne, Australia) also provided case studies that explored challenges such as catchment management issues where no single body has responsibility for management. These were drawn from experiences with urban water utilities in Vietnam, India and the Philippines, and provided a different perspective on working with water providers and utilities in urban contexts.

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Ozwater’12 Special Report Technical Challenges The two technical questions put to the group were: 1. What are the most difficult aspects of WSPs? 2. How would you clarify and promote the links between WSPs and other management functions? The technical group felt that there needed to be clearly defined linkages between how a WSP integrates with system design and implementation plans. This may be achieved through aligning standards of design with best practice risk management principles. Identifying common goals within an organisation was also suggested to really tie together different business units working on different areas of WASH. People need to understand they are all working towards one common goal and be able to see how their collaborative effort on WSP is upheld. Two-way communication is essential to knowledge-share and creates a WSP that can be effective and reviewed appropriately.

Organisational Challenges The two organisational challenges were: 1. How do you create a culture/understanding of WSPs across the organisation? 2. How can water suppliers influence external stakeholders to ensure that source waters are protected, and what factors help this process? The group that tackled the organisational challenges suggested that there needs to be continuous commitment from senior management and stakeholders on adopting the WSP approach. Recognition of advances in WSP work within organisations, and from project partners, would help overcome these challenges. Another approach is to link health outcomes to technical issues, and to empower people to make those health-technical linkages – a bottom-up approach to feed back into policy.

Water Management Law & Policy Workshop Sustainable Development in Water Management: Regulatory vs. Market Approach Professor Jennifer McKay, Director of the Centre for Comparative Water Policies and Laws, University of SA, and Deanne McDonald developed a workshop with the support of AWA’s Kim Wuyts and several members of the group. The aim of the group is to remove roadblocks to administration of sustainable development laws and policies in Australia in relation to freshwater. The workshop brought together a diverse range of people from private and public sectors and analysed the key regulatory, legislative and political challenges associated with sustainable urban water management, and how policy approaches can assist or hinder outcomes. Professor McKay presented an overview of the two possible models in sustainable development in water management: market driven and regulatory driven.

Market Approach Martin Van Beuren, Director, PwC, Sydney, discussed the benefits of a market-driven approach to sustainable development in water management. He questioned the logic behind regulating water differently to other commodities; however, he agreed that a balanced approach is needed. The delegates identified a number of roadblocks for a purely market approach. In general, the institutional settings are not prepared and are too fragmented.

1. What are the relative merits of accreditation (voluntary compliance requested by suppliers) versus regulation (compliance required by government)?

Infrastructure and scale are key issues. For example, many multi-unit dwellings are not metered. Market approaches may be appropriate for some infrastructure, but not for others, depending on the scale. Private companies will be unlikely to bear the proprietary risk, especially as governments will probably continue to invest in supply augmentation. On the behavioural side, absence of frequent reminders of usage impedes behavioural change. Smart metering has not been implemented and may not even be ready for rollout. There is also likely to be ongoing public and political resistance to greater use of markets because of concerns about consumer protection – i.e. market failure due to private suppliers having monopoly power to charge monopoly rents.

2. How do you best enforce regulation?

Regulatory Approach

This group raised some important questions: What regulations actually work? How is compliance measured? They discussed the role regulation and regulatory bodies would play and whether these bodies are suitable to achieve the objectives of wide-scale adoption and implementation across developing communities. It was felt that having a range of regulatory bodies, as in Australia, may not suit overseas situations. Enforcing regulation can be difficult and costly; suppliers must understand how to comply, and also have the resources to be able to comply with regulation. It was recommended that WSPs be enforced through publicised supplier statements rather than fines and to use incentives rather than punishments – “carrots rather than sticks”. For example, in the South Pacific awards are given to small organisations that meet requirements.

Tom Plant from SA Water provided a case study. He showed how regulation led to reduced water use, greater understanding of water issues and management, and lasting behavioural change. The overall feeling of the delegates was that there are already too many levels of government, regulation and institutions. Inconsistencies between states are confusing and likely to be further exacerbated by additional regulation. If utilities are asked to sell less, how will reduced revenue be compensated?

Regulatory Challenges The regulation questions consisted of:

The WASH Workshop provided informative, real-life examples of adopting water safety planning in a number of cross-cultural environments, and provided the participants with avenues to further become involved in the Asia Pacific WSP network. The outcomes of the project work provide excellent recommendations for WSP facilitators and coordinators to take away and apply in both the Asia-Pacific and Australian contexts.

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Community Engagement The final presentation was given by Catherine Ferrari, Water Corporation, WA. The Perth community is already very waterwise and Permanent Water Efficiency Measures have saved 45GL and enjoy 80 per cent community support. However, a massive shortage of water in the inflow in 2010/2011 meant an additional 13GL was needed. A successful communications strategy was developed that aimed to ‘engage the advocates, motivate the masses and support the journey’. The delegates discussed the importance of community engagement and agreed that success lies in securing trust. Utilities and authorities must also deliver a consistent message, not just in times of drought.

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Winners of the AWA National Water Awards 2012 AWA congratulates all the winners of the National Water Awards that were presented at Ozwater’12 in May.

STUDENT AWARDS Australian Stockholm Junior Water Prize

Winner: I-Ji Jung, Queensland Academy of Health Sciences Lucia Cade, AWA President; I-Ji Jung, Queensland Academy of Health Sciences; Stephen Sherwood, Xylem; Tom Mollenkopf, AWA Chief Executive

National Sponsor: Xylem

Utility Sponsors: SA Water & Unitywater

AWA Undergraduate Water Prize

Winners: Ronnie Ling, Augusta Lane, Ian Usher, Catriona Murphy, University of Adelaide Lucia Cade, AWA President; Augusta Lane, Ian Usher, Catriona Murphy, Ronnie Ling, University of Adelaide; Tom Mollenkopf, AWA Chief Executive

INDIVIDUAL AWARDS AWA Water Professional of the Year Award Winner: Bruce Anderson, Goulburn Valley Water Sponsored by SMEC

AWA Water Industry Woman of the Year Winner: Dr Deborah Pritchard, Curtin University

Lucia Cade, AWA President; Deborah Pritchard, Curtin University; Chris Morris, CH2M Hill; Tom Mollenkopf, AWA Chief Executive

Sponsored by CH2M Hill

AWA Young Water Professional of the Year Highly Commended: Julien Lepetit, AECOM Winner: Kelly O’Halloran, Allconnex Water

Lucia Cade, AWA President; Alison Bain, Sucrosolutions; Kelly O'Halloran, Allconnex Water; Tom Mollenkopf, AWA Chief Executive

Sponsored by Sucrosolutions


Highly Commended: Water Corporation/Department of Water/ICLEI, Waterwise Council Program Winner: City West Water, Steam System Efficiency Program Lucia Cade, AWA President; Bruce Pollard, ALS Environmental; Angela Ganley, City West Water; Tom Mollenkopf, AWA Chief Executive

Sponsored by ALS Environmental

AWA Infrastructure Project Innovation Award

Highly Commended: Aqua Guardian Group, AquaArmour™, Deployment – Evaporation and Algal Control Winner: Water Corporation, Calcite for pH and Alkalinity Correction Lucia Cade, AWA President; Peter Spencer, Water Corporation; Tom Mollenkopf, AWA Chief Executive

Water Industry Safety Excellence Award

Winner: Water Infrastructure Group, Rehabilitation of the Bondi Ocean Outfall Sewer Lucia Cade, AWA President; Stijn Sampermans, Water Infrastructure Group; Sue Murphy, WSAA Chair; Hugh McGinley, Peter Everist, Pieter Schoofs, Water Infrastructure Group; Glen Nelson, Sydney Water; Tom Mollenkopf, AWA Chief Executive

Supported by Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA)

BEST OZWATER PRESENTATIONS AWA Award for Best Ozwater’12 Paper

Highly Commended: Matthew Ferguson, A 12-Month Rainwater Tank Water Savings and Energy Use Study for 52 Real Life Installations Winner: Lynne Powell, Indigenous Partnerships – Opportunities and Obstacles

AWA Award for Best Ozwater’12 Poster

Winner: Peter Haylock, Advanced Water Treatment Plant for Midcoast Water

To find out more about the AWA National Water Awards and how you too could be a winner visit


AWA Meets Phil Duncan Over 70 Aboriginal delegates from across Australia met in Adelaide for the First Peoples’ National Water Summit convened by the First Peoples’ Water Engagement Council (FPWEC) on 29 and 30 March 2012. The FPWEC was formed in 2010 to provide advice to the National Water Commission (NWC) on national Indigenous water issues. The Summit provided an opportunity for delegates to discuss Indigenous interests in the management of water at the national level in Australia and to formulate recommendations to inform and amend government policy. While the perspectives of the delegates were diverse, they agreed on the importance of addressing Indigenous peoples’ water requirements and the active participation of Aboriginal people at all levels of water planning and management. The second day of the Summit was an open session, where delegates presented these perspectives to policy makers and key stakeholders, including AWA.

Phil Duncan, Chair of the First Peoples’ Water Engagement Council.

Here, Ann Hinchliffe, AWA Project Manager, talks to Phil Duncan, Chair of the First Peoples’ Water Engagement Council, about the key objectives and outcomes arising from the Summit, and what the Council perceives to be the way forward. A: What was the background to the Summit? P: Water is a critical human need. Water is fundamental to our development and to addressing the unacceptable level of disadvantage that we experience in contemporary Australian society. With water reform across the country and within the jurisdictions, there is the opportunity for the development of more effective water policies that will achieve positive outcomes for Aboriginal Australians. The National Water Initiative clearly states that Indigenous water needs should be recognised in relation to water access, planning and management. The First Peoples’ Water Engagement Council (FPWEC) was formed in 2010 to provide advice to the National Water Commission on national Indigenous water issues. For the past two years we have worked to strengthen relationships and communication among different Aboriginal organisations

involved in freshwater management across Australia and raise the profile of Aboriginal interests in water and water planning in Australia. One of the key aims of the Summit was to inform and strengthen the FPWEC’s final advice to the National Water Commission, presented on 30 May 2012. A copy of FPWEC’s advice to the Commission is available at planning/fpwec The Summit also provided a platform for the work that is being done all across the country. It brought together Aboriginal delegates from all corners of Australia, as well as key stakeholders including State and Federal water agencies, the National Farmers Federation, representatives of irrigators, CMAs, environment groups, and AWA and other industry associations.

From left: Brian Wyatt (CEO NNT and FPWEC Member), Geoff Scott (CEO NSWALC), Brad Moggridge (CSIRO and FPWEC Member), Joe Morrison (Summit Facilitator), Les Malezer (Co Chair First Peoples’ National Congress) and Neva Collins (Indigenous Independent Panel Member).

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interview A: What are the key issues that arose from the Summit? P: We want good, healthy communities with strong and vibrant economies and good environmental outcomes. We want to maintain cultural and spiritual relationships. When the river is healthy, we are healthy. It is essential to keep rural economies and labour markets sustainable. Outside metropolitan areas all our people are connected to employment that relies on strong and vibrant rural economies. Our people have strong traditional ecological knowledge that can inform how our water systems and environments are managed. There is some good work being done to incorporate Aboriginal interests in water planning. There are also many cases of policy and process impediments that are preventing this. The Summit affirmed the central importance of being recognised and Neva Collins addressing the Summit. accepted as equal stakeholders and active participants in water planning and decision• The achievements of North Australian Indigenous Land & Sea making on water issues that affect our communities, Management Alliance’s (NAILSMA) Indigenous Water Policy Group and Indigenous Community Water Facilitator Network economies and environment. Initiatives, which were presented by Joe Morrison. A: What do you see as the way forward to achieving • NSW Water Commissioner, David Harriss, described NSW these outcomes? Office of Water’s project to enhance Aboriginal engagement in water planning, identify water-dependent cultural assets, P: On local levels, we see working in partnership with irrigators, establish networks between staff and Aboriginal communities farmers and environment groups as the best way to reach and improve the delivery of water management information positive outcomes for all. With our land base across the country, relevant to Aboriginal communities. effective partnerships can deliver environmental, economic and employment outcomes that we all want to see. We also want to see governments and their water agencies collaborating in good faith with Aboriginal people, to develop water plans and management strategies that effectively incorporate Aboriginal rights, needs, priorities and values as part of the implementation of the current reform agendas, including the National Water Initiative. We are also advocating for joint approaches to research that will enable this research to be resourced effectively to provide credible evidence that supports Aboriginal involvement. The Summit highlighted work being done to incorporate Aboriginal involvement in water planning and examples of successful partnerships, including:

• The use of the Community Water Planner Tools to improve drinking water supply in remote communities was presented by Robyn Grey-Gardner from the NWC. Robyn described the key challenges to providing safe and reliable drinking water supplies in remote Aboriginal communities in Australia, and how community involvement in the whole planning process of understanding the supply, developing their own strategies and matching the strategies to the communities’ needs and resources can lead to positive outcomes. A: What message would you like to send to the water sector? P: We want to work with you. We want to be a building block, not a stumbling block.

Phil Duncan is a member of the Gamilaroi Nation from Moree, north-western New South Wales. Phil is currently a Senior Policy Officer for the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council. He brings an extensive background and membership on many committees and councils. Phil was the inaugural Chair of the NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water’s Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee. In 2002 Phil was involved in the negotiations to establish the NSW Aboriginal Water Trust and has represented the interests of Aboriginal people in New South Wales on a range of other committees. Phil is currently the Chair of the National Water Commission’s First Peoples’ Water Engagement Council.


JULY 2012 49

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community issues

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INDIGENOUS PARTNERSHIPS: OPPORTUNITIES AND OBSTACLES How water service providers can establish economically viable relationships with traditional owners L Powell, D Phillips Abstract This paper demonstrates that economically viable partnerships can be established with traditional owners to enhance the social and environmental sustainability values of a water service provider. Cairns Regional Council operates 15 water intakes, the majority of which are in Wet Tropics World Heritage National Parks. The Council has a duty of care to protect cultural heritage and the high conservation values within the water infrastructure footprints. Recently the Council entered into Vegetation Management Agreements with two traditional owner groups and Terrain NRM to assist the Council meet its duty of care. Terrain NRM (Terrain) is the regional natural resource management body for the Wet Tropics.

A number of barriers and opportunities were identified in establishing the Vegetation Management Agreements and it is hoped that sharing these experiences will assist other organisations to explore similar opportunities with traditional owners.


• Fishery Falls intake (Figure 2), near the Fishery Falls township, and Junction Creek intake at the base of Mount Bellenden Ker, which are on the Wanyurr Majay traditional lands.

Cairns Regional Council (the Council) in Far-North Queensland is responsible for providing drinking water to communities from the Daintree Village in the north to regional communities approximately 100km south of Cairns (Figure 1). The Council is responsible for managing 15 water intakes, most of which were established in the 1970s to provide this service. The majority of these intakes are in Wet Tropics World Heritage National Parks and, as such, are subject to numerous pieces of State and Commonwealth Government environmental legislation. Many of the intakes are also in close proximity to native title lands and, in some cases, are subject to Indigenous Land Use Agreements (National Native Title Tribunal, 2007). The Council has recently entered into Vegetation Management Agreements with the relevant traditional owners of land occupied by three water intakes and with Terrain to manage vegetation within the infrastructure footprints. The Vegetation Management Agreements provide for the implementation of Cultural Heritage Agreements that were signed between the Council and relevant traditional owners in 2009.

Figure 1. Cairns Regional Council area.

• Majuba Creek intake, on Ngadjon-Jii traditional lands at the base of Mount Bartle Frere;

The water intakes referred to in this paper are:

Figure 2. Fishery Falls water intake, Wooroonooran National Park, Queensland. Traditionally, the vegetation within the infrastructure footprints has been managed by the Council or by a contractor more equipped to manage urban sites. Due to the large number of threatened species and the nature of the land tenure, the Council has a significant liability for vegetation management. As such, the Council wanted to establish processes that strengthened its environmental and cultural heritage duty of care at these sites. This paper describes the rationale and process for establishing the Vegetation Management Agreements and highlights some of the barriers and opportunities that were identified during the development of the Agreements. The experiences shared in this paper may assist other organisations to develop similar partnerships to: • Manage or improve the natural resources in drinking water catchments (Postel and Thompson Jr, 2005); • Manage natural assets for conservation (Plummer and Fitzgibbon, 2004a); or • Rehabilitate land associated with other industries.


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Methodology The development of the Vegetation Management Agreements was triggered by the need for the Council to obtain regulatory approval for building new infrastructure associated with existing water intakes within a Wet Tropics World Heritage National Park. Aboriginal cultural heritage consultation was required as part of this process (WTMA, 2005). As a result, Cultural Heritage Agreements (CHAs), under the Queensland Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003, with the Ngadjon-Jii and Wanyurr Majay traditional owner groups were developed (Figure 3). The CHAs documented the ‘duty of care’ requirements of the Council during the construction of the new infrastructure. The CHAs, however, went beyond duty of care requirements and included provisions that allowed the traditional owners to gain natural resource management training and opportunities to manage the vegetation at the water intakes and for Council to reduce its environmental risks associated with vegetation management of these sensitive sites. Difficulties arose in implementing the ‘beyond compliance’ aspects of the CHAs, as there were a number of administrative and governance barriers encountered. Through open and robust consultation with the traditional owners, three-way legally binding Vegetation Management Agreements were signed between the relevant traditional owner group, Terrain and the Council (Figure 4). Legal advice was sought in the drafting of both the CHAs and the Vegetation

Cultural Heritage Agreements (Surveys, monitors, training, vegetation management)

Cultural Heritage Duty of Care for Infrastructure Development and Environmental Duty of Care for Vegetation Management

Cultural Surveys and Indigenous monitors for infrastructure development

Vegetation Management Agreements (Training and vegetation management)

Training, revegetation of project areas and vegetation management of infrastructure footprint

Figure 4. Key aspects of Cultural Heritage and Vegetation Management Agreements. Management Agreements because of the importance of identifying the correct traditional owners to participate in negotiations, and because of the unique nature of the commitments on all parties.

Results and Discussion The model Vegetation Management Agreement resulted from the need for a practical, reliable and ongoing means of implementing those aspects of the CHAs that related to training and vegetation management at the water intakes (Figure 5).

Figure 5. Revegetation works at Majuba Creek water intake. 2.

Knowledge and skills gaps within both Council and traditional owner groups to fulfil vegetation management aspects of CHAs;


Inflexible procurement and employment requirements of Council and the need for a model that could provide for flexibility in training and capacity building;

The barriers identified early in the process of implementing the CHAs included: 1.

Misunderstandings of what the projects could deliver for the partner organisations, including the fact that the projects did not provide full-time work for traditional owners;

Water Agreements Also Protect Indigenous Culture The Ngadjon-Jii People of Far-North Queensland, who became native title holders in December 2007, have signed an agreement with Cairns Regional Council to ensure the delivery of high-quality water to the southern Cairns region. The neighbouring Wanyurr Majay People, who are registered native title claimants, and the Ngadjon-Jii People, signed agreements with the Council in Gordonvale on 23 April. These allow the construction of three one-megalitre reservoirs and ensure the protection of Aboriginal cultural heritage.

document to allow land use. “There are some benefits for the traditional owners – some training and management in the areas – and they’ve had input into the placement of the reservoirs,” Mr Gergory said. “There was a great feeling (at the signing ceremony). I’ve lived in Gordonvale all of my life and know a lot of the traditional owners and to see the reaction from them was pretty remarkable.” Construction of the three reservoirs is expected to start in August and be completed by December.

The Ngadjon-Jii People and the Council reached an agreement for the use of Majuba Creek, while the Wanyurr Majay People signed a separate agreement with the council for the use of Junction Creek, Frenchman Creek and Fishery Falls.

Under the agreements, the traditional owners will be on-site during construction as observers and will be involved in the rehabilitation of the sites after construction. Traditional owners will also receive some training, such as in weed management. Ernie Raymont, Ngadjon-Jii traditional elder and native title holder, welcomed the agreement and the benefits it will provide.

Councillor Paul Gregory said the Ngadjon-Jii determination had been a significant step and now, as native title holders, the Ngadjon-Jii People had signed their names on an official

“Cairns Regional Council has been very cooperative and understanding,” he said. “(The) Council understands that we are native title holders and are liasing with us as they should.”

Figure 3. Publicity associated with Cultural Heritage Agreements (from: Talking Native Title, June 2009).

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Traditional owner groups having a limited track record with vegetation management or capacity to administer the required projects, but aspiring to be in this position. In addition, both the Council and traditional owner groups needed certainty that the arrangement would be sustainable in the long term; The need for an implementation model that could be applied equally across a number of traditional owner groups (depending on location of water infrastructure); The need for a model that allowed traditional owners to develop enterprise skills.

Each of these challenges is discussed below. 1. Clear objectives and outcomes

also important to the Council to have a model that was secure and flexible. Key objectives of traditional owners related to having the opportunity to care for their traditional lands and to improve knowledge, skills and employment opportunities. The objective of Terrain was to assist the indigenous community with natural resource management capacity building. The Vegetation Management Agreements are quite prescriptive in their requirements. The lack of prescription in the CHAs caused implementation difficulties and misinterpretation of responsibilities. The keeping of clear meeting records assisted in resolving matters of interpretation and had the added benefit of educating newcomers to the negotiation process. 2. Knowledge and skills gaps within the Council and traditional owner groups

The key Council objective was to reduce the environmental risks associated with managing the sensitive vegetation in a financially sustainable manner. It was

An added advantage to Council of this model is that it has allowed existing resources to be focused solely on the provision of drinking water with the

Early in the negotiations it was realised that neither Council, within its water service provider capacity, nor the traditional owners, had the knowledge or skills to effectively manage the vegetation to a standard expected for these sensitive areas. Further, the traditional owners did not have strong project management and reporting skills. The inclusion of Terrain in the partnership to bridge this gap was the key to overcoming this barrier. As already discussed, Terrain has the track record, knowledge, access to expertise and charter for vegetation management in high conservation areas.

Regional NRM Organisation (Terrain NRM)


ur ity


l ibi




Traditional Owners (Ngadjon-Jii or Wanyurr Majay

c Se

pa b Em ility plo Bui ym ldin en g & t

Negotiations to overcome the barriers made evident the aspirations and opportunities available within each of the partner organisations. It was important to ensure that all parties were open and clear about their objectives, and that negotiations occurred with a high level of trust and good will. It required all parties to keep focused on the outcomes, to think outside the square, and to have a positive attitude and open mind. It was important to have decision makers from each organisation involved in the negotiations so that decisions could be made at the table. Access to an experienced and objective cultural heritage solicitor helped to clearly articulate the scope and responsibilities.

Reconciliation & Social Sustainability

Industry or Water Service Provider (Cairns Regional Council)

Figure 6. Diagrammatic representation of how the Vegetation Management Agreements met the key objectives of the partner organisations.

knowledge that environmental and cultural heritage obligations are also being met. 3. Need for flexible employment and training arrangements The Council procurement, training and employment systems made implementing the CHAs difficult. As an example, the Council was unable to pay traditional owners directly to monitor excavation works unless the traditional owner groups had an Australian Business Number. In addition, the Council was unable to facilitate the training requirements of the CHAs for similar reasons. One traditional owner group was based outside of the Council administrative boundary and inflexibility with course locations was a barrier. Finally, it was difficult for the Council to employ individual traditional owners to undertake vegetation management work without going through standard recruitment processes. The three-way Vegetation Management Agreement, including Terrain, overcame these difficulties. Working through the implementation difficulties assisted the traditional owner groups to understand what they needed to have in place to establish their own natural resource management enterprises in the future. Both traditional owner groups are now on the road to achieving this objective. 4. Support needed for traditional owners to gain NRM and project management capacity and need for Council to have project security In this case study, the traditional owners needed to have the support of an organisation that had an extensive track record in vegetation management; that could provide the training required by the Vegetation Management Agreements; and that had the capacity to employ the traditional owners for the vegetation work (Figure 6). Terrain provided this opportunity. As an added benefit, the three-way partnership has allowed the traditional owners, employed through Terrain, to work on other projects. This has given them reasonable employment opportunities. One of the difficulties faced during negotiations was the small size of the Council project. It did not contribute enough work to keep traditional owners employed full-time. Through Terrain, the model allows traditional owners to take on project management and reporting responsibilities. This was proposed by the traditional owners during negotiations


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Figure 7. Weed management issues at Majuba Creek water intake. and is a key community development aspect of the model. The objective of this is to assist traditional owners to transition from the model illustrated in Figure 6 to that illustrated in Figure 8. The reporting responsibilities provide an avenue for monitoring progress and dealing with issues as they arise. The Agreements also provide for the development of Vegetation Management Plans for each site. The Vegetation Management Plans outline the work that is required over a three-year period and provide a cost for implementing the works. This allows for longer-term certainty for the partnership and for outcomes to be measured. The financial implications of the Vegetation Management Agreements for Council have not been significantly greater than the costs historically incurred where the sites were managed internally or by contractors not experienced in managing sites of high conservation value. There are higher costs in the first two years for implementing the Majuba Creek Vegetation Management Agreement due to the significant weed problem that was not, in the past, actively managed (Figure 7). This will greatly improve the conservation value of the site. Ongoing costs are estimated to be comparable to historic management costs. The greatest benefit of the Vegetation Management Agreement for Council is that the sites are now being managed by organisations that are experienced and committed to vegetation management in high conservation areas.

54 JULY 2012 water

5. Need for model that could by applied to other traditional owner groups

partnerships for vegetation management within other infrastructure footprints.

A model that the Council could apply to the numerous traditional owner groups that have an interest in the land on which water intake infrastructure is located was needed. There are approximately 12 traditional owner groups within the Council boundary. It is anticipated that each of the traditional owner groups will want to be given the same opportunities. This need has been identified in other community based resource management projects (Natcher and Hickey, 2002).

6. Enterprise skills for traditional owners

The current partnership model provides for this and with the inclusion of Terrain as a partner organisation, provides an opportunity for knowldege transfer between relevant traditional owner groups. The two existing Vegetation Management Agreements have already resulted in co-operation and knowledge sharing between Ngadjon-Jii and Wanyurr Majay people employed through Terrain. Both the CHA and Vegetation Management Agreements have been developed as ‘model agreements’ and can be used to establish similar

Traditional Owners

It is expected that, in time, the traditional owners will gain the knowledge and experience to undertake natural resource management work independently of a third party support organisation such as Terrain. A key objective of both traditional owner groups was to build capacity to establish their own enterprises (Figure 8). The use of indigenous partnerships for natural resource management, especially in terms of co-management of conservation areas and on their traditional lands, is becoming more common (Jackson, Storrs and Morrison, 2005). Similar opportunities and barriers, especially for indigenous communities, associated with natural resource management partnerships have been identified by others (Ross and Pickering, 2002; Plummer and Fitzgibbon, 2004b; Castro and Nielsen, 2001). Incorporating indigenous cultural values into natural resource management decisionmaking is also becoming important. In

Reconciliation & Social Sustainability, Flexibility & Risk Reduction

Industry or Water Service Provider

Figure 8. Diagrammatic representation of how the Council vegetation management objectives could be met using an indigenous resource management enterprise.

technical features

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refereed paper

Australia, the National Water Initiative requires the identification of cultural and spiritual values for water quality and natural resource agencies are required to take Aboriginal cultural heritage into consideration when making statutory water management decisions (Duncan, 2011). Indigenous involvement in natural resource management of their traditional lands can only enhance this process.

Conclusion The need to implement the vegetation management aspects of legally binding Cultural Heritage Agreements with two traditional owner groups was the trigger for developing the vegetation management agreements discussed in this paper. Difficulties in implementing the vegetation management and training aspects of the CHAs forced the Council and traditional owners to explore their individual objectives and also the gaps in what each organisation could offer. This allowed the barriers to be turned into opportunities. The partners negotiated in good faith, with a strong commitment to success. With the assistance of sound legal advice and the experience of Terrain, with respect to indigenous capacity building and vegetation management, the vegetation management agreements were developed. A significant benefit of the partnerships is that it has allowed the Council to focus its resources on operating and maintaining the water supply infrastructure. At the same time, the Council can have the confidence that the sensitive natural environment within the infrastructure footprint is being managed to ensure environmental and cultural heritage obligations are being met.

Through the partnership model described, Cairns Regional Council has achieved sound economic, social and environmental outcomes for the management of vegetation within three of its drinking water infrastructure footprints. The model assists traditional owners to acquire project management and reporting skills that should, in the future, allow them to provide these services directly to Government and industry. This community development objective is a key aspect of the model described in this paper. The model could easily be adopted by other water services providers and, in fact, any industry required to manage natural areas.

Acknowledgement The authors sincerely acknowledge the contributions of: Ngadjon-Jii and Wanyurr Majay traditional owners; Terrain; Preston Law; and other Cairns Regional Council staff in the development of the Vegetation Management Agreements. Without the open and frank discussons between all parties, the Agreements would not have been possible. The opinions expressed in this paper are those of the authors. This paper was awarded ‘Best Paper’ at Ozwater’12 in May.

The Authors Lynne Powell (email: L.Powell@cairns.qld. is Sustainability Co-ordinator, Water and Waste, with Cairns Regional Council, Cairns, Queensland. Denney Phillips (email: au) is Water Services Coordinator, Water and Waste, also with Cairns Regional Council.

References Castro A & Nielsen E (2001): Indigenous people and co-management: implications for conflict management. Environmental Science and Policy 4: pp 229–239. Duncan P (2011): The Right to a Fair Share. Water Journal, 38: pp 40–42. Jackson S, Storrs M & Morrison J (2005): Recognition of Aboriginal rights, interests and values in river research and management: Persectives from northern Australia. Ecological Management and Restoration, 6: pp 105–110. Natcher D & Hickey C (2002): Putting the community back into community-based resource management: A criteria and indicators approach to sustainability. Human Organisation, 61: pp 350–363. Native Title Tribunal (2007): File No.: QI2006/024, Eastern Kuku Yalanji & Douglas Shire Council – Local Government Agreement Indigenous Land Use Agreement. Plummer R & Fitzgibbon J (2004a): Co-management of natural resources: A proposed framework. Environmental Management, 33: pp 876–885. Plummer R & Fitzgibbon J (2004b): Some observations on the terminology in co-operative environmental management. Journal of Environmental Management, 70: pp 63–72. Postel S & Thompson Jr B (2005): Watershed protection: Capturing the benefits of nature’s water supply services. Natural Resource Forum, 29: pp 98–108. Ross A & Pickering K (2002): The politics of reintegrating Australian Aboriginal and American Indian Indigenous knowledge into resource management: The dynamics of resource appropriation and cultural revival. Human Ecology, 30: pp 187–213. Wet Tropics Management Authority (2005): Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area Regional Agreement. 52pp.

Delivering innovative water, wastewater and reuse solutions.


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environmental concerns

refereed paper


C Wallis-Lage, J Fitzpatrick, H Aoki, S Koh, I Midorikawa, A Omori, T Shimizu Abstract A new ultra-low phosphorus adsorption and recovery process was recently developed that integrates removal of phosphorus, recovery of the captured phosphorus, and in-situ regeneration of the adsorption media. Pilot testing of this integrated system in Japan and the US has demonstrated its ability to recover phosphorus as a high-grade fertiliser material while achieving ultra-low effluent phosphorus concentrations. This paper focuses on the results and findings of the pilot testing conducted in the US.

Introduction Water quality professionals and environmentalists are becoming increasingly interested in treatment processes that not only remove phosphorus from surface water discharges, but also recover it for beneficial uses. A highly efficient adsorbent media has recently been developed along with a tertiary treatment process that integrates the removal of phosphorus, the recovery of the captured phosphorus, and the in-situ regeneration of the adsorption media. Long-term pilot testing of this integrated adsorption-and-recovery process in Japan, and now in the US, has demonstrated its capability to achieve ultra-low effluent phosphorus concentrations while recovering the phosphorus as a high-grade fertiliser material. The first US pilot testing of a new highly efficient phosphorus adsorption process has shown promising results in removing phosphorus to ultra-low levels as well as recovering the phosphorus for use as a high-grade fertiliser.

Materials and Methods Adsorbent media A high-efficiency phosphorus-adsorbent media was developed through the work by Omori et al. (2007) and Midorikawa et al. (2008) in collaboration with the Japan

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Figure 1. An integrated system consisting of phosphorus adsorption, regeneration and recovery. Sewage Works Agency. The phosphatespecific adsorbent media is created from a mixture of metal oxide with ion exchange properties and a polymer manufactured using a new technique. The media consists of spherical beads with an average diameter of 0.55mm that have a unique structure, with a network of pores and fibrils with interior cavities to allow a high diffusion rate of phosphate ion inside the media. This adsorbent media can remove phosphorus from secondary effluent to low levels and has a breakthrough capacity greater than 4 g-P/L of resin at space velocities (SV) up to 20 hr-1. SV is calculated as the volumetric flow rate per unit volume of media and is the inverse of the empty bed contact time (EBCT).

Integrated process Using this phosphorus-adsorbent media, a new process has been developed by Asahi Kasei that consists of phosphorus adsorption, phosphorus desorption for media regeneration, and phosphorus recovery processes as illustrated on Figure 1.

During the adsorption process, phosphate ions are efficiently removed by passing influent through the mediafilled column until the breakthrough point. During the desorption process, adsorbed phosphate ions are desorbed as the alkaline solution passes through the media column. During the phosphorus recovery stage, the phosphate in the alkaline solution is separated by adding calcium hydroxide, which precipitates phosphorus as calcium phosphate. The calcium phosphate solids and the alkaline solution are then separated and the alkaline solution can be reused for subsequent desorption cycles. The collected calcium phosphate is a hydroxyapatite with a composition similar to that of phosphate ore and a citric-soluble phosphorus content of 30% as P2O5. This indicates potential for use as a fertiliser.

Pilot Testing Facilities Pilot testing of this system was conducted in Lawrence, Kansas, during the first half of 2010. The Lawrence Wastewater

technical features

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Two phosphate analysers were used on the pilot system. One was used to continuously monitor the influent OP concentration to calculate the theoretical mass of OP accumulated on the lead column, since this was a critical control parameter for the automatic column changeover in the carousel operation. A separate low-range phosphate analyser was used to measure effluent OP concentrations from both the lead and polishing columns, automatically alternating back and forth between the two sampling points.

Figure 2. Lawrence pilot skids. Secondary Effluent

Testing phases Treated Water


Adsorption Towers

Acid Tank

Adsorption Desorption Recovery

Precipitation Reactor

pH Control Tank



Carousel Operation Two columns in series Third column stand-by

NaOH Tank

Solids-Liquid Separator Calcium Phosphate

Desorption Tank

Ca(OH)2 Tank

Figure 3. Carousel operation of the adsorption columns. Treatment Plant (WWTP) is a conventional municipal activated sludge treatment facility with an annual average treatment capacity of approximately 47.3ML/d and currently does not have a phosphorus removal process. The typical secondary effluent orthophosphate (OP) ranges from about 1 to 5mg-P/L. The pilot system was fabricated in two separate skids to help facilitate shipment and testing at future locations. Figure 2 shows the two pilot skids in Lawerence, Kansas.

Carousel operation The Lawrence pilot system was configured with two adsorbent columns in series and a third column on standby, as shown on Figure 3. The system was operated in a “carousel� fashion: when phosphorus breakthrough is predicted in the first column, influent flow is diverted directly to the second column, which now serves as the primary column, and the third column is placed into service as the secondary column in series, while the original first column undergoes phosphorus desorption and media regeneration. After regeneration, the original first column is placed on

standby to await the next cycle. With this arrangement, the secondary column is always the most highly regenerated one, serving as a polishing unit to the primary column to prevent phosphorus from bleeding through the system. Column switches in the carousel operation were set to occur when either of the following occurred: (1) the accumulated mass of OP removed per litre of media in the lead column reached its setpoint; or (2) the OP concentration from the second column reached its setpoint.

After startup and commissioning operations of the pilot system, four different testing phases with different influent phosphorus target concentrations and operational set points were conducted as summarised in Table 1. The first two phases (1A and 1B) of the pilot operations involved steady-state flow at a rate of 0.40m3/h (or a space velocity of 20 h-1). During Phase 1A, the primary changeover setpoint was increased from 1.5 to 2.0 g-OP/L of media. During Phase 1B, this setpoint was further increased to 2.5 g-OP/L, which agreed favourably with the estimated capacity from previous bench-scale testing using Lawrence wastewater samples. In subsequent pilot operations (Phases 2 and 3), the influent flow rate to the columns was varied every two hours from 0.26 to 0.48m3/h in a pattern that matched the average diurnal flow pattern observed at the Lawrence WWTP. The diurnal flow pattern corresponded to space velocities ranging from 12.8 to 23.9 hr-1 while maintaining a daily average space velocity of 20 h-1. Additional peak flow scenarios with flows as high as 1.8 times the average flow (0.72m3/h) were simulated during a two-day period from June 22 to June 24. The diurnal flow pattern was continued during Phase 3, while ferric chloride was fed continuously upstream in the aeration basin.

Table 1. Lawrence pilot testing phases. Description

Target Influent OP (mg-P/L)

Period (Year 2010)


Steady-state flow at SV = 20 hr-1; Lead column changeover set at 1.5 to 2.0 g-OP/L of media

1 to 5

April 19 to April 30


Same as Phase 1A, except lead column changeover increased to 2.5 g-OP/L of media

1 to 5

May 24 to June 8


Same as Phase 1B, except diurnal flow pattern with daily average SV = 20 hr-1

1 to 5

June 11 to June 25


Same as Phase 2, except with ferric addition to upstream activated sludge process

0.5 to 1

June 25 to July 9


SV = Space velocity


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Figure 4. Influent and treated effluent orthophosphate concentrations during Phase 2 testing.

Figure 6. Recovered solids from the Lawrence pilot. Pacific. Compared to phosphate rock, the recovered solids had a very low cadmium concentration (the primary metal of concern for phosphorus fertilisers). Previous pilot testing in Japan found very low levels for other metals of concern. The phosphorus content of the filter cake compared favourably to the 28% P2O5 minimum normally stipulated by fertiliser manufacturers.

Figure 5. Cumulative P calculated for each adsorption cycle during Phase 2 testing.


Phosphorus desorption and recovery

Phosphorus adsorption

An alkaline solution was used to desorb the phosphorus from the media. Lime was later added to the desorption solution to precipitate the phosphorus as calcium phosphate and the precipitated solids were subsequently dewatered. The filtrate from each recovery cycle was captured and reused as desorption fluid in subsequent cycles. The recovered solids (Figure 6) from multiple recovery cycles were collected and sampled multiple times during the testing phases, and sent to a commercial laboratory for nutrient and metal analyses.

The OP concentrations in the filtered secondary effluent (first column influent), the first column effluent, and the second column effluent (final) were compiled for each phase of testing. Selected figures are shown in this paper. (For a full description of all the testing results, please refer to the technical paper by Fitzpatrick et al. (2010).) Figures 4 and 5 show the results of the Phase 2 testing (diurnal loading and simulated storm flows). Online OP monitoring indicated that effluent OP concentrations consistently remained ultra-low during all phases, while the influent OP concentration varied from 0.2 to 5.0 mg-P/L. Results of the laboratory analyses of daily composite samples agreed favourably with the online measurements.

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Table 2 summarises the quality of the recovered solids from the Lawrence pilot testing, together with the maximum allowable concentrations established by national and state regulatory agencies in North America, Europe, and Asia

Conclusions and Recommendations The Lawrence pilot testing of the intergrated phosphorus adsorption and recovery system demonstrated the capability of this technology to achieve ultra-low phosphorus concentrations and recover the phosphorus as a high-grade fertiliser. The high selectivity of the media to phosphate ions compared to other ions in the effluent is one of the main reasons for the efficiency of this recovery process. This unique ability to adsorb phosphate almost exclusively also explains the high phosphorus content of the recovered solids and may also partly explain their low metal content. Further optimisation of the recovery process, particularly the neutralisation steps, may help to further reduce chemical usage. Such optimisation is expected to be somewhat site-specific based upon the unique influent

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Table 2. Recovered solids content and metal contaminants standards in phosphate fertilisers. Pilot Average Parameter Unit


Minimum P Requirement

Maximum Metal Allowance

High-Grade Rock

Organic Fertiliser

North America d

European Union f

China & Japan f

Australia f







Total Solids











13.3 a

12.2 b

6.5 c










61 e









122 e



40 g
















































Equivalent to 30.5% as P2O5 and 67% as bone phosphate of lime (BPL).


Based on FAO (2004). Equivalent to 28% as P2O5 and 61% as BPL.


Equivalent to Japanese standard of 15% as P2O5 for fertilisers produced from organic wastes (Midorikawa et al., 2009).


Based on AAPFCO (2007). Values based on 30.5% as P2O5.


Based on California standard, which is more stringent than AAPFCO (2007).


Based on AFPC (2004).


Values based on 30.5% as P2O5. EU limit of 20 mg/kg P2O5 to be phased in by 2015. Australian limit is 300 mg/kg P.

water characteristics and discharge requirements of each application. While this process is capable of producing a high-grade apatite-type calcium phosphate fertiliser ingredient for agricultural use, the recovered phosphorus product from this process may have potential for other industrial uses, which should be further explored. In addition, potential integration of this technology with other nutrient recovery technologies should be explored, such as combining the phosphate-rich liquids from this process (alkaline fluid from media desorption) with nutrient-rich liquids from other recovery processes to produce a more complete fertiliser product with both nitrogen and phosphorus content.

Acknowledgements The authors wish to thank all the plant operators, maintenance staff, mechanics, electricians, engineers, laboratory analysts, technicians, consultants and other water quality professionals from the following organisations, who contributed their time and efforts to these studies: Japan Sewage Works Agency; Asahi Kasei Chemicals Corporation; Black & Veatch Corporation; Johnson County Environmental Laboratory; Weck Laboratories and Midwest Mechanical Contractors.

The Authors Cindy Wallis-Lage (email: Wallis-LageCL@BV.COM) is President of Black & Veatchâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s global water business and is responsible for the leadership and management of a workforce of more than 2,600 professionals based around the world, including in the United States, Europe and Asia Pacific regions. Jim Fitzpatrick is a Senior Process Engineer with Black & Veatch Corporation, Kansas City, Missouri, US and SockHoon Koh is a Process Engineer with Black & Veatch Corporation, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Hisanao Aoki, Ichiro Midorikawa, Akihiro Omori and Tadashi Shimizu are all with Asahi Kasei Chemicals Corporation, Tokyo, Japan.

References AAPFCO (2007): Model for Fertilizer Regulation in North America, Statement of Uniform Interpretation and Policy #25, Official Publication No.60, Association of American Plant Food Control Officials, page 65. AFPC (2004): Fertilizer metal standards compiled by the Association of Fertilizer and Phosphate Chemists, World%20Stds%2004.pdf (accessed November 9, 2010).

FAO (2004): Use of phosphate rocks for sustainable agriculture. Fertilizer and Plant Nutrition Bulletin 13, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, www. (accessed July 28, 2010). Fitzpatrick J, Aoki H, Koh S, deBarbadillo C, Midorikawa I, Omori A & Shimizu T (2010): Pilot Testing of a High Efficiency Adsorbent System for Phosphorus Removal and Recovery to Meet Ultra-Low Phosphorus Limits, Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation 82nd Annual Technical Exhibition and Conference, Orlando, Florida. Midorikawa I, Aoki H, Omori A, Shimizu T, Kawaguchi Y, Kassai K & Murakami T (2008): Recovery of High Purity Phosphorus from Municipal Wastewater Secondary Effluent by a High-speed Adsorbent, 5th IWA LeadingEdge Technology Conference & Exhibition on Water and Wastewater Technologies, Zurich, Switzerland. Midorikawa I, Aoki H, Omori A, Shimizu T, Nakazawa H, Kawaguchi Y & Kassai K (2009): Application of Phosphorus Adsorption and Recovery System for Sewage Secondary Effluent, Proceedings from the 46th Japan Sewage Works Association Annual Conference. Omori A, Midorikawa I, Aoki H & Shimizu T (2007): High Efficiency Adsorbent System for Phosphorus Removal & Recovery, 4th IWA Leading-Edge Technology Conference & Exhibition on Water & Wastewater Technologies, Poster Presentation (P38).


JULY 2012 59

water efficiency

refereed paper

A 12-MONTH RAINWATER TANK WATER SAVINGS AND ENERGY USE STUDY FOR 52 REAL LIFE INSTALLATIONS Household drinking water demand was found to be reduced by 21% M Ferguson Abstract Sydney Water monitored the performance of rainwater tanks installed in new homes for more than 12 months. The tanks were found to reduce household drinking water demand on average by about 21%. The energy required to run the tank systems was found to be similar to that for recycled water production. For many households, a choice of better-performing pumps could halve energy use.

Introduction The environmental sustainability of rainwater tanks as a water solution for large cities depends on their ability to save water while using minimal energy. In the largest detailed rainwater tank monitoring study in Australia to date, Sydney Water remotely monitored rainwater tank water and energy use at one-minute intervals for more than 12 months for 52 real-life installations.















S ydney C B D C A NL EY V A L E


















Figure 1. Location of households in the study. Potable Water

The study’s principal objectives were to confirm that rainwater tanks in real-life installations save water as expected and, if they did not, to identify opportunities to further increase water savings and reduce their pumping energy use.

Rain Water Optional Connection P-257

Float valve (optional )

Meter C

Washing machine (cold)

Method Monitored households were newly built homes, on average two years old, that had installed rainwater tanks as part of compliance with NSW’s Building Sustainability Index (BASIX) water regulation requirements. These households were located all over the Sydney basin, as shown in Figure 1. The households that made up the sample were recruited using a phone survey and a $50 voucher was provided to the participating households to encourage program take-up.

60 JULY 2012 water



Meter B


Outdoor tap (s)

Switching device (optional )

Meter A Meter D

Other household uses (shower , hot water etc )

Figure 2. Individual household monitoring set-up. Data were collected for the 52 households between July 2009 and June 2010. Meters were installed (as shown in Figure 2) to measure and log at one-minute intervals, including rainwater tank-connected demand

(Meter A – which includes total demand from any non-potable end use connected to the rainwater tank); top-up (Meter B); pump energy demand (Meter C); and, for calibration and comparison, total household mains water use (Meter D).

technical features

water efficiency

Water or energy use, L or Wh

refereed paper


An example of the aggregated daily rainwater water and energy data produced for a household is shown in Figure 3.

Top-up (Meter B) Rainwater (Meter A - Meter B) Power (Meter C)


Household characteristics and rainwater tank configurations were highly varied. Monitored households were:


• Owner-occupied single detached houses;


• Occupied between 2004 and 2008, with most from 2007 or 2008;


• Lot sizes were mostly between 400 and 800m2;






Figure 3. An example of aggregated daily water and energy use for supply of non-potable uses connected to a rainwater tank for a typical single household.

• 60% were four-bedroom homes; • Average actual occupancy rate was high at 3.55. Key rainwater tank characteristics were:

Energy use, kWh per year


4 kWh/kL

• Average tank size of 4,200L, with the majority between 3,000L and 5,000L;

3 kWh/kL 2 kWh/kL


• Average roof area connected of 210m2, with the majority between 170 and 260m2;

1 kWh/kL


• At least one outside tap was connected to the rainwater tank at all the monitored homes;


• Around 90% of rainwater tanks were connected to toilets. A high proportion were water-efficient toilets, with 4.5L full flushes and 3L half-flushes;

50 Submersible pumps


Above ground pumps 0 0







Water savings, kL per year Figure 4. Annualised water savings and energy use for each household.

Active energy intensity, kWh/kL

• Approximately 90% of tanks were connected with an automatic potable water switching device, 80% with a first-flush device and 50% with a filter; • Two-thirds of pumps were submersible.

6 All households


Discussion and Results

Best performing household


A summary of drinking water savings and energy use for each household is shown in Figure 4.

Worst performing household

3 2.4

2 1.51



0 0






Flow, L in a minute

Figure 5. Impact of pump selection on active energy intensity. Notes:

• More than 50% of homes had an available rainwater tank connection for their washing machine. Water-efficient washing machines that use between 50 and 80L per wash were most common;

1. Active energy intensity excludes any stand-by energy 2: Flow is in L in a minute due to the monitoring at one-minute intervals. It is not instantaneous flow rate (ie L per minute)


The monitored households saved an average of 21% of their total household water demand due to the rainwater tanks, which equates to around 38kL per household per year of water savings. The maximum achieved savings was 96kL per household per year. Total average household demand from the rainwater tanks, which includes rainwater use and top-up, was 59kL per household per year. Energy use from the rainwater tank was relatively low at a household level, with a median energy use of 62kWh per household per year (i.e., approximately


JULY 2012 61

water efficiency $10 a year). Average energy use was higher at 78kWh/year due to a few large energy-consuming households. The median household total energy used per unit of total rainwater used (i.e., energy intensity) was 1.48kWh per kL. This is similar to recycled water production but higher than current centralised dam supplies in Sydney. For an installed rainwater tank, this gives a levelised cost in the order of $4 to $8 a kL. This assumes a rainwater tank system supply and install cost in the order of $3,000 to $4,000 for a new home. The supply and install includes a rainwater tank, pump and switching device, first flush device, site preparation, labour and other materials. Levelised cost was calculated as the NPV of costs divided by the NPV of water savings using a discount rate of 7.5% over 30 years. The study identified and quantified a number of practical measures to improve the efficiency of rainwater tanks by ensuring water savings are maximised and energy is used efficiently. Tank configuration could be improved by maximising tank capacity, increasing roof area connected and ensuring tanks are connected and used for all outdoor and washing machine uses. A number of households did not achieve compliance for tank configuration (i.e., a smaller tank size than required to meet BASIX), with modelling showing that this decreased water savings by more than 18kL per year in some instances. To improve energy performance, analysis has shown that correct rainwater pump selection is critical. Based on the demand profile of the sample, pump choice alone had the potential to vary

refereed paper

average energy intensity from 0.68kWh per kL to 2.4kWh per kL, depending if all households chose the best-performing or worst-performing pump respectively. This difference is shown in Figure 5. Rainwater demand was found to be primarily for low water-use events (e.g., toilet and washing-machine uses) that have a low flow rate. Monitoring results showed that around 50% of water demand was for toilets, washing machines accounted for 30%, while irrigation demands were less than 20% of total demand of the non-potable uses connected to the tank. At a low flow rate, typical for toilets and washing machines, the pumps in the study achieved an average energy intensity of 1.5 to 2kWh per kL. The pumps operated at a lower energy intensity at high flow rates (i.e., above 15L in a minute), approximately 0.7kWh per kL, but these high flow rates only accounted for 2% of the demand. To improve pump performance, pumps need to be selected (if available) or designed such that they operate efficiently at low flow rates, particularly below 10L per minute. By selecting the best performing pump among all the households, median energy intensity could have reduced from 1.5 to 0.7kWh per kL, which would be lower than the energy intensity for dam-supplied water in many parts of Sydney. In addition, connecting pressure tanks to the pump set-up may further improve low flow rate energy efficiency, as was shown for two properties in the study.

Conclusion An environmentally sustainable tank system is one that is easy for householders to use and maintain if properly configured. It needs to be configured to maximise the potential for rainwater use by connecting as many end uses as possible and connecting as much roof area as possible. The tank needs to be sized according to these end uses. Using pumps that are energy efficient at low flow rates, possibly complemented with pressure tanks, can reduce energy use. Simple information could also be made available to customers to reduce the risk of easy losses (e.g., alarms about leaks that increase energy use). This type of system would increase average water savings and reduce rainwater tank pumps’ energy intensity to better than surface water supplies in some cases. Even with these improvements, rainwater tank installations would remain a relatively expensive water source with their levelised cost typically between $4 a kL and $8 a kL. This paper was Highly Commended at Ozwater’12 in May.

Acknowledgement The author would like to thank Jessica Sullivan of Sydney Water for her project management and BMT WBM for delivering the monitoring.

The Author Matthew Ferguson (email: matthew.ferguson is a senior technical adviser within Business Strategy and Regulation at Sydney Water.

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Test certificates online 62 JULY 2012 water

technical features

UV disinfection

refereed paper


• Facility (North Bay, Ontario, Canada);

Over the last 10 years, use of ultraviolet (UV) disinfection in municipal drinking water treatment has grown rapidly. Most installations at drinking water facilities are focused on Cryptosporidium inactivation in response to the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Long-Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT2ESWTR). Other systems target Giardia, viruses or bacteria. Despite widespread use of UV disinfection, practical information can be difficult to locate. Regulatory reporting requirements may not be well understood or overlooked until a UV system has been commissioned. Although USEPA’s UV Disinfection Guidance Manual (UVDGM) provides excellent general information, state, provincial or other site-specific entities can override UVDGM requirements. Site-specific constraints may limit UV disinfection options. In most cases, detailed conversations with regulators are required to identify specific requirements.

• City of St Johns, Windsor Lake Treatment Facility (St Johns, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada);

Participating Utilities This article summarises general operation and maintenance (O&M) requirements for several North American municipal drinking water UV disinfection installations. The utilities providing information are: • Seattle Public Utilities, Cedar Treatment Facility (Seattle, Washington, US); • City of North Bay, Water Treatment

• North Shore Water Commission, Water Filtration Plant (Glendale, Wisconsin, US); • City of Cedar Rapids, J Avenue and Northwest Water Treatment Plants (Cedar Rapids, Iowa, US); • Ketchikan Public Utilities, Water Treatment Plant (Ketchikan, Alaska, US). These facilities have operated UV systems ranging from one year to over 10 years. Total flow capacity ranges from 50 million litres per day (MLD) to 600 MLD. Most of the utilities target Cryptosporidium and Giardia inactivation, while one utility targets virus inactivation. All facilities use medium-pressure lamp technologies and pre-validated UV reactors. Most of them have automatic sleeve-cleaning systems. Minimum lamp power ranges from 30% to 60% of maximum.

Installing adequate straight pipe diameters upstream of the UV reactor to ensure good hydraulic conditions in the UV reactor; • Utilising online UV transmittance (UVT) analysers and flow meters to optimise the UV dose and energy delivered for varying water quality conditions; • Providing adequate space around the UV reactors and lift equipment for easier maintenance; • Incorporating provisions for future expansion or more stringent disinfection targets; • Supplying sufficient ancillary devices such as air relief valves, drain lines and sample taps; • Locating operator interface units (OIU) close to the UV reactors to facilitate daily maintenance and monthly reporting activities; • Perform sufficient factory, functional and performance testing to validate performance and warranties.

Design Elements

Monitoring of the UV Reactor

Before the UV systems became operational, key elements were incorporated during design to ensure proper levels of disinfection were achieved and maintenance requirements were not cumbersome for operations staff. Some of the key design elements included:

The UVDGM includes recommended monitoring and recording frequencies for required parameters such as UV intensity, lamp status, flow rate, UVT, validated dose and off-specification events. Typically, these parameters are automatically tracked by the UV process control system.

A UV facility incorporating some of the design elements described above.


JULY 2012 63

UV disinfection

refereed paper

Table 1. Required UV dose (mJ/cm2) to achieve desired log inactivation of target pathogen. Required UV Dose (mJ/cm2) Log Inactivation



























Virus (Adeno)









Note: Required UV Dose < RED / VF

Table 2. Maximum UV reactor flow versus UVT. Influent UVT (%/cm)

Max. UV Reactor Flow (MLD)







Disinfectant dose The UV system’s reduction equivalent dose (RED) can be established based on validation testing or as required by a local regulator. For example, one facility must operate at an MS2 RED of 40 mJ/cm2 or greater at all times. Other systems can operate based on a T1- or MS2-phage RED and a validation factor based on the UVDGM and calculated by the UV manufacturer to achieve target disinfection. This approach typically results in a lower RED to achieve the same level of disinfection (e.g. MS2 RED of 25 mJ/cm2 for 3-log Cryptosporidium inactivation) and can help to reduce capital and operating costs of the UV system as long as the UV reactor has sufficient turndown capability to take advantage of the lower RED. Table 1 shows the required UV Dose to achieve log inactivation of a target pathogen per the UVDGM. The RED divided by the validation factor must be greater than or equal to the required UV dose to ensure compliance of the desired log inactivation is achieved. Off-specification water Off-specification events must be monitored continuously and recorded at specified intervals, typically every five minutes, but may be more frequent if required by the regulator. Total off-specification volume is typically recorded monthly, compared with total water produced per month, and makes up less than 5% of the total water volume produced in a month. However, a local regulatory agency may require more stringent requirements. For example, most regulators require a treatment goal of no off-specification water, but allow 1–5% off-specification water if unusual or emergency conditions occur. Some regulators require recording offspecification water by time, not volume. On the other hand, some utilities don’t track monthly off-specification volume,

64 JULY 2012 water

because local regulators don’t require it. The production of off-specification water cannot be purposeful, but usually minor off-specification events such as the closing of isolation valves during a UV reactor emergency shutdown are allowed, as long as they are quantified by the utility.

Depending on the system, it may be required to limit the flow through the UV reactor to avoid producing offspecification water if the UV transmittance (UVT) drops significantly below the design value. Table 2 shows an example from one utility that reduced the flow through the UV reactor from 100 MLD down to 10 MLD as UVT dropped from 85% to 70% during seasonal water quality changes. At another utility, zero off-specification was the ultimate regulatory target. This is very difficult to achieve. Therefore, a recycle line was installed downstream of the UV reactors (see Figure 1). In the event of an off-specification alarm, the recycle line would open and return the water to the filter clearwell. This was made possible since the UV reactors were located downstream of low lift pumps and the UV reactors were conveniently located above the clearwell. This would not be an option in many gravity systems.

determines lamp-replacement frequency based on operating experience. For most systems, medium-pressure lamps usually operate for 9,000 hours or more. Although none of the participating utilities have low-pressure, high-output (LPHO) lamps, the expected life for LPHO lamps is 12,000 hours or longer. It is typically up to the utility to determine the appropriate replacement frequency of lamps if this activity is not regulated. Participating utilities usually replace ballasts and sleeves only when problems occur, and this is generally rare. Power outages and quality Power outages or poor power quality can shut down UV reactors and create off-specification water. Most utilities have a backup power generator for long-duration power outages. Concerns regarding short-term power outages (less than five minutes) or power quality are usually addressed with an isolated power supply cabinet, power conditioning equipment, and an uninterruptable power supply for the UV reactor control system’s programmable logical controller (PLC) to avoid loss of UV dose logic. Uninterruptable power supplies for the full system connected power load were installed only at utilities receiving power of very poor quality from their electric utilities.

System Maintenance Activities The UVDGM also recommends maintenance activities. Most of the utilities check their control systems daily to ensure normal operation,

Tracking of UV System Components Replaceable parts The UVDGM recommends tracking the age of replaceable parts, such as UV lamps. Although all of the participating utilities track lamp age, few regularly track the age of other parts, such as ballasts or sleeves. Some record the date when a component is installed. In one case, a local regulator requires medium-pressure lamps to be replaced every 5,000 hours of operation. In most other cases, the utility

Figure 1. A UV recycle line.

technical features

UV disinfection

refereed paper

Other site-specific operational issues experienced by water utilities include excessive air entrainment in the UV reactors, causing reactor shutdown; excessive ballast failures, causing frequent UV reactor shutdown; stuck wiper systems, causing lamp breaks; and electrical wire melting. Most of these problems have since been resolved. For unfiltered systems, excessive lamp fouling from seasonally increased iron requires additional sleeve cleaning for a few weeks each year. An automated cleaning system usually cleans the sleeves effectively. Most LPHO lamp systems do not have automated cleaning systems, but typically experience less fouling than MP lamps due to the lower lamp temperature. All LPHO will require periodic manual cleaning of the lamp sleeves.

Figure 2. Broken UV lamp sleeve (top) and solid mercury in lamp sleeve (bottom). Because all lamps currently in use contain mercury, water utilities must address online and offline lamp breaks. Most of the participating utilities

“Overdosing” Region = Wasted Energy

Target UV Dose

Worst-Case Operating Condition

Minimum Power Level

Flow Rate Figure 3. Schematic of turndown limitations for UV reactor. experienced less than one Chlorine Decay through UV System online lamp break every 4.0 five years of operation. A Before UV few utilities have observed 3.0 one or more lamp breaks per year for several years, 2.0 possibly due to a cleaning system malfunction or old 1.0 lamp sleeves. When online lamps break, emergency 0.0 operating procedures 0% 30% 100% should be followed, UV Reactor Power Setting usually consisting of Figure 4. Example of chlorine decay across a UV reactor due isolating the UV train, to high UV doses. draining contaminated individual lamps or banks of lamps within water and treating the reactors. Therefore, the UV reactors prior to disposal to the sanitary sewer, commonly dosed at two to three times disposing of the collected glass and the required dose for extended periods of mercury according to mercury-disposal time, which consumes additional energy. guidelines, and collecting water samples Since the UV reactors were pre-validated, downstream to ensure compliance with the turndown capacity is dictated by the MCL for mercury. Off-line lamp breaks its validation testing approach and the may occur while handling UV lamps. worst-case design criteria of the specific Mercury clean-up kits are used to collect installation (see Figure 3). LPHO systems elemental mercury and broken glass. All typically have greater turndown capability of the participating utilities have plans and lower overall power consumption to address the issue of both on-line and than MP systems, and therefore may be off-line lamp breaks. Figure 2 shows an able to provide equal disinfection with example of a broken lamp sleeve and lower power costs. mercury settled in a lamp sleeve. Although not specifically addressed Operating Costs for UV Systems in the UVDGM, operating costs can vary widely but are generally much The utilities are frequently unable to lower than for other process units, such sufficiently reduce lamp power to match as high service pumping. The primary the required or operating UV dose costs associated with operating a UV during normal flow and water quality system include power consumption, conditions. This problem was more lamp replacement, expendable parts pronounced for smaller utilities that replacement, and UV sensor and UVT use only a single reactor during normal analyser calibration. Power consumption operating conditions. Larger systems costs are driven by water quality, could minimise power use by operating disinfection target (RED) and local fewer UV reactors. Power turndown of a energy costs. UV reactor was driven by lamp turndown capabilities, which ranged from 30% to Annual operating costs for the participating utilities were converted to 60%. The UV reactors couldn’t turn off Chlorine Residual (mg/L)

Although all the utilities use some type of supervisory control and data acquisition system to continuously monitor flow, UVT, UV dose and other critical system parameters, monthly reporting to local regulators varies widely. Some utilities are required to submit a 35-page monthly compliance report summarising system performance, UV sensor checks, UVT analyser checks and off-specification events. Other utilities are not required to submit such reports to their local regulator.

Maximum Power Level

UV Dose (mJ/cm2)

power consumption and sleeve function. Recommended activities that most of the utilities don’t perform regularly include verifying individual lamp intensity, checking quartz sleeves for excessive fouling due to iron or hardness, visually inspecting ballast fans, and assessing the operation and performance of the automatic cleaning system.


JULY 2012 65

UV disinfection unit costs for simple comparison. Total operating costs were less than $0.01 (USD) per 1,000 litres treated. For one utility that injects chlorine upstream of UV disinfection, the inability to turn power down below the minimum setpoint results in a significant reduction in chlorine residual during low flows and high UVT periods. The chlorine residual was reduced across the UV reactor, requiring a higher chlorine dose at an extra cost to the utility. Figure 4 shows an example of chlorine decay at various reactor power settings. Labour associated with maintaining a UV system is also an important factor. Because labour time is mostly associated with UV reactor maintenance and reporting activities, it varies based on the number of operating reactors and regulatory requirements. Monthly labour hours ranged from 8 hours to 56 hours for the participating utilities. Systems with greater regulatory reporting requirements or a large number of lamps tend to have higher labour requirements. Due to the greater number of lamps per reactor, LPHO systems would tend to have higher labour requirements than MP systems.

refereed paper


The Authors

UV disinfection has been a vital component of the disinfection strategy for many North American water utilities. Operational and maintenance requirements are reasonable and operating costs low when compared to other advanced disinfection technologies. With proper planning, UV disinfection can successfully provide high levels of disinfection for pathogens such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia for many years. Parts of this article were republished with the kind permission of AWWA.

Acknowledgements The authors would like to thank Enoch Nicholson of CH2M HILL, Columbus, Ohio; Alex Chen and Jim Nilson from Seattle Public Utilities, Seattle, Washington; David Euler from the City of North Bay, City of North Bay, Ontario, Canada; Andrew Niblock from the City of St Johns, St Johns, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada; Eric Kiefer from the North Shore Water Commission, Glendale, Wisconsin; Bruce Jacobs from the City of Cedar Rapids, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; David Johnston from Ketchikan Public Utilities, Ketchikan, Alaska.

Celebrating 50 years of Service to Australian Industry

Todd Elliott (email: Todd. is a drinking water treatment technologist for CH2M HILL in the US specialising in the planning, selection, design and operation of drinking water treatment technologies including UV disinfection. He has a Bachelors and Masters of Science Degree in Civil & Environmental Engineering from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He is also an active member of AWWA and International UV Association (IUVA). Paul Swaim (email: Paul. has more than 20 years of experience in the successful completion of water treatment and water reuse projects from process selection through startup. He is recognised as an international expert in UV disinfection for drinking water applications including regulatory approval, pre-design, construction, startup and operations. He currently serves as Chair of the AWWA Disinfection Systems Committee and President of IUVA.

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66 JULY 2012 water


Corporate - AWA - July 2012

technical features

chlorine disinfection

refereed paper

DISINFECTIoN By-ProDuCTS A case study of occurrence of non-regulated disinfection by-products from the Capalaba region’s distribution system

MJ Farré, N Knight, H King, E Filloux, J Keller, W Gernjak, K Watson, FDL Leusch, M Bartkow, B Taylor, P Burrell Summary


A survey of disinfection by-product (DBP) occurrence was conducted at the Capalaba Water Treatment Plant (WTP) in Brisbane and at 19 sampling points of the distribution system for six months through spring-summer 2011. In addition to currently regulated DBPs including N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), DBPs that were reported as high priority due to potential toxicity were studied. These priority DBPs included five iodinated trihalomethanes (THMs), four haloacetonitriles (HANs), two haloketones (HK), chloronitromethane and chloral hydrate (CH). Results showed that all the measured regulated DBPs, including CH, were below the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG) recommendations.

Naturally occurring organic matter, which is present in raw waters, reacts with disinfectants to form disinfection by-products (DBPs). Formation of DBPs in drinking water is of concern as some have been linked to potential health effects (Richardson et al., 2008). Chlorine reacts with natural organic matter (NOM) and/or anthropogenic compounds to produce a mixture of DBPs such as trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acids (HAAs). Regulated THMs include trichloromethane, bromodichloromethane, dibromochloromethane and bromoform. Total THMs (tTHMs) refers to the sum of these four compounds. The USEPA regulates tTHMs at 80 µg/L (USEPA, 1998), while the value for the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG) is 250 µg/L (NHMRC, 2011).

THM speciation followed the order trichloromethane (TCM) > bromodichloromethane (BDCM) > dibromochloromethane (DBCM) > tribromomethane (TBM) in waters provided by the Capalaba WTP. The order was DBCM>BCDM>TBM>TCM for waters provided by the North Stradbroke Island (NSI) WTP as a result of different dissolved organic carbon/bromide (DOC/Br) ratios. HANs were measured at the WTP and across the distribution system at significant concentrations, but still lower than the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations in the case of dichloroacetonitrile and dibromoacetonitrile. Speciation of brominated and chlorinated HANs followed the trends observed for THMs. The formation of iodinated-THMs was low, in agreement with the iodide concentration measured. NDMA was not detected above the limit of detection (5 ng/L). NDMA formation potential of source water at the Capalaba WTP was 11.4 ± 3.4 ng/L, which is well below the ADWG (i.e., 100 ng/L).

Keywords Chlorine, distribution system, emerging DBPs.

There are 15 HAAs that can be formed in the presence of chlorine, bromide and iodide. The most common are dichloroacetic acid (Cl2AA) and trichloroacetic acid (Cl3AA). Other species, found generally at lower levels, are bromochloroacetic acid (BrClAA), dibromoacetic acid (Br2AA), monochloroacetic acid (ClAA) and monobromoacetic acid (BrAA) as well as additional iodine-containing counterparts. In the US, the sum of Cl2AA, Cl3AA, Br2AA, ClAA and BrAA is commonly denoted as HAA5 and is currently regulated at 60 µg/L (USEPA, 1998). In Australia, only ClAA, Cl2AA and Cl3AA are regulated, at 150, 100 and 100 µg/L, respectively (NHMRC, 2011). While the USEPA drinking water standards for tTHMs and HAAs are numerically lower than the Australian drinking water guideline values, compliance in the US is defined on the basis of a running annual average of quarterly averages of all samples, whereas compliance is based on single exceedances in Australia. Recently, Australia has included N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) in the ADWG at the World Health Organization (WHO) guideline value of 100 ng/L (NHMRC, 2011; WHO, 2011). Other DBPs that may be generated at lower

concentrations are haloacetonitriles (HANs), halogenated furanones, halonitromethanes (HNM), cyanogen halides, haloketones (HK), haloaldehydes and halogenated phenols, among others. However, the concentration of the halogenated DBPs identified to date account for less than 50% of the total organic halogens (TOX) present in a chlorinated water (Reckhow and Singer, 1984; Buffle et al., 2004). Nitrogen-containing DBPs (N-DBPs) such as HANs and N-nitrosamines are suspected to be more toxic than carbonbased DBPs (Plewa et al., 2004; Muellner et al., 2007; Plewa et al., 2007). The higher toxicity of N-DBPs have already raised concerns, with regulators in Australia including NDMA at 100 ng/L, which is three orders of magnitude lower than the values used for more conventional DBPs such as tTHMs (tTHMs 250 µg/L). HANs are currently not included in the ADWG; however, some of them are already included in the recycling water guidelines, with values as low as 0.7 µg/L for bromochloroacetonitrile (QPC, 2005). Moreover, N-DBP precursors are less amenable to conventional drinking water treatment processes than most precursors for carbon-based DBPs, due to their hydrophilic characteristics (Bond et al., 2011). Conventional water treatment systems are designed to treat potentially contaminated source water, in order to prevent the potential spread of waterborne disease-causing microorganisms and reduce potable water problems related to NOM, such as undesirable colour, odour, taste and formation of DBPs. Such treatment systems typically consist of source water intake/screening, coagulation, flocculation, sedimentation, rapid sand filtration and disinfection processes (Kameya et al., 1997). Coagulation changes the composition of organic matter by preferentially removing more oxidised NOM compounds, leaving compounds with a higher tendency to form chlorine-generated N-DBPs such as HANs (Xiao et al., 2010).


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chlorine disinfection

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Nitrogen-containing DBPs have been measured mainly in the United States (US), Canada and Europe (Richardson et al., 2007). Simpson and Hayes sampled 16 drinking waters from around Australia and measured the sum of four HANs expressed as 4HAN, chloropicrin and cyanogen chloride (Simpson and Hayes, 1998). They found values up to 36 µg/L of 4HAN in different regions of Australia compared to the median and maximum levels of 3 and 14 µg/L found in a 2000–2002 US survey (Weinberg et al., 2002; Krasner et al., 2006). In a 2006– 2007 US survey, median values for the sum of 4HAN was slightly higher at 4 µg/L (Mitch et al., 2009). In our previous work, we measured the DBP formation potential at three WTPs in Brisbane and found the highest DBP formation from Capalaba source water (Farré et al., 2011). Therefore, we selected this region for further evaluation. In this paper we present the concentration of DBPs at Capalaba WTP (Brisbane) and its distribution system, which also includes water from North Stradbroke Island (NSI).

Methodology Samples were taken at Capalaba WTP and from the distribution system (Figure 1) during five sampling events in spring-summer 2011. The sampling dates were 5/9/2011, 3/10/2011, 7/11/2011, 21/11/2011 and 6/12/2011. Samples were taken headspace free, in acid-washed glass containers with Teflon lids. Ascorbic acid was used to quench the chlorine and to protect the present DBPs. Samples were shipped to The University of Queensland (UQ), with volatile DBPs analysed within 24 hours. The following M 17

M 11

M 16

M M 14 13

M 22 M 8

M 21

Capalaba WTP

M 23

Alexandra Hills Reservoir

M 29

M 50 M 52

M 33

M 51

M 45

M 42

M 38

Figure 1. Sampling points selected for the study. NSI = North Stradbroke Island. Green = Capalaba WTP source water. Red = NSI WTP source water. Purple = Alexandra Hill Reservoir (Capalaba + NSI). Blue = Capalaba + Alexandra Hill Reservoir. White arrow represents water from Capalaba to Alexandra Hill Reservoir (Courtesy of Allconnex Water).

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results Table 1 shows TOC, bromide, dissolved and organic nitrogen (DON) values and the standard deviation for the sampling points selected for this study and Capalaba WTP. Samples have been divided according to the source water used. Samples M16 and M17 provide water from Capalaba WTP and Alexandra Hill Reservoir, which is a mix of Capalaba and NSI water. Hence, a higher proportion of Capalaba water is expected for these sites in comparison to sites M19–M33, which supply water from Alexandra Hill Reservoir without further blending. Maximum average TOC values were around 5–6 mg/L and were found in sampling points with a higher percentage of water from Capalaba WTP, while lower values were found in sampling points providing water from NSI. Bromide concentration ranged between 0.025 and 0.07 mg/L across the samples. DON was clearly higher in Capalaba water in comparison to NSI. THMs in conjunction with HAAs are the most prevalent DBPs in drinking water and are formed as a result of the reaction between chlorine and NOM. Figure 2 shows the mean concentrations of tTHMs found in Capalaba WTP and the distribution system.

M 19

M 10

DBPs were extracted by liquid-liquid microextraction and analysed by gas chromatography with electron capture detection (GC/ECD): trichloromethane (TCM); bromodichloromethane (BDCM); dibromochloromethane (DBCM); tribromomethane (TBM); dichloroiodomethane (DCIM); bromochloroiodomethane (BCIM); dibromoiodomethane (DBIM); chlorodiiodomethane (CDIM); bromodiiodomethane (BDIM); trichloroacetonitrile (TCAN); dichloroacetonitrile (DCAN); bromochloroacetonitrile (BCAN); dibromoacetonitrile (DBAN); chloral hydrate (CH); trichloronitromethane (TCNM); 1,1-dichloropropanone (1,1-DCP); and 1,1,1-trichloropropanone (1,1,1-TCP). Additional analyses such as total organic carbon (TOC), SUVA, bromide and iodide were done. NDMA was extracted at UQ by means of solid phase extraction and concentration under nitrogen and samples were taken to QHFSS for analysis by gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (GC/MS) with chemical ionisation with ammonia gas.

In all instances, tTHM values were lower than the ADWG value of 250 µg/L. Elevated values were found in M8–M17 which correspond to sampling points providing water from Capalaba WTP. On the other hand, the remaining sampling points provided water with a high contribution of NSI-treated water. Average concentrations of tTHMs at Capalaba WTP were lower than at M8, M11, M13, M14 and M16, which evidenced the ability of THMs to increase during distribution within the system, mainly as a result of hydrolysis of other DBPs (Nikolaou et al., 2001). Sampling points providing water from Capalaba showed a distribution of TCM>BDCM>DBCM>TBM, which is common speciation in drinking water with a high concentration of organic carbon and low concentration of bromide. The speciation of THMs measured in sampling points providing water from NSI was DBCM>BCDM>TBM>TCM as a result of the presence of bromide in low organic carbon waters (< 2 mg/L). The rate constant of bromide with HOCl to generate HOBr is 1.5 × 103 1/M·s (Kumar and Margerum, 1987) and the rate constant of THM formation is in the range of 0.01 and 0.03 1/M·s (Gallard and Von Gunten, 2002). It is known that, once formed, hypobromous acid reacts about 10 times faster than chlorine with NOM. The reason is that the activities of electrophilic substitution for electron release to stabilise a carbocation are more favourable for the Br atom due to its higher electron density and smaller bond strength relative to the Cl atom (Westerhoff et al., 2004). Hence, the formation of Br-DBPs is limited by the initial Br concentration, whereas the

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Cl-DBPs would be limited by the organic matter concentration. Figure 2 shows the average concentration of THMs in the waters with a high contribution from NSI.

Table 1. Water characterisation during the sampling campaign in the Capalaba distribution system. n = number of samples, TOC = total organic carbon, DON = dissolved organic nitrogen, SUVA = specific UV absorbance, Cap = Capalaba WTP, NSI = North Stradbroke Island WTP. Sampling point


Source water

TOC mg/L

St dev


St dev

DON mg/L

St dev
















































Cap + NSI (via Alexandra Hills res)









Cap + NSI (via Alexandra Hills res)









Alexandra Hills res (Cap + NSI)









Alexandra Hills res (Cap + NSI)









Alexandra Hills res (Cap + NSI)









Alexandra Hills res (Cap + NSI)









Alexandra Hills res (Cap + NSI)









Alexandra Hills res (Cap + NSI)





































































Figure 2. Average concentration and range of tTHMs in Capalaba WTP and distribution system. Inset shows the THMs speciation in waters from NSI.

Figure 3 shows the average concentration of the four analysed HANs. In agreement with Bougeard and coauthors (2010), all four analysed HANs were detected in all waters and their concentrations were typically an order of magnitude lower than the concentration of THMs. Also, the bromine/chlorine speciation was different between the sampling points providing water mainly from Capalaba WTP or NSI WTP as a result of the different concentration of TOC. Maximum concentrations measured corresponded to DCAN. Dihalogenated HANs are reported to be more stable than the trihalogenated HANs (Peters et al., 1990). In addition, TCAN can undergo base-catalysed hydrolysis at pH higher than 5.5, which is the likely explanation as to why it was rarely detected in this sampling campaign, as the pH of all the samples was 7±0.4 (Croue and Reckhow, 1989). Although HANs are not included in the ADWG, the WHO has recommended the concentration of DCAN and DBAN to be 20 and 70 µg/L, respectively (WHO, 2011). Besides THMs and HAAs, CH is the next most prevalent DBP in chlorinated drinking water. Figure 4 shows the average concentration of CH also in conjunction with TCNM and two HKs. At almost all the sampling points providing water from Capalaba WTP, concentration of CH was measured above 10 µg/L. Dabrowska and Nawrocki (2009) studied the effect of contact time on the formation of CH. They observed that the reaction of chlorine with organic matter takes place as long as chlorine is available in the water due to the different precursors involved in these reactions. Thus, the concentration of CH may continuously increase in the water supply system. CH has been previously studied, but the appearance of CH in drinking water is not well understood and causes many controversies (Goslan et al., 2009). Trehy et al. (1986) reported that amino acids are potential precursors of CH and suggested that the precursors for TCM and CH are different. According to Ueno et al. (1995), nitrogen compounds and amino acids produced CH in the chlorination process. TCNM and 1,1-DCP concentrations were low in all instances, while 1,1,1TCP was found at concentrations up to 12 µg/L in the waters coming from Capalaba WTP. The differences in the formation of 1,1-DCP and 1,1,1-TCP can be partially explained by a simplified


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academic staff at the AWMC. Nicole Knight, Kalinda Watson and Fred Leusch are researchers at the Smart Water Research Centre (SWRC), Griffith University, Gold Coast, Queensland. Michael Bartkow is a researcher at Seqwater, Brisbane, Queensland, Brad Taylor is Group Manager Product Quality and Testing at Allconnex Water, Gold Coast, Queensland and Paul Burrell is Water Quality Coordinator at SEQ Water Grid Manager, Brisbane, Queensland.

Acknowledgements Figure 3. Average concentration and range of HANs in Capalaba WTP and distribution system.

This research is being conducted as part of the Urban Water Security Research Alliance (UWSRA), a collaboration between the Queensland Government, CSIRO, The University of Queensland and Griffith University. The authors wish to acknowledge Seqwater and Allconnex Water for giving access to the plants and assisting with the sampling.

references Bond T, Huang J, Templeton MR & Graham N (2011): Occurrence and control of nitrogenous disinfection by-products in drinking water – A review. Water Research, 45, pp 4341–4354.

Figure 4. Average concentration and range of CH, TCNM, 1,1-DCP and 1,1,1-TCP in Capalaba WTP and distribution system. model developed by Reckhow and Singer (1984). In their model, chlorination of fulvic acid solutions led to the formation of intermediate by-products, such as 1,1-DCP, that could be further oxidised by chlorine to 1,1,1-TCP. This model reveals that further chlorine attack and hydrolysis are essential for the formation of 1,1,1-TCP. Five iodinated-THMs (I-THMs) were also measured in this study. We did not find I-THMs above 3.5 µg/L, which is in concurrence with the measurements of iodide in the samples that were, in all instances, below the 0.01 mg/L limit of detection (LOD). Similarly, NDMA was not detected above the 5 ng/L LOD across the distribution system. NDMA formation potential of source water at the Capalaba WTP was 11.4 ± 3.4 ng/L (n=3), which is also well below the ADWG value (i.e., 100 ng/L).

Conclusions All regulated DBPs were measured below ADWG values in all analysed samples across the Capalaba region. • THM speciation followed the order TCM>BDCM>DBCM>TBM in sampling points providing water from Capalaba and DBCM>BCDM>TBM>TCM in

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waters blended with NSI water as a result of different DOC/Br ratios. • HANs were measured at relatively high concentrations for locations serviced primarily by Capalaba WTP. Even though they were measured below WHO limits, we recommend investigating possibilities to control the formation of HANs at the drinking WTP as they are suspected to be more toxic than carbon-based regulated DBPs.

The Authors Dr Maria José Farré (email: m.farre@awmc. is a Research Fellow at the Advanced Water Management Centre (AWMC), The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. Her scientific interests are related to the formation and fate of disinfection by-products during the production and transportation of both drinking and recycled water. This study is part of a bigger project entitled “Assessment of Regulated and Emerging Disinfection By-Products in South East Queensland Drinking Water”. Hollie King and Emmanuelle Filloux are research staff in this project at the AWMC. Jurg Keller and Wolfgang Gernjak are

Bougeard CMM, Goslan EH, Jefferson B & Parsons SA (2010): Comparison of the disinfection by-product formation potential of treated waters exposed to chlorine and monochloramine. Water Research, 44, pp 729–740. Buffle MO, Galli S & Von Gunten U (2004): Enhanced bromate control during ozonation: The chlorine-ammonia process. Environmental Science & Technology, 38, pp 5187–5195. Croué JP & Reckhow DA (1989): Destruction of chlorination byproducts with sulfite. Environmental Science & Technology, 23, pp 1412–1419. Dabrowska A & Nawrocki J (2009): Controversies about the occurrence of chloral hydrate in drinking water. Water Research, 43, pp 2201–2208. Farré MJ, King H, Keller J, Gernjak W, Knight N, Watson K, Shaw G, Leusch FDL, Sadler R, Birt J, Bartkow M & Burrell P (2011): Disinfection By-Products in South East Queensland: Assessing Potential Effects of Transforming Disinfectants in the SEQ Water Grid. UWSRA Science Forum, Brisbane. Gallard H & Von Gunten U (2002): Chlorination of natural organic matter: Kinetics of chlorination and of THM formation. Water Research, 36, pp 65–74. Goslan EH, Krasner SW, Bower M, Rocks SA, Holmes P, Levy LS & Parsons SA (2009): A comparison of disinfection by-products found in chlorinated and chloraminated drinking waters in Scotland. Water Research, 43, pp 4698–4706. Kameya T, Hada T & Urano K (1997). Changes of adsorption capacity and pore distribution of biological activated carbon on advanced water treatment. Water Science and Technology, 35, pp 155–162.

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Krasner SW, Weinberg HS, Richardson SD, Pastor SJ, Chinn R, Sclimenti MJ, Onstad GD & Thruston Jr AD (2006): Occurrence of a new generation of disinfection byproducts. Environmental Science & Technology, 40, pp 7175–7185. Kumar K & Margerum DW (1987): Kinetics and mechanism of general-acid-assisted oxidation of bromide by hypochlorite and hypochlorous acid. Inorganic Chemistry, 26, pp 2706–2711. Mitch WA, Krasner SW, Westerhoff P & Dotson A (2009): Occurrence and Formation of Nitrogenous Disinfection By-Products. Water Research Foundation, Denver, Co. Muellner MG, Wagner ED, McCalla K, Richardson SD, Woo YT & Plewa MJ (2007): Haloacetonitriles vs. regulated haloacetic acids: Are nitrogen-containing DBFs more toxic? Environmental Science & Technology, 41, pp 645–651. NHMRC (2011): Australian Drinking Water Guidelines Paper 6 National Water Quality Management Strategy in: National Health and Medical Research Council, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra. Nikolaou AD, Lekkas TD, Kostopoulou MN & Golfinopoulos SK (2001): Investigation of the behaviour of haloketones in water samples. Chemosphere, 44, pp 907–912. Peters RJB, De Leer EWB & De Galan L (1990): Dihaloacetonitriles in Dutch drinking waters. Water Research, 24, pp 797–800. Plewa MJ, Muellner MG, Richardson SD, Fasano F, Buettner KM, Woo YT, McKague AB &

Wagner ED (2007): Occurrence, Synthesis and Mammalian Cell Cytotoxicity and Genotoxicity of Haloacetamides: An Emerging Class of Nitrogenous Drinking Water Disinfection Byproducts. Environmental Science & Technology, 42, pp 955–961. Plewa MJ, Wagner ED, Jazwierska P, Richardson SD, Chen PH & McKague AB (2004): Halonitromethane drinking water disinfection by-products; chemical characterization and mammalian cell cytotoxicity and genotoxicity. Environmental Science & Technology, 38, pp 62–68. QPC (2005): Public Health Regulation 2005, reprinted as at 4 July 2008. Queensland Parliamentary Council. Reckhow DA & Singer PC (1984): The removal of organic halide precursors by preozonation and alum coagulation. Journal American Water Works Association, 76, pp 151–157. Richardson SD, Fasano F, Ellington JJ, Crumley FG, Buettner KM, Evans JJ, Blount BC, Silva LK, Waite TJ, Luther GW, McKague AB, Miltner RJ, Wagner ED & Plewa MJ (2008): Occurrence and mammalian cell toxicity of iodinated disinfection byproducts in drinking water. Environmental Science & Technology, 42, pp 8330–8338. Richardson SD, Plewa MJ, Wagner ED, Schoeny R & DeMarini DM (2007): Occurrence, genotoxicity, and carcinogenicity of regulated and emerging disinfection by-products in drinking water: A review and roadmap for research. Mutation Research – Reviews in Mutation Research, 636, pp 178–242.

Simpson KL & Hayes KP (1998): Drinking water disinfection by-products: An Australian perspective. Water Research, 32, pp 1522–1528. Trehy ML, Yost RA & Miles CJ (1986): Chlorination byproducts of amino acids in natural waters. Environmental Science & Technology, 20, pp 1117–1122. Ueno H, Nakamuro K, Moto T & Sayato Y (1995): Disinfection by-products in the chlorination of organic nitrogen compounds: Possible pathways for the formation of disinfection by-products. Water Science and Technology, 13, pp 171–176. USEPA (1998): National primary drinking water regulations: disinfectants and disinfection byproducts. 63. Weinberg HS, Krasner SW, Richardson SD & Thruston Jr AD (2002): The occurrence of disinfection by-products (DBPs) of health concern in drinking water: results of a nationwide DBP occurrence study. EPA/600/R02/068. Westerhoff P, Chao P & Mash H (2004): Reactivity of natural organic matter with aqueous chlorine and bromine. Water Research, 38, pp 1502–1513. WHO (2011): Guidelines for drinking water quality. Fourth edition. World Health Organisation, Geneva. Xiao F, Zhang X, Zhai H, Yang M & Lo IMC (2010): Effects of enhanced coagulation on polar halogenated disinfection byproducts in drinking water. Separation and Purification Technology, 76, pp 26–32.


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WATER-WASHED DISEASES AND ACCESS TO INFRASTRUCTURE IN REMOTE INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES IN THE NORTHERN TERRITORY How water is fundamental to improving the health status of Indigenous children T Foster, B Dance Introduction Water is central to the culture, spirituality and traditional economy of the first Australians. Aboriginal dreamtime stories tell of rivers, groundwater and rainfall that brim with agency, and a hydrological cycle that shapes the land and symbolises regeneration. Extraordinary hydrological knowledge and expertise enabled Indigenous peoples to thrive for millennia. The strategic use of water was once the key to survival in a hostile environment; now the strategic use of water is a key to improving the deplorable health status of many Indigenous children. The health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians is well known. Indigenous life expectancy at birth is 9.7–11.5 years less than the national average and the infant mortality rate is 1.76 times higher. Disparities extend across the spectrum of ill health, from ‘traditional’ communicable diseases to modern ‘lifestyle’ diseases. These health problems are most severe in the isolated regions of the Northern Territory (NT). Around 80% of the NT’s approximately 68,000 Indigenous inhabitants live across more than 600 remote communities,

Figure 2. Water and sewage disposal infrastructure in NT Indigenous communities. most of which have a population of less than 50 (Figure 1). Owing to their unique geographic and hydrological context, these communities place a heavy reliance on small-scale bore water systems and septic tanks (Figure 2). Dependence on groundwater is particularly high in the central desert region where annual rainfall averages less than 250mm. The vast majority of communities in the Darwin northern region are also supplied with bore water, notwithstanding a wetter climate that yields 1300mm–1700mm of yearly rainfall.

Remoteness Areas 0

1000 Kilometres

Very Remote Australia Remote Australia Outer Regional Australia Inner Regional Australia Major Cities of Australia Discrete Idigenous Communities

Figure 1. Discrete Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory.

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The health implications of inadequate water and sanitation services in remote Indigenous

communities have been examined on a number of occasions. However, in a landmark report by the Northern Australia Land and Water Taskforce, Jackson and Robinson lamented the concept of water poverty in Indigenous communities has “not been well explicated”. The burden of water-washed diseases – communicable diseases that can be reduced through provision of sufficient quantities of water for personal and domestic hygiene – fits squarely within this neglected realm. Water-washed diseases tend to fall within the public health domain, and are rarely scrutinised within water policy discourse. In stark contrast to the integrated water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) strategies employed in the developing world, there is an absence of any reference to Indigenous water-washed disease transmission in the vast library of documents generated by Australia’s National Water Commission. Conversely, the risk of waterborne disease remains a chief concern of water managers in

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Australia, and there is a growing body of guidelines and data on water quality in Indigenous communities. Yet even in Indigenous public health literature the water-hygiene relationship is at times sidelined. For example, Indigenous Burden of Disease reports omitted any mention of water, sanitation and hygiene (let alone quantification of the associated disease burden), despite it being ranked by the World Health Organisation as the fourth greatest risk factor to global health. This article, therefore, intends to shine a spotlight on what is currently a blind spot within Australian water thinking. It draws together a range of health- and infrastructure-related data to demonstrate how remote Indigenous communities in the NT have made significant gains in terms of access to water and sanitation infrastructure, yet continue to be beleaguered by waterwashed disease rates that bear all the hallmarks of a developing country. The paper is apportioned into four sections. First, a brief historical outline of the importance of water-washed diseases is provided. Second, the burden of waterwashed diseases in remote Indigenous communities is evaluated based on recent disease surveillance reports, government publications and online databases. Third, data from a range of infrastructure surveys are analysed and historical trends are plotted. Finally, a discussion reconciles the apparent paradox presented by high levels of access to water and sanitation infrastructure and unacceptable levels of water-washed diseases.

The Water-Health Nexus Two millennia after Hippocrates espoused the health benefits of water, Edwin Chadwick reinvigorated the water-health nexus in the modern age. By recognising the role of poor water supplies and inadequate sanitation in the spread of disease, Chadwick’s 1842 Report on the Sanitary Condition of the Labouring Population of Great Britain precipitated widespread sanitary reforms throughout Britain. By the time John Snow identified the infamous Broad St Pump as the source of a cholera outbreak in London several years later, the vital role of a clean water supply and adequate sanitation in preventing disease was confirmed. This public health imperative inspired an infrastructure revolution throughout the industrialised world, with water supply and sewerage networks rapidly extending their reach across sprawling cities. Dramatic declines in typhoid and cholera epidemics were achieved, with commensurate reductions in premature

Table 1. Bradley’s environmental classification of infective diseases related to water. Category


I. Waterborne Classical Non-classical

Typhoid; Infectious hepatitis

II. Water-washed Superficial Intestinal

Trachoma, Scabies; Shigella dysentery

III. Water-based Percutaneous Ingested

Bilharziasis; Guinea worm

IV. Water-related insect-vector Water-biting Water-breeding

Sleeping sickness; Onchocerciasis

mortality. Water quality was thus prized as the central means by which water supplies could afford public health benefits. It was not until the seminal Drawers of Water study that the multidimensional relationship between water and communicable disease was fully explicated. Bradley’s environmental classification of infective diseases identified four ways in which water interventions could impact health (Table 1). Of these categories, none was more important than that described as ‘waterwashed’ – diseases that could be reduced or prevented with a reliable and adequate supply of water for hygienic purposes, irrespective of the quality. In doing so, Bradley overturned the long-held assumption that water quality was the most important way in which water could be used to improve human health. In the four decades since Bradley’s classification was first published, countless efforts have sought to quantify the health benefits associated with adequate provision of water and sanitation. The findings have at times been contradictory or inconclusive and their interpretation continues to arouse debate. Nevertheless, systematic reviews and meta-analyses of the most rigorous and robust studies provide overwhelming evidence of the health benefits that adequate quantities of water can generate, particularly where piped onto the premises. The World Health Organisation now estimates that 7.7% of the disease burden in low-income nations is attributable to unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene. Communicable diseases contracted through the water-washed mechanism likely make up the bulk of this figure. Poor communities around the globe continue to be plagued by intestinal infection, trachoma and scabies – all of

which, according to WHO guidelines, can be tackled through provision of adequate quantities of water. Diarrhoeal diseases, which cause around 1.5 million child deaths a year, are most effectively prevented by hand-washing with soap at critical times, along with adequate excreta disposal. Trachoma, the world’s leading cause of infectious blindness, demands adequate quantities of water to clean infected eye secretions from a child’s face, and enable other preventative interventions such as clothes- and hand-washing. Scabies is a skin disease suffered by 300 million people worldwide. Although the evidence base is less conclusive, key global health authorities all advise that adequate quantities of water are required to wash bedding and clothes to prevent the spread of the parasitic mite Sarcoptes scabei.

The Burden of Water-Washed Diseases in Remote NT As with the developing world, intestinal infection, trachoma and scabies remain major contributors to the yawning Indigenous health gap in Australia. With the emergence of publicly available data from recent surveillance programs, the NT Emergency Response Child Health Checks (NTER CHCs), and the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare (AIHW) online database, there is a timely opportunity to assess the extent to which these three diseases impact Indigenous communities in the NT. Intestinal infection A comparison of hospital separation data shows that in 2009/10 an Indigenous child under 15 years in the NT was 6.4 times more likely to be admitted to hospital with an intestinal infectious disease than a child in the general Australian population (Figure 3). Indigenous children experience a disproportionate rate of enteric infection across a range of faeco-oral pathogens, including Salmonella, Cryptosporidium


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public health and Campylobacter. It is especially telling that Shigellosis, a disease long considered synonymous with poverty, is a key culprit. A review of National Disease Surveillance Statistics between 2002 and 2007 reveals Shigellosis notification rates among Indigenous Territorians are 15 times higher than in non-Indigenous Territorians and 73 times the general Australian average.

Figure 3. Hospital separations for intestinal infectious disease (principal diagnosis).

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Hospitalisation and notification rates likely under-represent the true prevalence of diarrhoeal disease, however. An alternative estimate can be derived from a child health survey conducted in 2004–2005. This survey of carers for 618 Indigenous children aged 0 to 7 years across 10 remote communities found 30.6% had experienced diarrhoea in the previous fortnight. Comparative analysis should be treated with caution due to issues of seasonality, reliability of two-week recall periods, and the nonrepresentative nature of the sample. Nonetheless, the proportion of carers who reported diarrhoea is high even by developing world standards. When age-adjusted for children less than two years, the Indigenous figure of 40% exceeds the diarrhoea prevalence recorded for each of the 60 developing countries that have been subject to Demographic and Health Surveys since 2000 (Figure 4). Trachoma In 2010, screening of 4,441 Indigenous children aged less than 15 years across 64 ‘at-risk’ NT communities found an overall prevalence of 12%, with regional prevalence ranging from 1% to 27% (Figure 5). In contrast, trachoma was eliminated from the non-Indigenous population more than 70 years ago. Sadly, Australia is now the only developed nation in the world where the disease remains endemic. Furthermore, levels of infection among Indigenous children in at-risk communities appear to be higher than the average prevalence in trachoma-endemic areas across the developing world (Figure 6). Scabies The NTER CHCs, which included 10,605 individual check-ups (constituting 65% of the 0–14-year age group throughout remote NT), observed scabies in 8.4% of children aged 0–14, with ranges from 5.5% to 11.6% (Figure 7). These figures fall at the upper end of the 5–10% prevalence range found in developing countries.

Figure 4. Percentage of children under age two who had diarrhoea in the previous two weeks.

Figure 5. Prevalence of active trachoma among NT Indigenous children screened in ‘at-risk’ communities: 2010.

Long-term sequelae On the spectrum of health conditions, a bout of diarrhoea, an irritating eye infection or itchy skin might seem somewhat minor. In contrast to the developing world where diarrhoea remains the second most common cause of death for children under five, not a single child death due to diarrhoeal disease has been recorded in the NT for at least a decade (Figure 9). This represents a major turnaround from the 1960s when intestinal infection was the biggest killer of Indigenous children in the NT. Although this decline should be celebrated, recurring reinfection of water-washed diseases continues to have insidious long-term consequences that extend well beyond childhood. Frequent episodes of non-fatal intestinal infection at a young age can lead to a vicious cycle of malnutrition and growth faltering, and can impair cognitive function later in childhood. Similarly, trachoma can lead to scarring and, eventually, blindness. Scabies underlies 50%– 70% of Group A streptococcal pyoderma, which in turn can cause episodes of acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and, ultimately, rheumatic heart disease (RHD), a cause of premature death among Indigenous Australians. Efforts to reduce the prevalence of water-washed infections could, therefore, produce a modern-day Mills-Reinicke effect, whereby immediate improvements in water-related disease are followed up by reductions in other illness not traditionally considered to be water-related. In light of this, it is important to note that Indigenous rates of malnutrition, growth retardation, vision impairment, ARF, RHD and renal impairment are far in excess of the non-Indigenous population in Australia.

Access to Water and Sanitation Infrastructure in Remote NT Figure 6. Estimated prevalence of active trachoma in endemic areas in the developing world.

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The recent release of the Joint Monitoring Program (JMP) report by UNICEF/WHO heralded the welcome news that the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to “halve the proportion

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of the (world’s) population without sustainable access to safe drinking-water” had been achieved five years ahead of schedule. Of course, to most Australians the concept of resorting to unsafe or unimproved water sources is a foreign one. Indeed, when examining the JMP Report one will discover that 100% of Australians have enjoyed access to ‘improved’ water and sanitation services since the monitoring program began in 1990. Certainly, when one rounds up the decimal point this is correct. However, this aggregated number conceals a proportion of the Indigenous Australian population who, at last count, lacked access to improved water and sanitation infrastructure. The most recent enumeration of discrete Indigenous communities in 2006 revealed there are still communities in the NT with no organised water supply or system for excreta disposal, and several hundreds of people living in dwellings that lack water connections or on-site sanitation facilities. These infrastructure shortfalls are to be found almost exclusively in small homeland communities. From the late 1970s the abysmal water and sanitation conditions in remote Indigenous communities became an issue of national importance. Water was scarce, distances to public taps were substantial and latrines were filthy or non-existent. There was little doubt infrastructure deficiencies inhibited personal hygiene practices. In Yuendumu the water supply was “grossly underprovided to meet adequate standards of hygiene”. Likewise, Walker reported Central Australian outstations being restricted to just two litres per person per day (l/p/d), while residents of Mpweringe relied on rusting drums for 14 l/p/d. Indeed, the establishment of many isolated homeland communities in arid regions posed unprecedented service delivery challenges – in 1983 a third of homeland communities relied on carted water, with 5% hauling water from sources more than five kilometres away. By the 1990s a technocratic approach to remote water supply challenges was supplanted by the rise of the Indigenous rights paradigm, which placed a greater emphasis on the social and political dimensions of service delivery. The 1994 report by the Federal Race Discrimination Commissioner upped the political ante when it recast water supply and sanitation services as fundamental human rights, well before any international articulation of the right to water and the UN’s landmark General Comment 15. This heightened political priority translated into action on the ground. Longitudinal analysis of 13 surveys and enumerations demonstrates significant infrastructure advances were made throughout the 1980s and 1990s (Figure 10). In the 25 years from 1981 more than 430 individual communities gained access to improved water and sanitation infrastructure. Although there is still a disparity relative to the general Australian population that demands redress, the most recent statistical snapshot is far superior to global benchmarks. In 2006, 1% lived in Indigenous communities without an improved water supply, up to 6% lived in dwellings not connected to a water supply, and up to 6% were without improved sanitation facilities. This compares to worldwide averages of 11%, 47% and 38% respectively. Although on some measures the absolute gains appear modest, when evaluating the progress made one must take into account the unique geographic and economic challenges associated with delivering water and sanitation services in remote NT. The number of Indigenous dwellings connected to water and sanitation systems between 1981 and 2006 sums to around 4,500 – little more than the number of piped connections the Australian Government recently funded in a single small town project in Mozambique. The key difference, of course, is that in remote NT, these dwellings are sparsely scattered across a land mass more than five times larger than the United Kingdom – a

Figure 7. Percentage of NT Indigenous children undergoing CHCs who had scabies: 2007–2009.

Figure 8. Hospital separations for scabies (principal diagnosis).

Figure 9. Deaths due to intestinal infection in the NT: 1964–2010.

Figure 10. Population without access to water and sanitation infrastructure in NT Indigenous communities: 1976–2006.


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public health reality that has major operational and financial implications. Moreover, the rate at which dwellings can be ‘connected’ may ultimately be constrained by the pace at which improvised dwellings can be replaced by permanent ones.

A Fourth World Paradox Juxtaposing the health and infrastructure landscapes in remote Indigenous communities presents a paradox. Developing world rates of water-washed infection combine with infrastructure access levels that are now equal to developed world averages. In 1978, when one in two dwellings were not connected to a water supply, the NT Secretary for Health described Indigenous communities as “a nineteenth century picture where many of the early health battles still remain to be fought”. More than three decades on, the enduring endemicity of water-washed diseases means this statement continues to ring shamefully true, despite almost universal coverage of improved water supply and sanitation infrastructure. To be sure, a water supply and sanitation gap still needs to be bridged. However, a heavy focus on new infrastructure is now unlikely to generate more than marginal water-washed health benefits. To understand this unique “fourth world” water-health picture, it is important to consider other links in the water-washed chain. Service reliability Water and sanitation services in Indigenous communities are plagued by disruptions and breakdowns. However, it is unclear to what degree they constrain hygiene practices. In 2006, almost two-thirds of large communities experienced at least one interruption to the main water supply in a 12-month period – a quarter of communities experienced more than five disruptions, and a similar proportion suffered an interruption that lasted longer than 24 hours. Similarly, acute problems also appear to plague outstations. This compares to just 5% of households in the general Australian population that reported a water supply disruption in the 12 months prior to March 2010. Notwithstanding these disruptions, large Indigenous communities enjoy a mean per capita water production of 646 litres per person per day. This is more than 46 of the 63 Australian water service providers that submit data to the World Bank’s IB-NET database, 17% higher than the Australian mean, and double the amount estimated for 32 Indigenous communities in 1971. Even when factoring in water losses – which may explain this higher than average production figure –

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the volume consumed by end users is likely to be well above the minimum 50 l/p/d threshold the National Indigenous Infrastructure Guide stipulates is needed for drinking and hygiene purposes. Hence, while vivid descriptions from the 1970s and 1980s made it clear that unreliable systems, capacity constraints and water shortages prevented the practice of good hygiene, it is now not so apparent in larger communities. An informational deficit, however, precludes any conclusions regarding the impact of water shortages and disruptions on hygiene behaviours in smaller homeland communities. Household infrastructure Brought to the attention of policy makers in the early 1990s, the state of “health hardware” in Indigenous housing continues to be of great concern. Numerous surveys have detailed the high proportion of dysfunctional flush toilets, basins, laundry facilities, baths and showers. The NT Environmental Health Surveys between 1998 and 2001 suggested 35–50% of households lacked fully functioning facilities for washing people, 35–60% for washing clothes and 25–45% for removing excreta. Subsequent audits suggest high non-functionality rates have persisted in the decade since. It is certainly logical that such high levels of faulty hardware impair hygienic practices, and ongoing maintenance and upgrading initiatives continue to be of paramount importance. However, isolating statistically significant associations with health outcomes has proven difficult. This suggests that if waterwashed dividends are to be fully realised, hardware fixes need to be accompanied by social and behavioural interventions. Hygiene behaviours Global literature provides strong evidence that hygienic behaviour change can reduce the incidence of water-washed diseases by levels greater than that of infrastructure improvements alone. In particular, washing hands with soap can reduce diarrhoeal disease by 42–47%, while clean faces have been associated with trachoma reductions of 23–60%. At the same time, Indigenous health literature makes it clear that poor personal and domestic hygiene practices are common. Hand-washing with soap appears to be the exception rather than the norm in many remote communities. A population survey from 2004–2005 revealed only 55% of 618 Indigenous children had soap in their households, while an NT government pilot program found very few households surveyed in Central Australia possessed soap. The conclusion that: “handwashing is not a social norm”, nor a “routine behaviour”, has profound consequences.

So, too, does tolerance of open defecation by young children, as noted by numerous authors. Indeed, along with hand-washing, elimination of children’s stools from the domestic space is a critical strategy to prevent faeco-oral transmission. The prevalence of face-washing for trachoma reduction purposes also appears to sub-par – in 2010, one-fifth of Indigenous children screened for trachoma were found to have unclean faces. When considering the global evidence of disease reduction potential and the current status of hygiene practices, the case for an increased focus on hygiene promotion is indeed compelling. Yet in 2006 only 40% of Indigenous communities in the NT played host to personal and domestic hygiene promotion programs. Promising new initiatives have since emerged, such as the “No Germs on Me” hand-washing campaign, while facial cleanliness programs now exist in almost all NT communities with high trachoma prevalence. Additionally, the invaluable work undertaken by the Menzies School of Health Research will be crucial to inform the design and implementation of future hygiene promotion efforts. This research will hopefully rectify the unacceptable situation that policy makers have access to more information about dishwasher use in our most affluent cities than hygienerelated water use behaviours in our most disadvantaged communities. Multiple transmission pathways and exacerbating factors The transmission routes by which faeco-oral pathogens, scabies mites and trachoma bacteria cause infection are multiple, complex and interrelated. The relative dominance of the water-washed mechanism is likely to differ by infection type. The risk of diarrhoeal disease may be heightened by poor food preparation and storage practices, and compounded by coexisting morbidities such as malnutrition. Scabies prevalence may remain high because multiple children sleep in close proximity to each other on the same bedding, or because of the presence of a family member with crusted scabies. Even with cleaner faces, trachoma could persist by virtue of the high density of contagion-carrying flies. More generally, infections suffered in households where poor hygiene persists can be spread far and wide by the high degree of mobility that characterises most remote Indigenous communities. Moreover, chronic overcrowding amplifies the rate at which infectious diseases spread. There is, therefore, a suite of exacerbating factors that extend well beyond the sphere of water, sanitation

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and hygiene. Ultimately, the water-washed disease gap is unlikely to be closed until entrenched disadvantage is alleviated. The alternative faeco-oral transmission mechanism that deserves specific mention is the waterborne route. Of all the water-related disease transmission mechanisms in Indigenous communities, the waterborne route has received the most attention from water sector bodies and policy makers. Between 2006 and 2010, water quality testing has detected E. coli in around 1% of samples taken from 72 large Indigenous communities. Over this period, microbiological results were adjudged to be a public health risk sufficient to justify precautionary ‘boil water alerts’ on 15 occasions – or 0.05 alerts per community per year. Concurrent to these incidents, over the last decade not a single outbreak of gastroenteritis among Indigenous Territorians has been attributed to a community water supply. Hence, when seen alongside the evidence of low levels of hand washing, the role that waterborne pathogen transmission plays in endemic diarrhoeal disease in Indigenous communities is likely to be considerably less than the waterwashed mechanism.

Water-washed and Beyond Beyond the three water-washed diseases that have formed the subject of this analysis, there is, of course, a broader family of water-related diseases that continue to disproportionately impact the health of Indigenous Australians. Helicobacter pylori infection, which can lead to peptic ulcer and stomach cancer, is also transmitted though the waterwashed mechanism and is experienced at excessively high rates in Indigenous communities. There is mounting evidence that acute respiratory infection (ARI), which takes a heavy toll on the health of Indigenous children, can also be prevented through hand-washing. Likewise, the provision of chlorinated community swimming pools has been shown to reduce the prevalence of general skin infections and ear disease. Waterborne pathogens and contaminants also pose health risks – melioidosis, for example, has proven fatal in remote communities and has been linked with water supplies. Finally, water supply advances could contribute to other Indigenous health issues that fall outside Bradley’s traditional classification. Given the poor oral health in remote communities, fluoridation of water supplies is one such avenue. Public water bubblers are now being trialled in remote communities to reduce the high levels of soft drink consumption that underlie chronic

diabetes and renal disease. Perhaps most significantly, reliable water supply and sanitation services allow Indigenous families to spend more time on their homelands, thereby enjoying the health and wellbeing benefits associated with living on country away from the social ills that plague larger communities.

ABS (2000): 4710.0 Housing and Infrastructure in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities, 1999. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics.


ABS (2007): 4710.0 Housing and Infrastructure in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities, 2006 (Reissue). Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics.

This paper has demonstrated that, in spite of improvements in access to community water and sanitation infrastructure, water-washed diseases remain rife in remote Indigenous communities in the NT. Household health hardware, hygiene behaviours, and living conditions that exacerbate transmission, all need to be simultaneously tackled. Until then, the full health potential of improved water and sanitation infrastructure will remain latent and unrealised. Even where health systems prevent infant mortality, the consequences of recurrent water-washed infection will endure well into adulthood. This situation is clearly unacceptable in a wealthy country like Australia. The Federal Government has set aside billions of dollars for the National Water Initiative, with the aim of achieving water use “that optimises economic, social and environmental outcomes”. Sadly, until water is used for better hygiene in remote Indigenous communities, this goal will remain unfulfilled.

The Authors

ABS (2002): 4710.0 Housing and Infrastructure in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities, 2001. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics.

ABS (2009a): 3302.0.55.003 Experimental Life Tables for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2005–2007. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics. ABS (2009b): 3303.0 Causes of Death, Australia 2007. Table 8.2 Underlying cause of death, Northern Territory, 1998-2007. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics. ABS (2010a): 3303.0 Causes of Death, Australia 2008. Table 13.6 Underlying cause of death by Indigenous Status, Northern Territory, 1998–2007. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics. ABS (2010b): 4602.0.55.003 Environmental Issues: Water use and conservation. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics. ABS (2011a): 3101.0 Australian Demographic Statistics. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics. ABS (2011b): 3303.0 Underlying cause of death, All causes, Northern Territory, 2010. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics. ABS (2011c): The Health and Welfare of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, 2010. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Tim Foster (email: tim.foster@ouce. is a researcher at the School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, UK.

AIHW and DHA (2009): Progress of the Northern Territory Emergency Response Child Health Check Initiative: Update on results from the Child Health Check and follow-up data collections. Canberra: Department of Health and Ageing. ATSIC (1991): Community infrastructure program evaluation: phases II and III. Canberra: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission.

Dr Brieana Dance (email: brieanadance is a medical practitioner at Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, NSW.

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markers in Australian aboriginal children. Medical Journal of Australia, 156, pp 537–539. Vos T, Barker B et al. (2007): The Burden of Disease and Injury in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2003. Brisbane: School of Population Health, The University of Queensland. Waddington H, Snilstveit B et al. (2009): Water, sanitation and hygiene interventions to combat childhood diarrhoea in developing countries. International Inititiative for Inpact Evaluation, Synthetic Review 001. Walker B (1982): Water and related services to remote communities In P Loveday (ed.) Service Delivery to outstations. Winnellie NT: North

Strong M & Johnstone P (2011): Cochrane Review: Interventions for treating scabies. Evidence-Based Child Health, 6, pp 1790–1862. Technical Committee on Water Needs (1971): Report of Technical Committee on Water Needs: Northern Territory Missions and Settlements Position at 30 June 1971. Darwin. Tindale N (1976): Some Ecological Boundaries for Australian Tribal Boundaries in N Peterson (ed.) Tribes and Boundaries in Australia. Canberra: ANU Press, pp 12–29. UNICEF/WHO (2009): Diarrhoea: Why children are still dying and what can be done. Geneva: UNICEF and World Health Organisation. UNICEF/WHO (2012a): Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation 2012 Update. Geneva: UNICEF and World Health Organisation. UNICEF/WHO (2012b): Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation:

Australia Research Unit, 33–43. Water Resources Branch (1977): Small Community Water Supply and Sewerage Services. Darwin: Interdepartmental Committee on Water Needs. White GF, Bradley DJ & White AU (1972): Drawers of water: domestic water use in East Africa. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. WHO (2009): Global Health Risks: Mortality and burden of disease attributable to selected major risks. Geneva: World Health Organisation. Windsor HM, Abioye-Kuteyi E et al. (2005): Prevalence of Helicobacter pylori in Indigenous Western Australians: comparison between urban and remote rural populations. Medical Journal of Australia, 182(5), pp 210–213. Zhao Y, You J et al. (2009): Burden of disease and injury in the Northern Territory, 1999–2003. Darwin: Department of Health and Families.

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TRACING FAECAL CONTRIBUTIONS FROM WET WEATHER WASTEWATER OVERFLOWS USING FAECAL STEROL RATIOS V Shah, B Cole, J Bates, E Berry, P Dennis Abstract Hunter Water Corporation (Hunter Water) undertook detailed modelling and planning investigations during 1998–2002 as part of developing an Upgrade Management Plan (UMP) for the wastewater transportation systems. The UMP included an impact assessment, which warranted identification of contributing sources of any detected faecal pollution in receiving water for shaping management practices for the protection of public health and water systems. A study was, therefore, undertaken to assess microbiological water quality in order to determine the presence of faecal pollution and to identify contributing sources of detected faecal pollution using faecal sterols from the harbour and coastal areas around the Newcastle catchment, NSW. Water samples were collected within 48 hours of targeted significant rainfall events (> 25 mm) from a total of 19 sites on five occasions during March 2000–February 2002. All samples were analysed by Hunter Water Laboratories for faecal indicator organisms including thermotolerant coliforms, Escherichia coli, faecal streptococci, enterococci and Clostridium perfringens. Glass fibre filters with particulate matters filtered from the water samples were sent to CSIRO for analysis of faecal sterols including coprostanol, epicoprostanol, cholesterol, 5α-cholestanol, 24-ethylcoprostanol, 24-ethyl-epicoprostanol, 24-ethylcholesterol and 24-ethyl-5α-cholestanol. Results of the microbiological analysis generally showed the presence of elevated levels of bacterial indicators at several of these 19 sites, indicating presence of faecal pollution that rendered the water quality unsuitable for primary contact according to ANZECC (2000) guidelines. Based on average faecal sterol profiles obtained from the water samples collected from five sampling events,

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faecal sterol ratios generally estimated diffuse sources such as birds as the most significant contributing source (ranging from 15% to 100%) of the total detected faecal pollution. A total of 15 sites was estimated to be impacted by human faecal contamination, with the maximum average human contamination at any of these sites being 45% of the total detected faecal pollution. Out of these 15 sites, only one site was estimated with > 40%, three sites between 20–40% and 10–20% each, and eight sites with < 10% average human faecal contamination. The outcomes of this study, along with Hunter Water’s other water quality and environmental studies, were then fed into the UMP, which was reviewed and endorsed by the NSW EPA in 2002. Hunter Water has since been progressively implementing the UMP’s recommendations, which has resulted in identifying higher risk catchment areas and implementing upgrade strategies to reduce the volume and frequency of wastewater overflows, and hence to improve receiving water quality for human recreational activities in these areas.

Introduction Hunter Water Corporation (Hunter Water) undertook extensive monitoring and modelling of the existing wastewater transportation system of the Newcastle catchment, NSW during 1998–2002. This work enabled the performance of the existing wastewater transport system to be assessed in terms of potential impacts to the community and the environment resulting from wastewater overflows to land and waterways. While the wastewater system performed well during its normal operations in dry weather during 1998–2002, there were certain localised areas within the system that could be impacted during significant wet weather events. This was due to ingress of rainwater/groundwater into the wastewater system increasing flows substantially (CH2M HILL, 2000a).

To assist in the appropriate management of this system, the preparation of an Upgrade Management Plan (UMP) for the Newcastle catchment was initiated by Hunter Water. The purpose of the plan was to fully understand the performance of the wastewater transportation system within the catchment and then develop the optimum upgrade strategy to meet identified environmental and social requirements in the most cost-effective manner (CH2M HILL, 2001). The opportunity was also undertaken to respond to the licensing requirements of the Protection of the Environment and Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act), which had commenced in July 1999. The UMP also included an assessment of the impact of system overflows on receiving water quality. Available water quality monitoring data, sewer modelling and water quality modelling results, were used to determine the extent of existing impacts of wastewater system overflows. Water quality modelling and sewer modelling results indicated that wastewater overflows potentially contributed significantly to faecal indicator levels in the receiving waters. However, no water quality data was available to confirm this. Therefore, as part of the water quality monitoring program, human health risk and human use assessments of putatively impacted receiving waters were required to be undertaken (CH2M HILL, 2000a). This included monitoring of potentially impacted waters for faecal pollution and identification of contributing sources of any detected faecal pollution in receiving water for shaping management practices for the protection of public health and water systems. A study was, therefore, undertaken to assess microbiological water quality to determine the presence of faecal pollution and to identify contributing sources of detected faecal pollution using faecal sterols from the harbour and coastal areas around the Newcastle catchment, NSW.

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Figure 1. Sub-catchments of the Newcastle catchment, NSW. Source tracking of faecal pollution Bacterial indicator organisms such as thermotolerant coliforms have been traditionally used for the measurement and monitoring of faecal pollution in waters (Geary and Davies, 2003). The presence of these faecal organisms on their own, however, does not necessarily indicate human contamination, as domestic livestock and wildlife are also potential sources of these organisms (Shah et al., 2007a). The presence of human faecal contamination in waters represents a higher health risk and, thus, regulatory bodies are concerned with differentiating human and non-human sources of faecal pollution (Mudge et al., 1999). The use of Microbial Source Tracking (MST) methods has been employed to facilitate this endeavour, which is expected to lead towards better management practices and more effective monitoring of faecal pollution in Australian watersheds (Ahmed et al., 2010). MST methods explore “signatures” of faecal indicator bacteria or compounds closely associated with them

in order to detect and distinguish their sources (e.g. humans, animals, birds etc.) (Shah et al., 2007b). These MST methods widely fall into two basic categories: biological and chemical. Applications of MST methods such as faecal sterol ratios have been employed to facilitate this endeavour (Shah et al., 2006).

Faecal sterols Coprostanol has been widely used as a chemical indicator of human sewage (Shah et al., 2007c). Coprostanol was found to be the major faecal sterol, constituting about 60% of the total sterols in human faeces (Leeming et al., 1996). It is produced by biohydrogenation of cholesterol by anaerobic bacteria in the intestines of humans and higher mammals. However, due to differences in diets of herbivores such as cows and sheep, 24-ethylcoprostanol, a derivative sterol, was suggested to be more prevalent in their excreta than coprostanol, while in dogs and birds faeces, cholesterol was shown to be not reduced to coprostanol due to lack of specific anaerobic bacteria in their digestive tract (Leeming et al., 1996). Considering all factors, Leeming et al. (1998) proposed sterol ratios to exploit faecal sterol “fingerprints” for the estimation of primary pollution originated from human and/or herbivore sources.

Study Area and Methods Catchment description The Newcastle catchment covers an area of approximately 210km2 from Shortland and Glendale in the west to Charlestown in the south, and including Stockton located north of the harbour. The area is situated approximately 150km north of Sydney. The Newcastle catchment is located predominantly within the Newcastle City Local Government Area (LGA), with a small portion located within the Lake Macquarie LGA. In 2000, a population of over 130,000 lived in the Newcastle City LGA, which covered the majority of the catchment. At the time, the average annual rainfall in the Newcastle area was 1142mm (CH2M HILL, 2000a). The peak rainfall months are April, May and June, with the lowest rainfall occurring through September, October and November. Newcastle Harbour is a tidal system with most of its tributaries channelled into stormwater drains. Based on hydrological boundaries, the Newcastle catchment can be divided into four sub-catchments of Throsby Creek, Ironbark Creek, Cottage Creek and Hunter Estuary (Figure 1). Table 1 shows the principal land uses and possible pollutant sources in the subcatchments of the Newcastle catchment at the time of the study in 2000. Within the Newcastle catchment there were approximately 30 premises licensed to discharge to waterways.

Sampling and analysis Based on previous baseline water quality monitoring results and modelling developed to simulate the way the wastewater transportation system

Table 1. Principal land uses and possible pollutant sources within sub-catchments of the Newcastle catchment. Sub-catchments of Newcastle

Area (ha)

Land Uses

Throsby Creek


Predominantly urbanised, partly bushland/open space

Possible Pollutant Sources Wastewater discharge Urban/industrial run-off Point source discharges Wastewater discharge/bypass

Ironbark Creek


Predominantly forests/rural and swamp land, partly urbanised

Urban/industrial run-off Point source discharges On-site wastewater systems

Cottage Creek


Predominantly residential, commercial

Wastewater discharge Urban run-off Wastewater discharge

Hunter Estuary


Industrial/commercial, partly residential

Urban/industrial run-off Point source discharges Recreational boating/fishing activities

Source: CH2M HILL (2000a)


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Table 2. Sampling details. Sampling Date

Sampling Parameters

No. of Sites Sampled


Bacterial Indicators

Faecal Sterols

Thermotolerant coliforms, Escherichia coli, faecal streptococci, enterococci and Clostridium perfringens

Coprostanol, epicoprostanol, cholesterol, 5α-cholestanol, 24-ethylcoprostanol, 24-ethyl-epi-coprostanol, 24-ethylcholesterol and 24-ethyl-5α-cholestanol










Rainfall (mm)* 52.0 25.9 41.6 77.2 45.0

* Collective rainfall of prior 48 hours leading to sampling date. Source: Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) website.

behaved in wet weather, water samples were collected from a total of 19 sites identified within 48 hours of targeted significant rainfall events (> 25 mm) on five occasions between March 2000 and February 2002. Sampling details including sampling dates, number of sites, sampling parameters and rainfall data are presented in Table 2.

Bacterial analysis Water samples for microbiological assessment were collected in 500mL polystyrene sterile bottles. All samples were analysed by Hunter Water Laboratories within 24 hours for faecal indicator bacteria as outlined in Table 2 using APHA (1998) methods.

Faecal sterol analysis Water samples for sterol analysis were collected in 5L clean plastic containers. The water samples were filtered through Advantec grade GF75 glass fibre filters (150mm diameter, 0.7μm pore size) to collect fractions of particulate matters. The filters were frozen and were then sent overnight on ice to CSIRO’s Marine and Freshwater Research division in Hobart, Tasmania, for analysis of faecal sterols as outlined in Table 2. The particulate fractions for faecal sterol analysis were extracted quantitatively by a modified one-phase CH2Cl2-MeOH Bligh and Dyer method. Gas chromatography and flame ionisation detector were used for analysis

of sterol fractions using 5α-cholestane as an internal standard (Leeming et al., 1998).

Results and Discussion The samples collected from all 19 sites during five sampling events over the two-year sampling period were initially assessed by comparing the average values of faecal bacterial indicators and faecal sterols for each of the site, as shown in Figure 2 and Figure 3.

Microbiological water quality An assessment of the faecal indicator bacteria generally showed events of high loading except for Site 4 and Site 14 on all five separate occasions following significant rain events (Figure 2). These high bacterial load events rendered the water quality unsuitable at several of these 19 sites for primary contact such as swimming or bathing according to ANZECC (2000) guideline values of 150 thermotolerant coliform organisms/100mL or 35 enterococci organisms/100mL. Among all five sampling events, generally the lowest bacterial numbers were recorded for the sampling event undertaken on 19 April 2000. The lowest single event was on the 7 May 2001 water sample collected from Site 4, whereas the bacterial numbers at other sites in the rest of the sampling event were elevated. The highest single event was on the 28 February 2002 water

sample collected from Site 8, whereas the elevated numbers at other sites in the rest of the sampling event, as well as the other sampling events, were not as large in number. There were good correlations between the measures of thermotolerant coliforms, Escherichia coli, faecal streptococci and enterococci (r2 ranged between 0.589 and 0.959) in the water samples collected from a total of 19 sites on five occasions over the two-year period. However, correlations of these bacterial indicators with Clostridium perfringens were weak to moderate (r2 ranged between 0.354 and 0.608).

Faecal sterol loading An assessment of the faecal sterols showed only sporadic events of high loadings for various sites throughout the five sampling events during the two-year sampling period (Figure 3), which were generally inconsistent with the periods of high bacterial loading. Unlike bacterial numbers, generally the lowest and highest sterol concentrations were recorded for the sampling events undertaken on 7 May 2001 and 19 April 2000, respectively. The levels of coprostanol did not show good correlations with the populations of thermotolerant coliforms (r2 = 0.239), Escherichia coli (r2 = 0.17), enterococci (r2 = 0.076), faecal streptococci (r2 = 0.159) and Clostridium perfringens (r2 = 0.03) from the water samples collected from a

Figure 2. Average faecal bacterial indicators (cfu/100mL) at 19 sites Figure 3. Average coprostanol and 24-ethylcoprostanol during March 2000–February 2002. concentrations (ng/L) at 19 sites during March 2000–February 2002.

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Table 3. Criteria against which samples were identified as having human and/or herbivore faecal contamination. Criteria

Group →




Criteria to Determine Human Faecal Contamination Ratios →

Criteria 1, 2 & 3 all fulfilled

Either of 1, 2 or 3 fulfilled



≥ 0.5

≤ 0.3



≤ 0.4

≥ 0.4



≥ 0.1

≤ 0.05

If group B criteria not fulfilled, but not all group A criteria fulfilled, then sample is designated intermediate and may require further investigation

Criteria to Determine Herbivore Faecal Contamination Ratios →

Criteria 4 & 5 both fulfilled

Either of 4 or 5 fulfilled


24-ethylcoprostanol/ 24-ethyl-5α-cholestanol

≥ 0.5

≤ 0.3


24-ethylcoprostanol/ 24-ethylcholesterol

≥ 0.1

≤ 0.05

If group B criteria not fulfilled, but not all group A criteria fulfilled, then sample is designated intermediate and may require further investigation

A = contaminated sample, B = uncontaminated sample, C = intermediate Source: Leeming et al. (1998)

total of 19 sites on five occasions. This suggested that noteworthy associations between loadings of coprostanol and faecal bacteria may not always occur. The stability of both these parameters in environmental sources may autonomously vary seasonally and by other physical factors affecting their survival and chemical stability. Total sterol content of the water samples based on analysis of eight sterols varied between 370ng/L and 28,000ng/L. The lowest single event for total sterol loading was on the 7 May 2001 water sample collected from Site 3. The highest single event of total sterol loading was on the 19 April 2000 water sample collected from Site 19, whereas the total sterol content at other sites in the rest of the sampling event, as well as the other sampling events, were not as large in number.

The levels of coprostanol and 24-ethylcoprostanol seemed to be correlated (r2 = 0.977). The highest single event for coprostanol loading (6864ng/L) was recorded on the 19 April 2000 water sample collected from the Site 2, whereas the coprostanol numbers at other sites in the rest of the sampling event, as well as the other sampling events, were not as large in number. The lowest events for coprostanol loading (less than detection limit) were recorded twice on the 21 March 2000 water samples collected from Site 6 and Site 15, and once on the 28 February 2002 water sample collected from Site 19. Cholesterol levels were generally much higher than combined levels of both coprostanol and 24-ethylcoprostanol. Cholesterol levels did not show close correlation with either coprostanol (r2 = 0.412) or 24-ethylcoprostanol (r2 = 0.443)

Figure 4. Sources of faecal pollution (% average) as interpreted by faecal sterol ratios at 19 sites during March 2000–February 2002.

levels. Cholesterol and 24-ethylcholesterol levels showed good correlation (r2 = 0.876). Combined levels of cholesterol and 24-ethylcholesterol accounted for 79% of total sterol content on average.

Identification of faecal pollution sources The average sterol data for these investigations were assessed as per Table 3 criteria (Leeming et al., 1998), as well as using average absolute concentrations of sterols to provide an overall analysis in terms of the percentage of contamination identified as human, herbivore or diffuse (birds etc. or not identifiable). Figure 4 shows graphical presentations for all the sites sampled with a breakdown of average % human, % herbivore and % diffuse sources, ranked in terms of human contribution, in bar chart format. Faecal sterol ratios generally estimated diffuse sources such as birds as the most significant contributing source (ranging from 15% to 100%) of the detected faecal pollution at the majority of these sites (Figure 4). Presence of average herbivore contamination was estimated as minimal for all the sites except for Site 14 (74%) and Site 7 (40%), which were estimated to have significant herbivore contamination. This was considered consistent with land use characteristics of these sites. The contribution from likely human faecal sources was generally estimated as minimal by faecal sterol ratios with the maximum average human contamination at any of these sites being 45% of the total detected faecal pollution. Out of 19 sites, a total of 15 sites was estimated to be impacted by human faecal contamination. Out of these 15 sites, only one site was estimated with > 40%, three sites between 20–40% and 10–20% each and eight sites with < 10%


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public health average human faecal contamination. From most contaminated to least (based on average % human contamination), these were Site 7 (45%), Site 9 (38%), Site 2 (25%), Site 5 (23%), Site 13 (13%), Site 18 (12%), Site 10 (12%), Site 6 (8%), Site 16 (8%), Site 8 (3%) Site 14 (3%), Site 17 (2%), Site 1 (1%), Site 3 (1%) and Site 11 (1%) (Figure 4). There were four single events which were estimated to have either equal or higher human contamination than the maximum average percentage human contamination (45%). The highest single event for human contamination (97%) was estimated for the 19 April 2000 water sample collected from Site 9. Two more events were estimated for 19 April 2000 water samples, which were collected from Site 2 (88%) and Site 7 (45%). The remaining single event was estimated for the 9 March 2001 water sample collected from Site 9 (55%). Corresponding coprostanol concentrations and coprostanol/5α-cholestanol ratios for these single four events were 5227ng/L and 3.7; 6864ng/L and 8.3; 327ng/L and 1.1; and 816ng/L and 1.9, respectively. Site 2 and Site 18 fulfilled criteria #1 and #2 and were in the ambiguous region for criteria #3. Since the average concentrations of coprostanol were above 200ng/L, these sites were estimated as contaminated by human faecal matter. Site 1 (1%) and Site 18 (12%) were estimated to have minimal average human faecal contamination, but with comparatively high ratios of coprostanol/5α-cholestanol (0.52 and 0.72 respectively) and absolute concentrations of coprostanol (81ng/L and 227ng/L respectively), this was considered an underestimate. Site 10 satisfied all but one criterion for human faecal contamination and that criterion was a borderline case. With an average concentration of 763ng/L of coprostanol, this site was considered certainly tainted by human faecal contamination. The significantly higher cholesterol concentration, that affected criterion #3, suggested bird faeces may have been responsible for a lot of the thermotolerant coliforms in the samples, thereby dampening the human component. One of the samples collected from Site 1 fulfilled all the “contamination” criteria, but with a modest value of 0.6 for the coprostanol/5α-cholestanol ration and 56ng/L of coprostanol, the estimate of 3% human faecal contamination out of

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approximately 2000cfu/100mL thermotolerant coliforms and enterococci was considered right. This sample also had the lowest thermotolerant coliform/ Clostridium perfringens ratio. Further considering site-specific information available at the time of the investigation, this site was also considered to be impacted by dog faeces. Site 4, Site 12 and Site 15 showed relatively low average coprostanol concentrations (ranging from 0ng/L to 65ng/L) and coprostanol/5α-cholestanol ratios (ranging from 0.12 to 0.38). Given the low absolute concentrations and the low coprostanol/cholesterol ratios, these sites were estimated as not impacted by human faecal contamination. Site 19 was a far more borderline case, with most criteria falling into the borderline category. With 561ng/L of coprostanol in one sample, it could be suggested that a human component was present. The remaining four samples did not fulfil the criteria and also had very low concentrations of coprostanol (< 10ng/L). The outcomes of this study, along with Hunter Water’s other water quality and environmental studies, assisted in determining key remediation targets for each sub-catchment across the study area in terms of gross pollutants, nutrients, toxins and human pathogens (CH2M HILL, 2001). In relation to sewer overflows in wet weather, the UMP recommended that variable stormwater containment objectives across the Newcastle catchment would provide the best overall outcome for the catchment. Based on a cost-benefit analysis, the program was optimised to provide the highest level of improvement in the sub-catchments with the highest environmental and social sensitivities (CH2M HILL, 2000b). The UMP was reviewed and endorsed by the NSW EPA in 2002 and Hunter Water has since been progressively implementing the UMP’s recommendations. Works completed to date include sewer relining across the catchment to reduce groundwater infiltrating into the sewer system and identification of illegal stormwater connections. In addition, a series of new wet weather pumping stations is being constructed to augment the capacity of the existing system and transfer excess flows away from known overflow areas. The outcome of this work is a reduction in stormwater flows entering the sewer system in the first place, and an overall reduction in sewer overflows and, hence, improved receiving water quality for human recreational activities.

Conclusions Faecal sterol profiles were obtained from water samples collected from a total of 19 sites located within the Newcastle catchment from five wet weather sampling events during March 2000 and February 2002. An assessment of the various faecal indicator bacteria generally showed events of high loading, which rendered the water quality unsuitable at several of the sites for primary contact such as swimming or bathing according to ANZECC (2000) guidelines. Based on average faecal sterol profiles obtained from the water samples collected during five sampling events, faecal sterol ratios generally estimated diffuse sources such as birds as the most significant contributing source (ranging from 15% to 100%) of the total detected faecal pollution. A total of 15 sites were estimated to be impacted by human faecal contamination, with the maximum average human contamination level at any of these sites being 45% of the total detected faecal pollution. Out of these 15 sites, only one site was estimated with > 40%, three sites between 20–40% and 10–20% each and eight sites with < 10% average human faecal contamination. Presence of average herbivore contamination was estimated as minimal for all the sites except for Site 14 (74%) and Site 7 (40%), which were estimated to have significant herbivore contamination. The outcomes of this study, along with Hunter Water’s other water quality and environmental studies, were then fed into the UMP, which was reviewed and endorsed by the NSW EPA in 2002. Hunter Water has since been progressively implementing the UMP’s recommendations, which has resulted in identifying higher risk catchment areas and key remediation targets in terms of gross pollutants, nutrients, toxins and human pathogens. This further resulted in implementing upgrade strategies to reduce the volume and frequency of wastewater overflows and, hence, reduce human health risks associated with recreational activities in these areas.

Acknowledgements Hunter Water Laboratories and CSIRO’s Marine and Freshwater Research division (Hobart) are acknowledged for their assistance with sample collection and laboratory analysis of environmental water samples. Assistance with review from a number of individuals within Hunter Water Corporation is gratefully acknowledged.

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The Authors Dr Vikas Shah (email: vikas. has had a 10-year career in water and wastewater quality. His PhD was in identifying sources of faecal contamination in environmental waters. He is currently working as an engineer in the Wastewater Treatment Planning group, Hunter Water Corporation. He holds engineering and science qualifications, and has had research and consulting experience. Bruce Cole (Science & Water Quality Officer), Jordi Bates (Team Leader, Wastewater Network Planning) and Emma Berry (Manager, Water Resources) are all with Hunter Water Corporation. Peter Dennis is an ex-General Manager (System Strategy and Sustainability division) of Hunter Water Corporation.

References Ahmed W, Toze S & Gardner T (2010): Faecal source tracking in SEQ: case studies. Water Journal, 37, pp 89–92. ANZECC (2000): National water quality management strategy: Australian and New Zealand guidelines for fresh and marine

water quality. Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council, Canberra, Australia. APHA (1998): Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater (19th ed.), American Public Health Association, American Water Works Association and Water Environment Federation. Washington DC, USA. CH2M HILL (2000a): Upgrade management plan for the wastewater system of Newcastle (Burwood Beach) catchment: Volume 2 – Existing system performance, Hunter Water Corporation. CH2M HILL (2000b): Upgrade management plan for the wastewater system of Newcastle (Burwood Beach) catchment: Volume 3 – Upgrade Strategy, Hunter Water Corporation.

to distinguish faecal pollution in receiving waters. Water Research, 30(12), pp 2893–2900. Leeming R, Nichols PD & Ashbolt NJ (1998): Distinguishing sources of faecal pollution in Australian inland and coastal waters using sterol biomarkers and microbial faecal indicators, Research Report No. 204, Water Services Association of Australia, Australia. Mudge SM, Bebianno MJAF, East, JA & Barreira LA (1999): Sterols in the Ria Formosa Lagoon, Portugal. Water Research, 33(4), pp 1038–1048. Shah V, Dunstan H & Taylor W (2006): An efficient diethyl ether-based analytical protocol to quantify faecal sterols from waters. Journal of Chromatography A 1108(1), pp 111–115.

CH2M HILL (2001): Upgrade management plan for the wastewater system of Newcastle (Burwood Beach) catchment: Volume 1 – Summary, Hunter Water Corporation.

Shah V, Dunstan H, Geary P, Coombes P, Roberts T & Rothkirch T (2007a): Comparisons of water quality parameters from diverse catchments during dry periods and following rain events. Water Research, 41, pp 3655–3666.

Geary PM & Davies CM (2003): Bacterial source tracking and shellfish contamination in a coastal catchment. Water Science Technology, 47(7/8), pp 95–100.

Shah V, Dunstan H, Geary P, Coombes P, Roberts T & Rothkirch T (2007b): Bacterial source tracking from diverse land use catchments by sterol ratios. Water Research, 41, pp 3667–3674.

Geary PM, Shah V, Dunstan H, Coombes P & Rothkirch A (2006): Tracing faecal contributions from on-site wastewater systems. Water Journal, 33(1), pp 38–41.

Shah V, Dunstan H, Geary P, Coombes P, Roberts T & Von Nagy-Felsobuky E (2007c): Evaluating potential applications of faecal sterols in distinguishing sources of faecal contamination from mixed faecal samples diverse land use catchments. Water Research, 41, pp 3691–3700.

Leeming R, Ball A, Ashbolt N & Nichols P (1996): Using faecal sterols from humans and animals


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PHARMACEUTICAL RESIDUES IN MUNICIPAL WASTEWATER: ARE HOSPITALS A MAJOR POINT SOURCE? A project investigated the contribution of six hospitals in South-East Queensland KS Le Corre, J Keller, C Ort Abstract The detection of an ever-increasing number of pharmaceutical contaminants throughout the water cycle has raised scientific and public concerns regarding their potential impact on the environment and on human health. With that regard, hospital wastewater is often suspected of being a major source of pharmaceutical residues in municipal wastewater and, as such, should be treated prior to discharge. But are such suspicions truly founded? To answer this question, the Urban Water Security Research Alliance project on Hospital Wastewater investigated the contribution of six hospitals located in South-East Queensland (SEQ) to the loads of 589 pharmaceuticals in municipal wastewater using a predictive consumption-based approach. In addition, the possibility that hospital-specific substances are present at levels that may pose a risk for human health was evaluated. The results suggest that the contribution of hospitals towards the total load of pharmaceuticals in the influent of sewage treatment plants (STP) and risks of human exposure to the pharmaceuticals exclusively administered in the investigated hospitals are limited. The study concludes that decentralised wastewater treatment at the sites investigated would not have a substantial impact on pharmaceutical loads entering STPs and, finally, the environment.

Introduction The incessant improvement of analytical equipment over the past 20 years has allowed the detection of more and more pharmaceutical compounds such as antibiotics, analgesics, antidepressants, antineoplastics, beta-blockers and X-ray contrast media at increasingly lower concentrations (down to ng L-1) in municipal wastewater, ground and surface waters and, more recently, drinking water

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(Fick et al., 2009; Metcalfe et al., 2010; Vulliet et al., 2011). Consequently, the emergence of such contaminants has raised concerns not only for the scientific community, but also for the water industry and the general population, as these substances are originally designed to be biologically active and could potentially cause adverse effects on aquatic life and human health (Monteiro and Boxall, 2010). The presence of pharmaceutical residues in the aquatic environment primarily originates from the discharge of treated municipal wastewater. Sources of pharmaceuticals in municipal wastewater include excretion from humans (Sanderson et al., 2004) and improper disposal of unused medicines (Watts et al., 2007). Agriculture and industries also contribute to pharmaceutical pollution in the environment (KĂźmmerer, 2004). Finally, in numerous countries, including Australia, untreated hospital wastewater is discharged to STPs along with domestic wastewater. Due to their activities, hospitals release high concentrations of various pharmaceuticals and numerous pathogens in their effluent (Thomas et al., 2007; Jury et al., 2011). Therefore, it is not surprising that they are often seen as major point sources of pharmaceuticals in municipal wastewater (Hawkshead, 2008). Although the decentralised treatment of hospital wastewater has often been proposed as a solution to reduce pharmaceutical inputs to STPs, recent studies concluded that this would have limited impact on the reduction of pharmaceutical residues in municipal wastewater. In these studies on the characterisation of hospital wastewater in Europe and Australia, the contributions of hospitals were limited, with values under 15% (Thomas et al., 2007; Ort et al., 2010). Such studies are, however, based on results obtained for a limited number of experimentally measurable

substances, while hundreds of various pharmaceuticals are consumed in hospitals and may be of greater concern than the one currently analysed for. Prior to field measurements, it is necessary to identify and quantify pharmaceuticals of concern and to determine if pharmaceuticals exclusively used in hospitals should receive priority attention when compared to pharmaceuticals used by the general population. For this purpose, a prioritisation tool based on pharmaceutical consumption data at six hospitals located in SEQ was developed. This tool allowed the prediction of the contribution of these hospitals to the loads of 589 pharmaceuticals in municipal wastewater, hence identifying compounds for which hospitals would be a major contributor. Pharmaceuticals exclusively used in hospitals (i.e. returning a 100% contribution) were further screened by predicting their concentration in both hospital wastewater and influent of the corresponding STP to evaluate their possibility to be present at levels that may pose a risk for human health.

Methodology Hospitals investigated The six hospitals selected are public hospitals located in three distinct catchments, with populations ranging from 45,000 inhabitants in the catchment where the Caboolture Hospital (CAB) is located, up to 572,000 inhabitants in the catchment including the Prince Charles (PC), Princess Alexandra (PA) and Royal Brisbane and Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s (RBWH) Hospitals (Figure 1). QEII Hospital is the smallest of the six hospitals, with a total number of 132 beds. The general and teaching hospital, RBWH, is the largest hospital with 882 beds. The volumes of water consumed at these two hospitals

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used in the “Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling: Managing Health and Environmental Risks (Phase 2): Augmentation of Drinking Water Supplies” (NRMMC, 2008).


Figure 1. Location of the six hospitals investigated in SEQ and their characteristics (a = number of beds; b = population in catchment area; c = bed density; e = hospital water consumption; f = STP to which the hospital discharge its effluent; g = average raw influent flow rate to STP; proportion of STP influent wastewater coming from the hospital). in 2008 were 95m3 day-1 and 627m3 day-1 respectively. QEII discharges its effluent to the Oxley Creek STP, which in 2008 treated on average 55,336 m3 day-1. RBWH discharges its effluent to the Luggage Point STP, with an average of 148,622 m3 of wastewater treated per day in 2008.

Prediction of the contribution of a hospital to the loads of pharmaceuticals in municipal wastewater Annual pharmaceutical consumption audit data collected from public hospitals in Queensland (Source: Medication Services Queensland, Queensland Health, Clinical and Statewide Services Division, Queensland Government) and pharmaceutical consumption by the Australian population (Source: Drug Utilisation Sub-Committee (DUSC), Department of Health and Ageing, Australian Government) were used to predict the contribution of a hospital to the loads of pharmaceutical in influent of the corresponding STP.

substances. Compounds available over the counter in Australia (TGA, 2011) were also excluded from the list since information on consumption for these substances is not available.

Hospital-specific compounds: comparison of predicted concentrations with effect thresholds In order to assess if hospital-specific compounds (i.e. compounds for which a hospital contribution equals 100%) may present a hazard for human health, estimated concentrations in both hospital wastewater and influent of the corresponding STP were predicted and compared to effect thresholds (ETs). Effect threshold (ET) values were calculated based on the method

A margin of exposure (MOE) was then determined to compare concentrations expected in hospital wastewaters and in influents of STPs with these ET values. A MOE > 100 implies that the pharmaceutical concentration predicted in either wastewater type (hospital effluent or STP influent) is more than 100-fold below a “concentration of no concern”. This means that such a compound is unlikely to present a risk of reaching drinking water sources at elevated concentrations and to affect human health.

Results and Discussion Out of 589 compounds investigated, the number of compounds returning a contribution value was 487 at QEII and CAB, 502 at IPS, 524 at PC, 541 at PA and 548 at RBWH. Overall, the six hospitals were found to contribute from 1% (in the catchment of QEII hospital) to 9% (in the catchment of PA, PC and RBWH hospitals) of the total pharmaceutical load at the corresponding STP. Reducing pharmaceutical loads in municipal wastewater through onsite treatment of these hospitals effluent would, therefore, be of limited benefit. When looking more specifically at the contributions of individual hospitals to loads of pharmaceuticals in municipal wastewater, for 63% to 84% of the API used, these contributions are likely to be

The consumption of a pharmaceutical in a catchment of an STP was estimated by calculating an average per capita consumption from the national consumption data, multiplied by the number of inhabitants in the catchment. The consumption by in-patients in the hospital was added to the domestic consumption to obtain an estimate for the total STP influent load. The contribution of a hospital was then the ratio of the hospital consumption by the total STP influent load. Overall, 589 active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) were identified from the hospital audit data base for evaluation. These excluded naturally occurring substances such as hormones, sugars and enzymes as well as gaseous

Figure 2. Distribution of the contributions of the six hospitals investigated (Queen Elizabeth II (QEII), Caboolture (CAB), Ipswich (IPS), Prince Charles (PC), Princess Alexandra (PA) and the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH)) towards the load of pharmaceuticals in the corresponding STP.


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wastewater less than 15% (Figure 2). It should be noted that the percentage of APIs for which the contribution of an individual hospital is below 15% decreases with the increasing size of the hospital, in terms of number of beds. For example, the contribution of the smallest hospital, QEII (132 beds), was found to be less than 15% for 407 pharmaceuticals, while for RBWH, the largest hospital (822 beds), it was less than 15% for 348 substances. These results suggest that for a large amount of the compounds investigated, hospitals are not a major point source of pharmaceutical residues in municipal wastewater. This implies that for these compounds at least 85% of the loads originate from households and would reach the corresponding STP even if hospital effluents were treated separately. On the contrary, the number of APIs exclusively used in hospitals, that is to say for which the contribution of an individual was found to be between 97% and 100%, increased with the size of the hospital. For instance, 54 hospital-specific APIs were found at QEII and 123 at RBWH, confirming the belief that a higher number of hospital-specific compounds are used at larger hospitals. In 2009, a sampling campaign carried out by Ort et al. (2010) at CAB hospital showed that measured contributions for 75% of the compounds investigated were in good agreement with contributions predicted in the current study. For example, contributions of 2.5% and 0.5% were predicted for metoprolol and atenolol at this hospital. These values compare well with the results obtained experimentally by Ort et al. (2010), which fell in the range 2.0–7.0% for metropolol and 0.9-3.5% for atenolol. Other compounds investigated by Ort and co-workers at CAB hospital included trimethoprim and roxithromycin. These were the only two substances detected at both the hospital and its corresponding STP, which resulted in contribution above 15%, with a maximum contribution of 18% obtained for trimethoprim and 56% for roxithromycin when using a conservative approach to account for experimental uncertainties. However, average contributions experimentally determined by Ort et al. (2010) for these two compounds were 10% for trimethoprim and 26% for roxithromycin, which are close to the predicted average contributions obtained in our study at CAB hospital (i.e. 13% for trimethoprim and 19% for roxithromycin).

Hospital-specific compounds As mentioned previously, results of our predictive approach showed that for 54 to 123 compounds, hospitals would be a major point source. However, high

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contributions from a hospital may not be necessarily associated with high consumption values and excretion in the hospital. For example, the antiviral abacavir returned a 100% contribution at four of the six hospitals. For this compound, consumptions varied from 0.06 g y-1 bed-1 at IPS hospital to 0.3 g y-1 bed-1 at QEII hospital. Based on water consumption at the hospitals, assuming no metabolism, concentrations expected in these hospital effluents would be 0.3µg L-1 and 1.0µg L-1. As a comparison, concentrations for abacavir in influent of the STP to which these hospitals discharge their effluent would range from 0.003 to 0.004µg L-1. It is also necessary to understand how individual hospital-specific compounds are prescribed and used in hospitals. For instance, in Australia, HIV antiretroviral drugs such as abacavir are subsidised under the “Highly Specialised Drug Program” and are only prescribed by qualified medical practitioners through hospital-based pharmacies (HSDP, 2011). It is, therefore, unsurprising that a 100% contribution is predicted for these types of drugs. It should also be noted that treatments with antiretroviral drugs are not curative but help manage HIV infections, and are long-term treatments (Anderson and Lennox, 2009). Consequently, they are more likely to be excreted at home rather than in hospitals, suggesting that the contributions of hospitals for this type of drugs are extremely overestimated. In fact, a recent report by McArdell et al. (2011), experimentally quantifying mass flows of 100 pharmaceuticals in wastewater of a Swiss hospital and municipal wastewater, showed that the contribution of that hospital for ritonavir (one of the top 100 of compounds prescribed in that hospital) was only 0.9%. In order to assess whether hospitalspecific compounds could have an impact on risks of human exposure to these substances, their concentrations in hospital effluent and municipal wastewater were predicted and compared to effect threshold (ET) concentrations as margins of exposure (MOE). The comparison of concentrations predicted in hospital effluents with the calculated effect thresholds for compounds exclusively originating from hospitals showed that, depending on the hospital investigated, between 54% and 75% of these compounds are expected in concentrations more than 100-fold lower than the calculated ET values. In STP influents the percentages of compounds for which MOEs would be more than 100-fold lower than ET values increased

to values in the range of 90–100%. This indicates that only a small percentage of compounds originating from hospitals may be of concern. In the effluent of the smallest hospital investigated, QEII, the concentrations of 15 of the 54 hospital-specific compounds identified were less than 100-fold lower than the calculated ET values. MOEs for these compounds varied from 1 for the local anaesthetics ropivacaine and oxybuprocaine, to 70 for the antibiotic meropenem and the anaesthetic agent ketamine. However, when determining MOE values in the influent of the STP to which this hospital discharged, none of these 15 compounds returned an MOE below 100. The expected concentrations in STP influent (based on flow rate data and assuming no metabolism) would all be more than 500 times lower than the ET values, making these compounds unlikely to increase risks of human exposure to any of these hospital-specific substances. At the largest hospital, RBWH, MOEs in the hospital effluent were below 100 for 41 out of the 123 hospital-specific compounds identified at this hospital. In the influent of the STP to which RBWH hospital discharges its effluent, only nine of the 123 hospital-specific compounds with MOEs below 100 remained. These included vincristine sulphate (MOE=0.4), tazobactam (MOE=3) and piperacillin (MOE=8). Table 1 shows the final list of compounds for which hospitalspecific substances would result in MOE values below 100 in influents of the corresponding STPs. As can be seen, only 12 distinct hospitalspecific pharmaceuticals remained in concentrations that may be of concern (i.e. MOE<100). Among these, three antibiotics were found: cefazolin, piperacillin and tazobactam. Although risks of direct human exposure to traces of antibiotics in the environment have not yet been demonstrated, major health concerns relate to the possible development of antibiotic-resistance bacteria, hence antibiotic-resistant genes that may transfer to human pathogens (Fick et al., 2009). In that context, Reinthaler et al. (2003) investigated the resistance of E. coli strains isolated in sewage and sludge to a set of 24 antibiotics. These included two of the hospital-specific antibiotic drugs (piperacillin and tazobactam) remaining here with MOEs below 100 in STP influent. No resistance to the combination piperacillin/tazobactam was found for E. coli strains isolated from the influent of an STP conjointly treating municipal and

technical features


refereed paper

Table 1. List of hospital-specific compounds* with an MOE below 100 in influents of the STPs to which the hospitals investigated discharge their effluents (values in grey are MOE values above 100). Hospitals Number of hospital-specific compounds Corresponding STP Number of compounds with a MOE ≤100 Generic name (API)



















Therapeutic class

Luggage Point 8






















































































Vincristine sulphate


























AA = Anaesthetic agent; AB = Antibiotic; AN = Antineoplastic; ARh = Antirheumatic agent; MY = Mydriatic; NB = Neuromuscular blocking agent; NU = Not used at the hospital; NC = Not considered (i.e. contribution <97%). *Contributions comprised between 97% and 100% were taken into account. hospital wastewater. The highest degree of E. coli resistance that they observed was for the antibiotic tetracycline. Among the six hospitals investigated in our study, RBWH was found to be a major contributor to the loads of tetracycline in municipal wastewater, but corresponding MOEs in both hospital effluent and municipal wastewater were well above 100,000. This suggests that if our approach helps in screening antibiotics for which hospitals would be major contributors and of potential concern for human health, further investigations on potential human health risks resulting from the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that may originate from hospitals are warranted. Seven antineoplastic agents (anagrelide, capecitabine, procarbazine, carmustine, vincristine, busulfan and mitomycin) presented MOE values below 100 in the hospital effluents at four of the six hospitals investigated. But concentrations in the corresponding STPs dropped significantly, making vincristine the only cytotoxic compound remaining with a MOE below 100 in the catchment of PA and PC hospitals (Table 1), with concentrations below 0.012µg L-1. Although such a concentration seems low and in accordance with low concentrations typically observed for this category of substances in the environment (Webb, 2004), it would

deserve additional investigations. Indeed, anticancer drugs are among the most toxic substances used in medicine and are known to be poorly biodegradable (Aherne et al., 1990; Kümmerer, 2004). The real impact of hospital effluents on the load of anticancer drugs in municipal wastewater is difficult to assess. The administration of some of these compounds to outpatients, as well as the slow excretion of some of these substances (e.g. capecitabine, fluorouracil) means that significant fractions of antineoplastic drugs are excreted at home (Johnson et al., 2008). A trend towards home-based administration of anticancer treatments has recently been confirmed in France by Besse et al. (2012). Their analysis of consumption data from a local chemotherapy centre showed that 50% of the antineoplastic agents consumed in that centre were prescribed to outpatients and that only 20% of the drugs prescribed to outpatients were excreted onsite. This trend implies that hospitals may no longer be a major source of chemotherapeutic drugs.

Conclusions The consumption-based approach used in this study showed that the contribution of hospitals towards the total load of pharmaceuticals in the influent of STPs is limited. Indeed, the six hospitals investigated overall were found to contribute less than 6% of

the total mass of APIs consumed in a catchment. For up to 84% of the 589 APIs evaluated, the contribution of an individual hospital is likely to be less than 15%. However, depending on the hospital investigated, hospital contributions of 100% were obtained for 54 to 123 APIs. Among these hospital-specific compounds, the predicted concentrations of only 12 compounds were less than 100 times below a concentration “of no concern” in the influent of STPs. They warrant more detailed investigations including environmental and human toxicity, biodegradation and treatment or source control options. However, it should be noted that concentrations of pharmaceuticals in raw wastewater are expected to be significantly reduced after conventional wastewater treatment and advanced water treatment. Therefore, the results obtained for hospital-specific compounds indicate that these are unlikely to be present in STP effluents at levels representing a risk to humans. The outcomes of this study then suggest that decentralised treatment of hospital wastewater to reduce pharmaceutical loads in municipal wastewater would be of limited benefit. However, additional aspects, including the impact of hospital wastewater on the propagation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, will require specific attention to fully evaluate whether source treatment of hospital wastewater is relevant or not.


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wastewater Overall, consumption audit data are a good predictor of a hospital contribution. They allow screening of pharmaceuticals used in hospitals and identifying those of potential concern that may require monitoring. The consumption-based approach developed in this study represents an additional step towards prioritisation of pharmaceuticals originating from hospital wastewater that is transferrable to other states and countries depending on availability and quality of audit data.

Acknowledgements The authors wish to thank the South East Queensland Urban Water Security Research Alliance for their financial support; Queensland Health and the Medication Services Queensland for providing hospital audit data – and, more specifically, Belinda Allen and Diana Kateley for their support regarding the understanding and processing of the hospital audit data; Greg Jackson from Queensland Health for his helpful comments during this study; Vanna Mabbott and Chris Raymond from the Drug Utilisation Sub-Committee (DUSC) of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) (Department of Health and Ageing, Australian Government) for providing statistics on Australian pharmaceutical consumptions and their support during the data processing; and Queensland Urban Utilities for providing information on water consumptions of hospitals and flow data of the STPs investigated.

The Authors

Dr Kristell Le Corre (email: k.lecorre@ is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Advanced Water Management Centre (AWMC), The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. Dr Christoph Ort (email: Christoph. is a Research Scientist in Urban Water Engineering at Eawag, Dübendorf, Switzerland and an Adjunct Research Fellow at the Advanced Water Management Centre (AWMC), The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. Prof Jurg Keller (email: j.keller@uq. is the director of the Advanced Water Management Centre (AWMC), The University of Queensland Brisbane, Australia.

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Full results of this study are published in: Le Corre KS, Kateley D, Allen B, Escher BI, Ort C & Keller J (2012): Consumptionbased approach for assessing the contribution of hospitals towards the load of pharmaceutical residues in municipal wastewater. Environment International, 45(1), pp 99–111 (http://dx.doi. org/10.1016/j.envint.2012.03.008).

References Aherne GW, Hardcastle A & Nield AH (1990): Cytotoxic drugs and the aquatic environment: estimation of bleomycin in river and water samples. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, 42 (10), pp 741–742. Anderson AML & Lennox JL (2009): Abacavir/ Lamiduvine fixed dose combination in the treatment of patients with HIV infection. HIV Therapy, 3 (1), pp 19–29. Besse J-P, Latour J-F, Garric J (2012): Anticancer drugs in surface waters: What can we say about the occurrence and environmental significance of cytotoxic, cytostatic and endocrine therapy drugs? Environment International, 39 (1), pp 73–86. Fick J, Soderstrom H, Lindberg RH, Phan C, Tysklind M & Larsson JDG (2009): Contamination of surface, ground, and drinking water from pharmaceutical production. Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry, 28 (12), pp 2522–2527. Hawkshead J (2008): Hospital wastewater containing pharmaceutically active compounds and drug resistant organisms: a source of environmental toxicity and increased antibiotic resistance. Journal of Residuals Science and Technology, 5 (2), pp 51–60. Kümmerer K (2004): Pharmaceuticals in the environment: Sources, fates, effects and risks. Second Edition, Springer, Berlin, Germany. 527pp. McArdell CS, Kovalova L, Siegrist H, Kienle C, Moser R & Schwartz T (2011): Input and elimination of pharmaceuticals and disinfectants from hospital wastewater. Final project report, Eawag, Dübendorf, Switzerland, July 2011; 2011. 95pp. Accessible at: Metcalfe CD, Chu S, Judt C, Li H, Oakes KD, Servos MR & Andrews DM (2010): Antidepressants and their metabolites in municipal wastewater, and downstream exposure in an urban watershed. Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry, 29 (1), pp 79–89. Monteiro SC & Boxall ABA (2010): Occurrence and fate of human pharmaceuticals in the environment. Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 202, pp 53–154. NRMMC (2008): Australian guidelines for water recycling: Managing health and environmental risks (Phase 2): Augmentation of drinking water supplies, published by the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council (NRMMC),

the Environment and Heritage Council (EPHC) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Canberra, Australia, 159p. Available at: files/WQ_AGWR_GL__ADWS_Corrected_ Final_%20200809.pdf. Accessed: July 2011. HSDP, Highly Specialised Drugs Program (Section 100) of the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme (PBS) (2011): Available at: www.pbs. Accessed: July 2011. Johnson AC, Jürgens MD, Williams RJ, Kümmerer K, Kortenkamp A & Sumpter JP (2008): Do cytotoxic chemotherapy drugs discharged into rivers pose a risk to the environment and human health? An overview and UK case study. Journal of Hydrology, 348 (1-2), pp 167–175. Jury KL, Khan SJ, Vancov T, Stuetz RM & Ashbolt NJ (2011): Are sewage treatment plants promoting antibiotic resistance? Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology, 41 (3), pp 243–270. Ort C, Lawrence MG, Reungoat J, Eaglesham G, Carter S & Keller J (2010): Determining the fraction of pharmaceutical residues in wastewater originating from a hospital. Water Research, 44 (2), pp 605–615. Reinthaler FF, Posch J, Feierl G, Wüst G, Haas D, Ruckenbauer G, Mascher F & Marth E (2003): Antibiotic resistance of E. coli in sewage and sludge. Water Research, 37 (8), pp 1685–1690. Sanderson H, Johnson DJ, Reitsma T, Brain RA, Wilson CJ & Solomon KR (2004): Ranking and prioritization of environmental risks of pharmaceuticals in surface water. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, 39 (2), pp 158–183. TGA (2011): Therapeutic Goods Administration, Australia. Thomas KV, Dye C, Schlabach M & Langford KH (2007): Source to sink tracking of selected human pharmaceuticals from two Oslo city hospitals and a wastewater treatment works. Journal of Environmental Monitoring, 9 (12), pp 1410–1418. Vulliet E, Cren-Olivé C, Grenier-Loustalot M-F (2011): Occurrence of pharmaceuticals and hormones in drinking water treated from surface waters. Environmental Chemistry Letters, 9 (1), pp 103–114. Watts C, Maycock D, Crane M, Fawell J & Gosland E (2007): Desk based review of current knowledge on pharmaceuticals in drinking water and estimation of potential levels. Final report to the Drinking Water Inspectorate, London, UK, 107pp. First accessed on 03/02/2011 at: completed-research/2000todate.htm Webb SF (2004): A data base perspective on the environmental risk assessment of human pharmaceuticals III – indirect human exposure. In: Pharmaceuticals in the environment: Sources, fates, effects and risks, Kümmerer, K. (Ed), pp 363–372, Second Edition, Springer, Berlin, Germany, 527p.

technical features

M ade in ia l s u A tra

water business


While there is nothing new about water disinfection, choosing the best technology can be difficult. There are hundreds of chemical water treatment “solutions” on the market that can be dangerous for both the operator and the surrounding environment. A new product offers a safer alternative. The EcolineTM Chlorine Generator is the brainchild of Brisbanebased company Australian Innovative Systems (AIS). EcolineTM is a world-first system able to harness the natural micro elements found in ordinary water and safely utilise them to disinfect water instantly. Since its launch in 2008, EcolineTM has achieved recognition as a reliable and cost-effective system providing great return on investment. In 2009, AIS won five international awards for Innovation & Environmentally Friendly Product and was crowned as ‘Most Innovative Company in Asia, Australia & New Zealand’ at the International Stevie Awards in New York.

• Lowers operating costs;

• Eliminates operator exposure to chlorine fumes; • Avoids the risks inherent in the transport and handling of chlorine products; • Eliminates chemical contamination risk to the environment.

Working examples include: • Recycled water for irrigation of one of the Queensland’s golf courses; • A Canadian food (egg) processing plant; • Water treatment to potable standard in a Western Australian mine; • Competition Olympic Fresh Water Swimming Pool (FINA Standards).

BATHURST REGIONAL COUNCIL SUPERNATANT RECYCLING A NSW regional council has introduced a supernatant recycling system into the filtration plant in the town water supply, helping to conserve potable water and providing substantial water savings over the long term. The Bathurst Regional Council recycle system, installed by Ted Wilson & Sons (TWS) of Blayney using equipment supplied by CST Wastewater Solutions, recovers and disinfects the filter backwash water at the plant. Serving a population of about 37,000, Bathurst’s water filtration plant was originally constructed in 1972. Significant upgrades from 1987 to 1994 increased the water treatment capacity from 27 to 60 million litres per day.

EcolineTM is capable of increasing or decreasing production of chlorine in sync with proportional 4-20 mA signal sent from the chlorine analyser. The EcolineTM power supply then regulates the current to the electrolytic cell to produce the required amount of hypochlorite. Ecoline’s unique technology allows for efficient use of natural resources and can be used in diverse situations including drinking water treatment, food processing plants, reverse osmosis and desalination, water features, cooling towers, swimming pools (including competition pools), water parks, irrigation water, greywater, agricultural lagoons, recycled water, sewage and wastewater, and bio-septic tanks.

Benefits: • Eliminates dependence on commercial chlorine suppliers; • Achieves a complete automatic process that requires minimal operator attendance;

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The filter backwash water, a by-product of the reverse flushing of the sand filters in the filtration plant in order to clear them of sludge, is discharged into the system’s three sludge lagoons, along with sludge from the sedimentation tank. Previously, the supernatant from the sludge lagoons was eventually decanted from the lagoons and discharged. The new system involved the construction of a supernatant pumping station and associated pipework to enable the automatic recycling of supernatant from the sludge lagoons into an in-ground well, and then into the first chamber of the rapid mix tank. The recycle stream will not exceed 10% of the raw water flow through the water treatment system. At the present annual water consumption of about 6000 ML, the wastewater to be recovered could be in the order of 192ML per year. The overall water to be saved is estimated to be 13,000ML over 50 years. These estimates are based on average seasonal

demand patterns. With the unseasonal summer just past (2011/12), demand has been lower than expected and the water filtration plant has not operated at full capacity. The supernatant currently being recycled is 6% of the plant flow. This will vary with demand into the future. Contractor TWS was required to supply and install two submersible motor pumps for the pumping station at the in-ground well, one a duty pump and the other a standby. Also installed were an electrical switchboard at the pumping well and other associated equipment, including a level control for the pumps and lifting chains for raising and lowering them for maintenance. A Berson UV disinfection system, supplied by CST Wastewater Solutions, was fitted between the pumping station and the rapid mix tank to disinfect the recycled water from the sludge lagoons before returning it to the rapid mix tank. The system fully disinfects up to a flow rate of 60L/s and has a variable power control to enable the UV dosage to be adjustable to suit operating conditions. The project was partially funded by the Australian Government’s Water for the Future initiative through the National Water Security for Cities and Towns program. For further information, please contact Mr Michael Bambridge, Managing Director, email:

WASTEWATER REUSE FOR IRRIGATION IN VICTOR HARBOR Drought conditions in Australia over the past decade have put the issue of water recycling and reuse firmly into the forefront of the public conscience. There is now increasing pressure on water authorities to make the most of available resources and implement a greater number of reuse schemes. The implementation of the Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling (SA DoH, 2006) has required utilities to develop systems that will satisfactorily treat the water for the intended purpose, under a ‘fit-for-purpose’ system. The Fleurieu Peninsula on the south coast of South Australia is a rapidly expanding destination for holiday-makers, retirees and agriculture. The City of

water business

disinfection Victor Harbor is located on the peninsula approximately 80km south of Adelaide. It has a base population of approximately 11,500; however, during peak holiday periods and long weekends this number can be as high as 30,000 (www.victor.; accessed 8/7/2010). The Victor Harbor WWTP was commissioned in 2005 under a 20-year Build Own Operate Transfer (BOOT) Agreement between TRILITY Victor Harbor (UUVH) and SA Water. The plant is a membrane bioreactor (MBR), consisting of an activated sludge process for biological nutrient removal, followed by immersed flat sheet Kubota ultrafiltration membranes and ultraviolet disinfection (non-validated nominal dose of 36 mJ/cm2). In 2009, the client embarked on a process to implement wider scale reuse across the region of Victor Harbor. In order to achieve this, water quality requirements were specified by the South Australian Department of Health (SA DoH), and upgrades to the plant were required to achieve these targets. Within the Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling (DoH, 2006), Log Reduction Credits (LRV) for virus, protozoa and bacteria are required for specific reuse applications (“fit for purpose”). The expansion of reuse across Victor Harbour will incorporate unrestricted outdoor irrigation. As such, the requirements for disinfection are the same as for dual reticulation systems. The SA DoH has assigned LRV credits for the activated sludge, membrane filtration and UV disinfection processes at VHWWTP, and specified the LRVs required for the expanded reuse program. The existing process steps exceed the LRV credits required for protozoa and bacteria; however, additional treatment is required to satisfy LRV 6 for virus. Table 1 shows the LRV credits assigned for VHWWTP, and the additional credits required for residential garden watering. The options available for

Table 1. LRVs attributed to Victor Harbor WWTP. LRV Credits Process




Activated Sludge Process




UF Kubota Membranes




UV Disinfection (UVTA ‘Terminator’ Unit)




TOTAL (without Chlorination)




Requirement for Unrestricted Outdoor Irrigation (AGWR Phase 1, 2006)




attainment of the additional LRV 3.0 for virus are shown in Table 2.

means that ammonia spikes can break through into the treated effluent. The existing in-basin balancing volume is also of little benefit in load peak attenuation. This has not historically been a problem, as both EPA and client quality requirements are based on 21-day composites, allowing for some fluctuation in treated wastewater quality over a given period. However, with the implementation of a chlorination system, plant compliance essentially changed from a 21-day composite to an instantaneous requirement as CT instantaneously reacts to the increased chlorine demand imposed by the presence of ammonia.

Due to the time pressures to produce compliant water, an interim chlorine disinfection system was installed and commissioned at Victor Harbor WWTP in 2009, with a design CT of 30 mg.min/L. The commissioning period identified periods when CT dropped rapidly. This was attributed to peak loads of ammonia coming through the plant, an issue particularly evident during holiday periods. Installation of an ammonia analyser confirmed this theory. At times, the peak loads of ammonia were so high that the chlorine dose required for breakpoint chlorination exceeded the dosing limit of the chlorination system.

The problem of CT drop was overcome during regular periods of operation by programming the PLC to increase chlorine dose during periods of expected ammonia increase. However, additional complications were given by the highly variable flow rates through the plant, ranging from 4L/s up to 114L/s. Thus, the control system was required to flow pace dosing of chlorine to a

The bioreactor operates with intermittent aeration, alternating between aerobic and anoxic periods to enhance Simultaneous Nitrification and Denitrification. However, if the plant receives a severe peak load from Pump Station 1 (PS-1), there is insufficient aeration capacity for full nitrification – this

Table 2. Options for additional LRV 3 for virus. Treatment Step




30 mg.min/L


712 mg.min/L at 15°C

Contact time must be based on USEPA “LT1ESWTR Disinfection Profiling and Benchmarking Technical Guidance Manual”, incorporating baffling factors.

534 mg.min/L at 20°C

Disregarded due to cost and time constraints.


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.

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new products & services The Yennora plant was commissioned on 29 May 1962 and originally began producing centrifugally cast grey iron pipes. The plant converted to ductile iron in 1978 to deliver stronger, yet lighter pipes to the Australian water industry. During its 50 years of operation, the plant has also been a significant contributor to the local, state and national economies. rapidly varying flow rate and water quality. A final complication was that of environmental requirements. At times the VH plant carries out environmental discharges and this discharge must contain no chlorine. Thus, a new solution was required. A multi-criteria analysis was conducted with the major stakeholders as a tool to aid in determination of the optimal solution. The chosen solution was to upgrade the inlet pump station (PS-1) to incorporate upstream balancing storage, upgrade the plant aeration system to better remove ammonia, move the chlorination point to a location with a stable flow rate (post a 5ML treated wastewater balancing storage) and construct a new 5ML storage lagoon, to contain the treated wastewater and supply reuse customers by means of a gravity network. These upgrades are scheduled for completion in December 2010, with a one-month commissioning and optimisation period carried out in January 2011.

General Manager, Wayne Evans, noted that “the plant’s economic contributions amounting to tens of millions of dollars each year stem not only from its vital pipe output, but also from procurement of raw materials, power, gas, water and other services from local suppliers, payment of local taxes and the provision of employment. Since opening in 1962 the plant has provided jobs to thousands of people, mostly residents of the western Sydney community.” The plant is also a major recycler of scrap and waste steel, processing more than 2.5 million tonnes. The recycled waste has been used to produce in excess of 55,000 kilometres of vital water pipelines used across Australia and around the world.

ceilings. For more than 15 years, Projex Group has been working with designers, engineers, project managers and contractors to permanently seal pipes of any size. Link-Seals have been successfully installed in water and waste treatment plants, oil refineries, gas plants, hospitals, and sewage plants, Link-Seals are robust and are specially formulated to withstand attack from ozone, sunlight, water and a wide range of chemicals. They can handle slight movement and extreme temperatures (-50–120°C), provide maximum protection against corrosion and can hold up to 20psig (12 metres of static head) pressure. They are available for a wide variety of special applications, temperature extremes, exotic chemical combinations and for slightly “out of round” or non-centred applications.

Benefits include: • Suitable for potable water;


• Saves time & money;

Tyco Water’s Yennora facility has just celebrated half-a-century of operations to commemorate the enduring success of the last surviving ductile iron pipe manufacturing facility in Australia. Dignitaries and customers were joined by past and present employees for the celebration, at which guests were entertained with stories of days gone by and a band playing 50 years of hits from 1962 to the present day.

• Long seal life;

• Positive hydrostatic seal;

Proving test on the original casting machines at Yennora in 1962.

THE SYSTEM WITH THE “NO LEAK SOLUTION” Link-Seal Modular Seals are a positive hydrostatic seal which seal the annular space and are considered to be the premier method for permanently sealing pipes of any size passing through walls, floors and ®

• Maximum protection against corrosion; • Mechanical seal – can be refitted; • Maintenance-free after installation; • Easily installed by one person. For more information please contact Nick Pearson, National Sales Manager, 0413 746 106, email:

Memcor Microfiltration Plant for Sale by Tender Barwon Water Corporation has a decommissioned Memcor microfiltration skid available for sale. Until last year the plant was used to filter potable water for the township of Meredith in central Victoria. Changes to the configuration of the regions water supply system has meant the filtration unit is no longer required. Filtration capacity is approx. 30 litres/second (net). For enquiries please contact Dene Denny: or Mobile: 0417595410

92 JULY 2012 water

water business

new products & services WATER INFRASTRUCTURE GROUP RECEIVES AWARDS Water Infrastructure Group’s innovation with the Virtual Control Room was recognised at the 2012 Institute of Public Works NSW Engineering Excellence Awards in May. The Innovation in Water Supply and Wastewater – Operations award was presented to Water Infrastructure Group, Eurobodalla Shire Council and the NSW Department of Public Works for the Eurobodalla Northern Water Treatment Plant in Batemans Bay. Water Infrastructure Group’s involvement in the project led to several significant changes to the design of the plant to increase efficiency, operability and reduce the whole-of-life cost. A key innovation was Water Infrastructure Group’s Virtual Control Room. Eurobodalla Shire Council General Manager, Paul Anderson, said the Virtual Control Room was ideally suited to a regional facility and provided a number of benefits to Council and the community. “Our operators are able to safely and productively monitor and control the plant remotely via Smartphones or iPads. Its efficiency also provides flexibility to Council and its remote management saves us both time and money,” said Mr Anderson.

Water Infrastructure Group also received the AWA National Safety Excellence Award at Ozwater’12 for the Bondi Ocean Outfall Sewer Rehabilitation Project. Sydney Water Managing Director Kevin Young said the Award was proof of the organisation’s strong safety record while rehabilitating the Bondi Ocean Outfall Sewer, a key part of Sydney’s infrastructure. “We were so pleased to win this award, as safety is one of our highest priorities,” Mr Young said. “The upgrade was completed on time and within budget, achieving outstanding safety results, high levels of customer satisfaction and excellent performance results.”

COMPAIR LAUNCHES AIR AUDIT ENERGY CALCULATOR APP CompAir Australasia has launched the Air Audit Compressed Air Energy Calculator App. With the carbon tax just around the corner, CompAir has developed this App to assist compressed air users in estimating their associated energy costs and potential energy savings. Energy accounts for approximately 80% of the lifetime cost of a compressor; however, compressed air also represents one of the greatest opportunities within a business to generate energy savings and reduce the associated carbon footprint. Compressed air users can now estimate their compressed air energy costs and potential savings with the new Air Audit Compressed Air Energy Calculator App from CompAir. This free App is user friendly and allows the compressed air user to simply and quickly estimate: • Running costs; • Carbon footprint; • Carbon cost; and

Daniel Graham (centre) with Eurobodalla Shire operators Brent Parker and Barry Jones at the official opening of the Northern Water Treatment Plant.

• Savings. Where users want a comprehensive energy usage analysis and

HYDROVAR, the modern variable speed pump drive is taking pumping to a new level of flexibility and efficiency. Call us to discuss your applications: Melbourne 03 9793 9999 Sydney 02 9671 3666 Brisbane 07 3200 6488 Email: Web: DELIVERING PUMPING SOLUTIONS water

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new products & services recommendations of how and where energy savings can be made within a compressed air system, CompAir offers the AirAudit service. This accurate, non-intrusive process identifies areas of loss or inefficiencies within a compressed air system that meets the requirements of the Australian Federal Government’s Energy Efficiency Opportunity Act, in conjunction with the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGERS) Act. AirAudit has already assisted a number of compressed air users in achieving energy savings of up to 50%. The AirAudit Compressed Air Energy Calculator App from CompAir is free to download from the iTunes store. For a link to download the App, visit: For more information contact: Bryan Alderson, Marketing Specialist, email:

REVOLUTIONARY AEROBIC GRANULAR SLUDGE TECHNOLOGY The activated sludge process was developed in 1913 in the UK and has been the basis of wastewater treatment since that time. Due to improvements to the process, its ability to remove nutrients has also developed. Nitrogen was initially addressed before the development of the Bardenpho process and a number of variants in the mid-1980s led to enhanced biological phosphorus removal which, today, forms the basis of most sewage treatment. It has long been recognised that the activated sludge process has suffered a number of limitations, most of which were associated with the need to prevent ‘wash-out’ of the biomass during high flows or process upsets that required large secondary clarifiers to retain the activated sludge. The need for large flows recycled through a number of zones also resulted in significant energy consumption. Aquatec-Maxcon has reached an agreement with DHV BV of the Netherlands to provide Australia with a revolutionary wastewater treatment technology known as Nereda®, an advanced wastewater purification technology that uses the unique properties of aerobic granular biomass.

Unlike other conventional processes, the purifying bacteria concentrate naturally into compact granules. These are typically (0.2–2)mm in size and exhibit superb settling properties with a sludge volume index of (30–50) compared with the fluffy, slow-settling flocs found in activated sludge, which often exhibits SVIs of (100–150). These excellent settling characteristics enable the elimination of secondary clarifiers and associated return activated sludge stations, substantially reducing the required area and number of concrete structures. As a result of the larger physical size of the granules, oxygen penetration is limited by the action of the various heterotrophic and autotrophic organisms, which creates a range of anaerobic, anoxic and aerobic layers within the granules. These enable the conditions under which nitrogen can be efficiently transported by diffusion to occur without the need for transport to separate reactor compartments. Nereda® is capable of producing excellent effluent quality meeting stringent modern requirements. Even when not particularly targeted, extensive biological phosphorus and nitrogen reduction is an intrinsic feature. Excellent biological phosphorus removal results in reduced chemical consumption and chemical trimming may be eliminated.

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

94 JULY 2012 water

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new products & services Because the granules formed in the Nereda® process are relatively large and have excellent settling properties when compared with conventional flocculent biomass technologies, it is possible to carry substantially increased biomass concentrations within the bioreactor and completely eliminate separate clarifiers. This results in the overall footprint of the process being as little as 25% of that of conventional activated sludge, leading to substantial reductions in capital cost and embodied energy. Nereda® technology uses an optimised sequenced batch reactor (SBR) cycle in which reactor fill and draw are combined. While influent is distributed into the bottom of the reactor, it reacts with and is absorbed by the concentrated biomass granules. Thanks to the excellent settling properties of this granular biomass, a high specific loading is achievable. At the same time, clarified effluent is discharged from the top of the reactor then, during the next phase, aeration enables biological oxidation prior to the final settling phase. The granular sludge is more readily dewatered than conventional sticky flocs and, therefore, requires reduced polymer application as well as delivering reduced sludge volumes for disposal. In operation, the process has been demonstrated to deliver energy reductions of about 30% when compared with conventional activated sludge due to reduced mixing requirements and recycling which comes as a result of the process occurring in a single vessel. These features translate into compact, energy-saving and easy-to-operate Nereda® installations for both industrial and municipal wastewater treatment. Nereda® presents attractive new solutions for Greenfield installations and retrofitting or extending conventional activated sludge plants. The technology is also highly recommended for performance and capacity upgrades of existing SBR facilities.

events. The biomass can be stored for a period and the high biomass concentration also renders the process less sensitive. All operations are normally controlled via a PLC, enabling fully automated operation and remote monitoring. There are now full-scale Nereda® plants operating in the Netherlands, Portugal and South Africa at design populations of up to 60,000ep, with design of plants over 300,000ep currently being commissioned. Full-scale plants have also been in operation since 2005, giving long-term confidence in the process. Remarkably, despite the challenging conditions in Holland, the Epe plant has been demonstrated to deliver Total Nitrogen <5mg/L and Total Phosphorus <0.3mg/L. Not only has the technology proved suitable for a range of domestic and industrial wastes, it has also demonstrated firmly established reliability under “harsh” conditions, including fluctuating wastewater flows and composition, temporary power failure, and limiting attendance of operational and maintenance staff. BNR experts have also identified Nereda® as the first major process breakthrough in the treatment of municipal and industrial wastewater purification in decades. The clear benefits in reduced footprint, resource inputs and associated capital requirements, lower power and chemical consumption, together with excellent effluent quality, means that it will be difficult to find a more cost-effective or sustainable technology. Independent verification of the savings has been undertaken and Nereda® has received numerous international awards for innovation and energy efficiency. For more details email Greg Johnston at:

Nereda® has also proven to be very robust in operation. Experience from laboratory to full scale has shown that the stability of aerobic granular biomass exceeds that of activated sludge. To some degree, the stable biopolymer backbone of the granule appears to protect the biomass from process upsets and short-term toxic

GREENHOUSE GAS ANALYSER The University of Wollongong (UOW) and Ecotech have announced a partnership to manufacture and distribute a comprehensive greenhouse gas analyser to world markets. Based on technology developed by researchers at UOW’s School of Chemistry, the Ecotech instrument, known as the Spectronus analyser, delivers a high precision, real-time analysis of all principal greenhouse gases. The analyser has applications in background air monitoring, and in quantifying the emissions and uptake of greenhouse gases by ecosystems and industries, especially agriculture. “Policy decisions based on climate change research demand precise, highly accurate and repeatable data for all greenhouse gases, not just CO2,” said Professor David Griffith, Head of the UOW Research Team. Additional greenhouse gases such as methane, nitrous oxide, carbon monoxide, along with water vapour, are all important in any comprehensive assessment of atmospheric effects on and by climate change. The Spectronus analyser offers, for the first time, a single high-accuracy instrument that simultaneously measures important greenhouse gases. The Spectronus hardware is complemented by powerful operating software that results in a flexible, fully-automated system that can be controlled remotely. For details visit: or email:

GENERATE NEW PAYMENTS FOR YOUR BUSINESS If your business has a generator set, you may qualify for a simple and lucrative opportunity to be paid to run your generator. Demand response programs pay businesses to switch to on-site generation when the electrical grid experiences spikes in demand, shortages of supply, or other short-term imbalances. Demand response participants earn substantial payments, increase the reliability of the electrical grid, and get advance notice of irregular conditions on the grid. By enrolling with EnerNOC, you will join the world’s largest “virtual power plant”, a network of more than 10,000 energy users worldwide, and enjoy a range of benefits.



Water Infrastructure Group leading the industry with the award-winning Virtual Control Room MELBOURNE SYDNEY ADELAIDE BRISBANE PERTH

Peter Everist Hugh McGinley Owen Jayne Hugh McGinley David Foot

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JULY 2012 95

new products & services Emergency Preparedness What would


you do if you knew there would be a blackout in a matter of hours? Demand response participation gives you advance notice of any irregular conditions on the grid and helps ensure your readiness for a true grid emergency.

Financial Rewards from Day One Unlike capital-intensive energy management programs that don’t deliver results until years later, demand response starts creating a bottom-line impact immediately. Our demand response customers have earned millions of dollars of payments – revenue they’ve reinvested into their operations to maintain equipment and pursue important upgrades of transfer switches and other equipment.

Easy Enablement EnerNOC’s engineers work directly with your facilities and engineering staff to determine your eligibility for a variety of demand response programs. There is no cost to enrol. EnerNOC provides no-cost site evaluations, free energy meters, and free installation. EnerNOC’s staff members are also experts in relevant permitting and regulations governing generators. Reimbursement for Generator Testing

and standards. By running your backup generators during demand response testing and despatches, you can ensure that your generators are operating correctly under load while simultaneously complying with mandated testing. EnerNOC pays your business for what would otherwise be an unavoidable expense.

Improving Efficiency EnerNOC gives every customer access to real-time meter data through our web-based energy management software. Our customers have uncovered hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual savings through our DemandSMART application.

The Option of Easy Automated Control For increased ease of use, EnerNOC can also enable your generators to start up automatically during a demand response despatch. This step is optional, but some customers appreciate the end-to-end ease of automation. Our engineers can install relays and controls that monitor your generators during start up. Once the generator is prepared, we transfer the load to your generator, right from our Network Operations Centre. When the despatch is complete, we transfer you back to street power without any interruption to your business. For more information please go to:

Many businesses must periodically test their generators to meet local regulations



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Water Journal July 2012  
Water Journal July 2012