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Volume 39 No 7 NOVEMBER 2012 RRP $16.95 inc. GST




Potential Impacts of CSG Mining on Groundwater in Australia – special report page 46 ODOUR MANAGEMENT • CARBON FOOTPRINT • DEMAND MANAGEMENT

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Journal of the Australian Water Association ISSN 0310-0367 Volume 39 No 7 November 2012


From the AWA President Creating A Planet-Responsible Civilisation Lucia Cade 4 From the AWA CEO

Leading From The Front Tom Mollenkopf 5

My Point of View Non-Conventional Gas And Oil: The US Experience Bill Fisher 6 Crosscurrent 8 Industry News 18 Young Water Professionals Managing Our Personal Energy

Mike Dixon 30

AWA News 31

A farmer in Jordan holding irrigation hoses in his field. See page 24

feature article Tales of Puk Puk and Walkabout Spanners


Jim Keary, General Manager of Hunter Water Australia, writes about the organisation’s twinning partnership with Water PNG

SPECIAL REPORT Coal Seam Gas Mining and Groundwater


A review of the controversies around and potential impacts of CSG in Australia The Water PNG Twinning Partnership team sorts out operational issues. See page 44

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; Graham Bateman, CH2M HILL; Dr Andrew Bath, Water Corporation of WA; Michael Chapman, GHD; Wilf Finn, Norton Rose Australia; Robert Ford, Central Highlands Water (rtd); Ted Gardner (rtd); Antony Gibson, Orica Watercare; Dr Lionel Ho, AWQC, SA Water; 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 Technical Editor, Water Journal –

P apers 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 Kirsti Couper, National Relationship Manager, AWA –

UPCOMING TOPICS DECEMBER 2012 – Asset Management, Small Water & Wastewater Systems, Sustainability FEBRUARY 2013 – Wastewater Management & Treatment, Water Education, Groundwater Management/Aquifer Recharge, Water In Mining, Innovation APRIL 2013 – Catchment Management, Carbon Footprint/GHG Emissions, Water Skills, Green Cities/Future Cities/Integrated Planning, Automation & Telemetry/Remote Monitoring

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 Kirsti Couper, National Relationship Manager, AWA – Tel: +61 2 9467 8408 or 0417 441 821.

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:




Journal of the Australian Water Association ISSN 0310-0367

A fisherman in southern Papua New Guinea with a Papuan black bass. See page 81


Volume 39 No 7 November 2012


A photoionisation unit at a tank at a treatment plant in Germany. See page 54


ODOUR MANAGEMENT Rusty Iron – A Cost-Effective Odour Control Upgrade For Overloaded Systems Results of the first Australian installation of a rusty iron catalytic filter

D Brooker, I Evanson & A Shammay


H Althoff, R Mizzi & O Augustin


Y Gruchlik et al.


NJR Kraakman & J Cesca


D Dowling, D Waters, S Wu & P Hardisty


New Odour Control Technology Deals With Difficult Odours A case study from one of Europe’s largest WWTPs Laboratory Scale Investigations Of Potential Odour Reduction Strategies In Biosolids Results from Phase 1 trials of chemical addition and centrifuge speed methods at Woodman Point WWTP Evaluating Odour Control Technologies Using Reliability And Sustainability Criteria Odour control technology at wastewater treatment or water recycling plants

CARBON FOOTPRINT Gosford City Council Climate Change Mitigation Strategy Commitment made to a carbon reduction target of 20 per cent by the year 2025

Examining The Likely Impacts Of A Carbon Price Using Supply Chain Carbon Footprints Extensive analysis points to increases in operating and capital costs

F Hartley & P Woods


P Gehrke et al.


P Hagare et al.


Climate Change Prospects For Freshwater Fisheries In The Tropical Pacific Production and management strategies DEMAND MANAGEMENT Effect Of Rebate Scheme And Water Restrictions On Rainwater Tank Uptake Rate A review of demand management strategies undertaken by Gosford City Council WATER BUSINESS New Products and Business Information


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from the president

Creating a Planet-Responsible Civilisation Lucia Cade – AWA President “Creating A Planet-Responsible Civilisation”.... What a vision statement for a nation… and, indeed, a world! In a keynote address at the recent IWA World Water Congress, Soo-Gil Young, the Korean President of the Committee on Green Growth, shared the visionary aspirations of the President of Korea – the kind of thinking that is guiding the decisions of the Korean government as their country continues its meteoric economic development. Korea’s visionary strategy is echoed in a report entitled “Resilient People – Resilient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing” from the United Nations high-level panel on global sustainability this year. It was a lead-in document to the Rio Earth Summit held in June to discuss ideas, development and progress on Sustainable Development Goals. While I was in Singapore I attended an interview with Helen Clark, the former Prime Minister of New Zealand, who spoke at the Rio Earth Summit in her capacity as the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme and Chair of the United Nations Development Group. She passionately advocated the need to include local communities in the sustainable development process – emphasising that we can’t separate “green” from “inclusive” and that great equality and equity go hand-in-hand with sustainability. We are slowly getting there with this concept in Australia, but I think overall we have some way to go in how we include our customers and communities in the solution finding, options and trade-offs, as well as the affordability debate. For 25 years the UN has been talking about sustainable development goals and the idea of balancing economic prosperity with social equity and environmental protection. Many developing countries have been progressing the first of these ahead of the second two. This is not a tenable approach in the future according to Jaehyang So from the World Bank, who also delivered an insightful keynote address at the IWA World Water Congress. She proposes that the world cannot afford to leave people and the environment behind in the pursuit of economic progress, as too much damage can be wrought in the intervening timeframe. Economic progress, social equity and environmental protection must progress conjointly.

in putting to you that it is only when a well-performing, innovative and incentivised private sector is joined with an effective and talented public sector that the greatest overall outcomes can be achieved. This is the way to bring the best of all worlds to developing solutions for the most intractable of problems. In this sense, we are lucky in Australia to have both. There is currently a lot of discussion about building resilience – particularly in terms of the resilience of our assets and approaches to disaster management in the face of a seemingly increasing frequency of extreme events – from drought to flood to fire to cyclone. Significant reviews are underway across the country of how we design and manage our systems, and of our preparedness for maintaining service delivery and protecting assets through extreme events and their aftermath. Recently I attended the TasWater Conference in Hobart, ‘Water in the Bush’ in Darwin and the National Operations Specialist Conference, also in Darwin. At each event there were great presentations from the service front of the industry, from the people who deal with the customers and deliver their services. There is an enormous amount of experience, knowledge and dedication in our industry. The stories of people delivering services in the field in some interesting circumstances would fill many entertaining books. At each of these events I spoke of the challenges we will face in the coming decade. I spoke of the changes in technology: energy-neutral treatment processes; nutrient recovery and recycling; waste to energy; intelligent assets; and the challenge of turning data into information. I discussed the skills we will need and the changes in the way we work. I also spoke of global trends in population growth, urbanisation and the need for better food chains. And I spoke of the shrinking world and how technology shortens the time for information to travel, the immediacy of people accessing information, the “ready-experts”, and the ongoing attention water services receive from the public. While public interest has always been apparent (read any history of the water sector), the availability and speed of information dissemination and where people go for expert views has changed. As this year of reflection on AWA turning 50 draws to a close, the water industry remains a fascinating one in which to build a career – one that has the greatest potential to deliver on great visions like creating a planet-resilient civilisation.

In fact, a key solution to this dilemma is in collaboration and partnerships – particularly between the private and public sectors and particularly when both are strong. I paraphrase Jaehyang So

4 NOVEMBER 2012 water

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from the chief executive

Leading From the Front Tom Mollenkopf – AWA Chief Executive In the last week of September, the Federal Government finally released its National Water Knowledge and Research Platform. It has been a gestation period of pachyderm proportions, having first been conceived back in 2009. I’ll grant you, the economic and environmental landscape that the sector has been operating in has been dynamic these past years and it is not easy to get COAG consensus. But three years is a long time in anyone’s book. Many of us had given up hope of ever seeing anything. Coincidentally, the report was released just one day before the water sector’s own National Urban Water Research and Development Needs and Capability Forum. This outstanding initiative was led by the informal grouping of water research “brokers”, the Australian Water Research and Development Coalition, and organised by the National Water Commission and the Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence. The Forum drew together representatives of all key sector stakeholders: researchers, funding agencies, government agencies, utilities and associations, including AWA. Most significantly, the private sector participants were also specifically acknowledged, through direct participation and the attendance of waterAUSTRALIA, which – with AWA’s support – focuses on developing business capability and export opportunities for Australian industry. The Forum comes at an important time as government funding for research comes under pressure and significant research programs, such as the Urban Water Security Research Alliance based in Queensland, are wound up. The session identified a series of obstacles to and opportunities for improved water research outcomes in Australia.

The water sector’s leadership in this area is important. We need to maintain a smooth pipeline of both strategic and applied research. Extreme fluctuations in funding undermine the retention of talent and our ability to implement and follow up on research outcomes. A collaborative, planned and targeted portfolio avoids duplication and maximises the potential for knowledge sharing. A small working group is now developing several priority initiatives, including a statement of future R & D priorities, the development of proposals on private sector participation in innovation and commercialisation, and a continuation of the open dialogue with further all-party forums. The ultimate prize is far-reaching and truly a triple bottom line outcome. We can deliver sustainable solutions for our water needs, grow our people with challenging and rewarding work, develop industry capacity and generate better economic outcomes through improved global competitiveness. The release of the COAG research platform is an important contribution in this discussion. But it is only one part of what must be a broader partnership involving researchers, water utilities and industry. Now is the time for the water sector to step forward and take a leadership role. AWA is eager to play its role, as a knowledge dissemination partner, a link between the different parts of the sector, and an independent and trusted voice for water professionals and organisations.

I found several principles that emerged noteworthy: first, that the Forum did not seek to establish a new body or additional layers of bureaucracy; second, the willingness to collaborate and share across jurisdictions and between participants; and finally, an increasing recognition of the important role that the private sector can play in all aspects of the R & D chain.



my point of view

The American Experience in Non-Conventional Gas and Oil Professor William L Fisher, University of Texas, Austin William Fisher is Professor and former inaugural Dean of the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas and an international expert in energy and mineral resource assessment and policy issues. He has been involved in major studies in the US on the environmental impact of produced waters from coal seam gas and hydraulic fracturing of shale gas and oil, including chairing the National Research Council and The National Academies committee on coalbed methane produced waters. Dr Fisher was invited to Australia in July by the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training to talk about the US experience. The United States has many decades of experience of both coal seam gas mining (CSG), known in the US as coalbed methane, and also the technique of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. As in Australia, the topics are not without controversy and they come with challenges. One of the most contentious issues is the environmental impact, particularly the risks posed to groundwater and other freshwater supplies. While the concerns are understandable, extensive US studies reveal quite a different picture. The history of US drilling, especially shale gas and oil, provides a substantial base from which to evaluate environmental and other impacts associated with drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Fracking has been a common feature of the oil and gas industry since the 1940s with more than one million wells drilled, including 85,000 for CSG and shale gas, and oil from shale. Over the past 25 years, so-called unconventional gas and unconventional oil production has come to represent an increasingly important part of US energy supply. Unconventional gas – which includes low permeability gas, CSG and shale gas – constitutes 45 per cent of total US production and this is expected to be 75 per cent or more within two decades. In just seven years, shale oil – also called tight oil – has grown to represent 20 per cent of domestic production. Because of this growth, the US is expected to move from being the world’s largest importer of oil to a net exporter of energy by 2030.

Results of Environmental Impact Studies In areas where hydraulic fracking is new, this rapid expansion has raised speculation about the risks of groundwater pollution due to fracturing fluid escaping, for example, via fracture zones or from improperly plugged wells, as well as inducing earthquakes. These concerns have prompted several recent environmental studies by authoritative organisations, such as the US National

6 NOVEMBER 2012 water

Research Council and Ground Water Protection Council, involving the evaluation of scientifically documented cases. None of these reports have revealed any evidence in the US of groundwater contamination as a result of the hydraulic fracturing process. Nearly all hydraulic fracturing is done at depths of between 1,200 metres and 4,200 metres, so the escape of fluids to overlying aquifers is unlikely due to the scale of the induced fractures, with extent not exceeding 600 metres and mostly much less. However, the reports have shown documented cases of environmental impacts, including groundwater contamination and induced seismicity, in other phases of the unconventional gas and oil production cycle; most of these incidents of groundwater contamination are on the surface. They include such issues as leakage of produced and injected fluids and methane from poorly cased or cemented wells, surface spills and pit leakage of contaminated fluids, air pollution from vented volatile hydrocarbons, and induced seismicity from subsurface waste disposal sites. The frequency and impact of such accidents in unconventional oil and gas production are not common and essentially mirror conventional production or other industrial processes. While the impacts are real, the incidence of groundwater contamination is very low, according to the Groundwater Protection Council’s analysis of drilling from 1993 to 2008, amounting to just 0.l per cent of wells drilled in Texas, for example. Nearly 75 per cent of this very small number of contamination accidents was from surface or disposal operations.

A New Transparency in US Fracking Time brings greater maturity to any industry involved in new techniques and processes, and such is the case with CSG mining and present day hydraulic fracturing. For example, US operators initially refused to list the chemicals they were using for hydraulic fracturing, claiming they were trade secrets, but several operators later began to report chemicals used on a voluntary basis. Now virtually every state has a law requiring that these chemicals are posted on public websites and this transparency brings less public apprehension, which is in the interests of everyone. Today we are also seeing far greater use of nontoxic chemicals in preference to the toxic alternatives.

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my point of view Baseline monitoring is increasingly being used because unconventional shale and tight oil reservoirs are often source beds of hydrocarbons for overlying conventional reservoirs. In addition, old, so-called legacy wells, many drilled at the beginning of the last century, may not have been subjected to as rigorous regulation as those drilled in recent times, so it is important to distinguish the impacts of modern wells. Another issue of concern to communities is the substantial volumes of freshwater used as the injection fluid for hydraulic fracturing. During the hydraulic fracturing phase, a shale gas well requires an average of 1.14ML and this can be as high as 2.65ML. While these volumes are relatively small compared to other industrial water uses, impact in local areas where water resources are constrained can be high.

Meeting the Challenge of Expanded Production In summary, the principal impacts from shale gas and oil production are from phases of the production cycle unrelated to the specific hydraulic fracturing process. These are the same kinds of impacts long noted and long regulated in conventional oil and gas development and production. In the US, state and federal government agencies are gearing up to meet the challenge of much expanded unconventional gas and oil production. The hope is that regulations are appropriate and diligently enforced so that the environment can be protected and the nation can enjoy the economic and security benefits of greater domestic production of energy.

However, at the end of production, studies of water depletion from coalbed methane extraction in Wyoming have shown that within a decade or less the recovery is back to about 65 per cent to 80 per cent and we see no long-term impact on the draw-down levels at the watershed area level. The current emphasis on work and directions is on recycling, which not only conserves freshwater, but allows produced flowback waters and some fracturing chemicals to be reused and wastewater disposal impacts to be moderated. Operators are also increasingly using brackish and saline waters and experimenting with alternatives such as liquid carbon dioxide, propane gel, or adding nitrogen gas to substantially reduce the amount of freshwater needed, but without contamination potential.

A well drilling rig works in the eastern plains of Colorado.




International The Gates Foundation has announced the winners of the ‘Reinvent the Toilet Challenge’ – or Toilet 2.0 – a design competition to come up with a toilet that can capture and process human waste without piped water, sewer or electrical connections at an affordable price. The top prize was taken out by the California Institute of Technology.

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has released Water for Business, a guide specifically designed for businesses to help them identify the tools and initiatives most suitable for their business needs and environmental sustainability. Visit for more.

National According to research published in Scientific Reports, a decline in April–May rainfall over south-east Australia is associated with a southward expansion of the subtropical dry-zone. CSIRO scientists Wenju Cai, Tim Cowan and Marcus Thatcher explored why autumn rainfall has been in decline across south-eastern Australia since the 1970s, a period that included the devastating Millennium drought.

The National Centre of Excellence in Desalination Australia has welcomed new research showing most Australians accept desalination as a valuable part of the mix augmenting traditional public water supply for water security. Researchers from Deakin, Victoria and Murdoch universities have released a report Public Perceptions of, and Responses to, Desalination in Australia. 

While extreme weather events will inevitably impact water quality, the biggest risk to public health is their increasingly close proximity to one another, UNSW researchers warn. Environmental engineers at UNSW conducted a review of extreme weather events in Australia over the past 14 years to assess their impact on raw and treated water, and various supply infrastructures. In some of these cases, they observed “rapid and unprecedented changes to raw water quality” and major obstacles to the provision of clean drinking water due to infrastructure damage and loss of electricity supply to treatment facilities.

The Government has reached a major agreement with industry that will help 3,000 engineering trades apprentices get qualified sooner. Minister for Skills, Senator Chris Evans, has announced Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) would receive $5.3 million, in addition to the $3.7 million being contributed by Ai Group, to develop and implement a new competency-based progression and completion system for engineering trades.

Dr Rob Vertessy has been appointed director of Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology. Dr Vertessy, who was appointed Deputy Director of the Bureau (Climate and Water) in 2007, has been Acting Director since last December. After a career spanning

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more than 20 years as a senior water scientist and leading researcher, Dr Vertessy joined the Bureau in 2007 and led the expansion of the Bureau’s role in providing the hydrological information central to the delivery of national water reform. 

Senator Don Farrell has launched a new online Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems Atlas. Funded by the National Water Commission and hosted by the Bureau of Meteorology, it presents the first comprehensive picture of Australia’s groundwater-dependent ecosystems. 

Cotton and rice are now the biggest water users in the river system, with both crops consuming more than half of the Basin water used for irrigation. The Australian Conservation Foundation has released new mapping of the Basin showing that nearly half of the key environmental outcomes the MDBA’s plan is meant to address will not be met under the current proposal to return 2750 billion litres of water each year. 

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s power to adjust sustainable diversion limits, without recourse to Federal Parliament, would be confirmed under Water Act amendments put forward by the government. The amendments outline the adjustment mechanism for how much water should go to the environment, which the states and irrigators want included in the Basin Plan.

A new Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) will work with more than 70 research, industry and government partners to find new and better ways to use and reuse Australia’s scarce water resources. The CRC for Water Sensitive Cities collaboration will look to revolutionise urban water management in Australia and overseas. 

Minister for Water, Tony Burke, has introduced a bill to assist in delivering economic, social and environmental outcomes for the Murray-Darling Basin. The Water Amendment (Long-term Average Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment) Bill 2012 will formalise the framework in the Water Act for a mechanism to further the Government’s commitment to a triple bottom line outcome.

A new water information standard has been announced by the international standards body Open Geospatial Consortium, WaterML2. CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology led the development of the new international water information exchange standard, which has already been adopted by a number of organisations, including the United States Geological Survey, KISTERS, Deltares, San Diego Supercomputer Center (University of California) and GeoConnections – Natural Resources Canada.

A round-table forum was held in Canberra in September to discuss future urban water research and development needs. Hosted by the National Water Commission and other members of the Australian Water Research and Development Coalition, the National Urban Water R&D Needs and Capability Forum was attended by over 30 invited participants, including AWA.

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New South Wales NSW Office of Water is accepting applications for a Basin Pipe Grant through an expression of interest process. The project will replace wasteful replenishment systems, open drains, channels and dams with pipeline schemes to provide farmers with more secure, better quality supplies of stock and domestic water. The 38GL of water efficiency gains will deliver additional water to the aquatic environment in the inland rivers of NSW.

Sydney Water has invested $2.5 million in ensuring Sydney south-eastern areas have a safe and reliable wastewater service, with the completion of repairs to seven maintenance holes on two large wastewater pipes. Sydney Water worked with contractor Water Infrastructure Group to complete the repairs on the pipes, which date back to the 1890s.

Bega Valley Shire residents will benefit from an improved water supply following the completion of the 20km Bega to Yellow Pinch Dam pipeline and pump station. Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water Senator Don Farrell said the Government had provided $10 million in funding towards the $24 million pipeline project, which began construction in 2010.

The NSW Government has approved a $100 million project to provide vital water infrastructure to enable the development of 13,000 new homes Sydney’s north-west. The 14km of pipelines, two reservoirs, two pumping stations and 10km of pipelines will service residential and land release areas in Box Hill and Schofields. The project was approved by the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure after a comprehensive assessment and public consultation process.

Sydney Water was part of a project team that won a 2012 NSW Government Green Globe Award for exploring the viability of capturing and reusing urine from urban toilets as an agricultural fertiliser. The Sustainable Sanitation Project was led by University of Technology, Sydney’s Institute for Sustainable Futures, and was the first trial of a urine diversion (UD) system in an Australian institutional setting.

Keith Davies, formerly chief executive of Tarong Energy and Co-ordinator General of Queensland, has been appointed CEO of Sydney Desalination Plant Pty Ltd (SDP). SDP is jointly owned by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board and two funds managed by Hastings Funds Management Limited: Utilities Trust of Australia and The Infrastructure Fund.

Ross Young has been appointed as the Chief Executive of the Sydney Catchment Authority. Mr Young brings 22 years of experience in the industry, including positions with Melbourne Water, Water Services Association of Australia and Water Australia with GHD. He replaces Sarah Dinning who has been acting Chief Executive since the start of the year.

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The NSW Government has released a Strategic Regional Land Use Policy, which includes 27 new measures designed to balance competing land uses. The Policy includes new codes of practice for the coal seam gas (CSG) industry, covering well drilling standards and hydraulic fracturing.

A state-wide ban on hydraulic fracturing in NSW has been lifted under the state government’s new Strategic Regional Land Use Policy. In its Strategic Regional Land Use Policy, the O’Farrell government has replaced a five-year moratorium on fracking with an industry Code of Practice, well drilling standards and exploration activity.

The NSW Public Health Act 2010 and Public Heath Regulation 2012 require drinking water suppliers to develop and adhere to a ‘quality assurance program’ or drinking water management system (DWMS) from 1 September 2014. Water utilities should start planning their DWMS development to ensure the process is completed on time.

Australian Capital Territory ACT residents are being invited to comment on how much extra they will pay for water from 2013. The commission has released a public discussion paper with pricing options, and is seeking community feedback.

A $60 million action plan to save Lake Burley Griffin has been handed to the ACT Government. A taskforce, made up of ACT Government agencies, including ACTEW Corporation, the Commonwealth and surrounding NSW councils, is working since on a solution to save the lake. Aquatic plants will be reintroduced and Greening Australia has begun planting aquatic macrophytes at Yarralumla Bay and Grevillea Park.

Victoria Victorian Water Minister Peter Walsh has announced the appointment of 55 directors, including AWA President Lucia Cade, to Victoria’s 19 water corporation boards. Mr Walsh said water boards were driven to build strong partnerships with their communities and customers, to deliver high quality and sustainable water services to their regions. 

The Thomson Reservoir is more than 70 per cent full for the first time in 15 years. The highest winter inflow for more than two decades had seen the reservoir make a remarkable recovery from a drought low of just 16 per cent in 2009. The reservoir, which accounts for almost two-thirds of Melbourne’s total storage capacity, banked 135GL of water this winter. It has now added more than 579GL on the back of two wet years.

Westernport Water will be the first water corporation in Bass Coast and South Gippsland to produce and supply Class A recycled water to their community, benefiting residents,

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NOVEMBER 2012 11

crosscurrent commercial operators and the environment, and at the same time conserving precious drinking water supplies. Phillip Island has a relatively small permanent population of close to 10,000 residents, yet can experience over 3.5 million visitors annually, generating a significant demand. Future demand for water supply in the region is forecast to grow 58 per cent within 20 years, and 166% by 2055.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released a report that presents results from the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2011 State Supplementary Survey – Household Water and Energy Use – conducted during October 2011 across Victoria. The survey collected information on household energy sources and use, insulation, water sources and use, as well as public transport use, all of which have implications for resource consumption.

Goulburn-Murray Water has announced that it will wind up Watermove, a subsidiary operated as an independent broker of water entitlements, as part of its strategic review and commitment to focus on its core business. In a statement, the company explained: ‘Watermove had effectively served its purpose. It was created at a time when there weren’t other providers in the marketplace and the Victorian Water Register didn’t exist. Now there are multiple providers in the marketplace and the Water Register provides substantial information about the water market.’

The $6.1 billion desalination plant at Wonthaggi has begun largescale production of drinking water. The director of the controversial plant has assured Melbourne residents that its drinking water tastes “fantastic”. Head of operations for Thiess Degrémont Services – the company behind the design and construction of the project – said the water quality had been approved and water had started flowing in the 84km pipeline to the Cardinia Reservoir. The plant, which is now operating at a third of its expected final capacity, will ensure Melbourne’s residential and industrial water future. Builder Leighton said the plant would be finished later this year.

Itron will provide its advanced metering solution to Melbourne and regional water companies in Victoria. The solution will help City West Water, South East Water, Yarra Valley Water and Barwon Water manage supply, optimise usage and conserve water resources. This follows a three-year contract Itron completed with the utilities to deliver water meters and the associated AMR system.

Victorian Environment Minister Ryan Smith has released a new plan to co-ordinate $1 billion worth of works over the next five years across the state’s waterways to improve the health of the Yarra River and Port Phillip Bay. Mr Smith announced the co-ordination plan will help drive investment and focus efforts to improve Victoria’s iconic waterways. He released a ‘Cleaner Yarra River and Port Phillip Bay Plan of Action’ while opening the 15th International River Symposium in Melbourne.

Following its recent strategic direction review and audit of municipal solid waste management, Sustainability Victoria has released its Strategic Plan 2012–2015. Sustainability Victoria is committed to finding solutions across Victoria that are both practical and tangible and minimise impact on the environment. 

12 NOVEMBER 2012 water

Tasmania Two new directors have been appointed to the board of Hydro Tasmania. Tessa Jakszewicz and Grant Every-Burns have been appointed as directors for three years, replacing Chloe Munro and Sally Farrier who retired from the board earlier this year.

South Australia Work is underway to determine the demand and availability of water in the Alinytjara Wilurara Natural Resources Management region to ensure sustainable water supplies into the future. A regional demand and supply statement is being developed by the South Australian Government, which will take stock of all water resources for drinking and non-drinking purposes, the current and projected future demands on these resources, and the likely timing of any possible future demand-supply imbalance out to 2050.

The SA Government is working to secure sustainable water supplies in the South Australian Arid Lands Natural Resources Management region, until 2050. The SA Arid Lands Demand and Supply Statement is being developed, which projects a 40-year overview of future water supply and demand across the region. It will consider all water resources for drinking and non-drinking purposes, the current and projected future demands, and the likely timing of any possible demand-supply imbalance.

A draft regulation will provide existing water users who qualified for a share of the resources across the Eastern and Western Mount Lofty Ranges Prescribed Water Resources Area a second chance to apply for a water licence. At the end of 2005, all existing water users who could demonstrate water use, or a future commitment to use water, during the relevant establishment periods were given six months to apply. This included owners of dams greater than five megalitres used for stock and domestic purposes in the Western Mount Lofty Ranges region.

SA Water has outlined an efficient and responsible approach to meeting the needs of its customers in its first Regulatory Business Proposal (RBP) submitted to the Essential Services Commission of SA (ESCOSA). The RBP
outlines proposed projects to ensure reliable water and wastewater services for
customers, provides ESCOSA with information to assist it in determining the revenue required
for SA Water to deliver its services,
and summarises how SA Water will provide effective and cost-efficient services, including
planned future operations of the Adelaide Desalination Plant. The organisation plans to place the $1.9 billion desalination plant in ‘standby mode’ and use its lower-cost water sources first to keep costs down. Chief Executive John Ringham said, “Improved inflows into the River Murray and Mount Lofty catchments have put us in a position where we can utilise these sources first, and we are anticipating the desalination plant may not need to be operated in the upcoming regulatory period after the completion of its 24‑month warranty. This will be subject to ongoing reviews and is a decision we will make only if natural inflows into the River Murray and our catchments are at levels that can support demand.” 

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Western Australia The Water Corporation’s $7.5 million upgrade to the Harding Dam Water Treatment Plant has moved another step closer to completion with works about to start on the final stage. Water Corporation Regional Manager Peter McAllister said the upgrade would increase the plant’s treatment capacity by 17 per cent to 50 million litres of water per day.

A discussion paper released by the WA Department of Water is a step towards a new code of conduct that establishes the rights of customers when dealing with water service providers. The new Water Services Bill passed by Parliament in August has enabled the development of the state’s first customer code of conduct for providers of water services including supply of drinking and non-drinking water, sewerage, irrigation and drainage.

Water Corporation’s 10-year plan builds on the Water Forever Strategy, released in October 2009 and the Water Forever – Whatever the Weather plan released in 2011, which focused on the metropolitan area. It details how the state will invest over $9.5 billion in infrastructure to ensure a high level of service and supply security for our customers.

A status report for the Lower Gascoyne River aquifers has been completed by the WA Department of Water and made available to local irrigators. Midwest Gascoyne Regional Manager Adam Maskew said the aquifer status report provided an up-to-date picture of how the region’s groundwater sources are tracking.

Water Corporation would like to hear from businesses in Hedland interested in using recycled water for their operational processes. As part of the South Hedland Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrade, Water Corporation will construct a new purposebuilt water recycling facility. Regional Business Manager Peter McAllister said the facility would provide ‘fit-for-purpose’ water for businesses that do not need to use high-quality scheme water. 

A status report for the Lower Gascoyne River aquifers has been completed by the Department of Water and made available to local irrigators. Midwest Gascoyne Regional Manager Adam Maskew said the aquifer status report provided an up-to-date picture of how the region’s groundwater sources are tracking. “The report shows that town water supplies for Carnarvon are secure and that irrigation scheme supply for the Gascoyne Water Cooperative is tracking normally,” Mr Maskew said.

Recycled sewage could provide Perth with up to 35 billion litres of drinking water a year within a decade and account for 20 per cent of the city’s supplies by 2060, the Water Corporation has revealed. The State-owned utility’s annual report has given the clearest indication yet of the extent to which authorities hope water recycling will solve Perth’s water problems as the climate dries.

Western Australia’s Economic Regulation Authority (ERA) has released its final draft report on costing and appropriate charges for the services of the Water Corporation, Aqwest and the Busselton Water Board. The ERA has ruled against Water Corporation’s submission, which would have equated to a revenue requirement of $7.98 billion for the period 2013 to 2016. The ERA instead ruled that $5.82 billion would be required for the period, 27 per cent lower than what the Water Corporation had proposed. 

The Water Corporation says Perth’s dam levels are still only one-third full ahead of another expected dry summer. The city’s dams have received 21 billion litres of rainfall inflow this year, well short of the 100 billion litre average of the past 10 years.

After five years of planning, water is now flowing through the first of what will be 17 irrigation centre pivots at Rio Tinto’s Hamersley Agricultural Project, situated 45 kilometres northeast of Tom Price in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The Hamersley Agricultural Project (HAP) is one of several uses of surplus water from below water table mining at Rio Tinto’s Marandoo mine. Other options include operational supply, supply to Tom Price township, reinjection to the Southern Fortescue Borefield, or discharge back to the environment.

Queensland Mackay Regional Council has endorsed a $2 million project to roll out automatic meter reading across the region. The meter reading technology, developed in partnership with Taggle Systems, is set to be rolled out over the next three years to most properties in the Mackay region. Water and sewerage portfolio councillor Frank Gilbert said that Water Services is the first large water authority in Australia to undertake a full roll-out of automatic meter reading without any subsidy funding.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, Senator Farrell, and Member for Griffith, Kevin Rudd, announced the Australian Government is contributing $5.39 million towards the Brisbane City’s Stormwater Harvesting and Reuse Project. “This project enables Brisbane City Council to use treated stormwater for a range of uses such as sport and recreational park facilities,” Senator Farrell said.

Member News South East Water, Yarra Valley Water, City West Water, Barwon Water and Western Water have selected Elster as one of its suppliers to deliver up to 300,000 volumetric water meters over the next three years. The meters will help the regional water companies to manage their water resources more efficiently.

TaKaDu, a global leader in Water Network Monitoring services, has announced it is expanding its activities in Australia and New Zealand, with the opening of its first regional office. TaKaDu has also announced the appointment of Paul Banfield to the role of Sales Director, Australia and New Zealand. 


NOVEMBER 2012 15

crosscurrent It is with great regret that AWA informs members of the passing of Emeritus Professor Nancy Millis. Nancy was a great supporter of AWA, having attended many Ozwater Conferences, and presented papers at numerous conferences and specialty events. Nancy also recently became patron of AWA’s Research and Development Award, which will be presented for the first time at Ozwater’13. Our thoughts are with Nancy’s family and friends.

Michael Batchelor has been named AECOM’s ANZ Chief Executive and Chris Tatam as Chief Operating Officer. New chief operating officer Chris Tatam has moved into the position vacated by Mr Batchelor following the past three years as Managing Director – Transportation ANZ.

Four Australian companies have been named in The Artemis Project’s Top 50 Water Tech Start-Ups Competition. The goal of the competition is to identify the most promising advanced water technology companies worldwide and to support their entry into the full scale of their markets. The Australian companies include AWA members BioGill, Baleen Filters and Clean Teq.

The Water Recycling (WR) Specialist Network recently carried out a survey to find out what members expect from the network. The results have been very informative, and show that the WR Network is made of diverse and committed members. The main priorities identified are greater engagement with community and to do more work to increase the status and understanding of recycled water at both government and domestic levels.

KSB Australia is expanding its operations in the NT. The NT office has moved premises and is pleased to announce that the branch now has a dedicated Service Manager. Glen Funnell has recently commenced in this role and if you have any questions in relation to services that KSB Australia can provide within the territory, please contact him directly on 0457 766 326 or email

URS has announced the appointment of Jean Meaklim as National Practice Leader, Human Health Risk. Jean was previously employed at the Victorian Environment Protection Authority, the Victorian Department of Health and Monash University. She was the Victorian Jurisdictional Representative for the 2012 National Environment Protection Measure (NEPM) Assessment of Site Contamination.

Gentrack’s Brisbane office is now open for business. The event doubled as a celebration of Gentrack’s recent project success at both Unitywater and Brisbane International Airport. Queensland Regional Business Manager Jenny Wild is excited about the future of Gentrack in the region. “There is plenty of opportunity for Gentrack to grow in the region and we can’t wait to get stuck in and make sure Gentrack is the specialist billing and CRM solution of choice for utilities across Queensland.”

16 NOVEMBER 2012 water

Barry Cash has resigned as CEO of Ben Lomond. It is unlikely Mr Cash will be replaced on a full-time basis as the three water corporations look to merge next year, says the organisation. Acting CEO duties will be performed by Andrew Beswick who is general manager of Onstream, provider of billing services to all three corporations.

Five senior appointments have been made at Aurecon across Australia. With these appointments, Aurecon has strengthened capability in the areas of water treatment as well as sludge stabilisation and management and now has strong process leads in all of Australia’s eastern states as well as South Australia.

AQUAPHEMERA For too long, many have argued that it was too hard to put an accurate figure on the financial benefits of protecting or improving aquatic environmental systems. To assist, the National Water Commission has released the Waterlines Report No 87 entitled ‘Recognising the broader benefits of aquatic systems in water planning’ ( publications/waterlines/87). It aims to assist in systematically identifying public and ecosystem services benefits in a comprehensive and transparent way. Some of the benefits identified include flood mitigation, improved drainage, better water quality and lower treatment costs, as well as recreational amenity and cultural values. The benefits table generated is said to be able to demonstrate how changes in water allocations impact on benefits and beneficiaries, as well as the capacity of a system to provide services. The report also frames performance indicators and monitoring programs. It attempts to do so in a logical, hierarchical manner, meaningful to beneficiaries, providing integrated environmental, social and economic planning considerations with causal linkages and interdependencies. Examples include the CSIRO analysis of the benefits of the proposed Murray-Darling Basin Plan of $3 to $8 billion. While obviously the figures are always going to be hotly debated, it is only through continual use that improvements to the estimates and methodology can occur and, hence, better decisions made. It is imperative that an economic benefit cost is attributed to these activities so they can fairly be compared with other more traditional activities and scarce resources allocated appropriately. It is also essential that monitoring and reporting against the benefits claimed is conducted publicly, quickly and often, so that overzealous expectations are not repeated. Finally, using this methodology will assist regulators, especially environmental and pricing regulators in understanding the consequences of their decisions. This report is an excellent contribution to assist in improving water planning in Australia and hopefully will be adopted nationally. – Ross Knee

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NOVEMBER 2012 17

industry news Fresh Commitment to School Science Education The Australian Academy of Science applauds the Government’s commitment to improving school science and maths education, in Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s response to the Gonski review. “We welcome the Government’s recognition that improving the quality of science and maths education is critical for the future of Australia,” said Professor Jenny Graves, the Academy’s Secretary for Education and Public Awareness. “The Academy has long been concerned about the decline in Australia’s international performance in science education, and believes it can be reversed with the right programs. “Even more importantly, it is essential to increase interest and understanding of science by producing a new generation of informed and innovative citizens and inspired science teachers.” For these reasons, the Academy, in partnership with the Australian Government, has developed award-winning primary and secondary school science education programs, Primary Connections and Science by Doing. “We want to work with governments to nationally roll out programs that have the potential to turn around science education in this country. We are keen to support schools and teachers to improve science teaching, and student learning and enjoyment of science,” Professor Graves said.

Treatment Plants Seek First Infrastructure Sustainability (IS) Rating Building on its involvement in piloting the Australian Green Infrastructure Council’s (AGIC’s) Infrastructure Sustainability rating (IS) scheme, Tenix is now seeking to embed the sustainable principles and practices measured by the scheme into the design and delivery of its projects, starting with two sewage treatment plants in Northern Queensland. The treatment plants, at Proserpine and Cannonvale, are owned by the Whitsunday Regional Council. Both are more than 30 years old, overloaded and struggling to meet the needs of the growing community. The two new plants will be built on the sites of the existing plants and have been designed to meet stringent effluent discharge requirements to protect the Great Barrier Reef. They will also provide benefits to the local community by reducing sewage overflows and improving noise and odour impacts. The plants will feature state-of-the-art technology including enhanced membrane technology, chemical nutrient removal, mechanical sludge dewatering and biological nutrient removal, with the Cannonvale plant removing four times more nitrogen and 10 times more phosphorus than the previous plants. They will also be able to be operated remotely and have emergency standby power generation to allow operations to continue during power outages. Tenix will operate and maintain the existing plants during construction and both the new plants for five years after commissioning.

18 NOVEMBER 2012 water

Tenix assisted in the development of the IS scheme through its involvement in the Logan Water Alliance and as lead private sector partner in the Alliance, Tenix championed the piloting of the scheme in one of the Alliance’s projects. AGIC is a not-for-profit industry association committed to the delivery of sustainable outcomes from the design, construction and operation of Australia’s infrastructure. It was formed in 2008 by industry professionals from engineering, environmental, planning, legal, and financial and construction backgrounds working in both private and public organisations related to infrastructure. The Infrastructure Sustainability (IS) rating scheme is developed and administered by AGIC and was launched in February 2012. The scheme seeks to: • Provide a common national language for sustainability in infrastructure; • Provide a vehicle for consistent application and evaluation of sustainability in tendering processes; • Help in scoping whole-of-life sustainability risks for projects and assets, enabling smarter solutions that reduce risks and costs; • Foster resource efficiency and waste reduction, reducing costs; • Foster innovation and continuous improvement in the sustainability outcomes from infrastructure; and • Build an organisation’s credentials and reputation in its approach to sustainability in infrastructure; Some of the sustainable measures being used in constructing the plants include: • Maintaining a cut:fill balance in the earthworks design to minimise the import or export of material from each site; • Favouring local suppliers where possible. Over 70% of materials and labour for the project are being sourced from the local region; • Using ‘green concrete’ in which 30% of the cement is substituted by fly ash – an industrial waste product. Apart from the environmental benefits, using fly ash can improve concrete performance, making it stronger, more durable, and more resistant to chemical attack; • Moving to more fuel-efficient vehicles to reduce consumption and improve efficiency; • Selection of energy efficient materials and fittings. Tenix is also working with suppliers to find opportunities to build sustainably into the supply chain. As part of the registration process, Tenix, AGIC and Whitsunday Regional Council recently held an on-site workshop to formally commence the Infrastructure Sustainability rating process for the project.

Climate Commission Releases Queensland Climate Impacts Report 2007 Australian of the Year Professor Tim Flannery has launched the Climate Commission’s latest report, The Critical Decade: Queensland climate impacts and opportunities. “The report brings together the latest research to paint a clear picture of a changing climate for Queensland. We know that failing to respond to climate change will have severe costs to our economy, our health and the natural environment,”

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industry news Chief Commissioner Professor Flannery said. “This is the next chapter of the climate story, finding ways to act against climate change and seizing the opportunities that it can bring. People across the country are quietly rising to the challenge of climate change and it’s great that we’ve been able to showcase some of Queensland’s achievers, as we present our climate impacts and opportunities report for Queensland,” he said. The report shows that Queensland is vulnerable to a changing climate in the following ways: • Queensland has been getting hotter over the past 50 years; • Rainfall patterns in Queensland are changing; • Livestock and crop production are at risk from rising temperatures, changes in rainfall and extreme weather events; • Coastal flooding and erosion pose risks to buildings and beaches; • The iconic Great Barrier Reef, World Heritage tropical rainforests and many plant and animal species unique to Queensland are threatened by rising temperatures and other changes. The report highlights the real costs of a changing climate for Queenslanders, including threats to Queensland’s $17.7 billion tourism industry. The report also finds that there are solutions that minimise the risks of climate change and provide extra benefits for our health, community, economy and environment, including: • Queensland has abundant renewable energy resources including solar resources that are among the best in the world; • Use of solar energy in Queensland has doubled in less than two years; • Large, medium and small businesses are already saving money and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by becoming more efficient; and • Buildings are being designed to minimise energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

Climate-Change Champion Wins Business of the Year Award A pioneering business that helps households and businesses do their part to combat climate change has won the prestigious City of Sydney Business of the Year Award for 2012. Lord Mayor Clover Moore congratulated the company, Climate Friendly, and said the Business of the Year Award was recognition of the high standard of work as well as the innovation and dedication of staff. “The annual City of Sydney Business Awards recognise the best in local business,” the Lord Mayor said. “Over five years they have grown to become a major event for small and medium-sized businesses in our city. “Climate Friendly has become a market leader in their sector by engaging the community and helping a wide range of homes and business do something about climate change. Despite challenging economic times, this business has managed solid growth. The Business Awards judging panel praised Climate Friendly, based in Woolloomooloo, for making it easy for people from all walks of life to act on climate change by using simple online calculators and offering tips to become more energy efficient in everyday life. The City’s 2012 Business Awards are the biggest yet, with a record 883 businesses nominated and 60,000 Sydneysiders casting a vote. This year, for the first time, winners receive a cash prize from the City of Sydney, with $5,000 going to the overall Business of the Year and $4,000 to the Small Business of the Year. Winners were judged by an independent panel of experts from Government, academic institutes and the business community. This year’s panel included Greg Hayes of Hayes Knight, Starfish Consulting’s Kate Groom, and Paul Wallbank from Netsmarts. For more information go to

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NOVEMBER 2012 21

industry news Jeff Foley Named Adjunct Professor at UWA

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Dr Jeff Foley, GHD’s Manager for Integrated Water Systems in Western Australia has been named Adjunct Professor by The University of Western Australia (UWA) within the School of Environmental Systems Engineering for the next three years. UWA awarded Dr Foley this title as formal recognition of his significant contribution to the work and activities of the University. Jeff holds more than 11 years’ experience in the areas of wastewater treatment and recycling, odour control, life cycle assessment and greenhouse gas emissions. His involvement in projects has ranged from concept design and process modelling, through to detailed design, construction, commissioning and process optimisation. For the past five years, Jeff has acted as the principal technical advisor to the Water Services Association of Australia, in their negotiations with the Department of Climate Change on industry concerns regarding measurement and liability issues under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme and the associated Clean Energy Futures legislation. Speaking of the honour, Jeff comments, “This recognition allows me to be involved with selected UWA research projects, particularly through the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities. In addition, I’ll be able to occasionally deliver guest lectures – particularly in subjects on wastewater treatment, life cycle assessment and greenhouse gas emissions. “Furthermore, I see it as an opportunity to strengthen the ties between UWA, GHD and students.”

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Food and Water Security Tightly Linked At World Water Week in Stockholm, The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) explored solutions to water scarcity. Water scarcity affects one in three people on every continent of the globe and the situation is getting worse as needs for water rise along with population growth, urbanisation and increases in household and industrial uses. IFAD joined experts from the scientific, business, policy and civic communities in Stockholm from 26–31 August to address how to reverse this impinging problem while ensuring the world’s food security. The theme comes at a time when global food security is unstable. Fluctuating energy prices, poor harvests and rising demand from a growing population have all increased food prices. In the past few months, severe droughts have been reported, from the United States to the Sahel region in Africa. These further exacerbate the problem as they reduce global food supply due to reductions in irrigated agricultural production, which represents 40 per cent of the world’s food demand. Nowhere is the link between food and water security more evident than in the Near East and North Africa region, which is home to five per cent of the world’s population, but only one per cent of the global available freshwater resources, which restricts the potential for domestic food production in the region.

22 NOVEMBER 2012 water

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NOVEMBER 2012 23

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Unlocking the Challenges of Coal Seam Gas Produced Water

A Jordanian farmer holding irrigation hoses in his field. “Along with other stressors including demographic and land use changes, climate change will exacerbate the already precarious high water deficit in the Arab region, and negatively impact its rainfed agricultural productivity,” said Khalida Bouzar, Director of the Near East, North Africa and Europe Division at IFAD. “Water scarcity will become the main constraint to socio-economic development in the region, which is why it is crucial to work on integrated adaptation strategies that incorporate water issues in all sectors including agriculture, industry, urban development, trade and tourism. Strategies should also contribute to reducing exposure to market volatility through investments in critical infrastructure such as grain storages and water harvesting.” As the region’s population is estimated to double over the next 40 years, per capita water availability is expected to fall by more than 50 per cent. In order to meet future water demands, IFAD is exploring non-conventional water resources such as wastewater reuse, recycling of agricultural drainage water and desalination.

Celebrating 50 years of Service to Australian Industry

Effective environmental management systems (EMS) and robust planning are critical to unlocking the challenges of produced water management from coal seam gas (CSG) operations – that was the message delivered by CSG services company Wood Group Wagners (WGW) at Australia’s inaugural APPEA CSG Conference & Exhibition in Brisbane in October. Wood Group Wagners delivered a presentation to share the many success stories and lessons learned from more than a decade of delivering operations and water management services to CSG operators in the prolific Powder River Basin of Wyoming, US – a landscape that is rich in wildlife and ranching tradition. The presentation, titled ‘A Billion Barrels Later – Meeting The Challenge of CSG Produced Water Management’, was delivered by Steve Szmyd, Health Safety and Environment Manager for WGW parent company, Wood Group PSN in the United States. He said: “The true value of an EMS is that it enables organisations to put written environmental policy into action. The environment in the Powder River Basin is not too dissimilar to that of the CSG landscapes in Australia. Both are rural and semi-arid, with similar farming infrastructure and weather-related challenges which impact land accessibility – whether it is the wet season in Queensland or deep winter in Wyoming. The regulatory frameworks for environmental management and planning are also quite similar.

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Corporate - AWA - July 2012

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industry news “Although various water management options are available – such as irrigation and livestock watering – the ultimate decision should not be based exclusively on economics. Operators should consider a multitude of options and keep as many of these open as possible – particularly in Australia, where the volume of water produced is very difficult to predict. Flexibility in design of CSG infrastructure will enable operators to adapt quickly to different challenges and contexts. He concluded: “Planning the entire life cycle of a CSG project from permitting to reclamation is key. Engage and build strong and open relationships with all stakeholders. Involve soil scientists, environmental scientists, agronomists, biologists, hydrogeologists – keep data available and credible. Perform selfassessments so that audits become an exercise of verification. Most importantly, be honest and do the right thing.”

$1 Million in Funding Released For Water Projects The Smart Water Fund will make available $1 million in funding to support innovative urban water projects. The release of the funding will be the Smart Water Fund’s 10th round, with applications opening in mid-October. Smart Water Fund CEO Christine Cussen said, “The announcement of the next round of funding provides an excellent opportunity for Smart Water Fund to continue to invest in leading edge research and innovation on behalf of Victoria’s water utilities.” This round of Funding will be open to commercial businesses, research institutions and consulting firms for projects which are able to demonstrate benefits and value to the Smart Water Fund Joint Venture partners. More specifically, the Fund will seek applications in the areas of: • Resource Recovery (e.g. energy or mineral recovery and opportunities in carbon sequestration as a result of carbon pricing introductions); • Innovation in Asset Planning, Construction, Maintenance and Renewal with the potential to enhance industry productivity or reduce costs. “It has been some time since the Smart Water Fund has gone to the external market to source best practice innovation outside the utility sector and we remain confident that these new investments will

26 NOVEMBER 2012 water

add significant value to Victoria’s urban water utilities and their customers,” said Christine. Since starting in 2002 the Smart Water Fund has invested in over 195 projects that have received total funding of approximately $30 million. Further information including funding guidelines and applications is available on the Smart Water Fund website at

MWH Makes Key Appointment Global engineering and consulting firm MWH Global has appointed Sean O’Meara to its Queenslandbased position of business development leader for transportation. Mr O’Meara will focus on identifying how MWH can assist public and private sector clients to successfully achieve their objectives of delivering sustainable and value for money infrastructure solutions. Mr O’Meara joins MWH from his most recent role with BHP – Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) where he was involved in the analysis and evaluation of the performance of their major mining operations in Queensland. With over 12 years’ experience in the private and public sector, Mr O’Meara brings an extensive range of existing relationships to the business, as well as a strong technical understanding in infrastructure project evaluation and delivery.

NanoH2O Selected As A Top 50 Water Company NanoH2O Inc, manufacturer of reverse osmosis (RO) membranes for seawater desalination, has been chosen for the 2012 Artemis Top 50 Water Tech Listing™. This is the fourth consecutive year that the company has been named by the Artemis Project, which promotes solutions to address global water challenges. This year’s list was compiled by a jury that included experts from corporations such as Intel, Archer Daniels Midland, IBM, Ecolab and Syngenta as well as McKinsey, CH2M HILL, Carollo Engineers and Singapore’s Public Utilities Board.

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industry news “We are honored to be listed once again with other water sector innovators,” said Jeff Green, CEO of NanoH2O, Inc. “Addressing water scarcity through reverse osmosis desalination has long been challenged by high energy costs. Our breakthrough nanocomposite membrane technology has gained rapid acceptance within the desalination industry because of its potential to decrease SWRO system energy consumption. Since their launch into the marketplace in April 2011, our membranes have been installed in over 50 installations across 33 countries. We are grateful to be recognised by the Artemis Project in their efforts to highlight innovations in water purification technology.”

National Award for Southern Water Expert A Tasmanian water industry expert has been recognised on the national stage by being awarded the 2012 Thermo Fisher Scientific Kwatye Prize by the Water Industry Operators Association (WIOA). The prestigious national industry prize was awarded to Southern Water’s Regional Water & Wastewater Manager, Mark McConnon, at the 2012 WIOA National Conference. Mr McConnon was awarded the prize for his work on improved disinfection of water reticulation systems after the occurrence of a water main break. Once finalised, this process will be implemented in Tasmania for the first time, making Southern Water and Tasmania industry leaders within the field.

28 NOVEMBER 2012 water

“I am passionate about improving the knowledge in our industry and ensuring that we do everything within our power to ensure that we continue to provide safe drinking water to our customers,” Mr McConnon said. “To be announced the winner of the Kwatye Prize in front of over 500 water industry professionals was overwhelming and completely unexpected, as this project started off as a work-related interest that has escalated into national recognition.” The $6000 award funding for the project, courtesy of Thermo Fisher Scientific, will enable Mr McConnon to further research current disinfection practices used by other water corporations, both nationally and internationally. WIOA Chief Operations Officer Craig Mathisen said Mr McConnon was a worthy winner and his project would continue on the success achieved by past winners of the award. The research findings will be presented to the water industry at a joint WIOA and Thermo Fisher Scientific event in 2013.

Drinking Water from Wonthaggi Now Flowing To Cardinia Drinking water from the Victorian Desalination Plant is now flowing into the 84km underground pipeline and into Cardinia Reservoir. “This is a significant milestone for the project and confirms that the plant is now producing high quality water at the first third of its production capacity,” said Chris Herbert, CEO, AquaSure. “The amount of water produced will increase as commissioning continues and as full production capacity is achieved in coming months,” he said.

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industry news Drinking water must meet the high quality specifications of the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines and contract requirements when it leaves the plant. Capable of carrying up to 150 billion litres of water annually, the underground pipeline will connect regional communities to drinking water from Cardinia Reservoir or the desalination plant via delivery points along the pipeline, as and when required. The desalination pipeline is two-way so areas in South Gippsland and Western Port can also access the Melbourne supply system water from Cardinia Reservoir if and when required. The plant is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Smartphones May Help Predict Weather Researchers at RMIT University will investigate using the GPS signals that navigators and smartphones receive to determine how much water is in the atmosphere, leading to more accurate climate models and predictions. Dr Suelynn Choy from RMIT’s School of Mathematical and Geospatial Sciences will use the Malcolm Moore scholarship to see if data from Geoscience Australia (GA) and the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) can be combined to give a record of atmospheric water content. If successful, Australian scientists will have access to more than 10 years of GPS-derived water vapour data and current observations from across Australia and Antarctica, filling a void in data used to produce climate models. Water vapour is the most abundant greenhouse gas in the Earth’s atmosphere and is responsible for more warming than any other gas, such as carbon dioxide. The concentration of water vapour is constantly changing, making it difficult to observe and measure. By including water vapour in climate models, scientists will be able to better predict the impacts of future warming on Australia.

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To determine how much water vapour is in the atmosphere, Dr Choy will tap in to an unused part of the GPS signal that is often discarded as “noise”.

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“When the GPS satellite sends out its signal, the time it takes to travel to a receiver on earth depends on the conditions of the atmosphere,” Dr Choy said. “This interference creates ‘noise’ in the signal which needs to be removed to give an accurate position. However, this ‘noise’ tells us a lot about the atmosphere. By knowing the surface temperature and air pressure at the site of the receiver, we can work out how much water vapour is around us.”

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young water professionals

The Challenge Of Managing Our Personal Energy Mike Dixon –AWA YWP National Committee President Ask yourself the last time you heard this conversation: “Hi, how’ve you been?” “Great! Just great, thanks! I feel energetic about my work and have everything in my life under control.” If you’re anything like me you’ve never heard someone say anything remotely like that. So how do we manage our energy to be effective in our careers and life in general? Recently a move from Adelaide to Los Angeles to take up a new role required me to analyse many aspects of my work and how I went about my day-to-day life. Beyond the process of securing the job, the myriad of paperwork and long lists for relocating, I knew I needed to maintain my energy levels and continue to be effective in my career throughout the transition. Changing jobs or starting a new job, even internally, can be an intense, intimidating experience and requires a lot of personal energy. For the purpose of this article I use the word ‘energy’ to describe good motivation, mental stamina and the ability to consistently deliver high-quality work.

We All Have 24 Hours in a Day I’m a fan of the saying that we all have the same 24 hours in every day. During the move overseas it was a real challenge for me to maintain momentum across activities I had outside of work. It’s safe to say I would have burnt out continuing to do everything I had on my plate. It can be easy to spread yourself thin across too many commitments and the risk is losing the quality of your input, which can damage your reputation. I believe quality is critical and if you’re uncertain about what you can deliver it’s time to re-prioritise your commitments. We all source energy from different places and spending time with family, friends and doing physical exercise are positive contributors to a well-rounded and energetic professional. I have also learned to use my networks to maintain energy by sharing project tasks, asking for assistance and feedback early and sharing ideas. It’s impossible to do it all on your own.

Technology – Friend and Foe Technology presents opportunities to manage our time through 24/7 access to our careers and colleagues via smart phones, tablets and laptops. We can be flexible at what times during the day we complete lower priority tasks, although it also presents a challenge in how we unplug or switch off. Looking back at when I finished my first university degree in 2002 and comparing it to today, technology in our world is

30 NOVEMBER 2012 water

extremely different and will only continue to change at a pace so rapid it may feel we can’t keep up. Last year I heard Triple J radio talkback on how technology is detracting from our ability, as humans, to focus on one specific thing at a time. We’re constantly clicking here, reading there, liking that, uploading, sharing and downloading information. I encourage you to read more about this as it’s interesting and can highlight some popular traits developed in the past decade.

A Few Tips and Tricks These are some of the habits I practice to help manage my energy day to day: • Switch off the email notification every time you receive an email; if it’s urgent, face to face or a phone call can get the job done; • Set aside some “no social media” time each night (even better, switch off the internet and television altogether); • For important tasks and sudden deadlines go into a room without distractions (including the internet or colleagues) and focus specifically on that task; • Commit to spending time outdoors with the opportunity to clear your mind of work. Strangely, sometimes this is when my best ideas or solutions have popped to mind! • Constantly prioritise your workload and manage it so you spend time being effective, not just busy. There are plenty of great tools online to track how you spend your time during the day, learn the art of delegating (including upward delegation) and become more productive. It’s surprising how small changes can make a big difference to your quality of life and, as I believe, quality of work. Even if you think you’re doing a good job it’s handy to revisit these tools now and then to refresh. I did exactly that recently when I read a Harvard Business Journal paper titled: ‘Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time’ (2007) by Tony Schwartz and Catherine McCarthy – also my inspiration for this Water Journal article. As you make decisions about the kind of career you want to build, habits may have to change and you will find yourself continually adapting to maintain an energised approach. Lastly, this will be one of my last articles as the YWP President, as I believe the role is best suited to someone based in Australia. However, I look forward to seeing out the next few months as we hand over to a new President at the end of 2012, and to continuing my support of AWA and the Australian water industry.

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awa news Students Set to Solve Water Issues How today’s young scientists are solving tomorrow’s water problems This year’s Stockholm World Water Week focused around water and food security. With one billion people without access to clean water, and a population set to increase to nine billion by 2050, the message for the future was clear. How will the sector ensure that clean water and quality food is provided to another two billion people? As Peter Forssman, Chair of the Stockholm Water Institute (SIWI), said: “We need to be more innovative, creative and intelligent than ever before.” However, do we have the skills to overcome these challenges now and into the future?

The competition is open to young people between the age of 15 and 20 who have conducted water-related projects of environmental, scientific, social or technological importance. The international winner receives a US$5,000 award and a prize sculpture. As a result of the national competitions, thousands of young people around the world become interested in water.

All Nations Affair This year 55 students from 28 countries entered the competition, all eager to take home the prestigious prize. The Stockholm Junior Water Prize, coordinated by the Stockholm International Water Institute, welcomed the winners of national competitions in Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Canada, Chile, China, Cyprus, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Singapore, Slovak Republic, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom, Ukraine, the US and Vietnam.

SJWP Australian entrant I-Ji Jung at the award ceremony. “We didn’t expect it. We are very happy. When we return home we will propose our idea to the Public Utility Board of Singapore (PUB) and hopefully they will implement it.’’ The students investigated how non-ionic surfactants such as soap, detergents and cosmetics could be removed from wastewater. They came up with the solution to the problem when they found out how difficult it was to remove these substances and realised the use of current methods often produced a hazardous sludge, which had to be disposed of. The students used bentonite clay to remove 100 per cent of the non-ionic surfactants that could then be flushed with alcohol and reused. This method means pollutants could be removed and recovered without the generation of waste and was a technique that could be implemented all around the world.

Photo: Cecilia Österberg.

Three students from Singapore took home the prestigious prize for their research on how clay can be used to remove and recover pollutants from wastewater. Upon hearing the result the team said they were excited and surprised.

Photo: Cecilia Österberg.

This is the aim of the Stockholm Junior Water Prize. It is a competition that brings together the world’s brightest students to encourage and continue their interest in water, science and the environment. It is hoped that these students will continue to develop their skills in the areas of research and innovation in order to tackle water issues at a local, national and global scale. This year, thousands of participants in countries all over the world joined national competitions for the chance to represent their nation at the international final held during the World Water Week in Stockholm.

HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden (centre, holding flowers) presented the 2012 Stockholm Junior Water Prize.


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awa news Polymer Power: The Extraction Of Divalent Heavy Metal Ions From Aqueous Solutions Using Sodium Polyacrylate To Treat Contaminated Waterways – Australian SJWP entry by Queensland student I-Ji Jung Heavy metal contamination of waterways is a serious problem that can lead to both environmental and human health problems. This study investigated the inadequate treatment of wastewater and how this affects the heavy metal contamination of waterways. The conventional method utilised in heavy metal treatment is often very expensive and requires extensive amounts of energy. As a solution, sodium polyacrylate, a super-absorbent polymer, could be used as a more effective and economical alternative treatment method to revitalise waterways around the world. Netherlands; Ms Susana Sandoz, Canada; Mr Alex Simalabwi, Sweden; and Ms Line Lövaas (Secretary), SIWI, Sweden.

“This year’s winning project shows the possibility of using a lower cost method to decrease an important water environment problem, which is relevant all over the world,” said the International Jury. “The study does not only present an efficient way to remove a toxicant, but also a novel way to recover and reuse materials which would otherwise be discarded as waste.”

Of course, the winning students are just the tip of the iceberg in a collection of outstanding science projects. Each of the other countries competing impressed judges and sponsors with their creativity and innovation.

About the Jury

“We are genuinely impressed by the quality of entries from around the world and are inspired by their innovative ideas. We congratulate all the finalists and the very worthy winners from Singapore this year,” said Angela Buonocore, Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer of Xylem, the global sponsor.

The International Jury includes experts within the field of water who, by committee consensus, appoint the winner of the international final. The decision is based on the written report, a short presentation of the display material and interviews with the finalists. The Stockholm Water Foundation Board appoints the Jury members.

Attendants at the event were treated to a variety of colourful entertainment.

Photo: Cecilia Österberg.

The 2012 the International Jury members were: Dr Fredrik Moberg, (Chair), Sweden; Dr Johan Groen, US; Ms Charlotte de Fraiture, Netherlands; Ms Eileen O’Neill, US; Dr Piet Lens,

Photo: Cecilia Österberg.

Chair of the SIWI, Peter Forssman, congratulated students for the quality of their work and dedication to water. He also noted that by the year 2050 there will be nine billion inhabitants on this planet, two billion more than today. He said: “It is an enormous challenge to feed all these people and offer them fresh drinking

Winners Luigi Marshall Cham, Jun Yong Nicholas Lim and Tian Ting Carrie-Anne Ng, from Singapore.

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awa news water and sanitation”. However, he stressed that each and every student can play an important role in solving the water problems of the future. The Stockholm Junior Water Prize has developed far beyond the expectations of SIWI when they launched it in 1997. The standard of projects displayed during the conference indicated a high level of research, science and innovation, which would be necessary in overcoming future challenges. Although one winner is announced, every student attending the Stockholm Junior Water Prize receives something more than a monetary prize can provide. Each participant is involved in in a five-day cultural exchange and has the opportunity to learn from water leaders, be part of World Water Week, enhance their communication skills and make lifelong friends. All of the students meet the HRH Crown Princess of Sweden, an opportunity so important that an afternoon was spent learning how to appropriately greet royalty.

AWA Involvement AWA has been the national organiser for the Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP) since 1998. Each year AWA runs a national water science competition for high school students and selects a representative to go to Stockholm and compete in the international final. This year the competition was sponsored by Xylem and Unity Water. Sponsorship is critical in not only running the award, but also enabling travel costs for the winning student and the AWA organiser. Once there, the winner embarks on a journey of a lifetime and presents their project more than three times to the International Jury.

an excellent representative for Australia and impressed the judges with her ability to communicate her project and her outstanding knowledge of the subject area. Her project, titled ‘Polymer Power: The Extraction Of Divalent Heavy Metal Ions Rrom Aqueous Solutions Using Sodium Polyacrylate To Treat Contaminated Waterways’, is described on page 32 (see box). I-Ji said that the competition was “more than she expected”. It allowed her not only to learn from others, but build confidence in her ability as a budding young scientist. I-Ji is eager to begin her studies and now understands how her interest in chemistry could have an impact globally if she chooses to continue into a water career. Entries are now open for AWA’s National Stockholm Junior Water Prize Competition 2013. For more details please go to or contact Fleur Johnson at fjohnson@ Entries close 30 November 2012.

Development of the AWA Position Paper: The Case for Water Efficiency

This year Fleur Johnson, AWA’s Project Manager – School and Community, accompanied Australia’s representative to Sweden. As a national organiser, Fleur participated in a number of activities with the finalists, had the opportunity to share ideas with other national organisers, and received a free registration to attend World Water Week in Stockholm.

The AWA Water Efficiency Specialist Network has identified advocacy for water-efficient policies and practices as a key action for members in 2012. Over the past year, the Network Committee has developed the Position Paper: The Case for Water Efficiency. The Paper is a WATER robust and important document produced EFFICIENCY by and on behalf of AWA members. It The Case for Water Efficiency highlights the role that Specialist Networks have in making sure the voice of the water industry is heard across Australia and beyond. The paper describes the role of water efficiency in urban water use in Australia and identifies emerging issues. It is written for those with responsibility for developing policy and making decisions on how water is delivered, used and managed.

I-Ji Jung was the Australian Stockholm Junior Water Prize finalist for 2012. I-Ji is 18 years old and from the Gold Coast in Queensland. I-Ji submitted her project while she was attending Queensland Academy for Health Sciences. She finished school last year and is now taking a year’s break before studying chemistry and business at the University of Canberra. I-Ji was

The Case for Water Efficiency aims to highlight the continuing role of water-efficiency policies and practices in Australia’s future urban water supply and demand management. The Paper makes the argument that water efficiency is a necessary and effective way of maintaining a secure water supply into the future and should always be included among the suite of measures to

AWA Position Paper – OCTOBER 2012

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awa news About the Position Paper’s Authors The authors of The Case for Water Efficiency Position Paper are: • Reid Butler, Manager – Water and Environment Sydney, BMT WBM Pty Ltd; • Damien Connell, Contract Manager, Smart Water Fund; • Julian Gray, CEO, Smart Approved WaterMark; • Dr Mark Henry Rubarenzya, Principal Associate, Water Resources, Sustineo P/L; • Andrew Speers, National Manager, Programs and Policy, AWA. The authors were supported by Kim Wuyts, Natalie Newman and Ann Hinchliffe of the AWA Programs Team.

achieve water security. The Position Paper is unique in that it has been drafted by the industry, for the industry, and represents the views of our large and diverse membership. The development of a member-driven Position Paper has been a thorough and engaging process. As a membership organisation, AWA represents the voice of Australian water professionals and the quality of the paper shows that member initiatives can have important and beneficial results. Specialist Networks and their committees are crucial to identifying and championing projects that are relevant to

members. Members choose to join Specialist Networks in order to network and share ideas. The development of this paper shows that there may be further opportunities for advocating for industry-wide positions and reforms.

The Development Process Developing a representative position paper is not an easy task. The five authors each took responsibility for writing sections relating to their area of expertise. During the development stage, they were actively engaged in teleconferences, workshops and regular communications to confirm the scope, structure, gaps, references and position points of the paper. They also considered and responded to the comments of members gathered through the consultation process. Critical to the finalisation of the paper and AWA’s position has been consultation with AWA membership and key stakeholders. In April and May 2012, there were two distinct consultations. The first was via an online tool, where members were encouraged to read and comment on the paper. Each comment was considered by at least one author and, if agreed, incorporated into the paper. If the comment was not supported or considered outside scope, the author provided an explanation. These decisions have been documented and will be circulated to those who provided comment. The second consultation session was at Ozwater’12, where participants in the Water Efficiency Workshop provided detailed views on various topics. These were documented and considered by the authors in the same way as the online comments.

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awa news The workshop also raised the opportunity for AWA and WSAA to jointly communicate the efficiency message. WSAA is preparing an Efficiency Position Paper planned for release in early 2013. The culmination of this process was a review by a subcommittee of the AWA Board, which provided additional feedback and clarity. The sub-committee endorsed the paper as an AWA Position Paper in August 2012. With the paper finalised, AWA has now developed a strategy to ensure its promotion. The fact that the Paper is unique in that it has been drafted by the industry, for the industry, is an important point of leverage. AWA will target relevant international and national publications, as well as key politicians and public servants, and will also utilise opportunities in the Australian press to ‘sell’ the Efficiency message when it is topical in the media. The final paper will be available to members shortly. Please go to

A Tribute to Professor Nancy Millis Emeritus Professor, pre-eminent scientist and microbiologist, Nancy Millis, has died peacefully on September 29 at the Epsworth Hospital, Richmond, Victoria, aged 90. A pioneer in industrial microbiology and fermentation technology, Professor Millis enjoyed an illustrious career and was a trailblazer for women in science. She graduated in Master Agricultural Science at Melbourne University in 1946 and obtained her PhD in Industrial Microbiology at the University of Bristol in 1951. She returned to Melbourne where she joined the Department of Microbiology under Professor Sydney Rubbo. In 1954, Rubbo encouraged her to take up an American Association for University Women scholarship to the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Her research into fermentation was extended

when she took sabbatical leave in 1963 to work with Suichi Aiba at the Institute of Applied Microbiology at Tokyo University. This work formed the foundation of the course Professor Millis subsequently established at Melbourne, and the lectures she gave in Tokyo with Aiba and Arthur Humphrey form the basis of Biochemical Engineering, first published in 1965 and still a standard textbook in the field. She was appointed Lecturer in Microbiology in the Department of Microbiology in Melbourne University in 1955 and rose to become a Professor in 1982 – only the fourth woman to do so. In the same year she published Microbial Physiology and Genetics of Industrial Processes with A. James Pittard. She chaired the Commonwealth Government Recombinant DNA Monitoring Committee, set up in 1980 to advise on the likely effects of proposals for genetic research involving transfer of genes between organisms. Professor Millis held a number of other key positions throughout her career, including Chancellor of La Trobe University in 1992, Secretary of the Australian Society for Microbiology from 1964–68, and President from 1997–80. She was Rubbo Orator for ASM from 1982 and was elected an Honorary Life Member of the Society in 1998. She was a member of the Board of Management of the Fairfield Infectious Diseases Hospital, the Australian Water Advisory Resources Committee, the Cooperative Research Centre for Freshwater Ecology, the Council of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences, the National Commission for UNESCO and many other professional organisations, and was President of University House in 1987. She has been an Emeritus Professor at Melbourne University since 1988. Professor Millis was awarded an MBE in 1977 and in the same year was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences. She was made a Companion of the Order of Australia in 1990. In 1993, she was awarded an honorary D.Sc. from the University of Melbourne and in 2002 was one of five Australian scientists featured on Australian stamps. Other awards include a Fulbright Travel Grant in 1954 and a Boots Scholarship Bristol University 1949-52. Professor Millis was a great supporter of AWA, attending many Ozwater Conferences over the years, and presenting papers at conventions and specialty conferences. Professor

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awa news Millis has been honoured by AWA with the Water Industry Woman of the Year Award, for which she was the patron. Over the last six months, she worked with AWA on developing a new award, the Research and Development Award, which will be offered for the first time in 2013.

Australian and New Zealand Biosolids Partnership: Activity Update 2011–12

Water Journal Editorial Committee Chair Frank Bishop recalls: “Professor Millis was the link between Biology and Chemical Engineering, namely Biochemical Engineering and, in particular, fermentation processes. She was on a Melbourne Water committee relating to trade waste for many years. She had the ability to separate the wheat from the chaff and find logical solutions to problems.

The ANZBP had a successful year in 2011–12, delivering on many research outcomes and positioning itself to advocate for improved industry regulation to stimulate the productive use of biosolids. As ever, membership contributions and the efforts of volunteers were a key part of the achievements of the program.

“She was the principal reviewer for my MEng Thesis (Treatment of Trade Waste Deficient in Nutrients), and at an early stage she reviewed my progress and asked which texts I was using. I mentioned several by prominent US engineers and she sniffed and suggested several with a more pertinent bio-chemical approach.”

Research Projects

Achievements 2011–12

Professor Nancy Millis dedicated her life to education, particularly within the water industry, and will continue to be an inspiration, not only to female members of the industry, but to both young and established professionals and researchers. Earlier this year she celebrated her 90th birthday with old friends and University House luncheon companions, as well as past colleagues from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and Botany. She was still working on campus each day, researching, providing guidance and support to staff and students and living life with her usual gusto.

• A discussion paper on Biosolids, Climate Change and Carbon was completed. This paper reviewed how greenhouse gas emissions from the treatment of biosolids are generated, reported and accounted for under the Climate Pricing Mechanism (CPM). A key research finding was that the methods used in the CPM to calculate emissions arising from biosolids treatment and management have significant potential to over- or under-estimate emissions generated. This may lead to unjustified carbon price liabilities for some water utilities, and for others a liability that exists in law that is not recognised. The ANZBP will be holding a briefing session for water utilities to consider the recommendations of the paper and explore how the ANZBP can work with the Australian Government to resolve the issues.

A special service was held on 12 October at the University of Melbourne to commemorate and celebrate her life.

• An update of the Biosolids Literature Compendium was completed. The Compendium provides an understanding

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awa news of the scope of work being undertaken by researchers and the fields in which it is being undertaken. It identifies groundbreaking research that is at the leading edge of biosolids management, technologies and communications initiatives.

to establish a case for improved biosolids management and regulatory practices. The Position Paper declares that:

• The Trace Organics in Biosolids Research Project was conducted by the Water Environment Research Foundation (US) with significant support from the ANZBP. This research is a part of an overall effort to assess the environmental and human health risks of organic compounds that could find their way into soils following land application of biosolids. • The Water Corporation’s Odour Management in Biosolids Treatment Research Project commenced with support from the ANZBP. This project seeks to identify the sources of odour during biosolids treatment and identify methods to prevent or mitigate odour generation.


Biosolids are a valuable by-product of the wastewater treatment process and their use represents an appropriate use of a resource and closes the ‘nutrient loop’.


Biosolids are currently regulated to protect human health and the environment. Biosolids are a safe product when treated and managed in line with regulations and guidelines. Australian regulations and guidelines for biosolids management are the world’s strictest.


The community generally is supportive of the use of biosolids, particularly once it is explained that biosolids use is consistent with the ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ ethos.


While existing regulations and guidelines are effective, there is significant inconsistency between jurisdictions, which has the potential to increase costs and reduce community confidence in their effectiveness. Furthermore, many existing regulations and guidelines require unnecessary monitoring and may not be rigorous enough with respect to vector control.


Governments should seek to introduce consistency in regulation and AWA/ANZBP will encourage governments to introduce reforms accordingly.

Events The ANZBP financially supported and was integrally involved in the Biosolids and Source Management Conference held on the Gold Coast in June 2012. This event was the best attended Biosolids Speciality Conference AWA has held to date. Very positive feedback was received from the delegates on the quality of the presentations and papers, the value they derived from the workshops that formed part of the program, and the conference organisation. The ANZBP also ran a successful Regulator’s Forum at the Conference. Attended by around 60 people from varied backgrounds including water utilities, research bodies, transport companies and government departments, the forum explored the current state of biosolids management practices and what biosolids regulation would look like in an ideal world. The outcomes of the forum will be used to encourage regulatory improvement in biosolids regulation, an important need for many AWA and ANZBP members. Throughout the year a series of ANZBP roadshows was also held, showcasing the work of the Partnership and the value derived by members. In an effort to deliver services to regional members, roadshows were held in Canberra, Darwin and Geelong, with around 60 participants altogether. Policy Initiatives The Chair of the ANZBP formally announced the release of the AWA Biosolids Management Position Paper at the Biosolids and Source Management Conference. Developed by AWA and supported by its Board and a committee of ANZBP members, the Position Paper builds on the research undertaken by ANZBP

The Position Paper delivers a scientifically justified message and position and will serve to educate those unfamiliar with biosolids management practices. The information provided by the ANZBP is factual, unbiased and open. The ANZBP also contributed to other policy initiatives during this period: • In 2011, the ANZBP Administrative Team assisted ANZBP member, the Commonwealth Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (SEWPaC) in the development and delivery of a review of the National Waste Policy. The ANZBP sought to ensure the Department had access to relevant materials and an understanding of the ANZBP’s position. • In 2012 the ANZBP made a submission to the Victorian Department of Sustainability’s Review of Waste Policy. Based on the key messages of the AWA Position Paper, the response was co-ordinated with the Victorian Environmental Protection Authority and the Vicwater Biosolids Taskgroup, demonstrating the value of ANZBP membership collaboration. • Recently, the ANZBP approached Standards Australia to seek involvement in the potential development of an International

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38 NOVEMBER 2012 water



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awa news Standard for Sludge Management. The request was warmly received and positions AWA for further involvement in Standards development in areas other than biosolids management. ANZBP Membership enquiries are welcome and can be directed to the Project Manager at Additional information regarding the ANZBP can be found on the website

Branch News Victoria 50th Anniversary Dinner A Red Carpet Event It’s been a busy time for the Victorian Branch, which entertained a crowd of over 760 people at their 50th Anniversary Dinner in August. Some of the highlights from the night included: • Guests no longer needed to dream of walking down the red carpet. The Branch pulled out all the stops, photographing the diners in true paparazzi style! • MC for the night, Colin Lane, from the well-known comedy duo Lano and Woodley, provided great entertainment, adding a friendly vibe to the atmosphere. • If you weren’t at the dinner, you can still sit back and watch the 10-minute documentary 50 Years of Water in Victoria that guests were able to take home. Please go www.inspireworks. to watch the trailer or contact to request a copy of the DVD.

ACT Water Leaders Dinner Receives Huge Support On 6 September the ACT Water Leaders Dinner was held at the Boat House by the Lake, Canberra. It was a fantastic evening and the ACT Branch would like to thank Event Partner ACTEW Water for their ongoing support of this event. The Branch is also grateful to guest speaker, Dan O’Brien, Deputy Secretary at the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport, as well as all those who attended.



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awa news NSW Sludge Handling Technical Breakfast Seminar

will celebrate the end of another year with another three legends. The 2012 legends are Ian Tanner, Annette Davison and Stewart McLeod. The event will be held at the Grace Hotel on Thursday 29 November.

On 16 August NSW Branch held their Sludge Handling Technical Breakfast Seminar at University Technology Sydney. The event attracted approximately 50 industry representatives to listen to presentations from Roman Gabryjonczyk and Magnus Fahlgren from Flygt HQ in Sweden. NSW Branch would like to thank sponsor, Xylem Water Solutions, for their support and involvement.


YWP Mentoring Breakfast

Catchment Management Conference

The NSW YWPs hosted the NSW Mentoring Breakfast program on 28 August. Mentoring programs foster skills enhancement and information sharing, while providing a means to transfer valuable experience and expertise from experienced to early-career employees. The YWPs would like to thank the sponsor of this event, GHD, and Jacki Eames from GHD for facilitating this event.

The inaugural AWA Tasmania Catchment Management Conference was held in Launceston on 27 September. Sustainable use of our water resources is essential to all Tasmanians and integrated management is recognised as the way forward to achieve sustainability for rural, regional and urban populations. Local and interstate speakers informed delegates about current advances in the Integrated Catchment Management sector.

NSW Award Nominations Open Nominations for NSW Awards are now open. These awards are an opportunity for individuals and organisations (whether or not they are AWA members), to be recognised for innovation and excellence in the technology, business and delivery of their water industry projects. For more information please visit our website

Registrations for NSW Legends of Water Following a successful evening celebration of some of the Legends of Water in the NSW Water Industry, the NSW Branch

For more information, to register or for sponsorship opportunities please visit the website or contact the NSW Branch Manager at

Along with a program of specialised local presenters, Malcolm Watson, Supervising Hydrologist for Water Quality and Trends Unit, Climate and Water Division of Bureau of Meteorology in Canberra discussed the Australian Water Resources Assessments that are being published regularly by the Bureau and provide an overview of the water resources situation across Australia. The Assessments support catchment management by providing broader contextual information regarding the region, while Christobel Ferguson, Manager Water Sciences Group at GHD, in

The Water Industry Safety Excellence Award Have you nominated? With over 100 Australians killed at work this year, it’s time to promote safety. Help recognise those who lead the way to help their workmates get home safely every day. Showcase your team’s safety achievements – nominate by 30 November 2012. Supported by

For more information visit 40 NOVEMBER 2012 water

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awa news her presentation ‘Managing Drinking Water Quality in Catchments with the Aid of Modelling Techniques’, described types of modelling techniques available and gave case study examples.

Queensland QWater’12 Conference

The conference attracted a wide cross-section of the industry, with a record number of delegates from around Australia and New Zealand. The host sponsor was Cairns Regional Council, which did a great job setting up “The Challenge” – a technical exercise that certainly proved demanding for many delegates the morning after the conference dinner!

The Queensland Branch will hold its QWater’12 Conference on the Gold Coast from 9–10 November. “Just when we thought the cycle of reform had settled we are faced with a new government, looking to reduce the cost of living, to lessen the size of government and reduce the red and green tape,” says Queensland Branch Manager Sharon Ible. “Meanwhile we continue to seek better ways to do business, deal with climate change, rising electricity prices, economic downturn and threats from CSG and mining sectors. “Our people continue to be our greatest resource. They seek out new and exciting ways to deliver services and projects while their leaders seek out new ways to ensure they remain in our industry. Join us at the Royal Pines Resort, one of Queensland’s largest resorts and the ideal venue for the QWater’12 Conference.” For more details please visit the AWA website.

North Queensland Regional Conference The 2012 North Queensland Regional Conference was held in Cairns from 19–20 September. The conference proved to be a successful combination of technical presentations, trade displays and networking opportunities in a relaxed atmosphere.


NOVEMBER 2012 41

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

NEW CORPORATE MEMBERS NSW Corporate Bronze WaterUp Pty Ltd

QLD Corporate Bronze TMS Consulting

NEW INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS NSW A Mooy, F McCulloch, C Muir, B Lee, H Gray, K Quinn, M Jeffrey, T Brammer, R Ellison, N Ehsan, K Black, A Dyer, J Harwood, I Elsaliby, L Whitten QLD H Wood, A Pinner, D Smith, F Sarmed, C Dawson, F Marshall, H Wood, J Brooks, M Johnson, D Hill, J Castle, L Dudley, K Gee, K Hibberd, P Grounds, S Renouf, S Hinton, T Prenzler, N Webber, S Palipana, T Jamieson, R Khire, R Donald, A Bruynius, J Catmull, M Simms, M Eather, J Lyons, V Borzillo, A Mridha, M Li, L Kirk, S Richards, N Corbin, S Liese SA G Ashby TAS K Broderick VIC E Clauw, D Stewart, A Farch, L van den Broek, S Whittaker, P Ritchie, P Lee, G Thomas, N Eshtiaghi, B

Collins, M Miccelli, R Martinovic, R Krishan, B McCallum, E Szantyr, K Sluiter, N Suprapto, J Willcock WA G Oddy, G Shiell, M Bailey, M Lourey, M Petry, N Foulkes, S Harris, J Richards, S Desu QLD V Jofreh


If you think a new activity would enhance the AWA membership package please contact us on our national local call number 1300 361 426 or submit your suggestion via email to

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: November


Wed, 31 Oct 2012 – Fri, 02 Nov 2012

5th Pacific Water Conference & Expo, Auckland, NZ

Wed, 31 Oct 2012 – Thu, 01 Nov 2012

AWA Annual National Water Leadership Summit, Canberra, ACT

Thu, 01 Nov 2012

ACT Technical Tour, O’Connor, ACT

Wed, 07 Nov 2012 – Thu, 08 Nov 2012

Master Class: Troubleshooting Foulants, North Sydney, NSW

Fri, 09 Nov 2012 – Sat, 10 Nov 2012

QWater’12 Regional Conference, Gold Coast, QLD

Thu, 15 Nov 2012 – Fri, 16 Nov 2012

Tapping the Turn, Canberra, ACT

Sat, 17 Nov 2012 – Sun, 18 Nov 2012

SA AWA Awards Gala Dinner – 50 Golden Years, Adelaide, SA

Thu, 22 Nov 2012

Galah Debate, Hobart, TAS

Thu, 22 Nov 2012

ACT 2012 Award Presentations and Networking Evening, Australian National University, ACT

Fri, 23 Nov 2012 – Sat, 24 Nov 2012

WA Water Awards 2012 Gala Dinner, Perth, WA

Sun, 25 Nov 2012 – Thu, 29 Nov 2012

13th International Conference, Perth, WA

Tue, 27 Nov 2012

VIC Seminar: The Value of Rainwater Tanks in Urban Environments, Melbourne, VIC

Wed, 28 Nov 2012

QLD Branch End of Year Celebration, Brisbane, QLD

Thu, 29 Nov 2012

NSW Legends of Water 2012, Sydney, NSW

Tue, 04 Dec 2012 – Thu, 06 Dec 2012

Australian Odour and Air Emissions Conference 2012, Sydney, NSW

Thu, 06 Dec 2012

VIC Branch – A Celebration of Excellence, Melbourne, VIC

Sun, 09 Dec 2012

Women in Water Winery Tour, Richmond, TAS


Tue, 05 Mar 2013 – Thu, 07 Mar 2013

Water Education, Water Efficiency & Water Skills National Conference, Sydney, NSW


Tue, 7 May 2013 – Thu, 9 May 2013

Ozwater’13, Perth, WA


Wed, 21 Aug 2013 – Thu, 22 Aug 2013

TasWater’13, Wrest Point Convention Centre, TAS


Wed, 04 Sep 2013 – Fri, 06 Sep 2013

LESAM 2013 – 5th IWA Leading Edge Strategic Asset Management Conference, Sydney, NSW


Tue, 01 Oct 2013 – Fri, 04 Oct 2013

NOM 2013 – IWA Natural Organic Matter Specialist Conference, Perth, WA

42 NOVEMBER 2012 water

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awa news

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NOVEMBER 2012 43

feature article

Tales of Puk Puk and Walkabout Spanners Twinning Partnerships provide fascinating insights into very different cultures, as well as sharing essential expertise, writes Jim Keary, General Manager of Hunter Water Australia, who heads up the Hunter Water team partnering with Water PNG. Dogs, chickens and villagers scuttle to the side of the potholed road as the Guard Dog Security Services express zooms through the dusk on the 40km ride from Nadzab Airport to Lae. The cage of passengers, a few startled newcomers like me, and the rest totally laid back and relaxed, are a mottled group of business people and locals sitting in this Rambo-style bus. The engineer in me is doing the sums on the risk of a crash from the crazy driving versus the extra protection we get from having two armed security guards of easy-looking disposition and a 22-seater Toyota bus wrapped in steel mesh – except for the bi-fold entry door which I guess was too hard to mesh up. Welcome to Lae on the north coast of Papua New Guinea (PNG). Water PNG services the 16 major cities and towns in regional PNG, with Lae being the largest by far. The Hunter Water Group comprises Hunter Water Corporation, the regulated utility servicing the water and wastewater needs of the lower Hunter region and its commercial subsidiary, Hunter Water Australia Pty Ltd. In 2011, Water PNG and the Hunter Water Group signed a Twinning Agreement sponsored by the Asian Development Bank, which pays travel and per diem expenses for approved visits between the two entities. Water PNG and its staff gain our expertise and insights into their water and wastewater problems, while we gain some unique perceptions of the lives and times of our fabulous northern neighbours. The twinning arrangement has been underway for about two years now, the agenda having been set by the former CEO of Water PNG, Patrick Amini, and his senior managers. We are tackling their four priorities: reducing non-revenue water; improving operations and asset management; developing better water quality management; and introducing long-term master planning. Rather than cover all 16 towns, Patrick suggested we focus on Lae, PNG’s second largest city, as a case example. His wisdom has been proven as the diversity and size of challenges we are undertaking is far and above most other twinning arrangements.

The team gets together to sort out operational problems.

Change, Challenges and Ingenious Solutions Lae is colloquially referred to as ‘pot-hole city’ in Papua New Guinea and is great if you want to choose a case study site with all the social and infrastructure problems of a yet-to-bedeveloped city with enormous potential. Lae has a population of somewhere between 200,000 and 250,000, depending on when, how and who is counted. There are reasonable urban services for about 150,000. There is a large population that lives in the peri-urban area outside the perimeter of the main city and that have limited or no services. Many are young and travelled to Lae from Highland villages to share in the comforts and excitement of city living, only to be confronted after a while by a very different reality. Serious riots have occurred over the past few years; you don’t walk the streets at night and you need to be wary at the footy (rugby league), as rocks are sometimes thrown at the opposition team and spectators. Improving non-revenue water was the first priority for the twinning project. Dean Taylor from our team worked with Lae staff on a spreadsheet model that led to the ‘first-run’ estimate of 45 per cent non-revenue water (water produced generating no revenue). Then they developed a program of improvements to follow. Non-revenue water is now down to 35 per cent and headed to 30 per cent. But for all of our ideas on improvements, we were well outclassed by the ingenuity of Water PNG’s local manager. The biggest water debt was owed by the local police; organising the press and TV to attend a public ceremony involving shutting off the water supply to the police headquarters in central Lae was all that was needed to encourage quick and full payment! Water quality management has improved with the help of our Laboratories Manager, Andrea Swan, master planning has started, and Alan Thornton, with his 40 years of operations experience, continues to work on improving the operation of the Lae water supply system.

It seems there was plenty to laugh about at the Lae WWTP.

44 NOVEMBER 2012 water

Organisations experience change and challenges, and Water PNG has had more than its share over the past two years. The CEO retired and we are fortunate that Raka Taviri, who originally started the twinning effort with Patrick, has been promoted.

feature articles

feature article Engineering staff have been almost impossible to recruit in PNG because of the mining boom, but Water PNG has retained and recruited some real talent. And there have been major political disturbances, ranging from having two Prime Ministers running the country to the large effort involved in the carrying out of the recent elections. The people of PNG have 810 distinct language groups and a rich established culture. They are finding their way through an early democracy and creating and adapting systems of government and water management to their needs and ways. Added to this are the physical limitations of uniting a rugged country in which there is no way to drive from north to south or east to west.

People, Protocols ... and a Smidgin of Pidgin Twinning is very much about people contact and relationship building, and working to achieve better water management is the common goal we share. The biggest twinning event so far for us was when two of the senior staff from Water PNG in Lae visited Newcastle for two weeks. Imbu Palya and Iki Agoname are both Highlanders and they entertained our staff with their stories while working with them fixing pipes, doing trade waste inspections, observing how a call centre works, doing water sampling and laboratory testing, and seeing how water models, telemetry and infrastructure designs are done. This was complemented by meeting the local rugby league team (the Knights) and being guests at a game, and being schooled in a tour of Hunter wineries. Twinning is both challenging and rewarding. The challenge for us is not just about reading our 10 pages of advisory notes and personal security protocols as we fly into Port Moresby. Our priorities on time and efficiency don’t always match up with how things work in PNG. A lot is gained by being able to discuss and talk through these issues. Everybody learns in the process.

Imbu Palya and Iki Agonmae carry out training at Hunter wineries.

Finally, no-one leaves PNG without a smattering of Tok Pisin (Pidgin English). There are only about 2,500 words to play with and the plumber’s toolbox leads to a delightful collage of expressions. A shifting spanner is a ‘walkabout’ spanner and a Stillson wrench, with its sharp teeth, is a puk puk (crocodile) spanner. As for a stubby holder, skin bilong bir makes a lot more sense.

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special report

Coal Seam Gas Mining and Groundwater A review of the controversies around and potential impacts of CSG in Australia The growth of Australia’s coal seam gas industry has been rapid in its speed and scope. Billions of dollars are pouring into regional parts of southern Queensland and northern New South Wales as global miners rush to exploit vast reserves of methane gas buried deep underground in coal seams. Thousands of wells are being sunk, hundreds of kilometres of pipes laid and liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities built to feed a thriving export industry. But the boom times are also fuelling controversy. To release the methane, mining companies have to sink wells deep underground and depressurise the coal beds. This involves removing huge amounts of groundwater, raising questions about potential impacts on the Great Artesian Basin (GAB) and connected aquifers. There are also issues surrounding the safe disposal of the water, which has varying levels of impurities. And for hard to reach gas, a technique called fracking is used – the hydraulic fracturing of coal seams by pumping water, sand and chemicals through wells at high pressure. Unlike previous Australian mining booms in remote outback areas, CSG is found under farmland and country towns. A protest movement has grown in regional communities worried about the potential impacts of these processes, including the shared use of limited groundwater and the risks of contamination. CSG mining companies disagree and are trying to allay their concerns through environmental impact statements and historical overseas information. The scientific community is urging caution. Hydrologists point to major gaps in our understanding of groundwater dynamics and chemistry of Australia’s artesian systems. They argue that we are still very much at the entry level of knowing how these complex sub-surface water bodies will be affected because of a paucity of fundamental data and baseline information. Current analyses are focused on individual mines or tenements and, therefore, much more is needed to assess

cumulative impacts. Because little is known about how deeper systems interact with shallower systems, there are concerns about the potential long-term impacts of water removal on such a cumulative scale.

Multi-Billion Dollar Investment One thing not in dispute is the economic benefits. Global mining companies have previously indicated they are investing more than $70 billion in CSG ventures over the next five years. The major focus is Queensland, where the number of wells drilled annually has increased from 10 in the early 1990s to nearly 600 in 2010–11. In little over a decade, annual CSG production has jumped from four petajoules* to 234 petajoules. The rate of extraction will continue to rise, with the Queensland Government predicting 25,000 to 35,000 wells will be drilled by mining companies in future decades. Gas from coal seams several hundred metres to kilometres deep now supplies about one-third of the gas used in eastern Australia and Asian exports of the processed LNG is surging. The amount of water being extracted from underground water systems is also increasing. Current modelling from mining companies suggests a total of 75,000ML a year will be removed from the Surat Basin section of the GAB, the focus of most of the mining activity. The draft Surat Underground Water Impact Report from the Queensland Water Commission (QWC) predicts a figure closer to 95,000ML a year. Removing groundwater on such a scale has the potential to affect both surface and groundwater systems, and risk land subsidence and cross-contamination between water bodies. Because aquifers that are depressurised can sometimes collapse to some degree, there is also a risk that the systems will never be fully restored to their previous condition for subsurface water storage.

National Body Examines CSG Impacts These are all issues to be investigated by an Independent Expert Scientific Committee. An interim committee was established in January by Environment and Water Minister, Tony Burke, in a $200 million initiative to advise on CSG and large coal mining. Chaired by Professor Craig Simmons, Director of the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT) in Adelaide, the interim committee will commission and fund water bioregional assessments in priority regions and oversee research into potential water-related impacts of mining. The funding also includes $50 million in incentive payments for the states to act on the committee’s advice when considering approvals. The governments of Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria have already signed up to the National Partnership Agreement. “National coordination and guidance is extremely important because these basins cross state borders,” Professor Simmons said. “You can’t have one state regulating part of the GAB and other states doing something else and not agreeing – consistency is essential. The other thing that’s coming through very strongly is the need for good regulation and compliance with leading best practice frameworks and guidelines for mining operations.”

Land-drilling rig on a coal seam gas project in Queensland.

46 NOVEMBER 2012 water

(*One petajoule = 1,000,000 gigajoules)

feature articles

special report Professor Simmons also agrees the initial focus must be on accruing baseline data to assess before and after impacts on water levels, chemistry and recharge rates.

The draft report proposes rules to decide which company is responsible if more than one contributes to the impact.

“It requires a real knowledge project that quantifies potential impacts on water resources using leading practice groundwater modelling and risk assessment approaches,” he said.

Tenure holders will also have to explore potential mitigation options at five of the 71 spring complexes in the Surat Basin, where impacts on water levels in the source aquifers are expected to fall by more than 20 centimetres.

Queensland CSG Groundwater Report

Treating the Produced Water

An integrated water monitoring strategy is among the key recommendations in the QWC’s Surat report. Under its proposal, an integrated network of nearly 500 monitoring points at 142 geographic sites is needed to collect data on water levels and basic water quality.

Removing groundwater is one issue – what to do with it once it has been removed is another. The water is often too salty or brackish for normal use and the preference is not to leave it in large retaining ponds to evaporate. This means it has to be treated.

This includes an additional 392 monitoring points to be provided by CSG companies in several aquifers and at various depths. The monitoring data will enable progressive refinement of the regional groundwater flow model. “The regional groundwater flow model allows a cumulative approach to assessing the combined impacts of the CSG developments in the area,” said Randall Cox, General Manager for CSG Water at the QWC. “The aim is to better understand the way groundwater flows and the interconnection between the aquifers.” A science-driven monitoring system that is sufficiently predictive of what is happening can act as an early warning system to ensure that any initial impacts are not significant.

Predicted Decline in Water Bore Levels The QWC draft report identifies about 21,000 registered water bores within the Surat area that are used for a variety of purposes, including grazing, irrigation, industrial and urban consumption. As a result of CSG mining, QWC expects 528 of these will experience a decline in the water level of more than the trigger threshold. The trigger level is expected to be reached at 85 registered water bores within three years. Under the Queensland legislative framework, the threshold is a five-metre water level decline in consolidated aquifers, such as sandstone, and two metres for unconsolidated aquifers, such as sands. By law, petroleum tenure holders must ‘make good’ affected private bore supplies though measures that might include altering the bore or establishing a replacement water supply.

Australian Pacific LNG (APLNG) is operator of one of the largest CSG operations in Queensland and project partner Origin has been involved in CSG for nearly 15 years. Origin’s Groundwater Manager, Andrew Moser, said produced water from APLNG’s mining goes to the highest value user, usually the mining operation itself or for agriculture. Brackish water is treated at two reverse osmosis desalination plants to drinking water standard. The operators are also trialling reinjection of the treated water back into suitable aquifers, the preferred option of the Queensland Government. “We started injection trials at Spring Gully in April and have been injecting 2ML to 2.5ML of water back into the aquifer each day,” Mr Moser said. “That’s a fantastic result because the engineering behind it has been far more complex than we envisaged. “We have to degas and deoxygenate the water and treat it to make sure we don’t have any bacterial growth. The quality of the water which comes out of the reverse osmosis plant is about the same as that in the aquifer.” Injection trials at two other locations are planned before the end of the year and a fourth will start next year. “The purpose is to determine the technical and economic feasibility of injection and at this point it’s looking far more favourable than what we expected,” Mr Moser said. “We’re pretty happy with the way it’s going.”

Deep Well Fracking Sparks Controversy There are many different geological layers in the Great Artesian Basin, including porous sandstone through which water can flow. Above and below these main aquifers are

The Queensland Government estimates that about 8 per cent of CSG wells in the state have been fracked.


NOVEMBER 2012 47

special report denser, less permeable rock layers called aquitards. The permeability is also variable within the geologic layer that contains the coal seams. Taking methane from the high permeability coal seams is usually preferred because it’s the easiest option. For the more difficult coal seams in areas of low permeability, fracking is used. Hydraulic fracturing converts these non-productive wells into productive ones by forcing open cleats in the coal seams. Typically, a mixture of 99 per cent water and sand is pumped into the seams under pressure to release the trapped methane. Chemicals are also added to the fracking fluids to assist the process. The Queensland Government estimates that about 8 per cent of CSG wells in the state have been fracked. This is expected to increase to as much as 40 per cent as gas reserves in the high permeability areas of the coal fields are mined out. Fracking has sparked much of the recent controversy, with farmers and environmental groups joining in protest over concerns about adjacent aquifers being contaminated. The miners argue that this is most unlikely because of the depths of the wells, the cemented steel casing used in shallow aquifers, and the fact that most of the fracking fluids are recovered. APLNG says the fluids underground are also diluted by water already present in the coal seams to a level that the chemicals are barely detectable. Any chemicals that remain in the coal seams degrade over time, resulting in a water quality that is similar in composition to the original salty water.

Overseas experience supports this view. Extensive studies in the US have found no evidence of groundwater contamination from 70 years of hydraulic fracturing across both conventional and unconventional energy (see My Point of View, page 4). A review of shale gas fracking by the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering in the UK also found that the health, safety and environmental risks could be managed effectively and that groundwater contamination is unlikely. The review stressed that well integrity is the highest priority, robust monitoring is vital and environmental risk assessments should be mandatory. It found that policymaking would benefit from further research. Professor Simmons said there are community concerns about fracking and water contamination. “US experience shows there are far more likely to be other problems that are not associated with fracking, such as issues with borehole integrity and surface water spills – issues found in conventional mining,” he said. “But I can totally understand why people are concerned if someone wants to drill a 1–2km bore in their backyard, and there’s a long list of potential things that could go wrong – however, it is critical to remember potential does not mean probable. There is an urgent need to quantify, manage, reduce and communicate the risks associated with coal seam gas.” Professor Simmons believes future CSG groundwater research in Australia must focus on strategic, high-level issues. “We need water, we need energy, we need food, we need all of this – and above all we need a framework of managing co-existence in a complicated space.”

FREE Prevent Overflows at Sewage Pump Stations One of the important roles of engineers of sewage pumping stations is to prevent them from overflowing. A generator will assist if the problem involves the availability of power, but a permanently installed engine driven pump will operate during a “power outage”, and “protect” the pump station should any other failure occur.

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Permanent pump vs standby generator.

A pump is also generally more cost effective than a generator as it requires a smaller engine. Nor does it need automatic switching gear, or “load banks” to prevent diesel cylinders glazing during “non-pump” running time. For more details on the best solution for preventing sewage overflows, email or call on (02) 9647 2700.

48 NOVEMBER 2012 water

feature articles

odour management

refereed paper

RUSTY IRON – A COST-EFFECTIVE ODOUR CONTROL UPGRADE FOR OVERLOADED SYSTEMS Results of the first Australian installation of a rusty iron catalytic filter D Brooker, I Evanson, A Shammay Abstract This paper presents the results of the first Australian installation of a rusty iron catalytic filter (RICF) as part of a load reduction system in an odour control facility. The RICF was installed to treat high-gas phase hydrogen sulphide concentrations at the Sydney Street Pump Station in Mackay, Queensland. The Sydney Street Sewage Pump Station was recently upgraded as part of a major sewerage system reconfiguration. The upgrade to the pump station included the installation of an odour control system consisting of a biotrickling filter (BTF) followed by activated carbon. Following commissioning, the observed load of hydrogen sulphide on the odour control system was significantly higher than allowed for in the design. The net effect was an overloaded BTF, excessive consumption of activated carbon and odour complaints. Mackay Water Services required a cost-effective method of bringing the hydrogen sulphide concentrations within the design envelope of the odour control system, thereby reducing consumption of activated carbon. In partnership, MWH Global designed, and Mackay Water Services installed, an RICF prior to the biotrickling filter. The RICF was chosen due to its low capital cost and track record of removing 60% of the hydrogen sulphide in waste gas streams when used as a pre-filter. Rusty iron catalytic filters, also known as catalytic iron filters (CIF), are not a new technology. CIFs have been used in the United Kingdom as components of odour control systems in sewerage installations since the 1990s. Prior to this they have been used to reduce the hydrogen sulphide concentration in reticulated gas systems. However, while being used overseas, to the authors’ knowledge they have never before been installed for hydrogen sulphide reduction as part of an odour control system in Australia.

The initial results indicate that in excess of 70% of the hydrogen sulphide is being removed over the RICF. With this performance it is estimated that there will be a saving of $21k per year in activated carbon, giving the project a six-year payback period.

Introduction In response to growth in the Mackay Region, Mackay Water Services undertook a major reconfiguration and upgrade to the sewerage network, sewage treatment and effluent disposal infrastructure as part of the Mackay Water Recycling Project between 2006 and 2008. The project included the diversion of sewage from the decommissioned Mt Basset Sewage Treatment Plant to the upgraded Mackay South Water Recycling Facility. The Sydney Street Pump Station was used to divert the flow. The upgraded Sydney Street Pump Station has a peak pumping capacity of 1190L/s. The pump station receives flow from a combination of gravity and daisy chain pump stations servicing a population of approximately 70,000 people. The design anticipated increased odour generation at the site. The upgrade included an odour control system incorporating a biotrickling filter (BTF) followed by activated carbon. Following commissioning, the observed levels of hydrogen sulphide were regularly in excess of 600ppm, more than double the peak design load for the odour control system. A comparison of the design to actual hydrogen sulphide concentrations is shown in Table 1.

While the BTF was operating surprising well given the loads entering the plant,

Table 1. Loading of odour control system. Hydrogen Sulphide Concentration (ppm)









the load passing through the BTF onto the activated carbon was high. The activated carbon depleted rapidly, resulting in a significant increase to operating cost and periodic odour complaints. MWH and Mackay Water Services undertook a review of the potential options to reduce the odour generation at the site. The installation of a rusty iron catalytic filter (RICF) prior to the BTF wac chosen due to the low capital and operating costs and the ease of operation. The aim of the design was to use the RICF to reduce the inlet odour concentration to the BTF back in line with the original design. With the BTF operating within its design load, improved BTF performance was anticipated, thereby reducing the load on the activated carbon. This paper discusses the design and operation principles of an RICF, together with the results obtained from the first Australian installation at the Sydney Street Pump Station.

Chemistry of a Rusty Iron Catalytic Filter Rusty iron or catalytic iron filters (RICFs or CIFs) were originally used to remove hydrogen sulphide from reticulated gas systems in the United Kingdom (UK) during the 19th Century. The technology was introduced into the water industry as a method of odour control by Arthur Boon in the 1990s. Since their first adoption in the water industry RICFs have been widely adopted throughout the UK to remove gas phase hydrogen sulphide and reduce the load on downstream odour control systems. Catalytic iron filters work by passing foul air containing hydrogen sulphide over a packed bed of iron in a humid environment. The RICF reduces the concentration of hydrogen sulphide through a series of reactions that convert the gas phase hydrogen sulphide to sulphur that is returned to the sewer as a waste stream. The process occurs in three basic steps:


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Figure 1. View of RICF roof showing wash system. Step 1. When the unit is initially commissioned the surface of the iron packing material is converted from iron to rust. This reaction initiates the process. Step 2. The rust is converted to iron (II) sulphide when it comes in contact with the hydrogen sulphide in the foul air. Step 3. The rust layer is then regenerated by the reaction with oxygen in the air, leaving elemental sulphur attached to the media. The chemistry of the process is detailed below. STEP 1: Rust Formation on Iron In the presence of oxygen and water a series of internal galvanic cells or batteries is created on the surface of carbon steel. The carbon impurities become the site of reduction.

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Figure 2. Media being pre-rusted prior to commissioning. Reduction half equation: 4e- + 2H2O(l) + O2(g) → 4OH-(aq)

Oxidation half equation: Fe(s) → Fe2+(aq) + 2e When the Fe2+(aq) and OH-(aq) ions meet they combine to produce the precipitate, iron (II) hydroxide Fe(OH)2: Fe2+(aq) + 2OH-(aq) → Fe(OH)2(s)

Fe(OH)2 is further oxidised in the presence of air and finally hydrated to produce rust. Fe(OH)2(s) +1/2O2(aq) + H2O(l) → Fe2O3.xH2O(s) (rust)

Figure 4. General view of RICF and booster fan. STEP 2: Reaction of Rust with Hydrogen Sulphide When rust is placed in direct contact with hydrogen sulphide gas, the iron oxide is reduced to form iron (II) sulphide in the following reaction: Fe2O3.xH2O(s) + 3H2S(g) → 2FeS(s) + 3H2O(l) + S(s) It has been stated by some texts that iron (III) sulphide (Fe2S3(s)) is also formed. Iron (III) sulphide is a solid, black unstable powder which does not occur in nature. Should it be formed it will decay rapidly at ambient temperature into a yellow-green powder as per the following reaction:

Figure 3. P&ID Sydney Street RICF installation.

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Fe2O3.xH2O(s) + 3H2S(g) → Fe2S3(s) +3H2O(l) (unstable product) Fe2S3(s) → 2FeS(s) + S(s) STEP 3: Regeneration of Rust Layer Iron (II) sulphide, when exposed to oxygen in air, is oxidised back to iron oxide. Either free sulphur or sulphur dioxide gas is formed in this reaction. The reaction between iron (II) sulphide and oxygen is accompanied by the generation of a considerable amount of heat. The rapid exothermic process of oxidation of the sulphide to oxide occurs, as shown in the equations below: 4FeS(s) +3O2(g) → 2Fe2O3(s) + 4S(s) + heat 4FeS(s) +7O2(g) → 2Fe2O3(s) + 4SO2(s) + heat The heat produced by this reaction has been known to be extreme in some circumstances resulting in fire/explosion (Jeffries, 2010). This has occurred where large volumes of iron (II) sulphide have formed, and then been allowed to come into contact with air instantaneously. However, where hydrogen sulphide concentrations are less than 10,000ppmv and oxygen is continuously present, the formation of sufficient quantities of iron (II) sulphide to cause safety issues does not occur. In effect, the exothermic reaction works in favour, oxidising the iron (II) sulphide so rapidly that it cannot accumulate. Therefore, in most wastewater odour control applications there will be no risk of explosion.

Design and Operation of a Rusty Iron Catalytic Filter The design of the RICF for the Sydney Street Pump Station was influenced by the site constraints and the existing odour control equipment. Factors taken into consideration included:

Table 2. Design parameters for RICF at Sydney Street. Parameter



1,800m3/h @ 20°C and 101.3kPa

Design peak hydrogen sulphide load


Design removal capacity at peak load


Number of units

2 (duty, duty series operation)

Superficial gas velocity


Media type

0.5” degreased mild steel Pall Rings

Media volume


Overall pressure drop


Gas loading rate


Inlet gas humidity


Design gas humidity into RICF


Humidifier feed rate


Water feed during media wash


• Head loss and velocities through the existing odour control system; • Site space constraints; • The desire for low-cost, simple installation and a short construction timeframe to address the immediate odour issues. In order for the unit to be installed and commissioned quickly, “off the shelf” components were specified where possible. The design was performed and centred on the use of standard carbon steel mass transfer packing (to provide a substrate for rust formation), and standard size poly tanks as reaction vessels.

Gas Velocity and Reactor Configuration Gas velocities up to 4m/s can be used through the RICFs. The higher velocity increases the conversion yield of hydrogen sulphide to sulphur per square metre of rust surface area (Boon, 1999). However, the high gas velocities also yield significant pressure drop. While in a new system this differential pressure could be accounted for, the constraints of the existing odour control equipment at the Sydney Street Pump Station site dictated as small a pressure drop as possible. This outweighed the increased performance obtained at higher velocities. A superficial gas velocity of 0.2m/s was chosen. Although an overall pressure loss of just 200Pa was achieved, a small booster fan was installed to ensure the design airflow of the existing odour control equipment was maintained.

Figure 5. Washing nozzle assembly.

While selecting a superficial gas velocity that was lower than usual to reduce pressure loss, the gas velocity still dictated a vessel with a height:diameter ratio of 4:1. In order to fit into standard

poly tank sizes the reaction vessel was split into two units in series. Two 1.8m diameter tanks were used, each containing 4m3 of carbon steel media. Figures 1 to 3 show a block flow diagram and photographs of the system as installed.

Media Selection The media used in RICF can be any iron material that rusts readily. A manufactured iron mass transfer packing was chosen for the Sydney Street Pump Station installation to maximise iron surface area given the site pressure drop constraints. In theory the reaction involved is fully catalytic and, therefore, the iron would not require replacement. In practice, however, iron is lost continuously via sloughing of rust particles during the intermittent media wash. As a result the media generally requires replacement every two to five years. There have been some instances in the UK where the media and unit efficiency has been retained for over 20 years. Degradation of media occurs most quickly where the hydrogen sulphide concentration is at its greatest (the inlet); as the media degrades it loses its structural integrity and can be easily compressed. Therefore, the system was designed with down-flow units. If upflow units are installed, pressure drop is generally observed to increase over time as the bottom layers of media collapse.

Wash Regeneration The main cause of a reduction in performance of RICFs is the production of free sulphur, which coats the surface of the iron in the reactor. Sulphur production is an integral part of RICF operation. It is produced both during the reaction of rust with hydrogen sulphide and the rust


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regeneration reaction. This free sulphur effectively puts a physical barrier between the hydrogen sulphide and rust, preventing further reaction. In order to reduce the sulphur barrier, reactors are periodically washed with service water. The removal is achieved through general attrition or promotion of further rusting causing flaking of the iron surface. Spent water containing sulphur is discharged back to the pump station. The length and frequency of washes is a function of the hydrogen sulphide load. In the case of the Sydney Street Pump Station a daily wash of no less than five minutes in duration is required due to the high load. The wash regeneration is responsible for iron loss over time, but is unavoidable if efficiency is to be maintained.

Figure 6. RICF hydrogen sulphide removal rate.

Duty Cycling Some installations include standby units to allow duty cycling. This configuration provides a “rest” period, allowing rust to re-form. This resting period where fresh air is blown through the unit stems from iron filter’s original use, where the general gas had low to zero oxygen content. The reaction to re-form rust could not occur until the unit was taken off-line and “rested”. As the chemistry shows, such resting is not required in wastewater odour control operation, where the gas is essentially air with 21% oxygen content and comparatively very low contaminant concentrations. As such, multiple units to allow “resting” have not been integrated into the design of the Sydney Street Pump Station.

Figure 7. BTF hydrogen sulphide removal rate.

The system design parameters as installed at Sydney Street Pump Station are shown in Table 2.

Results Due to the simplicity of design and operation, the plant was commissioned in less than a day, with foul air introduced at the end of day one. Performance proving was carried out over the following three weeks. OdaLogs were placed on the RICF inlet, outlet and BTF outlet to monitor RICF hydrogen sulphide removal rate, BTF hydrogen sulphide removal rate and hydrogen sulphide load onto the activated carbon respectively. The results are shown in Figures 6, 7 and 8.

Figure 8. RCIF hydrogen sulphide removal capacity.

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The hydrogen sulphide inlet concentration average steadily increased over the test period, varying on a daily basis from 25 to 600ppm. The initial RICF hydrogen sulphide removal rate was measured at an average of 85%. This high removal rate was achieved by allowing the

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• The improved performance of the odour control units is estimated to save $21,000;

Table 3. Installation costs. Detail


Design, specification, commissioning, proving (MWH)


Media vessels (poly tanks)


Booster fan


Carbon steel packing


Duct, piping, installation


• There have been no odour complaints from the facility since the installation of the RICF;

Total $117,004

iron media to obtain a rust layer prior to installation (by leaving the media outside for a week prior to installation). The removal rate of the RICF was observed to leap up to 90% quickly, then settle back to the expected range of 75% after a two-week period. This cycle is due to the media having a very high initial high-rust per cent per surface area value, which is then degraded slightly and maintained by the production and sloughing of sulphur on the surface. As the hydrogen sulphide concentration into the BTF had been dramatically reduced, the BTF began to recover, with removal rates increasing steadily over the test period from an average of 87% to 95% as the BTF inlet concentrations dropped back to within the design range. It is expected that the removal rate of the BTF should reach 99% based on the original supplier’s guarantee. The data obtained from the installation was compared to results from previous installations, with the following relationships confirmed: • The relationship between the removal rate (mg of H2S per m2 media surface area per minute) and superficial gas velocity is linear in nature, with the removal rate increasing with gas velocity and thus differential pressure (when compared to past data). • There is a linear relationship between

inlet concentration and removal rate per metre square surface area. A key objective of the project was to reduce the odour load at a low cost. As a result, the design of the RICF used commercially available equipment where possible. A summary of the costs for the installed system is shown in Table 3. An assessment of the whole-of-life cost of the project has shown that the reduced load on the activated carbon units will reduce the frequency of carbon replacements. This is anticipated to generate a saving of approximately $21,000 per year, a payback period for the project of less than six years.

Conclusion A rusty iron catalytic filter was installed as a method of bringing the hydrogen sulphide concentrations within the design envelope of the odour control facility at the Sydney Street Pump Station. The project has shown that rusty iron catalytic filters can be a cost-effective means of managing odour in an overloaded system. The results from the first Australian installation have shown that: • The RICF is achieving greater than 80% removal of hydrogen sulphide; • The performance of the BTF has improved following the installation of the RICF due to the reduced hydrogen sulphide concentration;

• Initial results are very promising for the trial unit, with an intention to continue recording data and monitoring performance.

The Authors

David Brooker (email: david.brooker@ is Executive Manager – Water Services with Mackay Regional Council, Mackay, Queensland. Ian Evanson (email: Ian.Evanson@ is Principal Process Engineer – Technical Leader, Odour Management at MWH, North Sydney, NSW. Ari Shammay (email: Ari.T.Shammay@ is a Senior Process Engineer at MWH, North Sydney, NSW.

References Boon A (1999): Catalytic Iron Filters for Effective Treatment of Odorous Air, Water Science and Technology, Vol 13, 3, pp 189–194, June 1999. Hobson J (2009): Catalytic Iron Filters – A Performance Note, UK Water Research Council. Jeffries D (2010): Pyrophoric Ignition Hazards in Typical Refinery Operations, CAER Safety Summit Meeting. Miscellaneous Authors (2010): Lessons Learnt – Northwich & Other Catalytic Iron Filter installations, Unpublished Internal MWH Document.

Odour Control New Generation – NEUTRALOX – Photoionisation For:


• works directly at the odour source • low maintenance • no water or chemicals needed • low power consumption

• WWTP • SPS • sludge treatment • thickener & storage processes


Industrial Plant & Service Australia Pty Ltd Unit 2, 50 Mordaunt Circuit, Canning Vale, WA 6155 Tel: 08 9456 4544 | Email:

Photoionisation Odour Control installed at a WWTP in WA


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New Odour Control Technology Deals With Difficult Odours

A case study from one of Europe’s largest WWTPs H Althoff, R Mizzi, O Augustin Abstract This paper describes the experience of replacing an existing conventional biofilter odour control system by the relatively new odour control technology called Photoionisation at one of the largest wastewater treatment plants in Europe. Odours are increasingly becoming the focus of public concern and odour nuisance, especially aligned with sewage treatment plants, can create pressure to instigate reduction strategies. Besides primary measures to minimise the release of odours, additional technical odour control is often required to achieve much greater odour reductions. This paper explains the technology of Photoionisation in detail and shows performance data and a cost comparison.

Introduction The Emscher Genossenschaft in Essen, Germany, is responsible for wastewater transportation and treatment in a densely populated catchment area with a total of 4.8 million inhabitants covering an area of 865 square kilometres. The area is called Ruhrgebiet and represents the biggest agglomeration in Germany. Here the Emscher Genossenschaft runs one of the largest wastewater treatment plants in Europe, called the Emscher Mouth Treatment Plant (EMTP). The EMTP treats sewage from a total of 2.4 million people and people equivalents sourced from industrial wastewater. The sludge treatment facility of EMTP intermittently produces bad odours depending on the age of the sludge, its composition, climatic conditions and other operational influences. Apart from the plant’s own sludge, it also receives and processes biological sludge from industry. The plant’s previously installed centralised odour control system was based on a biological filter technology, receiving odour emissions from different sources. It did not work effectively as the biofilter could not adapt to changing conditions and peak loads that occur in short periods of time. Furthermore, it required a high level of maintenance.

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These issues combined were the cause of neighborhood and government objections to the operation of the plant.

1ppm, the respective odour concentration could be within a range from below 100 to up to 10,000 OU/m³.

In 2009, the central biological filter was replaced by four decentralised Photoionisation units. Photoionisation is a relatively new odour control technology, essentially based on the application of UV light in combination with a catalyst, which was recently introduced to Australia at the Water Corporation’s Alkimos Wastewater Treatment Plant, north of Perth (Augustin and Little, 2010). Each Photoionisation unit at the EMTP was installed directly at an odour source and after their commissioning the problems with odours at the EMTP decreased to a very low and hence acceptable level. Additionally, the total power consumption decreased considerably.

Augustin and Little (2010) presented the commissioning data of a Photoionisation plant in Australia. The raw-gas odour concentration reached more than 130,000 OU/m³. The respective H2S concentration, however, was always below 10ppm. This information confirms that H2S is neither a reliable odour “indicator”, nor a suitable odour treatment “target”.

This paper presents a detailed discussion of the EMTP Operator’s experience in the use of the Photoionisation technology for odour control, examining operation, maintenance and power consumption in comparison to the former biological filter-based technology.

Wastewater Odours In the literature, municipal wastewater odours are often described by the chemical substances they consist of, especially hydrogen sulfide (H2S), which is commonly accepted as a wastewater odour “indicator”. However, effective elimination of H2S does not necessarily mean sufficient odour reduction, as odour issues at many wastewater treatment plants confirm (compare also Pickering, 2006), rather, odour is a mixture of many different organic and inorganic substances and the odour threshold of single substances does not apply to the odour mixture. Odour thresholds of single substances are laboratory data of these single substances, which cannot be confirmed under practical conditions. McGinley (2008) looked into the relation of H2S and odour. He found that, for example, at an H2S concentration of

Odour complaints generated from the EMTP were also not based on single substances but on total odour. The treatment “target”, therefore, was not based on a certain H2S value, but on odour units per m³, measured according to DIN/EN 13725. The “target” value was defined as 500 OU/m³, measured at the odour control unit outlet. This number is based on the German regulation “TA-Luft” and defines the odour limit for plants requiring operational approval. For odour control applications that do not need operational approval, this number is commonly considered as an acceptable odour limit.

Situation at Emscher Mündung (Mouth) Treatment Plant The sludge treatment facility of EMTP includes a sludge reception facility and three anaerobic digesters of 50,000m³ total volume. The generated CH4 gas is utilised for generation of electricity, which is fed into the EMTP electrical grid. In this way the organic sludge received becomes a financial revenue stream for Emscher Genossenschaft. The reception facility consists of one reception and distribution station and three reception and equalisation tanks of 9,000m³ total volume. The tanks are covered and all four odour sources are connected to the former centralised biofilter through a large underground ducting network. The biofilter essentially consisted of a humidifier station and a bio-bed. The whole system was designed for treatment of a 25,000m³/hr flow-rate, with 40kW of power installed. The bio-bed consisted

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Figure 1. Empty biofilter with perforated floor, EMTP.

Figure 2. Humidifier, EMTP.

Figure 3. PI unit at one of the tanks, EMTP.

of a 1.5m-high packed bed of wood chips. The bio-bed was aerated from below, through a perforated floor.

air with free oxygen ions. The ions are usually generated by corona-discharge technologies. Corona discharge describes the discharge process between two electrodes, which are separated by a dielectric barrier. Around the electrodes positively and negatively charged ions are formed, while the generation of ozone is typically suppressed. The technology of air-ionisation may be applied effectively for reduction of low concentrated odours and, besides odour reduction, may also kill micro-organisms. However, this technology is not suitable for treatment of highly concentrated odours such as those from wastewater treatment plants.

It was found that the EMTP odour complaints were the direct result of the changing inlet conditions of the biofilter. Biofilters adapt to certain limited inlet concentrations and hence by their nature are not necessarily very flexible in regard to changing odour types and concentrations. Different organic sludge cause different odours and the slowreacting biofilter was not able to adapt to these changing conditions within short periods of time; in fact, frequent odour breakthroughs occurred, especially in winter-time. A decision was made to upgrade the odour treatment facility.

Technology of Photoionisation Photoionisation is a “design-name” for a process that is essentially based on the application of UV light in combination with a catalyst. In contrast to conventional odour control (either biological or chemical), Photoionisation is a physical-chemical treatment method. It is sometimes misunderstood and considered to be another “ionisation technology”, but it actually describes a completely different technology. “Air-ionisation”, the conventional meaning, is used in households and commercial buildings with equipment located inside rooms or indirectly installed in ventilation systems to enrich the

As mentioned previously, “Photoionisation” is a process that is essentially based on the application of UV light and catalysts. It is an “ionisation” process, but besides the generation of ions, strong oxidants such as hydroxylradicals and ozone are also generated. Furthermore, under the radiation of UV light, Photoionisation breaks up odour components such as long-chain hydrocarbons to make them available for further oxidation. The catalysts work on the one hand by irradiation by UV light, and on the other by providing a surface to allow oxidation processes to take place. Additionally, the catalyst also has a “buffer” function that allows for effective treatment of peak odour concentrations (spikes). Photoionisation is especially suitable for treatment of highly concentrated odours and has gained a very positive reputation all

over the world. The process was developed in Germany and was first mentioned in a newspaper in 2003 (Münchner Merkur, 2003). In the US, the technology was first mentioned in 2005 and 2007, and in Great Britain in 2006. The first installation in Australia was described by Little in 2010.

Practical Importance of Photoionisation The technology of Photoionisation has gained a positive reputation all over the world with installations found in Europe, North America, Asia, Middle East and Australia. In contrast to conventional odour control, Photoionisation is essentially characterised by its high treatment efficiency, reliable operation and low maintenance demand. Only electricity is required for operation, with no other special operational conditions needed. While temperature and humidity are of importance for biological filtration systems, such environmental conditions do not affect Photoionisation. These facts allow for reliable operation. Maintenance demand is reduced to approximately one day per unit per year. The technology completely relinquishes complicated controls including sensors, dosing systems, etc, and has been described as an ideal odour control method for remote sewage pumping stations (Augustin, 2011). Photoionisation provides the following essential advantages:


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odour management • Odour is a complex mixture of organic and inorganic substances and Photoionisation treats all of them; • Both highly complex odours and single compounds are treated effectively; • The process handles peaks (spikes) through its inbuilt buffer function; • It has minimal requirements regarding inlet temperature and/or humidity; and • Its small compact units may be located in a decentralised manner, directly at odour source(s). Because of these advantages, Photoionisation is often applied to control of odours at sewage pumping stations. For EMTP, however, another advantage was important: the Photoionisation units were placed directly at their odour sources by short and direct duct connections. This configuration provided more operational flexibility, since not all tanks are used all the time, whereas the former biofilter was permanently connected to all the four odour sources through a central underground ducting network. This decentralisation allows for flexible use of the installed units and provides considerable energy savings. Due to the short duct connections and the low-pressure loss of the Photoionisation units themselves, overall system pressure loss is reduced considerably, which in

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turn reduces the installed and operation electrical power. Furthermore, the flexible use of the tanks allows shutting down single Photoionisation units if they are not required to run, which further reduces the energy consumption. The process of Photoionisation does not require a start-up time; full performance is available directly after start-up of the odour treatment unit.

Methodology Besides installation costs, the operation demand and costs for the different odour control technologies have been studied in detail. Maintenance records of the former biofilter were available. The operation of the Photoionisation units at the EMTP was also well documented. Regarding operation, the following aspects have been studied: • Electricity demand; • Demand for other consumables; • Necessary personnel input; and • Odour monitoring. Operational and investment costs have been studied based on the German standard VDI 2067. This standard allows for comparison of all relevant costs on an annualised basis, the results of which are shown in Figure 5. Investment costs are considered using an interest rate and minimum of 15 years (equipment) and 30 years (structures) operation time respectively. Operational costs for Photoionisation are mainly based on exchanging consumables about once per year. These consumables are UV-lamps, catalysts and dust filters. On the biofilter side, the main consumables are the biofilter material, which had to be replaced at least every three years. Operational costs for the biofilter were dominated by high electricity demand.

Figure 4. PI unit at the reception station, EMTP.

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The difference in energy costs is caused by the different airflow rates required for the two different systems

based on their different pressure losses. The biofilter was designed for treatment of QBF = 25,000m³/hr. This airflow rate was required to minimise concentration of odour substances in the raw off-gas. Regarding airflow, the operator stated “the more the better”. The dilution taking place through this high airflow rate helped the biofilter to stay operational. The highpressure loss of the biofilter is twofold; caused by both the extensive central piping network and the pressure loss of the filter bed itself. Photoionisation, in contrast, accepts highly concentrated odours allowing for lower airflow rates to be used. The total airflow rate of the four installed Photoionisation units amounts to only QPI = 7,500 m³/hr. Furthermore, due to the direct installation of the units at the odour sources much less piping is required and hence reduced pressure loss results. It should be noted that the biofilter design was not oversized, but the technology of biofiltration requires high dilution rates for its function. Photoionisation accepts high contaminant concentrations and does not require dilution in this range. The comparison of biofiltration and Photoionisation is therefore valid, as it is based on “function” not “flowrate”. Chemical scrubbers were not considered, due to expectations of high control and maintenance requirements. Odour monitoring has been done on the basis of taking grab samples by gas detection tubes and periodical online H2S measurement by ODALOGs. Odour monitoring still continues; however, most important for the EMTP Plant Management is that the odour complaints have decreased to a minimum and are not now linked to the sludge reception facility.

Results Operational costs have been analysed and are presented according to VDI 2067 as annualised results (see Figure 5). The comparison shows that the Photoionisation process is extremely competitive in regard to these costs. The technology provides large savings in energy consumption and personnel input. Furthermore, the decentralised approach provides considerable operation flexibility. Before installation of the full-scale Photoionisation units, testing was carried out with a mobile demonstration unit. The demonstration unit was made available by Neutralox Umwelttechnik GmbH. The test was carried out for two reasons: to demonstrate the effectiveness and suitability of the process under real operation conditions; and to collect design data.

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The Authors 70,000.00 60,000.00 50,000.00






20,000.00 10,000.00 0.00



Figure 5. Complete costs comparison, EUR/year. During testing, Olfactometry analysis according to DIN EN 13725 was carried out, with the results as shown in Tables 1 and 2 below.

odour freight would have been 12.5*106 OU/hr. With the Photoionisation units, the odour freight has been reduced to 1.5*106 OU/hr.

These highly varying odour


concentrations are typical for different parts of the EMTP facilities. Interestingly, although the cleaned gas has an odour reading, it is a rather pleasant odour – nothing like the odour from sewage or sludge.

Continuous H2S analysis of the fullscale installations have shown that raw gas concentrations greatly vary and often reach 100ppm and more. Although the H2S concentration is typically around 20ppm, peaks frequently reach more than 100ppm. Mercaptanes and dimethyl sulfide have been detected in the range of 60–80ppm. Gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis confirmed that other substances, especially sulfurorganic substances, alcohols, esters, alkenes and aromatic hydrocarbons, are contained in the raw gas. It should be noted that the low odour output in OU/m³, together with the much lower total airflow rate in m³/hr, reduces the total odour and emission freight (OU/hr) considerably. If the biofilter had achieved the required 500 OU/m³, the

Photoionisation odour control has proven to be competitive with conventional biofilter odour control; however, it provides some important additional advantages and higher performance. Investment costs of the two systems have been found to be approximately equal. Although larger biofilters get specifically less expensive, the underground ducting network contributes considerably to the costs. The Photoionisation units consist of stainless steel housings, which, in contrast to the concrete biofilter structure, influence the investment costs, whereas the savings in using the technology are mainly in the energy consumption costs and to a lesser extent the O&M costs. Decentralised application of the Photoionisation technology allows for savings in operation costs. Over and above costs savings, Photoionisation provides a higher degree of operation safety, because the technology is less sensitive to environmental conditions and changing odour loads.

Table 1. Odour concentration test results. Date

Raw untreated gas

Cleaned gas


60,000 – 89,000 OU/m³

60 – 140 OU/m³


2,500 – 4,500 OU/m³

140 – 210 OU/m³


2,500 – 270,000 OU/m³

57 – 210 OU/m³

Table 2. Contaminant concentration test results (n.d. = not detected). Compound/Date

Raw untreated gas

Cleaned gas

Mercaptanes, 02.06.2008

65 ppm


H2S, 02.06.2008

91 ppm


H2S, 18.07.2008

3 – 20 ppm

< 0.2 ppm

Heiko Althoff (email: althoff.heiko@ was the Plant Operator at the EMTP when the Photoionisation units were installed. Today he is a Group Leader managing 10 Wastewater Treatment Plants at Emscher Genossenschaft, Essen, Germany. Ray Mizzi (email: is a Mechanical Engineer who graduated from NSWIT, Sydney, in 1986 and after working for Demag (now Siemens) for 23 years, is now General Manager of IPS Australia Pty Ltd’s Service Centre in Canning Vale, Western Australia. Among other duties he is responsible for the Marketing and Sales of Neutralox Photoionisation Odour Control Equipment for Australia and New Zealand. Oliver Augustin (email: has a Master of Engineering degree from the University of Applied Sciences in Cologne, Germany. He has 20 years’ experience in the fields of renewable energies and the wastewater industry. Since 2007 he has held the position of Vice Director, responsible for the international marketing for Neutralox Umwelttechnik GmbH.

References Augustin (2005): New off-gas treatment technologies based on photo-catalytical treatment and ionization, Nashville, TN, US, April 2005. Augustin (2006): Odour control and off-gas treatment based on photo-catalytical oxidation, CIWEM 4th Annual Conference, Newcastle, GB, September 2006. Augustin & Little (2010): A new odour control option for sewers and pump stations, 6th International Conference on Sewer Processes and Networks, November 2010, Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Australia. Augustin (2011): Odour and emission control at sewage pumping stations, Singapore Water Week, June 2011. Pickering (2006): Odour vs. Hydrogen Sulfide as a site emission monitor CIWEM 4th Annual Conference, Newcastle, GB, September 2006. Dzienis, Bartkowska & Augustin (2007): Odour control by photo-catalytical ionization, Conference Moncton, Canada 2007. McGinley (2008): Odour Threshold Emission Factors for Common WWTP Processes, WEF Odors and Emissions Conference, Phoenix AZ, USA, 2008. Münchner Merkur (2003): Kläranlage: Geruchsfrei für 160.000 Euro (WWTP odour-free for 160,000 EUR), 17 May 2003.


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LABORATORY SCALE INVESTIGATIONS OF POTENTIAL ODOUR REDUCTION STRATEGIES IN BIOSOLIDS Results from Phase 1 trials of chemical addition and centrifuge speed methods at Woodman Point WWTP

Y Gruchlik, A Heitz, C Joll, H Driessen, L Fouche, N Penney, J Charrois Abstract


This study investigated sources of odours from biosolids produced from a Western Australian wastewater treatment plant and examined potential odour reduction strategies on a laboratory scale. Odour reduction methods that were trialled included chemical additions and reduction of centrifuge speed. Chemical addition trials were conducted by adding alum, polyaluminium chloride or ferric chloride to digested sludge that had been sampled prior to the dewatering stage. Trials of chemical addition (alum) to plant dewatered cake were also undertaken. The impact of reducing centrifuge speed on biosolids odour was also investigated using a laboratory scale centrifuge calibrated to operate such that the shear forces on the sample would, as closely as possible, represent those on the plant.

Beneficial reuse of biosolids using land application is a viable and important practice for the water industry and the agricultural community. Land application offers a low-cost disposal option for biosolids and a low-cost nutrient source/soil amendment for a variety of applications including agricultural and mine site reclamation projects. However, one of the main limitations that may restrict land application programs is nuisance odours associated with biosolids.

To identify the odorous compounds present in biosolids and to assess the effectiveness of the odour reduction measures, headspace solid-phase microextraction coupled with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (HS SPME-GC-MS) methods were developed. Target odour compounds included volatile sulphur compounds (e.g. DMS, DMDS, DMTS) and other volatile organic compounds (toluene, ethylbenzene, styrene, p-cresol, indole, skatole and geosmin). In our laboratory trials, aluminium sulphate added to digested sludge prior to dewatering offered the best odour reduction strategy among the options that were investigated, resulting in approximately 40% reduction in peak concentration of the total volatile organic sulphur compounds (TVOSC), relative to a control sample. Keywords: Odour, biosolids, sludge, volatile sulphur compounds, odour reduction, odorants.

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Odour production in biosolids is influenced by many complex factors. These include: (1) reactions of proteins, amino acids and enzyme activity; (2) relationships between odours and concentrations of odorants; (3) impact of process variables upstream of the anaerobic digestion stage; (4) process variables within the anaerobic digestion stage and various enhancements to the anaerobic digestion process; (5) impact of the biosolids dewatering and conveyance processes; (6) polymer addition; (7) chemical addition; and (8) storage of biosolids cake (Adams et al., 2008). Many compounds have been associated with odours from biosolids facilities. Some of the most relevant include volatile organic sulphur compounds (VOSCs) such as: methanethiol (MT), dimethyl sulphide (DMS), dimethyl disulphide (DMDS), dimethyl trisulphide (DMTS), as well as inorganic sulphur compounds such as hydrogen sulphide (H2S) (Higgins et al., 2008). Nitrogenous compounds such as trimethylamine (TMA), ammonia and volatile fatty acids (VFA) are also potential sources of odour (Higgins et al., 2008). Odorous volatile aromatic compounds (OVACs) such as toluene, ethylbenzene,

styrene, p-cresol, indole and skatole have also been identified in headspace samples from stored biosolids (Chen et al., 2006). The Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) conducted a multiphase collaborative study investigating several factors that influence odour formation in biosolids (Adams et al., 2003a; Adams et al., 2003b, 2008). This study was based on an in-depth sampling and analysis of biosolids and headspace samples from several different wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) facilities across North America and involved laboratory scale experiments as well as field trials. A key recommendation from this study noted that no single odour reduction strategy suited all wastewater treatment facilities. Consideration must be given to the site-specific conditions that make up the sludge and biosolids characteristics, such as sewerage inflow, treatment processes used and operational aspects (e.g. sludge handling times, sludge temperature etc). In most cases, â&#x20AC;&#x153;trialand-errorâ&#x20AC;? laboratory or pilot-scale approaches are required to find the most suitable odour reduction strategy. In order to assess the effectiveness of any potential biosolids odour reduction strategy, appropriate sampling and analytical techniques are required to accurately measure the odorous compounds present in the biosolids cake. In the WERF studies, Glindemann et al. (2006) used a static headspace method for the analysis of odorous gases from dewatered sludge cakes in the laboratory. In this method the static headspace gases were analysed for volatile sulphur compounds (MT, DMS, DMDS and carbon disulphide) and TMA by cryo-trappingGC-MS. This method utilised gas-tight bottles for incubating biosolids and involved manual sampling and injection

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of the headspace gases into the GC inlet using a gas-tight syringe (Glindemann et al., 2006). Although this method has been reported to be representative of the biosolids storage pile interior, easy to use and highly reproducible (Glindemann et al., 2006), manual injections of the headspace gases into the GC inlet are time consuming and laborious, and limited to analysis of only a few samples. Solid-phase microextraction (SPME) has been used in the analysis of trace levels of volatile organic sulphur compounds as well as other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in various matrices, such as aqueous (e.g. Kristiana et al., 2010), headspace (e.g. Kim et al., 2002) and ambient air (e.g. HaberhauerTroyer et al., 1999). This technique is rapid, relatively inexpensive, easily automated and solvent-free. It also allows for minimal sample handling, which is highly desirable in the analysis of volatile compounds. In this procedure, the analytes of interest are adsorbed onto a thin polymer film or porous carbonaceous materials that are bonded to a fused silica fibre (SUPELCO, Bulletin 923, 1998; Visan and Parker, 2004). Ideally, equilibrium is reached between the odour matrix and fibre, but for accuracy and precision, consistent sampling time, temperature and fibre immersion depth are more important than equilibrium (SUPELCO, Bulletin 923, 1998; Visan and Parker, 2004). SPME is compatible with analyte separation/detection by GC-MS or HPLC and gives linear results for wide concentrations of analytes. When SPME

is coupled with GC-MS, the analytes adsorbed onto the fibre are released by way of thermal desorption in the vapourising injector port of the GC and are transferred onto the GC column (Pawliszyn, 1997). By controlling the polarity and thickness of the coating on the fibre, maintaining consistent sampling time, and adjusting several other extraction parameters, highly consistent and quantifiable results can be obtained from low concentrations of analytes (SUPELCO, Bulletin 923, 1998). SPME coupled with GC-MS has been used for the analysis of odorous compounds in several biosolids projects. For example, Turkmen et al. (2004) have reported the use of SPME-GC-MS for the analysis of DMS, DMDS, methyl merceptan, H2S, CS2, trimethylamine and dimethylamine in anaerobically digested wastewater sludge. However, this method required the use of a complicated set-up for SPME calibration and sampling of the gaseous odorants. Visan and Parker (2004) used SPME-GC-MS for the analysis of TMA, DMS, DMDS and methyl mercaptan in stored biosolids. This method used permeation devices and complicated apparatus for sampling of gaseous standards of the odorants and involved manual injection of the SPME fibre into the GC injector (Vissan and Parker, 2004). In this study we have used SPMEGC-MS for the analysis of odorous compounds in the headspace of wet biosolids. In this method the biosolids samples were analysed as “aqueous” samples. This method does not require any complex sampling equipment, is reproducible and the analysis is fully automated, allowing for a higher throughput of samples.

Project Aims

Figure 1. An aerial view of Woodman Point WWTP, Perth, Western Australia.

The aims of this study were to: (1) determine the most suitable odour reduction strategy for biosolids produced at our test site and (2) develop analytical methods to identify the chemical compounds responsible for the odour in biosolids from our test site and to assess the effectiveness of the trialled odour reduction measures. In this paper we present the results from Phase I laboratory scale trials

of chemical addition and centrifuge speed trials as means of odour reduction. The methodology used to conduct these trials and to identify the odorous compounds is also described.

The Test Site Woodman Point WWTP (Figure 1) in the Perth metropolitan area was chosen as the test site for this study. The key driver for choosing Woodman Point was that the produced sludge and biosolids were perceived to be more odorous compared to similar materials produced at other treatment plants. Additionally, during the course of the project Woodman Point was less likely to have interruptions in the sludge handling/production process. The plant was also easy to access and sample, and it has the most current technology for processing sludge. The plant typically handles between 120–140 million litres of wastewater per day (120– 140ML/d) with 99% of the wastewater being derived from households (Water Corporation, 2012). It is an activated sludge plant that uses sequencing batch reactors (SBR) and egg-shaped digesters (Figure 2) to process the sludge. The advantage of using SBR over the conventional aeration tank systems is that the biological treatment and clarification are completed in a single step, thereby reducing costs and space (Water Corporation, 2012). The eggshaped digesters are operated in the mesophilic range (35–37°C) and offer several advantages over the conventional cylindrical anaerobic digesters, namely better mixing and heating. The digester feed is a 1:1 mixture of primary sludge and waste-activated sludge with a typical dry solids (DS) content of 4–6% and the average solids retention time (SRT) is > 20 days. The digested sludge (dry solids content of 2–4%) is then dewatered using high solids centrifuges. The resulting dewatered biosolids cake has a dry solids content of approximately 17–19% (Water Corporation, 2012).

Materials and Methods Chemicals and materials Anaerobically digested sludge (DS 3.7%, SRT 19 days) and plant-dewatered biosolids cake (DS 16.9%) samples were obtained from Woodman Point WWTP. Polymer used for dewatering was a powder polymer FO4800SSH from SNF (supplied by Water Corporation) with a molecular weight of approximately 8 million and a charge density of 80%. Aluminium sulphate and polyaluminium chloride, used in the chemical addition trials, were sourced from water treatment


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Figure 2. Egg-shaped digesters at Woodman Point WWTP. At 38 metres high, they are the largest of their type in the Southern Hemisphere. plant operations at Water Corporation of Western Australia (WCWA). Aluminium sulphate was used as a 56% w/v solution. Polyaluminium chloride (PAC23 from Orica) was used as a 23% w/v solution in aluminium oxide. Ferric chloride was used as a 36% w/v solution, prepared in-house from analytical grade ferric chloride (Sigma-Aldrich). Analytical standards for: sodium thiomethoxide, ethanethiol, DMS, DMDS, DMTS, ethyl methyl sulphide (EMS), diethyl disulphide (DEDS), toluene, ethylbenzene, styrene, p-cresol, indole, skatole and geosmin were purchased from Sigma-Aldrich at purity ≥ 99%. Deuterated dimethyl disulphide (DMDS-d6) was purchased from SigmaAldrich. Deuterated ethylbenzene (ethylbenzene-d10) was purchased from Cambridge Isotope Laboratories Inc. Methanol was HPLC grade from Fischer Scientific. Anhydrous granular sodium sulphate was purchased from Ajax Finechem and was baked at 400°C for a minimum of four hours prior to use. Two SPME fibres were used: 50/30 μm divinylbenzene-carboxenpolydimethylsiloxane (DVB-CAR-PDMS) and 65 μm polydimethylsiloxanedivinylbenzene (PDMS-DVB).

Laboratory scale dewatering For our laboratory-scale dewatering procedure, 600–800g of digested sludge in a 1L glass beaker was stirred at 200rpm for 30 seconds using a jar tester. A polymer solution (0.3% w/v; polymer dose was based on the average amount used at Woodman Point WWTP) was added and the resulting mixture was stirred at 200rpm for another 30 seconds and then stirred at 50rpm for 90 seconds. This mixing regime was based on the mixing regime reported by Higgins (2010). The sludge mixture was then dewatered using a laboratory centrifuge (Heraeus

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Multifuge 3S with a maximum rotational radius of 18.2cm) at 3850rpm for 20 minutes. The combined wet cake was then pressed between two mediumdensity fibreboards (MDF) (300mm x 300mm; 7mm thick) encased in polyethylene wrap and lined with sheets of Whatman No 1 filter paper to absorb the excess water. Pressure was applied by placing weights totalling approximately 8kg on top of the MDF boards. To simulate the high shear experienced in the plant centrifuge, the sample cake was processed through a manual food mincer (Avanti food mincer #8) which pushed the cake through a “scrollconveyor”, followed by extrusion through several openings, each 8mm in diameter. The lab-dewatered biosolids cake had a similar texture and odour to the plant dewatered sample. The solids content of the lab-dewatered cake was comparable to that of the plant dewatered cake.

Chemical addition to digested sludge prior to dewatering Individual samples, of anaerobically digested sludge (approximately 800g each) in 1L glass beakers, were treated with aluminium sulphate (alum), polyaluminium chloride and ferric chloride at doses of 2% and 4% of metal on a dry weight basis. The samples were mixed using a jar tester. The mixing regime used was based on that reported by Higgins (2010) and is shown in Figure 3. A control sample, with no chemical

Chemical Addition

addition, was also prepared. The samples were dewatered using the dewatering procedure described above. The resulting biosolids cake samples (approximately 200g) were incubated at room temperature in 1L Schott bottles. The samples were wrapped in aluminium foil to protect from light and were monitored for evolution of sulphur compounds (DMS, EMS, DMDS, DEDS and DMTS) by HS SPME-GC-MS every other day for 20 days. The samples were also analysed for the production of OVACs (toluene, ethylbenzene, styrene, p-cresol, indole, and skatole) by HS SPME-GC-MS weekly for 37 days.

Chemical addition to plant-dewatered cake Samples of the plant dewatered biosolids (approximately 85g) in 400mL glass beakers were treated with aluminium sulphate hydrate at doses of 2% and 4% of metal on dry weight basis and mixed manually with a stainless steel spatula for approximately two minutes. A control sample (no chemical addition) was prepared in the same way. The cake samples were incubated at room temperature in 250mL Schott bottles. Samples were wrapped in aluminium foil to protect from light and were monitored for evolution of sulphur compounds by HS SPME-GC-MS every other day for 14 days. The samples were also analysed for the production of OVACs by HS SPME-GC-MS weekly for 16 days.

Polymer Addition

Mix 200 rpm, 30 s


Mix 200 rpm, 30 s

Mix 50 rpm, 90 s

Figure 3. Mixing regime used in trials of chemical addition to digested sludge.

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Centrifuge speed trials Samples of digested sludge (approximately 600g) were dewatered at 3850rpm (control speed), 3460rpm (10% reduction in speed, relative to control) and 3080rpm (20% reduction in speed, relative to control) using the dewatering procedure described above. The resulting biosolids cake samples (approximately 190g) were incubated at room temperature in 500mL Schott bottles. Samples were wrapped in aluminium foil and monitored for evolution of sulphur compounds by HS SPME-GC-MS every other day for 20 days. The samples were also analysed for the production of OVACs by HS SPME-GC-MS weekly for 23 days.

HS SPME-GC-MS procedure for the analysis of sulphur compounds Sulphur compounds (DMS, EMS, DMDS, DEDS and DMTS) were analysed by headspace SPME using a 50/30 μm DVBCAR-PDMS fibre, followed by GC–MS analysis. SPME was performed using a Gerstel MPS2 Autosampler interfaced with a Hewlett Packard 6890N GC and a Hewlett Packard 5973 Network Mass Selective Detector. A 50–80mg sample of biosolids cake was placed into a Teflon-lined screw cap vial (20mL) and 10mL of a 500ng/L DMDS-d6 internal standard solution in MilliQ water was added, followed by 3g of anhydrous sodium sulphate. The SPME fibre was introduced into the headspace of the vials and extraction was carried out for 10 minutes at 40°C. The fibre was then desorbed at 230°C for four minutes in the injector port of the GC, while the analytes were simultaneously cryofocused on the GC column at 0°C. GC separation of the sulphur compounds was carried out using helium as the carrier gas at 1.0mL/ min, and a 30m x 0.25mm x 1 µm ZB5MS (Phenomenex®) capillary column. The mass spectrometer (MS) operated in selected ion monitoring (SIM) mode and for each sulphur compound, the most abundant ion was used for quantitation and 1–2 characteristic m/z ions were selected for MS confirmation. Samples were analysed against standards of the pure compounds with deuterated DMDS (DMDS-d6) as an internal standard.

HS SPME-GC-MS procedure for the analysis of OVACs and geosmin The OVACs (toluene, ethylbenzene, styrene, p-cresol, indole and skatole) and geosmin were analysed using a similar procedure to that described above for the sulphur compounds except that a 65 μm PDMS-DVB fibre was used, and extraction was carried out for 30 minutes at 60°C. The fibre was desorbed at 250°C for five minutes in the injector port of the GC and the analytes were

not cryofocused. The MS operated in SIM mode and for each compound, the most abundant ion was used for quantitation and 1–2 characteristic m/z ions were selected for MS confirmation. Samples were analysed against standards of pure compounds using deuterated ethylbenzene (ethylbenzene-d10) as an internal standard.

SPME-GC-MS method for the analysis of OVACs and geosmin also showed good repeatability (1%–7% RSD) and reproducibility (4%–15% RSD). However, since the matrix effects had not been fully investigated, the methods can only be considered as semi-quantitative at this point.

Results and Discussion

Certain sulphur compounds can be susceptible to thermal degradation under certain GC conditions. For example, dimethylpolysulphides (e.g. DMDS, DMTS) are susceptible to disproportionation and thermal degradation, with thermally induced disproportionation resulting in the formation of lower dimethylpolysulphide homologues and elemental sulphur (Kristiana et al., 2010).

Validation and optimisation of the HS SPME-GC-MS methods for the analysis of sulphur compounds and OVACs GC-MS conditions for the analysis of sulphur compounds and OVACs were optimised, in order to achieve maximum sensitivity, good baseline separation of analytes and Gaussian peak shapes. In order to optimise the sensitivity of the method and to minimise interferences from other compounds, the mass spectrometer was operated in SIM mode.

Thermal degradation of analytes

In order to confirm that thermal degradation of analytes had not occurred using our method conditions, aqueous solutions of individual compounds (10 μg/L) were analysed with the MS operating in full scan mode (50–300 m/z). The resulting chromatograms were examined for degradation products by extracting the relevant mass ions corresponding to possible degradation products. To investigate whether there were any interactions between compounds, aqueous solutions containing different combinations of two compounds (each at 10 μg/L) were also analysed and the resulting chromatograms analysed for evidence of compound interactions and the presence of by-products resulting from interaction between compounds (i.e. “scrambled” compounds).

HS SPME parameters (fibre type, extraction temperature and time, and desorption conditions) were optimised to give the best analyte responses, while minimising analyte degradation and carry-over. These parameters were optimised using Teflon-lined screw cap vials (20mL) containing aqueous solutions of the analytes (5 μg/L). For the sulphur compounds the best analyte responses were obtained with the 50/30 μm DVBCAR-PDMS fibre, while the 65 μm PDMSDVB fibre gave the best responses for the OVACs and geosmin. Details of the optimised conditions for each method are described in the Methods section above. Table 1. Odour threshold concentrations for the The linearity of the responses obtained from the analysis of the sulphur compounds and OVACs, and sensitivity and precision of the two methods were evaluated. Linear calibration curves with high correlation coefficients were achieved for all analytes. The method limits of detection and quantification (MLODs and MLOQs) were calculated from six blank MilliQ analyses, via the mean concentration plus three times the standard deviation for the MLOD, and 10 times for the MLOQ. The MLODs and MLOQs for all analytes were all below their odour threshold concentrations (Table 1). Good repeatability (1%–9% RSD) and reproducibility (3%–10% RSD) were obtained for the HS SPMEGC-MS method for the analysis of sulphur compounds. The HS

analytes of interest. Compound

Odour detection threshold in water (μg/L)

Dimethyl sulphide


Dimethyl disulphide


Dimethyl trisulphide














Geosmin a


Buttery et al. (1990)


Buttery et al. (1976)


Alexander et al. (1982)


Baker (1963)


Buttery et al. (1988)


Yan et al. (2011)


Suffet et al. (1999)


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100000 Abundance


80000 60000


5000000 4000000

1000000 0





10.3 10.8 11.3 12.1 13.2 14.3 15.4 16.5 17.6 18.7 Retention time (min)

Figure 4. Typical chromatogram of a biosolids sample, showing peaks for DMS, DMDS and DMTS. Sample analysed using the HS SPME-GC-MS method for analysis of sulphur compounds in selected-ion monitoring mode using a ZB-5MS capillary column. For the majority of the sulphur compounds there was no evidence of degradation products or “scrambled” compounds. However, methanethiol was oxidised to DMDS (major peak) and DMTS (minor peak). Ethanethiol (ET) was oxidised to DEDS (major) with only a very minor peak visible for ET. A mixture of MT and ET showed major peaks for DEDS and the “scrambled” compound methyl ethyl disulphide (MEDS) as well as smaller peaks for DMDS and DMTS. Since MT and ET were oxidised to DMDS and DMTS, and DEDS, respectively, and also reacted with each other, they were excluded from the mixed standard solution. Based on these results, it was assumed that any MT present in the biosolids would be transformed to DMDS and DMTS. Similarly, any ET present in the biosolids would be converted to DEDS.

Retention time (minutes)

Figure 5. Typical chromatogram of a stored biosolids sample showing the presence of indole and skatole. Sample analysed using the HS SPME-GC-MS method for analysis of OVACs in selected-ion monitoring mode using a ZB-5MS capillary column. 350 TVOSC concentration (ng/g)



3000000 2000000


20000 0


6.6 6.9 7.3 7.7 8.0 8.4 8.7 9.1 9.4 9.8 10.1 10.5 10.9 11.2 11.6 11.9 12.3 12.6 13.0 13.4 13.7 14.1 14.4 14.8 15.1 15.5 15.8 16.2 16.6 16.9 17.3 17.6 18.0 18.3 18.7



7000000 Abundance


Control 2% Al 4% Al

300 250 200 150 100 50 0








12 13 15 16 19 20

Day of analysis

Odorous compounds identified in biosolids samples from Woodman Point WWTP

Figure 6. Effect of aluminium sulphate addition to digested sludge on TVOSC production.

Analysis of a relatively fresh biosolids sample (less than a week old) using the HS SPME-GC-MS method for the analysis of sulphur compounds showed the presence of DMS, DMDS and DMTS. No EMS or DEDS were observed in biosolids samples. A typical chromatogram of compounds detected in a biosolids sample is shown in Figure 4.

the biosolids samples were analysed as “aqueous” samples as described in the Methods Section. Although the method is not fully quantitative at this point, it is reproducible, simple, relatively quick and fully automated. Odours of the biosolids samples from the subsequent odour reduction trials were assessed in terms of the concentration of total volatile organic sulphur compounds (TVOSC), measured as the sum of the DMS, DMDS and DMTS concentrations present in the biosolids sample, and expressed as nanogram per gram of moist biosolids sample used (ng/g). Thus, the odour reduction (or increase) was considered to be the reduction (or increase) in the TVOSC concentration relative to a control sample.

A biosolids sample, which had been stored at room temperature for a few months, exhibited a very strong faecal/ nauseating odour, probably caused by indole and skatole, which showed strong peaks in chromatograms obtained using HS SPME-GC-MS (Figure 5). These compounds were not detected in the fresh biosolids samples. This finding is consistent with WERF reports that one of the major sources of odours during the first 1–2 weeks of biosolids storage is due to the production of VOSCs by microbial degradation of sulphur-containing amino acids (Higgins, et al., 2003, 2006; Chen et al., 2006), while the OVACs start to accumulate only after VOSCs have been depleted (Chen et al., 2004; 2006).

Chemical addition to digested sludge prior to dewatering

Analysis of biosolids samples from the odour reduction trials

A 37% reduction of peak TVOSC concentration was observed for an alum dose of 2% (based on aluminium), while a 4% alum dose resulted in a 40% reduction of peak TVOSC concentration, relative to the control sample (Figure 6). The odour reductions observed in our laboratory trials were lower than the odour reductions observed by the WERF research team. In their laboratory trials, Adams et al. (2008) reported that a dose of 0.5% alum (based on aluminium) added to digested sludge prior to dewatering resulted in approximately 80% reduction of peak TVOSC concentration, while a 2% alum dose gave approximately 90% reduction in peak TVOSC concentration. The reasons for the observed differences in the odour reductions obtained in our laboratory trials and those reported by Adams et al. could be due to a number of different factors, namely the sludge properties, type of polymer used, chemical contact time, mixing, shear and interactions between the metal and polymer.

In this preliminary study, we have focussed only on analysing odorous compounds in the headspace of wet biosolids. Thus,

A dose of 2% polyaluminium chloride (based on aluminium) resulted in an 11% increase in the peak TVOSC concentration

Using our method for the analysis of OVACs, the presence of geosmin was also detected in fresher biosolids samples, which still contained some sulphur compounds but exhibited a more earthy/musty odour. Other types of compounds which were tentatively identified based on their mass spectra and/or library matches, but not confirmed with authentic analytical standards, included various long chain aliphatic hydrocarbons, terpenes, alkyl benzenes and other aromatic compounds, and some of these may well have contributed to the earthy musty odour.

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TVOCS concentration (ng/g)

TVOCS concentration (ng/g)

in the resulting biosolids cake by 350 50 to over 95% for most of the 300 sludges (Novak 250 et al., 2010). 200 Direct addition 150 of iron (4% dose) to biosolids cake 100 also significantly 50 reduced 0 the TVOSC 0 1 2 5 6 7 8 12 13 15 16 19 20 concentrations (Higgins, 2010). Day of analysis The contradictory Figure 7. Effect of polyaluminium chloride addition to digested results obtained from various sludge on TVOSC production. studies using in the resulting cake, while a 4% dose iron are most likely due to the sludge gave a 40% reduction in the peak TVOSC properties, location of iron addition and concentration of the biosolids cake, polymer-iron interactions (Higgins, 2010). relative to the control (Figure 7). Addition of iron at the 2% dose resulted in only Comparison of TVOSC profiles in a slight decrease (23%) in peak TVOSC Figures 6 to 8 showed that in all three concentration, while addition of iron at cases the TVOSC concentrations peaked the 4% dose resulted in a 50% increase within the first week of incubation and in peak TVOSC concentration, relative to then decreased, which was consistent control (Figure 8). The observed increase with previously reported research (e.g. in TVOSC concentration obtained with Higgins et al., 2003; Adams et al., 2008). the 4% iron dose in our trials is somewhat Chemical addition to consistent with earlier findings of the plant-dewatered cake WERF study. Higgins (2010) reported that adding Results from the Phase III WERF study metal salts directly to the cake gave showed that, in general, an increase a better TVOSC reduction compared to in iron concentration in the sludge or adding the salts during the conditioning biosolids resulted in higher TVOSC and dewatering step. However, addition concentrations in the dewatered biosolids to the cake also resulted in a greater headspace, especially if iron was added reduction in the pH of the cake to levels prior to or during digestion (Adams, et al., probably below those desirable for land 2008). It was also found that addition of application. In our laboratory trials, a 2% ferric chloride to anaerobically digested dose of aluminium sulphate (based on sludge before dewatering did not reduce aluminium) resulted in a 24% increase in TVOSC emissions from cake until the iron peak TVOSC concentration, while addition dose was at least 8% on a dry massof 4% aluminium sulphate resulted in mass basis (Adams, et al., 2008). approximately 70% decrease in peak Results from recent laboratory studies, TVOSC concentration, relative to the using batch anaerobic digestion, have control sample. However, the pH of the shown that iron addition to the digester cake treated with 4% aluminium sulphate feed reduced TVOSC concentrations was also significantly reduced (pH 4.2) to levels that may 800 not be suitable for Control land application. 700 2% Fe These results are 4% Fe 600 consistent with the 500 results reported by Higgins (2010). 400 400

Control 2% PAC 4% PAC


Centrifuge speed trials

200 100 0








12 13 15 16 19 20

Day of analysis

Figure 8. Effect of ferric chloride addition to digested sludge on TVOSC production.

Reducing the centrifuge bowl speed and/or torque can reduce the amount of shear imparted on biosolids, thereby

reducing the odour of the dewatered cake (Adams et al., 2008). In a full-scale test, a 10% reduction in centrifuge bowl speed on one high-solids centrifuge resulted in 20% reduction of TVOSC emissions from dewatered cake with no observed reduction in cake solids concentration (Adams et al., 2008). In our laboratory trials, a 20% reduction in centrifuge speed (3080rpm) resulted in an approximate 30% decrease in peak TVOSC concentration, relative to the control. However, the solids content of the resulting cake was also significantly reduced which would not be desirable from the point of view of WWTP operations.

Analysis of OVACs in biosolids samples from the odour reduction trials No significant concentrations of OVACs were detected in biosolids samples derived from chemically treated digested sludge. In most cases compounds were either at or below limits of quantification for the method. However, traces of geosmin were detected in all biosolids samples.

Conclusions and Future Work This study identified some of the major odorous compounds in biosolids samples obtained from a Western Australian WWTP and investigated chemical addition and reduction of centrifuge speed as potential odour reduction strategies. In this study all experimentation was limited to laboratory scale work. Aluminium sulphate addition (4% based on aluminium) to digested sludge prior to dewatering offered the best odour reduction strategy among the options that were investigated, resulting in approximately 40% reduction in peak TVOSC concentration, relative to a control sample. Reduction of centrifuge speed would not be a viable option for our test WWTP as it resulted in a reduction in the solids content of the resulting biosolids cake. In most cases, results obtained from the HS SPME-GC-MS analyses were in general agreement with qualitative observations by a single trained odour assessor. In future studies, it would be beneficial to include dilution olfactometry measurements to obtain a more rigorous assessment of the overall odour generated from biosolids cake and to correlate/compare the results with measurements obtained using HS SPMEGC-MS. In addition, it would be useful to determine the nature of odour compounds in aged biosolids in which the very


NOVEMBER 2012 63

odour management objectionable and most organoleptically potent compounds such as VOSCs and organic nitrogen compounds have been depleted. It would also be advantageous to determine whether these odours are considered objectionable or not, and at what concentrations do the odours become acceptable.

Adams GA, Witherspoon J, Card T, Erdal Z, Forbes B, McEwen D, Geselbracht J, Glindemann D, Hargreaves R, Hentz L, Higgins M & Murthy S (2003b): Identifying and Controlling Odour in the Municipal Wastewater Environment Phase 2: Impacts of In-Plant Parameters on Biosolids Odour Quality. Water Environment Research Foundation Report No 00-HHE-5T, Alexandria, VA, USA.

While studies conducted in this project utilised sludge and biosolids samples from just one WWTP, future studies will expand the scope to include biosolids and sludge sourced from other WWTPs. This would provide information on odorous compounds in biosolids produced at other WWTPs and determine whether the trialled odour reduction strategies are applicable to more than one type of wastewater treatment system.

Adams GA, Witherspoon J, Erdal Z, Forbes B, McEwen D, Hargreaves R, Higgins MJ & Novak J (2008): Identifying and Controlling Odour in the Municipal Wastewater Environment Phase 3: Biosolids Processing Modifications for Cake Odour Reduction. Water Environment Research Foundation Report No 03-CTS-9T, Alexandria, VA, USA.

Acknowledgements The Authors wish to thank the Water Corporation for their financial and technical support of this project. They also acknowledge the co-operation of the ChemCentre of Western Australia for allowing use of their laboratory centrifuge.

The Authors Dr Yolanta Gruchlik (email: is a Research Fellow with the Curtin Water Quality Research Centre (CWQRC) at Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia. She is currently leading a project investigating potential odour reduction strategies in biosolids and has also been involved in several projects related to drinking water quality. Associate Professor Anna Heitz is a Senior Process Specialist with Arenko Pty Ltd and a former CWQRC Director. Associate Professor Cynthia Joll is the Deputy Director of the CWQRC and an academic staff member of Curtin University’s Chemistry Department. Associate Professor Jeffrey Charrois is the current CWQRC Director. Hanna Driessen is a PhD student and Lise Fouche is researcher at the CWQRC. Nancy Penney is a Biosolids Strategist at the Water Corporation and Chair of the Australian and New Zealand Biosolids Partnership (ANZBP).

References Adams GM, Hargreaves R, Witherspoon J, Ong H, Burrowes P, Easter C, Dickey J, James F, MacPherson L, Porter R, Quigley C, Sloan A, Stone L, Card T, Corsi R, Hentz L, Balchunas BM & Kopchynski D (2003a): Identifying and Controlling Odour in the Municipal Wastewater Environment Phase 1: Literature Search and Review. Water Environment Research Foundation Report No 00-HHE-5A, Alexandria, VA, USA.

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Alexander HC, McCarty WM, Bartlett EA & Syverud AN (1982): Aqueous odour and taste threshold value of industrial chemicals. Journal of American Water Works Association, 74, 11, pp 595–599. Baker BA (1963): Threshold odours of organic chemicals. Journal of American Water Works Association, 55, 7, pp 913–916. Buttery RG, Guadagni DG, Ling LC, Seifert RM & Lipton W (1976): Additional Volatile Components of Cabbage, Broccoli and Cauliflower. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 24, pp 829–832. Buttery RG, Teranishi R, Ling LC & Turnbaugh, JG (1990): Quantitative and Sensory Studies on Tomato Paste Volatiles. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 38, pp 336–340. Buttery RG, Turnbaugh JG & Ling LC (1988): Contribution of Volatiles to Rice Aroma. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 36, pp 1006–1009. Chen Y, Higgins M, Murthy S, Maas N, Covert K & Toffey W (2006): Production of Odorous Indole, Skatole, p-Cresol, Toluene, Styrene and Ethylbenzene in Biosolids. Journal of Residuals Science & Technology, 3, No. 4, pp 193–202. Chen Y, Higgins M, Murthy S, Maas N, Covert K, Weaver J, Toffey W, Rupke M & Ross D (2004): Mechanisms for the Production of Odorous Volatile Aromatic Compounds in Wastewater Biosolids. In Proceedings of Water Environment Federation and AWWA Annual Biosolids and Residuals Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, pp 540–553.

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Biosolids Odours. Environmental Engineer: Applied Research and Practice, 5, 1–13. Higgins MJ (2010): Evaluation of aluminium and iron addition during conditioning and dewatering for odour control. Phase IV. Water Environment Research Foundation Report No 03-CTS-9A, Alexandria, VA, USA. Higgins MJ, Chen Y, Yarosz DP, Murthy SN, Maas NA, Glindemann D & Novak JT (2006:) Cycling of Volatile Organic Sulphur Compounds in Anaerobically Digested Biosolids and its Implications for Odours. Water Environment Research, 78, pp 243–252. Higgins MJ, Yarosz DP, Chen Y, Murthy SN, Mass NA & Cooney JR (2003): Mechanisms of Volatile Sulphur Compound and Odour Production in Digested Biosolids. In Proceedings of Water Environment Foundation and AWWA Annual Biosolids and Residuals Conference, Baltimore, Maryland, USA, February 19-22. Kim H, Murthy S, McConnell LL, Peot C, Ramirez M & Strawn M (2002): Characterisation of Wastewater and Solids Odours Using Solid Phase Microextraction at a Large Wastewater Treatment Plant. Water Science and Technology, 49, 10, pp 9–16. Kristiana I, Heitz A, Joll C & Sathasivan A (2010): Analysis of polysulfides in drinking water distribution systems using headspace solid-phase microextraction and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Journal of Chromatography A, 1217, pp 5995–6001. Novak JT & Park C (2010): Effect of aluminium and iron on odours, digestion efficiency and dewatering properties. Phase IV. Water Environment Research Foundation Report No 03-CTS-9b, Alexandria, VA, USA. Pawliszyn J (1997): Solid Phase Microextraction: Theory and Practice, Wiley-VCH Inc., New York, USA. Suffet IH, Khiari D & Bruchet A (1999): The drinking water taste and odour wheel for the millennium: Beyond geosmin and 2-methylisoborneol. Water Science and Technology, 40, 6, pp 1–13. SUPELCO (1998): Solid Phase Microextraction: Theory and Optimisation of Conditions. Bulletin 923, New York, USA.

Glindemann D, Murthy SN, Higgins MJ, Chen YC & Novak JT (2006): Biosolids Incubation Method for Odorous Gas Measurement from Dewatered Sludge Cakes. Journal of Residuals Science and Technology, 3, 3, pp 153–160.

Turkmen M, Dentel SK, Chiu PC & Hepner S (2004): Analysis of Sulphur and Nitrogen Odorants Using Solid Phase Microextraction and GC-MS. Water Science and Technology, 50, 4, pp 115–120.

Haberhauer-Troyer C, Rosenberg E & Grasserbauer M (1999): Evaluation of Solid Phase Microextraction for Sampling of Volatile Organic Sulphur Compounds in Air for Subsequent Gas Chromatographic Analysis with Atomic Emission Detection. Journal of Chromatography A, 848, pp 305–315.

Visan M & Parker WJ (2004): An Evaluation of Solid Phase Microextraction for Analysis of Odorant Emissions from Stored Biosolids Cake. Water Research, 38, pp 3800–3808.

Higgins MJ, Chen Y, Novak JT, Glindemann D, Forbes R, Erdal Z, Witherspoon J, McEwen D, Murthy S, Hargreaves JR & Adams G (2008): A Multi-Plant Study to Understand the Chemicals and Process Parameters Associated with

Yan Z, Zhang Y, Yu J, Yuan H & Yang M (2011): Identification of odorous compounds in reclaimed water using FPA combined with sensory GC-MS. Journal of Environmental Sciences, 23, pp 1600–1604.

Water Corporation (2012): Water Corporation internal data.

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odour management

EVALUATING ODOUR CONTROL TECHNOLOGIES USING RELIABILITY AND SUSTAINABILITY CRITERIA Odour control technology at wastewater treatment or water recycling plants NJR Kraakman, J Cesca Abstract Technologies for odour control have been widely reviewed and their optimal range of application and performance has been clearly established. Selection criteria, mainly driven by process economics, are usually based on the air-flow volume, the inlet concentrations and the required removal efficiency. However, these criteria are shifting, with social and environmental issues becoming as important as process economics. This paper presents results from several studies to quantify sustainability and robustness of odour control technology in the context of odour control at wastewater treatment or water recycling plants. The most commonly used odour abatement techniques (Biofiltration, Biotrickling Filtration, Activated Carbon Adsorption, Chemical Scrubbing, Activated Sludge Diffusion and Biotrickling Filtration coupled with Activated Carbon Adsorption) are evaluated in terms of: 1. Sustainability,

with quantification of process economics, environmental performance and social impact using the IChemE Sustainability Metrics;

2. Sensitivity

towards design and operating parameters such as utility prices (energy and labour), inlet odour concentration (H2S) and design safety (EBRT);

3. Robustness,

quantifications of operating reliability, with recommendations to improve reliability during its lifespan of operations.

Introduction In climates such as Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, odour problems are exacerbated by high temperatures. The often relatively flat coastal terrain with high population densities and long sewer rising mains leads to a relatively high risk of odour problems, frequently increased by intrusion of sulphate-rich seawater. Wastewater treatment plants that

were built many years ago outside a residential area are now often located near or among housing developments. Wastewater collection systems have been expanded over the years, resulting in greater odour nuisance as a result of the septic conditions created in these extended sewage collection systems. Municipalities and water corporations are constantly searching for cost-efficient and community-friendly methods of dealing with odours emitted from wastewater collection systems and wastewater treatment plants. Moreover, many water efficiency programs are in place to stimulate behavioural change of consumers to use less water. Businesses have also changed the way they use water through initiatives that have encouraged them to minimise water usage, for example, with decentralised water recycling schemes with residuals being discharged to the sewers. Increased community awareness about water usage, combined with the introduction of water-saving devices (e.g. waterless urinals), official local water usage restrictions and sewer mining projects, will reduce the overall wastewater flows in existing sewers. From these developments there are obvious benefits to the environment, progress towards sustainability objectives, and the potential to defer capital expenditure on water supply. However, the corresponding impacts of decreased wastewater flows and increasing constituent concentrations are new phenomena for water utilities to manage. Decreasing wastewater flows and increasing constituent concentrations will give opportunities for better energy, nutrient and water recovery, although not without increased risks like corrosion and high-strength odours. More stringent discharge limits for wastewater treatment plants has required more sophisticated and advanced

treatment technologies (e.g. for nutrient removal or disinfection). This has resulted in significantly higher energy usage and a larger carbon footprint of treatment plants over the last decades. This paper outlines the link between sustainable wastewater treatment plants and the type of odour control used.

Odour Treatment Technologies Model malodorous emission For this evaluation, a model for malodorous emission was selected and consisted of the odours composition typically emitted from municipal wastewater treatment systems. This includes many different volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and volatile organic sulphur compounds (VSCs) including hydrogen sulphide (H2S) and mercaptans. The assessment was based on a compilation of real data from full-scale facilities. All the systems evaluated were based on designs capable of coping with typical daily and seasonal fluctuations in odour concentration, which often requires the over-sizing of the reactor.

Odour abatement technologies The design parameters of all the below technologies are based on a minimal 99% reduction of the H2S concentration (outlet concentration < 0.1 ppmv) and a 95% reduction of the odour concentration (outlet concentration < 1000 OU). Biofilter (BF): An open bed biofilter packed with a mixture of organic and inorganic material, an average density of 450kg m-3, and a lifespan of five years was used to model biofilters (for H2Sconcentration of 20 ppmv, three years lifespan and for H2S-concentration 40 ppmv two years lifespan). The cost for packing material was considered $250 per m3. The unit operated at an empty bed residence time (EBRT) of 60s with a packed bed height of 1.5m and a pressure


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odour management drop of 750 Pa (excluding the pressure drop of an upfront humidifier of 300 Pa). A typical pressure drop of 50 kPa was considered for the liquid nozzle installed for biofilter irrigation. Disposal costs as non-hazardous waste of $200.- per m3 were used for landfill. Activated Sludge Diffusion (ASD): A typical activated sludge aerated tank equipped with fine-bubble diffusers (typically up to 50 kPa of pressure drop) located at a depth of 4.5m was used as a model AS diffusion unit. Biotrickling Filter (BTF): A multi-stage (at least two-layer) biotrickling filter with an EBRT of 15s was considered in this comparative analysis. The first layer operates at low pH (around 2), optimal for acidophilic H2S oxidising bacteria and the second one operates at a more neutral pH eliminating the rest of the odorants. The system was packed with inert plastic packing with a lifespan of 10 years, a cost of $2,000 per kL and a total pressure drop of 800 Pa. The relatively high cost of the packing material is based on previous experience in full-scale applications to guarantee the lifespan and removal efficiencies higher than 99% for H2S and 95% for odour concentration. Liquid nozzles were used for the recirculation of the aqueous medium at app. 7L m-3 reactor min-1. The renewal of the aqueous medium was calculated on the basis of the empirically derived design criteria ratio of 2.5 L g-1 H2S removed. Disposal costs as a hazardous waste of $500 per kL packing were used for landfill. Chemical Scrubber (CS): A two-stage caustic-hypochlorite (NaOH-NaClO) scrubber packed with 3m of packing media with a lifespan of 10 years and a cost of $1,200 per m3); pressure drop of 600 Pa and operated at an EBRT of 4 sec (2 sec per stage) was used as the model scrubber. The system was operated at a recirculation rate of 180 L m-3 min-1 with a pressure drop of 50 kPa in the liquid nozzles. The first stage is typically operated at a pH range of 9.5–10, whereas the second stage is operated at a lower pH (8.5–9.5). At pH levels above 10, a significant absorption of carbon dioxide (CO2) from ambient air occurs (which leads to higher NaOH consumptions), whereas at pH levels below 8.5, the NaClO may revert to free chlorine. Acid washing in chemical scrubbers’ media is normally performed periodically (typically once a year) to clean scaling from the media. However, these costs are not included in the economic analysis, because they are not considered significant. Disposal costs as a hazardous waste of $500 per kL packing were used for landfill.

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Activated Carbon Filter (AC): A granular impregnated AC bed (density 450kg m-3), including a pre-filter operated at an EBRT of 2.5 sec, a system pressure drop of 900 Pa (excluding the pressure drop of an upfront pre-filter of 250 Pa) and a cost of $6 per kg was used as a model adsorption filter. The most common practice in AC filtration involves two filters (one filter in operation and one in standby to allow bed replacement). Bed replacement is based on empirical experience because carbon manufacturers typically do not guarantee carbon life in wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) applications. A standard carbon life of 12 months was used for stand-alone applications and the inlet concentrations of 10 ppmv. No regeneration of the AC was considered. Disposal costs as a hazardous waste of $500 per kL were used for landfill.

responsibility and process economics using the IChemE Sustainability Metrics. A Greenhouse Emissions factor of 250kg CO2-equivalents per GJ of energy consumed (IChemE, 2002), 1,376 and 1,065kg CO2-equivalents per dry tonne of caustic and sodium hypochlorite consumed (Owen, 1982) and 1,000kg CO2-equivalents per dry tonne activated carbon (Agentschap, 2012) is used. The greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are only operation and maintenance (O&M) related and exclude the GHG for new media (BF media is usually natural and requires minimal processing; CS and BTF media is a relatively small amount and usually has a long life span), and exclude the transportation costs for delivery of chemicals and activated carbon as they are likely to have only a relatively small contribution.

Biotrickling Filtration + Activated Carbon Polishing (BTF+AC): This hybrid technology consists of a biotrickling filtration (EBRT of 10s; packing height of 2m; inert plastic packing pressure drop of 550 Pa) backed up by conventional AC filtration (EBRT of 2 sec; 650 Pa; 2 years of lifespan). Disposal costs as a hazardous waste of $500 per kL packing were used for landfill.

The robustness of a technology (R) can be quantified by determining the risk of negative effects on the performance of the technology for each possible disorder (process fluctuation or operational upset), multiplied by its frequency of occurrence, and adding all possible disorders according to Kraakman (2003) as show in Eq. (1):

Costs, sustainability and robustness of odour abatement technologies The energy consumption [kW] for gas circulation was calculated as Q [m3 s-1] × ΔP [kPa] × Blower efficiency (0.6). The operating costs are based on a price of $0.15/kW for energy, $1.50/kL for potable water, $0.50/kL for secondary effluent water, $6/kg for impregnated activated carbon with a density of 0.5kg/kL, $0.54/L for 50% (w/w) NaOH, $0.34/L for 12% (w/w) NaOCl and a cost for labour of $100.- per hr. The investment costs shown include only direct mechanical equipment costs of the odour abatement unit and do not include costs for transport of the abatement unit to site, installation and commissioning, and site-specific costs such as the costs for site preparation, the air extraction system (covers, ductwork and fans), SCADA integration, access platforms, performance testing, contractor mobilisation, engineer and client overhead for detail design work, tendering and project management. All these indirect costs are considered to be relatively independent and similar, regardless of the type of odour treatment system. The comparison of sustainability was based upon the triple bottom-line concept, which includes the assessment of environmental performance, social

R = ∑(p x E)


where p is the probability of occurrence of a disorder and E the effect of a disorder. The probability of occurrence of any disorder can be expressed as the expected number of occurrences per year (number/year) or as the percentage of operating time during which it is likely to occur (%/year). The effect of the disorder (E), or so called severity, can be expressed as the loss of the removal efficiency (%), the loss of the total removal (kg day-1 or kg year-1), or the impact on the people living near the installation (e.g. the number of occurrences during which the concentration of the emitted air stream exceeded the odour threshold in the neighbourhood). In this paper both the probability of occurrence and the effect are semi-quantified on a scale of 1 to 5 based on operator field experiences and other studies (Estrada et al., 2012).

Results and Discussion The investment costs per amount of air treated decreased exponentially with increased design airflow for all the odour abatement technologies evaluated, which highlights the relevance of the economies of scale (Figure 1). The odour treatment technologies with the highest investments are Biotrickling Filtration and Biofiltration, and with the lowest investment are the physical/chemical technologies (Chemical

technical features

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odour management in filters, moisture traps and blowers (Bowker and Burgess, 2001). Despite its limitation in air volume and foul air loading, Activated Sludge Diffusion is the cheapest of all the technologies selected.

Figure 1. The investment costs for Activated Carbon Filtration, Chemical Scrubbing, Biofiltration and Biotrickling Filtration (adapted from Estrada et al., 2011). Scrubbing and Activated Carbon Filtration). The selected configuration in chemical scrubbing (one stage versus two stages) significantly influences the investment costs, with two-stage chemical scrubbers presenting higher costs than their one-stage counterparts. Nowadays, odour removal at typical design efficiencies of 90â&#x20AC;&#x201C;95% demands at least two stages for higher odour loads, whereas one stage is enough when only H2S abatement (95â&#x20AC;&#x201C;99%) is required. The investment costs in Activated Sludge Diffusion are not shown, as these would be minimal because all equipment required is already present in the wastewater treatment line. Additional investments for Activated Sludge Diffusion would derive from the installation of moisture traps and dust and grease aerosol filters, and from the use of corrosion-resistant materials in blowers and air piping. In this context, a survey from 30 WWTPs in the US showed that corrosion concerns were not well founded; but in most cases, corrosionresistant materials must be installed

During evaluation and selection of odour abatement systems, the Net Present Value (NPV) rather than the initial investment cost must be used as economic selection criterion. For a relatively low (7,500m3 h-1) odorous emission containing less than 7.5 ppmv of H2S, Activated Carbon Filtration is the cheapest technology, but the dearest when the H2S exceeds approximately 20 ppmv. (Figure 2a). For higher airflows (75,000m3 h-1) it reveals that the biotechniques (Biofiltration, Biotrickling Filtration as well as the Hybrid Technology) become increasingly less expensive (NPV20) with increased air flows (Figure 2b). The cost of secondary effluent water is assumed to be less than potable water (as secondary effluent is often used as plant service water), which favours the operational costs and the overall costs (NPV20) of the biotechniques. Nearly complete (>99%) H2S degradation in the BTF stage was assumed for the Hybrid Technology. The effect of higher H2S concentrations on Biofiltration is typically a reduction of biofilter media lifespan due to an increased acidification of the BF media, which reduces its abatement performance. Therefore, a biofilter media lifespan of five years at an average H2S concentration of 5 ppmv, and a media lifespan of two years at 40 ppmv was used in this evaluation. A single-stage chemical scrubber offers for relatively low concentrations an opportunity to reduce the capital costs of Chemical Scrubbing. A singlestage chemical scrubber could reduce the investment cost by about 40%

(data not shown). This cost saving on investment will result in an approximately 10% saving from the total costs (NPV20) at an airflow of 7,500m3 h-1 and an inlet concentration of 20 ppmv H2S (app. 5% at 75,000 m3 h-1), and an approximately 15% saving from the total costs (NPV20) at an inlet concentration of 5 ppm (app. 10% at 75,000 m3 h-1). To obtain the assumed required reduction of 95% in odour concentration, both caustic and hypochlorite dosing are still needed, which typically results in slightly higher chemicals consumption in the singlestage scrubber compared to a two-stage scrubber. In summary, although capital cost savings for a single-stage scrubber is significant, the overall cost savings (NPV20) are not as large compared to a two-stage scrubber to obtain 95% odour removal, because the total costs of Chemical Scrubbing are mainly determined by the operating costs. The influence of the utility prices (energy and labour) and design parameters (media life and reactor size) on the NPV20 of the five odour abatement technologies are evaluated. The biological technologies (Biofiltration and Biotrickling Filtration) shows the lowest operating costs as illustrated by Estrade et al. (2012). Figure 3a shows that at 50% higher energy prices compared to the currently used $0.15 per kW, Activated Carbon is the least affected, as energy is only a very small part of all operating costs, while Biofiltration is most affected followed by Chemical Scrubbing and the Hybrid Technology. Figure 3b illustrates that when the labour cost is increased by 25%, Activated Carbon and Biofiltration are most affected due to their relatively low media lifespan and large volumes of

Figures 2a and 2b. The Net Present Value (NPV20) evaluated for a 7,500m3 h-1 odorous emission (Figure 2a) and evaluated for a 75,000m3 h-1 odorous emission (Figure 2b) at different H2S-concentrations. CS is Chemical Scrubber, AC is Activated Carbon, BF is Biofiltration, BTF is Biotrickling Filtration, BTF+AC is Biotrickling Filtration with Activated Carbon polishing.


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Figures 3a, 3b, 3c and 3d. The influence of the utility prices and design parameters on the NPV20 of five odour abatement technologies evaluated. Results are shown as per cent increase of the NPV20 when the energy cost is increased by 50% (a), the labour costs increased by 25% (b), the lifespan of the media decreased by a factor 2 (c) and the reactor size increased by 50% (d) (Estrada et al., 2012). CS is Chemical Scrubber, AC is Activated Carbon, BF is Biofiltration, BTF is Biotrickling Filtration, BTF+AC is Biotrickling Filtration with Activated Carbon polishing. packing material that require disposal, transport and handling. Nevertheless, the cost of labour for operations is between 5–20% for all odour treatment units and, therefore, is not a key parameter (Estrada et al., 2012). Figure 3c shows that if media lifespan is reduced, the Activated Carbon is most affected, as well as Biofiltration, as a significant amount of the operating costs are related to the renewal of the packing material. The NPV of Biotrickling Filtration is also significantly affected due to the high price of packing material. The relatively expensive packing material for Biotrickling Filtration is often provided with a guarantee of a minimum 10-year lifespan durability.

When an extra design safety factor is applied for the reactor size, the Hybrid Technology as well as Chemical Scrubbing are hardly affected (Figure 3d). Chemical Scrubbing is hardly affected due to the relatively small packing volume and the fact that most operating costs come from chemicals usage. Biofiltration is significantly affected as packing material is a significant operating cost. The reactor size (EBRT) and the cost of the packing material often constitute the key parameters determining the initial investment cost in Biofiltration. When the land available is limited (Figure 4), or the price of land is relatively high, Biofiltration can come with an additional cost.

Figure 4. The footprint of odour control technology relative to each other. The O&M related GHG emissions of the different odour control technologies treating 50,000m3 h-1 at 15 ppmv H2S are illustrated in Figure 5a and are mainly determined by the energy consumed for fans, pumps and instrumentation. At 15 ppmv, Chemical Scrubbing leads to the highest GHG

Table 1. A semi-quantitative robustness evaluation for the different odour abatement technologies evaluated according to the methodology proposed. Chemical Scrubbing

Technology Disorder / upset

Activated Sludge Diffusion

Biotrickling Filtration


Activated Carbon

Biotrickling + Act. Carbon Polishing

Possible cause



















Failure of supply or recirculation pumps. Control failures (e.g. valves). Changing conditions inlet air (temp., reI humidity)



















Electricity supply

Power outage



















Chemical dosing disorder

Pump or control failures. Empty storage chemical tank



















Foul air supply interruption

Fan failure. blockage extraction ductwork. Production stops



















Fluctuation of inlet concentrations

Changing or discontinuous production. Diurnal or seasonal changes. Production stops



















Higher inlet concentrations

Changing conditions or production. Unaccurate design.



















Fluctuation of inlet temperature

Changing or discontinuous production. Diurnal or seasonal changes. Production stops



















Water supply disorder

Robustness of performance ( R )







Probability (P): 1. Very unlikely or not possible. 2. Low. 3. Occasional. 4. Probable. 5. Frequent (it is certain that it will happen). Effect (E): 1. Minor. 2. Marginal. 3. Moderate. 4. Critital. 5. Catastrophic

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emissions, while Biotrickling Filtration and especially Activated Sludge Diffusion results in significantly lower GHG emissions. The GHG emissions of the Activated Sludge Diffusion are considered nearly zero as aeration for the activated sludge bioreactor will already be present. It should be noted that the application of Activated Sludge Diffusion is restricted, especially by the aeration capacity of the activated sludge bioreactor, which usually means that Activated Sludge Diffusion can only be applied for relatively small odorous airflows. The residual emissions of all the different compounds in the treated odorous air stream are calculated and evaluated for the different technologies elsewhere (Estrada et al., 2011). Activated Carbon and the Hybrid Technology will provide the lowest Human Health Effect (a measure for the carcinogenic effect) and is illustrated in benzene equivalents (IchemE, 2002). Besides legislations to eliminate odour nuisance from wastewater treatment plants, additional regulations for specific compounds like benzene can be present. In California, for example, some locations require additional treatment to obtain high removal of specific VOCs like benzene. Table 1 illustrates the robustness of the

different technologies for typical operation

Recommended control (protection / detection) Duty-standby pumps / back-up water supply / spare parts / flow and level transmitter alarms Back-up / alarms Duty-standby pumps / spare parts / flow and level transmitter alarms Duty-standby fans / flow and pressure transmitter alarms Combine foul air from sources / continuous pollutant detection transmitter alarms Redundancy in design or lay-out Combine foul air from sources / temperature transmitter alarms

odour management Figures 5a and 5b. The atmospheric impact burdens according to IChemE sustainability metrics with (Figure 5a) the O&M related greenhouse gas emissions (in tons per year of CO2 equivalents) and (Figure 5b) the Human Health Burden (in tons of benzene equivalents per year) for treating 50,000m3 h-1 containing 15 ppmv of H2S. GAC is granular activated carbon.

at a wastewater treatment or wastewater recycling plant, which include process fluctuation and operational upsets. The robustness evaluation conducted showed that Activated Carbon Filtration and the Hybrid Technology are the most robust technologies, while biotechnologies exhibited robustness comparable to that of chemical scrubbers. The robustness of Biofiltration, Biotrickling Filtration and Chemical Scrubbing is about half the robustness of Activated Carbon and the Hybrid Technology. Activated Carbon Filtration together with the Hybrid Technology is the most robust technology. For Activated Carbon Filtration this assessment of robustness is correct only for the restricted situations where the inlet H2S concentrations are relatively low (likely less than 10–15 ppmv). For higher H2S concentrations the breakthrough of the activated carbon will be much faster, leading to possibly unexpected odour emissions that might require a major action of replacement of the activated carbon to restore performance. When, in an economical and risk evaluation, the robustness is counted as relevant as the overall costs (NPV20), the Hybrid Technology would move up next to Biotrickling Filtration and Activated Sludge Diffusion as the most preferred technologies.

Odour abatement in development The use of an existing resource at a wastewater treatment plant (activated sludge) can in certain situations offer the possibility to reduce or eliminate the high investment costs associated with conventional odour control measures to reduce operating costs and provide high performance odour control for wastewater treatment plants. The use of activated sludge (often considered as a waste product) should be considered at WWTPs as part of the several options for odour control management (Kiesewetter et al., 2012). Recycling Activated Sludge to the Inlet Works for odour control is less widely applied and studied, but the capital and operating expenditure for activated sludge recycle and the operational complexity are considered extremely low as compared to implementation and operation of conventional odour control technologies. Activated sludge recycle (ASR) has been practiced less commonly than activated sludge diffusion, however, anecdotal evidence shows the technology has the potential to substantially reduce odour emissions from inlet works and primary treatment areas at wastewater treatment plants with minor capital and operational expense. Important design parameters and design criteria are: • Use a volumetric recycle rate around 10–15% for approximately 50% reduction in dissolved sulphide; • Aerobic activated sludge will show enhanced performance as compared to anaerobic, or de-aerated activated sludge; • Plants operating with iron dosing (for phosphate removal) will achieve improved sulphide reduction due to chemical sulphide precipitation. Pilot trials are suggested prior to implementing ASR to determine more accurate and site-specific removal efficiencies and to refine recycle rates. Further research is suggested for activated sludge recycle to improve the knowledge base and to further explore the possibilities of this technology. A photocatalytic system, using ultraviolet and activated carbon technology, has proven to be very effective. It has a relatively small footprint and is especially good applicable at discontinuous odour emissions with relatively low H2S concentrations as it can be easily turned on and off without any effect on its performance. The downside is that operational costs (replacement UV-light bulbs and activated carbon), which are typically higher than biological


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systems, are unclear and difficult to determine up front. At low odour concentrations the technology seems to be cost effective, but further longterm operation is needed to confirm its operational costs, especially at higher odour loadings.

with Activated Carbon polishing would be comparable to Biotrickling Filtration and Activated Sludge Diffusion as the most preferred technologies, when all technologies are designed to have a 99% reduction of H2S and a 95% reduction of the Odour Concentration.


The Authors

From a process economics viewpoint, odour treatment technologies with the highest investments presented the lowest operating costs, which means that the Net Present Value (NPV20) should be used as a selection criterion rather than investment costs.

Bart Kraakman (email: Bart. is Principal Technologist with CH2M HILL, Chatswood, Sydney. Bart has 20 years’ experience in various design and project management roles. He has been responsible for numerous waste gas and odour control projects involving identification of emission causes, ventilation, corrosion control, as well as investigation, evaluation (cost, risk and life cycle), development and implementation of various waste gas and odour emission control technologies. He is co-author on several scientific papers and book chapters on volatile gas emission control related topics and currently has an affiliation with the Technical University Delft in the Netherlands.

Economies of scale are more important in biotechniques (Biofiltration and Biotrickling Filtration) as at increased airflows their overall costs (NPV20) reduction is more extreme when compared to the physical/chemical technologies (Chemical Scrubbing and Activated Carbon Filtration). The physical/chemical technologies (Chemical Scrubbing and Activated Carbon Filtration) were highly impacted in economic terms by the concentration of H2S, which constitutes an important drawback for these technologies. Also, the GHG emissions are relatively high and directly impacted by the odour load. Due to their low Net Present Value (NPV20) and their low environmental impact, Activated Sludge Diffusion and Biotrickling Filtration are in general the most cost effective and are likely to be the technologies considered first for odour treatment in a WWTP. However, the odorous air-flow volume treated with Activated Sludge Diffusion is usually restricted by the aeration tank capacity. When, in an economical and risk evaluation, the Reliability is counted to be relevant as the overall costs (NPV20), Hybrid Technology (Biotrickling Filtration

industry and has been responsible for the design, commissioning and performance testing of various processes including turnkey designs. Josef teaches various odour related courses to industry and academics including the IWES Odour and Corrosion Course.

Josef Cesca (email: Josef. is Regional Technology Lead at CH2M HILL, Chatswood, Sydney. Josef has over 25 years’ experience in wastewater collection and treatment, biosolids management and odour control. He has been responsible for the design and review of many water and wastewater treatment plant facilities as well as many odour control projects to identify odour generation causes, assessment of odour impacts, and investigations, evaluation and implementation of various emission control technologies. He is a Senior Process Mechanical Engineer with extensive experience in the domestic and industrial water and wastewater

References Agentschap (2012): Translation of I&E Monitoring Protocol 12-014. default/files/bijlagen/12-014%20Process%20 emissions%20non%20fossil.pdf Bowker RPG & Burgess JE (2001): Activated sludge diffusion as an odour control technique. In Odours in Wastewater Treatment: Measurement, Modelling and Control; Stuetz, R, Frenchen FB, Eds; IWA Publishing. Estrada JM, Kraakman NJR, Munoz R & Quellebrero A (2011): A Comparative Analysis of Odour Treatment Technologies in Wastewater Treatment Plants. Environmental Science & Technology, 45, pp 1100–1106. Estrada JM, Kraakman NJR, Muñoz R, Lebrero R (2012): A sensitivity analysis of process design parameters, commodity prices and robustness on the economics of odour abatement technologies, Biotechnology Advances, doi:10.1016/j.biotechadv.2012.02.010. IChemE (2002): The Sustainability Metrics; The Institution of Chemical Engineers: Rugby, UK. Kiesewetter J, Kraakman NJR, Cesca J, Trainor S & Witherspoon J (2012): Expanding the Use of Activated Sludge at Biological Waste Water Treatment Plants for Odor Control Proceedings of the Odors and Air Pollutants Conference 2012. April 15–18. Louiseville, Kentucky, US. Kraakman NJR (2003): Robustness of a Full-Scale Biological System Treating Industrial CS2 Emissions. Environmental Progress, 22, pp 79–85. Owen WF (1982): Energy in Wastewater Treatment. Englewoods Cliffs, NJ, Prentice-Hall.

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70 NOVEMBER 2012 water



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GOSFORD CITY COUNCIL CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION STRATEGY Commitment made to a carbon reduction target of 20 per cent by the year 2025 D Dowling, D Waters, S Wu, P Hardisty Abstract Greenhouse gas (GHG) and energy management is becoming a major issue for Gosford City Council (GCC) in terms of corporate commitments, energy related operational costs and management of assets. This is being driven by increasing costs, new technologies and higher expectations from community and regulators. In response to this, WorleyParsons was engaged by GCC (November, 2010) to assist in the preparation of the Climate Change Mitigation Strategy (CCMS). The project involved identification of GCC and the local government area (LGA) carbon footprints, business-as-usual emissions forecast to 2025, identification and assessment of carbon abatement opportunities based on triple bottom line approach, a renewable energy roadmap and development of the CCMS. A total of 248 carbon abatement opportunities were identified during a series of workshops. After screening, 36 opportunities were assessed in detail and used to generate a series of future carbon emission trajectories under different scenarios for Council consideration. The final CCMS was approved in August 2012. It commits to a carbon reduction target of 20% at 2025 based on 2010 levels. The target is based on a selection of 16 abatement opportunities comprising energy efficiency, renewable energy, GHG capture and destruction, community abatement programs and demand management opportunities. Business cases for the opportunities will be investigated further to integrate into Council’s business as possible future projects. A Carbon Management Response Plan will be developed as part of the CCMS implementation.

Introduction Gosford City Council’s clean energy options and future carbon strategy are being assessed and developed in the Climate Change Mitigation Strategy

(CCMS). The development of the CCMS commenced in 2010 following the adoption of Council’s climate change policy. The policy commits GCC to manage climate change risks and ensure the policy is incorporated into strategic planning and decision-making processes and operations of Council. In response to this, GCC has committed to develop the CCMS. An effective CCMS must address the balance between a number of factors including financial costs, societal benefits, and uncertainty in regulatory requirements and energy costs. A big challenge is to achieve confidence in the reduction target in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner.

Aim of the Project The overarching purpose of the CCMS project is to develop a sustainable climate change mitigation strategy that covers GCC and the LGA in alignment with the objectives and commitments made within GCC’s key policies and plans (Climate Change Policy, Vision 2025 and Community Strategic Plan). The strategy needs to fit under existing and foreseeable regulatory and business frameworks. The objective statement, identified by key internal and external stakeholders via the Project Reference Group was: “To reduce GCC’s GHG footprint*, and assist the community to reduce their footprint, in an achievable and sustainable manner.” *Footprint = net GHG balance (emissions minus sinks) The study aimed to provide insight into the overall economics and sustainability of reasonable and practicable strategies for the mitigation of GHG using a triple bottom line approach, by taking into consideration the key internal parameters (e.g. capital cost, operating cost, etc) plus key external issues (e.g. greenhouse gas emissions, water, land and marine impact).

Environmental and Economic Sustainability Assessment An environmental and economic sustainability assessment (EESA) is designed to identify environmentally, socially and economically optimal choices, when significant trade-offs between these areas are expected (Hardisty, 2009). EESA follows conceptual approaches approved by a number of government organisations worldwide (Hardisty and Ozdemiroglu, 2005; DEFRA, 2007). Based on this method, WorleyParsons’ EcoNomics™ Assessment (ENA) explicitly describes and measures sustainability in economic terms, by explicitly monetising the selected range of external costs and benefits, and adding these to the conventional internal or private costs and benefits of a proposed project or action. This model is the basis upon which the analysis of the project options was carried out (Hardisty, 2009). The ENA process has been audited and approved by Lloyds Register Quality Assurance under ISO9001. A key part of the decision making process is the overall comparison of the costs of action, with the benefits of action; hence the term ‘cost-benefit’ analysis. To find net benefits, we deduct the flow of costs from the flow of benefits. Thus, the present value of the net benefits (or NPV) of the selected project or action in any year, T, is given by:


T 0

( B p + Bx ) (C p + Cx ) (1 + r )T

Where: NPV is the total socioenvironmental-economic NPV of project p; BP and CP are the private or internal benefits and costs of the project; BX and CX are the external benefits and costs of the project, T is the planning horizon (expanded to cover the full project lifecycle), and r is the applied discount rate. A robust sustainability assessment process is designed to respond to the opportunities and challenges that all


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businesses face dealing with escalating project and ongoing operating costs, increased focus on environmental impact, regulatory policy changes, and rising stakeholder expectations. In this case, the ENA process quantifies and monetises the relevant key environmental, social and economic project factors across the asset life cycle to inform profitable and sustainable decision-making. It allows a wide range of project options to be compared and then identifies the most robust outcomes over a wide range of possible future conditions.

Methodology The development of the CCMS involved the following key stages of work: 1. Project

Inception – Preparation of Stakeholder Engagement plan including identification of the Project Reference Group (PRG), which consisted of key internal and external stakeholders.

2. Development

of Carbon Footprint for GCC Corporate and its Community – Calculation of carbon footprint covering Scope 1, Scope 2 and selected Scope 3 emissions and sinks and Business As Usual emissions forecast to 2025.


Identification and Assessment of GHG abatement opportunities – Framing Workshop with the PRG to set the objective and risk framework for the assessment. The project risk framework covers the health and safety, environment, financial, reputation, business impact, legal/compliance and stakeholders.

A total of 248 opportunities were identified during a series of workshops with key focus groups. This included the Framing Workshop, as well as discipline workshops (involving subject matter experts from GCC and WorleyParsons), as well as opportunities identified from different channels via Council (e.g. internal newsletter or emails from the community). After preliminary screening (considering political and social acceptance, technology status, compatibility with GCC operation etc), 36 opportunities across energy efficiency, renewable energy, greenhouse gas sinks, demand management and fuel switching were carried forward (Table 1). Detailed analysis and risk assessment was performed using the EcoNomics™ Assessment methodology. The planning horizon for the assessment was 30 years. The assessment considered the following components:

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Figure 1. Gosford City Council 2009/10 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Sankey Diagram (t CO2-e). • Financial

- Capital cost

- Operating cost

- Revenue (labour saving, sale of by-product and government funding such as renewable energy certificates, energy saving certificates and feed-in-tariffs)

• Non-financial

- GHG emissions

- The total economic value of water

- Marine environment

- Terrestrial environment

For each of these parameters, a base case value (representing the current best estimate of the value of the parameter) and a range of low to high possible values were determined, based on relevant, available data, in consultation with GCC. Low estimates were chosen to reflect the likely absolute minimum of the ranges; high values reflected the possible uppermost values over the life cycle. It is highly probable that all environmental assets will steadily increase in value over time, given the increasing scarcity of these resources worldwide and the increasing demand for natural resources as the population continues to grow. The sensitivity analysis provides confidence in the assessment results across a wide range of possible future scenarios. A social discount rate of 3.5%, which is the published UK Treasury rate for social discounting, was adopted as the base case value for the economic NPV analysis. Values of key financial parameters including electricity, fuel and carbon were provided by GCC. Estimated values of the total economic value of water, land

footprint and marine impact were based on published research and adjusted to the local context. Given the high-level nature of the study and the limited availability of information, estimates were not refined to the actual impact. A marginal abatement cost curve was also developed using the WSAA Cost of Carbon Abatement tool. The cost curve was used to compare the financial merits and risks of opportunities. 4. Development

of CCMS – The output from the ENA was used to develop the optimal portfolio of projects to prepare the CCMS trajectories under pre-defined constraints (e.g. financial, environmental, technology).

 he PRG, GCC Councillors and Senior T Management Group were engaged in a series of workshops to develop and review the CCMS.

Carbon Footprint and Forecast The GCC Carbon Inventory Report was prepared to present GCC’s and the wider LGA/Community’s carbon footprints in 2009–2010, and forecast of Business as Usual emissions to 2025. Total GHG emissions in the base year (2009–2010) were calculated to be 78,760 tonnes CO2-e. This includes Scope 1, Scope 2 and selected Scope 3 emissions (e.g. street-lighting, solid waste collection and bio-solids haulage by sub-contracts etc). The Sankey Diagram (Figure 1) summarises all relevant emissions for GCC corporate in 2009-2010. GCC’s GHG emissions are forecast to be 84,099 tonnes CO2-e in 2025. This estimate is based on planned infrastructure changes and population growth, and assumes GCC’s business structure remains unchanged.

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Assessment Results Figure 2 shows the economic NPV results for all 36 opportunities under base case conditions (the x-axis shows the options in numerical order; the y-axis shows the NPV). Results show the wide range across the options, with several opportunities clearly NPV-positive (e.g. O-13, O-17, O-28), several opportunities clearly NPV-negative (e.g. O-5, O-10, O-12 and O-36), and a large number of opportunities considered to be marginal. The NPV of the opportunities ranged from around â&#x20AC;&#x201C;$80M to +$50M.

Sensitivity analysis was undertaken to test the robustness of the opportunities over pre-defined ranges for key parameters. This assisted the identification of opportunities of high sensitivity to certain parameters (e.g. carbon price, electricity price, marine impact etc). The sensitivity analysis was performed live with the Project Reference Group and key results were included in the CCMS. The CCA tool results are shown in Figure 3. The internal levelised cost

of abatement ranged from a saving of $900/t CO2-e to a cost of $2700/t CO2-e. Generally the demand management and energy efficiency opportunities had a lower levelised cost than renewable energy opportunities. There was a strong correlation between the ENA and CCA results for internal opportunities. The CCA and ENA results differed for the community abatement opportunities as the community benefits are internalised in the ENA assessment and not in the financial-only CCA assessment.

Table 1. List of greenhouse gas abatement opportunities. Opportunity


Adopted Strategy


Reduced sewerage inflow and infiltration



Energy efficiency improvements at Peninsula Leisure Centre pool (HVAC, lighting, water pumping and solar)



Optimise water supply system pumping using energy-efficient pumps and variable speed drives



Micro hydro-generator on the Mardi-Mangrove pipeline



Replace pressure reduction valves with micro-hydro power generators in water distribution system



Wave power station



Cogeneration at Kincumber STP anaerobic digesters



Addition of commercial food waste to Kincumber STP anaerobic digesters as extra fuel for cogeneration

Further investigation


Enhanced landfill gas capture using additional gas capture wells



Pyrolysis of sewage biosolids to produce electricity and biochar

Further investigation


100% Green Power



Purchase forestry carbon offsets



Tidal current turbines at The Rip channel in Brisbane Water Estuary



Geothermal power station



Street lighting efficiency accelerated replacement program

Further investigation


Carbon sink tree planting on Council land



Route optimisation using GPS to reduce fleet fuel consumption



Vehicle fuel switching to lower greenhouse gas emission fuel



Energy-efficient lighting of public spaces and car parks



Energy efficiency improvements in Council buildings (HVAC, control systems and lighting)



Stormwater and groundwater harvesting and water efficiency improvements



Rooftop solar photovoltaic power generation

Further investigation


Large scale solar photovoltaic power generation



Replace electric hot water systems with solar and heat pump systems



Two 2.1 MW wind turbines



Cogeneration at Peninsula Leisure Centre



Community solid waste management program to reduce organic waste to landfill



Community water efficiency audit program



Community energy efficiency demand management program



Reduce carbon intensity of community transport



Community-owned wind farm



Carbon sink tree planting on community land



Somersby Water Treatment Plant energy efficiency improvements (process changes, variable speed drives and energy efficient pumps)



Mooney and Mangrove Weir pumping station load shifting using additional balance tanks



Mangrove Creek Dam advanced aeration controls using dissolved oxygen monitoring



Micro-hydro generator on sewerage system effluent outfall



Kincumber STP algae based biofuel production using wastewater and onsite



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8. Seek

feedback from GCC and make recommendations for the preferred strategy.

Findings and Discussions Economic NPV vs. financial NPV

NPV in $M

Option Number

Figure 2. ENA base case results (discount rate: 3.5%, 30-year life cycle).

Strategy Development The Climate Change Mitigation Strategy incorporates a combination of available abatement measures to reduce carbon emissions or increase carbon sinks from GCC operations and to reduce emissions in the local government area. This phase of the project utilised the portfolio of opportunities identified to allow GCC to compare different carbon reduction strategy trajectories to inform decision-making in a prudent way. The approach used to develop the strategy trajectories was as follows: 1. Define

the Business as Usual GHG emissions forecast for GCC from 2012 to 2025;

2. Identify

organisational constraints in delivering projects: The key constraints and drivers for the development of the CCMS were developed with the Project Reference Group and the Councillors in the Strategy Development Workshop. They spread across cash, payback, political will, legislative, public perception, environment, administrative, research, intellectual and opportunity cost;

3. Define

strategy scenarios based on the identified constraints: A range of CCMS scenarios and trajectories (21) were modelled from a triple bottom line and a financial perspective to reflect a range of weighting of risks, drivers and constraints (i.e. project risk profile, capital constraints and NPV positions). Refer to Figure 4 for some selected alternative trajectories.


Input selected carbon abatement opportunities – the output from the ENA (in the order of Economic NPV/tonnes CO2-e) was applied to develop strategy trajectories under different scenarios;

5. Develop

strategy trajectories and GHG emission reduction potential at 2025 for each scenario;

6. Determine

the financial and economic NPVs of each strategy

trajectory; 7. Determine

the sustainable and achievable corporate carbon reduction target and pathways;

For all scenarios the economic NPV was higher than the financial NPV. This result was influenced by two main factors: (i) a lower discount rate (i=3.5%) was used for the economic NPV (i=7.5% was used in the financial CCA results), reflecting the increased value which society places on future outcomes; and (ii) the addition of ‘externalities’ in the economic NPV (dominated by the cost of carbon, and also including terrestrial and marine ecological costs/benefits). The higher economic value reflects the enhanced value to society and the environment, over and above the financial value.

GCC Corporate only vs. wider community GCC’s position to take action at both corporate and community levels makes both good business sense and good community sense. The ENA scenarios that incorporate community projects perform consistently better than the scenarios targeting GCC corporate only. This outcome demonstrates the value generated by investment in both internal and community abatement initiatives.

Risk profile The influence of the applied risk profiles on the results is evident. Moving from high-risk opportunities to those with successively lower risk profiles, the economic and financial NPVs decrease. This reflects the logical risk/reward balance, with greater risk yielding higher value (if the risk is appropriately managed).

Council position In the Councillor Strategy Development Workshop, Council positions were determined to guide the selection of the preferred pathways: • The focus area of the strategy is the combination of both GCC corporate and its wider community – GCC wants to take an objective viewpoint and follow the opportunity list regardless of whether it benefits GCC corporate or GCC community. It is not only about carbon abatement but increasing efficiency and response to community concerns over climate change issues; • GCC wants to take a leadership role in tackling climate change issues and send a strong message for business efficiency in the area of carbon abatement; • GCC needs to take a business approach to assess the economics and the sustainability of the strategy and move towards an NPV-neutral position.

Chosen pathway In light of the Council positions, the trajectory that achieved an NPV neutral result, applying both GCC corporate and community opportunities (excluding high risk opportunities) was selected. Under this scenario, GCC’s 2025 carbon emissions are forecast to be 63,005 tonnes CO2-e, or a reduction of 15,755 tonnes CO2-e from 2009-2010 levels (20% reduction), with a further reduction of 10,180 tonnes CO2-e from the broader local government area (due to community energy efficiency programs).

Figure 3. GCC Marginal Abatement Cost Curve.

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The adopted trajectory results in all corporate opportunities delivering a positive financial return (based on the available data). Two community-based opportunities are also included, which do not return financial value to GCC, but the benefits are captured by the local community.

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Table 2. Mix of abatement opportunities included in the adopted target (covering both GCC and Community). Abatement Opportunity Type

The Climate Change Mitigation Strategy, endorsed by Gosford City Council, includes:

Contribution to Overall Abatement (%)

Demand Management


• Council adopting a carbon reduction 8 target of 20% at 2025 (based on 2010 34 levels), with funding 39 to be allocated to the mitigation projects as part of future Integrated Planning and Reporting processes;

Energy Efficiency


Renewable Energy Generation GHG Capture & Destruction Community Abatement Program The adopted strategy trajectory includes 16 abatement opportunities (Table 1). It also includes a mix of different types of abatement opportunities (Table 2). The community abatement program opportunities account for over 39% of the overall abatement potential. This is a reflection of the relatively large emission profile of the community compared to Council operations. The GHG capture and destruction category (34%) is dominated by the opportunity to increase the capture and destruction of methane gas from the Council landfill. The demand management and energy efficiency opportunities (19%) generally had a lower levelised cost

• Council developing a Carbon Management Response Plan (CMRP) to assist the implementation of the above target;

• Council undertaking further investigations into abatement opportunities identified as having potential to generate positive financial returns. The Climate Change Mitigation Strategy project demonstrates that significant emissions reduction is achievable at Gosford City Council and if implemented will deliver sustainable (financial, social and environmental) value to Council and the community.

The Authors Dr Dominic Dowling (email: dominic.dowling@ heads up WorleyParsons’ Environmental Management & Sustainability

of abatement. The renewable energy opportunities included solar hot water systems and cogeneration using biogas from the wastewater treatment plant.

team in Queensland and the Northern Territory. In this role, Dom works with customers to identify, evaluate and implement opportunities to reduce non-technical risks and improve business performance and sustainability. He is passionate about converting sustainability aspirations into business and project reality. Daniel Waters (email: dan. is an Environmental Scientist (Hon) currently working with Gosford City Council. He is passionate about improving energy and greenhouse gas management to generate sustainable value and mitigate climate change. Stella Wu (email: Stella. is an Environmental Engineer for WorleyParsons with six years of experience in environmental engineering and management across a range of infrastructure and heavy industry projects. She has experience in applying sustainable decision-making processes and toolsets to perform triple bottom-line economic modelling.   Professor Paul Hardisty (email: paul.hardisty@ is Global Director of EcoNomics™ and Sustainability for WorleyParsons. EcoNomics™ is a service that embeds profitable sustainability into all aspects of the project delivery life cycle, including energy issues. Paul has over 20 years’ experience advising corporations and government on environmental and social sustainability.

References DEFRA (2007): An Introductory Guide to Valuing Ecosystems Services, UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, London. Gosford City Council Meeting Report (7 Aug 2012): council_meetings/agenda_reports/2012/08/07/ City%20Services.pdf

Trajectory Label

Constraints Applied Risk Profile

NPV Position


No limit (minor, moderate and high included)

Overall NPV neutral


Minor risk only

NPV-positive opportunities only


Minor and moderate risk

NPV-positive opportunities only


Minor and moderate risk

Overall NPV neutral


Rate of return over 15%

NPV-positive opportunities only

Figure 4. Sample trajectories.

Gosford City Council (2010): Climate Change Policy: policies/environment_planning/Climate% 20Change%20Adaptation%20and%20 Mitigation%20Policy%20FINAL.pdf/ view?searchterm=climate+policy; adopted 4 May, 2010. Gosford City Council (2011): Gosford 2025 Community Strategic Plan: www.gosford. strategic+plan; adopted July 2011. Hardisty PE (2009): Environmental and Economic Sustainability, CRC Press, NY. Hardisty PE & Ozdemiroglu E (2005): The Economics of Groundwater Remediation and Protection, CRC Press, NY.


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EXAMINING THE LIKELY IMPACTS OF A CARBON PRICE USING SUPPLY CHAIN CARBON FOOTPRINTS Extensive analysis points to increases in operating and capital costs F Hartley, P Woods Abstract Sydney Water has completed an extensive analysis of its supply chain carbon footprint and has estimated that the carbon price will increase our operating costs by up to $15.4 million a year and capital costs by up to $3 million a year, after allowing for emission reduction initiatives. As with many other companies, a significant proportion of Sydney Water’s carbon price exposure rests within the supply chain. Supply chain pass-through costs are not transparent at this point in time and, therefore, must be estimated. Sydney Water is using the footprint tool developed by the Integrated Sustainability Analysis (ISA) group at the University of Sydney and tailored for the water industry through a collaboration with the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA). While a carbon price will increase costs for the water industry, the supply chain carbon footprint method is helping Sydney Water to manage carbon costs and identify opportunities arising from Australia’s move towards a low carbon future.

Introduction Sydney Water is planning for the impacts of climate change on the delivery of water, wastewater and recycled water services. These services require large amounts of energy for both treatment and pumping. Sydney Water’s carbon emissions intensity is approximately 160 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (t CO2-e) per million dollars of revenue (Scope 1 and 2 emissions only). This puts Sydney Water among Australia’s most carbon-intensive businesses (Energetics, 2011). Sydney Water met its milestone target of 60% reduction in energy related greenhouse emissions in 2011–12 against a 1993–94 baseline. This was achieved through a combination of energy efficiency, renewable energy generation and the surrender of NSW Greenhouse Abatement Certificates (NGACs).

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Quantifying Sydney Water’s carbon risk exposure is imperative in managing our carbon costs. The national legislated carbon price which commenced 1 July 2012 could significantly increase the costs of electricity, construction projects and other areas of Sydney Water’s operations. To assess the impacts and opportunities of the carbon price, Sydney Water used a method that measures both the direct liabilities and the more complex indirect costs likely to be passed on by our suppliers. Details on the carbon price used in Sydney Water’s estimate are based on our understanding of the Clean Energy Act 2011, associated legislation and Treasury modelling released under the Federal Government’s Clean Energy Future package as at December 2011. The actual carbon price pass-through on contracts may differ from these estimates.

Methodology The methodology for examining the impacts of a carbon price on Sydney Water involved three parts:

needed to provide water and wastewater services. It is expressed in terms of the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide (CO2-e). The carbon price uses this unit to include not just carbon dioxide but also emissions of methane, nitrous oxide and perfluorocarbons. Following national and international guidelines, emissions are categorised into three types or ‘scopes’, as shown in Table 1.

Supply chain footprint method Quantifying Sydney Water’s full carbon footprint is challenging because much of the potential impact is indirect, embedded in the supply chain. Sydney Water is using a methodology known as hybrid Environmentally Extended Input Output Analysis (EEIOA) developed by the Integrated Sustainability Analysis (ISA) research group at the University of Sydney and tailored for the water industry through a collaboration with the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA).

• Examining the potential for cost passthrough by suppliers who are liable for their emissions under the carbon price.

The ISA footprint tool, which is based on the EEIOA method, provides a unique combination of simplicity of use with inclusion of the full supply chain. The methodology uses the macro-economic technique of input-output analysis. The input-output analysis is integrated with national physical accounts data to calculate the amount of CO2-e ‘embodied’ in the dollar value of an organisation’s purchases.

Sydney Water’s ‘carbon footprint’ is the total greenhouse gas emissions produced by our operations and in the supply of the materials, energy and services

The advantage of the hybrid EEIOA method is that it provides a comprehensive, boundary-less estimate of all supply chain emissions combined

• Quantifying Sydney Water’s full supply chain carbon footprint; • Estimating Sydney Water’s direct liability;

Table 1. Greenhouse gas scopes. Scope 1

Release of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere as a direct result of activities at facilities owned or controlled by Sydney Water.

Scope 2

Release of greenhouse gas as a result of the generation of purchased electricity or heat consumed by Sydney Water.

Scope 3

Release of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere that is generated in the wider economy as a consequence of Sydney Water’s activities, but that are physically produced by another entity/company but that are not Scope 2.

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with specific data on individual processes where available. This enables a sufficiently accurate estimate to be calculated using a simple, cost-effective data collection method. Studies have estimated that the uncertainties associated with organisation level footprint calculations using this method are substantially lower than other analysis methods, which ignore up to 50% of impacts further up the supply chain (Lenzen, 2000). The EEIOA methodology is consistent with the international Greenhouse Gas Protocol that recognises the inherent uncertainty in supply chain emission estimation (WRI and WBCSD, 2011).

Data input The main input data required for the footprint calculation was the annual financial accounts (for past years) or budget forecasts for operational and capital expenditure (for future years). This required a detailed analysis of our accounts data and expert knowledge from our finance division to allocate the accounts to Australian economic sectors in the footprint tool. Data on Sydney Water’s direct emissions and electricity consumption was also input. We obtained this data from our annual National Greenhouse and Energy Report (NGER).

Carbon price considerations Sydney Water applied a number of assumptions to convert a detailed analysis of the footprint tool results into carbon price impacts. A carbon price of $23 a tonne in 2012–13, rising by 2.5% in real terms each year, was applied for the first three years of the fixed price period. Sydney Water used the Federal Treasury’s projection of a price of $29 a tonne (nominal) for 2015–16, the first year of emissions trading. We also considered the impact should carbon prices fall to the $15 floor price.

Liability for direct emissions Liable entities under the carbon price will be required to purchase and surrender one carbon permit for every tonne of CO2-e produced by facilities under their operational control with emissions over the threshold of 25,000 t CO2-e a year. Sydney Water has since determined that it has multiple facilities, each of which is below the threshold. Our original carbon price estimates were on the basis that all of our on-site emissions of methane and nitrous oxide from our wastewater treatment facilities were liable for the carbon price. Sydney Water has collected and reported its emissions under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting

(NGER) Act 2007 since 2008–09. This system forms the accounting system for the carbon price. Nitrous oxide emissions from effluent disposal were adjusted using the methodology adopted by the Federal Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (to apply from 2011– 12). Forecast emissions were estimated using projections of wastewater flows. Sydney Water’s direct liability covers approximately 63% of our direct emissions. This is due to the exclusion of emissions from the combustion of biogas from the carbon price and the separate treatment of Scope 1 emissions from fuel use. Costs have increased for nontransport fuel used in plant operations and equipment as an equivalent carbon price will be applied through reduced fuel tax credits, or will be the responsibility of the retailer (for natural gas). While fuel used by light vehicles is excluded from the carbon price, heavy on-road vehicle fuel costs may increase from 1 July 2014.

Impacts of a carbon price on electricity use Sydney Water’s most significant single contract exposure risk from a legislated carbon price is its electricity supply contract. Sydney Water’s electricity contract does not preclude pass-through of carbon costs. Sydney Water has assumed that retailers will pass through in full (subject to current and future contracts) any costs arising from the introduction of the carbon price. The Sydney Desalination Plant’s electricity use is fully offset with renewable energy and has no carbon cost. Electricity emissions have been estimated by applying the National Greenhouse Accounts (NGA) emissions factors to forecasts (Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, 2011). The legislation does not expressly specify the treatment of Scope 3 emissions. Until further clarification, Sydney Water has based its estimates on the full fuel cycle emissions factor of 1.06 t CO2-e / MWh for NSW electricity (Scope 2 and 3). Current electricity market passthrough of carbon costs is slightly lower. We have assumed that the grid electricity emission factors will remain relatively constant over the short term. However, grid factors are expected to decrease in the longer term as the national renewable energy target and the legislated price on carbon will promote cleaner forms of generation. Due to the closure of the NSW Greenhouse Gas Abatement Scheme (GGAS) on 1 July 2012, electricity cost increases due to the carbon price are

partly offset by the equivalent value of NSW Greenhouse Gas Abatement Certificates (NGACs), previously allowed for in our electricity pricing.

Estimating supply chain carbon price liability A significant proportion of Sydney Water’s functions are outsourced to third parties. There are challenges in estimating the potential exposure of suppliers to a carbon price and the likelihood of these being passed through to Sydney Water. The footprint tool has a ‘path exchange’ capability where input-output derived results can be replaced with specific emissions data obtained from suppliers or databases. This hybrid approach has enabled Sydney Water to improve the accuracy of its footprint estimates by substituting footprint tool results with actual data from suppliers. Sydney Water has assumed full pass-through of electricity carbon costs from the Sydney Catchment Authority (SCA) and ‘Build Own Operate’ water and wastewater treatment plants. These were calculated from data obtained for 2009–10 using water supply forecasts. The SCA’s electricity consumption dropped in 2009–10 due to the end of drought transfers from the Shoalhaven River. This significantly reduced Sydney Water’s carbon footprint from previous years (Figure 1). 1,600,000

Tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (t CO 2-e)

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Capital works indirect emissions (Scope 3) Operations indirect emissions (Scope 3) Electricity emissions (Scope 2) Direct emissions (Scope 1)

Figure 1. Sydney Water’s carbon footprint trends 2007–2011. The extent of carbon cost pass-through is limited to those suppliers that are liable for their emissions under the carbon price but could vary depending on the transitional assistance that industries may receive and their ability to pass on costs. The footprint tool allows detailed analysis of the emissions produced by specific industry sectors in the supply chain, including identifying emissions from the


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Table 2. Supply chain carbon price pass-through key assumptions. Coverage

Around two-thirds of Australia’s emissions covered by the carbon price applied through various means. Agriculture, land sector and a large proportion of transport sector emissions excluded. Exact liable entities not known, but 314 potentially liable entities identified as of August 2012. Some entities will not be liable because they fall below the threshold.


Imports not covered and industries exposed to international competition may have limited pass-through ability.


Transitional assistance is being provided to the electricity generation sector and some emissions-intensive, trade-exposed (EITE) industry sectors eg. aluminium, cement, lime, iron and steel producers.


Contract provisions may be affecting the ability to pass through costs. Carbon costs may be hidden by other more significant factors such as increasing electricity prices. Carbon costs may be diluted through the supply chain, or costs may be absorbed or offset by savings.

suppliers of suppliers and so on, passed on down the supply chain. This feature has enabled Sydney Water to apply the carbon price assumptions to various industry sectors in our supply chain, as summarised in Table 2. We expect our suppliers will seek to pass on all costs associated with the carbon price, at least in the early years of the scheme. We excluded relevant sectors not covered by the carbon price and made an allowance for entities that fall below the carbon price threshold. A proportion of the supply chain footprint exposed to competition (representing imports and EITE sectors), estimated using the footprint tool, was also excluded. At present, both the methodology and the assumptions about the carbon price have been applied at a coarse industry sector level. However, there is potential to develop a carbon price indicator within the footprint tool that applies assumptions for each detailed product category. The carbon price and other government energy policies are aimed at reducing the energy intensity of Australia’s economy, which could eventually reduce Sydney Water’s carbon footprint. In the short term, we have assumed pass-through of the carbon price without allowing for changes in energy intensity of products or substitution of products and services.

Results and Discussion Sydney Water’s carbon footprint In 2012–13, Sydney Water’s full supply chain carbon footprint is forecast to be around one million tonnes CO2-e. The carbon footprint is reported as a gross number (that is, before the use of carbon

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offsets), as this reflects Sydney Water’s carbon risk exposure. All Sydney Water’s operational and capital goods and services budgeted for the financial year are included. Over half of Sydney Water’s carbon footprint is indirect emissions (Scope 3) produced through our supply chain, excluding our electricity supply contract, as shown in Figure 2. This reflects the energy used to produce construction materials such as cement and steel and to produce treatment chemicals, and the energy intensity of bulk water supply and treatment. The operations supply chain accounts for 32% of our footprint in 2012–13. Another 23% of our carbon footprint is due to emissions embedded in capital works. 6% 23% 39% 32%

Direct emissions (scope 1) Electricity emissions (scope 2 and 3) Operations supply chain (other than electricity) emissions (scope 3) Capital works supply chain emissions (scope 3)

Figure 2. Sydney Water’s forecast carbon footprint for 2012–13. Sydney Water’s electricity use (Scope 2), combined with the indirect emissions from supplying electricity (Scope 3) make up 39% of Sydney Water’s carbon footprint. Pumping stations and treatment plants use a significant amount of electricity to treat and distribute water and to capture and treat wastewater.

Only about six per cent of Sydney Water’s carbon footprint is due to direct (Scope 1) emissions. This includes methane and nitrous oxide emissions from wastewater treatment plants, and fuel consumed by Sydney Water’s motor vehicles and plant and equipment.

Sydney Water’s carbon costs estimate Sydney Water estimated that the carbon price will impact on our costs as follows (in 2011–12 dollar values averaged over Sydney Water’s next pricing determination period to 2015–16): • Operating costs to increase by over 1% (up to $15.4 million a year) after allowing for emission reduction initiatives. This includes: – a  round $0.9 million a year in carbon permits for our direct greenhouse gas emissions from wastewater treatment – e  stimated increases in energy costs of $8.6 million a year due to carbon cost pass-through on electricity prices and some fuel prices – e  xpected increases in the costs of carbon intensive goods and services in Sydney Water’s operations supply chain by $5.9 million a year due to suppliers passing on their carbon price liability; • Capital costs to increase by up to $3 million a year made up of supply chain cost pass-through (of a forecast capital expenditure of around $750 million a year). In comparison, the Federal Government has estimated there will be a 0.7% increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in 2012–13 as the cost of carbon flows through the economy. The higher impact on Sydney Water’s costs is because water and wastewater operations are relatively energy and carbon intensive compared to the rest of the economy. It is possible there will be differences between actual and estimated financial impacts from carbon pricing due to fluctuations in the carbon price once emissions trading begins and due to variation from the assumptions on cost pass-through detailed in Table 2.

Carbon cost pass-through to customers Many of Sydney Water’s customers, including middle- to low-income households, communities and businesses have received government assistance to adjust to a carbon price. Sydney Water has estimated that a $23/tonne carbon price in 2012–13 will increase average

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Table 3. Effects on average weekly household expenditure of a $23 carbon price in 2012–13 including water costs estimated for a typical Sydney Water customer (using 200 kL/year of potable water). Weekly expenditure ($/week)

Capital works projects Bulk water SCA & BOO Chemicals Maintenance contracts Professional services Waste


Maintenance supplies



Printing & administration



Finance & banking





Overall Effect



Notes: 1. These estimates are averages. Actual expenditure may vary depending on household size, composition, preferences, energy sources and water use. 2. Expenditure on water is from Sydney Water’s carbon cost estimates. Other data is from Australian Government (2011) Clean energy future. The total includes other impacts.

weekly household water expenses by 14 cents a week should costs be fully passed-through. This is shown in the context of the Federal Government’s forecast effects on household expenditure in Table 3. IPART’s determination (2012) includes the estimated carbon price impacts, but overall will mean that most residential customers’ water and sewerage bills will decrease slightly in real terms over Sydney Water’s determination period to 2015–16.

Supply chain hot-spots The footprint analysis showed that major carbon-intensive categories in Sydney Water’s supply chain include capital works, water purchasing, chemicals, maintenance contracts and waste disposal (Figure 3). These high-level results provide a focus for more detailed analysis and management of carbon in the supply chain. With the potential future improvement of the footprint tool to include a carbon price indicator, Sydney Water may be able to identify a carbon cost pass-through for each supply category. Although they have a relatively low emissions factor, finance and banking services have a significant carbon footprint due to high borrowings to fund capital expenditure.

Responding to the carbon price Sydney Water is managing the cost of carbon to the business and identifying opportunities arising from Australia’s move towards a low carbon future.


NOTE: excludes desalination capital works and energy supply chain



100,000 150,000 200,000 250,000

Tonnes CO2-e

Figure 3. Sydney Water’s forecast carbon intensive supply categories for 2012–13. Since 2007, Sydney Water has implemented a Climate Change Strategy to effectively identify and address the risks associated with climate change. Sydney Water has introduced renewable energy projects that supply around 20% of our energy needs. In conjunction with energy efficiency improvements, these projects have reduced our emissions by 90,000 tonnes CO2-e a year. This represents an avoided carbon cost of over $2 million a year. The completion of major capital works in 2010, including the desalination plant, also helped reduce our footprint, as did the suspension of water transfers from the Shoalhaven River by the Sydney Catchment Authority, which peaked during the drought in 2007–08. These trends are shown in the carbon footprint analysis in Figure 1 (Sydney Water, 2011). Sydney Water’s new Energy and Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Strategy will continue to focus on managing our energy and electricity emissions. It aims to reduce emissions by a further 40,000 tonnes a year, which will save another $1 million in carbon costs and even more in energy costs. Sydney Water is actively reducing its footprint and the impact of energy and carbon costs by: • Optimising our renewable energy plants and continuing to pursue energy efficiencies; • Continuing to assess opportunities to reduce energy and greenhouse gas emissions, using our in-house Cost of Carbon Abatement Tool (Woods et al., 2011); • Moving towards sustainable procurement to reduce the carbon footprints of the products we buy and encourage our suppliers to reduce their carbon footprint;

• Continuing to reduce waste and reuse biosolids and improve water efficiency; • Reviewing investment opportunities under the Federal Government’s carbon price and Clean Energy Future package. Beyond the regulation and pricing of carbon emissions, increasing and volatile electricity prices create a significant financial incentive for Sydney Water to reduce both direct and supply chain energy consumption and increase renewable energy sources. The move to energy-intensive water recycling, tighter water and wastewater quality standards and the need to service a growing population will continue to place upward pressure on our footprint. Water-savings efforts of our customers supported through programs such as WaterFix have influenced household energy use as well as contributing towards reducing Sydney Water’s total carbon footprint. With rising electricity prices and the carbon price, further opportunities for water authorities to influence our customers’ use of energy may emerge.

Footprint Tool discussion The results show that the Footprint Tool is suitable for calculating a robust, organisational-level, full supply chain footprint that is able to be used to examine the potential for carbon cost pass-through by suppliers. A key and time-consuming challenge in using the Footprint Tool is allocating financial accounts data to the footprint consumption categories. However, the initial effort in doing this is not required for future years. Once the allocations are established, it is relatively simple and efficient to apply the footprint to different years and subcomponents (for example, the separate examination of the operational and capital footprints).


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carbon footprint This facilitates tracking changes over time and potentially benchmarking with other water authorities. Sydney Water also found that the potential for “hybridisation” with detailed data on specific suppliers, while currently complicated to apply, was a valuable capability of the tool. Once further detail on all industries’ carbon cost liabilities is available, there is the potential for detail on the carbon price coverage to be incorporated within the tool. This would simplify analysis and provide a more comprehensive assessment of supply chain carbon cost liabilities. Sydney Water is also using the tool for other uses, including reporting of the organisation’s ecological footprints.

Conclusion Sydney Water has completed an extensive analysis of its carbon footprint and has estimated the impact that the carbon price will have on our operations. While carbon pricing will increase costs for the water industry, the carbon footprint methodology provides opportunities to recognise and manage the cost of carbon. This analysis has allowed Sydney Water to: • Estimate the full impact of the carbon price on operational and capital costs; • Examine the significance of direct liability in the context of our total carbon costs; • Support the business case for continuing energy reduction initiatives; • Identify the potential extent of carbon cost pass-through from our supply chain and opportunities to encourage suppliers to reduce their footprint;

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include integrating carbon costs in planning decision-making and moving towards sustainable procurement. Sydney Water aims to shrink our footprint and reduce our exposure to long-term carbon price risks. This will ease pressure to increase future water prices as we continue to improve the sustainability of our services and provide value to our customers.

Acknowledgements The Authors thank Kristy Drzewucki of the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) and Chris Dey, Sydney University Integrated Sustainability Analysis, for their support in customising the Footprint Tool for Australian water authorities.

The Authors

References Australian Government (2011): Securing a Clean Energy Future: the Australian Government’s Climate Change Plan, Commonwealth of Australia. Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (2011): National Greenhouse Accounts Factors, Commonwealth of Australia. Energetics (2011): Carbon Price 2011: Australia’s Emissions Intensive Industries, newsletter/energy-intensity-of-australia Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal of New South Wales (2012): Review of Prices for Sydney Water Corporation’s Water, Sewerage, Stormwater Drainage and other Services – from 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2016 – Water – Final Report. Lenzen M (2000): Errors in Conventional and Input-Output-Based Life-Cycle Inventories, Journal of Industrial Ecology, 4, pp 127–148. Sydney Water (2011): Annual Report 2011.

Freya Hartley (email: freya.hartley@ is an Environmental Strategist at Sydney Water and project managed the use of ecological and carbon footprint tools to understand Sydney Water’s overall environmental impact and carbon risk exposure. Phil Woods (email: philip.woods@ is the Principal Eco-Efficiency Analyst at Sydney Water and leads Sydney Water’s effort to identify and assess greenhouse gas mitigation opportunities across the business.

Sydney Water (2011): Sydney Water Submission to IPART’s Review of Prices for Sydney Water Corporation’s Water, Sewerage, Stormwater and Other Services. Woods P, Hynes R, Jones M, Walters R, Sullivan J, Ferguson M (2011): Carbon Abatement Opportunities at Sydney Water – Applying the Cost of Carbon Abatement Tool. Water Journal, 38:7, pp 78–81. WRI & WBCSD (2011): The Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard, World Resources Institute and World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

• Publicly report our carbon footprint and carbon cost exposure to customers and stakeholders. Sydney Water is well placed to manage carbon costs and identify opportunities arising from Australia’s move to a low-carbon future through our new Energy and Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Strategy 2020. We will continue to use the Footprint Tool and our Cost of Carbon Abatement Tool to prioritise opportunities to reduce energy use, reduce emissions, reduce costs and measure progress. Future areas of focus

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climate change prospects for freshwater fisheries in the tropical pacific An overview of production and management strategies to adapt to population growth and climate change

P Gehrke, M Sheaves, B Figa, D Boseto, J Terry, J Wani, J Ellison

Analysis of information on freshwater environments and projections for B1 and A2 climate change scenarios to 2035 and 2100 identified that equatorial zones are likely to receive an increase in rainfall of up to 20%, leading to increased river discharge of 33% by 2050 in places. In subtropical zones, rainfall is projected to decrease by as much as 20%. Increased river discharge and area of freshwater habitats are likely to dominate other responses to climate change, resulting in increases in fish production by as much as 12.5% by 2100. Sound catchment management to minimise adverse effects on fish habitats from economic development activities will be required to ensure that this potential benefit from climate change can be achieved.

Introduction Freshwater fisheries in the tropical Pacific region are much more important than most people realise. The annual catch from freshwater alone is estimated at 24,000 tonnes per year, and provides around 4% of GDP derived from fisheries resources, despite river catchments representing less than 1% of the area fished. Catches of freshwater fish from Papua New Guinea (PNG) alone are four times greater than the total freshwater catch in Australia. The largest catches



pH Temperature Sea level


Marine habitats

Oceanic conditions

Freshwater fisheries in the tropical Pacific play an important role in the food security, livelihoods and culture of people living in inland areas. Human populations in the region are projected to increase by 50% by 2030, increasing the importance of fresh fish as a source of animal protein for human nutrition. A priority of fisheries management is, therefore, to increase fisheries production to meet demand, and to develop strategies to maintain food security and government revenue in the face of climate change.

Storm surge

Temperature Rainfall Cyclones El NiĂąo

Freshwater fisheries

Freshwater habitats Atmospheric conditions




Catchment condition

Land use

Direct pathway

Indirect pathway

Figure 1. Conceptual representation of the direct and indirect pathways through which climate change may affect freshwater fisheries. come from the high islands in Melanesia (PNG, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji), which support the largest rivers and lakes in the region. Consumption of freshwater fish in parts of PNG is as high as 100kg per person each year, demonstrating the importance of fish to the livelihoods, nutrition and culture of people living near rivers and lakes. Human populations in the Pacific region are projected to grow by 50% by 2030, generating increasing demand for

fish as the main source of animal protein to maintain basic nutritional requirements (Bell et al., 2011). At current catch rates, there is likely to be a shortfall of fish to meet this demand. The governments of Pacific island countries and territories are currently developing strategies to increase fish catches to maintain domestic food security and government revenue through sale of fishing licences and fish exports. However, current projections for climate change suggest that changes in oceanic


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carbon footprint and atmospheric conditions may have serious consequences for habitats that support major marine fisheries within the region. Freshwater fisheries may also be affected through a combination of pathways that affect fish directly, as well as indirect pathways through effects on catchment processes, habitats and land use interactions (Figure 1). In addition, migratory species with complex life cycles that spend part of their lives at sea will be affected by climate impacts on both marine and freshwater habitats. This paper reviews available information to assess the vulnerability of freshwater habitats and fisheries to climate change, as part of a larger study of fisheries and aquaculture across the tropical Pacific (Bell et al., 2011).

Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment The vulnerability of freshwater fisheries was assessed qualitatively by reviewing and synthesising available information on the potential direct and indirect impact pathways represented in Figure 1. Effects of oceanic conditions on marine habitats are described elsewhere (Bell et al., 2011). Climate change projections were generated for four scenarios, by applying the low emissions B1 and the high emissions A2 storylines at timeframes of 2035 and 2100 (Lough et al., 2011). The resolution of existing atmospheric and oceanic climate models does not currently permit downscaling to individual islands and river catchments. Accordingly,

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Table 1. Summary of projected climate change effects for the tropical Pacific region (Lough et al., 2011; Ganachaud et al., 2011). Climate variable







0.5 - 1.0

0.5 - 1.0

1.0 - 1.5

2.5 - 3.0

Rainfall – equatorial regions

+ 5 - 15%

+ 5 - 20%

+ 10 - 20%

+ 10 - 20%

Rainfall – subtropical regions

- 5 - 10%

- 5 - 20%

- 5 - 20%

- 5 - 20%

Surface temperature (˚C)

Cyclones El Niño events Sea level (cm)

Possible decrease in frequency, but increased intensity Continuing influence but frequency and intensity uncertain + 20 – 30

+ 20 – 30

+ 70 – 110

+ 90 – 140

form and geomorphological processes was reviewed and synthesised to describe the diversity of freshwater ecosystems in the Pacific, and their potential responses to climate change scenarios.

a qualitative analysis was undertaken based on overarching atmospheric and oceanic climate projections, consideration of local island climate patterns, and application of a geomorphological and geological template to capture catchment hydrological processes that translate rainfall into runoff and river flow. Projected climate change effects for the region are given in Table 1.

Information on freshwater fisheries in the Pacific islands is generally poor, with the best studies coming from the Fly and Sepik-Ramu regions of PNG (Blaber et al., 2009; Coates, 1993). Accounts from elsewhere are predominantly derived from biodiversity surveys and anecdotal accounts (Gillett, 2009). Data on fishing effort is characteristically lacking. Fish habitat use and potential responses to climate change were derived from published studies from the Pacific, or from neighbouring regions or closely related species where direct information was not available.

Freshwater habitats were differentiated according to elevation to distinguish montane, slopes and lowland rivers, as well as lakes and floodplain wetlands. Islands were further classified according to geology. High islands with volcanic geology generate significant runoff resulting in perennial flowing rivers. Low islands with porous limestone geology exhibit high infiltration rates with low runoff, resulting in few flowing rivers or standing freshwater habitats. Existing information on rainfall and runoff, hydrology, water quality, physical habitat

Vulnerability of habitats and fisheries to climate change was assessed using the vulnerability framework (Bell et al., 2011). This approach considers exposure to climate change and sensitivity to climatic effects to identify potential impacts, and capacity of habitats and species to adapt to changes in climate. Vulnerability is defined as the remaining impacts following adaptation. Vulnerability of freshwater habitats and fisheries resources were integrated to develop recommendations to minimise remaining risks to freshwater environments and fisheries to ensure food security for inland populations into the future.

Photo: Boga Figa

Freshwater Habitats

Figure 2. Large floodplain lakes such as Lake Owa in Papua New Guinea are likely to expand as a result of climate change.

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High islands in the tropical Pacific display an array of river types based on catchment area, drainage density, discharge and geomorphology, which determine the habitats and the fish species that occur. The three longest rivers in PNG, the Sepik-Ramu, Fly and Purari, have a combined catchment area of more than 200,000 km2, with flows that rank among the highest in the world. Smaller rivers, however, have short (< 100 km), straight, steep

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Photo: Boga Figa

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discharge is estimated to increase by 9% in the Fly River and 33% in the Sepik River by 2050 under the A2 scenario (Palmer et al., 2008), increasing further towards 2100. These changes will increase habitat availability and connectivity. Habitat quality will also be affected by the timing, intensity, frequency and variability of rainfall and resulting effects on the flow regime. Reduced rainfall in the subtropical Pacific will decrease river flow in New Caledonia and French Polynesia, leading to a narrowing of river channels and reduced connectivity between habitats. Cyclones

Cyclones are expected to become less frequent, Figure 3. Papuan black bass are highly sought after in the subsistence fishery in southern Papua New but more intense, with Guinea. more damaging winds and larger storm surges. Rising wetlands before returning to the river channels in comparison, with small, sea levels will not affect rivers uniformly, channel where they mature. Connectivity narrow catchments and few tributaries. because islands differ in their evolution between habitats is critical to most The steep terrain and channel gradients stages between uplifting, subsidence, and fisheries species in tropical rivers. promote rapid runoff and flash flooding deposition of sediments on floodplains. (Gehrke et al., 2011a). Fish depend on a number of food Saline intrusion into freshwater habitats webs for energy and growth across Lowland river reaches have more as a result of rising sea levels will be different habitats, including planktivorous subdued terrain, with alluvial terraces accentuated by cyclonic storm surges, and floodplains. The Fly River floodplain is pathways; epiphyte grazer pathways; and may be countered by increased terrestrial carbon pathways based on the largest wetland in the region, covering freshwater flow. riparian vegetation and detritus; and an area of 4.5 million hectares (Figure pathways based on insects and fruits El Niño Southern Oscillation 2). Despite the tropical climate, most from streamside vegetation (Storey rivers have modest discharge because of El Niño events will remain a strong feature and Yarrao, 2009). their small catchment area, but even the of the tropical Pacific climate, producing smallest rivers tend to flow continuously. Indirect effects droughts with reduced river flow and low habitat availability as floodplain habitats River flows vary on a two- to five-year Rainfall become disconnected from rivers or time scale under the influence of the El Climate models for the Pacific emphasise dry completely. It is anticipated that the Niño Southern Oscillation. During El Niño ocean-atmosphere interactions as the extreme climatic conditions in El Niño events, the central and eastern Pacific driver of island climates, but do not cycles will become more pronounced, experience increased rainfall, whereas leading to drier dry periods, and wetter wet the western part of the region experiences account for the effects of high islands on local weather (Lough et al., 2011), years (Lough et al., 2011). Reduced river extended droughts. The La Niña events creating uncertainty in rainfall and flow flows during El Niño droughts enable salt that follow El Niño events typically bring projections. Despite the low spatial water to penetrate further into freshwater heavy rainfall, cyclones and flooding, resolution of rainfall projections, most habitats. These changes are projected which dominate ecological processes in rivers will receive more runoff because of to translate into increased variability freshwater habitats. Small rivers typically the expected increases in rainfall (Table in availability of freshwater habitats. have low biodiversity, and recolonisation 1). The southwest of the region around after disturbance can change species Temperature New Caledonia may expect a decline in composition (Gehrke et al., 2011a). rainfall of up to 20% during winter by Increases in surface temperature 2100, increasing the seasonal variability Importance of habitat are difficult to extrapolate directly of river flow. The southeast regions may connectivity to fisheries to freshwaters. Shaded rivers fed expect more uniform rainfall, with a 5% to by groundwater may experience little Many fish species in the Pacific region 20% decrease over summer, and a 20% change from present-day temperatures, migrate between freshwater and the increase in winter under the A2 scenario. whereas shallow open water wetlands sea to complete their life cycle. Adult may warm by more than the predicted barramundi migrate to sea to spawn, and Higher rainfall will lead to increased increase in surface temperature. larvae and juveniles migrate to floodplain magnitude and duration of flows. River


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carbon footprint Vulnerability of freshwater habitats Climate change impacts on freshwater systems will be expressed differently from impacts on marine habitats. The dominant concerns for marine habitats and fisheries arise from changes in water quality related to increasing temperature and ocean acidification. In contrast, the greatest changes in freshwater habitats are projected to come from increased water quantity, resulting in a greater area and availability of freshwater habitats (Gehrke et al., 2011a). Freshwater habitats in the Pacific region typically experience daily, seasonal and annual variations in water quality that are larger than projected effects of climate change, and have low vulnerability to changes in water quality. The vulnerability of individual rivers will be determined by the interactions between climate change and the condition of catchment vegetation. Increased water availability, temperature and CO2 fertilisation effects (McMahon et al., 2010) are projected to enhance growth of vegetation, improving the resilience of freshwater ecosystems to the adverse effects of climate change. The moderating effects of catchment vegetation will be reduced in catchments that are affected by urban development, mining, forestry and agriculture. In disturbed catchments, turbidity is expected to increase as a result of increased erosion. Catchments with intact vegetation are likely to experience little change in turbidity because potential increases in sediment transport resulting from increased intensity of runoff will be offset by increased growth of vegetation. The net outcome for turbidity is likely to be sitespecific, but over larger spatial scales the changes are projected to be small. Montane rivers have low vulnerability to habitat changes resulting from increased flow, but will experience elevated water temperatures. At intermediate elevations, slopes reaches have low vulnerability to the expected changes in water temperature and rainfall. Transient negative effects are likely following cyclone damage to catchment vegetation. Lowland rivers have low vulnerability to increased annual discharge. Vulnerability to habitat damage from extreme flows is expected to increase; however, the potential negative effects of these changes may be offset by greater availability of freshwater habitats in the long term. Vulnerability of lakes is low under the influence of increased rainfall. Floodplain habitats are also likely to be enhanced by increases in rainfall and water temperature. As floodplain vegetation adapts to a wetter

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climate, however, habitats will become more vulnerable to droughts. Low-lying floodplains, such as the Fly floodplain, are vulnerable to saline inundation from rising sea levels. Floodplains further upstream should be inundated more extensively as rising sea levels force freshwater flows laterally. The most critical feature determining the vulnerability of habitats to increasing temperature, higher rainfall and intense cyclones is the extent of intact catchment vegetation. The ability of rivers to absorb these changes is provided through shading of the water by the forest canopy, and stabilisation of soils through root development. Projections for subtropical habitats are in the opposite direction, particularly in New Caledonia, where vulnerability to negative impacts is moderate to high by 2100. In New Caledonia, rivers are expected to experience channel reduction and habitat fragmentation because of reduced rainfall. Increased temperature and evaporation make lakes and wetlands highly vulnerable in drought years.

Constraints to habitat adaptation When the effects of higher temperatures, altered flow and sea-level rise are integrated, equatorial freshwater habitats have a low vulnerability to climate change, and are expected to expand under the influence of increased rainfall for both the B1 and A2 scenarios until 2100. The positive and negative effects on freshwater habitats will be mediated by the way catchments are managed. Physical processes in river systems are strongly driven by runoff and river flow. Where catchment vegetation has been cleared, autonomous adaptive capacity is reduced and vulnerability of habitats increases. The largest increases in habitat availability are likely to occur in floodplains. However, the quality of expanded habitats will be influenced by catchment condition. Global climate change projections for freshwater habitats (Xenopoulos et al., 2005) are consistent with the assessment provided here. Increased river flow makes freshwater habitats in the Pacific especially likely to experience improvements, such as increased habitat availability and complexity in catchments with intact vegetation where erosion and sedimentation rates are low (Victor et al., 2004). In well-managed catchments, the adaptive capacity of vegetation may be sufficient to limit erosion and deliver benefits from increased flows. However, where natural vegetation has been removed, the capacity to mitigate the damaging effects of increased runoff and erosion is reduced. The primary

constraint to climate adaptation of freshwater habitats is development in catchments to support rapidly growing human populations, which are predicted to grow from 9.86 million in 2010 to 15 million by 2035 (Bell et al., 2011).

Freshwater Fisheries Production Fishing methods used in freshwater are mostly simple, involving traditional gear such as spears, woven baskets and traps, hand collection, poisoning with derris roots, and more elaborate diversion of small streams into rock traps. More recent innovations include monofilament hand lines and gill nets, cast nets, and outboard-powered aluminium punts. Skilled fishers make substantial catches with even relatively simple equipment (Figure 3).

River flow Fish are sensitive to the magnitude, timing, frequency and duration of flow events, the rate of change in flow, and the seasonality, variability and predictability of flows (Welcomme and Halls, 2004). Barramundi in PNG are expected to be sensitive to changes in flows that influence migration, spawning and availability of nursery habitats. The relationship between flow, fish abundance and catches has been documented for many species, based on habitat availability and food web processes, leading to increased recruitment and cues for fish migration. Increased rainfall that coincides with the timing of spawning, recruitment and migration, is likely to enhance freshwater fish populations. For freshwater species that migrate to sea to breed, increased rainfall during the low flow season is expected to increase habitat availability, and elevated wet season flows will increase access to nursery habitats. Increased river flow is, therefore, projected to increase fish production in equatorial regions.

Water temperature Warmer temperatures will affect fish production through both direct and indirect pathways. Projected increases in water temperature are unlikely to be lethal to fish. Exposure to high temperatures is most likely in floodplain habitats, where many species tolerate water temperatures above 35°C. In contrast, riverine species tend to inhabit waters below 35°C. Fish production will increase under the influence of enhanced primary production and faster fish growth rates (Downing et al., 1990); however, exposure to pollutants from disturbed catchments may reduce fish temperature tolerances (Patra et al., 2007). Species that migrate through the sea may expand their distributions

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as waters warm, with the distribution of barramundi projected to expand southward by 800km (Balston, 2007).

Water quality Other changes in water quality, such as dissolved oxygen and turbidity, are likely to be site-specific. In stratified lakes, increases in wind action are expected to bring hypoxic water to the surface, resulting in declining fisheries production (O’Reilly et al., 2003), while warmer floodplain habitats are also likely to experience reduced oxygen availability, creating a trend towards fish communities dominated by hypoxia-tolerant species. Vulnerability of fish to turbidity is low in undisturbed catchments, and many species thrive in the naturally turbid

lowland reaches of the Fly River. However, clearing vegetation for catchment development predisposes rivers to increased turbidity, leading to changes in primary production, food web processes, and potential changes in the species composition of fish communities.

Synthesis of freshwater fisheries production Increases in river flow are projected to drive changes in fisheries production (Gillett, 2009; Downing et al., 1990). The magnitude, timing, frequency, duration, variability and rate of change in river flows influence the availability and quality of fish habitat, and provide cues for fish migration, reproduction and recruitment. Even so, increased flow will be tempered by other climate effects,

Table 2. Changes in biological production of freshwater fisheries in the tropical Pacific, under B1 and A2 scenarios by 2035 and 2100, derived from projected changes in habitat availability as a result of variation in rainfall. Values in parentheses indicate projected range (likelihood of occurrence 29%–66%, with 33%–66% confidence). Pacific Island country or territory

Recent production (t y-1)

Projected change (%) 2035






Melanesia 4,146

0 (-5 – 5)

0 (-5 – 5)

0 (-5 – 5)

12.5 (5 – 20)


2.5 (-5 - 10)

0 (-5 – 5)

-2.5 (-10 – 5)

0 (-20 – 20)



0 (-5 – 5)

2.5 (-5 – 10)

7.5 (-5 – 20)

7.5 (-5 – 20)

Solomon Islands


0 (-5 – 5)

2.5 (-5 – 10)

7.5 (-5 – 20)

7.5 (5 – 10)



0 (-5 – 5)

2.5 (-5 – 10)

0 (-5 – 5)

7.5 (5 – 10)

Fiji New Caledonia

Micronesia Federated States of Micronesia


0 (-5 – 5)

0 (-5 – 5)

0 (-5 – 5)

7.5 (-5 – 20)



0 (-5 – 5)

2.5 (-5 – 10)

2.5 (-5 – 10)

7.5 (-5 – 20)



0 (-5 – 5)

0 (-5 – 5)

2.5 (-5 – 10)

7.5 (-5 – 20)

Polynesia American Samoa


0 (-5 – 5)

0 (-5 – 5)

0 (-5 – 5)

2.5 (-5 – 10)

Cook Islands


2.5 (-5 – 10)

2.5 (-5 – 10)

2.5 (-5 – 10)

7.5 (-5 – >20)

French Polynesia


2.5 (-5 – 10)

2.5 (-5 – 10)

2.5 (-5 – 10)

7.5 (-10 – >20)



0 (-5 – 5)

0 (-5 – 5)

0 (-5 – 5)

2.5 (-5 – 10)



0 (-5 – 5)

0 (-5 – 5)

2.5 (-5 – 10)

7.5 (-5 – >20)

especially in disturbed catchments. The benefits to fish production are difficult to quantify because of uncertainties in the climate models and their limited ability to project changes at the catchment scale. In the absence of down-scaled climate modelling and hydraulic models of habitat availability, changes in biological fish production (Table 2) are estimated to be approximately proportional to changes in habitat areas as a result of increased rainfall (Gehrke et al., 2011b). This estimation process is appropriate for most catchments in the Pacific region because of the low intensity of catchment development outside urban areas. Adverse interactions between climate change and land use are likely to be significant at a local scale, but at the regional scale the net response is projected to be positive. Available data allow only crude projections of fisheries yield. Projected increases in biological production suggest that fisheries production may increase by up to 2.5% in 2035, by 2.5 to 7.5% under B1 in 2100, and by 7.5% for the A2 scenario in 2100 (Table 2). Achieving these increases will depend on the ability to implement sustainable fishing practices to avoid over-fishing, and to mitigate other threats to fisheries resources, including invasive species and habitat degradation arising from inappropriate catchment management. Since pressure from population growth is expected to be greatest in urban areas where reliance on freshwater fisheries is low, it is anticipated that fisheries production in rural catchments will not be adversely affected by increased fishing pressure (Bell et al., 2011). Strengthening of environmental legislation, including customary management practices (Ellison, 2009) is anticipated to reduce the adverse impacts of catchment development into the future. Considering the magnitude of climate impacts and prospects for population growth, it is possible that the impacts of climate change will be overshadowed by activities such as mining, logging and agriculture, and that ineffective management of these activities may predispose freshwater fisheries production to the more damaging effects of climate change (Ficke et al., 2007).

Conclusions The limited information on freshwater fisheries and ecosystems in the tropical Pacific region presents a major source of uncertainty in this assessment. This limitation makes it difficult to develop quantitative assessments of the likely impacts of any threat to fisheries


NOVEMBER 2012 85

carbon footprint production. The low resolution of existing climate models also creates uncertainty at the scale of individual islands, catchments, and rivers. Downscaling of climate models is needed to allow more rigorous assessment of changes in freshwater habitats, and vulnerability of fisheries production. Modelling case studies of habitat changes in disturbed and intact catchments and resulting effects on fisheries production are required to quantify the comparative magnitude of climatic and human impacts. Engagement of non-fisheries sectors in habitat management is required to sustain freshwater fisheries, in addition to customary approaches to fisheries management. A cross-sectoral approach to ecosystem-based management will provide an opportunity to maximise the benefits, and to minimise the adverse effects of climate change on fisheries. Careful management of freshwater fisheries, especially fishing effort and available gear, will be required to sustain catches, and this will include obtaining information on catch and effort to guide decision making by governments, non-government authorities and customary managers.

Acknowledgements This project was coordinated by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community with funding from AusAID. We are particularly grateful for the strong support of Dr Johann Bell in completing this assessment.

The Authors Dr Peter Gehrke (email: is Australian Manager – Natural Resources with SMEC Australia in Brisbane, Queensland. He previously worked for CSIRO Land and Water and NSW Fisheries. Associate Professor Marcus Sheaves (email: is Deputy Director of TropWATER (Centre for Tropical Water & Aquatic Ecosystem Research) and Associate Dean Research Training, Faculty of Science & Engineering at James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland.

refereed paper

Systematics and Conservation Laboratory at the Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi in Texas, US. Associate Professor James Terry (email: works in the Department of Geography at the National University of Singapore. Jacob Wani (email: jwain@fisheries. is the Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture Manager with the National Fisheries Authority in Port Moresby, PNG. Dr Joanna Ellison (email: joanna. is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Tasmania in Launceston, Tasmania.

References Balston JM (2007): An Examination of the Impacts of Climate Variability and Climate Change on the Wild Barramundi (Lates calcarifer): A Tropical Estuarine Fishery of North-Eastern Queensland, Australia. Unpublished PhD thesis, James Cook University. Bell JD, Johnson JE & Hobday AJ (eds) (2011): Vulnerability of Tropical Pacific Fisheries and Aquaculture to Climate Change. Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Noumea, New Caledonia. Blaber SJM, Milton DA & Salini JP (2009): The Biology of Barramundi (Lates calcarifer) in the Fly River System. In: BR Bolton (ed) The Fly River, Papua New Guinea: Environmental Studies in an Impacted Tropical River System. Developments in Earth and Environmental Sciences, 9, Elsevier: Burlington, Amsterdam and Oxford, pp 411–426. Coates D (1993): Fish Ecology and Management in the Sepik-Ramu, New Guinea, a Large Contemporary Tropical River Basin. Environmental Biology of Fishes, 38, pp 345–368. Downing JA, Plante C & Lalonde S (1990): Fish Production Correlated with Primary Production, Not the Morphoedaphic Index. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Science, 47, pp 1929–1936. Ellison JC (2009): Wetlands of the Pacific Island Region. Wetlands Ecology and Management, 17, pp 169–206. Ficke AD, Myrick CA & Hansen LJ (2007): Potential Impacts of Global Climate Change on Freshwater Fisheries. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries, 17, pp 581–613.

Boga Figa (email: bogaf@marengomining. com) is the Environment & Sustainable Development Manager for Marengo Mining (PNG) Limited in Madang, PNG.

Ganachaud AS, Sen Gupta A, Orr JC, Wijffels SE, Ridgway KR, Hemer MA, Maes C, Steinberg CR, Tribollet AD, Qiu B & Kruger JC (2011): Observed and Expected Changes to the Tropical Pacific Ocean. In JD Bell, JE Johnson & AJ Hobday (eds), “Vulnerability of Tropical Pacific Fisheries and Aquaculture to Climate Change”, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Noumea, New Caledonia, pp 101–187.

David Boseto (email: dboseto@islander. is based at the Fish

Gehrke PC, Sheaves MJ, Terry JP, Boseto DT, Ellison JC, Figa BS & Wani J (2011a):

86 NOVEMBER 2012 water

Vulnerability of Freshwater and Estuarine Fish Habitats in the Tropical Pacific to Climate Change. In JD Bell, JE Johnson and AJ Hobday (eds), “Vulnerability of Tropical Pacific Fisheries and Aquaculture to Climate Change”, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Noumea, New Caledonia, pp 369–431. Gehrke PC, Sheaves MJ, Boseto DT, Figa BS & Wani J (2011b): Vulnerability of Freshwater and Estuarine Fisheries in the Tropical Pacific to Climate Change. In JD Bell, JE Johnson & AJ Hobday (eds), “Vulnerability of Tropical Pacific Fisheries and Aquaculture to Climate Change”, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Noumea, New Caledonia, pp 577–645. Gillett R (2009): Fisheries in the Economies of the Pacific Island Countries and Territories. Pacific Studies Series, Asian Development Bank. Lough JM, Meehl GA & Salinger MJ (2011): Observed and Projected Changes in Surface Climate of the Tropical Pacific., In JD Bell, JE Johnson & AJ Hobday (eds), “Vulnerability of Tropical Pacific Fisheries and Aquaculture to Climate Change”, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Noumea, pp 49–99. McMahon SM, Parker GG, Miller DR (2010): Evidence for a Recent Increase in Forest Growth. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107, pp 3611–3615. O’Reilly CM, Alin SR, Plisnier P-D, Cohen AS & McKee BA (2003): Climate Change Decreases Aquatic Ecosystem Productivity of Lake Tanganyika, Africa. Nature, 424, pp 766–768. Palmer MA, Reidy CA, Nilsson C, Flörke M, Alcamo J, Lake PS & Bond N (2008): Climate Change and the World’s River Basins: Anticipating Management Options. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 6, pp 81–89. Patra R, Chapman J, Lim R & Gehrke PC (2007): The Effects of Three Organic Chemicals on the Upper Thermal Tolerances of Four Freshwater Fishes. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 26, pp 1454–1459. Storey AW & Yarrao M (2009): Development of aquatic food web models for the Fly River, Papua New Guinea, and their application in assessing impacts of the Ok Tedi Mine. In BR Bolton (ed), “The Fly River, Papua New Guinea: Environmental Studies in an Impacted Tropical River System”. Developments in Earth and Environmental Sciences, 9, Elsevier, pp 575–615. Victor S, Golbuu Y, Wolanski E & Richmond RH (2004): Fine sediment trapping in two mangrove-fringed estuaries exposed to contrasting land-use intensity, Palau, Micronesia. Wetlands Ecology and Management, 12, pp 277–283. Welcomme RL & Halls A (2004): Dependence of tropical river fisheries on flow. In R Welcomme and T Petr (eds), Proc. Second International Symposium on the Management of Large Rivers for Fisheries, Phnom Penh Vol. 2, FAO Regional Office, RAP Publication 2004/16, pp 267-283. Xenopoulos MA, Lodge DM, Alcamo J, Märker M, Schulzez K & Van Vuurens DP (2005): Scenarios of Freshwater Fish Extinctions from Climate Change and Water Withdrawal. Global Change Biology, 11, pp 1557–1564.

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P Hagare, D Hagare, A Modessa, W Quennelle, B Koizumi-Smith With the increasing population in urban areas driving higher demands on an already limited resource, demand management is crucial to ensure the long-term security of water supply. Gosford City Council undertook a series of demand management strategies that resulted in a 36% reduction in total demand from 301L/capita/d to 193L/ capita/d over the period 2001 to 2008.




18,000.0 16,000.0


14 000 0 14,000.0

Po opulation



100,000 80,000



Water supply, ML/yr /



This reduction appears to be mainly driven by the increasingly severe levels of water restrictions imposed on the householders; however, restrictions appear to have been partially offset by the uptake of rainwater tanks by the householders, and potable water savings were obtained in part by the uptake of water-saving (REFIT) devices such as lowflow shower roses. A household survey, undertaken as part of this study, provided insight into rainwater tank installation and water usage behaviours in the home and is discussed alongside the Council’s rebate and REFIT kit uptake records.

Introduction With the demand for town water increasing as a result of growing population combined with limited economically viable fresh water resources, there is an added emphasis for each individual household to contribute towards reducing water consumption.



R1 R2 R3 R4 R3

20,000 -

Water S Supply, ML/yr


4,000.0 2,000.0







Figure 1. Variation of water demand and population between 1993 and 2009. This paper presents the water demand management strategies adopted by Gosford City Council (GCC) to efficiently manage one of the severest droughts experienced by its residents over the last 50 years. Figure 1 presents water consumption and population growth between 1993 and 2009 and illustrates that total demand increased with the population until 2002. However, since 2002 demand significantly reduced, despite the continued increase in population. Further, the decrease in water consumption appears to have started with

the introduction of Level 1 Restriction. As can be seen, water use restriction levels were gradually raised from Level 1 to Level 4 (indicated with symbols R1, R2, R3 and R4 in Figure 1) between 2002 and 2006. Table 1 provides a brief description of the different levels of water restrictions. Gosford City Council (GCC) has applied water restrictions since February 2002 when Level 1 Restriction was introduced (Sydney Water, 2010). In October 2006, GCC enforced the highest restriction of Level 4, which resulted in a complete ban of town water for external water use.

Table 1. Various restriction levels and their effective periods (GCWSC, 2009). Level

Restriction Period



February 2002–May 2004

Water restricted from washing down of paved surfaces, except where required by law and for health and safety.


May 2004–June 2006

Watering of lawns and gardens restricted to use of hand-held hoses on alternative days for up to one hour over fixed time slots in a day. All cars and boats to be washed with a bucket.


June 2006–October 2006; June 2009–November 2011

No fixed hoses, sprinklers or handheld hoses permitted for use for watering lawns and gardens. Only watering cans are permitted for use at any time of the day.


October 2006–June 2009

Complete ban on the use of town water for external uses.


NOVEMBER 2012 87

demand management This restriction remained effective until June 2009 when it was reduced to Level 3, which allowed for watering lawns and gardens using watering cans or buckets at any time of the day. Consequently, the per capita demand has significantly reduced since 2001. Figure 2 illustrates, over the period 2001 to 2008, the total demand reduced from 301L/

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In addition to the introduction of water use restrictions, the price of water increased steeply during the period 2005–2009, as shown in Figure 3. Increases in water price could have contributed towards the decrease in per capita demand between 2005 and 2008. However, increasingly strict water restriction appear to have had a larger impact on water use than the increase in water prices, although the two factors are difficult to separate post-2006.

capita/d to 193L/capita/d, which amounts to about 36% reduction in water demand. The residential water demand reached its lowest value of 159L/capita/d in 2008, which is significantly lower than the recent Australian average water demand of 185L/capita/d as estimated by Beal et al. (2010).


Deman nd (L/capita.d)


The main strategies used by consumers and water authorities to reduce the consumption of town water supply were:

250 200

Total demand

150 100

Residenti demand R id tilal d d

• Rainwater harvesting by the individual property owners;

Non-residential demand

• Refitting of water efficient devices; and




R3 R4













This study concentrates on the data related to rainwater harvesting and retrofit (REFIT) kit uptake rates.

Figure 2. Variation in per capita demand between 1993 and 2009. Table 2. Summary of various rainwater tank rebates (Modessa, 2010). Rainwater Tank(s) Capacity

Australian Government Rebate

NSW Government Rebate

GCC Rebate









7,000L +




Connected to Toilet(s)


Connected to Washing Machine(s)



Effective dates

Jan 2009–May 2011


Only available for households that plumb rainwater supply to toilets and washing machines

July 2007–June 2011

Jan 2003–August 2009

$1 80 $1.80 $1.60

Data Collection The uptake of rainwater tanks and REFIT kits were estimated by the following two methods: I.

Gosford City Council’s rebate approval records; and


Household survey.

Rebate approval records Due to the high costs associated with rainwater tank uptake, government authorities have introduced rebates on rainwater tanks to ease the financial burden on households. Since rainwater tanks became more readily available for households in New South Wales in the early 2000s, the uptake of rainwater tanks for external usage has become more widespread in urbanised areas. Government rebates are now more targeted on encouraging the plumbing of rainwater supply for internal uses such as toilets and the cold water supply for washing machines by either offering improved rebates for internal connections, or by making internal connection mandatory in order to get the rebate.

$1.40 Water Price, $/kLL W

• Implementation of water conservation measures by consumers (such as shorter showers) and the water authorities (such as leakage control).

$1 20 $1.20 $1.00 $0.80 $0 60 $0.60 $0.40 $0.20 $$ 1993


2003 Year

Figure 3. Variation of water price.

88 NOVEMBER 2012 water


Along with the State and Federal rebates, Gosford LGA (Local Government Area) residents have had a third rebate from GCC. Table 2 summarises the details of these rebate schemes.

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Table 3. Number of households selected for survey. Gross Weekly Family Income Group















































Household Size Total

2009) received a rebate from the program. Table 4 highlights a strong preference for rainwater tank sizes ranging between 2,000L and 7,000L during the Gosford Council Rainwater Tank Rebate scheme.

Table 4. Installations by rainwater tank capacity. Capacity


7,000L or greater






Figure 4 presents the number of rainwater tank rebates approved per year in the Gosford Local Government Area, as well as the number of internal connections made since the Gosford Council rebate began in 2003. As shown in Figure 4, the rainwater tank approvals peaked in 2006 and 2007, which coincided with the introduction of more stringent water use restrictions of Levels 3 and 4 (Figure 1 and Table 1) as well as the sharp increases in the price of water from 2005 (Figure 3). The introduction of more stringent restrictions on water use and higher water prices appear to have contributed towards the higher uptake rates of rainwater tanks than the rebate scheme alone.

each income group, it was possible to survey only two households under the income group of $1,700– $1,999 (Modessa, 2010).

The household surveys were undertaken through telephone interviews (this Total 7 39 15 20 13 6 100 mode of household surveying was selected due to both All three programs encourage tank budget and time constraints on capacity greater than 2,000 litres to ensure the project), which was carried out from sufficient rainwater can be collected, Gosford City Council’s office. Households require a licensed plumber to install the were randomly chosen and participants rainwater tank, and require it to be fully were required to be adult residents of As shown in Figure 4, by 2009, operational to be eligible for the rebate. the household to ensure the most with the three rebates on offer to the residents, there was an opportunity for GCC maintained a rainwater tank rebate accurate data. households to save up to $2,500 on their approval record. This record was used to Rainwater Tank Uptake rainwater tank purchase. Despite this estimate the rainwater tank uptake rate. financial incentive, approvals for rainwater Rainwater tank uptake rates were Household survey tank installation were substantially less than estimated using both Council’s rebate in previous years. This can be attributed to To better understand the factors affecting approval records and the data collected the easing of severe water restriction in the the installation of rainwater tanks and from the household survey. middle of 2009 (Table 1). However, in 2009 water-efficient devices in the community, Council’s rebate approval data the fraction of internally plumbed tanks a limited household survey was conducted exceeded the number of external only Studies have shown reduction in town as part of the project. The survey was also water supply can average between 42 and connections for the first time, presumably an opportunity to study the water usage to obtain the Australian Government 47L/capita/d if the rainwater tanks supply behaviours of households and methods subsidy, which was conditional on both internal and external non-potable being used by households to reduce their internal connections (Table 2). water demand of a typical home (Beal et water consumption and/or wastage. The al., 2011). However, the effectiveness of focus of the survey was the community There was a strong uptake of a rainwater tank is largely dependent on of Gosford Local Government Area rainwater tanks in 2006 and 2007 with rainfall, roof catchment area, tank size (GLGA). To ensure a mix of participants 1,736 and 2,333 approvals respectively, and household consumption. over different household sizes and which would have been influenced by incomes, each suburb within the GLGA the Level 4 water restrictions, which Since the Gosford Council Rainwater was categorised by the suburb’s average saw a total ban on the use of town Tank rebate program began in 2003 and household income (Modessa, 2010). water for external uses commencing ran up until the end of November 2009, in October 2006 and remaining in 5,799 households (approximately 9.5% of Using a list of all GLGA suburbs place until June 2009. GLGA households, which was 63,091 in provided by GCC and the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2006 Census 3000 6000 Line – Cumulative database (ABS, 2006) for ‘Gross Column - Yearly Household Income (Weekly) by Suburbs’, 2500 5000 Restriction Level 3 / 4 introduction each GLGA suburb was classified by the average household income. -








ear Appovals per Ye


There were about 62,817 households within the GLGA, as of 2006. A sample size of 140 households was selected for the household survey as this provided a maximum sampling error of plus or minus 8.28% at 95% confidence interval. However, satisfactory responses were received and used for analysis from only 100 households. Table 3 presents the distribution of households with respect to the income groups. Although the target was to survey about 20 households under








Total Approvaals




0 2003


Rainwater Tank A Approved dR i t T k IInstallations t ll ti




Rebate Year

Only E t External lU Use O l C Connection ti



B th E Both Extrernal t l and d IInternal t lC Connections ti

GCCR – Gosford City Council Rebate; NSWGR – NSW Government Rebate; AGR – Australian Government Rebate

Figure 4. Number of approvals for rainwater tanks in GLGA.


NOVEMBER 2012 89

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Table 5. Rainwater tank ownership and connection type. Percent of Households

Tank Installation No – Not Considering


No – Are Considering


Yes – External Use Only


Yes – External Use + Internal Connections




The focus for the community survey was to determine the uptake of rainwater tanks, the reasons for their installation, and what other inducements would motivate households to purchase one in the future. A summary of rainwater tank ownership as obtained from the survey is presented in Table 5, along with the connection types. The average household size from the survey was determined as 3.11 persons, with 46 of the 100 households surveyed having only one or two residents, with a majority being retirees (Table 3). The survey found that 41% of households with town water supply reported they have a rainwater tank, of which 15% had the rainwater tank connected to both internal and external uses. This uptake is substantially higher than the 9.5% figure obtained from the council rebate records. The rebate scheme approval record is likely to underestimate total tank installations for two reasons. Firstly, under BASIX requirements in NSW (Sydney Water, 2009) rainwater tanks are mandatory for new homes/ major renovations and no rebate is available. Eight per cent of the households that were surveyed had installed rainwater tanks due to the BASIX requirements. Secondly, a further 8% of households reported they installed rainwater tanks of less than 2000L capacity and, hence, were not eligible for the subsidy (Table 2). This indicates an overall rainwater tank uptake of approximately 26%, which is still substantially less than the survey figure of 41% for the GLGA, suggesting that the sample size that was used (100 households) probably biased the results towards tank owners. Participants were asked when the rainwater tanks were installed. Almost 95% of the households had the rainwater tanks installed after 2003 when the Gosford City Council rainwater tank rebate program and the water restrictions began. This response appears to match

90 NOVEMBER 2012 water


41% 100%

with the data obtained from the rainwater tank approval records (Figure 4).

Reasons for rainwater tank installation Participants with rainwater tanks were asked what their reasons were for the installation. Responses included: • For external non-potable usage including:

– to top up a swimming pool

– to water their garden

– to wash their vehicles or boats

– to clean or wash down hard surfaces, windows, pets or surfboards;

• Drought and water shortage awareness; • Not having access to town water supply;

• The use of other methods to capture rainwater, such as diverting rainwater from the roof to the swimming pool through piping, and collecting rainwater in drums for outdoor use; or • Having plans for a renovation/rebuilding in the near future and will install as part of the project. Out of the 59 households without a rainwater tank (Table 5), 43 were considering installation in the future. Eight of the households were not considering installation, as they have access to bore water and reported that the supply is adequate for their external water uses. The participants without rainwater tanks were asked what would improve the likelihood of them installing a rainwater tank. Over 50% of respondents cited the high cost of purchasing and installing a rainwater tank as the main obstacle. Some suggested better rebates and subsidy schemes, or interest-free loans for installing rainwater tanks, would be helpful for them to consider installing a tank. In addition, one of the most common concerns was the availability of comprehensive information on: • Finding a suitable location for installing a rainwater tank;

• To meet mandatory BASIX requirements; or

• Current rebate programs;

• To conserve potable water.

Households with no rainwater tank Households that did not have rainwater tanks were asked why they had not installed a tank. The responses included: • Having access to bore water; • Major barrier being costs associated with uptake; • Space or location being an issue; • Not requiring additional water supply

• The economical feasibility of a rainwater tank uptake; and • The operation and maintenance of a rainwater tank.

Rainwater Tank and Income Group Figure 5 presents the distribution of installed rainwater tanks by the income group of the household’s suburb. It shows a strong uptake for suburbs in the $1,400 to $1,699 group, with 56%

100% Rainwate er tank uptake raate

Household survey


as they use minimal water; not using water outdoors; and/or have native or self-sufficient gardens that do not require watering;

90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% $650 $799 $650-$799

$800 $999 $800-$999

$1,000-$1,199 $1 000 $1 199 $1,200-$1,399 $1 200 $1 399 $1,400-$1,699 $1 400 $1 699 $1,700-$1,999 $1 700 $1 999 Gross weekly family income group

Figure 5. Rainwater tank uptake rate for different income groups.

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Line – Cumulative Column - Yearly

5000 4000


3000 1000



Total Updaate

Yearly Uptaake




0 2004*





Year * REFIT Kit rebate was only available for some part of a year

Figure 6: Uptake of Council’s REFIT kits. of these households having installed a rainwater tank; and income group $1,000 to $1,199 having the least uptake. This may be attributed to the fact that the majority of these households probably live in apartments or flats. The suburb in this income group included Gosford CBD area, which includes flats/apartments.

years of the first REFIT kit program, 3,725 households participated in the program. The second program ran for 11 weeks, with 1,553 households participating (the majority of the uptake was in 2007 and only 85 REFIT kits were issued in 2008). Recorded total uptake for both the programs was 5,278 by 2008.

It must be noted that further data collection and analysis are necessary to generalise the above observations, as the sample seems to have been biased in favour of tank owners, as discussed previously.

As the number of households in GLGA was about 62,845 (as of 2008), this yields an uptake rate of the REFIT kit of around 8.4%. However, this may be an underestimate of potable water saving devices as many households had already implemented some of the changes; for example, to their taps and shower heads, as these were available for a nominal price or were included as part of a new home installation (Modessa, 2010).

Residential REFIT Kit Uptake The REFIT kit rebate was offered twice by Gosford City Council. The first REFIT kit program began in June 2004 and ran for three years ending in June 2007. The second program, which saw the items in the kit change, began in November 2007. However, it ran for only 11 weeks, finishing at the end of January 2008. The main objective of the rebate programs was to improve the uptake and awareness of water and energy efficient devices within the community. The REFIT kit was priced at $39, but had a real value of $130. The REFIT kit included:

Table 6 (based on data obtained from the phone survey) shows that the penetration of each water-efficient appliance varied from 75% to 90%, suggesting that uptake of water saving REFIT devices was not strongly dependent on the rebate program.

Table 6. Uptake of water-saving devices based on household survey. Water-saving Devices

Uptake Rate%

• A low-flow shower head;

Dual-flush toilets


• Two tap aerators;

Low-flow shower heads


• One garden hose trigger nozzle;

Kitchen tap aerators


• One bucket (only in the second program); • One energy saving fluorescent light bulb; and • An energy and water audit of the house (only in the first program). The uptake of REFIT kits over the duration of the two programs were recorded by Gosford City Council on a fortnightly basis. Figure 6 presents both the yearly (bars) and total (line) uptake of REFIT kits within GLGA. Over the three

Conclusions The analysis of demand data for Gosford Local Government Area indicated that the total demand reduced from 301L/capita/d to 193L/capita/d over the period of 2001 and 2008. The residential water demand reached its lowest value of 159L/capita/d in 2008, which is significantly lower than the 185L/capita/d estimated based on recent Australian data (Beal et al., 2010). This reduction in demand (about 36%) appears to be mainly driven by external water restrictions, which became more

severe as the drought progressed. In response, the householders increased the voluntary installation of rainwater tanks that supplied water for external water uses such as garden irrigation. However, the adoption figure appeared to be about 9.5% of the 63,091 households in the Gosford area. This was aided by the introduction of a rainwater tank rebate system by all three levels of Government (Federal, State and Local). However, it was apparent that the uptake of rainwater tanks by the householders was due more to the water restrictions imposed rather than the rebates offered, as the uptake numbers peaked well before the maximum rebate ($2,500) became available. This low figure of 9.5% based on rebate records was contradicted by information collected in a small (n=100 households) phone survey, which suggested that 41% of residents had installed rainwater tanks. Part of the discrepancy is due to mandatory tank installation in new homes under the BASIX program (about 8% of households), as well as installation of small tanks (< 2,000 L) that were ineligible for government rebates. These small tanks contributed a further 8%, giving total tank penetration of about 26%, which is still much less than the selfreported figure of 41%. It seems likely that the small sample size provided a biased sample of the Gosford community and, hence, related results should be interpreted with a degree of scepticism. A closer look at the rainwater tank uptake against the gross weekly family income revealed that the lowest uptake rate of rainwater tanks occurs for middleincome group households. This may be due to the fact that these income group families may be predominantly living in flat or apartment-style dwellings. To increase the uptake rate among these families, it will be necessary to develop guidelines and/or other types of incentives for installation of rainwater tanks in apartments/flats. A closer examination of uptake of retrofitted water-efficient devices by the householders from the records of the rebate approval (REFIT) and the household survey, indicated that many householders have installed some of the REFIT devices voluntarily, resulting in a relatively high penetration of 75–90%. Limitations in conventional community water supply, substantial water price increases, community education/ awareness and Council rebates are the most likely reasons for this high uptake of REFIT devices.


NOVEMBER 2012 91

demand management Acknowledgements The Authors would like to thank Gosford City Council for providing access to the data, without which this project could not have been completed. The Authors also thank Dr Ted Gardner for his valuable comments and suggestions.

Disclaimer Opinions or comments in this paper are those of the authors and do not reflect those of any organisations mentioned.

The Authors

refereed paper

Environmental, Sustainability and Risk Engineering at University of Western Sydney. He has over 20 years of teaching, research and consulting experience in Environmental Engineering and is currently conducting research in integrated urban water cycle management and risk assessment of recycled water applications. Ashish Modessa received his BE (Civil) Degree from the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology, University of Technology Sydney in 2010. He is currently working as a transportation consultant at GTA Consultants. Wayne Quennelle is Water Officer and Brett Koizumi-Smith is Manager, Regulatory Services, Water & Sewer Directorate, Gosford City Council, Gosford NSW.

References Dr Prasanthi Hagare (email: prasanthi. is the Senior Lecturer at University of Technology Sydney in Civil and Environmental Engineering. She is currently involved in research activities related to water supply, source separation of wastewater and industrial wastewater treatment. Dr Dharma Hagare (email: D.Hagare@ is the Senior Lecturer in

ABS (2006): Australian Bureau of Statistics website,, accessed on 5 March 2010. Beal C, Stewart R & Huang T (2010): South East Queensland Residential End Use Study: Baseline Results – Winter 2010, Technical Report No. 31, The Urban Water Security Research Alliance, East Queensland. Beal C, Gardner T, Sharma A, Barton R & Chong M (2011): A Desktop Analysis of Potable Water Savings From Internally Plumbed Rainwater Tanks in South East Queensland, Technical

Report No. 26, The Urban Water Security Research Alliance, City East Queensland. DECCW (2010): NSW Rainwater Tank Rebate, NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW), rebates/ccfrtw.htm, accessed on 3 March 2010. DSEWPC (2009): Water For The Future: National Rainwater and Greywater Initiative, Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPC), www.environment., accessed on 3 March 2010. GCWSC (2009): Living Water Smart brochure, Gosford City and Wyong Shire Council (GCWSC),, accessed on 3 March 2010. Micromex Research (2006): Community Survey 2006 – REFIT Kits. Wyong North NSW. Modessa A (2010): The Effects of Using Rainwater Tanks on Managing Water Demand in Localised Areas, Capstone Thesis, BE Civil Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology, University of Technology, Sydney. National Water Commission (2009): National Performance Report 2008–2009: Urban Water Utilities, NWC, Canberra ACT. Sydney Water (2009): BASIX Water Saving Monitoring, Sydney. Sydney Water (2010): History of Water Wise Rules, WhenWereWaterRestrictionsIntroduced.cfm, accessed on 2 October 2010.

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 92 NOVEMBER 2012 water

technical features

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Environmental protection and operational safety are of increasing importance in today’s world. This is especially true for the conveyance of liquid and gaseous media that are hazardous to people, water and the environment. Piping systems made of thermoplastics are increasingly used for this purpose and are replacing conventional pipe materials such as steel, cast iron, concrete, stoneware, ceramic and even FRP.

MCBERNS ZC-SERIES ODOUR FILTERS Recently McBerns was asked to investigate a problematic site in SouthEast Queensland, located on a school property in a densely populated area. Odour logging showed excessive H2S levels, resulting in significant customer complaints. Although the receiving manhole had a six-metre vent pole, odours were still causing significant problems for the surrounding area.

Double Containment Systems consist of an outer protective pipe, into which the medium-conveying inner pipe is integrated. The space in between is used to detect leaks or to stabilise the temperature of the medium in the inner pipe with a liquid. Due to their good chemical and mechanical resistance, plastics are ideally suited for the construction of Double Containment Piping Systems. Whether you require a new piping system, or are retrofitting an existing one (even metal), there is range of options from Georg Fischer Piping Systems. • Contain-It: A clear PVC system for new and existing applications, with solid or split pipe and fittings available in 4” and 6”. • Contain-It Plus: A complete double containment system for new applications, with PE100 outer pipe (to d315). Inner pipe is available in UPVC, PP, PE100 or PVDF (to d225), larger sizes on request. • Double-See: Available in PVC and CPVC; either material may be primary or secondary (PVC × PVC, CPVC × PVC, CPVC × CPVC) with clear PVC always being an option for the containment pipe. System size options range from ½” × 2” to 6” × 10” meeting virtually any application requirement. Double Containment Piping Systems in plastic are a safe and cost-effective solution for the controlled conveyance of aggressive media. The inner pipe can be monitored with a leak warning system and, should the medium leak from the pipe, it will be contained in the outer protective pipe until the damage can be located and attended to. Double Containment Piping Systems provide an increased level of protection for persons, equipment and the environment, in addition to fulfilling the relevant legal requirements. For more information on how you can benefit from using double containment piping systems, contact GFPS on 1300 130 149 or visit

performing consistently, recording zero H2S emissions being released into the atmosphere. The data has been collected weekly over the past months at varying times throughout any 24-hour period. This is to ensure the logging data gathers a wide range of peaks and troughs. Odour logging is taken at the entry point from the receiving chambers into the ZC1200 where the H2S readings sometimes spiked off the scale. Readings were then taken at the exit point from the filter, where the H2S levels were barely registering, as shown by the data logging graphs. There is still more data being collected over the next few months, but the client and the surrounding properties and school are satisfied with the results and have judged the ZC1200 a success. For more information please go to

SAFETY FIRST AT OSMOFLO After thorough discussions, it was determined that the ZC1200 Ground Mount Filter would be suitable for this site. Some of the factors for consideration were: the site is 4km from the nearest pump station, a large diameter main feeds into the site, and there are long retention times between pump movements, resulting in increased odour production. Significant inflows into the receiving chambers displace large airflows and increase sewerage agitation, which only compounds the odour release into the atmosphere. For the ZC1200 to work effectively, the H2S has to have enough contact time to pass through the filter media to be adsorbed and treated. The specially formulated media is a continuous treatment process, capturing and scrubbing the sulphide gas and other noxious odours. It neutralises the H2S by changing the molecular structure, then only releasing clean air back into the environment. The ZC1200 is capable of handling airflow up to 200 litres per sec. Work began with the removal of the old 6m vent pole, then a 3m x 3m concrete slab was installed to accommodate the initial ZC1200; the extra space will allow for expansion of another filter later to cater for population increases in the area. The ZC1200 Ground Mount and a 3m vent pole with a wind-assisted fan were installed. The site is now surrounded by a Colorbond fence shielding it from public view and access. As part of the service arrangement, McBerns has been monitoring the filter weekly for a few months. This is valuable data, as it shows that the ZC1200 is

An underlying commitment to safety has resulted in Adelaide-based desalination specialist Osmoflo completing more than 18 months without a lost time injury (LTI). The company, which has around 180 employees, designs and builds reverse osmosis plants for the oil and gas, mining, power generation, utilities, food, beverage processing, municipal and general manufacturing sectors in its manufacturing facility at Burton in Adelaide’s northern suburbs. “Safety is of paramount importance to Osmoflo and to its key customers,” says Osmoflo Managing Director, Marc Fabig. “Indeed, the consortia involved in the massive oil and gas projects off Australia’s north-west coast and the global engineering companies responsible for delivering the necessary infrastructure rate safety as high as quality and price when considering the capability of Australian firms tendering for work packages. “Osmoflo has or is providing desalination plants to the Gorgon, Wheatstone and Ichthys natural gas projects, which rank among the largest infrastructure developments currently underway in Australia, largely as a result of our approach to safety both at our manufacturing facility and in the field. The disciplines we need to meet safety requirements on these projects flow through to the rest of our work.” Osmoflo has also completed a year of operations in Chile without an LTI. The Chilean business is upgrading and operating a desalination plant which is providing water to the large Minera El Teroso open cut mine located in the copper rich Antofagasta region.


NOVEMBER 2012 93

new products & services QUAKE TESTS EMERGENCY RESPONSE Emergency resilience was tested for real when Gippsland was hit by a series of earthquakes this year. Measuring 5.3, the first quake hit at 8.53 p.m. on 19 June with its centre just south of Moe. Moondarra Dam, Gippsland Water’s major water supply, is situated just north of Moe with a second critical storage situated in Morwell, just 15kms east of Moe. No time was wasted to enact Gippsland Water’s planned procedure for ‘seismic disturbances’, with a number of inspections taking place immediately. Managing Director, David Mawer, said the staff’s immediate capacity to act was a reflection on the preparedness of the organisation to manage critical and emergency responses. The most critical assets, dams and major water storages, were inspected immediately and field staff were able to report that no serious damage was apparent; however, precautionary measures were undertaken at one site to allow storage levels to slowly drop. This was done to gently reduce any unnecessary head pressure on the dam’s embankments. SCADA monitoring gave further support to the assessment that there had been no significant damage.

to be a large aftershock of the original, and registered 4.3. Gippsland Water’s operational team swung into action and again put into practice the planned response actions with another round of inspections undertaken to ensure critical assets were not affected. Reports revealed no major damage had been sustained and that all infrastructure was intact. While neither of the quakes caused any major damage, their size and strength were significant enough to test the effectiveness of Gippsland Water’s planned processes and responses to seismic disturbances.

LOW TEMPERATURE DISTILLATION SYSTEM FOR SEAWATER DESALINATION Watersolutions AG has released the Watersolutions LTD system, a patented, cost-effective thermal process for seawater desalination based on the principle of low temperature distillation. The system condenses water at low temperature and pressure, using waste heat (50–110°C) from thermal processes including renewable energy sources such as solar energy or geothermal energy. The system requires significant amounts of low grade waste heat (6–30 MW), which can be derived from any source including thermal power plants, district cooling systems, general industry, mining and waste incineration. The LTD technology can either work alongside other technologies or as a standalone plant. The configuration is determined by the customer’s needs and the availability of waste heat. 

Senior engineers inspected the key assets at 8am the next morning and a further range of new inspections took place throughout the morning. Staff reported that the only visible damage sustained was a slump on the internal face of a raw water basin at Rawson (pictured). The basin was immediately bypassed and has since been emptied to allow further inspection of the damage. The next few weeks saw a range of groundwater, earth movement and seepage readings and re-inspections of the high risk sites, to ensure no further damage had been caused by the quake. David Mawer said that while the event was significant, no major damage was sustained to any infrastructure. After a month of mild aftershocks, on 20 July another quake occurred at approximately 7pm. This was considered

94 NOVEMBER 2012 water

A pilot plant in El Gouna, Egypt, with a design capacity of 500 cubic meters per day (m3/d), has proven the principle, with very pure water being produced reliably and efficiently.

Cost-Effectiveness While investment costs (CAPEX) associated with LTD are competitive, the major savings are in operating costs (OPEX) excluding depreciation, which are projected at only 1/3–1/2 of existing processes. Unlike conventional

desalination technologies, where the main cost is related to energy usage, the LTD process uses free, low-grade waste heat that cannot be used otherwise. The electricity requirement for LTD is very low. For example, the system with one cascade can produce pure water at less than 1.0 kilowatt hour per cubic metre (kWh/m3). In contrast, SWRO typically uses 3.5–4.5 kWh/m3 of water production. Another benefit is the high conversion ratio of LTD, with only 1.5m3 of seawater needed to produce 1.0m3 of clean water (< 10 ppm of dissolved solids). Also included in OPEX are the maintenance and replacement costs of parts such as membranes, which become worn over time. With LTD, which has no membranes and no interior pipe bundles, the requirement for maintenance is very low.

Applications of LTD In general, the LTD process has significant advantages where the salt content is high, the price of electricity is high, part load flexibility is necessary, and/or where a minimum of maintenance is required. In addition, the LTD technology is particularly suited to treat problematic industrial wastewater from sources such as produced water, mining and industrial waste. The brine from an LTD plant can be concentrated close to the saturation level of salt, thus making drying of salt and minerals easier and Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) a real opportunity. The Watersolutions LTD system is modular, scalable and easy to install. The units are available in two sizes – a large module that produces 1000–2000m3d (pending the amount of waste heat available and number of cascades) and a medium module with capacity of 5001000m3/d. These units can be combined to scale up production as needed. Watersolutions is currently targeting plants of 500–20,000m3/d capacity. The expected lifetime of an LTD plant is 25–30 years, due to the simplicity of the design, the combination of high quality materials used, and its ability to function at relatively low pressure. Due to the robustness of an LTD plant and its high conversion ratio, the plant operates using a relatively small amount of chemicals for pretreatment, etc. For more details, please go to www.

water business

new products & services SAKURAGAWA PUMPS AVAILABLE IN AUSTRALIA Sakuragawa pumps are now available in Australia through Pioneer Pump Australia, a division of Brown Brothers Engineers Australia Pty Ltd. These heavy-duty, submersible dewatering pumps have been distributed in Australia since the early 1970s and feature a compact, portable and rugged-use design, making them exceptionally functional, economical and easy to handle. Renowned for their quality, the range includes mining and dewatering pumps and heavy-duty contractor pumps that are widely used through the rental/hire pump industry. The Sakuragawa range is suited to a variety of requirements, from large volume pumps through to high heads, and also includes a larger range of agitator (dredger) style submersibles. All pumps come with hard-faced double mechanical seals in oil baths. For more information about the Sakuragawa pump range or to download a brochure, visit au or call 03 8398 0851.

One of MTS’ leading products, the MTS Plug Valve, is a high-pressure valve for control and on/off applications that is typically used in desalination plants and seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO). The Valve is also suitable for other high-pressure membrane treatment applications in highly corrosive environments. These include offshore oil and gas sulphate removal systems, industrial water reclamation and reuse facilities, high-purity water treatment for power, and water processing for mining. Victaulic offers a complete line of grooved couplings, fittings and valves for high-pressure desalination and reverse osmosis (RO) applications. The ease and speed of assembly associated with Victaulic products, paired with the MTS high-pressure plug valve technology, allows engineers and contractors to meet demanding build schedules, ease maintenance and reduce field man-hours at every stage of the project lifecycle. To learn more about Victaulic products for desalination and reverse osmosis, please visit the desalination and RO piping page at

BIOGILL LISTED IN TOP 50 HIGH-TECH WATER COMPANIES BioGill has been selected for the 2012 Artemis Top 50 Water Tech Listing™.

VICTAULIC ACQUIRES DESALINATION BUSINESS Victaulic, a leading supplier of mechanical pipe-joining systems, has acquired MTS Valves & Technology, which designs and manufactures valves for the global desalination market. The full range of MTS products is already available in Australia and was showcased at last year’s International Desalination World Congress in Perth. “The acquisition of the MTS desalination business unit gives Victaulic the opportunity to provide the highest quality and most comprehensive product portfolio for piping systems in the desalination industry,” said Gennaro Sposato, Regional Sales Manager for Victaulic in Australia. “We want to ensure that our MTS customers continue to experience the same Victailic quality, consistency and innovation for the full range of piping applications. With this in mind, we will continue to provide the same products and services to current MTS customers, but they will now also receive world-class technical support from our Victaulic team.”

“The Artemis Top 50 is the water industry’s benchmark for innovation that will matter. It identifies the new solutions that will meet the world’s water challenges,” stated Laura Shenkar, Chair of the Artemis Top 50™, based in San Francisco. “The Top 50 are some of the most promising companies in the emerging high tech wave in water.” “The beauty of our technology is that we take nature’s best decomposers, bacteria and fungi and create the ideal, oxygen-rich above ground

habitat for these microorganisms to work even more effectively,” explained John West, CEO of BioGill. “The result is a low-cost, low-energy water cleansing technology with many wastewater treatment applications including commercial kitchen waste, greywater, and wastewater from food and beverage processing, aquaculture and sewage”. Clean-tech company BioGill, was established to commercialise this wastewater treatment technology developed in the research laboratories of the Australian Government Agency, ANSTO. Worldwide patents are in place for both the Nano-Ceramic Membrane™ and the wastewater treatment process. In March this year, BioGill secured a significant investment through Singaporebased BW Ventures, a subsidiary of leading global maritime company, BW Group. BioGills are above-ground wastewater bioreactors that provide the perfect environment for “waste-munching” microorganisms to thrive. The patented Nano-Ceramic Membranes™ provide ideal, oxygen-rich conditions for bacteria and fungi to rapidly grow and multiply. The result is accelerated treatment at low cost and low energy. For more information please go to

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


NOVEMBER 2012 95

new products & services CAVITATION DAMAGE AT YARRA VALLEY WATER Yarra Valley Water (YVW) is the largest of Melbourne’s three water corporations, providing water supply and sewerage services to over 1.7 million people and over 50,000 businesses in the northern and eastern suburbs of Melbourne. The district covers approximately 4,000 square kilometres from as far north as Wallan and extending to Warburton in the east. They maintain over 9,000km of water mains and nearly 9,000km of sewer mains. The Wandin North site had three Singer Pressure Reducing Valves (PRVs) of differing sizes. The 50mm (2”) valve was used during periods of low demand in the zone while the 100mm (4”) valve supplied water during periods of high demand, which left the 150mm (6”) valve to supply water during extremely high demand periods, such as fire fighting. In early 2012, YVW’s Field Service technicians (Lend Lease), observed severe erosion within the 50mm valve during routine maintenance at this site, so they contacted Metaval to investigate. Steven Hill, Sales Engineer at Metaval, noted that the noise from the valves could clearly be heard from the in-ground concrete valve chamber with the concrete lid on. The three valves at the site were not fitted with Anti Cavitation (Anti-Cav) Trim at the time of installation, as the design did not require it. Typically an Anti-Cav Trim is needed when the inlet pressure is three times higher than the required outlet pressure or when the Sigma¹ is below 0.8. Inspection showed the site’s upstream (inlet) pressure transmitters to be 68m and downstream (outlet) to be 6.6m. This meant the downstream pressure (desired setpoint), which feeds into residential homes, was fluctuating

to control pressure during low and high flows,” said Steven Hill. “But the SRD worked like a charm.”

due to the cavitating valves that were struggling to provide a stable downstream pressure. Excessive noise and damage to the valve and downstream pipeline were consequences of the cavitating valve and so it was clear that an Anti-Cav Trim was needed and the damaged 50mm valve would have to be replaced.

So by replacing the 50mm valve with a 150mm SRD fitted with Anti-Cav Trim, it removed the need to protect the other two valves with Anti-Cav Trim as the one valve can now do it all.

If the 50mm valve was replaced with an added Anti-Cav Trim, it would still leave the other two valves vulnerable to cavitation. Smaller diameter valves can maintain control at lower flow rates, but at the same time they offer limited capacity for high flow rates, hence the additional valves in the system. As luck would have it, Singer Valve had just added new sizes in their Single Rolling Diaphragm (SRD), starting at 150mm. This unique technology offers a huge advantage over a flat diaphragm operated valve in that it does not need to be operated between 20–80% open, so a larger diameter valve can be used to control low and high flows in the same valve. Most distribution systems have a combination of extremely low flow and high-pressure periods. Traditional automatic control valves often experience seat chatter under these conditions. As a result, a smaller bypass valve is needed to control the lower flows. With the Singer SRD technology, the moulded diaphragm provides a constant surface area no matter the valve position and avoids injecting small pressure pulses into the piping. By doing this, the valve eliminates seat chatter at low flows, helping to prevent water loss and leakage while providing smooth precisely controlled flow. “It goes against the “rule of thumb” to remove a smaller diameter valve from a system and expect a larger diameter valve

Cavitation can be an extremely damaging force with loud noise, excessive vibration, choked flow, destruction and erosion of control valves and their components, which results in disruption of water distribution or plant shutdown. Singer’s Anti-Cavitation technology contains two heavy stainless steel sliding cages that maximise the full flow capacity. The first cage directs and contains the cavitation recovery, allowing it to dissipate harmlessly, while the second cage allows further control to a level as low as atmospheric pressure downstream. The cages are engineered to meet the flow/ pressure differential of each application. By installing a valve with both these features (SRD and Anti-Cav), the 150mm S106-PR-AC valve addressed cavitation and provides better stability with having one valve in control. “Another advantage that is significant over time is that we now have fewer assets requiring less maintenance,” said Fiore DiPietro, Specialist Technician – Operations at Yarra Valley Water. With an organisation that requires 650 people to maintain operations, finding ways to reduce maintenance time and costs can make a big difference. Yarra Valley customers are back to enjoying constant stable water pressure without cavitation noise and YVW has extended the lifetime of its pipeline with the Anti-Cav protection.

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Water Journal November 2012  
Water Journal November 2012