Water Journal November 2015

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Volume 42 No 7 NOVEMBER 2015

Journal of the Australian Water Association


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Contents regular features From the AWA President

Disruptive Technologies And The Water Industry Peter Moore


From the AWA Chief Executive


National Water Policy Summit Helps Shape Our Water Future Jonathan McKeown


ISSN 0310-0367

MANAGING EDITOR – Anne Lawton Tel: 02 9467 8434 Email: alawton@awa.asn.au TECHNICAL EDITOR – Chris Davis Email: cdavis@awa.asn.au

My Point of View

Implications Of Abolishing The Representative Standing Provision David Halliwell, Lionel Ho & Des Lord




CREATIVE DIRECTOR – Mike Wallace Email: mwallace@awa.asn.au



SALES & ADVERTISING QUERIES – Michael Seller Email: mseller@awa.asn.au

Industry News



Young Water Professionals

The Value Of An Engaged Membership Robbie Goedecke


AWA News


AWA International News


Water Business


New Products And Services



EDITORIAL BOARD Frank R Bishop (Chair); Dr Andrew Bath, Water Corporation; Michael Chapman, GHD; Dr Dharma Dharmabalan, TasWater; Wilf Finn, Norton Rose Fulbright; Robert Ford, Central Highlands Water (rtd); Ted Gardner (rtd); Antony Gibson, Orica Watercare; Dr David Halliwell, Deakin University; Sarah Herbert, Shelston IP; Dr Lionel Ho, AWQC, SA Water; Des Lord, National Water Commission; Dr Robbert van Oorschot, GHD; John Poon, CH2M Hill; David Power, BECA Consultants; Dr Ian Prosser, Bureau of Meteorology; Dr Ashok Sharma, CSIRO; Rodney Stewart, Griffith School of Engineering; Diane Wiesner, Jamadite Consulting. PUBLISH DATES Water Journal is published eight times per year: February, April, May, June, August, September, November and December. Please email journal@awa.asn.au for a copy of our 2015 Editorial Calendar. EDITORIAL SUBMISSIONS Acceptance of editorial submissions is at the discretion of the Editors and Editorial Board.

Pivot and tractor at the Woodie Woodie irrigation project site in the Pilbara.

opinion Environmental Protection – A Luxury Most Nations Can’t Afford Adrian Minshull 28

innovation spotlight Could This Be The Solution To Your Water Quality Woes? Optimos Solutions’ real-time multi-parameter system

volume 42 no 7

water journal


feature articles The Woodie Woodie Irrigation Project

The Pilbara Hinterland Agricultural Development Initiative Chris Schelfhout & Megan Broad


Estimating Agricultural Irrigation Demand

The Florida Statewide Agricultural Irrigation Demand Project Valerie Seidel & Paul Yacobellis


Water Reuse Supporting Agribusiness

Learning From Successes In The 1990s Chris Hewitson


The Benefit Of Early Planning In Environmental Water Monitoring

A Look At The Risks Associated With Planning A Monitoring Program Chris Hambling & Carly Waterhouse 43

technical papers cover Water reuse in agriculture has many benefits, including environmental, increased productivity, new revenue streams and reduced demand on fresh/potable supply.


• Technical Papers & Technical Features: Chris Davis, Technical Editor, email: cdavis@awa.asn.au AND journal@awa.asn.au Technical Paper Submission Guidelines Technical Papers should be 3,000–4,000 words long and accompanied by relevant graphics, tables and images. For more detailed submission guidelines please email: journal@awa.asn.au • General Feature Articles, Industry News, Opinion Pieces & Media Releases: Anne Lawton, Managing Editor, email: journal@awa.asn.au General Feature Submission Guidelines General Features should be 1,500–2,000 words and accompanied by relevant graphics, tables and images. For more details please email: journal@awa.asn.au • Water Business & Product News: Michael Seller, Sales & Advertising, email: mseller@awa.asn.au 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 AWA. PUBLISHER Australian Water Association (AWA) Publishing, 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: journal@awa.asn.au, Web: www.awa.asn.au COPYRIGHT Water Journal is subject to copyright and may not be reproduced in any format without the written permission of AWA. Email: journal@awa.asn.au DISCLAIMER AWA assumes no responsibility for opinions or statements of fact expressed by contributors or advertisers. Mention of particular brands, products or processes does not constitute an endorsement.

NOVEMBER 2015 water


From the President


In September, along with our Chief Executive Jonathan McKeown, I had the privilege of representing the Australian Water Association at New Zealand Water, the annual conference of our sister organisation Water New Zealand. We were able to meet both their President and CEO and strengthen the relationship between the organisations.

water November 2015

Further water efficiency and demand practices, including many hard-wired changes in house plumbing, have changed our usage patterns and deferred significant capital expenditure.

At the conference, we attended the President’s Dinner and, during a subsequent discussion with the guest speaker, the subject of ‘Disruptive Technologies’ came up. This topic is what I’d like to address in this column.

Wastewater reuse through third-pipe systems has wide support from the public, but many of the proposed systems have either not commenced or are struggling to remain in place. This is often because of the cost of entry into the market and the economies of scale for potable schemes. The community doesn’t appear to value the product sufficiently to pay a premium for it.

The energy industry is currently strongly focused on Disruptive Technologies. The rapid rise in photovoltaic cells at domestic level and the likely evolution of battery technology at affordable prices in the near future is set to have a major impact on the industry. An industry that has been built around large generators and poles and wire distribution is about to have its value chain turned on its head. Both utilities and regulators are trying to come to grips with the prospect of assets being stranded and their value being written down significantly in a short time. This has all occurred in a few short years.

Within all of this there has been relatively little work done on the effects some of these activities will have on existing systems. What is the impact on existing sewer systems if there is a wider uptake of waterless urinals or onsite wastewater treatment? Do existing sewer systems have to be retained as back-up to sewer mining or onsite WWTP schemes in case they fail? How do you size potable water mains where a third-pipe scheme is being provided? Who is responsible for other uses of our potable schemes such as firefighting water? How should these opportunities be priced?

What should we in the water industry think about this? Could it happen to us with equal and unpredicted speed? Many would argue not, but I doubt we have given the topic the focus it deserves.

These are just some of the issues worthy of debate that I believe would help the industry advance many of what could be considered Disruptive Technologies in the water industry.

Without calling it Disruptive Technology, I would argue that the water industry has been involved in this debate for some time. For example, we have been discussing and even putting in place distributed systems for Sydney’s non-frontal developments. Many buildings now employ internal waste recycling and treatment systems.

While there appears to be no particular individual Disruptive Technologies that will have the same impact as photovoltaics are having in the energy industry, I believe we must encourage regulators and policy makers to take up the debate so we are well placed to meet the future challenges before they hit us.

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From the CeO


The National Water Policy Summit was held in Melbourne last month with nearly 200 of the water sector’s movers and shakers assembled in one room to discuss water policy issues. At the Summit Dinner, former Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer AC entertained everyone with stories about the great general of the First World War, John Monash, and his direct connection with water issues of the day. Tim wove the history of Monash with clever threads on water management from the general’s involvement in surveying the Billabong and Yanko Creek systems and his influence on the implementation of our urban water systems. On the day of the Summit it was heartening to see such a strong representation from across our entire membership, with some of the country’s key utilities, business leaders, academics, researchers and Government departmental heads in attendance. The four Summit themes were National Water Planning – the Call for Inter-jurisdictional Leadership; How Will Customer Needs Drive Policy and Business Operations?; Reforms to Increase Investment in the Water Sector; and Reforming Stormwater and Recreational Water Use. Virginia Trioli from the ABC did an excellent job as our Summit facilitator. The debate and polling on each of these areas will be instrumental in shaping our advocacy programs in the coming 12 months. The need to take on further reform in both our urban water and rural water sectors became clear from the Summit’s deliberations. In particular, there was consensus that we need to implement a national regulation framework with a national competition policy for the water sector. The option

water November 2015

of creating a National Water Fund to encourage the harmonisation of water regulation across the states, while providing a competitive environment for much-needed water infrastructure projects, was discussed. The Summit also provided the opportunity to launch the results of the 2015 Water Consumer Outlook and 2015 State of the Water Sector surveys, the first comparison of consumer and industry insights into water issues in Australia. With a combined response rate of nearly 6,000, the results produced an unparalleled insight into water attitudes across the country. The survey results indicated a level of comfort about water pricing, with nearly half of all respondents saying water was charged fairly. It is also interesting to note that consumers were open to alternative water sources, with 90 per cent of water consumers saying recycled water could be treated and managed for non-drinking purposes. Finally, the Association is moving to more digital communication that will enable our members and stakeholders to link with us on any device at times that best suit them. Our new website will be launched in November and we are also changing the way we publish the Journal. Starting next February, we will be launching a new member magazine, which will replace Water. Our new publication will be printed four times a year, supplemented by more regular technical content published on our new website. The magazine will contain a wealth of new material including in-depth articles, thought leadership, industry insights and analysis, case studies, opinion pieces and profiles of industry leaders. We look forward to delivering these initiatives to strengthen the Association’s profile across the entire water sector while adding more direct relevance to our members.

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My Point of View

IMPLICATIONS OF ABOLISHING THE REPRESENTATIVE STANDING PROVISION UNDER THE EPBC ACT Professor Samantha Hepburn – Director of Research, Deakin Law School Samantha Hepburn is a Professor in the Law School at Deakin University and Director of EMI Partners. Samantha is one of Australia’s preeminent legal scholars whose research involves the examination of a range of different energy, natural resource, property and land law issues. Her career highlights for 2015 include the publication of her book with Cambridge University Press, Mining and Energy Law, working with the Victorian Auditor General to prepare the terms of reference paper for the Victorian Parliamentary Commission into Unconventional Gas, and being a keynote presenter at the 2015 Sydney ATSE Unconventional Gas Conference and the 2015 Sydney Carbon Abatement Conference. The Federal Government wants to repeal Section 487(2) of the Environmental Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth)(EPBC) and rely on the common law provisions that govern standing to seek judicial review of a decision under the Act. Section 487(2) is the representative standing provision in our national environmental legislation. It provides environmental and conservation groups with the ability to seek review of decisions made under the EPBC Act without having to establish that their private interests have been directly affected. In this respect, the provision is known as the ‘representative standing’ provision. The direct effect of the amendment will be, henceforth, to prevent environmental and conservation groups from having any capacity to seek judicial review 1


water November 2015

because they will not have standing. This, in turn, will reduce the incidence of judicial oversight of decisions made under the EPBC Act.

Background The common law test for standing in Australia requires an applicant to establish a ‘special interest’ in the subject matter of the action. This is particularly difficult for environmental groups. This was clearly apparent from the decision of the High Court in Australian Conservation Foundation v. Commonwealth, where the ACF failed on the facts to gain standing to challenge actions taken under the national legislation preceding the EPBC Act, namely, the Environment Protection (Impact of Proposals) Act 1974 (Cth). In that case, Gibbs J held that the interests of the ACF, as reflected in its objects, were primarily intellectual or emotional and such interests were insufficient to satisfy the ‘special interest’ for standing as it existed under common law. This precluded the ACF from seeking judicial review of any decisions made under the legislation. Subsequent courts have confirmed that environmental groups are unlikely to satisfy the special interest test for standing as it exists under common law.1 Following this decision and the recommendations of two Australian Law Reform Commission Reports, when the EPBC Act was eventually introduced, Section 487 was added with the explicit aim of ensuring that environmental and conservation groups were able to satisfy standing requirements.

See: Onesteel Manufacturing Pty Ltd v. Whyalla Red Dust Action Group Inc (2006) 94 SASR 357; Animal Liberation Ltd v. Department of Environment and Conservation [2007] NSWSC 221. Government Report to the Senate Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts on Commonwealth Environment Powers, Response to Recommendations (1999).


My Point of View Role of Judiciary IS Vital The difficulty with a private right framework is that it assumes that courts should not provide the machinery for public accountability. However, given the emergent concerns associated with climate change, water degradation, chemical contamination, resource conflict and the increasing risk to longer-term biodiversity, the role of the judiciary in public accountability for decisions affecting matters of national environmental significance has never been more important.

The abolition of the standing provision has implications for parties such as environmental groups opposed to coal mining. While the government at the time was not prepared to introduce an ‘open standing’ provision, the ‘representative standing’ that Section 487 provided was deemed an appropriate inclusion.2 Section 487 was worded so that it allowed environmental and conservation groups seeking to bring public interest proceedings to be able to automatically satisfy the standing requirements. All that needed to be proven was that in the two years preceding the action, the groups had, by their objects of association, committed themselves to involvement in activities for the protection, conservation or research into the environment.

Impacts of abolishing Section 487 The direct and most explicit impact that will flow from the abolition of Section 487 of the EPBC Act will be the inability of environmental, conservation and community groups to bring public interest actions. These actions seek to ensure, through judicial oversight, that the provisions of the EPBC Act have been adhered to and that decisions made by the Federal Minister accord with the interests of the broader community. Environment and conservation groups, such as the Environmental Defenders Office, play an important role in protecting the environment through public interest actions. Most environmental groups seek to ensure that decisions affecting the environment and our biodiversity are conducted rigorously, with strong risk management processes and in a manner that is consistent with public expectations regarding the management and conservation of matters of national environmental significance. There is no definitive outline as to what constitutes a ‘public benefit’ action, although it has been defined generally to refer to an action that seeks to review a decision affecting a wider group of people than those directly and privately affected. In this respect, a public benefit action is generally initiated by an applicant who has no private interest in the outcome of the decision.3 Decisions made under the EPBC Act are highly amenable to public interest actions because they often impact Crown rather than private land and, therefore, judicial oversight is only possible where actions are launched by non-private stakeholders. Removing the representative standing provision in Section 487 of the EPBC Act effectively reverts the law to the general law concept of ‘private rights’ standing. Private right standing assumes that the function of the judiciary lies purely in the protection of individual rights and interests, and protecting broader community interests is the responsibility of the government.4 3 4

A representative standing provision that supports the ability of environmental and conservation groups to seek judicial review is an extremely important component of representative government. It is also an important element in the broader social licensing process. Community approval for projects that impact matters of national environmental significance is predicated on the assumption that environmental groups and organisations have the capacity to seek judicial oversight if a concern regarding the approval process is raised. This was clearly apparent when the Mackay Conservation Group sought judicial review of the decision by the Federal Minister to approve a coal licence for the Adani coal mine. In seeking this review, the Mackay Conservation Group was acting on behalf of the public. The members were seeking to ascertain, among other things, whether the scope of the EPBC Act required the Federal Minister to take account of the climate change implications flowing from the authorisation of a large coal-fired plant in an area adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef National Park. The issues that were the subject of the review had both a domestic and a global relevance. Without Section 487(2) this action could not have been brought. Removing Section 487(2) will significantly reduce the incidence of judicial oversight of the EPBC Act because fewer parties will have standing to bring an action. Private landholders may establish private standing to seek judicial review where their land is directly affected, however, in many instances, decisions affecting matters of national environmental concern are in areas owned by the Crown. If representative standing is abolished, it will be extremely difficult to locate parties with standing to seek judicial review over matters of national environmental significance located on areas of Crown land.

Conclusions Diminishing the options for judicial oversight naturally means that applications under the EPBC Act are unlikely to be as thoroughly examined as might otherwise have been the case. This is a significant concern. Sustaining strong environmental management in the face of ever increasing environmental risks and impacts flowing from expanding resource demands, technological innovation and climate change is profoundly important. Reducing the capacity for judicial oversight under the EPBC Act is contrary to its underlying objectives. These objectives seek to ensure that areas of national environmental significance are strongly protected and that environmental review processes are rigorously upheld. This is very difficult to maintain where relevant stakeholders are unable to establish standing. One of the main purposes of judicial review is to ensure that the powers exercised by the government remain within their legal bounds and, in so doing, protect the citizen against the potential abuse of such power. The removal of Section 487(2) effectively makes the public susceptible to an abuse of power under an act whose primary purpose is to provide the public with greater protection and review of environmental assessment processes relevant to areas of national environmental significance. In this respect, the proposed abolition is specious and unsound.

Ibid at 6. C Harlow ‘Public Law and Popular Justice’ (2002) 65 Modern Law Review 1, 5.

November 2015 water



NATIONAL The Water Information Research and Development Alliance (WIRADA) 2014–15 Annual Report details the outcomes of a $5 million dollar investment by the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO. Highlights and achievements include: a final standard (WaterML2.0 Part 2) for adoption by the Open Geospatial Consortium to describe, share, and access rating tables, stream gaugings and cross-sections; work towards new standards for the exchange of groundwater features and observations; a new version of the Australian Water Resources Assessments (AWRA) modelling system; a new staged error-modelling approach; and an improved and simplified Forecast Guided Stochastic Scenarios (FoGSS) model for seasonal streamflow predictions.

plans that achieved the Murray-Darling Basin Plan’s objectives, including environmentally sustainable water development.

Irrigators in Eton, Emerald, St George and Theodore are closer to managing their own irrigation schemes following the Queensland Government’s decision to transfer ownership of the schemes into the hands of local irrigators. Minister for Energy and Water Supply Mark Bailey said the move fulfilled an election commitment to continue with the transition towards local management of SunWater’s eight channel irrigation schemes. Mr Bailey said work would continue on the potential transition to local management for the Burdekin-Haughton, Bundaberg, Lower Mary and Mareeba-Dimbulah channel irrigation schemes.

Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt, has said the Government and Australia has moved closer to achieving the long-term sustainability of agriculture and the environment, which is at the heart of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. The Government has delivered on a key commitment with the Water Amendment Bill 2015 passing through the Senate.

Up to $2.5 million is being made available under the $140 million Reef Trust to improve water quality in the Burdekin natural resource management region. This competitive tender will provide financial support to sugar cane farmers in the Burdekin to improve their nutrient and water management practices across their farms. Following the Expression of Interest stage, a reverse auction will be run to allocate funds to successful bidders offering the best value for money projects. Sugar cane farmers who are successful in the reverse auction will receive funding from 2016 through to 2018.

The Ricegrowers' Association of Australia has elected a new president following Les Gordon’s retirement after eight years in the role. Jeremy Morton was chosen by the RGA’s elected representatives to carry on the task of leading representation for Australia’s rice growers. Mr Morton paid tribute to Mr Gordon’s service to the industry. “Les has worked tirelessly for the rice industry as RGA President. He should be very proud of his achievements. Few people understand the complex area of water policy better than Les. He has capably led the industry during a period of drought and difficult political reform.”

The City of Logan is better equipped to deal with population growth after a $30 million upgrade to wastewater infrastructure. A 21-tonne lid has been installed on the new Chambers Flat Rd pump station, finalising the major sewerage network upgrade from Logan Reserve to Marsden. Work on the project, which included construction of the pump station and the installation of 3.4km of wastewater pipeline, began in late 2014. Logan City Council Roads and Water Infrastructure Committee Chairperson, Councillor Don Petersen, said the new infrastructure would help the city cope with future growth.



UNSW Australia researchers have used new water-tracing technology in the Sydney Basin to determine how groundwater moves in the different layers of rock below the surface. The study, published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, provides a baseline against which any future impacts on groundwater from mining operations, groundwater abstraction or climate change can be assessed. The team used a 300-metre deep core drilled through the layers of sandstone and claystone at a site on the Illawarra plateau. Small sections of the moist rock were then preserved and analysed in the UNSW laboratory.

Victorian Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water, Lisa Neville, has announced the new Victoria’s water corporation boards. AWA congratulates all members of the Association who have been selected, in particular two of the newly appointed Chairs, former President Lucia Cade and Chair of Ozwater’16, John Thwaites.

QUEENSLAND The Queensland Government is encouraging local Aboriginal people to provide their insight into future plans for water catchments in the state’s south-west. Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Dr Anthony Lynham, has invited input from local Aboriginal people at a series of water planning information sessions. “The information sessions will focus on Aboriginal values and water uses in the Warrego, Paroo and Nebine catchments within the Murray-Darling Basin and also the Bulloo catchment,” Dr Lynham said. He said the goal was to create sustainable water


The Andrews Labor Government is funding $1.5 million to address the problem of rising groundwater in Bendigo. The funding will be used to move into a feasibility phase to investigate pumping groundwater from the North New Moon mine shaft to Coliban Water’s Epsom water treatment plant. Using Coliban Water’s Epsom plant would address the groundwater issue over the next three to five years while a permanent solution is developed.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA A new study has delivered an unprecedented account of water resources in the Pilbara region, providing an in-depth understanding of local water systems and potential impacts of climate change on water availability. The Pilbara Water Resource Assessment project,


CrossCurrent a $3.5 million partnership between CSIRO, BHP Billiton and the Government of Western Australia, will allow water managers and local industry to plan for future water use in an area rich in resources and environmental assets.

Basin is remarkable and internationally significant. “It is one of the last naturally free-flowing river basins in the world, and its semi-arid rivers and floodplains support an enormous diversity of plants and animals.”

Average annual per person water use in Perth is the lowest in 70 years, dropping to 126,000 litres in 2014–15. WA Water Minister, Mia Davies, thanked residents for their continued water-saving efforts. “Over the past 14 years, average annual per person water use in Perth has dropped by a staggering 34%, to 126,000 litres in 2014-15," Ms Davies said.

A pilot project to harvest surplus water from the Gascoyne River through the use of sand spears has the potential to cut water supply costs significantly for local fruit and vegetable growers. Inspecting the first of five units to be installed in the northern borefield in Carnarvon Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston said the sand spears could harvest 30–50 litres per second of freshwater from the river, which would otherwise flow out to sea or go saline.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA Australia’s Lake Eyre Basin has won the 2015 Thiess International Riverprize in recognition of the alliance of community, government and natural resources management bodies that share responsibility for its health. SA Water and the River Murray Minister, Ian Hunter, said the

MEMBER NEWS Mark Trembath, formally Client Manager – Major Projects, Veolia and immediate past NSW AWA President, has accepted a new position as Client Relationship Manager at Pure Technologies Australia. Mark can be contacted on mark.trembath@puretechltd.com or 0435 924 252.

The International Desalination Association (IDA) has announced that AWA Global Ambassador, Emilio Gabbrielli, has been elected President of the International Desalination Association (IDA) for the 2015–2017 term. Mr Gabbrielli has been involved in the water treatment industry for more than 40 years.

EY has announced the appointment of Dr Matthew Bell as the new EY Oceania Climate Change and Sustainability Leader. A partner at EY Australia with more than 10 years’ experience advising on climate change and sustainability, Dr Bell leads nearly 100 people in Australia advising clients on a wide range of sustainability strategy, climate change, reporting and assurance, carbon, social impact, health, safety and environment opportunities.









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POSTCARD FROM THE ORD – FROM CHRIS DAVIS, TECHNICAL EDITOR, WATER JOURNAL The Ord River Irrigation Area, in the far north-east of Western Australia, is one of Australia’s most well-known water projects. Apart from its engineering and agrarian attributes, the Ord is renowned for its magical scenery, typical of the Kimberley. The vibrant red rocks, blue skies and brilliant green vegetation, offset by flashes of stark white tree trunks and bleached rock, all combine to create a landscape that is barely believable. Construction of the Ord River Diversion Dam started in late 1960 and it was officially opened in July 1963 by then Prime Minister, Robert Menzies. The dam holds back Lake Kununurra, which feeds the Ord River Irrigation Area by gravity via the Main Channel. The town of Kununurra was established on the shores of the lake and is the hub of local activity. The main Ord River Dam holds back the waters of the Ord River in Lake Argyle, which is Australia’s largest reservoir, covering an area of 741km². Work on the dam began in 1969 and it was completed in 1972. The dam is a rock wall construction with a clay core and the wall is 98.5m above the river bed. A feature of the construction was that all the material used in the wall came from within 500m of the site. A more recent addition is the hydropower station, a 3.6MW unit completed in the mid1990s. It supplies electricity to Kununurra and the nearby Argyle diamond mine, but only meets about 10 per cent of the mine’s total demand. Construction of the two dams changed the ecosystem, which now suits freshwater crocodiles very well but is inhospitable for their predators. As a result, there are now an estimated 35,000 crocodiles living in the Ord and the Lake above the Diversion Dam. Females lay their eggs in the sand banks near the water’s edge and have nothing to do with them after that. When the eggs hatch, the juveniles head for the nearest reed beds and pandanus palms, where they can hide from predators. They live mainly on insects and, surprisingly, even an adult’s diet is made up of 70 per cent insects. Of course, the Ord River Irrigation area was motivated by irrigation, but various challenges have prevented realisation of the goal. Not least of these is the intensity of the short wet season, making movement and working in the fields very difficult. Initial plans for cotton, rice and sugarcane were never consummated. Recently, sandalwood plantations (covering a third of the irrigated land and initially encouraged by the now notorious managed investment scheme deals) have reached maturity, after 14 years. Market leader, TFS Corporation, is bullish about the future of the fickle and exotic crop and has posted improved results for 2015. The Ord River Irrigation Area is a proving ground for the notion of Australia’s North becoming an agricultural food bowl. National ambitions for the North need to be tempered by the lessons of the Ord. What is certain, though, is that the Kimberley, of which the Ord is just a part, is one of the world’s tourist gems – preserving it will guarantee a sustainable industry. Go see.


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Industry News

EPA WORKS WITH LOCAL AUTHORITIES AFTER FLOODING Recent heavy rain in the Illawarra and South Coast regions of New South Wales highlighted the potential impact extreme weather events can have on infrastructure and waterways. Heavy rainfall in August led to widespread flooding, with sewerage and drainage systems overflowing along the coast. EPA Director South Gary Whytcross said that while emergency response organisations such as the NSW Police, Fire and Rescue and the State Emergency Service responded to people’s immediate needs, the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) worked to ensure environmental harm was minimised. “During large floods such as this, the EPA has officers on standby to assess reports of environmental impacts and refer these to managers of the relevant sites,” Mr Whytcross said. “The EPA liaises closely with local authorities such as Primary Industries (Fisheries), animal welfare agencies, NSW Food Authority, Roads and Maritime Services and Shoalhaven City Council to share up-to-the-minute information and advice about the flood event. “Shoalhaven City Council acted quickly in notifying the EPA of actions it was taking to respond to flooding of its sewerage systems, including advising the public of health impacts of sewage overflows.” The EPA has an ongoing program to review the performance of sewage treatment plants to ensure they are working well and that they are building resilience into the plant to better cope with flood events. At present the EPA is working with Council to upgrade its sewerage infrastructure by 2017. The upgrade will result in highquality treated effluent to be primarily reused in agriculture rather than discharged into waterways and aims to increase the resilience of the region’s infrastructure in future flood events. Industries regulated by the EPA under Environment Protection Licences have a duty to report pollution incidents threatening or causing harm to the environment and are required to respond according to their Pollution Incident Response Management Plans. The EPA urges people with concerns about the environment or pollution incidents to call the EPA Environment Line, 131 555, which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

CITIES WORKING TOGETHER TO TACKLE CLIMATE CHANGE Leaders from 13 cities representing almost one hundred million people visited Sydney in September to workshop ways to improve energy efficiency, reduce emissions and tackle climate change globally. Experts from cities including Tokyo, New York, London, Singapore, Johannesburg and Shenzhen joined forces at the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group’s (C40) Private Building Efficiency network workshop at Sydney Town Hall. The City of Sydney is cochair of the Private Buildings Efficiency network along with the Tokyo Government. The network supports cities in developing policies and programs that improve residential and commercial energy efficiency.

water November 2015

Participants in the recent C40 workshop in Sydney. Lord Mayor Clover Moore said action on climate change was the most significant issue of our time and was vital at both the local and global level. “While our federal leaders disregard global warming, city leaders are getting on with the job,” the Lord Mayor said. “Our cities account for 80 per cent of carbon emissions worldwide, so it’s cities where we need strong action. “With leaders from 13 global cities in Sydney, I’m looking forward to plenty of insights into tackling emissions and global warming in our cities. C40 plays an important role in helping cities share practical experiences and effective strategies.” The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, now in its 10th year, connects more than 75 of the world’s greatest cities, representing 550+ million people and one-quarter of the global economy. Created and led by cities, C40 is focused on tackling climate change and driving urban action that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks, while increasing the health, wellbeing and economic opportunities of urban citizens. The current chair of the C40 is Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes, while three-term Mayor of New York City Michael R Bloomberg serves as President of the Board. The City of Sydney has an ambitious emissions reduction target – to cut emissions by 70 per cent by 2030, based on 2006 levels and an energy efficiency improvement target for buildings of 31 per cent by 2030. The City’s sustainability programs, including CitySwitch, the Better Buildings Partnership, Smart Green Business and Smart Blocks, are improving energy performance of buildings across the city while making significant financial savings. Better Buildings Partnership members have slashed their energy bills by $30 million a year since the partnership was established and avoided over 113,000 tonnes of carbon emissions in the last year. The City of Sydney’s new master plan for energy efficiency shows businesses and residents how to slash greenhouse pollution and save more than $600 million in energy bills by 2030. The Sydney event follows a workshop and summit hosted by Tokyo mid-last year.


Industry News



On 21 May 2015, the final of the Australia–Netherlands Water Challenge took place during the Floodplain Management Association National Conference in Brisbane. Tracey Lloyd and Tom Perfrement from the University of New South Wales, and Ashlee Clarke and Raymond Laine from the University of Wollongong were the winners. Both Australian teams will visit the Netherlands for a traineeship with peers and other water experts over a three-week program ending with International Water Week in Amsterdam.

The Australian Academy of Science says it looks forward to working with the Turnbull Government to put science and innovation firmly at the centre of a strategy to build an agile and innovative Australia.

Tom and Tracey’s winning idea in the Australia–Netherlands Water Challenge is a composite resilience index as a way to make resilience more measurable and provide governments with better direction for action. The team came up with this idea at a time when Tom was already involved in quantifying the impact of a disaster. The next step was to quantify the resilience of a certain area for such a disaster. Tracey and Tom joined the challenge because they considered this a great opportunity, besides their regular study program, to gain further experience and knowledge. Ray and Ashlee presented through an online tool called Coastal Engage, aimed at involving local communities with important tradeoffs in decisions relating to coastal development. They developed this idea from the decision-support tool for flood-management Ray had already made. With the Coastal Engage-tool, people who are affected by a decision can let decision-makers know how they value certain possible decisions. In coastal management it is important to involve local communities in the decision-making, since they will be affected in their daily lives. Ray and Ashlee see the Australia– Netherlands Water Challenge as a great opportunity to meet experts in the water sector and extend their network. Both teams are looking forward to their visit to the Netherlands. During the first two weeks there they will meet Dutch water experts to get an in-depth view on their traineeship project. The teams will then attend the Young Professional Program of the Netherlands (Amsterdam) International Water Week. Before taking off on their trip, they shared a meal and some insights to the Netherlands with Consul-General Willem Cosijn in Sydney.

Academy President Professor Andrew Holmes has welcomed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s announcement that the industry, innovation and science portfolio is one of his Government’s “most important agendas”. Professor Holmes also welcomed the appointment of Christopher Pyne as Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science. “Prime Minister Turnbull has wasted no time in articulating a vision for an agile, innovative Australia with science and innovation at the centre of a whole-of-government strategy,” Professor Holmes said. “We welcome his approach and look forward to working with the Prime Minister and Ministers across all science- and educationrelated portfolios to build a strong future for Australia. “We thank outgoing Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane for initiating a national strategy for science and we look forward to working with Minister Pyne to ensure Australia takes a long-term, strategic approach to scientific infrastructure, careers and research funding. “We welcome the news that Karen Andrews will continue her work with the sector as Assistant Minister for Science. Ms Andrews has proven to be astute and committed to the portfolio, and we look forward to continuing to work with her, and to working with the new Assistant Minister for Innovation Wyatt Roy.” The Academy also congratulated the new Minister for Education, Simon Birmingham, on his promotion in the portfolio. “Having been Assistant Minister, Mr Birmingham knows the sector well,” Professor Holmes said. “Minister Birmingham has been clear in his wish to build consensus in the tertiary education sector before moving ahead on any reform, which we believe will be crucial for Australia’s aspirations to reach and maintain the highest education standards internationally.”

KBR AWARDED MAJOR PMP CONTRACT KBR has been awarded a two-year extension to an existing contract with South Australia Water Corporation (SA Water) for Project Management and Procurement (PMP) services for capital water projects in the Adelaide metropolitan area. Under the terms of the contract extension, KBR will continue to provide PMP services to SA Water in Adelaide for an additional two years beginning on July 1, 2016.

The winners with Consul-General Willem Cosjin in Sydney.

Since the capital works delivery program started, KBR has worked collaboratively with SA Water to deliver more than 200 projects for metropolitan Adelaide. The entire PMP Solutions program represents one of the largest government contracts for project and program management services in South Australia, delivering a capital value of more than $375million USD over five years.

November 2015 water


Industry News KBR's Engineering & Construction President, Ivor Harrington, said the performance of PMP Solutions has been consistently strong during the past four years and continues to provide efficient project solutions. "PMP Solutions has provided additional benefits to SA Water through program management capability, project controls, program scheduling, investment profiling and continuous improvement initiatives that saved $20 million. For these achievements it was awarded the National Project Management Achievement award in 2014,” he said. "We will continue to support SA Water's vision to deliver fit-forpurpose capital solutions, efficiently and effectively during the final year of the initial contract through to the completion of the extension in 2018," Harrington continued. The contract value was not disclosed. Expected revenue from the contract will be included in KBR's third quarter 2015 backlog of unfilled orders for its Engineering & Construction business lines. The extension will commence in July 2016 and is expected to be completed in June 2018.

PILOT PROGRAM WILL BE GAME CHANGER FOR WOMEN IN SCIENCE More than half of Australian universities, along with other science organisations, will join a pilot program recently launched to improve the promotion and retention of women and gender minorities in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM). The Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) pilot – a partnership between the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) – will be the first Australian trial of the successful UK Athena SWAN gender equity accreditation program. Thirty-two organisations will participate in the pilot, including universities, medical research institutes and the CSIRO. The program rates the gender equity policies and practices of participating organisations with a gold, silver or bronze award and helps them to develop ways to promote and retain women and gender minorities in their organisations. The Athena SWAN charter began a decade ago with just 10 universities, but has grown to include as a member nearly every STEMM education and research institution in the UK.

SUPER EL NIÑO AND CLIMATE CHANGE WILL PUT MILLIONS AT RISK OF HUNGER While Australian farmers nervously wait to see how a forecast El Niño might affect food production, Oxfam has released a new report that finds at least 10 million poor people around the world, including at least two million people in the Pacific, face hunger this year and next due to droughts and erratic rains, influenced by climate change and the likely development of a “super El Niño“. In Entering Uncharted Waters: El Niño and the Threat to Food Security, Oxfam says crops have already failed in Southern Africa and Central America, driving up the price of maize in local markets. Ethiopia and parts of South East Asia are suffering from the effects of drought and are braced for worse in coming months. As the Australian Government prepares to join other nations in Paris in December to negotiate a global UN climate agreement, Oxfam warns that the effects of El Niño and climate change could increase humanitarian emergencies at a time when resources and capacity are already under enormous strain. El Niño occurs every few years, when the ocean surface temperature in the eastern tropical Pacific becomes much warmer than average, influencing global weather patterns. Occasionally, an extra strong El Niño happens. Recent research suggests climate change could almost double the frequency of these “super El Niños“ to every 13 years instead of every 23 years. Oxfam Australia’s Chief Executive, Dr Helen Szoke, said millions of poor people are already feeling the effects of this super El Niño, seeing their crops fail and the price of staple foods soar because of shortages. “Such extreme weather events are only going to increase as climate change ramps up,” Dr Szoke said. “2014 was the hottest year on record and this year looks set to exceed it. Governments must wake up to the fact that climate change is already happening and there is an urgent need for a global deal to tackle it.” Dr Szoke said that Papua New Guinea was already feeling the effects of an El Niño, with droughts and frosts destroying crops, and two million people affected. Oxfam is working with partner organisations to assess conditions in drought-affected areas, identifying people who are most vulnerable. “We’re getting reports that current food supplies may only last another month in some districts,” Dr Szoke said. “Schools have reduced their hours to half-days, as it gets too hot for the students and there’s not enough water.”

“Most science disciplines are dominated by men in senior positions, despite the fact that roughly equal numbers of men and women study science and start science careers,” said Professor Andrew Holmes, President of the Australian Academy of Science.

The report outlines how the effects of record high temperatures and the super El Niño are already being felt:

“Not only is this inherently inequitable and unfair, but the loss of women from science also represents a very substantial cost to Australia in training, talent and opportunities for scientific innovation,” Professor Holmes said. “This is an important initiative of two of Australia’s learned Academies working together to address this long standing problem across the science sector for the first time.”

• Indonesian authorities have declared a drought in the majority of the country’s 34 provinces;

water November 2015

• Papua New Guinea has been hit by torrential rains that caused landslides, then drought and severe heat that withered crops;

• The Government of Ethiopia estimates that 4.5 million people will need food relief by the end of the year because of poor rains; • By February 2016, more than two million people in Malawi are expected to be struggling to find enough food;


Industry News Category: Transport & Storage • AQS-SYS, Aquarius Spectrum Ltd • SL-RAT Sewer Line Rapid Assessment Tool, InfoSense, Inc Category: Water Supply/Water Treatment • Grundfos BACMON Bacteria Monitoring, Grundfos A/S • Metalmembranes, Metalmembranes.com BV • MPC-Buoy: Monitor, Predict & Control Algal Blooms, LG Sonic BV Category: Wastewater Treatment • Arvia ODC, Arvia Technology Ltd • DyVaR O&G ZLD, Salttech BV • Keratox, ATG UV technology Special Mention • Serious water game, Vitens • In Guatemala and Honduras, hundreds of thousands of farmers have suffered the partial or total loss of their crops through drought and changes to the seasons. The last big El Niño in 1997–98 caused humanitarian disasters in many countries, including major forest fires in Indonesia and severe drought throughout many Pacific Island countries. In addition, the pattern of El Niños is getting harder to predict. With ongoing climate change, 2014 was the hottest year on record. No El Niño developed then, but growing seasons in Southern Africa and Central America behaved as if one were occurring. Temperatures continued to rise this year and some scientists are expecting it to be the most powerful El Niño to date.

FINALISTS ANNOUNCED FOR AQUATECH INNOVATION AWARD 2015 The finalists in the 2015 Aquatech Innovation Award have been announced, with the solutions developed by the nominated companies offering options to deal with some of the most pressing concerns of the water sector. More than 70 companies entered this year’s competition, with the 14 most impressive entrants across five categories nominated as finalists, along with an additional ‘special mention’ nominee. The international jury’s decision on the winner of each category and the overall winning entry will be announced in November at the opening ceremony of the Amsterdam International Water Week and the 25th edition of the Aquatech Amsterdam exhibition. The five categories of the award are: Not-Yet-To-Market; Process Control Technology & Process Automation; Transport & Storage; Water Supply/Water Treatment; and Wastewater Treatment. The nominees are: Category: Not-Yet-To-Market • BiAqua Phosphate Removal Technology (PRT), BiAqua BV • CAGIS: Real-time Customer Alert GIS, Vitens • PearlAqua, Aquisense Technologies Category: Process Control Technology & Process Automation • Biotrack AquaMonitor, Biotrack • FATHOM Meter Data Management, FATHOM Water Management LLC • Hach Prognosys predictive diagnostic system, Hach Lange

Proceeds from the Aquatech Innovation Award go to the AMREF Sustainable Water Access for the Masai in Kajiado, Kenya project. The project will bring access to safe water for approximately 50,000 people. Approximately 16,500 people will gain access to sanitation and be informed about the importance of good personal hygiene.

VEOLIA SIGNS 15-YEAR CONTRACT EXTENSION FOR WYUNA WATER Veolia has signed a 15-year contract extension with Sydney Water for operations and maintenance of the Wyuna Water facilities. Wyuna Water is a Special Purpose Vehicle owned jointly by IFM Investors and Veolia. Wyuna Water outsources the Operations & Maintenance requirements to Veolia under a long-term agreement. Under the contract extension, worth in excess of $400m, Veolia will continue to operate and maintain the Illawarra and Woronora Water Treatment Plants, which supply high-quality drinking water to more than 500,000 people across the Sydney and Illawarra region. Commenting on the partnership, Veolia’s Managing Director, Doug Dean AM, said, “This long-term partnership with Sydney Water is a testament to the high level of operational performance Veolia has been able to achieve. “By integrating our best-practice solutions, we have been able to deliver sustainable outcomes which protect the environment, while delivering efficiency and value to Sydney Water.” A key element of the Wyuna Water BOOT contract with Sydney Water is the Wyuna Science and Technology Agreement, which supports opportunities for joint research and development, as well as a fellowship program. The Agreement has played a significant role in fostering the sharing of information and technology as well as transferrable skills between Veolia and Sydney Water. Research and development projects under the Agreement include: • Drinking water research including catchment management, storage management, raw water quality, treatment processes, distribution networks, consumption forecasting and health; • Wastewater research; • Stormwater research.

November 2015 water


Industry News

URBAN UTILITIES WINS TWO PROJECT OF THE YEAR AWARDS Queensland Urban Utilities has won two out of four major awards at a national trenchless technology conference held on the Gold Coast. The utility took out Project of the Year in both the rehabilitation and new installation categories at the Trenchless Australasia No-Dig Down Under Gala Awards in September. Queensland Urban Utilities spokesperson, Michelle Cull, said it was great to put Brisbane on the map for two major projects – the rehabilitation of the S1 Main Sewer and the Woolloongabba Sewer Upgrade. “Our $130 million upgrade of the 100-year-old S1 Main Sewer is one of the most unique sewer projects ever undertaken in Australia,” she said. “It’s challenging due to the age, size, location and depth of the pipe.

Crew member Simon Carr in the S1 main sewer.

“The sewer carries 60 per cent of the city’s sewage, spans 1.5m in diameter and is buried eight storeys beneath one of the city’s busiest roads. Closing the road was not an option, so we used the latest trenchless technology to reline the old concrete pipe with a new pipe made from polyethylene, with very little disruption to traffic.” Project of the Year for best new installation went to the Woolloongabba Sewer Upgrade. The five-year $82 million project is Queensland Urban Utilities’ biggest on record, and was delivered not only ahead of schedule but $3.7 million under budget. It involved installing more than 5km of large trunk sewer mains in a densely populated area of inner Brisbane. “The new sewer pipe runs under a main busway and motorway, passing schools, restaurants and The Gabba stadium, home to international cricket matches and the AFL. As an added bonus, the Gabba’s project manager, Steve Gibson, is a top three finalist for International Project Manager of the Year.”

The S1 team at the awards night (from left): John Phillips (Interflow), John monro (Interflow), Adrian vosloo (QUU), David Lilley (Interflow), Kumar Wisumperuma (QUU.)

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24 November 2015 The Portside Centre Sydney

Valuing Catchments as Assets

Do you want to learn how to both pitch and justify your catchment programs using the latest and most relevant information? Are you keen to explore recent legal and policy developments related to environmental markets that could support catchment management activities?

The Australian Water Association’s Catchment Management and Water, Law and Policy Specialist Networks have joined forces and are excited to deliver a one-day conference program aimed at arming professionals working in these areas. Hear from Prof Bruce Thom AM FTSE FIAG, Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, some of the country’s biggest utilities, and participate in lively panel discussions, as we bring you practical tips and advice on how to get support for your catchment plans and build your understanding of key regulatory and policy changes in this space. Conference themes are focused on the following challenges: 1. National Programs and Investor Priorities in Catchment Management 2. Catchment Management Policy and Planning 3. Ecosystem Services: Valuing Catchments as Assets to Deliver Multiple Objectives 4. Managing Risk to Drinking Water Catchments Visit the website to find out about the limited sponsorship and trade table opportunities available! See the full program and register online at



Young Water Professionals

THE VALUE OF AN ENGAGED MEMbErSHIP robbie goedecke – aWa yWP national representative Committee President

The Australian Water Association has a proud history of remaining engaged with its members – something not to be taken lightly as generational change brings new ways of thinking, acting and participating. A value-driven membership needs to identify the needs of members and deliver accordingly. Without an engaged membership, the Association would have no voice. So what is unique about the Australian Water Association and how can we as YWPs benefit from our membership? Firstly, any membership needs to demonstrate the benefits of professional development (PD). In this regard I am excited about the Association’s commitment towards developing a continuing PD scheme that will allow members to track their own professional development. This will become an important tool to ensure members have frequent access to quality PD programs across Australia and are able to use this to further their career prospects. Secondly, it’s no coincidence that those who benefit most from membership of an association such as this are those who seek to get involved and participate through industry events. The annual Ozwater Conference & Exhibition, the largest PD event in the Australian water industry calendar, offers a variety of technical presentations, workshops and engaging speakers, with participants invariably leaving the event feeling truly inspired by the achievements in the industry and the challenges ahead. State branches also host presentations, policy announcements and facilitate state conference programs with either a local or regional feel.

WAter November 2015

The Australian Water Association also has 19 separate Specialist Networks of which YWPs is one. Each network provides a range of technical content that members can access to further their professional needs. Through these opportunities members can get involved either in the delivery of technical content to advance industry knowledge, or in becoming an advocate for our industry by joining one of the many committees available. Networking is a key function of any industry association as it keeps people in touch with one another and connects new industry personnel to more experienced professionals. Networking skills are important to form strong business relationships, and seek new ideas and opportunities to further a career. The YWP Mentoring Program provides the opportunity not only to network with other colleagues, but also to develop an understanding of where a career in the water industry can take you. YWP events run across Australia. I am particularly encouraged by the commitment of our various state YWP committees. The effort each committee member puts in is directly related to the benefit of YWP membership. These individuals recognise that to entice membership, Branch events need to be well planned and promoted. Ask a committee member what the greatest reward is, and they will say a successful event that delivers on its purpose and leaves YWPs wanting to come back for more. Finally, as you read this, the 4th IWAA/AWA YWP Conference will have commenced registrations. I invite you to consider this as an opportunity to obtain value from your membership and participate in developing the future voice of the water industry.

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AWA News • National Programs and Investor Priorities in Catchment Management;

STATE OF THE wATEr SECTOr SUrVEY rESULTS The Australian Water Association and Deloitte has launched the State of the Water Sector Report 2015, the only report of its kind that captures your insights as water sector professionals about your sector. As in previous years the report highlights the national issues then delves into more detailed state reports. The 2015 key issues included:

• Catchment Management Policy & Planning; • Ecosystem Services: Valuing Catchments as Assets to Deliver Multiple Objectives; • Managing Risk To Drinking Water Catchments.

State of the Water Sector Report 2015

The conference will provide practical tips and advice drawn from real-life case studies on how to get support for your catchment plans, and will include presentations that build your understanding of key regulatory and policy changes in this space. The program will assist Catchment Professionals to: • Pitch and justify catchment programs using the latest and most relevant information;

• The price of water and water regulation;

• Prioritise catchment projects;

• Water sector professionals’ perceptions of customer beliefs;

• Network with like practitioners and share experience in catchment management across the country. It will assist Law & Policy Professionals to:

• Sources of water;

• Explore recent legal and policy developments related to environmental markets that could support catchment management activities;

• Digital technology; • Asset management and operational efficiency. You can view the full report on our website: www.awa.asn.au.

AUSTrALIAN wATEr CONSUMEr OUTLOOK Do we think and talk about water only when we are in drought? Do we complain about the price of water, but are happy to pay $3 a bottle for it at the shop? Do urban residents think differently about water to people living in rural and regional areas? Do consumers know enough about our water resources to understand if governments and industry are protecting our water supply in the future?

• Network with other legal and policy professionals with this specialised expertise. The conference will take place from 8.30am–5pm on 24 November 2015 at the Portside Centre, Sydney and is followed by an optional dinner. For more information or to register, please go to the website: www.awa.asn.au.

Australian Water Consumer Outlook 2015

These are just some of the questions that are explored in the Australian Water Association and Arup’s Australian Water Consumer Outlook. The report, launched at the National Water Policy Summit in Melbourne in October, presents the findings of the Survey and provides a basis for further community-informed policy debate. To view the survey please go to the website: www.awa.asn.au.

CONFErENCE: VALUING CATCHMENTS AS ASSETS In a tightened belt environment knowing how to properly value catchments and assets to justify project spends is a priority now more than ever. The Association’s Catchment Management and Water Management Law and Policy Networks have come together to deliver a powerful one-day program with four key themes:

WAter November 2015

• Provide a comparative assessment of catchment land use controls across jurisdictions, focusing on legal, policy and voluntary approaches;

brANCH NEwS NEw SOUTH wALES NSW LEGENDS OF WATER Don’t miss the last event of the year – the NSW Legends of Water on 19 November at the Arthouse Hotel, 275 Pitt St, Sydney. The 2015 ‘Legends’ are Dr Paul Byleveld (NSW Health), Susan Trousdale (Sydney Water) and Peter Fagan (MWH), who will be interviewed “Parky-style” in a night of entertaining stories and experiences. Don’t miss it! Register at www.awa.asn.au.

NOMINATE FOR THE 2015 NSW WATER AWARDS The NSW Water Awards open on 20 November and all individuals and organisations are encouraged to enter in one or more of the following categories. Individual categories: • Water Professional of the Year • Young Water Professional of the Year • NSW Kamal Fernando Mentoring Award


AWA News Organisational categories: • Infrastructure Innovation Award • Research Innovation Award • Program Innovation Award Student categories: • Undergraduate Water Prize State winners are automatically entered into the National Water Awards announced at Ozwater’16.

NSW MENTORING PROGRAM Are you interested in being part of the NSW Mentoring Program? The final mentoring night for the year will be held in Sydney on 25 November. Please see the AWA website for more details or contact Elline Camilet (ELLINE.CAMILET@sydneywater.com.au) to join the mentoring program as a mentor or mentee.


QUEENSLAND WATER AWARD WINNERS ANNOUNCED The winners of the Australian Water Association’s 2015 Queensland Water Awards have been announced at a special gala dinner in September. The awards recognise and reward outstanding achievements of individuals and organisations in the Queensland water sector and also identify those who have displayed conspicuous service to the profession and exceptional performance in the practice of water management. Congratulations to the following winners who will now go on to represent Queensland in the National Water Awards at Ozwater’16, which will be held in Melbourne in May 2016. • Water Professional of the Year: David Brooker – Mackay Regional Council; • Young Water Professional of the Year: Tim Wong – SMEC Australia; • Undergraduate Water Prize: Scott Roy – SMEC Australia; • Research Innovation Award: Water Literacy in Australia – The University of Queensland and Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities;

The annual Debate on the Lake and ACT Awards Night will be held on the high seas of Lake Burley Griffin on 9 December 2016 aboard the MV Southern Cross. This year’s debate assumes the Lake is up for sale and two teams will go head to head to decide its fate. One team will argue to renovate and the other will argue to detonate and repurpose. Please join the ACT Committee for this light-hearted debate and also to honour the 2015 ACT Water Awards finalists and winners.

ACT HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE AUSTRALIAN CONSUMER OUTLOOK • 70% respondents want to monitor water consumption in real time; • 75% were willing to spend money to make their homes more efficient; • 52% believe the authorities are taking firm action to make sure we have enough water;

Kelly Fielding accepting the Research Innovation Award. • Program Innovation Award: Queensland Urban Utilities Innovation Program – Queensland Urban Utilities;

• 39% are confident there will be enough water in the future;

• Infrastructure Project Innovation Award: Suncoast-CoolumMaroochydore Sewage Treatment Plant Reconfiguration – Unitywater;

• 55% think water pricing is about right;

• Queensland Regional Service Award: Rob Saunders, GHD;

• 57% think the price of water makes you careful about how much you use.

• Queensland Distinguished Service Award: Helen Stratton – Griffith University.

November 2015 water


AWA News

New Members AWA welcomes the following new members since the most recent issue of Water Journal.


VICTORIA Corporate Gold Polymaster


Corporate Bronze

Corporate Platinum John Holland ANZ Banking Group AGL Energy Ltd

Emerson Process Management Andzac Water Treatment Norma Pacific Ebara Pumps Australia Pty Ltd

Corporate Gold


Jinluo Water Co Ltd

Corporate Bronze

Corporate Silver

OdaTech Pty Ltd Pioneer Water Tanks Pty Ltd

Opus International Consultants (Australia) Pty Ltd Loop Organics Pty Ltd


Corporate Bronze SNG Constructions Tapex


Rolston, K Grauf, S Eggert, S Cabardo, S Chapman, K Perry, M Jourden, P Higham, B Wong, B Ariyan, C Hancock, G McNay, G Wilson, I Sheriff, I Barnes, J Julius, J Marsden, J Stewart, M Newman, M Mtanos, P Scheiwe, R Taka, R Phillips, S Moujoodh, J Ross, M Loconte, R Ioffrida, K Gharpure, T Brammer, J Row, S Eley, J Dekazos, S Morgan, K Tapley, C Tonkin, J Duggleby, S Westgate, N Fry, J O’Brien, L Rawlinson, E George, S Singleton, T Chen, H Williams, C Phillips, G Brereton, R Brenton, B Fuller, A Cameron, N Tobin, C Laydon, R Aird, D Edge, M Moses QUEENSLAND B Edwards, A Haruwarta, P Haines, L Menefy, S Kime, T Wong, J Du Pont, R Poole, P Belz, D Whyte, J Rusterholz, P Krishnasamy, N Dupree, J Montague, G

QUEENSLAND Corporate Silver

MPA Engineering Pty Ltd GD Engineering & Construction

Corporate Bronze Chankar Environmental Pty Ltd (T/A Advanced Enviro-Septic) Carpentaria Shire Council Healthy Water Technologies (Australia) Corrosion Control Engineering P/L Douglas Shire Council

SOUTH AUSTRALIA Corporate Bronze

Layfield Environmental Containment GPA Engineering Pty Ltd

Smart, S Kozak, O Kakourakis, S Wright, S Roberts, J Goetz, J Paterson, J Tuhtan, B Hallett, A Bolster, A Dashwant, J Wood, I Epari, S Brown, R Cantos, K Devrell, J Betts, M Cacho, P Newell, C Hester, J Dewe, L Nappa, C Brown, A Shrestha, T Kar SOUTH AUSTRALIA D Peacock, A Gersch, G Crisp, G Jia, M Short, M Thyer, R Fitzgerald TASMANIA D Cokley VICTORIA Z Bushnaq, S Sherwood, G Griffiths, J Thwaites, M Berrett, P Quigley, D Roche, M Plummer, B Chong, S Harbidge, M Petersson, D Steel, C Lyons, R Antczak, N Gemmill, E Johnston, K Houghton, J Le, M Gibbs, G Mallory, J Ravalico, M Gibbins, M Bettanin, Y Kumar, A Edmonds, D Connell, S Roberts, F Huang WESTERN AUSTRALIA P Smith, P Wright, B Gibbs, J Fraley, E McAtee, D Wyatt, G Allen, S Gilmour, M Haro, H Ejaz, H McGettigan, J Stegena, B Doherty, K Ramgolam, B Rainey


NEW OVERSEAS MEMBERS T Mills, New Zealand; M Zhuge, China; SS Low, Singapore

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: www.awa.asn.au/events

November Tue, 10 Nov 2015

VIC Technical Evening: EPA Guidelines, A Performance-Based Approach, Melbourne

Wed, 11 Nov–Thu 12 Nov 2015

NAT Innovation Incubator Masterclass, Brisbane

Wed, 11 Nov–Thu 12 Nov 2015

QLD QWater’15, Brisbane

Tue, 17 Nov 2015

VIC Technical Evening: Systems Overload: Managing sewerage when it all gets too much!, Melbourne

Thu, 19 Nov 2015

NSW Legends of Water, Sydney

Fri, 20 Nov 2015

SA Annual Awards Gala Dinner, Adelaide

Fri, 20 Nov 2015

WA Annual Awards Gala Dinner, Perth

Tue, 24 Nov 2015

NAT Valuing Catchments As Assets Conference, Sydney

Wed, 25 Nov 2015

NSW Mentoring Night, Sydney

Wed, 25 Nov–Fri 27 Nov 2015

VietWater Expo: Australian Pavilion, Vietnam

Thu, 26 Nov 2015

TAS Galah Dinner & Debate Inc 2015 YWP Award, Hobart

Thu, 3 Dec 2015

VIC Victorian Water Awards Luncheon, Melbourne

December Wed, 9 Dec 2015

ACT Debate on the Lake, Canberra

Thurs, 10 Dec 2015

SA YWP End Of Year Event: Sustainability of Water in the Willunga Basin, Adelaide

water November 2015

GET YOUR BUSINESS IN FRONT OF THE WATER INDUSTRY Now is the time to capitalise on increased business opportunities in the sector, by securing your exhibition spot at the foremost water events happening over the next year. We can work with you to design a tailored exhibition package, so you can raise your company profile and put a spotlight on your products - at the right place and the right time. Exhibitor opportunities at upcoming events include: National Tap into the Australian water industry and get national exposure for your business and products at some of the biggest events on the water calendar. Event



Valuing Catchments and Assets


24 Nov 2015

Innovation Forum and Expo


10-11 Mar 2016


10-12 May 2016


International Want to get exposure to international markets? Exhibiting at one of these events is the way to do it! Event





25-27 Nov 2015


11-13 July 2016


9-13 Oct 2016

Singapore International Water Week IWA World Water Congress

Limited spots available! If you would like to exhibit at any of the above events, contact Stephen Comey SComey@awa.asn.au



AWA News

VIETNAM IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS Vietnam has emerged as one of the most economically ambitious South East Asian countries, having opened its doors to foreign participation and trade with a swathe of recently released legislation. And with this has come a thirst for Australian water capabilities. The role of the Australian Water Association is to ensure that the expertise and experience of our members and the wider Australian water sector are profiled and positioned to play a key role in the fast-transitioning water sector in Vietnam. With support from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Austrade, ANZ and the Bureau of Meteorology, the Association is delivering a multifaceted project to build the capacity of the Vietnamese water sector and enhance trade business opportunities for mutual benefit.

a process of engaging stakeholders involved in Vietnam’s water sector during August and September 2015. Please see Table 1 for a list of stakeholders consulted. The findings from the consultation are presented against the following themes: • Efficient and effective water service delivery; • Aligning regulatory frameworks and institutions; • Access to capital and private sector involvement in the water sector; • Monitoring, evaluation and performance reporting; • Training, R&D needs and international opportunities.

Consultation Process The Australian Water Association, along with our project partners, has progressed a series of initiatives designed to support critical water sector issues in Vietnam, including: • Strengthening governance, financial and investment structures; • Enhanced private sector participation; and • Improved service delivery and utility capacity. To better understand these issues, raise the profile of the Australian water sector, and build the platforms for greater commercial partnerships and investments between the Australian and Vietnamese water sectors, the Association embarked on

Australian Water Association CEO, Jonathan McKeown, presenting to Vietnam Ministries during a workshop at the Australian Embassy.

Table 1. Stakeholders consulted. Stakeholder Group


Donors/Government Agencies

Asian Development Bank, World Bank, Nordic Development Fund, German Development Cooperation (GIZ), BORDA Vietnam, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Australia), Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands, Austrade, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (Japan), Belgium Development Agency


Ministry of Construction, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment


SAWACO, Hanoi Water, Phu Tho, Nam Dinh, Hai Phuong, Ha Nam, Cairns Regional Council, Saigon Water

Private Sector

NGOs/Associations/ R&D

Black and Veatch, SMEC, Lend Lease, HAWACO, AusCham, Baker and McKenzie, ANZ Bank, Broadway Capital, Frontier Economics, Australian CleanTech Vietnam Water Supply and Sewerage Association, World Health Organisation, Vietnam Women’s Union, Engineers Without Borders, Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence

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Loan Hong Duong from DFAT at the workshop with Saigon Water.

Key messages: Water service delivery Major capital investments across Vietnam have delivered greater water security and safety in recent years. However, many of those consulted indicated that water infrastructure and services have often not kept pace with economic development. Ageing water supply systems struggle to cope with rapid growth in demand, and environmental management services are not adequately dealing with the final treatment and disposal of liquid or solid waste.

international Many reported that management efficiency of water utilities is often constrained by the lack of up-to-date and reliable information on the extent or condition of assets, low water tariffs and lack of accountability. Rising sea levels and new extremes in drought and flood events are compounding the challenges facing the Vietnam water sector. An integrated and holistic service delivery approach was widely viewed as the preferred model for improved management efficiency. This includes not only water supply management (protection and expansion of water sources and distribution systems), but also demand management (e.g. price setting and water conservation programs), wastewater management, stormwater management, R&D and private sector participation in service delivery. It must also encompass an effective legal, regulatory and institutional framework that facilitates close and efficient inter-agency cooperation. Meeting these challenges comes at a cost. To operate as efficient businesses, utilities must first be able to recover costs for service delivery. Increases in water prices to pay for new water infrastructure places pressure on living costs and raises issues of affordability and social equity. Finding new sources of revenue (including from the private sector), developing innovative hardship policies and educating communities on the true value of water is clearly a common priority shared by all stakeholders engaged. But many indicated significant reforms are required to the institutional and regulatory structures to drive efficiency and effectiveness. Aligning regulatory frameworks and institutions


AWA News • Lack of reliable information about the location, performance and present value of the infrastructure asset; • Uncertainty about the ownership and condition of assets; • Little confidence in the regulatory framework to protect investment; • Ongoing ambiguity on responsibilities; • Lack of confidence in the sources of revenue from charges; • Capacity of provincial governments to develop robust contracts with water-service providers. Many indicated that private sector partners can play an important role in bringing improvement to the water sector, by introducing new efficiencies, new business processes, new finance and ensuring performance standards. Many private investors are looking to invest in long-lived assets with positive and stable returns on investment. Many respondents noted that private sector involvement in the sector to date has usually been on invitation, or as unsolicited bids, followed by a negotiated contract without competition or full transparency. Procurement processes are often prescriptive favouring centralised planning arrangements and large infrastructure developments. As a result, the opportunities for innovation and encouraging private sector involvement across the water sector are limited.

As expressed by a majority of stakeholders, urban and rural water systems are constantly changing, and they must in order to manage new risks and challenges to public health, the environment and the economy. As new risks emerge, new regulations are created to manage these risks. To implement these regulations new institutional powers and roles are allocated. Over the years, and in response to new risks, there have been layers of new regulations and responsibilities imposed across the Vietnam water sector. Devolution of responsibilities to the provincial government, coupled with a greater role for the private sector, is adding to the challenge. Those who must abide by and enforce these regulations face a daunting diversification of rules, with multiple departments having different regulatory roles. This has been found to increase costs of compliance and, ultimately, the cost of water services. The segmentation of water regulation runs counter to the needs of efficiency and effective service delivery, particularly regarding private sector confidence. Many respondents indicated that a clear and integrated regulatory approach is necessary for attracting private sector participation and financing. In this context, regulatory frameworks should bring about greater coordination and cooperation where innovation, efficiency and effectiveness are the drivers. Access to capital and private sector involvement All respondents recognised that servicing expanding populations of Vietnam will require continued major capital expenditure and technological innovation. Investment needs are significant compared with the local revenue base (World Bank, 2014). As such, the Vietnam Government is actively encouraging private investors to provide the capital required or private service providers to enter the market (Decree 15, Feb 2015). Despite strong national policy on public-private partnership, the sector is yet to attract significant private sector interest. This has been attributed to:

A visit to a rural water province looking to enter into a PPP with the Australian water sector. Monitoring, evaluation and performance reporting Many respondents supported the need to strengthen performance reporting across the water sector to ensure transparency, accountability and efficiency, and to strengthen private sector participation. To accomplish this, robust indicators are needed that can monitor and assess trends in performance including water reliability, pressure, non-revenue water, water quality, financial performance and customer satisfaction. The development and application of such indicators can be used for setting priorities in water policy interventions and for strengthening the responsiveness of institutions and processes. Monitoring and evaluation allows governments, utilities and individuals to identify areas for improvement, adopt realistic targets and

November 2015 water


AWA News


convince authorities of the need for change. It also allows private sector agencies to have confidence to determine returns on investment and enter into Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangements.

material to assist implementation of Decrees 117-2007 and 15-2015. This initiative will be designed to demonstrate different PPP and private sector models through real demonstration projects.

A number of challenges have surfaced regarding the capacity of the sector to reliably and accurately collect data and report on performance. Challenges include data quality, data reliability, data accessibility, regulatory uncertainty, technical capacity and costs.

In this context, the Association is now seeking expressions of interest from its members and the broader Australian water sector to support delivery of several small and medium PPP projects in Vietnam. This will combine both public and private sector participation from Australia to deliver a new form of economic diplomacy that can lead to commercially sustainable projects in Vietnam. The Association is planning visits to these PPP sites during the Australian Delegation to VietWater in November.

There is no national standard methodology for monitoring and verifying the data collected. There may even be a disincentive for provinces to improve their monitoring systems, since it is in their interest to show that their access figures are low and that they are in need of more central funds. Training, R&D and international opportunities Many respondents noted the increasing sophistication and expansion of water and wastewater management facilities is placing new requirements on skills for business planning, finance and contract management, as well as technical skills essential for operation and maintenance of new facilities. Many called for continued effort to develop training and education opportunities for the sector, together with the establishment of a unified system of water operator certification and technological validation.

Innovation and collaboration The Australian Water Association is supporting VWSA to connect with the Australian water sector in delivering training on improved performance of water operators, water product specifications and technology validation, non-revenue water and national guidelines on water quality. These areas have all been endorsed by the key ministries in Vietnam. Twinning arrangements are being developed between the selected water utilities and government agencies to transfer the management knowhow and technical skills and support to achieve the targeted improvements.

There is also recognition that future investment in water training and R&D needs to be sustained, coordinated, demand-driven and goal-oriented, and supported by industry. The benefits from this include training and R&D efficiency, limiting duplication and improving the effectiveness of R&D outcomes into policy and practice. Knowledge management is a significant component of training and R&D. An important aspect of knowledge management is that information and data are accurate, reliable and will be discoverable for key stakeholders and researchers beyond the life of a project. The Vietnam Water Supply and Sewerage Association (VWSSA) was advocated by many as the appropriate agency to delivere enhanced training and R&D across the sector. The scale and complexity of challenges that the Vietnam water sector must address are increasingly crossing scientific disciplines, industry sectors and international boundaries. Greater national and international collaboration and coordination were identified as having significant potential to increase efficiencies in training and R&D.

Want to get involved?

Site tour to the PPP project site near Hanoi.

The following areas have emerged as being in high demand for Australian water capabilities. The Australian Water Association is now seeking Expressions of Interest from members to get involved in the program of activities as set out below.

VietWater 2015 The Association’s main platform in 2015 for connecting the Australian and Vietnam water sectors is VietWater in November. We expect up to 100 individuals from Commonwealth, State and Local Governments, utilities, R&D agencies and a range of private sector companies. We suspect it will be the largest Australian delegation to visit Vietnam. During VietWater, delegates will meet with donor agencies, ministries, private sector companies, NGOs and utilities, in addition to meeting many fellow Australian water professionals with whom they may share common interests.

Support for efficient regulation and pricing structures As Vietnam moves beyond dependence on bilateral and multilateral donor support it is seeking to encourage more private sector investment and participation. This presents opportunities for the Australian water sector. The Australian Water Association is coordinating the demand for the Australian water sector to support Vietnam with water policy formulation, guidance and monitoring; develop the capacity of subnational government agencies; and provide support for developing and establishing regulatory arrangements that enable greater private sector participation. Support in the development of guidance material that unlocks private capital The Australian Water Association is now facilitating flagship PPP projects to support the development of guidance

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Join the inbound delegations To showcase Australian capabilities, the Association will continue to coordinate a number of inbound tours to Australia from Vietnam, including the Vietnam Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam Women’s Union, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, and the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment. Please contact Paul Smith at psmith@awa.asn.au for further information on any of these activities.



AWA News

AwA AND bOM HOST INbOUND DELEGATION FrOM CHINA On 16 September, the Australian Water Association and the Bureau of Meteorology hosted a delegation of 16 senior water officials from the Water Resources Department of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, China. The delegation toured Australia to learn about Australia’s water reform journey and build their capacity in water resource management and institutional reforms in urban and rural water management. Included in the tour were visits to iconic water management sites including Sydney Water’s North Head Sewage Treatment Plant, several innovative WSUD and water re-use schemes around Sydney, and meetings with Australian experts involved in water resource planning, pricing and regulation for safe, secure and efficient water and wastewater service provision. The delegation heard from Graham Hawke, Deputy Director, Environment and Research Division BOM, on Australia’s water reform journey and BOM’s capabilities in the collation and dissemination of weather, climate and water information. If you would like to get involved in these inbound tours and showcase your capabilities please contact Paul Smith at psmith@awa.asn.au

Graham Hawke from bom presenting to the delegation at the Australian Water Association’s head office.

The Australian Water Association would like to acknowledge our project partners and sponsors who are an invaluable part of the project’s success. The support and funding they provide allow us to bridge the Vietnamese and Australian water sectors.



ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION – A LUXURY MOST NATIONS CAN’T AFFORD What can be done to tackle the issue of global pollution? Adrian Minshull from the Hydroflux Group says we should be taking a leaf out of WaterAid’s book. Having spent my entire working life designing and building what are essentially environmental protection systems in the more developed and transitioning countries around the world, I often see or hear of the pollution that is happening every day in less developed nations. It makes me wonder if what I am doing is really making a detectable difference to the global pollution issue? As a country grows in economic wealth, its people generally take a series of steps, starting with seeking peace and security. Once achieved, this paves the way for economic development, which in turn allows for increased trade and industry opportunities and, importantly, the ability to fight disease and hunger. Hand-in-hand with economic development comes social development, with improved literacy and education, establishment and protection of human rights, and the associated selfdetermination and independence.

Then, as the country really starts to find its feet, it turns its attention to the first stage of environment protection – sanitation, the collection and treatment of sewage. Driven by the need for safe drinking water, this is the first point at which the environment becomes a priority, followed by health issues such as reducing child mortality and fighting HIV/AIDs. Improving food standards with consumer health in mind is the second stage of environmental protection.

The three basic human needs At the most basic level, an individual has three immediate needs. The first is for physical safety. The second is for a safe and secure supply of drinking water and food. The third is for shelter.

Advanced economies In transition Less developed Least developed

Figure 1. The world looks to the advanced economies for help with the environment. Note: Map sourced from www.forbes.com/sites/evapereira/2011/01/12/developing-countries-will-lead-global-growth-in2011-says-world-bank/

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Protecting the environment for the sake of the environment – and reducing pollution – comes well down the list of the needs of an individual. For transitioning countries, as with individuals in those countries, protecting the environment and, consequently, reducing pollution is a low priority. And when you look at the map in Figure 1 it would appear that much of the world still has a long way to go before countries or individuals can seriously consider environmental protection as an important need. Need it be so? Well, if I were struggling to feed my children, then yes, it would be well down on my list of priorities. Is this the “right” attitude? Personally I am not sure how much I would care in that situation. Given all of this, is there anything we water professionals can do? The answer is yes. First, we need to design systems that cost less to build and operate for every stage of the less-developed nation’s economic development. Second, we need to do it with a level of urgency. Third, we need to pull back on investing time and money in achieving fractional improvements to a developed nation’s water systems and spend the money designing systems that the less developed nations can afford.

What can others do? Developing and transitioning governments need to make building stronger water institutions a priority. This will ensure that public funds are used wisely and not squandered on inappropriate technology. Water media and thought leaders in developing nations need to educate the public to help them understand what is possible. More importantly, the public also needs the knowledge that will enable it to ensure its leaders are made accountable if they don’t deliver. We who live and work in developed countries must both assist and lead by example, especially in our transactions and through our businesses that are working with and within these developing and transitioning nations.

As an example of what can be achieved, all of us in the water industry should be inspired by the activities of WaterAid, which is tackling one of the world’s major health issues. Around 500,000 children are dying every year from diarrhoea caused by drinking unsafe water, and being exposed to poor sanitation. That’s over 1,400 children a day. WaterAid is attacking this issue from all angles, working with local partners to help communities gain access to safe water and sanitation. It is also using its experience and research to influence decision-makers to do more to provide these vital services, and is using practical technologies while ensuring the communities gain and maintain the skills to keep these solutions working long into the future. This approach has resulted in more than 21 million people worldwide now having access to safe water. And all of this has happened in some of the world's poorest communities. By taking a leaf out of WaterAid’s book – both lowering the stage in economic growth at which developing and transitioning nations can afford to start work on environmental protection and increasing the knowledge within these nations as to what is possible – there is every reason to believe that, sooner rather than later, environmental protection will no longer be a luxury that most of the world’s lessdeveloped nations today cannot afford.

The Author Adrian Minshull (email: Adrian.Minshull@ hydroflux.com.au) is a Director of the Hydroflux Group. Adrian has over 30 years’ experience in the Australian water and wastewater industry and has successfully completed thousands of water and wastewater projects. A large part of his career has involved designing and building environmental protection systems in developed and transitioning countries around the world. Prior to joining the Hydroflux Group, he founded AJM Environmental Services.

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Innovation Spotlight

COULD THIS BE THE SOLUTION TO YOUR WATER QUALITY MONITORING WOES? Optimos Solutions is introducing to Australia a new real-time multi-parameter water quality monitoring system that offers a range of innovative features. Sydney-based Optimos Solutions is bringing a unique and powerful technology from the United States to Australia for the first time. The ZAPS Technologies LiquID™ (pronounced Liquid ID) Station is a realtime multi-parameter water quality monitoring system that Optimos Solutions, which was founded by Phil Krasnostein in 2011, is keen to introduce to the Australian market. After studying chemical engineering at Monash University, Phil spent 40 years in a range of process-related manufacturing industries. In 2004, he co-founded Nubian Water Systems, a water treatment company specialising in domestic and commercial greywater treatment and recycling. Phil believes his depth of experience in engineering and process industries means he is well placed to deliver LiquID technology to Australia, while his time at Nubian has given him a better understanding of the application of this kind of technology and the issues that face the water industry. Optimos Solutions’ vision is to provide a series of advanced solutions in the management of water quality and water treatment systems. The company works with several alliance partners, each of which bring complementary skills and add real value to the technologies Optimos offers to the market. Among these is Risk Edge, a consultancy that helps enterprises drive efficiencies by increasing understanding and management of their risk opportunities, and Global Environment Corporation, which has specialist skills in analytical chemistry, environmental monitoring and cleaner production. LiquID is not the only real-time multi-parameter water quality monitoring system on the market, but it does have unique capabilities including the measurement of parameters such as BOD, E. coli, Total THMs, VFAs and low-level TSS, all without the use of

reagents or consumables. It also reports a new data point for each parameter being measured, at roughly two-minute intervals. With this technology and the additional skills of its alliance partners, Optimos hopes to have a significant impact in an industry that strives for increased efficiencies and cost reductions. For example, says Phil, LiquID is a promising prospect for water utilities looking for ways to reduce costs, as it can minimise (and potentially remove) the cost of manual sampling and analysis. LiquID owes its debut in Australia to social media, a quick search and a phone call. After seeing the technology referred to in a LinkedIn conversation, Phil Googled the company, then picked up the phone and called them. He then worked with ZAPS, the developer and manufacturer in the US, before returning to Australia to distribute the technology. Despite LiquID’s potential to deliver efficiencies and cost savings to its customers, most of the larger utilities have been slow to adopt technologies. Phil suggests that there may be an “entry requirement that requires small entrants to gain the acceptance and credibility that comes from working with the larger utilities”. However, Phil’s experience has been that it is difficult for a small company with a new and different technology to overcome the inertia and risk-averse approach of many of the large utilities. While this has been a hard nut to crack, Phil has found more success with smaller regional utilities that often have the interest, focus and the ability to make the decisions that are required to introduce the new technology into the organisation. However, barriers to larger utilities are starting to break down and industrial companies are beginning to show interest. Optimos is now focused on building capability and is currently actively pursuing the first of what will become a small portfolio of specialised technologies focusing on water quality management. Says Phil: “We fully support whatever technology we get ourselves involved in, by working with customers to help them understand it, all the way through to maximising its value in implementation.”

LiquIDTM installed at the Winmalee STP in New South Wales.


Optimos Solutions is one of the technology companies taking part in the Australian Water Association’s Incubator Programme, which is sponsored by Industry Capability Network (ICN), PwC and ANZ. The 12-month Programme provides innovators with a range of tailored business-to-business meetings, and myriad opportunities to promote their products to the water industry and water-using industries. Optimos Solutions will showcase its product at the Australian Water Association’s Innovation Forum at Royal Randwick Racecourse in Sydney 10–11 March 2016. To find out more about the Innovation Incubator Programme and the Innovation Forum please email jmoulin@awa.asn.au

Making Infrastructure work for our communities Ventia is the new independent and dedicated services company from the merger of Thiess Services and Leighton Contractors. Our 6500-strong team brings skill and experience to providing vital infrastructure services for our communities. We are now one of the largest services companies in Australia delivering planning, feasibility assessment, design, asset management, facilities management, telecommunications, infrastructure operations and maintenance, and environmental services.



Feature article

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An aerial view of the Woodie Woodie site pre-seeding.

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Feature Article

THE WOODIE WOODIE IRRIGATION PROJECT Chris Schelfhout and Megan Broad report on the Pilbara Hinterland Agricultural Development Initiative to transform mine dewater to grow crops.


n outback project on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert in remote Western Australia aims to transform mine dewater into an oasis of productive potential. The Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA) has embarked on a two-year $4.1 million project to explore the potential to harvest surplus mine dewater to grow a range of fodder and biofuel crops. The Woodie Woodie pilot project is part of DAFWA’s Pilbara Hinterland Agricultural Development Initiative (PHADI), backed by the WA Government’s Royalties for Regions funding. The 38-hectare Woodie Woodie pilot takes its name from the nearby Consolidated Minerals’ manganese mine, which provides the dewater for the irrigation trial. The department has joined with the Mills family, veteran pastoralists from Warrawagine Station, who will host the trial on their 404,685-hectare station 190 kilometres east of Marble Bar, Australia’s hottest town. The Mills have invested in two additional pivots at the Woodie Woodie pilot site and also provide in-kind support by keeping an eye on the equipment at the remote trial site. While there have been similar projects in the past in the Pilbara, this trial will undertake a full analysis of the potential to cultivate a range of crops under irrigation and make this knowledge available to use for future planning and investment decisions by government, industry and investors.

The work will identify options and pathways to irrigated agricultural development in the Pilbara, providing pastoralists, agribusiness entrepreneurs and investors with new information.

Getting the green light The irrigation system’s ‘taps’ were finally turned on in early September using surplus dewater from the Woodie Woodie mine, 10 kilometres away, which is discharged into Wet Creek and runs past the trial site. The project was temporarily delayed after an encounter with one of the risks associated with relying on mine dewater – a change in the mine’s operations saw dewatering rates fluctuate and affect the water supply for the trial. There is no formal agreement with the mine connecting its dewater surplus to the irrigation supply; the mine has approval to discharge dewater into the creek, and the trial has approval to pick up water from that same creek. This highlights how using mine dewater for irrigation is closely linked to changes in mine operations, and the issues that can arise if dewater is the sole supply for irrigation. It’s an interesting and important lesson learned and the authors want to share these project learnings with others so they can use this information to develop successful and sustainable irrigated agriculture. The mine recommenced dewatering in June and water is now flowing down Wet Creek at a rate of more than 400 litres per second. DAFWA has extensively tested the quality of the water, which is 500–600 milligrams per litre of total dissolved solids (TDS) – well within the parameters for agricultural production. The water for the trial is delivered through a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe placed in a natural pool via three diesel-powered turbine pumps to the centre pivots. The first pivot is supplied by 885m of 450mm diameter pipe, which continues a further 740m at 355mm diameter to the second pivot, and then 725m at 315mm diameter to the third pivot. Each pivot is powered by a 12kVA genset.

An engineering marvel The Pierce centre pivot was imported from the US, then transported from Perth to the Pilbara by road and assembled on site. It is 350m long and will irrigate 38 hectares at up to 15mm per day, based on low-pressure sprinklers to conserve energy. The absorbed pump power is about 40 kW, with another five kilowatts absorbed by the diesel generator running the electrical system.

Woodie Woodie pilot site construction.

The operation of the centre pivot was an engineering marvel. The controls are manipulated from the trial contractor Global Groundwater’s headquarters in Perth, more than 1500 kilometres away. The equipment is monitored and can be manoeuvred remotely, while the flowrate is tailored to each individual crop’s needs. Injection rates of soluble fertiliser can be altered as required and the mix changed using flowmeters and variable speed-drive motors on the injectors, via a computer control system. Average annual water use is expected to be around 23ML/ha but will vary, depending on the season and what each crop requires.

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Feature Article

Pivot and tractor at the Woodie Woodie site.

Potential crops

Irrigation scheduling

An initial range of crops was chosen from a selection assessed as having potential for cattle feed. Approval to grow the selected species, in terms of a Pastoral Diversification Permit, was obtained, and the list includes sorghum, Rhodes grass, oats, lucerne and maize.

Woodie Woodie site contractor, Global Groundwater, has partnered with Advanced Fertigation Systems to benchmark optimal water and fertigation application for the crop and environment. Irrigation scheduling is based on forward forecasting to ensure optimal soil moisture and greatest crop return per millimetre of water applied. Crop water use and response is monitored by telemetry including weather station, flow meters, soil moisture probes and satellite NDVI analyses correlated to field readings.

The pivot area is divided into four sectors to trial a mix of perennial and annual crop species. A modified combine seeder with disc openers is being used for seeding and has been chosen to handle crops with small seeds, such as lucerne. In addition, DAFWA has provided a cone seeder, which will be used to establish small plot trials in a designated area of the pivot, which is part of the Royalties for Regions Northern Beef Futures project co-located at the site. A further 20 species have been selected, including grain, fodder and biofuel species to trial in the coming months of the project. The plant species were selected to examine their agronomic and economic potential in the Pilbara’s extreme environment. Summer stretches from October to April, with hot days and nights, maximum temperatures often over 40°C and occasional cyclones dumping heavy rainfall. Winters are dry, with pleasant days, maximum temperatures in the mid-20°C–30°C range and often cool nights, but rarely frosts. This is the first time a quantitative study of irrigated pastoral crops has been undertaken. The aim is to capture information about crop production, as well as the nutritional composition and crop physiology during the calendar year. This will provide information to enable an economic analysis of stand-alone crop production and potential benefit in livestock feeding systems. This includes the tonnes per hectare of biomass, metabolisable energy, protein content and the digestibility of the feed. Crop management will also come under scrutiny, as well as determining preferred crop sequences (rotations) during the final 18 months of the trial. Hay produced from the trial will be fed to some of the Mills’ 23,000-head Droughtmaster and Droughtmastercross cattle herd. Ultimately it is hoped to identify a suite of species that are suitable for cattle feeding systems or biofuel production that perform well in this environment. Market research will also explore the domestic and export opportunities for these and other irrigated crops.

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Fertiliser optimisation is achieved by use of both liquid and granular types, with the focus on cost per kilogram of fodder. Variable rate application at an elemental level, coupled with yield response and laboratory analysis, is used to achieve the crop’s potential for the lowest cost and without waste. Water efficiency is achieved by using crop response to refine and ground-truth the forward forecast irrigation schedule model. The water collected from the creek is good enough for irrigation, and although this is not expected to vary throughout the year, electrical conductivity of the water can be observed daily through the irrigation management equipment. Biannual sampling will identify any changes to the incoming irrigation water chemistry. Sampling points have been established to alert site operators to any nutrient run-off or deep drainage from irrigation.

Collaboration & Discussion A field day will be held later in the year for pastoralists, miners and entrepreneurs to examine the trial site and discuss the project. Warrawagine Station owner Robin Mills said the long-term vision for the project would benefit not only his station but also others in the Pilbara, which is subject to a fickle climate. “We see the value of irrigated agriculture as a way to help drought-proof our operations and reduce risk. A lot of creative thinking has been required along the way to meet the challenges of working in such a remote environment,” Mr Mills said. Collaboration has been a key feature of the PHADI project, which DAFWA is delivering in partnership with the Pilbara Development Commission and the WA Department of Regional Development, in association with the local mining and pastoral industries and Aboriginal groups.


Feature Article

Woodie Woodie mine dewater discharge. DAFWA met with the traditional owners of the land at Woodie Woodie, the local Njamal people, to discuss the project. An Aboriginal heritage survey was carried out at the site and a number of small artefacts were identified. As a result, the area in which these artefacts were found could be avoided during the construction of the pilot site. Resource giant Rio Tinto is also using about 20 gigalitres of mine dewater from its Marandoo iron-ore mine to run 17 centre pivots across 800ha near Tom Price, as part of its water management strategy for the mine.

Northern Beef Futures Project The Woodie Woodie pilot will also complement DAFWA’s $15 million Northern Beef Futures (NBF) Royalties for Regions project, designed to transform the State’s northern beef industry by improving markets, businesses and productivity. One hectare of the Woodie Woodie trial site has been shared with the NBF, as part of its Mosaic Agriculture sub-project, to assess the potential for selected grass, fodder crops and legume pastures to persist and/or spread. This data will provide evidence for a new weed risk assessment process being developed for the WA rangelands.

Pilbara Hinterland Agricultural Development Initiative (PHADI) Overview The Woodie Woodie pilot is one part of the overall PHADI project, which will assess the potential of irrigated agriculture in the Pilbara using surplus mine dewater and other in-situ water resources such as groundwater and surface water, to create economic diversification and investment opportunities in the region. PHADI will provide new knowledge – backed by scientific research – which government, industry, investors and the community can use as a planning and investment decision-support tool. Research into agronomics, regulatory issues, supply chain and market opportunities, economic viability, stakeholder aspirations for development and an assessment of soil and water resources in the Pilbara, are all part of the program of work planned for the project. Investigations will consider sustainable natural resource use with respect for country, culture and economic development. Project findings will be packaged in a suite of online user-friendly, information products, and extended to clients through project consultation, updates and events. The results from the Woodie

Woodie trial will be invaluable as they will provide validated research findings to improve understanding of the feasibility and viability of irrigated agriculture in the Pilbara.

Sustainable future The Pilbara – one of Australia’s most resource-rich regions – is well known for its iron-ore industry and contribution to strong state and national economies. Research at the Woodie Woodie pilot is transformational as it is increasingly recognised that irrigated agriculture has the potential to expand the economic base of the Pilbara and attract major capital investment to the region and the state. However, this potential needs to be better understood. This project will put the science behind innovation, and produce a package of valuable information that pastoralists and developers can use to turn the irrigation opportunity into reality. It could also pave the way for alternative income streams, such as biofuels and horticulture crops, which, together with the stockfeed, would also assist pastoral businesses to endure drought conditions. The Woodie Woodie and PHADI projects will conclude in 2017. WJ

The Authors Dr Chris Schelfhout (email: chris.schelfhout@ agric.wa.gov.au) has been Project Manager of the Pilbara Hinterland Agricultural Development Initiative for the Department of Agriculture and Food, WA, since early 2014. During his eight years with the department, he has been stationed at a number of regional locations across WA and was previously Project Manager of DAFWA’s Carnarvon horticultural research site in the Gascoyne. Megan Broad (email: megan.broad@agric.wa. gov.au) has been a rural journalist for 25 years. She started her career as a rural reporter with ABC Radio, serving in Geraldton, Karratha and Perth with Country Hour, then worked for the Rural Press paper Farm Weekly. She began her first ‘tour of duty’ with the Department of Agriculture and Food, WA in 2000 as a media liaison officer before ‘retiring’ to start a family. She returned to DAFWA in 2007.

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Feature Article

ESTIMATING AGRICULTURAL IRRIGATION DEMAND USING ECONOMICS AND ENGINEERING MODELS The Balmoral Group was recently tasked with estimating agricultural water use across every farm in the state of Florida in the US. The project, titled Florida Statewide Agricultural Irrigation Demand (FSAID), was completed in a four-step process outlined here by Valerie Seidel and Paul Yacobellis.


s water utilities and others consider supply constraints and planning horizons, understanding where water will be most needed is of utmost importance. Of particular importance is water demand for agricultural irrigation purposes, which consumed 10,730,000 ML in 2014 in Australia, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. While several models exist in Australia to predict water use for individual farms, predicting future agricultural water use in Australia at the national level is more challenging.

use estimates were developed using econometric techniques to link current and historical biophysical factors, irrigation water use data, and crop prices at the farm level. Revenue projections were then used to simulate future conditions. Finally, auto-regressive techniques were used to identify areas of growing and declining irrigated acreage, and generate projected irrigated area and water use.

Water availability is a sensitive issue across the globe and the United States (US) is no different. Recent work there has shown how large-scale models can be developed to predict future irrigation demands based on the combination of physical and economic factors that impact water use in agriculture. In Florida, despite dense urban development, 40 per cent of the total water use, or about 3,800,000 ML per year, results from agricultural irrigation (Marella, 2014). In recognition of this large consumptive footprint amid heightened water scarcity, The Balmoral Group recently developed a model for the entire state of Florida, showing the prediction potential for a large geographical context.

The benefit of a geodatabase with individual fields is that it can be utilised at any scale, facilitating refinements to reflect temporal changes and controlling for crop differences. Recognising this, GIS databases of all agricultural lands in Florida, as well as irrigated lands, were created for the FSAID project (The Balmoral Group, 2015). An Irrigated Lands Geodatabase (ILG) was populated for 2015 conditions, using data from a number of sources. Agricultural areas were identified as irrigated or non-irrigated through manual and automated processes. The GIS was used to visually review and compare aerial photography (NAIP2 and Google Earth), USDA’s Cropland Data Layer (CDL)3, and permit data (reading permit documents to extract crop type, irrigation system and irrigated area), to correctly classify field geometry, crop type and irrigation system. The resulting GIS mapped an estimate of 7,000 square kilometres of irrigated area in 2015, and about 36,000 square kilometres of total agricultural land as shown in Figure 1.

Florida legislature recently set planning rules for agricultural water supply that require the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) to develop geographically specific water use estimates that incorporate metered and other water use data into a 20-year horizon, across the entire state. In the past, Florida’s five water management districts (WMDs1) used their own individual models to estimate agricultural water use separately for each region. As a result, statewide estimation was fraught with inconsistency. For example, a crop in one district might be said to require 70 per cent more water than the same crop one kilometre away, but in another district due to differences between estimation approaches. To overcome this type of inconsistency, The Balmoral Group was tasked with estimating agricultural water use for all the farms across the state; this is the Florida Statewide Agricultural Irrigation Demand (FSAID) project. The Balmoral Group’s model was completed as four related steps. First, a dataset of all agricultural lands was prepared in a geographic information system (GIS) and irrigated lands were identified. Water

Development of Irrigated Lands and Agricultural Lands Geodatabases

Irrigation Estimates Once the current irrigated and non-irrigated agricultural areas were established, the next step was to estimate current water use. About one-third of farms in Florida have metered water use, and this data is reported to the WMDs. Data was obtained for each District for three full years of irrigation, allowing for comparison of irrigation practices under a variety of climatic and market conditions. Demand for irrigation water was then modelled in an econometric regression linking total annual water use to biophysical factors, climate and market factors (see Table 1). For each farm, this included compiling data for each of the three years – if metered water use data was available for 2007, 2010 and 2013. The model included variables representing the crop mix, field size, irrigation equipment used, and weather conditions observed for each year having measured


Northwest Florida (NWFWMD), St. John’s River (SJRWMD), Suwannee River (SRWMD), Southwest Florida (SWFWMD) and South Florida (SFWMD).


United States Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Imagery Program.


he USDA’s Crop Data Layer (CDL) is a gridded dataset (30-metre resolution) that classifies crop type based on satellite data and ground truth data, T updated annually based on satellite data during the peak growing season (April to September).

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Feature Article

Table 1. Regression variables. Variable

Measure; all, at farm field level


Crop-specific annual revenue; approximately 70 crops, aggregated to 12 crop categories


Soil type, aggregated to 8 broad soil categories


Percentage of permitted acreage that is irrigated


Type of irrigation system


Variable for freeze protection


Vector of location attributes, including latitude/longitude coordinates and Water Management District variables


Mean annual rainfall, based on nearest rain station


Evapotranspiration, based on satellite data

Agricultural Acreage Projections and Associated Water Requirements

Figure 1. Map of agricultural lands and irrigated agricultural lands developed for modeling current and future water demands in agriculture. water use. The coefficients in the model were used to replicate actual results at the farm level for the 3,200 farms with usable metered data, and a good fit of modelled water use compared to measured water use was achieved. The results were applied to the entire ILG to spatially distribute irrigation water use across the state. The model estimated that overall, agricultural lands are irrigated at about 0.40 metres/year, which is remarkably similar to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) estimates of Australia’s national mean agriculture irrigation (0.45 metres/year). Note that Florida has an average rainfall total of around 1.27 metres/year. Historic estimates of Florida irrigation, as prepared by the water management districts, reported demand of about 0.55 metres/year. The model developed from the metered data estimated that farmers were actually using about 27 per cent less overall water than previously thought.

With estimates of current demand in hand, the challenge was to project irrigation behaviour 20 years into the future, in a rapidly urbanising state. The state required forecasts of both water use and its spatial location. Data was analysed to define trends for projecting future water needs; behaviour, a central theme of the study, is defined by needs. Previous econometric modelling has identified spatially varying trends in behaviour including irrigation intensity, crop mix changes and land use conversion. Agriculture is an inherently risky operation and management behaviour takes a variety of risks – from prices to labour shocks to weather – into account. Projections were developed for future agricultural water use in fiveyear increments for 20 years. Future scenarios were modelled using two parallel threads of information: future crop revenue expectation; and long-term trends in land use change. Land use change was tackled first. In some parts of the state, such as the Miami metro area, agricultural land is likely to be smaller in 20 years, while in others – namely the northern parts of the state – substantial tracts of agricultural land are currently unirrigated. Irrigation practices from the western parts of the US, namely Texas and California, have shown evidence of migrating eastward over the past 30 years, as shown in Figure 2. Some areas of Florida that have traditionally been dry-land farming have seen new operators install sophisticated irrigation systems, and harvest two or more crops in fields that were historically single crop. Using agricultural census data that is collected every five years, analysis was conducted at the county level to identify long-term trends. Techniques to detect the best-fitting trends were applied and used to identify how much agricultural land is likely to be irrigated in each county, 20 years into the future. Areas where irrigation was projected to be added or removed were identified in GIS. R script was developed to automate the process. Figure 3 shows selected counties with the long-term irrigation trends, based on activity since 1987.

Figure 2. Irrigation withdrawals, 1985–2010.

Once the areas identified for likely future irrigation were identified, future water use was estimated. Long-term global revenue projections by crop type were used to estimate future crop returns. The econometric model was used to simulate future conditions, substituting long-term average weather trends for climate factors, and projected revenues for crop returns. Crop mixes have shifted in recent years as growers respond to subsidies, market shifts and structural agronomic changes. For areas forecast as newly irrigated, prevalent irrigation equipment and crop mix in the local

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Feature article

Figure 3. Selected long-term county trends, irrigated area. vicinity, supported by local soil capacity, were used to assign categories and, in turn, estimate crop area and water use. Table 2 provides the estimates by WMDs. For ease of viewing, only three time periods are shown – 2015, 2025 and 2035. While net water use in the state is expected to increase 17%, some areas see increases of 40 per cent, while others are relatively flat at seven per cent. Projected behavioural changes in conservation measures, and frost-freeze protection, were also forecast and included in the report. Figure 4 shows the relative magnitude of changes across the state. (Locally, water use is measured in millions of gallons per day (MGD)). The results reflect a combination of data-intensive modelling with national and local long-term trends. Going forward, further refinements to the process are underway to accommodate projections without intensive farm-level data collection. Sufficient data may have been collected to support VAR methods (Vector Auto Regression) going forward; if so, similar forecasts could be completed with substantial accuracy

and considerably less modelling time. These and other alternatives are being explored to allow areas with less available data to capitalise on the work completed for this project. To accommodate stakeholder needs for ongoing detailed data availability, projection data by crop, location and time period is fully accessible through an online interface developed at www.fsaid2.com.

conclusIons The statewide model with property-level data (all of which is maintained in a database) supports analysis at a variety of scales and enables the spatial distribution of results. The resulting database supports many applications such as demand projections, spatial identification of agricultural water use (including future scenarios), and evaluation of groundwater recharge analysis or reclaimed water opportunities. The data is currently being used to evaluate costs and benefits of implementing BMP’s (best management practices) for nutrient reduction, freeze protection and alternative water supply sources. The model provides a better understanding of Florida’s likely future

Table 2. Projected water use and irrigated area, 2015–2035. WMD










Sq km

Avg ML (000's)

Sq km

Avg ML (000's)

Sq km

Avg ML (000's)

Dry ML (000's)

Difference ML (000's)

% Change





























































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Feature article water scenarios. Exploration of alternative approaches, using the results of this project, is expected to identify opportunities to prepare water use forecasts in areas with less data-rich environments. Wj

references Marella RL (2014): Water Withdrawals, Use, and Trends in Florida, 2010: US Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2014-5088, 59pp. dx.doi. org/10.3133/sir20145088. The Balmoral Group (2015): Florida Statewide Agricultural Irrigation Demand (FSAID). Full report can be accessed at www.freshfromflorida.com/DivisionsOffices/Agricultural-Water-Policy/Agricultural-Water-Supply-Planning.

tHe AutHors valerie Seidel (email: vseidel@balmoralgroup. us) is President and Principal Economist of The Balmoral Group. Her economics experience has focused on infrastructure and natural resource valuation, GIS/statistical models of resource allocation and optimisation, and cost-benefit analysis. Valerie completed her graduate work in Economics at the University of Sydney. Paul Yacobellis (email: pyacobellis@ balmoralgroup.com.au) is a Research Economist for The Balmoral Group. His experience includes complex econometric modelling, GIS data and map development, assumption validation, and identification of effective project alternatives or approaches. He is a focused and efficient analyst with sophisticated geospatial modeling, statistical analysis, and data mining skills. In addition to economics and GIS, Paul is a programmer, creating efficiencies in big data processing. Figure 4. map of projected changes in relative water use. Aerofloat™ (Australia) Pty Ltd Unit 5 / 58 Box Rd , Caringbah PO Box 884. Caringbah, NSW, 1495

Phone + 61 (0)2 9544 1449 enquiries@aerofloat.com.au www.aerofloat.com.au


Aerofloat specialises in simple, affordable wastewater treatment systems using Dissolved Air Flotation (DAF) principles. The Aerofloat™ technology uses a double hopper tank with a unique, patented hydraulic float removal system to funnel the waste float material from the top of the tank. Mechanical scrapers are not required. The patented system is compact, mechanically simple and a more affordable DAF solution. Aerofloat products are most commonly used for treatment of industrial wastewater and greywater. Treatment capacities range from 7 to 800 litres per minute. Picture: Aerofloat 200 - Pulp and Paper treatment - uSonics - Malaysia



Feature Article

WATER REUSE SUPPORTING AGRIBUSINESS: LEARNING FROM OUR SUCCESSES IN THE 1990S Approaches in the 1990s to support agriculture through water reuse are just as relevant today, writes Chris Hewitson from Inside Infrastructure. This article explores how a similar strategy today can underpin and grow a range of opportunities.


n the 1990s Australia was recovering from recession. Water utilities and government agencies had frozen graduate intakes and the supporting consulting industry was only starting to rebuild. State debt was a major issue, compounded in some states by the collapse of major financial institutions. The 1990s also saw an increasing awareness of environmental impacts due to urbanisation and the need to invest in improving the quality of air, land, waterways and marine environments. In South Australia in particular, the 1990s saw the water industry, State Government and agricultural regions collaborate to develop water reuse and irrigation schemes, which have delivered great outcomes to the post-recession circumstances. The Virginia and Willunga Basin schemes strengthened two agricultural regions where water was a limiting factor to sustainable growth. The schemes increased regional productivity and export opportunities, while providing a land-based end-use for treated wastewater. Nutrients in treated wastewater were beneficial for agriculture, and their use deferred and/or removed the need for costly treatment/disposal infrastructure that would otherwise have been necessary to reduce nutrient load in the marine environment. The 1990s also saw the development of the Barossa Infrastructure project, supplying raw (not recycled) water to underpin the Barossa Valley wine region. All of these schemes were developed through partnering relationships and are now looking to expand, further increasing productivity and employment opportunities. In 2015, the infrastructure industry is still adjusting to the impact of the Global Financial Crisis, with the Australian share market still well below 2007 highs. Reduction in expenditure in the mining and, more recently, energy sectors has resulted in significant job losses in the consulting and contractor sectors. Cost efficiency measures in the water industry to manage debt levels (exacerbated by response to the millennium drought) and adjust to state regulator and government pressure to minimise customer water bills has further impacted the water industry. The approaches in the 1990s to support agriculture, particularly through water reuse, are relevant today as water utilities and state governments look to manage debt/expenditure and expand revenue opportunities. Following 15 years of operation of these major reuse schemes, this article reflects on the drivers and outcomes, and explores how a similar approach today can have a major role in underpinning and growing opportunities in agriculture. The article also discusses how new schemes can support governments and utilities to manage future expenditure and environmental impacts.

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Establishing the need for water According to Borvin Kracman, Project Director (SA Government) for the Virginia Pipeline Scheme, 1993–1999: “Sustainable water re-use schemes must be demand led. This seems obvious, but there are many examples of schemes being attempted and failing because they are promoted from the supply side with little, if any, consideration let alone acceptable resolution of the supply side risks.” For a reuse scheme to be successful, it is important to identify either a beneficial use where there is an existing need, or a definable opportunity that can only be realised with more water. This includes: • Constrained existing groundwater supplies; • Existing irrigation supplies that are subject to reduction or shut-off during drought; • Existing supply options that are cost prohibitive for future investment. One of the challenges of the 1990s schemes was to capture the needs of the existing growers and to understand the potential that water reuse could bring to the region. The key water need for growers in the Virginia horticulture region in the early 1990s was to find a way past the limitations of its groundwater supply. The SA Government, in discussion with grower groups, had to determine the expected ‘then-current’ take-up of water and realistic future demand should they have access to a sustainable alternative supply. Borvin continued: “Risks such as supply variability, water quality variability and the regulatory regime all need to be identified and adequately managed by the supplier or co-managed by the supplier and users. Expecting growers alone to shoulder these risks as well as the many other risks that are inherent in the primary production of commodities is unlikely to lead to a successful water re-use project.” The Willunga Basin scheme also capitalised on the proximity to a major wastewater treatment plant, significant constraints in the groundwater supply, and requirements for environmental improvement in effluent discharge to the Gulf St Vincent. A 2013 study of the scheme by the Institute of Sustainable Futures discussed how the scheme was first conceptualised in the mid1990s, when local irrigators sought an alternative to the increasingly regulated and scarce existing groundwater supply. Significantly, there was plenty of land to expand grape production, but the lack of a secure water supply was preventing regional investment. The Willunga Basin scheme was predominantly grower-led, but was able to leverage off much of the work of government


Feature Article stakeholders from the Virginia scheme. There was also considerable grower confidence that investment in the region would follow with the introduction of a sustainable water supply.

vine and tonnes produced from sustainable production (compared to normal production) for which water management and the Willunga Basin scheme is a major contributor.

Reuse Drivers

One of the main areas of longer-term benefit from the 1990s schemes supports this driver, with growth in water take-up resulting in greater primary production and employment opportunities in value-add industries such as food, wine and tourism).

Drivers that water utilities and local/state governments may have to support the development of new schemes or expansion of existing schemes include: 1.

Environmental: Reducing nutrient loads to marine/riverine environments or salt to land;


Regional Productivity: Increasing productivity and jobs in regional areas;


Revenue: Identifying new revenue streams for recycled water;


Water Substitution: Replacing existing fresh/potable supply with recycled water.

The Environmental driver was a significant enabler for the schemes of the 1990s, with government requirements to reduce nutrient loads to the marine environment. This Environmental driver still holds today, particularly where environmental protection agencies seek to further reduce nutrient loads or where water businesses are required to maintain existing nutrient levels in rapidly expanding urban environments. Significant growth areas in South-East Queensland and in outer Sydney and Melbourne present opportunities for reuse schemes, particularly where urban expansion abuts an agricultural region and the treatment facility is located within reasonable proximity. The Regional Productivity driver is an increasing reason for reuse scheme development today. Government and water corporations have strategy and policy settings to enable the growth of productivity in regions, particularly where it will provide jobs during construction and, more importantly, from the industry serviced. With a decline in manufacturing and mining/resources jobs, agriculture is seen as a key area for investment and expansion. Australia maintains an excellent food ‘brand’ internationally, and the schemes of the 1990s have demonstrated that recycled water irrigation can enhance this reputation. The McLaren Vale Grape, Wine & Tourism Association publishes an annual Sustainability Report. These reports show increasing growth in both areas under

Borvin added: “The Virginia re-use project was ground-breaking in scale, in horticultural commodity diversity, and in requiring a water quality suitable for irrigation of crops that could be eaten raw. It was rightly subjected to a high degree of rigour by all government agencies, but nearly 20 years on the project has provided benchmarks for other reuse schemes nationally and generated very significant local economic and environmental benefits.” Similarly, over half of the grape production in the McLaren Vale wine region is from vineyards irrigated with recycled water, providing jobs and income in viticulture and in the flow-on wine production. Water corporations and government are constantly looking at new revenue streams. However, the Revenue driver in water sales in the current economic climate is overshadowed by the Regional Productivity driver, as increased productivity and job growth provides the opportunity for significantly greater net revenue benefit. The Water Substitution driver was significant in many of the drought-response schemes around Australia in the past 10–15 years, predominantly in urban centres to replace turf irrigation and to offer third-pipe systems to new development. The ability to substitute water has also been a downstream benefit from the reuse schemes of the 1990s, with recycled water use to Mawson Lakes from the assets supplying the Virginia Scheme and council irrigation through the Willunga Basin network infrastructure. There are also opportunities to transfer existing irrigation schemes to recycled water today, particularly in regions where significant water supply challenges (water restrictions or growth) remain. In the current economic climate, the driver for expenditure on water substitution in regions where growth is not limited by existing supply has also been overshadowed by Regional Productivity. This is because there are alternative uses for the water that would provide added benefits to regional and state economies (instead of spending money on infrastructure to maintain status quo).

Scheme development Assuming that the need for water has been identified and that there are strong drivers for government and water businesses to supply this need, the development of a successful scheme is dependent on: • Gaining support across all stakeholders in the supply and end-use of the water; •

Funding the scheme.

Achieving this takes a level of commitment and patience. The Virginia reuse project took six years from the initial grower/government discussions through to commencing operation. The Willunga Basin reuse scheme also started its journey in the mid-1990s, commencing operation in 1999. Borvin Kracman provided context on the challenges to developing a reuse scheme

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Feature article even after there is deemed a good fit between grower needs and government drivers: “Following on from the theme of supply side risk is the fact that many of these risks and their management strategies are complex, cross the purview of several government agencies with often divergent outlooks, and take time and considerable resources to resolve. Major water re-use irrigation projects will involve agencies involved in water resources management, environment, health, primary industries, planning, economic development and even Treasury and Crown Law. “The supply entity or a government entity with the role and authority to promote sustainable state development needs to take responsibility for resolving the supply side issues.” The strong existing Regional Productivity driver has seen government and water corporations look at ways to expedite the process. This has seen a number of Expressions of Interest (EOI) linked to the treatment of wastewater streams or take-up of recycled water to support regional industry and enable growth. An example is the Northern Adelaide Irrigation Scheme EOI recently released by SA Water that builds on the outcomes realised by the Virginia reuse project in the 1990s.

Figure 1. Water reuse drivers in the 1990s.

In the 1990s there were several different funding approaches adopted, ranging from predominantly government (Virginia), through to community (Barossa) and privately (Willunga) funded schemes. Today, the range of options for funding has increased with the introduction of private entities backed by superannuation fund investors that are active in the water market. One of these companies, the Water Utilities Group, purchased the Willunga Basin scheme in 2013, which they continue to successfully operate and manage. As a private entity, it is looking to further grow recycled water use in the region, which will support the wider regional productivity and environmental drivers. Water corporations are also well positioned for an active role in partnerships with private companies and/or end user groups. They would welcome take-up of recycled water to capture environmental benefits and realise their role in enabling employment and productivity growth in the regions they service.

summarY The reuse schemes developed in the 1990s had the combination of an agricultural area where water supply was a limiting factor and a wastewater treatment facility in reasonable proximity that had environmental drivers to reduce effluent discharge levels to the marine environment. Although the ‘lead’ driver from the government perspective was environmental, after more than 15 years of operation the reuse schemes have demonstrated increased regional productivity and opportunity, which have held up, even in the current tough economic climate. In 2015 the growth of Australia’s population in major urban centres improves the proximity and availability of reuse water to existing or emerging agricultural regions. Many of these population growth areas have also seen significant job losses due to closures of major manufacturing facilities and the reduced investment in the mining/ resources sector. In 2015, with a ‘lead’ driver of Regional Productivity (Figure 2), the creation or expansion of reuse schemes will create both jobs in the primary industry they serve and in the broader value-add industries and service industries that respectively maximise and support productivity.

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Figure 2. Water reuse drivers in 2015. This increased recycled water use will have flow-on environmental benefits that may enable deferment of future disposal infrastructure. The challenge in 2015 is to identify then capture the ‘need’, which, as in the 1990s, remains the most important area to get right. As the 1990s has demonstrated, if you can properly ascertain the ‘need’, guaranteeing a water supply will future-proof a region through growth opportunities and reduce the impact of urbanisation on the environment. wJ

thE author Chris Hewitson (email: chewitson@ insideinfrastructure.com.au) is a founding Director of Inside Infrastructure, a company that supports water providers and major users throughout Australia in the municipal, mining and resources and environmental sectors. Over his 20-year career in consulting and at Veolia Water, Chris design-managed major reuse schemes, flood alleviation schemes and advised water utilities across Australia, New Zealand, the US and the UK.


Feature Article

The benefit of early planning and stakeholder engagement in environmental water monitoring Monitoring environmental water refers to the process by which changes in water quality or quantity are observed over time, often in relation to a planned project. Chris Hambling and Carly Waterhouse consider the risks associated with planning a monitoring program.


nvironmental water monitoring programs are undertaken across industry for a variety of reasons: in advance of a project to inform a baseline; throughout approval processes; and, ultimately, to demonstrate compliance. The purpose of monitoring can vary, ranging from scientific investigation to building of stakeholder confidence, or to enable adaptive pro-active management. Monitoring in the context of environmental water monitoring refers to the process by which we observe changes in water quality or quantity over a period of time. Monitoring can pose both risks and opportunities to a project. This article considers the risks that could lead to additional cost. There are two key facets of a program that we need to understand. First, we need to have a firm grasp of the reasons for conducting the monitoring. Such reasons may arise from the particular type of action or project under consideration, the nature of the environmental receptors, regulatory requirements and other stakeholder requirements, and how the data will be interpreted. Secondly, we need to understand how the data will be collected, which in turn will facilitate the type of analysis, interpretation and assessment against performance indicators. For the majority of projects, lack of planning of monitoring can lead to significant additional cost. These costs could be incurred through: • Additional labour time for field teams for extraordinary fieldwork trips; wasted effort; • Unnecessary data collection; collecting data that cannot directly be used; or • Through excessive or poorly targeted laboratory analysis. Costs may also be incurred if monitoring is insufficient to reliably describe the environmental characteristic in question. Ultimately, these additional costs and associated program delays have the potential to manifest in refusal of approvals, or the imposition of unnecessarily onerous approval conditions. The major controlling feature in managing the risk of these unwelcome costs is effective planning. We therefore argue that there is a direct link between effectiveness of planning prior to monitoring commencing and the cost efficiency of the project itself. This article explores what we consider to be the more significant issues that may arise when planning is not undertaken to an

appropriate extent. We also discuss how we can achieve significant cost savings in the long term while collecting an appropriate level of data to characterise their impact on the water environment and satisfying stakeholder needs.

Why do we monitor? At the broadest level, the answer to why we monitor is straightforward: to track the potential impacts of an action on the water environment. It is, however, the specifics of an action and the nature of the potential impacts that determine the necessary investment in monitoring programs. The drivers for investment in environmental water monitoring networks are, typically, to meet regulatory requirements. We would argue that long-term monitoring programs, driven by the organisation in collaboration with stakeholders that would include the regulator, would facilitate a more efficient program. This would allow better focus on what is appropriate and enable the environmental baseline to be better defined before the project commences. This has significant advantages to all parties, as it removes a level of uncertainty that has commonly been seen to be a major criticism of the project approvals process. Some resource activities, such as mining or unconventional gas exploration, will also require access to robust monitoring data against which we can better understand project execution. Mining, whether by surface excavation or via underground techniques, typically requires groundwater to be removed or drawn down to facilitate resource extraction where groundwater may impact on the target formation or ore body, or pose a risk during construction activities. Longer term, and typically following initial project approval, noting that there may be multiple approvals stages, we are typically required to develop our own monitoring networks. The scope of these is often determined by the regulator, such as in the example of the monitoring bore network required in the Surat Cumulative Management Area [CMA] Underground Water Impact Report [UWIR] (Queensland Water Commission, 2012) which specifically specifies locations and target formations for groundwater quantity and quality monitoring. It is noted, however, that the proponents in the Surat CMA had contributed to decision-making concerning the locations identified in the original UWIR, and continue to do so as their respective projects evolve.

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Feature Article

Monitoring bore head works and level monitoring equipment.

How can POOR planning lead to problems? In all projects, planning is typically fundamental to success. Where environmental water monitoring is poorly planned, or not planned at all, a range of problems can be experienced, from the inconvenient to a potential show-stopper. First, during the environmental approvals and EIS process, organisations are typically expected to have sufficient data to elaborate on an environmental baseline. In Australia, where many creeks are ephemeral and only flow following substantial or prolonged periods of rainfall, it can be difficult to collect sufficient data to perform scientifically robust statistical analysis. Typically, only several years of data would be deemed representative; however, few companies collect data over this length of time. This can be due to budgetary constraints or a need to expedite a project. For large projects, where complex and regional-scale numerical modelling is often required, data are required to create a robust conceptual model. This is used to further our understanding of potential impact, enhanced through the collection of long-term water level or pressure data used to calibrate such a model. In contrast, numerical modelling is significantly limited where data are lacking to calibrate the model. Often monitoring commences too late, perhaps after the exploration phases of a project, meaning that an understanding of the true baseline environment will be deficient. This in turn becomes a major issue during State or Federal approvals, drawing criticism from regulatory bodies such as the Independent Executive Scientific Committee (IESC) on Coal Seam Gas and Coal Mining. Collecting the wrong type of data for a project can also be a concern. The focus of an organisation’s data collection can be misinformed and poorly targeted. This can be simply from applying a generic approach. Alternatively, monitoring can be planned by those without the technical understanding of what they are monitoring. A CSG project is typically required to measure the absence of vertical propagation of depressurisation through the stratigraphic column. If unexpected impacts were occurring, we could observe a change in water quality; however, it would be reasonable to expect and

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Continuous monitoring data are highly valuable in numerical groundwater models and baseline dataset development. observe a measured change in water level as a precursor. The collection of water level data, from both automated and manual measurements, should therefore form the priority for a baseline. Often, however, we are too focused on collecting water quality data with little regard for what the data will be used for. Collecting insufficient data, or the wrong type, typifies poor or lack of planning at an early stage of the project. Not having sufficient


Feature Article data to assess the quality or value of the receiving environment during approvals can lead to rejection of the proposal, or criticism that becomes publicly available. Where projects receive opposition from community groups or local residents, the lack of a robust dataset can contribute to a weakening of the proponent’s social license to operate. Planning can also be seen as a single event. Too often we have seen regulatory conditions applied to projects requiring huge (and sometimes onerous) monitoring requirements. This typically manifests as very broad monitoring suites. Organisations should look to understand their data and seek, in collaboration and agreement with the regulator, to optimise the data collection process. There is clear benefit in challenging the data collection plan to ensure finite time and resources are applied to the most beneficial need.

How should we plan? The planning of a monitoring program should be determined by the data quality objectives, which are derived from a series of stages explored further below. A uniform approach is unlikely to provide sufficiently robust data to meet specific project needs, however, frequently cost and time pressures also determine this process. To facilitate appropriately rigorous assessment and the preparation of a solid and scientifically robust baseline dataset, it is argued here that organisations should be collecting data at a much earlier date than they are typically required to by regulation. This can affect an organisation’s social license to operate, which in turn can hinder expansions, approvals and community acceptance. Figure 1 outlines a series of steps to deliver a successful monitoring program, which are discussed further below. Identify the activity One of the more overlooked components of the planning process is the identification of the activity. This is the starting point for the assessment process, but also forms the point from which a monitoring program should stem, setting the goals of the program, information requirements and the boundaries of the study. This identifies the processes and activities that will be undertaken to progress from a project’s concept stage to decommissioning. Even where concepts are at their loosest an understanding of the siting of facilities, how water will be managed, how construction may be phased and the overall timing of the activity should be used to formulate an understanding of the potential impacts. Identify the existing environment Clearly, it is important to understand the environmental water receptors within the vicinity of the project area. Typically these receptors will be related to surface water or groundwater and are often straightforward and easy to identify, especially for projects with a small footprint, or in areas where previous development has been well documented. In other areas, where information is sparse, more detailed research may be warranted. This can be both supported by, and support, early engagement with stakeholders. Identify the impact and stakeholders Understanding how the action may impact the water environment is fundamental to the planning of monitoring, driving the type of data that are collected and its frequency. Impacts to the water environment are linked directly to the type of activity and its scale. For example, CSG extraction often requires consideration of impacts at a regional scale. The depressurisation of a coal seam can result in drawdown and upward propagation of depressurisation through a number of overlying hydrostratigraphic layers. This may drive both water quality and pressure changes

Figure 1. Outline of steps to understanding monitoring requirements and formulating a plan. within the groundwater environment and potentially in the surface water environment too. Often, regional-scale models are required to identify the potential long-term impacts to these environments. The resultant monitoring regime can, therefore, be significant. Small-scale projects, for example the short-term dewatering of a pit, is likely to impact only the shallow groundwater environment and is unlikely to impact groundwater quality. As a result, a smaller and less complicated monitoring regime is required. Identifying the necessary size of the monitoring program is critical to a project’s ultimate financial performance. Although similar projects may be able to be used as a proxy for potential impacts, each new project may have unique features that warrant further consideration. An understanding of the timeframe required for monitoring is critical. During the Exploration and Appraisal stage of a project, a formal EIS may still be several years out and, as such, monitoring could be staged to that point and then tailored up or down in intensity as required. Identify the methodology Identifying the most appropriate method of data collection and analytical testing can secure large cost savings. On occasion, upfront costs can lead to long-term savings; for example, the application of passive water quality sampling could reduce the ongoing labour cost of a long-term monitoring program. However, the method is not widely used in Australia and its application would require acceptance from relevant regulators. The analytical approach required for a monitoring program is formed by understanding the specific data to be collected and how the data are going to be used by the project. Defining the number of parameters requiring monitoring can be tricky. There

November 2015 water


Feature Article Stakeholder engagement Successful monitoring programs include stakeholder engagement, both during their planning and their ongoing implementation. This engagement should occur with the government departments that will regulate the associated project, and with landholders who own or lease property on which monitoring may occur. This facilitates mutual understanding and a proactive relationship that will become vital through project approvals and environmental performance reporting post-approval. Engagement at an early stage may include data sharing, which can be vital in collating long-time series data (such as groundwater level or surface water flow), which in turn can be critical for understanding longer-term trends. As a project progresses, already established stakeholder relationships often provide the opportunity for the sharing of monitoring infrastructure, or at least data. Although monitoring bore costs can vary significantly depending on depth, purpose and infrastructure, this is a cost that neither state nor shareholder should see duplicated.

In summary We have explored how and why the technical and financial success of an environmental water monitoring program is inextricably linked to its planning. Field filtration as preparation for analytical testing of surface water samples. can be a school of thought that at the early stages of monitoring, an exhaustive suite of parameters should be monitored. In practice, even where a monitoring suite starts with a broad base, refinement should be possible from fairly early stages of the project. Options to refine and reduce may be to vary the analytical suites to focus on key parameters. Triggers that lead to expansion of the suite again can be set to ensure appropriate monitoring and management actions can be applied as necessary. It is clear that at this stage, a firm understanding of the impact, the actions and the receiving environment are vital to understanding what and where monitoring should take place. An awareness of what analytical methods might be required to interrogate and investigate the data should be a major influence on the planning process for monitoring. This includes an understanding of the format of the data to be collected, so that it can be used in specific analytical tools. For example, a specific modelling tool may require data that are collected in a specific way, or analysed using a specific method. This needs to be understood to ensure we have the right data. Document the plan The monitoring plan tells us what we need to monitor and what data are to be collected. It should not tell us how we are to monitor. This information is typically presented in a sampling and analysis plan that may be prepared utilising national or international standards, standard operating procedures and best practice guidance documents. The monitoring plan justifies the selection of monitoring locations, targeted media and analytical suites. It also identifies how data are to be analysed, sampling frequency, and the plan for interpretation. It is important that flexibility should be built into the plan to ensure that, within reasonable boundaries, changes to the proposed action will not render data useless. Furthermore, on-site changes to the plan can be required. With this in mind, the monitoring plan should be reviewed on a regular basis with a view to optimise and refine.

water November 2015

Throughout an environmental monitoring program, it is vital to maintain focus on data quality objectives. Although these may be refined over time, as the project progresses, these are founded in the understanding of the potential impacts that an action or project may have on the actual receptors in the receiving environment. Flexibility in monitoring is also critical. Those undertaking the planning of environmental monitoring programs should try to look beyond the short-term needs of data collection to account for how a project may evolve, and what data will be required for the next stages. Investing in planning at the earliest stages of a project provides a better understanding of the nature of monitoring required, allowing the program to appropriately balance the complexity of the monitoring program against the data required. As such, the monitoring program achieves its ultimate aim of delivering data that allows the project to progress in an environmentally acceptable manner while also ensuring long-term cost savings in its implementation. WJ

The Authors Chris Hambling (email: chris.hambling@ch2m. com) is a Senior Environmental Scientist and Project Manager at CH2M in Brisbane. Chris has over 10 years’ experience in environmental water monitoring, including managing and delivering monitoring programs in some of the more remote regions of Australia. Carly Waterhouse (email: carly.waterhouse@ ch2m.com) is a Senior Hydrogeologist based in the CH2M Asia Pacific Hydrogeology Centre of Excellence in Brisbane. Carly has considerable experience in a wide range of hydrogeological investigations, including designing, specifying and analysing bore networks, managed aquifer recharge, spring risk assessment and numerical modelling.

technical papers

Water Treatment Dysart WTP Upgrade: Addressing Tastes And Odours, Iron And Managanese

A Reddy et al.


D De Haas & M Dancey


An investigation of treatment upgrades at the Dysart Water Treatment Plant and in the upstream supply

Wastewater Treatment Wastewater Treatment Energy Efficiency

A review with current Australian perspectives

Demand Management Development Of A Demand Modeller And Tracking Tool

C Teitzel et al.


P Prevos & D Sheehan


E O’Malley


T Nguyen et al.


K Shield


A tool to engage land use planning authorities in the optimisation of water supply and sewerage networks

Water Quality Monitoring Health-Based Targets Performance Reporting Software to automate decision rules in the Manual for the Application of Health Based Treatment Targets

Nanoparticles Fate And Toxicity Of Engineered Nanoparticles In Treated Wastewater

Results of a study to assess the toxicity of nTiO2 in the presence of reference and effluent organic matter

This icon means the paper has been refereed

Sewer Management SeweX Modelling To Support Corrosion And Odour Management In Sewers

A description of the SeweX model and its application as a management planning tool

Biodiversity Invasive Freshwater Gastropods Study

Investigation of distribution of Physa acuta and Potamopyrgus antipodarum in the Georges River Catchment

Disclaimer: The papers in this section have been peer reviewed for relevance, clarity and contributing constructively to the sharing of knowledge about water. It is not intended that any conclusions drawn by authors may be used as validation of the performance of a process or product; AWA expressly refutes any suggestion that publication herein implies endorsement. Although reviewers consider the credibility of data presented, it is not possible for them to vouch for the accuracy of such data.


Damaged filter floor at the Dysart WTP and (right) the new filter floor.



Technical Papers

DYSART WTP UPGRADE DUE TO POOR WATER QUALITY: ADDRESSING TASTES AND ODOURS, IRON AND MANGANESE An investigation of treatment upgrades at the Dysart Water Treatment Plant and in the upstream supply A Reddy, B Murray, J Osborne

ABSTRACT In December 2013, Isaac Regional Council’s Water Treatment Plant (WTP) in Dysart experienced a major failure. This resulted in Dysart’s water supply being shut off for two days, and prompted an investigation into the need for major upgrade works at the WTP. A number of problems were identified at all stages of Dysart’s water treatment and supply system. A fast-tracked fix to these problems was pursued to enable a secure supply of good quality drinking water to consumers in Dysart. Among the issues identified in Dysart’s raw water supply were high Blue Green Algal (BGA) counts and significant manganese contamination. These are common complaints experienced across Queensland.

INTRODUCTION Dysart is a Central Queensland mining town with a resident population of approximately 3,200. The supply of water to the Dysart township is a collaborative effort between Sunwater, which provides the raw water source, BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA), which operates the Bingegang pipeline to transport water and the Isaac Regional Council, which operates the Dysart Water Treatment Plant (WTP). Water from the Bingegang pipeline supplies several other storage facilities both upstream and downstream of the Dysart WTP. Raw water from the Mackenzie River supplied to Dysart flows from the Bingegang Weir into Calvert’s Dam and then into Dysart Storage (Figure 1). Other systems and users draw from the pipeline prior to Calvert’s Dam. Taste and odour problems are identified issues in both the raw and treated water at Dysart, which has prompted Council and BMA to


Dysart Storage Dysart WTP Calvert’s Dam

Bingegang Weir

Bingegang Pump Station

Figure 1. Bingegang Pipeline schematic of raw water supply to Dysart WTP. investigate treatment upgrades at both the WTP and the upstream supply.

for many of the aesthetic defects experienced by residents.


Stratification of source water storages, particularly Calvert’s Dam and Dysart Storage, contribute significantly to these problems by providing favourable conditions for algal growth and dissolution of metals such as iron and manganese.

Dysart WTP faces a number of water quality issues including taste, odour, discolouration, suspended particles, dissolved metals, black slime and cyanobacteria (blue-green algae). Cyanobacteria and dissolved manganese are the main issues in the raw water received by Dysart WTP and responsible

Figure 2 shows a schematic of the effects of seasonal variations on stratification of water storages. Water

solar radiation warms surface waters

phytoplankton bloom consumes nutrients

Warm Oxygenated High light levels Cool Low oxygen Low light High nutrients

T h e r m o c l i n e

organic matter sinks

Inorganic N, FRP, CO2, possibly Mn/Fe

Decomposing material releases nutrients


Low oxygen concentration releases manganese and iron from sediment

Decomposing material consumes oxygen

Figure 2. Schematic illustrating water quality impacts of seasonal stratification (BMT WBM, 2013).

quality issues are intensified in the summer months and poor water events are much more common.

on activated carbons (e.g. PAC), but cells must be physically removed or completely destroyed by oxidation.

The warm, oxygenated surface waters provide a zone well suited to algal growth, particularly for blue-green algae. The lower zones are colder and have less oxygen, causing the consumption of the limited available oxygen and release of nutrients by decomposing material. The low oxygen environment also promotes the release of iron and manganese from sediment, increasing dissolved metal concentrations in the source water.

In the Dysart water quality survey, 15% of respondents said they occasionally experienced bad odour in the water, whereas a further 85 % said the bad odour was consistent. Algal blooms are a common problem in warmer climates such as Queensland.


Manganese is a metal found in rocks and sediment. In its dissolved form, manganese causes water discolouration from yellow through to black, depending on the concentration. Manganese can also contribute to tastes and odours experienced by consumers. The Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG) have an aesthetic limit of 0.1 mg/L and health limit of 0.5 mg/L of total manganese in a potable water source. In a survey of 174 Dysart residents about their water quality, 60% responded saying their water was occasionally discoloured, while a further 36% said it was consistently discoloured.

Figure 4. BGA bloom in Dysart Storage. toxins in the water, which requires special treatment to remove them. Algal blooms are problematic for water treatment due to the following: • They can contribute colours, tastes and odours to the water; • They can clog filters, leading to lower operating efficiency and increased operating cost; • The majority of algae species are difficult to coagulate and settle out prior to filtration; • Blue-green algae blooms may produce toxins that can be harmful to consumers and can result in tastes and odours. The toxins are located in their cell walls and are released when cell lysis (splitting open) occurs; • Algal blooms may kill off aquatic plants in the water body, causing changes in the ecosystem that may affect the water quality.

Figure 3. Poor-quality Dysart water. TASTES AND ODOURS

Tastes and odours are generally attributed to the presence of MIB and Geosmin in the water. These are the most common and easily detected taste- and odour-causing compounds and are used as a measure of overall taste and odour contamination.

Algal cells are difficult to remove as they are fragile, light and buoyant, so do not settle out easily in the processes available at conventional water treatment plants such as Dysart. Once cells enter the WTP they usually lyse and release toxins into the water stream. Taste- and odour-causing compounds and algal toxins can be removed by adsorption

As a result, the Queensland Water Directorate has developed Blue Green Algae Management Protocols, with alert and response limits for cell concentrations in source water: • <500 cells/mL: continue normal operation; • 500–2,000 cells/mL: increase monitoring; • 2,000–6,500 cells/mL: consider need for toxicity testing; • >6,500 seek advice from health authority. It should be noted that at concentrations >2,000 cells/mL tastes and odours are typically quite pronounced and will likely lead to consumer complaints, and at concentrations >6,500 cells/mL blooms are likely to become toxic. The original Dysart WTP was reportedly equipped to be able to handle algae concentrations up to 30,000 cells/mL, however, historically, Dysart has been known to receive waters in excess of 100,000 cells/mL. As illustrated in Figure 5, algal blooms are often experienced along the raw water supply, some potentially toxic, with very few blooms at the Dysart Storage location.

DYSART WATER TREATMENT PLANT Dysart WTP is an 8 ML/d plant with conventional treatment processes (coagulation, clarification and dual-

Both MIB and Geosmin are associated with cyanobacteria and are released by the algae cells during normal growth and respiration, giving off a musty/earthy taste and smell. Blue-green algae (BGA), also known as cyanobacteria, become problematic for water treatment plants when their cell density dramatically increases. This is because they are capable of releasing

Figure 5. BGA monitoring results from Bingegang Pipeline and storages.




Technical Papers



Technical Papers

Figure 6. Damaged filter floor. media filtration) and PAC to remove turbidity, colour and some organics from the raw water. A contact tank and PAC dosing was retrofitted to the original WTP to provide an organics removal stage to remove tastes and odours from the water, however, this process was still not capable of removing these algal contaminants to the levels required. Much of the existing infrastructure at Dysart dated from the original construction and needed extensive maintenance and/ or refurbishment to operate and perform reliably. The filters were a good example, having damaged underdrains and sludge build-up around the base of the filter. All four filters required full refurbishment and additional instrumentation to achieve ADWG turbidity targets of <0.2 NTU in the filtered water.

SOLUTION: FAST-TRACKED PHASE 1 UPGRADES To address the various issues of poor-quality water, especially manganese coinciding with high turbidity, colour and BGA, a threepronged approach was adopted with the support of BMA: • Address upstream water quality in conjunction with the bulk water transporter (BMA); • Upgrade Dysart WTP; • Upgrade Dysart water supply network. BMA worked with IRC to monitor raw water to Dysart WTP. This involved modifying the raw water take-off point from the Bingegang Weir to maximise use of the most efficient layer of water strata, desludging storages at Dysart Storage to reduce dissolved metals concentrations and reducing environments, and installing aerators in Dysart Storage to destratify the dam and reduce the risk of algal blooms.


Figure 7. New filter floor. The existing Dysart conventional WTP required upgrading (Phase 1) of some old and failing equipment and improved control and monitoring systems. Five upgrade stages were completed by Water Infrastructure Group (now known as Monadelphous) for installation of a manganese oxidation tank and associated infrastructure, complete filter refurbishment and automation, additional and upgraded chemical dosing facilities, additional instrumentation and increased online monitoring, and new SCADA system for online monitoring, control and automation. MULTI-BARRIER MANGANESE REMOVAL

potassium permanganate is often used in conjunction with another process to ensure sufficient removal. To safeguard against incomplete removal of dissolved manganese by permanganate oxidation, secondary removal in the filters by manganese oxide-coated filter media is also used. The solid manganese oxide (MnO2) coating on the filter media catalyses the oxidation of manganese by providing adsorption sites where dissolved manganese attaches. Oxygen or other oxidants then react with the dissolved manganese at the adsorption site, and the MnO2 that is formed becomes part of the media coating.

Chemical oxidation for the removal of dissolved manganese was installed at Dysart as the main process in a multibarrier approach to manganese removal.

Dissolved manganese should be maintained in the feedwater, or the coating may reduce from the media and possibly re-contaminate the treated water.

Raw water is dosed with potassium permanganate at the inlet to the new oxidation contact tank. The contact tank is designed to provide 30 minutes’ contact for the potassium permanganate with manganese-contaminated water. Potassium permanganate is a strong oxidant and reacts with the dissolved manganese to convert it to its insoluble form so that it can be bound up and settled out with the floc in the clarifiers.

Dysart WTP employs MnO2 coated filter coal as part of its multi-barrier approach to manganese removal. By coating the media with manganese oxide and chlorinating the influent clarified water, an increased number of adsorption sites are created to specifically attract any residual dissolved manganese not oxidised by potassium permanganate. Chlorinating the influent water, such that a chlorine residual is always present in the filtered water, helps to maintain the MnO2 coating, even when no dissolved manganese is present.

Potassium permanganate doses are based on a site-specific ratio of permanganate to dissolved manganese, anywhere from 2:1 to 8:1 mg/L of potassium permanganate to dissolved manganese. Trials and jar testing are required to determine the optimum dose of potassium permanganate for the types of manganese in the source water. This dose can be difficult to optimise and can be changing, with fluctuating concentrations of manganese in the raw water. As a result,

Dysart WTP has a multi-barrier approach and online monitoring to provide the best possible removal efficiencies and operational monitoring. Manganese concentrations are monitored in the raw, oxidised and treated water as well as chlorine levels in the filtered water to ensure appropriate dosing and removal is maintained at both stages.




All four filters were completely refurbished to ensure best-practice operational targets for treated water could be achieved and pathogen removal could be guaranteed (outlet turbidity of <0.2 NTU). The original sand filters at Dysart WTP were overhauled:

Significant improvements have been made to the operational monitoring performed at Dysart WTP. Raw water monitoring of temperature, turbidity, manganese, pH and dissolved oxygen all occur at the raw water pump station and results are recorded online through the new WTP SCADA system. Treated water is analysed to monitor chlorine residual, turbidity, pH and manganese to ensure compliance with ADWG limits for safe drinking water. SCADA is equipped with alarms to notify operators of breaches in operational limits so that corrective action can be taken. Additional operational monitoring throughout the treatment process is conducted to maintain consistent and efficient operation of the process.

Owner’s engineer City Water Technology (CWT) is a process-engineering expert in the field of water treatment, and conducted an operator-training workshop to familiarise the operators with the operational principles behind the new treatment processes. CWT also prepared a process training manual to supplement the O&M manual from Monadelphous, outlining operational targets and ADWG requirements and how to achieve them with the available processes, recommended standard operator duties, and jar testing instructions and advice for optimum operating efficiency. CWT has a close working relationship with IRC and continues to be available for operational advice and troubleshooting assistance when required.

• Sand replaced with dual media bed of sand and filter coal; • Heights of the backwash launders were increased to allow a deeper filter bed and appropriate bed expansion during backwashing; • Original underdrains replaced with Triton V-laterals and filter floor rebuilt; • Additional instruments installed and connected to plant SCADA for improved operational monitoring and control – turbidimeters for individual filter outlet turbidity monitoring, level sensors, differential pressure sensors, and chlorine analysers. The new filters are consistently achieving operational targets of <0.2 NTU and are successfully removing residual manganese through the coated media. Filter operation, including backwashing, is now fully automated to ensure optimum filtered water quality and efficient and consistent filter performance. CHEMICAL DOSING

Additional chemicals and upgraded chemical dosing facilities have been installed at Dysart WTP. There are now dosing facilities for: • Sodium hydroxide (raw water pH adjustment);


Manganese concentrations and pH levels are monitored to ensure optimum oxidation and coagulation conditions, and the filters are equipped with individual level, turbidity and differential pressure cells to optimise filter run times, backwash sequencing and overall performance.

All five upgrade stages of the WTP have been completed and significant improvements in manganese removal and treated water quality have been experienced. Monitoring instruments have been brought online and results to date are promising. Figures 8, 9 and 10 show raw and treated water quality both before and after commissioning of the Phase 1 Upgrades at Dysart WTP.

A LiquID Monitor is also installed at the raw water pump station and monitors a number of parameters, mainly organics. The LiquID is a potentially revolutionary monitoring technology and has been installed at Dysart specifically to monitor levels of blue-green algae in the raw water. Once Phase 2 upgrades for additional pre-treatment have been completed, the LiquID will be used to trigger operation of the dissolved air flotation (DAF) unit to remove algal cells from the raw water entering the WTP.

• Potassium permanganate (chemical oxidation for manganese removal);

Even during extreme dirty water events as experienced during the early parts of 2015 (Figure 8), the optimised process and refurbished filters are capable of treating water to acceptable levels for disinfection and drinking. Figure 9 shows the turbidity results in terms of per cent removed, with >99% removal being consistently achieved by Dysart WTP. Turbidity


• LT20 polymer (for improved flocculation).

All chemical dosing is flow paced to the raw or clear water as appropriate. Setting and changing of chemical doses is controlled by SCADA inputs according to online water quality readings and jar testing.

150 Raw Treated Turbidity, NTU

Chlorine gas dosing facilities have been upgraded to improve disinfection reliability. They are now also used for prefilter chlorination to maintain manganese oxide coating on the filter media as a second barrier for manganese removal. The coagulant used at Dysart has also been changed from the proprietary Nalco Ultrion to ACH as a more suitable alternative over the pH range required at Dysart WTP for manganese removal and disinfection.



0 30/07/2014









26/04/2015 26/05/2015


Figure 8. Raw and treated water turbidity.




Technical Papers

Technical Papers to overcome major raw and treated water quality issues to provide a safe source of drinking water to consumers.

Turbidity % Removed


Extensive and persisting manganese and blue-green algae contamination issues are being solved with a best practice, multi-barrier approach to treatment, with the aid of online operational monitoring to ensure an intimate understanding of the process so that operational targets and efficiencies are consistently met.

Removal, %





0.0 30/07/2014








Figure 9. Percentage removal of turbidity. Manganese 0.25



0.15 Manganese, mg/L




The Authors would like to thank Isaac Regional Council’s Mayor, Councillors and Executive Leadership Team for the encouragement and support provided during implemenation of Dysart WTP – Phase 1 upgrade works, and the CWT team for its technical assistance in delivering the project. Thank you also to Council’s industry partners, BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) for the financial contribution towards ensuring the implementation of Phase 1 works and support in securing Queensland Government funding to complete Phase 2 upgrades.



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Figure 10. Raw and treated water manganese concentrations. Improvements in manganese removal by oxidation and coated media are less obvious, however, since commissioning of the entire plant, manganese concentrations in the treated water have been below ADWG limits (Figure 10).Now that the manganese removal process is better understood by the WTP operators and a potassium permanganate ratio has been established, treated water manganese concentrations should be consistently meeting operational targets.

NEXT STEPS: PHASE 2 UPGRADES Isaac Regional Council is committed to continually improving its drinking water treatment processes and the quality of water supplied to its consumers. Council has recently secured Queensland Government funding to complete Phase 2 Upgrades at Dysart WTP.


Phase 2 will consist of installing a Council-owned and operated raw water storage facility, raw water pre-treatment system for algae removal and improved raw water quality, and GAC filters prior to the clear water tank as a polishing filtration stage to remove any residual tastes and odours or algal toxins in the filtered water. These additional upgrades will be capable of treating large flows of highly contaminated water (up to 4,000,000 algal cells/mL) and will further secure the ability for Dysart WTP to provide its consumers with safe, highquality drinking water.

CONCLUSION This project is an excellent example of a dedicated regional Council, in partnership with industry, improving its water treatment plant and supply system

Amarnath Reddy (email: amarnath.reddy@isaac.qld. gov.au) is Senior Manager Water and Sewerage Management|Engineering and Infrastructure for Isaac Council, Queensland. He has more than 25 years of experience in the consulting and construction industries, implementing water infrastructure schemes. His experience encompasses all facets, from inception to operation. Bruce Murray (email: bruce@citywater.com.au) has over 33 years of engineering experience and has led CWT for 25 years as a water and wastewater consultant. Bruce led the process engineering for the Dysart WTP upgrade. Jacquelyn Osborne (email: jacquelyn@citywater. com.au) is a CWT process engineer with a BE in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and was a key process engineer for the project.

REFERENCE BMT WBM (2014): Dysart Potable Water Study Final Report, Brisbane, Queensland.


Technical Papers

A review with current Australian perspectives D de Haas, M Dancey

ABSTRACT Energy use for wastewater treatment is typically among the largest contributors to total energy use faced by urban water and wastewater utility providers. This is especially relevant in Australia, given that a recent benchmarking study noted that the majority of Australian wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) by number are small- to medium-sized plants of the extended aeration activated sludge type that lack energy recovery systems and have relatively poor economies of scale. Interestingly, though, the major part of the combined equivalent population wastewater load in Australia is treated in medium to large WWTPs that have better economies of scale and either have energy recovery systems or potential to install and/or optimise energy recovery, principally from biogas. This paper draws on data from a recent Australian WWTP energy use benchmarking study, providing a detailed breakdown of energy use for 12 selected plants for illustrative purposes. The selected plants represent three basic types (all using activated sludge processes). These three types either have primary sedimentation (PSTs) plus anaerobic digestion (either with or without cogeneration from biogas), or do not have PSTs (extended aeration). The units for energy efficiency benchmarking are discussed, with reference to similar studies elsewhere and Germany in particular. The differences are highlighted between energy efficiency benchmark values in load (equivalent persons) specific terms, compared with that in flow-specific terms. Potential savings associated with improving WWTP energy in Australia are discussed and referenced against similar studies elsewhere.

INTRODUCTION The water-energy nexus is receiving attention worldwide in the search to meet growth in demand due to an increase in both population numbers and levels of consumption (Olsson, 2012;

Kenway, 2013). For example, according to Kenway (2013), water-related energy associated with urban water provision and use in Australia in 2006–07 accounted for 6,811 GWh of equivalent primary energy use per one million people. This was equal to 13% of Australia’s electricity use plus 18% of natural gas consumption, representing 9% of the equivalent primary energy use and 8% of Australia’s GHG emissions (Kenway, 2013). Most of the urban water energy use was associated with residential, industrial and commercial uses and dominated by residential hot water use. Energy use for utilities in the provision of water and wastewater services accounted for, on average, around 10% of water-related energy, of which approximately half was associated with wastewater pumping and treatment (Kenway, 2013). Therefore, from a global perspective, it is tempting to conclude that the energy associated with wastewater is relatively small and, therefore, less important. However, from a local government or water utility perspective, the energy use for wastewater treatment is a major contributor to energy use and greenhouse gas emissions profiles (Kenway et al. 2008; Hall et al., 2009; Cook et al., 2012; de Haas et al., 2014). Yet, understanding the reasons for this can be complex. This paper provides an overview of energy use for wastewater treatment in the urban water context, followed by a breakdown of energy use for 12 typical current wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in Australia that represent the most common types of process configuration. Data is drawn from a recent benchmarking study conducted by the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA, 2014). Attention is drawn to key potential opportunities associated with energy efficiency improvement in Australian WWTPs and compared with a similar study recently conducted for plants in the US (WERF, 2014).

UNITS FOR ENERGY EFFICIENCY COMPARISONS For water or wastewater systems, energy efficiency is often expressed on a flow-specific basis (e.g. kWh. ML-1) (Hall et al., 2009; Ohlsson, 2012) and is sometimes benchmarked on this basis (AWWA, 2007). However, a major difference between water and wastewater treatment systems is that a much larger proportion of wastewater treatment plant energy use is due to aeration and internal plant recirculation systems that are related to the removal of contaminants. Broadly, the raw wastewater contaminants are made up of organic compounds and nutrients (mainly nitrogen and phosphorus). Hence, a significant portion of WWTP energy use is linked to raw influent mass load, which in turn is linked to the catchment population served (typically expressed as “per capita” or “per equivalent population, EP”). Therefore, for WWTPs, comparison of energy efficiency on a load-specific basis (e.g. kWh.EP-1.year-1) is preferable since wastewater composition is taken into account (Crawford, 2010). Pumping systems by themselves may be compared on a volume basis (typically kWh.ML-1 or Wh.m-3). Unfortunately, neither a loadspecific nor flow-specific measurement of energy efficiency by itself is adequate in all instances for WWTPs. The user has to make an appropriate choice of which units to use for benchmarking purposes. Therefore, it is useful to understand the conversion between units applied. Energy use data for urban water systems of seven cities in Australia and New Zealand (Kenway et al., 2008; Cook et al., 2012) shows a wide range, with wastewater treatment averaging around 580 kWh.ML-1 wastewater collected or 51 kWh.capita-1.year-1. For these datasets, the actual population numbers served (capita) were sourced from the relevant water utilities. For WWTPs where the population served is not known exactly, the term






Technical Papers “equivalent population” (EP) (or “person equivalents”, PE) is often used and may include trade wastes. One EP (or 1 PE) is typically defined as 60 g.d-1 biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) load in the raw wastewater in energy benchmarking manuals from several European countries (Crawford, 2010; Krampe, 2013). It is recognised that benchmarks based solely on BOD load might not be appropriate in some situations, such as in Australia, where raw wastewaters tend to have a high N/C ratio, which has a significant impact on overall WWTP energy efficiency (e.g. due to higher aeration requirements) (Krampe, 2013). Balmér (2000) compared specific energy efficiency for Nordic WWTPs, based on TKN load (kWh.EPTKN12-1.year-1) assuming 12 gN.EP-1.d-1 as Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen (TKN). In a recent benchmarking study covering 142 WWTPs in Australia, WSAA (2014) assessed equivalent population (EP) for load-specific energy determination as the average of that calculated from: 120 g.EP-1.d-1 chemical oxygen demand (COD) (or 60 g.EP-1.d-1 BOD where COD data was unavailable); and 12 gN.EP-1.d-1 (or TN where TKN data was unavailable). Included in the background datasets of Kenway et al. (2008) and Cook et al. (2010) from Australian and New Zealand cities was total water supply, which equated to an average of 346 and 331 L.capita-1.d-1 respectively. The wastewater collected was on average 66% (Cook et al., 2010) to 72% (Kenway et al., 2008) of the total water supplied. Therefore, if normalised to units of kWh. ML-1 total water supplied, the average energy use on a per ML basis would be approximately 1.4 to 1.5 times lower than values tabulated per unit flow of wastewater collected. This highlights the importance for urban water systems of carefully defining the flow basis when considering WWTP energy use in flowspecific terms. It is also important to note here that electrical energy use in most of the literature, including that from the recent benchmarking study for Australian WWTPs (WSAA, 2014), is based on end-use kilowatt-hour consumption recorded. Other studies (e.g. AWWA, 2007; WERF, 2014) have included primary energy use (e.g. in British Thermal Units), which may be indicatively three times greater than electricity end use, depending on the extent of losses in power generation, transmission and other fuels used (e.g. liquid or gaseous fuels) to operate WWTPs.


VARIATIONS IN WWTP ENERGY USE The data of Kenway et al. (2008) and Cook et al. (2010) suggest average energy use for wastewater treatment across cities in Australia and New Zealand ranges 27 to 67 kWh.capita-1.year-1 (assuming 1 capita = 1 EP). In practice the range of actual averages for individual WWTPs is even larger, being somewhere between approximately 1 and 270 kWh.EP-1.year-1 (WSAA, 2014). Reasons for this variation include: • Type of treatment technology; • Level of treatment and effluent quality targets (e.g. basic removal of organic contaminants only; advanced nutrient removal; treatment for reuse, including advanced disinfection); • Size of WWTP (in general, with larger plants tending to be more energy efficient than smaller ones, for reasons relating to economies of scale and type of technology used); • Trade waste contribution to load in EP terms; • Type and efficiency of aeration systems used; • Extent to which pumping occurs on the plant (including influent or effluent pumping and internal pumping for recirculation, pumping head requirements, etc) and pump efficiency; • Extent and type of tertiary treatment systems (e.g. filtration; disinfection, etc); • Effluent reuse (related to tertiary treatment and the need for additional pumping, etc);

• Energy requirements for sludge handling and treatment (e.g. thickening, mixing, dewatering, drying, etc); • Presence (or not) and extent of on-site energy generation and self-supply (e.g. from biogas), and how self-supplied or exported energy is accounted for in plant reporting.

DISTRIBUTION OF AUSTRALIAN WWTPS For benchmarking purposes, five WWTP types can be broadly defined, based on treatment technologies that currently commonly occur (Table 1). These types were defined in the recent Australian WWTP energy benchmarking study (WSAA, 2014; de Haas et al., 2015) and align with WWTP categories defined in a German WWTP energy manual (Baumann and Roth, 2008) and related benchmarking studies (Haberkern et al., 2008; Krampe, 2013). The German datasets collectively covered several thousand WWTPs, classified according to size (based on personequivalent raw influent load) and type. The WSAA (2014) benchmarking study covered 142 WWTPs operated by 17 water utilities across seven states and territories in Australia and has been summarised by de Haas et al. (2015). Looking at the distribution of data from the WSAA (2014) study, Figure 1A shows that, in terms of number of WWTPs, Type 3 (extended aeration activated sludge) dominated, representing more than half the plants, with the other four types each representing 7% to 13% of the number surveyed. However, Figure 1B shows a rather different distribution of plant type when broken down by size (based on adopted EP from the average of current COD or BOD and nitrogen loads).

Table 1. Definition of WWTP types. Type


Type 1

Activated sludge treatment with separate sludge stabilisation, including those with primary sedimentation, anaerobic digestion (or alternative – Note 1) and with on-site co-generation (on-site energy produced from biogas).

Type 2

Activated sludge treatment with separate sludge stabilisation, including those with primary sedimentation, anaerobic digestion (or alternative – Note 1) but without on-site co-generation (no on-site energy produced from biogas).

Type 3

Extended aeration activated sludge, including aerobic digestion. No biogas production and no on-site co-generation (Note 2).

Type 4

Trickling filters or trickling filter-activated sludge combinations. Such plants often include primary sedimentation and anaerobic digestion, sometimes with on-site co-generation (on-site energy produced from biogas).

Type 5

Aerated or unaerated lagoons. No biogas production and no on-site co-generation.

Note 1: Alternative sludge stabilisation includes: Incineration; Covered anaerobic lagoons; Chemical (e.g. lime) treatment etc. Plants with aerobic digestion for sludge stabilisation are classified as Type 3. Note 2: Membrane bioreactor plants are included in Type 3 if no primary treatment is present with separate sludge stabilisation (as in Types 1 & 2).


Technical Papers

Breakdown of WWTPs by Type and Adopted EP

Breakdown of WWTPs surveyed by Type Total No. = 142



Number of WWTPs




60 50




30 18



Type 2

Type 3

Type 4

43.3% 34.1% 26.7%

Percent of Imported Electrical Power (Averages)

20.7% 12.4%


0 Type 1

Percent of Total EP







Type 5


0.5% 0.9%

0% Type 1

Type 2

Type 3

0.9% 1.0%

Type 4

Type 5

Figure 1. Plants covered in WSAA (2014) energy benchmarking study, showing breakdown of: (A) WWTP number surveyed by Type; and (B) Adopted equivalent person (EP) load on WWTP surveyed by type (refer to Table 2 for definitions). Type 1 dominates the EP load representation, followed by Type 3 and Type 2, with the other two types (those with Trickling Filters or Lagoons) being relatively insignificant in EP terms. The WSAA (2014) study did not cover all the WWTPs in Australia; some regional metropolitan and rural towns were not included. Nevertheless, the data suggest that approximately 60% of the Australian population’s wastewater load is treated by WWTPs that do have primary treatment, anaerobic digestion and energy recovery from biogas (Type 1), and a further 12% has primary treatment and anaerobic digestion with the potential for energy recovery systems from biogas to be added (Type 2). The Type 3 plants would need significant modification or upgrades to add energy recovery from biogas. Nevertheless, anaerobic digestion of waste-activated sludge alone is technically feasible (Gloag et al., 2014), although typically constrained by biological nutrient removal considerations and economies of scale, given that digesters and biogas systems tend to be more capital intensive than extended aeration systems. Economies of scale can be illustrated from the WSAA (2014) data, when the plants surveyed are

grouped by size class (based on adopted EP load) irrespective of type. It becomes apparent that, although the largest size class (SC5 for >100,000 EP) represented only about one-quarter of the number of WWTPs (35 in number surveyed – Figure 2A), it represented 88% of the total EP for all plants surveyed and, on average, 78% of the imported electrical power (Figure 2B). Collectively, the two largest classes (SC4 and SC5) represent WWTPs >10,000 EP and nearly 99% of the total EP for all plants surveyed (Figure 2B). As might be expected, the smaller plants (in EP load terms) and Types 2 to 5 (that lack energy recovery or self-supply from cogeneration) tend to use more imported electrical power on a relative basis (Figure 1B and Figure 2B). Clearly, investment in the larger plants represents the best opportunity to improve energy efficiency and recovery in Australian WWTPs.

Number of WWTPs

Breakdown of WWTPs by Size and Adopted EP

Total No. = 142

Total EP (Sum of All Class Sizes) = 22,603,300 EP










Percent of Total EP





40% 30% 20% 10% 0%


The size of WWTPs represented in Table 2 ranged from approximately 60,000 EP (for a medium-sized Type 3 plant) to over 2.2 million EP (for a large Type 1 plant). The specific electrical energy use varied over a wide range and consistent trends are difficult to discern from such small datasets. This is due to a number of possible factors contributing to energy use, such as those already listed. Bigger datasets (Haberkern et al., 2008; de Haas et al., 2015) tend to show economies of scale with larger plants being more energy-efficiency than smaller plants, as might be expected. However, a number of site-specific factors can strongly influence energy use for a given plant. Such factors are expected to underlie, for example,

Table 2 presents a sample of summary electrical energy use data taken from the WSAA (2014) study for 12 plants of Types 1, 2 and 3. These plants were selected on the basis of size (>10,000 EP) and a breakdown of sub-process data was also available to allow more detailed analysis. Also in Table 2 are the German benchmark

Breakdown of WWTPs surveyed by Size Class 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0

Target and Guide Values derived from information presented by Baumann and Roth (2008) and Haberkern et al. (2008). The Target Value is indicative of ‘top’ or ‘best practice’ performance, while the Guide Value is indicative of ‘average’ performance from the German benchmark data. The WSAA (2014) study also collected data on WWTP energy supply from gaseous or liquid fuels but only benchmarked the electrical energy use, which was predominant for all the plants.


Percent of Imported Electrical Power (Averages)

20.1% 0.05% 0.01%


0.6% 0.2%








Figure 2. Plants covered in WSAA (2014) energy benchmarking study, showing breakdown of: (A) WWTP number surveyed by size class; and B) Adopted equivalent person (EP) load on WWTP surveyed by size class (refer to legend for definitions).




Total EP (Sum of All Class Sizes) = 22,603,300 EP



Technical Papers


Table 2. Sample Australian WWTP electrical energy use data for Types 1, 2 and 3. Average EP

Average Flow ML.d-1

Average WWTP Electrical Energy Use kWh.d-1

Average Load-specific Elec. Energy Use kWh.EP-1. year-1

German Benchmark Guide Value kWh.EP-1. year-1

German Benchmark Target Value kWh.EP-1. year-1

Percent Energy SelfSupply (Ess) %

Plant A









Plant B











Plant C










Plant D Plant E















Plant F








0% (All)

0% (All)

Plant G








Plant H








Plant I








Plant J








0% (All)

0% (All)

Plant K








Plant L






114 (Note 3)

62 (Note 3)

Plant Type & Name Type 1

Average Flow-specific Elec. Energy Use kWh.ML-1

(Note 1)

German Guide Value Percent Ess %

(Note 2)

Type 2

Type 3

Source: Data from WSAA (2014). Note 1: WWTP Electrical Energy Use includes energy generated on site (for Type 1 plants by co-generation from biogas), less energy exported (where applicable). Note 2: Ess denotes ‘Energy Self Supply’. The Ess Target Value is 100% and Guide Value is 60% for Type 1 plants of >5000 EP size. Note 3: Includes energy supplement adopted for Membrane Bioreactor by extrapolation from German values (proposed by Haberkern et al., 2008).

the observation from Table 2 that plants of nominally similar size (>100,000 EP) and type (Type 2 or Type 3) have specific energy use spanning roughly a two-fold range, both in terms of flow (kWh.ML-1) and load (kWh.EP-1.year-1). Therefore, a more detailed breakdown of energy use for each plant is usually necessary in order to characterise sub-process efficiency and potentially bring about improvements. It is worth noting from Table 2 that energy use efficiency is separately benchmarked from the extent of energy self-supply, usually from cogeneration using biogas (in Type 1 plants). Table 2 also shows that for the example plants of Types 1, 2, and 3 none of the WWTPs listed met the German benchmark Target Value, and only two (or three) plants met or approached the Guide Value. This is not surprising considering that most Australian WWTPs have designs that pre-date more recent periods when rising energy costs or energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions have emerged as leading issues (e.g. ComLaw, 2007). Apart from weak historical legislative or cost drivers for energy efficiency, other reasons for relatively high WWTP energy consumption in Australia include: • More advanced treatment for improved effluent quality (e.g. nutrient removal) driven by higher standards for environmental regulation around receiving water;


• More advanced treatment and pumping associated with water recycling, driven by water scarcity; • Terrain (e.g. influent and/or effluent pumping due to lack of gravity alternatives in flat terrain such as in many coastal locations); • Need for effluent pumping, driven by environmental regulations around discharges to local waterways (e.g. creeks with limited or highly seasonal natural flow); • Lack of anaerobic digestion, energy recovery or co-generation facilities; • Planning and population distribution considerations around the number, size and location of WWTPs (i.e. centralised vs. decentralised, with associated sewerage and transfer systems). Plant L (Type 3) stands out in terms of its load-specific energy performance relative to higher German benchmarks, due to it being a membrane bioreactor plant and, therefore, receiving a relatively generous benchmark energy ‘supplement’ (Haberkern et al., 2008). This plant is an example of a trend among some Australian water utilities, where membrane bioreactor applications have become popular in the last decade due to drivers of tighter effluent quality standards and the push toward water recycling as a water conservation measure.

POTENTIAL OPERATING COST SAVINGS Operating costs for WWTPs can be reduced by improving the efficiency of energy use or increasing on-site energy self-supply, typically from co-generation using biogas, or a combination of both. Since electrical energy use and extent of electrical energy self-supply can be separately benchmarked (Krampe, 2013; de Haas et al., 2015), it is possible to use benchmarking data to estimate operational cost savings potential from these two approaches. Operational expenditure (Opex) savings potential was estimated for Australian WWTPs covered in the WSAA (2014) study, in two ways as follows: • Due to efficiency improvements (i.e. reduced total electrical energy use), assuming that these translate directly into reduced imported grid electrical power consumed (i.e. end use in kWh, not taking into account peak demand or other tariffs); • Due to improved reduced imported grid electrical power consumed as a result of energy self-supply for all Type 1 plants (already equipped with cogeneration from biogas) and assuming the largest (SC5 for >100,000 EP current load) Type 2 plants (already equipped with primary sedimentation and anaerobic digestion) could be cost-effectively upgraded to include co-generation from biogas.


Technical Papers

Table 3. Potential operating cost savings due to improved efficiency of electricity energy use on Australian WWTPs (based on WSAA, 2014 data).

(GWh/ annum)

Opex potential savings @ 10c/kWh

Opex potential savings @ 20c/kWh

(Million $/year)

(Million $/year)

NPV of Opex potential savings @ 10c/kWh

NPV of Opex potential savings @ 20c/kWh

(Million $)

(Million $)

to Guide Value

to Target Value

to Guide Value

to Target Value

to Guide Value

to Target Value

to Guide Value

to Target Value

to Guide Value

to Target Value

Type 1












Type 2












Type 3
























Net Present Value (NPV) assumptions: 25 year period; 4.5% p.a. discount rate; inflation excluded.

The extent to which a plant can achieve savings by realising both improved energy use efficiency and self-supply would need to be evaluated on a sitespecific basis for each plant, taking into account the revenue potential associated with a plant becoming a net exporter of energy (either as biogas or electricity). Capital and operating (e.g. maintenance) costs associated with improved energy efficiency or self-supply improvements also require a site-specific financial assessment. Nevertheless, the data summarised in Table 3 (for energy efficiency improvement) and Table 4 (for energy selfsupply) provide some cost perspectives for Australian WWTPs Type 1, 2 and 3 plants based on the WSAA (2014) data. For the plants included (115 of these three types) total annual Opex savings potentials from improved energy efficiency lie in the range indicatively of $26 million to $84 million per annum, depending on the assumed average unit cost of grid electricity (range 10c/kWh to 20 c/kWh) and whether the plants are improved to achieve the benchmark Guide or Target values. In Net Present Value (NPV) terms, these Opex savings amount to between approximately $390

million and $1.24 billion over 25 years at a discount rate of 4.5% per annum, excluding inflation. Similarly, considering only savings from energy self-supply for Type 1 plants (18 and seven Type 2 plants (>100,000 EP), total annual Opex savings potentials from improved energy efficiency lie in the range indicatively $21 million to $116 million per annum, depending on the assumed average unit cost of grid electricity (range 10c/kWh to 20 c/kWh) and whether the plants are improved to achieve the benchmark Guide or Target values. In Net Present Value (NPV) terms, the Opex savings amount to between approximately $313 million and $1.72 billion over 25 years at a discount rate of 4.5% per annum, excluding inflation. Although further financial analysis is required, the data in Table 3 and Table 4 suggest that improved energy selfsupply and efficiency is likely to be most cost-competitive when targeted at the largest plants and among those already well-placed for potential self-supply from cogeneration (biogas). A similar conclusion was reached in a recent WERF (2014) study covering more than 1,000 medium-to-large plants in the US (>19

ML/d average flow), taking into account capital cost estimates and commercial alternatives for distributed renewable energy supply. Reducing dependence of WWTPs on grid electricity also has the potential to reduce national greenhouse emissions (de Haas et al., 2014).

CONCLUSIONS Wastewater treatment is a significant contributor to energy use in the urban water cycle. Benchmarking is a useful means by which to compare energy use between different plants or systems. Benchmarking of WWTP total energy use in load-specific terms may be preferable to applying only flow-specific benchmarks since a major part of the energy use on a WWTP is directly related to pollutant load. Benchmarking in terms of equivalentperson influent load (e.g. kWh.EP-1.year-1) is useful, particularly if WWTPs are grouped according to size and type. WWTPs have the potential to ‘recover’ a high proportion of total plant energy through self-supply systems, particularly co-generation of electricity and heat from biogas. Energy self-supply should be benchmarked separately from energy efficiency, with the latter being based on total plant energy use (usually largely in the

Table 4. Potential operating cost savings due to improved electrical energy self-supply on Australian WWTPs (based on WSAA, 2014 data).


No. of plants

Energy saving potential due to energy self-supply improvement (GWh/ annum)

Opex potential savings @ 10c/kWh (Million $/year)

Opex potential savings @ 20c/kWh (Million $/year)

NPV of Opex potential savings @ 10c/kWh (Million $)

NPV of Opex potential savings @ 20c/kWh (Million $)

to Guide Value

to Target Value

to Guide Value

to Target Value

to Guide Value

to Target Value

to Guide Value

to Target Value

to Guide Value

to Target Value

Type 1












Type 1 (SC5 only)












Type 2 (SC5 only)
























Net Present Value (NPV) assumptions: 25-year period; 4.5% p.a. discount rate; inflation excluded. SC 5: Size Class 5 (>100,000 EP current load)




No. of plants

Energy saving potential due to energy use improvement



Technical Papers form of electricity, regardless of supply source). Self-supplied energy will lower imported (grid) electrical power and fuel requirements (liquid or gas) for supplementary heating, if present. Distinct from energy recovery, ultimately it is improved plant design, maintenance, and control that enable energy-efficient WWTP operation. Data from a recent (2014) benchmarking study for Australian WWTPs suggested that there is room for improvement in terms of energy efficiency, compared with benchmark Guide (average) and Target (best practice) values based on similar studies in Europe, and Germany in particular. The Australian dataset also illustrates existing economies of scale with all the large plants (>100,000 EP current loading) representing only one-quarter of the total number of plants surveyed but covering nearly 90% of the associated current total equivalent person loading. This represents a significant opportunity to realise operating cost and greenhouse gas savings associated with improved energy use efficiency and self-supply from biogas as a renewable source. The majority of these large plants in Australia are already equipped with primary sedimentation, anaerobic digestion and co-generation facilities from biogas, and there is potential to upgrade a relatively small number of similarly sized plants (indicatively less than 10) that only lack co-generation facilities. Comparing current performance to benchmark values, the indicative operating cost-saving potential from improved energy self-supply from cogeneration alone for 25 such large Australian WWTPs is estimated to lie between $313 million and $1.7 billion in whole-of-life present cost terms over 25 years, based on an average price of 10 to 20 c/kWh for grid electricity use saved. Further potential savings of the same order may be possible from reduced grid electricity use due to improved energy efficiency of treatment processes for 115 WWTPs in Australia that represent the most common types, covering approximately 98% in terms of current total equivalent person loading. Further research is recommended to better quantify net whole-of-life savings potential, including capital and maintenance costs.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA), its contributing members and relevant Project Delivery Team are gratefully acknowledged for permission to reproduce selected data in this paper from the WWTP Energy Benchmarking Study (WSAA, 2014).


THE AUTHORS Dr David de Haas (email: David.deHaas@ ghd.com) is a principal professional (municipal wastewater treatment) at GHD in Australia. He has 30 years’ experience in municipal water and wastewater treatment, including research and development, process design, operation, planning and advisory functions. He has also undertaken research projects focusing on greenhouse gas emissions and energy use in wastewater treatment plants in Australia. He has participated in a number of research projects through the University of Queensland, the Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence in collaboration with the University of New South Wales, and a range of other industry partners. Murray Dancey (email: murray.dancey@ wannonwater.com.au) is a Project Manager at Wannon Water, specifically working on energy efficiency and innovation projects. Murray is a member of the Intelligent Water Networks (IWN) Energy Optimisation Working Group and the IWA Energy and Greenhouse Special Interest Groups (SIG). He was the Project Manager of the WSAA Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) Benchmarking project and a Project Board member of the WSAA Pumping Efficiency Benchmarking project.

REFERENCES AWWA (2007): Energy Index Development for Benchmarking Water & Wastewater Utilities. AWWA Research Foundation, Denver, Colorado CO. Balmér P (2000): Operation Costs and Consumption of Resources at Nordic Nutrient Removal Plants. Water Science and Technology, 41, 9, pp 273–279. Baumann P & Roth M (2008): Senkung des Stromverbrauchs auf Kläranlagen, Leitfaden für das Betriebspersonal (Reduction of the Energy Consumption of WWTPs – Manual for Operators), Heft 4. DWA Landesverband Baden-Württemberg, Stuttgart (in German). ComLaw (2007): National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007. Australian Government, Canberra. www.comlaw. gov.au/Series/C2007A00175 Cook S, Hall M & Gregory A (2012): Energy Use in the Provision and Consumption of Urban Water in Australia: An Update. Report prepared for Water Services Association of Australia by CSIRO (Water for a Healthy Country Flagship Report), May 2012, Water Services Association of Australia, Melbourne.

Crawford G (2010): Best Practices For Sustainable Wastewater Treatment Initial Case Study Incorporating European Experience And Evaluation Tool Concept. WERF Report No. OWSO4R07a, Water Environment Research Foundation, Alexandria VA. De Haas D, Foley J, Marshall B, Dancey M, Vierboom S & Bartle-Smith J (2015): Benchmarking Wastewater Treatment Plant Energy Use in Australia. Paper presented at Ozwater’15 Conference, 12–14 May 2015, Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide. De Haas D, Pepperell C & Foley, J (2014): Perspectives on Greenhouse Gas Emission Estimates Based on Australian Wastewater Treatment Plant Operating Data. Water Science & Technology, 69, 3, pp 451–463. Haberkern B, Maier W & Schneider U (2008): Steigerung der Energieeffizienz auf kommunalen Klaeranlagen (Increasing the Energy Efficiency of WWTPs). Umweltbundesamt (German Federal Environment Agency), Dessau-Roßlau (in German). Gloag G, Batstone D, Simonis J, Robertson D, Jensen P, O’Halloran K & Longley V (2014): WAS Only Mesophilic Anaerobic Digestion at Coombabah WWTP. Paper presented at Ozwater’14 Conference, 29 April–1 May, 2014, Brisbane Convention Centre, Brisbane. Hall M, West J, Lane J, de Haas D & Sherman B (2009): Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions for the SEQ Water Strategy. Technical Report No. 14, Urban Water Security Research Alliance, Brisbane. www.urbanwateralliance. org.au/publications/UWSRA-tr14.pdf Kenway S (2013): The Water-Energy Nexus and Urban Metabolism – Connections in Cities. Technical Report No. 100, Urban Water Security Research Alliance, Brisbane. www. urbanwateralliance.org.au/publications/ UWSRA-tr100.pdf Kenway S, Priestley A, Cook S, Seo S, Inman M, Gregory A & Hall M (2008): Energy Use in the Provision and Consumption of Urban Water in Australia and New Zealand. Report prepared for Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) by CSIRO (Water for Healthy Country National Research Flagship Report series), Water Services Association of Australia, Melbourne. Krampe J (2013): Energy Benchmarking of South Australian WWTPs. Water Science and Technology, 67, 9, pp 2059–2066. Olsson G (2012): Water and Energy – Threats and Opportunities. IWA Publishing, London. WERF (2014): Utilities of the Future – Energy Findings. Report prepared by Black & Veatch for Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF), Alexandria, Virginia USA. WSAA (2014): WWTP Energy Benchmarking (Part 2, Technical Report). Report prepared for Water Services Association of Australia by GHD Pty Ltd, September 2014, Water Services Association of Australia, Melbourne.


Technical Papers

DEVELOPMENT OF A DEMAND MODELLER AND TRACKING TOOL A DMaTT tool to engage land use planning authorities in the optimisation of water supply and sewerage networks C Teitzel, P Susarla, K Goraya

The basis for long-term infrastructure (master) planning is the underlying growth assumptions that forecast population and non-residential demand. The development of demand forecasts to support infrastructure planning is a highly complex process that requires collaboration between town planners, network planners and planning engineers. Many utilities use manual procedures and adhoc approaches to prepare demand projections that are time consuming and have poor transparency, which results in inconsistencies. In the faster developing regions such as Unitywater’s service area, growth assumptions change from year to year, based on prevailing economic conditions. The key drivers for the development of Unitywater’s Demand Modeller and Tracking Tool (DMaTT) are increasing the efficient utilisation of network assets by identifying the efficient sequence of development and, where spare capacity exists, to serve new development. There is also a need for a credible and repeatable tool that can model network demand associated

with population growth, changes in land use and approved development to inform “prudent and efficient cost” decisionmaking in capital works planning.

METHODOLOGY The purpose of the demand modeller and tracking tool (DMaTT) project is to develop

and implement an automated demand modelling, forecasting and tracking tool at Unitywater that is credible, consistent, transparent and repeatable. The project was initiated in 2012, developed in-house with the assistance of software vendor “Sizztech” and deployed in early 2014. The DMaTT tool allows forecasting of

Figure 1. DMaTT Model Builder interface.

Figure 2. DMaTT Model Viewer interface – demand forecasts.



INTRODUCTION Unitywater operates in one of the fastest developing regions in Australia. The population of the region is expected to grow by 63% in the next 25 years. To meet the requirements of this challenge of projected growth, Unitywater must be smart in developing tools for strategic planning to support the efficient delivery of network infrastructure.


Technical Papers


is reached. The BN can be amended or reconfigured at any time and loaded into the DMaTT website interface for the reprocessing of forecast models. An example of DMaTT development sequencing is shown in Figure 4.

Figure 3. DMaTT Demand Viewer interface – Land Use information. future demand and planning for the provision of water supply and sewerage infrastructure to support future growth in a sustainable manner. The DMaTT tool has the ability to prepare baseline projected and ultimate development data for dwellings, population, floor space, employment and network demand (Equivalent Person, Equivalent Tenement or any other demand unit) at a property level that can be summarised and displayed at any catchment scale (i.e. locality or water supply catchment). The tool was developed in “.Net” platform and has the ability to prepare forecast models through a live website interface linked to GIS spatial databases. The DMaTT website interface allows forecast models to be configured, run, exported and reconfigured at any time with three main modules:

provisions and state government longterm population growth projections sourced from local councils. Figure 5 is a graphical representation of how the DMaTT tool constructs forecast models. A key innovation of the DMaTT tool is the use of Bayesian Network (BN) for predicting the sequence of development and growth. A BN is used to score each property against a range of criteria (e.g. land vacancy, development approval, commercial viability and proximity to trunk infrastructure). The higher the combined score (which is known as development desirability index) the more likely development is to occur. Growth is automatically allocated to properties with the highest development desirability index until the catchment population/floor space for each cohort

• Forecast Model Builder: building and configuration of forecast models (see Figure 1); • Forecast Model Viewer: viewing and comparing forecast model demand at a catchment scale; • Forecast Demand Viewer: viewing GIS layers and forecast model demand at a property level by planning and development assessment staff (see Figures 2 and 3). The key spatial information inputs into DMaTT forecast models include baseline land use, development approvals, development constraints, planning scheme density


Figure 4. DMaTT Development Sequencing.

DMaTT also has the ability to run more than one forecast model based on “what if” scenarios with changed growth parameters. These scenarios can be compared to understand the impact of demand distribution. This is very useful in understanding the impact of a new development front on the previous infrastructure planned and, hence, provides information for just-in-time delivery of the capital works program. For network modellers and consultants, the DMaTT website interface has an export function where adopted forecast model demand at a property level can be exported for linking to external GIS property layers and network models. An example is shown in Figure 5.

CONCLUSION DMaTT is currently being implemented by Unitywater to forecast growth and manage demand across Sunshine Coast, Moreton Bay Regional Councils and Noosa Shire Council areas. Forecast models developed using this tool will inform new network master planning and a revised capital works program. DMaTT can be used for the generation of dwelling, population, floor space (GFA), employment and network demand projections. It will


Technical Papers THE AUTHORS Chris Teitzel (email: chris. teitzel@unitywater.com) is a Strategic Planning Officer in Unitywater’s Infrastructure Planning and Development Branch, responsible for the preparation of growth management policies and demand projections.

Figure 5. Graphical representation of DMaTT Forecast Models. also be used by Unitywater development assessment staff for assessment of water supply and sewer connection applications. An exciting outcome from the project is that users who could benefit from the tool

extend well beyond Unitywater. It can be implemented and configured for any water business that uses an ArcGIS platform. This paper was first presented at Ozwater’15 in Adelaide in May.

Ken Goraya (email: ken. goraya@unitywater.com) is Team Leader Network Modelling with Unitywater and was project manager for the development of DMaTT. Ken has more than 13 years’ experience in developing water and sewerage infrastructure master plans based on growth projections for one of the fastest-growing regions in Australia.

connecting you to advanced water quality monitoring and control Together Ampcontrol and Adasa can provide real time continuous water quality monitoring and optimised environmental management solutions.

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Partha Susarla (email: partha.susarla@unitywater. com) has 25 years’ experience in strategic planning and delivery of water industry infrastructure. Partha is currently working as Strategic Planning Manager at Unitywater.


Technical Papers

HEALTH-BASED TARGETS PERFORMANCE REPORTING New software to automate decision rules in the Manual for the Application of Health Based Treatment Targets and produce a monthly report of pathogen barrier performance P Prevos & D Sheehan


INTRODUCTION Minimising risk to public health is the most important mission for water utilities. Safe drinking water is a necessary condition to allow communities to live, grow and enjoy. While in many parts of the world water supplies are the direct or indirect cause of about 10% of the burden of disease (Hrudey and Hrudey, 2004), Australian communities enjoy water that poses almost no risk to human health. The question remains, however, exactly how low the level of risk actually is. To define microbial safety the World Health Organisation uses the metric of Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs), which represents the sum of time a person is burdened with an illness (i.e. loss of time in good health) and years lost through premature death. The Manual for the Application of Health Based Treatment Targets, published by the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) (Release 1, August 2014), further referred to as the Manual, assists water managers with estimating the potential burden of disease caused by reticulated drinking water. The Manual defines methods for determining the minimum treatment requirements for drinking water supplies by assessing the relative microbiological risk in the source water for the supply, and then applies a suite of decision rules to estimate the effectiveness of treatment barriers that are used to manage the risk. The effectiveness of the treatment barriers is expressed in Log Reduction Values, which relates to public health risk. The Manual assists utility managers to design and operate water treatment plants to assure that the level of public health risk is less than 1 micro DALY per person per year in a population of one million people.


SCADA Historian

Source Water Assessment

Water System Configuration

Virtual Tags

Water Treatment Assessment

HBT HBT Reports HBT Reports Reports ports

Figure 1. HBT performance reporting methodology. Several water utilities around Australia have successfully implemented the process defined in the Manual. Coliban Water’s experience with this process, and feedback obtained from other utilities, indicates that the Manual is a useful analytical tool that greatly enhances a utility’s knowledge about the performance of their pathogen barriers. Using the guidelines in the Manual assists with making informed decisions about improving processes or justifying investments. Another shared observation is that the decision rules in the Manual are difficult to review on a regular basis because of the large amounts of information to be analysed. Spreadsheets collapse under the pressure of crunching through the amount of data required to assess barrier performance. The assessments are typically undertaken using data at one-minute intervals, which means that for an average treatment plant about half-a-million data points need to be analysed. Given the nature of SCADA data, the process also involves a large amount of manual data cleaning, making the process very time consuming. Using the Manual to assess pathogen barrier performance on a regular basis requires a large amount of resources for medium-sized water utilities that typically

manage a large number of drinking water supply systems. Undertaking these assessments regularly is valuable because it adds value to otherwise amorphous SCADA data locked away in databases. To fully realise the benefits of the HBT approach, Coliban Water has developed software to fully automate the decision rules in the Manual and produce a monthly report of pathogen barrier performance.

METHOD The software consists of four modules; the first module extracts and transforms relevant data from the SCADA historian. The second module stores the configurations of the drinking water supply system (i.e. the available water treatment processes); and the third module analyses the data accordance with the Manual and related water supply system configuration. The final module presents a performance report for each water treatment plant in Coliban Water’s service region (Figure 1). All software has been written in Microsoft SQL Server 2012 (Service Pack 1) and reports were developed in Reporting Services (SSRS). VIRTUAL TAGS

A common problem in data analysis is that information is not stored to solve future problems. The primary function


Technical Papers that a data point is available for each minute. This transformation increases the number of required data points, but simplifies the subsequent analysis. Where no data is available in Historian, the Water Treatment Assessment Module uses nearest-neighbour interpolation and marks whether a value is measured or interpolated.

A Virtual Tag is a data set that combines information from one or more SCADA tags. For example, filtered water turbidity data is combined with flow information in order to assess whether a filter was operating at a particular instant. The Water Treatment Assessment module will only analyse filtered water turbidity data over the period that filters were active. Another example of a Virtual Tag is the contact time for disinfection, which is based on tank levels, flow information and disinfectant dosing levels. This first module can also store dummy tags, which were created for situations where no SCADA data is available to be analysed. In those cases the value is fixed to the most reasonable estimate. This approach has been used in cases where water temperature is not available.

The Virtual Tag approach is a powerful and simple way to automatically present SCADA data in a format that simplifies analysis. Separating data transformation from analysis minimises the use of computing resources. This approach also allows for the Virtual Tag information to be available for other business intelligence projects.

The Virtual Tag module runs daily and grabs any new data from SCADA Historian. The data is transformed to an equally spaced time series so

information. This functionality can also be used to simulate changes to the system, for example the effect of changing from chloramination to chlorination. HEALTH-BASED TARGETS MODULE

Before analysis can be undertaken the configuration of each drinking water supply system is entered into a control screen (Figure 2). This screen contains the location of the plant, the source water category and the types of treatment barriers that are currently available.

The second module uses the Virtual Tags to estimate Log Reduction Values (LRV) for each pathogen barrier at each water treatment plant. The Manual provides decision rules for 11 different treatment processes. For example, a conventional treatment system where the individual filter turbidity is below 0.15 NTU for 95% of the month, and no spikes of larger than 0.3 NTU for more than 15 minutes have occurred, is considered to remove 99.9% of protozoa and 99% of bacteria and viruses. The rules in the Manual had to be slightly modified to be able to fully automate the analysis. Most importantly, the filtration and disinfection rules in the Manual cover different time scales. Whereas the filtration rules are based on one month of data, disinfection rules are based on instantaneous data.

The pathogen barrier configuration consists of a list of all process streams associated with the plant and the Virtual Tag numbers needed to undertake the assessment. All menus are date-driven so that the analysis is undertaken in accordance with the most recent

To coincide HBT reporting with corporate reporting, the analysis is undertaken on the first day of each calendar month, using all data for the previous month. The software can also be configured to analyse data on a rolling 28 or 30-day window,


Figure 2. HBT Module control screen.



of archiving is to make the data accessible for future use, which is not necessarily in an optimal format to solve future problems. To analyse SCADA data in accordance with the Manual, a series of queries has been developed to extract data from SCADA Historian and create a separate database of the tags required to undertake the analysis.


Technical Papers It should be noted that monthly reporting is a lag indicator of performance and will not by itself improve system performance. Monthly reporting is useful from a governance and regulatory perspective, as it provides evidence of due diligence in process management by providing a meaningful and succinct summary of pathogen reduction and treatment barrier performance.

Simulated Data V



Cohuna V








LeitchvilleP Gunbower


Pyramid Hill



Boort V V




Echuca P




Korong Vale













Coliban Water is interested in making the software available under an Open Source licence and sharing the development costs associated with any future versions of the software. Interested parties are encouraged to contact the lead author to discuss the details.



Goornong V




Serpentine V











Heathcote V





High risk Medium Risk Low Risk Minimal Risk

Figure 3. Regional report (simulated data). and produce daily reporting. The software has been developed as a series of modules to enable expansion. REPORTING

Reporting occurs by visualising the results on three levels: whole service region; individual water systems; and individual treatment barriers. On the regional level, the user is provided with a “cheesecake diagram”. This looks like a pie chart, but instead of communicating information through the size of the slices, the colour of the slices is used (Figure 3). Each cheesecake has three slices (representing protozoa, bacteria and viruses) and the colour indicates the shortfall in the Log Reduction Value for the month. The colour scheme is different from traditional traffic light colours to make it colour-blindness neutral. The cut-off points between the colours are based on the Water Safety Continuum defined in the Manual. Clicking on any of the slices shows the user a bar chart of the performance of the water supply system. The bar chart shows the amount of Log Reduction Value credit achieved for each process, per pathogen type over the period of a year.





Kyneton V




B: Bacteria P: Protozoa V: Virus

When clicking on any specific month, the user is presented with an overview of the performance of the specific treatment barrier on a monthly and daily scale. This method allows different users to obtain information at the level they require. Executive management might only use the region diagram, while water quality managers and water treatment operators can use the system to find the root cause of underperformance. For Board reporting, the results of the LRV analysis are integrated with Coliban Water’s Water System Index (Prevos, 2015), which amalgamates barrier performance, network protection, regulatory compliance and customer observations in an easy to understand performance report.

CONCLUSION Development of this software has only just been completed and is already helping Coliban Water to learn more about its water systems. The Virtual tag approach is promising in that it makes it much easier to extract and interpret information available through SCADA historian. It is envisaged that this approach will be extended to all Critical Control Points and perhaps other asset classes.

Peter Prevos (email: peter.prevos@coliban. com.au) is the Manager Systems Monitoring for Coliban Water. Peter’s mission is to provide sound, useful and aesthetic information about service delivery systems to colleagues and regulators. David Sheehan (email: david.sheehan@coliban. com.au) is General Manager Water Quality Performance and Regulation at Coliban Water. Prior to joining Coliban Water he worked in a regulatory role with the Victorian Department of Health. He is also currently a member of the National Health and Medical Research Council's Water Quality Advisory Committee.

REFERENCES Hrudey SE & Hrudey EJ (2004): Safe Drinking Water: Lessons From Recent Outbreaks in Affluent Countries. IWA Publishing, London. McBride G (2005): Using Statistical Methods for Water Quality Management: Issues, Problems and Solutions. John Wiley & Sons. NHMRC (2014): Health Based Targets for Microbial Safety of Drinking Water. Discussion Paper. Prevos P (2015): Visualising Water Quality. A Graphical Index for Drinking Water System Performance. Presented at Ozwater’15, Adelaide. Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) (2014): Drinking Water Source Assessment and Treatment Requirements. Manual for the Application of Health-Based Treatment Targets, Release No 1.

10-11 March 2016 Royal Randwick Sydney

2016 Water Innovation Forum & Expo

The ultimate showcase of water innovation, bringing together the utility, construction, food and beverage, and agricultural industries with technology providers, financiers and R&D.

Why attend? Be Excited – Share ideas on trends and the future of water innovation Do Business – Through formal business matching meetings and networking See it Big – Full scale exhibit of the latest in water innovation Interactive – New theatrette surrounded by the innovators’ display hubs

The Innovation Forum is a true accelerator for innovative solutions mainly because of its format allowing proximity between exhibitors and delegates. Not many events ignite such a level of dialogue between stakeholders. Jérémy Daunay, IJINUS, Exhibitor

2-day Conference + Exhibition 10-11 March, Royal Randwick Sydney

To exhibit or register visit



Technical Papers

FATE AND TOXICITY OF ENGINEERED NANOMATERIALS IN TREATED WASTEWATER Results of a study to assess the toxicity of nTiO2 in the presence of reference and effluent organic matter E O’Malley



The influence of wastewater-derived organic matter on the fate and toxicity of nanomaterial titanium dioxide (nTiO2) was investigated through a variety of characterisation and toxicity test methods. Although no toxicity was found, this study shows for the first time that testing of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) in environmentally relevant organic matter is important for accurate risk assessment. Characterisation results show that nTiO2 will aggregate and settle out of solution rapidly when in treated effluent compared to growth media or reference organic matter. This result indicates that nTiO2 released in treated effluent is of low risk to aquatic species in the water column.

sunscreens and textiles. Through wastewater treatment approximately 75 to 95% of ENMs will be removed to the sludge phase, leaving the remaining ENMs in the treated effluent, which is commonly released into waterways (Westerhoff et al., 2011). Although this percentage is low, high-production ENMs, such as nTiO2, are released into the aquatic environment in large quantities. Worldwide concentrations modelled in sewage effluent for nTiO2 are in the range of 1.75 µg L-1 to 4.28 µg L-1 (mode) (Gottschalk et al., 2009). Of the estimated ENMs, nTiO2 levels in sewage effluent were the highest. TOXICITY OF NTIO2


The use of ENMs in everyday products has prompted research into their effects in the environment. The risk of ENMs to the environment is unclear, although possible mechanisms of toxicity have been shown, particularly for nTiO2. nTiO2 toxicity is associated mostly with oxidative stress, due to its photoreactive nature, as well as cell membrane damage (Bhatt and Tripathi, 2011; Chen et al. 2012). The effect of nTiO2 on aquatic organisms is variable in toxicity tests due to confounding factors, such as preparation method, experiment medium, concentration and particle coatings, which all affect the level of particle aggregation (Handy et al., 2012). Initially, toxicity tests of ENMs were commonly performed in growth media or de-ionised water with stocks prepared by sonication. A shift towards experiments conducted in natural waters, using more environmentally relevant dispersal methods (shaking) has occurred, although the effect of natural organic matter (NOM) on ENM fate and toxicity is still largely unknown.

Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are a key entry point for ENMs into the environment, given their use in cosmetics,

Research into the interaction between nTiO2 and organic matter has shown instances where natural waters have led


The development of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) is a novel area that continues to rapidly expand, with increasing use in everyday products. Estimates produced by Piccinno et al. (2012) based on worldwide survey data show that nanomaterial titanium dioxide (nTiO2) is the major ENM, with quantities up to 10,000 t year-1. Survey data shows that cosmetics, including sunscreen, account for the major proportion of nTiO2 use. ENMs are purposefully manufactured and are typically defined as materials with at least one dimension between 1 and 100 nm (Bhatt and Tripathi, 2011). Interest in the development and use of ENMs is due to their reduced surface area that enhances properties such as conductivity, photoreactivity and whitening (for nTiO2) (Zucker et al., 2010).


to stabilisation (increasing toxicity) (Keller et al., 2010), and instances where it has produced aggregation (reducing toxicity) (Velzeboer et al., 2008; Lin et al., 2012). The effect of treated wastewater effluent on ENM toxicity is unknown and is likely to differ compared to surface waters due to different NOM compositions. ENMs in wastewater effluent may also interact with organic micropollutants, such as pesticides and pharmaceuticals, potentially altering their toxicity. CHARACTERISATION OF ENMS

ENM characterisation is essential for interpretation of toxicity results and comparison with other studies (Warheit, 2008). Previously, characterisation within toxicity studies has been limited and conducted in growth media or de-ionised water, as characterisation in complex matrices (e.g. wastewater) is challenging (Farré et al., 2011). Laser diffraction and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) were performed to characterise nTiO2. Laser diffraction is used to measure particle size distribution (PSD) based on light-scattering techniques. This technique is less affected by the presence of aggregates, has a short measurement time and large detection range from approximately 30 nm to mm-sized particles (Labille et al., 2010). ICP-MS, which can measure total metal concentrations, can also be used to quantify nTiO2 concentrations in wastewater after sample digestion (Khosravi et al., 2012). TOXICITY TESTING

Toxicity tests on ENMs are often conducted as bioassays, to measure effects on a certain organism or cell type. Bioassays allow for toxicity measurements over a short period of time. Algal bioassays are commonly used for aquatic toxicity tests, measuring growth and photosynthesis. Imaging pulse amplitude


Technical Papers modulated (IPAM) fluorometry is a wellestablished method for determining photosynthesis (Photosystem II) inhibition and has been used within this study. Flow cytometry is commonly used for the rapid measurement of algal cell count, which can be conducted in various aqueous solutions (Stauber, 2002). Flow cytometry measures cell count via the natural florescence of algae and can also measure other endpoints through the use of fluorescent dyes. Methods for the use of the dye fluorescein diactate (FDA) to measure cell viability (esterase activity) are well established (Heinlaan et al., 2008). AIM


The nTiO2 type used was Aeroxide P25 supplied by the National Measurement Institute. It is comprised primarily of anatase (78% anatase, 14% rutile) with a manufacturer-stated particle size of 21 nm. TiO2 stocks were made to a nominal concentration of 1 g L-1 in growth media, covered in foil and shaken overnight (plate shaker, 100 RPM). WASTEWATER

Sixty litres of treated effluent (preUV treatment and chlorination) were collected from a local WWTP in April 2013. The wastewater was filtered with 1.6 µm and 0.45 µm filters, adjusted to pH 2 and stored in acid-washed 20L containers at 4°C. Filtration and acidification of the wastewater preserved


Laser diffraction Analysis of the size and aggregation of nTiO2 in the presence of growth media, humic acid (10 mgC y-1) and wastewater was performed using laser diffraction (Malvern Mastersizer 3000). Wastewater experiments were run with and without algae (1x104 cells mL-1). nTiO2 stock (refractive index: 2.493, absorption: 0.1) was added until an obscuration of around 4% was observed, which corresponded to an initial concentration of 7.5 mg L-1. The samples were stirred at 2000 RPM during analysis. To minimise matrix interference, background levels were measured automatically and subtracted from nTiO2 measurements. To determine changes in nTiO2 size in the different matrices over time, each matrix was measured every 10 minutes for an hour (Neale et al., 2015). ICP-MS Quantification of Ti concentration in nTiO2 samples over time under toxicity test conditions was performed using ICP-MS. Ti is highly insoluble, often requiring the use of strong mineral acids for digestion. To overcome this, a method of digesting Ti based on fusion of Ti with ammonium persulfate followed by dissolution with dilute nitric acid (Khosravi et al., 2012) was used. A Ti calibration curve from 0.5 to 200 µg L-1 was prepared and a wastewater effluent certified reference material BCR-713 (European Commission) was also included for analysis. All samples were spiked with an internal standard (Neale et al., 2015). TOXICITY TESTS

Algal protocol Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata were cultured in growth media (incubated at 22°C, under constant fluorescent light) prior to each experiment. For each toxicity test, 50mL of medium (growth media, wastewater or humic acid) was added to an autoclaved 100mL Erlenmeyer flask. After the addition of any treatments, each flask received algae to achieve a concentration of 1x104 cells mL-1. Each treatment was replicated three times, including control treatments. Over the 72-hour period, flasks were stored on a plate shaker (100

RPM) in incubation (22°C, under constant fluorescent light). Growth inhibition Flow cytometry was used to measure algal cell count over time, from which growth inhibition relative to the control was calculated. nTiO2 concentrations used (1 mg L-1) were higher than those found in the environment, although lower than commonly tested concentrations in literature. From each flask (three replicates for each treatment), 500 µL of sample was vortexed in a microtube and measured for two minutes at a flow rate of 35 μL min-1. Data was collected as events µL-1 using fluorescence detector 3 (FL3) and gating was used to isolate the algae cell counts from the sample matrix. Photosynthesis inhibition Measurements of chlorophyll fluorescence were taken at 24, 48 and 72 hours using IPAM (Walz GmbH, Effeltrich, Germany). A 400 µL sample from each flask (three replicates per treatment) was transferred into a clear 96-well plate to be read. Photosynthetic yield (Y) for each well was calculated by the difference between the maximum photosynthetic yield and the measured photosynthetic yield. Y values were averaged across three replicates with the error associated calculated. Photosystem II inhibition relative to the control was calculated using Equation 1.


Cell viability Used in parallel with growth inhibition measurements, FDA stock was added to algae suspension in a microtube to make a final concentration of 10mg L-1, vortexed, and incubated in the dark for 10 minutes. Measurements were made using fluorescent detector 1 (FL1), which measures at 533 nm. A control without staining was used as a negative control, while a healthy stained sample was used as a positive control (Franklin et al., 2001). Gating was used to isolate the fluorescence range resulting from the hydrolysis of FDA by intracellular esterases (Neale et al., 2015).


Laser diffraction The median size of TiO2 in each media was plotted for all measured time points from PSD curves (Figure 1). The size of TiO2 increased over time in wastewater from 3.5 µm (T= 0, mean diameter) to 12.5 µm (T= 60min,



nTiO2 is the ENM of focus in this study due to its high use and likelihood of entering the environment. The intention of this study was to understand the interactions between ENMs, organic matter and micropollutants. This study also characterised nTiO2 in wastewater and assess aggregation levels in the presence and absence of wastewater. The influence of nTiO2 on the toxicity of an organic micropollutant was also investigated. The herbicide, terbutryn, was the selected micropollutant, functioning also as a positive control in the toxicity tests. ENM toxicity was assessed using flow cytometry to measure algal cell count and esterase production, as well as IPAM, which will measure algal photosynthesis inhibition. Insight into the influence of wastewater-derived organic matter and micropollutants on the fate and toxicity of ENMs provided valuable information on the risk assessment of ENMs discharged from WWTPs.

the organic matter and prevented bacteria growth. The effluent pH was readjusted to 7–8 and was filtered by a 0.22 µm polyethersulfone syringe filter before use. The total organic carbon concentration after 0.22 µm filtration was 9.2 mgC L-1 in April and 8.3 mgC L-1 in September, after concluding experiments (Neale et al., 2015).


Technical Papers As a result, subsequent tests were conducted at 1mg L-1.

Figure 2. ICP-MS quantification of Ti measured in media, humic acid and wastewater. Concentration of Ti over time compared to wastewater control. Modified from Neale et al., 2015. TOXIC EFFECTS ON ALGAE

Effect of wastewater and nTiO2 concentration on toxicity In an initial investigation of the effect of wastewater-derived organic matter on nTiO2 toxicity, algal growth in wastewater and media was measured over 72 hours. No statistical difference was found between the media and wastewater treatments, with no nTiO2 toxicity measured (Figure 3A). Several nTiO2 concentrations were tested to determine if toxicity varied with concentration. In wastewater there was no correlation between algal toxicity and nTiO2 concentration at 0.1, 1 and 10 mg L-1 (Figure 3B). A study by Kulacki (2012) investigated 10 species of algae and found that some responded positively to increasing nTiO2 concentration while other species responded negatively.

Figure 1. Particle diameter at median of PSD (µm) as indicated by laser diffraction over several time measurements of TiO2 in media, humic acid, wastewater and wastewater with algae. Modified from Neale et al., 2015. ICP-MS ICP-MS measured titanium (Ti) concentrations at time zero in toxicity tests were 868 (± 13) µg L-1 in wastewater. Similar Ti concentrations were found for media and humic acid samples. It is likely that not all Ti was digested, resulting in a slightly lower concentration than the added 1 mg L-1. Ti loss over time was very high in wastewater, compared to media and humic acid (Figure 2). Ti lost from solution was less than 25% in humic acid, supporting previous laser diffraction results showing highest Ti stability in humic acid. Figure 2 shows that after 24 hours the Ti concentration in wastewater is at background levels, indicating that almost all particles have settled out.


Growth Inhibition (%)



Media Wastewater





Growth Inhibition (%)


median diameter); this increase is not as evident in media or humic acid, but was even greater in wastewater in the presence of algae. This increase over time suggests that wastewaterderived organic matter leads to greater aggregation of nTiO2 compared to reference organic matter. The median diameter of nTiO2 in all solutions was initially similar. The dispersion and stability of ENMs in organic-rich solutions has been little studied and is complex. Aggregation and toxicity are influenced by organic matter type and ionic strength, with toxicities varying among test species (Gao et al., 2009; Misra et al., 2012). This study supports previous work highlighting the importance of toxicity tests being carried out in natural matrices to achieve environmentally valid results. In this study, the nTiO2 particles in all medium types were larger than nano-sized from time zero, with sizes ranging from 1.4 µm to 1.5 µm in the lower 10th percentile of their PSD curves. This indicates that nTiO2 in solution is unlikely to be nano-sized and will experience more aggregation in effluent impacted waters.


40 Time (hr)




0.1 mg L-1 1 mg L-1 10 mg L-1





40 60 Time (hr)



Figure 3. Growth inhibition relative to control of P. subcapitata treated with A) 1mg L-1 TiO2 in media and wastewater over 72 hours and with B) 0.1, 1 and 10mg L-1 nTiO2 in wastewater, over 96 hours.

nTiO2 No toxicity towards P. subcapitata was found from nTiO2 in wastewater over 72 hours (Figure 4). Esterase inhibition measured during toxicity tests gave similar results to growth inhibition over all time points (Figure 4A); the lack of esterase inhibition suggests that nTiO2 did not reduce enzyme activity or damage the algal cell membrane (Stauber, 2002). Terbutryn, used as a positive control, induced growth and photosynthesis inhibition as measured by Tang and Escher (2013), validating the bioassay. The lack of toxic effect agrees with literature showing that nTiO2 concentrations causing 50% effect towards algae are in the range of 5.8 to 71 mg L-1 (Warheit et al., 2007; Aruoja et al., 2009; Hartmann et al., 2010). Due to aggregation and settling of nTiO2 in wastewater, concentrations in solution were much lower than the added 1 mg L-1, resulting in exposure levels much lower than those previously described as toxic towards algae. Toxicity of nTiO2 is influenced by the nTiO2 stock dispersion method and the type of media used, which affect stability. Even at high nTiO2 concentrations of up to 100mg L-1, Velzeboer et al. (2008) found no toxic effect towards algae tested in pond water due to high aggregation and settling of the particles. Using sonication as an ENM dispersal method has been shown to increase toxicity, although within studies using this method and the same test medium results still vary as previously described because no protocol exists (Handy et al., 2012). By using concentrations and a matrix more comparable to the natural environment, this study demonstrates that toxic effects found in pure water or by using unrealistic preparation methods can give environmentally irrelevant results. P25 nTiO2 was tested consistently as it is more photocatalytic than rutile nTiO2, which can lead to high levels of oxidative stress (Ji et al., 2011; Peralta-Videa et al., 2011), but again no toxic effects were found in the present study. Results using the H2DCFDA stain to detect the formation of reactive oxygen species were inconclusive and, therefore, omitted. NTIO2 INTERACTION WITH MICROPOLLUTANTS

The toxicity of terbutryn in wastewater towards algae was not significantly altered in the presence of nTiO2 (Figure 5). Partitioning experiments conducted


Technical Papers

(open symbols)









40 Time (hr)




closed symbols

Growth Inhibition (%)


Terbutryn nTiO2 + Terbutryn

Photosynthesis Inhibition (%)


Figure 5. Combined effect of terbutryn with nTiO2 on growth and photosynthesis inhibition compared to wastewater control over 72 hours, and compared to terbutryn alone.

Figure 4. Toxicity of nTiO2 at 1 mg L-1 in wastewater towards P. subcapitata, with terbutryn used as a positive control. A) growth and esterase inhibition and B) photosynthesis inhibition, relative to control over 72 hours. Modified from Neale et al., 2015.


To investigate the effect of organic matter, the toxicity of nTiO2 alone and in combination with terbutryn was tested in wastewater, and humic acid at 2mg L-1 and 10mg L-1. Figure 6A shows no significant toxic effect towards P. subcapitata from nTiO2 in wastewater or humic acid. nTiO2 did not inhibit photosynthesis in any medium. In the

Terbutryn growth inhibition was highly variable among solutions with and without the addition of nTiO2 (Figures 6B, C). Both growth and photosynthesis inhibition were lower in humic acid compared to wastewater. In humic acid, terbutryn with and without nTiO2 did not clearly inhibit growth until 48 hours in 10 mgC L-1 and 72 hours in 2 mgC L-1. The initial lower toxicity in humic acid tests is possibly due to a difference in the sorption of terbutryn to the different organic matter types (Neale et al., 2011). In all organic matter treatments, the effect of terbutryn with nTiO2 was highly similar to terbutryn alone, as expected from results showing no sorption of terbutryn to nTiO2 and no nTiO2 toxicity alone.

CONCLUSION The toxicity of ENMs has been widely studied in recent years, although studies that have environmental relevance are lacking. This study contributes towards that knowledge gap by assessing the toxicity of nTiO2 in the presence of reference and effluent organic matter. Characterisation was conducted on nTiO2 to investigate the effects of different types of organic matter. nTiO2 particles formed aggregates larger than the nano-scale in all tested mediums. These aggregates remained stable in humic acid and growth media over 16 hours,

Figure 6. Growth and photosynthesis inhibition relative to control when treated with A) nTiO2, B) Terbutryn and C) nTiO2 with terbutryn, in wastewater and humic acid at 2 mgC L-1 and 10 mgC L-1. but were not stable in wastewater, suggesting that aggregation and settling of nTiO2 would occur rapidly in effluentimpacted environments. It is assumed that the different organic matter composition of wastewater compared to humic acid led to the difference in stability. Despite these findings, test medium type was not of significance in nTiO2 toxicity. A lack of ENM toxicity is believed to result from particle aggregation, resulting in low exposure levels. No interaction between the micropollutant terbutryn and nTiO2 was observed at the studied concentrations. Therefore we can conclude that nTiO2 released from WWTPs is unlikely to be of risk to aquatic species in the water column, although risk may increase upon increasing use of ENMs in consumer products. Areas suggested for further research include: the effect of ENMs on benthic organisms, as well as the possibility of mixture toxicity among ENMs. It is recommended that toxicity tests for the risk assessment of ENMs be conducted in realistic matrices to achieve environmentally relevant results. This paper was a runner-up in the Undergraduate Water Prize at Ozwater’15 in Adelaide in May.



using a PDMS depletion method (Neale et al., 2011), showed no interaction between terbutryn and nTiO2 (personal communication P. Neale). The lack of an interaction explains nTiO2 not altering terbutryn toxicity. While an interaction of terbutryn with nTiO2 was not seen in wastewater, previous studies have shown that nTiO2 can interact with metals and charged pollutants. nTiO2 in growth media at a concentration of 2 mg L-1 was found to reduce the toxicity of cadmium towards algae, sorption of cadmium into TiO2 particles occurred quickly (30–60 minutes), decreasing bioavailability (Hartmann et al., 2010). This result is likely to vary in environmental samples, such as wastewater, as the characterisation data from this study shows aggregation and decreased stability of nTiO2 in wastewater compared to media, which will affect ENM interaction with pollutants. Interactions between nTiO2 and terbutryn will have been limited because terbutryn is neutral.

presence of 10 mgC L-1 humic acid and nTiO2, algal growth relative to control increased up to 72 hours. nTiO2 producing a positive effect on algal growth may only be seen at the higher concentration of humic acid because nTiO2 will be most stable. No trend is evident between the levels of organic matter and algal growth in the presence of nTiO2, despite characterisation data showing greater stability in humic acid than wastewater. The lack of toxicity in humic acid tests, where nTiO2 remains stable, shows that nTiO2 aggregates at 1 mg L-1 are not toxic towards algae, this will be even more relevant in environmental samples (such as wastewater) where stability is reduced.



Franklin NM, Stauber JL & Lim RP (2001): Development of Flow Cytometry-Based Algal Bioassays for Assessing Toxicity of Copper in Natural Waters. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 20, 1, pp 160–170.

Lin D, Ji J, Long Z, Yang K & Wu F (2012): The Influence of Dissolved and SurfaceBound Humic Acid on the Toxicity of TiO(2) Nanoparticles to Chlorella sp. Water Research, 46, 14, pp 4477–4487.

Thank you to Professor Beate Escher and Dr Peta Neale for their supervision during this project; and Asa Jamting, Jan Herrmann and Victoria Coleman from the National Measurement Institute for providing training and the use of nanoparticle characterisation instruments, and for their support over the project. I would also like to acknowledge the Entox research staff that supported me and assisted with various components of my laboratory work. A special mention goes to Lixia Qi for providing training and the use of ICPMS. Recognition goes to Water Research Australia for financial and professional support. I would also like to acknowledge financial support from the University of Queensland Collaboration and Industry Engagement Fund (CIEF) grant.

Gao J, Youn S, Hovsepyan A, Llaneza VnL, Wang Y, Bitton G & Bonzongo J-CJ (2009): Dispersion and Toxicity of Selected Manufactured Nanomaterials in Natural River Water Samples: Effects of Water Chemical Composition. Environmental Science and Technology, 43, 9, pp 3322–3328.

Misra SK, Dybowska A, Berhanu D, Luoma SN & Valsami-Jones E (2012): The Complexity of Nanoparticle Dissolution and its Importance in Nanotoxicological Studies. Science of The Total Environment, 438, 1 November 2012, pp 225–232.


Hartmann NB, Von der Kammer F, Hofmann T, Baalousha M, Ottofuelling S & Baun A (2010): Algal Testing of Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles – Testing Considerations, Inhibitory Effects and Modification of Cadmium Bioavailability. Toxicology, 269, 2–3, pp 190–197.


Extended version published in Environmental Science: Nano. DOI: 10.1039/C4EN00161C, Paper.

Elissa O’Malley (email: e.omalley@uq.edu. au) graduated from the University of Queensland in 2013 with an Honours class 2A. She completed her project at the National Research Centre of Environmental Toxicology (Entox). Elissa was awarded a Water Research Australia scholarship for her project and continues to work at Entox as a research assistant on various water quality projects. Since graduating she has been awarded the State AWA Undergraduate Award and has presented at Ozwater’15.

REFERENCES Aruoja V, Dubourguier HC, Kasemets K & Kahru A (2009): Toxicity of Nanoparticles of CuO, ZnO and TiO2 to Microalgae Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata. The Science of the Total Environment, 407, 4, pp 1461–1468. Bhatt I & Tripathi BN (2011): Interaction of Engineered Nanoparticles with Various Components of the Environment and Possible Strategies for their Risk Assessment. Chemosphere, 82, 3, pp 308–317. Chen L, Zhou L, Liu Y, Deng S, Wu H & Wang G (2012): Toxicological Effects of Nanometer Titanium Dioxide (Nano-TiO2) on Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 84, pp 155–162. Farré M, Sanchís J & Barceló D (2011): Analysis and Assessment of the Occurrence, the Fate and the Behavior of Nanomaterials in the Environment. TrAC Trends in Analytical Chemistry, 30, 3, pp 517–527.


Gottschalk F, Sonderer T, Scholz RW & Nowack B (2009): Modeled Environmental Concentrations of Engineered Nanomaterials (TiO2, ZnO, Ag, CNT, Fullerenes) for Different Regions. Environmental Science & Technology, 43, 24, pp 9216–9222. Handy RD, Cornelis G, Fernandes T, Tsyusko O, Decho A, Sabo-Attwood T, Metcalfe C, Steevens JA, Klaine SJ, Koelmans AA & Horne N (2012): Ecotoxicity Test Methods for Engineered Nanomaterials: Practical Experiences and Recommendations from the Bench. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 31, 1, pp 15–31.

Heinlaan M, Ivask A, Blinova I, Dubourguier HC & Kahru A (2008): Toxicity of Nanosized and Bulk ZnO, CuO and TiO2 to Bacteria Vibrio fischeri and Crustaceans Daphnia magna and Thamnocephalus platyurus. Chemosphere, 71, 7, pp 1308–1316. Ji J, Long Z & Lin D (2011): Toxicity of Oxide Nanoparticles to the Green Algae Chlorella sp. Chemical Engineering Journal, 170, 2–3, pp 525–530. Keller AA, Wang H, Zhou D, Lenihan HS, Cherr G, Cardinale BJ, Miller R & Ji Z (2010): Stability and Aggregation of Metal Oxide Nanoparticles in Natural Aqueous Matricies. Environmental Science and Technology, 44, 6. Khosravi K, Hoque ME, Dimock B, Hintelmann H & Metcalfe CD (2012): A Novel Approach for Determining Total Titanium from Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles Suspended in Water and Biosolids by Digestion with Ammonium Persulfate. Analytica Chimica Acta, 713, 0, pp 86–91. Kulacki KJ & Cardinale BJ (2012): Effects of Nano-Titanium Dioxide on Freshwater Algal Population Dynamics. Public Library Of Science ONE, 7, 10, e47130. Labille J, Feng J, Botta C, Borschneck D, Sammut M, Cabie M, Auffan M, Rose J & Bottero JY (2010): Aging of TiO(2) Nanocomposites Used in Sunscreen. Dispersion and Fate of the Degradation Products in Aqueous Environment. Environmental Pollution, 158, 12, pp 3482– 3489.

Neale PA, Jamting AK, O’Malley E, Herrmann J & Escher BI (2015): Behaviour of Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles in the Presence of Wastewater Derived Organic Matter and Implications for Algal Toxicity. Environmental Science: Nano, 2, pp 86–93. Neale PA, Antony A, Gernjak W, Leslie G & Escher BI (2011): Natural Versus Wastewater Derived Dissolved Organic Carbon: Implications for the Environmental Fate of Organic Micropollutants. Water Research, 45, 14, pp 4227–4237. Peralta-Videa JR, Zhao LJ, Lopez-Moreno ML, de la Rosa G, Hong J & Gardea-Torresdey JL (2011): Nanomaterials and the Environment: A Review for the Biennium 2008–2010. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 186, 1, pp 1–15. Piccinno F, Gottschalk F, Seeger S & Nowack B (2012): Industrial Production Quantities and Uses of Ten Engineered Nanomaterials in Europe and the World. Journal of Nanoparticle Research, 14, 9, pp 1–11. Stauber JL, Franklin NM & Merrin SA (2002): Applications of Flow Cytometry to Ecotoxicity Testing Using Microalgae. TRENDS in Biotechnology, 20, 4, pp 141–143. Tang JYM & Escher BI (2014): Realistic Envionmental Mixtures of Micropollutants in Surface, Drinking and Recycled Water: Herbicides Dominate the Mixture Toxicity Towards Algae. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 33, 6, pp 1427–1436. Velzeboer I, Hendriks AJ, Ragas AMJ & Van de Meent D (2008): Aquatic Ecotoxicity Tests of Some Nanomaterials. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 27, 9, pp 1942–1947. Warheit DB (2008): How Meaningful are the Results of Nanotoxicity Studies in the Absence of Adequate Material Characterization? Toxicological Sciences, 101, 2, pp 183–185. Warheit DB, Hoke RA, Finlay C, Donner EM, Reed KL & Sayes CM (2007): Development of a Base Set of Toxicity Tests Using Ultrafine TiO2 Particles as a Component of Nanoparticle Risk Management. Toxicology Letters, 171, 3, pp 99–110. Westerhoff P, Song G, Hristovski K & Kiser MA (2011): Occurrence and Removal of Titanium at Full Scale Wastewater Treatment Plants: Implications for TiO2 Nanomaterials. Journal of Environmental Monitoring, 13, 5, pp 1195–1203. Zucker RM, Massaro EJ, Sanders KM, Degn LL & Boyes WK (2010): Detection of TiO2 Nanoparticles in Cells by Flow Cytometry. Cytometry A, 77, 7, pp 677–685.


Technical Papers

SEWEX MODELLING TO SUPPORT CORROSION AND ODOUR MANAGEMENT IN SEWERS A description of the SeweX model and its application as a management planning tool T Nguyen, K Sharma, G Jiang, R Ganigué, J Cesca, Lam Vuong, Z Yuan

INTRODUCTION Sewer corrosion and odour problems are common worldwide. The annual cost of rehabilitation of corroded sewers and other mitigation actions was estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars in Australia alone. This cost is likely to increase as the sewers get older (Pikaar et al., 2014). The primary cause of sewer corrosion and odour problems is the hydrogen sulfide generated by sulfate-reducing bacteria in the sewers. Therefore, understanding the biotransformation processes in the sewer that produce hydrogen sulfide is essential in solving this problem.

In 2008, the UQ AWMC led a consortium of nine Australian water utilities, six universities and one consulting company to obtain a second ARC Industry Linkage Grant to extend this research into large sewerage systems consisting of both pressurised and gravity sewers. This five-year $20M Sewer Corrosion & Odour Research (SCORe) project was completed in 2013 and generated new knowledge and an innovative set of tools

This paper provides a description of the SeweX model and the application of this model as a planning tool to develop a management strategy for a large sewerage system, as well as an operational tool to optimise the use of chemicals to mitigate corrosion and odour problems.

AN OVERVIEW OF THE SEWEX MODEL The SeweX model is a state-of-the-art simulation tool for predicting hydrogen sulfide and methane production in sewers, among many other water quality parameters (Sharma et al., 2008, 2013, 2014; Guisasola et al., 2009). The model takes into account the dynamics of both flow and wastewater characteristics and describes the insewer biological, chemical and physical processes. The model uses sewer network configuration, pipe geometry, wastewater characteristics and hydraulic data as inputs and predicts both the temporal and spatial variations of wastewater composition, including sulfate, sulfide and methane in sewers. A conceptual SeweX modelling framework is presented in Figure 1. The model is currently built on the MATLAB®/SIMULINK® platform. The SeweX model has been developed based on available literature, and the results of extensive laboratory studies carried out at the University of Queensland and field studies conducted

in a number of sewer systems in Australia. The SeweX model considers the following in-sewer processes: 1.

Convective transport of wastewater and air as applicable;


Biological carbon transformations under aerobic, anoxic and anaerobic conditions;


Biological sulfur transformations consisting of sulfate reduction, microbial oxidation of sulfide with oxygen and nitrate, and also sulfur release from hydrolysis of organic sulfur compounds;


Chemical oxidation of sulfide with oxygen;


Chemical precipitation of sulfide and several other competing anions by metal ions;


Gaseous transfer between the liquid and the gas phases (in gravity sewers);


Uptake of hydrogen sulfide in the headspace;


Weak acid-base equilibrium chemistry for pH prediction.

The effects of sewer flow velocity and wastewater pH on in-sewer biological processes have been incorporated in the model. The SeweX model, by including these processes, is able to predict the spatial and temporal changes of the following in a sewer system: 1.

Hydrogen sulfide and methane concentrations in both liquid and gas phases;


General wastewater composition including pH as a result of the biological, chemical and physical processes;


Wastewater composition due to the implementation of a mitigation strategy



In 2004, the University of Queensland’s Advanced Water Management Centre (UQ AWMC), in collaboration with Gold Coast Water and Sydney Water, obtained an Australian Research Council (ARC) Industry Linkage Grant to conduct research into these biotransformation processes in pressurised sewerage systems. This three-year $1.5M project was completed in 2007 and generated not only better understanding of these processes, but also a SeweX model that accurately describes these processes. This work was awarded the International Water Association (IWA) East Asia & Pacific Regional Project Innovation Award 2008 in the category of Applied Research.

for optimal management of corrosion and odour problems in sewers. One of these tools is a further enhanced SeweX model that was successfully used by the project collaborators as both a planning and an operational optimisation tool during the life of the project. This project was awarded the IWA East Asia & Pacific Regional and the Global Project Innovation Award – Applied Research in 2014.


Technical Papers (chemical dosing, ventilation etc) for odour and/or corrosion problems.

SeweX Modelling

The SeweX model also provides data for the concrete corrosion rate estimation. In order to achieve the above outcomes, a number of model inputs listed below are required:

Model Inputs

Flow Measurement

Airflow measurement

Pump Operation Data

Hydraulic Data

Sewer Network Data

Wastewater Characteristics

Airflow Data

Environmental Conditions

Ventilation Model

Hydraulic Model

• Layout of the sewer system, showing connection of branches and trunk sewers, and locations of manholes, pump stations and other sewer structures;

Modelled Processes H2S adsorption, H2SO4 formation leading to concrete corrosion

Grey Rd. PS

Fryer St. PS

• Sewer pipe length, diameter and slope as appropriate;


Rupara Ct. PS


Gas Transport

Gas transfer (Emission/ Reaeration)

Alia Drive PS

Reliance Rd. PS

• Hydraulic data of the sewer system: the model in its current form does not have the capability of modelling the hydraulics and, hence, the required hydraulic data needs to be imported from other hydraulic models. The model requires dynamic data in terms of flow rate, water depth and flow velocity, and the SeweX model calculates other hydraulic parameters required by the model based on the input data;

Field Measurement


Air-water interace

St. Vincent Av. PS River Pd. PS

Biological Processes Sulfur Cycle, Carbon Cycle and Nitrogen Cycle under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions


Physico-Chemical Processes Chemical oxidation, precipitation, weak acid-base equilibrium

Sediment Sewer Biofilm

Sewer Pipe

Sewer Network

Processes included in SeweX model


Model Outputs Air-phase H2S and CH4 concentrations

• Wastewater characteristics: time series of the concentrations of a number of water quality parameters;

Sewer corrosion rate and service life of sewer

Liquid-phase concentrations of various sulfur and carbon compounds, and pH

Identification of hot-spots

• Temperature and humidity data; • Chemical dosing rates in cases where chemicals are added for sulfide control; • Ventilation data.


SEWEX AS A PLANNING TOOL Several water utilities in Australia have used SeweX as a planning tool, with some encouraging outcomes. The use of SeweX by Sydney Water and SA Water in corrosion and odour control management is discussed here. Sydney Water, a collaborator of the SCORe project, used the SeweX model as a planning tool to develop a Corrosion & Odour Management Strategy for all of its sewerage systems. Sydney Water’s staff presented case studies of this work at various conferences and symposiums in the last few years (Vorreiter et al., 2015; Wang et al., 2013a, 2013b; Nguyen and Nobi, 2010). Typically, a SeweX model is set up, calibrated and validated for the selected system. The model is run first without any mitigation action to establish a baseline system performance with respect to


Odour Disperson Model

Odour based evaluation

Wastewater Treatment Plant Model

Impacts on treatment plant performance

Figure 1. Conceptual SeweX modelling framework including its possible integration with other models. corrosion and odour. The model is then run with the existing mitigation action to assess its effectiveness in managing the corrosion and odour problems. The baseline and existing system performance is assessed against the target system performance to establish the gaps, which can be used to identify potential mitigation solutions. These mitigation solutions are identified and prioritised within the following groups to target the root causes of the performance gaps: • Trade waste control to limit the input of precursors to sulfide generation and release, such as high and biodegradable BOD/COD load, high temperature or low pH;

• Change operating environment to reduce sulfide generation, such as reduce detention time, remove or inactivate sewer biofilm, increase dissolved oxygen level or increase pH; • Remove sulfide generated in liquid phase with chemicals such as oxygen, nitrate or iron salts; • Reduce release of sulfide into the gas phase, where it causes corrosion and odour problems, by reducing turbulence or increasing pH; • Reduce sulfide in the sewer gas space by natural ventilation or forced ventilation and treatment of ventilated air if required. The SeweX model has the capability to incorporate and simulate these mitigation


Technical Papers In order to support strategic decisions for cost-effective odour and corrosion management of their sewer catchments, SA Water engaged CH2M HILL and the UQ AWMC (all SCORe project partners) to apply the knowledge, tools and practices developed as part of the SCORe project (Cesca et al., 2015). The SeweX model was used for the development and evaluation of management strategies for the following sewerage systems: • Christies Beach North; • Christies Beach South; • Ethelton; • Salisbury South.

Figure 2. Net Present Cost comparison between preferred option (VECXL4) and existing mitigation solution (VECELE) for Sydney Water North Head system. (Source: Vorreiter et al., 2015 – Presentation at Sewer Corrosion & Odour Management through modelling workshop). The estimated saving was approximately $86M.

Similar methodologies and approaches were used to develop cost-effective odour and corrosion management strategies for each of these sewer catchments. Development of the sewer odour and corrosion management strategy for the Ethelton catchment is presented as an example. The Ethelton network consists of a long trunk main receiving wastewater from pump stations along its alignment (Figure 4). The northern section of the catchment, which feeds into this trunk main, also consists of daisy chain pump stations. The sewer system has 28 pump stations with an average dry weather flow of 10.7 ML/day. This sewer configuration results in long detention times, causing odour issues at the points of rising main discharge and downstream sections of gravity sewer where dissolved gases can escape to sewer headspace. SA Water received 111 odour complaints from the Ethelton catchment between 2003 and 2013.

solutions to assess their effectiveness and efficiency. This capability includes multiple locations of chemical dosing and ventilation facility, as well as dynamic changes of chemical dosing rate and ventilation. At the IWA Watermatex Conference in the Gold Coast in June 2015, Sydney Water (Vorreiter et al., 2015) presented a number of case studies demonstrating the use of the SeweX model as a planning tool for its large sewerage systems. Figure 2 presents the results of one of the case studies

comparing the 30-year net present cost (NPC) of corrosion and odour management for Sydney Water’s North Head sewerage system between the preferred option and the existing mitigation action. The estimated saving was more than $80M. Figure 3 presents the results for the Malabar sewerage system where a similar saving was estimated. These case studies demonstrate the significant saving that could be achieved when SeweX is used as a planning tool.



Figure 3. Net Present Cost comparison between preferred option (VECXL4) and existing mitigation solution (VECELE) for the Sydney Water Malabar system. (Source: Vorreiter et al., 2015). The estimated saving was more than $80M.

Physical sewer characteristics and pump flow data, and data collected through a detailed field sampling/ measurement campaign, were used to develop inputs for the SeweX model. Calibration and validation of the model were undertaken to confirm that the model had been appropriately configured before “hot spots” (locations where high H2S concentrations can lead to corrosion or odour complaints) for odour and corrosion within the network were identified. The model-predicted gas phase H2S levels along the sewer alignment are illustrated graphically in Figure 4, which would serve visualisation of potential spots where elevated levels of H2S are expected. As elevated headspace H2S levels are the causes of


Technical Papers

PS near Port Adelaide Cruise Terminal

between Railway Terrace manhole (MH) and Bower Road Pump Station. This data was compared with historical odour complaints data and condition ratings data from CCTV inspections to validate further the model predictions. The hotspots identified using the modelling results were ranked as high, medium or low risk, and strategies for management of odour and corrosion within the catchments were then developed.

Annie Watt Cct PS

Lady Ruthven Dr PS

Carthage Ct PS

Jib Ct PS Mersey Rd North PS

Lysander Cres PS Gordon Luxton Dr PS

Alexa Rd PS

Read Ct PS One and All Dr PS

Salem Ct PS

Lady Gourie Dr PS

The following three strategies selected out of the six shortlisted management options were modelled with the SeweX model and the optimised chemical dosing locations and dosing rates were determined. Airflow rates requiring extraction from the sewer were also estimated using the SCORe ventilation tool.

Railway Terrace MH Marmora Tce/ Mersey Rd North PS

Gedville Rd PS Dimboola St PS Aldinga St PS

Wandilla St PS

• Strategy 1 – Air stripping, ventilation and treatment of foul air extracted from Olive St MH and ventilation and treatment of foul air extracted from Carlisle St MH;

George Robertson Dr PS Willochra St PS

• Strategy 2 – Ventilation and treatment of foul air extracted from Olive St MH and Carlisle St MH with an optional system at Hughes St;

Victoria Rd PS

Olive St MH

• Strategy 3 – Dosing with ferric chloride at Railway Terrace MH.

PS at the end of Olive St

Headspace H2S Levels

Huges St MH

H2S > 100 ppm H2S = 40-100 ppm H2S = 20-40 ppm


H2S = 0-20 ppm

Bower Rd PS Beachway Ave PS

Discharge to downstream network

Pumping Station Discharge Manhole Rising Main Sewer

Figure 4. Ethelton sewer network showing headspace H2S levels. odour and corrosion, the map allows identification of odour and corrosion “hot spots”. Although not presented here, SeweX model simulation also allows similar plots for dissolved sulfide levels and estimated corrosion rates along the sewer alignment. From the simulation results, H2S “hot spots” were concluded to be the result


of high levels of dissolved sulfide in the wastewater due to its generation in the rising mains and release during the subsequent discharge of wastewater into downstream gravity sewers. The transport of the sulfide through the network, along with pump stations discharging sulfide-rich wastewater into the sewer trunk gives rise to systemic issues in the trunk main

Further modelling using SeweX was then undertaken to determine the impact of each strategy and to optimise solutions, including determination of the chemical dose rates. A multi-criteria analysis, which encompassed financial analysis as one of the components, was employed to compare the proposed strategies. Strategy 2, which involves ventilation and treatment of foul air extracted from the sewer, was found preferable for mitigating the corrosion problem in the Ethelton Catchment. This case study has demonstrated SeweX as a valuable tool to support strategic decisions in developing a cost-effective odour and corrosion management strategy for a sewer system.

SEWEX AS AN OPERATIONAL OPTIMISATION TOOL A typical mitigation strategy to manage corrosion and odour problems in pressurised sewerage systems with long detention times is to remove the sulfide generated with chemicals such as oxygen, calcium nitrate or ferric chloride. The chemical dosing facility is usually located at the wastewater


Technical Papers

Table 1. Summary of results of feed-forward chemical dosing control for the Bellambi system. (Source: Wang et al., 2015) Parameters


Profiled dosing

Feed-forward dosing

Wastewater flow (L/sec)

292 ± 30

244 ± 25

240 ± 25


7.4 ± 0.2

7.3 ± 0.2

7.4 ± 0.2

Average TDS (mg S/L)




90% TDS (mg S/L)







Iron dosage (L/day)

*Data from previous study (Nguyen et al., 2009).

pumping station at the beginning of the pressurised system. The chemical is dosed into either the wet well of the pumping station or the pressure main after the pump. The chemical dosing rate is usually constant or paced to the flow entering or leaving the pumping station. This dosing regime is not effective due to the dynamic nature of the flow and the rate of the sulfide generation in the system. For example, the rate of sulfide generation in the system is changing with the hydraulic retention time, therefore a constant or flow-paced chemical dosing rate will result in over-dosing during highflow/low-detention time or under-dosing during low-flow/high-detention time. The SeweX model has the capability to predict the dynamic sulfide generation profile under various flow conditions and generate the correct chemical dosing profile that matches the sulfide profile for effective and efficient removal. Three case studies have been presented here to illustrate the use of SeweX in achieving cost-effective chemical dosing control. IRON SALT DOSING CONTROL

The SCORe project also developed an Auto Regressive Moving Average (ARMA) algorithm that predicts the future dynamic wastewater flow rate using current wastewater flowrate data from online instruments (Chen et al., 2015). This can be coupled to the SeweX model to determine the adequate chemical dosing profile to mitigate the predicted future sulfide generation profile. In 2014, Sydney Water, in collaboration with AWMC/UQ, implemented a SCADA


An on-line control methodology for the optimised dosing of magnesium hydroxide (Mg(OH)2) was designed for the dosing at the wet-well and beginning of the pipe (Ganigué et al., 2012). The methodology contains a Mg(OH)2 dosing controller with the following three main components: • Determination of the amount of Mg(OH)2 required to increase the wastewater pH to a desired set-point (feed-forward control) – dependent on the raw wastewater pH and buffering capacity; • Estimation of proton production as a function of hydraulic residence time and pipe properties, using a mathematical model and dosing adjustment to balance the pH decrease due to biological activity (feed-forward control); • Dosing adjustment based on the long-term measurement of pH at the control point (feedback control). The on-line control methodology was first tested in a simulation study to assess its performance. The study was conducted using the SeweX model applied to an 828m-long rising main sewer pipe with a diameter of 150mm. The performance of the on-line control methodology was compared with a classical flow-paced control, in which the amount of chemical delivered is proportional to the wastewater flow rate. Three different flow-paced dosing regimes were tested through model simulation: low, medium and high.

The flow-paced strategy with the medium dosing rate was able to keep the average pH at around 9.0, with significant variations in the measured pH levels with a range of 8.8 to 9.4. On the other hand, the on-line control methodology allowed maintaining the pH at the discharge location close to the desired set-point of 9.0 with only minor variations. The improved performance was because of the ability of on-line control methodology to adjust the dosing automatically based on the current state of the system. Figure 5 presents the simulated dosing rate profiles for the flow-paced control with the medium dosing rate and on-line control on a typical day. Wastewater pH at the wet-well and pH level at the discharge location are also depicted on the same graph. The results show significant improvement in pH control with a lower chemical requirement. Comparing the online control dosing with the flow-paced control (medium), chemical consumption was reduced by about 10%, while a much more stable pH control was achieved. The on-line control strategy developed above was implemented at the Queensbury SPS of South Australia Water for validation purpose. The rising main sewer is a 600mm diameter pipe 5,290m long and carries average dry weather flow of 12 ML/day. The online measured data revealed a much more stable pH level at the discharge location with the implementation of the on-line dosing control. This also resulted in an estimated saving of 15% or $41,000 per year, which is significant considering the size of the sewer system. NITRATE DOSING CONTROL

The SeweX model was also employed to develop a control algorithm for nitrate dosing to achieve cost-effective sulfide control in a sewer system. In this algorithm, nitrate dosage is designed to satisfy two consumption processes: the oxidation of sulfide produced upstream; and the heterotrophic organic matter oxidation during the transportation of wastewater from the dosing site to the discharge point/control point.



In 2009, Sydney Water (Nguyen et al., 2009) used the SeweX model to develop a daily chemical dosing profile to replace the original flow-paced dosing profile for Sydney Water’s Bellambi 10km pressurised sewer system and achieved a saving of more than 20% in chemical cost.

feed-forward control system applying the new predictive capability of SeweX/ ARMA models to the same Bellambi system (Wang et al., 2015). The results, as summarised in Table 1, showed a further 25% saving in chemical cost in comparison to profile dosing control.

The flow-paced control showed varying results in terms of pH control. Flowpaced control at the low dosing rate was not able to meet the pH set-point at the discharge location, whereas the pH was consistently above the set-point at the high dosing rate.


Technical Papers SEWEX AS AN INTEGRATED MODELLING TOOL An urban water system consists of a number of components, including drinking water treatment and supply, and wastewater collection and treatment. An integrated modelling approach helps in investigating the impacts of changes in one subsystem on the performance and operation of other downstream subsystems. The SeweX model has been used as a key component in integrated modelling of urban water systems. SeweX and WWTP models, when used together, have been illustrated as valuable tools for optimal urban water system management.

Figure 5. Dosing rates and pH profiles during one day of flow-paced (medium) and on-line control. (Source: GaniguĂŠ et al., 2012)


A correction factor was also applied to account for the effects of quiescent periods caused by intermittent pump operation. The algorithm was validated using a field monitoring study at Clifton Springs SPS#3 rising main of Barwon Water in Victoria. The rising main pipe has a length of 1900m and a diameter of 250mm, and average dry weather flow of 0.8 ML/d. The hydraulic retention time in the rising main pipe ranges between one and seven hours, with an average of 3.2 hours.

A S::CAN unit and an Odalog H2S sensor were installed at the discharge manhole to monitor the dissolved sulfide concentration in the wastewater and the gaseous H2S concentration. In addition, the chemical usage was recorded for both the existing profile and the optimised profiles.

Previously, calcium nitrate was dosed directly into the outlet pipe from the SPS according to a profiled flow-paced control to mitigate sulfide corrosion and odours. The optimised profiles were firstly compared to the existing profile for the daily nitrate dosing requirement using model simulations. Typical wastewater flow and pumping pattern were used in the simulations and the results showed significant savings in chemicals by implementing the optimised dosing profile.

As shown in Figure 6, the optimised profiles achieved comparable control of total dissolved sulfide as that of the existing profile. In the case of the existing profile, nitrate was likely overdosed during the morning period leading to residual nitrate reaching 14 mgN/L at the discharge location. The overdosing of nitrate was reduced greatly, with the optimised profile achieving residual nitrate levels below 2 mgN/L throughout the day. The average nitrate at the discharge location was reduced from 1.9 to 0.1 mgN/L. The actual daily chemical consumption record showed that the optimised profile was able to achieve a 42% saving in chemical requirement during the trial period.

The actual performance of the optimised profile and corresponding chemical saving were validated by implementing the profiles in the field.

These case studies illustrate how an optimal chemical dosing profile could be developed and tested using SeweX before being implemented in the field.


It has been common practice to assess the performance and cost effectiveness of different options of chemical dosing to sewers based on the controlled sulfide levels at the end of the sewer system, thereby ignoring the impacts on the WWTP performance. In reality, the chemicals added to sewers, in addition to preventing the production of sulfide and/or its release to sewer headspace, participate in other biochemical reactions, resulting in change of the composition of wastewater entering the downstream WWTP. A model-based study using the SeweX model integrated with a WWTP model was carried out to investigate the overall performance of dosing a number of chemicals to a sewerage network in the Gold Coast, Australia (Sharma et al., 2012). Both the control of sulfide at the targeted location and the WWTP performance in terms of N and P removal were taken into account in the evaluation of the performance. The modeling results demonstrated significant impacts of chemical dosing on N and P removal in the WWTP. N removal was negatively affected by the addition of oxidants such as oxygen and nitrate as these chemicals oxidise available carbon in wastewater, thereby limiting its availability in wastewater treatment. FeCl3 addition to sewers can, however, be beneficially used to achieve chemical precipitation of phosphate during the wastewater treatment, offering significant cost savings. The SeweX model has also been used to perform extensive simulation studies to assess the impact that sulfate-based coagulants used during the drinking water treatment can have on sewer corrosion control. The details of this study and the outcomes have already been published in Science (Pikaar et al., 2014). According to the results of this


Technical Papers



A: With existing dosing profile




6 10 4 5









0 24:00


B: With optimized dosing profile



6 10 4 5

0 0:00









0 24:00

Hours Figure 6. Comparison of total dissolved sulfide and nitrate concentrations in the Clifton Springs SPS #3 discharge manhole with profiled dosing (A) and with optimised dosing (B).

Alternative water sources at local scales are being implemented to extend the capacity of existing centralised water supply infrastructure. The decentralised water production and reuse in such a case will not only reduce the wastewater flow but also produce more concentrated wastewater in terms of organic contents. The latter is the result of the reuse of dilute water streams and discharge of more concentrated waste streams and organic residues produced during water production at the local level. This could

have serious impacts on the existing wastewater collection infrastructures and treatment plant performance. The reduced wastewater flow will increase the hydraulic retention time of wastewater in sewers, resulting in more septic wastewater, with increased production of corrosive and odorous hydrogen sulfide and methane, a potent greenhouse gas (Sun et al., 2015). Higherstrength wastewater could also enhance the production of sulfide and methane in sewers. The reduced wastewater flow, together with increased solids concentration in wastewater, will enhance solids settlement in sewerage networks. As a part of CRC Water Sensitive Cities Project C3.1, we are currently employing the SeweX model to carry out a case study on a real urban water system with a population of about 100,000 EP, which implements various decentralised water

Sewer corrosion and odour are significant problems that are costing water utilities hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Significant research and development efforts in the last decade delivered improved knowledge of the biotransformation processes that are the root causes of these problems. SeweX is an important tool derived from this improved knowledge and has assisted water utilities to identify and implement optimal management of these problems with significant savings in both capital and operating costs.

THE AUTHORS Tung Nguyen (email: tung. nguyen@nextgenwater. com.au) is the Principal of NextGen Water, providing consulting services in the areas of corrosion and odour management, process design, control and optimisation. He has more than 35 years of experience in planning, investigation, research and development, modelling, operation and optimisation of water/wastewater systems especially in chemical and biological processes related to sewer odour and corrosion, nutrient removal and sludge treatment. Dr Keshab Sharma is a Research Fellow at the Advanced Water Management Centre in the University of Queensland. His research interests include sewer process modelling, odour and corrosion control in sewer systems and integrated assessment of urban water systems. He is one of the developers of the SeweX model. Dr Guangming Jiang is a research fellow in the Advanced Water Management Centre at the University of Queensland. He was extensively involved in the research projects about sewer odour and corrosion.



study, the addition of sulfate at 5–15 mgS/L in drinking water treatment is predicted to increase the costs for sulfide mitigation in sewers by approximately 30–50% compared to a case without sulfate addition. The results of this study have highlighted the benefits of replacing sulfate-based coagulants with alternative, non-sulfate coagulants.

production and reuse options. Impacts of these options will be evaluated in terms of the impacts on sewers and WWTPs. An integrated modelling approach in which the SeweX model will be connected with the WWTP model will be employed for this purpose. The results of this case study will support the strategic decisionmaking in terms of selecting a costeffective water management option as a part of the development plan.



0 0:00

Total Dissolved Sulfide (mg S/L) Nitrate (mg N/L)

TDS (mgS/L)


Total Dissolved Sulfide (mg S/L) Nitrate (mg N/L)


NO3 (mgN/L)


Technical Papers

Australia’s Dr Ramon Ganigué, International PhD, is a Postdoctoral Water Conference Research Fellow at the University of Girona (Spain). & Exhibition

His research activities encompass urban and industrial wastewater treatment, A must attend event recovery resources from wastes forofwater professionals and control of corrosion in sewers. and anyone with

corrosion management. He developed standards and guidelines for improving sewer design and management

REFERENCES Cesca J, Sharma K & Vuong L (2015): South

Lam Vuong is a Senior Strategic Asset Engineer with SA Water, involved in various research projects across the wastewater area, specialising in innovation and research implementation into asset management planning activities, including sewer cleaning and odour/

49, pp 175–185. Sharma K, Ganigue R & Yuan Z (2013): pH

Corrosion and Odour Management Strategy

Water Research, 20, pp 6086–6096. Sharma K, Yuan Z, de Haas D, Hamilton G, Corrie S & Keller J (2008): Dynamics and Dynamic

Ganigué R, Chen J, Vuong L & Yuan Z (2012): On-

Prof Zhiguo Yuan is a Professor of Environmental Engineering and Director of the Advanced Water Management Centre at the University of Queensland. His research focuses on development of innovative solutions for urban water management through effective integration of fundamental and applied investigations. He is a 2015 Clunies Ross Award winner.

in Anaerobic Sewer Biofilm. Water Research,

Dynamics in Sewers and Its Modeling.

Adelaide, Australia.

with over 30 years’ experience in odour control and sewer corrosion and odour management. He has been responsible for the design and implementations of some of the largest municipal odour control facilities in Australia, specialising in sustainable integrated solutions.

Modeling the pH Effect on Sulfidogenesis

Australia Water Corporation’s Pro-Active Development, Ozwater’15, May 2015,

a commercial Josef Cesca is Principal interest in water. Technologist for CH2M,

Sharma K, Derlon N, Hu S & Yuan Z (2014):

Line Control of Magnesium Hydroxide Dosing for Sulfide Mitigation in Sewers, Ozwater’12, Australia’s May 2012, Sydney, Australia. González J, Wang YC, Ganigue R, Jiang G, Liu Y, Van Rys D, Nguyen T & Yuan Z (2015):

Modelling of H2S Production in Sewer Systems. Water Research, 42, pp 2527–2538. Sharma KR, Corrie S & Yuan Z (2012): Integrated Modelling of Sewer System and Wastewater Treatment Plant for Investigating the Impacts

Predictive Control of Ferrous Chloride Dosing

of Chemical Dosing in Sewers. Water Science

to Minimise Corrosion & Odour in Bellambi

and Technology, 65, 8, pp 1399–1405.

System. Watermatex – 9th IWA Symposium on Systems Analysis and Assessment, June 2015, Gold Coast, Australia. Guisasola A, Sharma KR, Keller J & Yuan Z (2009): Development of a Model for Assessing Methane Formation in Rising Main Sewers. Water Research, 43, pp 2874–2884. Nguyen T & Nobi N (2010): Impact Of Trade

Sun J, Hu S, Sharma KR, Bustamante H & Yuan Z (2015): Impact of Reduced Water Consumption on Sulfide and Methane Production in Rising Main Sewers. Journal of Environmental Management, 154, pp 307–315. Vorreiter L, Nobi N, Kerr R, Nguyen T & Yuan Z (2015): Integrating Hydrogen

Waste On Odour And Corrosion Management

Sulphide Modelling into Wastewater

Of Wastewater Networks – A Case Study.

System Management. Watermatex – 9th

IWA 6th International Conference on Sewer

IWA Symposium on Systems Analysis and

Processes and Network, November 2010,

Assessment, June 2015, Gold Coast, Australia.

Gold Coast, Australia. Nguyen T, Nobi N, Soliman A & Sharma KR (2009): A Case Study of Using Sulphide Model to Optimise Chemical Dosing for Odour and Corrosion Control. Ozwater’09, March 2009, Melbourne, Australia. Pikaar I, Sharma KR, Hu S, Gernjak W,

Wang YC, Nobi N & Nguyen T (2013a): Integrated Sewer Network Model Case Study – North Head System. AWMC Sewer Corrosion & Odour Research (SCORe) Symposium, July 2013, Brisbane, Australia. Wang YC, Nobi N & Nguyen T (2013b): Use of

Keller J & Yuan Z (2014): Reducing Sewer

Integrated Sewer Network Model to Develop

Corrosion Through Integrated Urban Water

Corrosion and Odour Management Strategy.

Management. Science, 345, 6198, pp 812–814.

Ozwater’13, May 2013, Perth, Australia.

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Technical Papers

INVASIVE FRESHWATER GASTROPODS STUDY Investigation of distribution of Physa acuta and Potamopyrgus antipodarum in urban and non-urban streams in the Georges River catchment K Shield

ABSTRACT Urban catchments have high coverage of impervious surfaces with modified stream hydrology and water chemistry. In urban areas, it is well documented that opportunistic invasive species colonise and displace many native species once the habitat is degraded. The freshwater gastropods Physa acuta (Physidae) and Potamopyrgus antipodarum (Hydrobiidae) are invasive species from Europe and New Zealand respectively, and have become widespread throughout the waterways of south-east Australia.


The aim of this study was to investigate the distribution of these two gastropod species and the pollutionsensitive mayfly family (Leptophlebiidae) in streams with three different levels of urban development (non-urban, periurban and urban) in the Georges River catchment in south-western Sydney, New South Wales. Quantitative sampling of Leptophlebiidae, Physidae and Hydrobiidae was undertaken from a total of 17 sites across the catchment. The study found Physa acuta and Potamopyrgus antipodarum were absent from non-urban catchments, whereas Leptophlebiidae nymphs were abundant. The non-urban streams had low pH, salinity, calcium and bicarbonate levels, whereas the urban catchments had higher pH, salinity, calcium and bicarbonate levels. Additionally, Leptophlebiidae were absent from highly urbanised catchments. A puzzling finding was that invasive gastropods have an apparent intolerance of the water chemistry of the cleanest nonurban streams. It is suspected that the naturally low pH and scarcity of some minerals may be protecting these streams from colonisation by the invasive snails. The study questions whether the ANZECC (2000) pH guideline (minimum pH of 6.5) is prudent for protecting


freshwater ecosystems from invasive gastropod species. Further field and laboratory investigation is required to detect and measure other factors that are contributing to the success of both invasive gastropods.

INTRODUCTION Invasive species are now viewed as a major component of ecosystem change (Vitousek et al. 1997; Salas & Dudgeon, 2003) while often having serious economic and ecological costs (Mack et al., 2000; Pimentel et al., 2000; Kolar & Lodge, 2001). Two such examples of invasive species that have widely colonised freshwater stream ecosystems of the Sydney basin are the invasive gastropods Physa acuta and Potamopyrgus antipodarum. Physa acuta (Physidae, Mollusca, Gastropoda) (also known as Physella acuta) are freshwater pulmonate gastropods thought to have originated from Europe. P. acuta has become invasive throughout Australia (Dillon et al., 2002) and is widespread throughout lowland rivers, lakes and wetlands of south-eastern Australia (Smith, 1996). P. acuta can now be found on almost all continents and has been called the most cosmopolitan snail (Dillon et al., 2002; Wethington & Lydeard, 2007), as it has the ability to migrate upstream and to

quickly colonise a water body (de Cock & Wolmarans, 2007). The presence of P. acuta may have a negative impact on indigenous freshwater molluscs in particular, and on the biodiversity of freshwater habitats in general (De Francesco & Hassan, 2009). This species has a superior reproductive capacity compared to other pulmonate snails (De Francesco & Hassan, 2009). Potamopyrgus antipodarum (Hydrobiidae, Mollusca, Gastropoda), native to New Zealand and commonly known as the New Zealand mud snail, is ovoviviparous and parthenogenetic. A worldwide invader (Riley, Dybdahl and Hall, 2008), it was introduced over 100 years ago to south-eastern Australia (Ponder, 1988) and has successfully invaded the country, migrating from brackish to freshwaters. Populations can increase rapidly and quickly spread to nearby water bodies (Bowler, 1991), where they dominate aquatic invertebrate assemblages (Quinn, Lake and Schreiber, 1996). Parthenogenetic forms of P. antipodarum reproduce throughout the year (Schreiber et al., 1998) and the snails have a broad diet (Hughes, 1996) and a tolerance to a wide temperature range (Winterbourne, 1970; Dorgelo, 1987; Roth, 1987). There is limited research into how and where invasive gastropods are present in Australia and the water quality

Figure 1. Size of Physa acuta (left) and Potamopyrgus antipodarum (right) in relation to an Australian 10-cent coin.


Technical Papers ranges they can tolerate, as the ecological processes outside of the native range of P. acuta and P. antipodarum are not well understood. The possible link between catchment imperviousness (and associated water quality changes) and invasive species of gastropods has not been explored and only limited research into the effect of catchment imperviousness on biota within urban waterways has been conducted.


The aims of this study were to: 1.

Investigate the distribution of the invasive gastropods P. acuta and P. antipodarum in the Georges River catchment, at a range of streams with varying degrees of urbanisation (as indicated by the proportion of catchment imperviousness);


Investigate the relative abundance of these invasive gastropods in comparison with that of the mayfly Leptophlebiidae, a recognised pollution-sensitive taxa.






The Georges River catchment, located in south-western Sydney, covers an area of approximately 960km2 and has a residential population of approximately 1.2 million people, making it one Georges River Geological Units of the most highly urbanised Hawkesbury Sandstone catchments in Australia Post - Triassic (SMCMA, 2012) (Figure 2). Quaternary Macroinvertebrate surveys were conducted at five non-urban Shoalhaven reference sites (<5% catchment Tertiary imperviousness), four periWianamatta urban sites (5–19% catchment imperviousness) and eight Figure 2. Quantitative macroinvertebrate sample sites (red circles), and Georges River urban sites (>19% catchment catchment geology, south-western Sydney, NSW. Uncircled numbered sites show imperviousness) between January additional sites from Tippler, Wright and Hanlon (2012a), on which this study is based. and March 2013. Sites and undertaken for 15 minutes per quadrat, condition varied according to catchment catchment imperviousness were targeting only Leptophlebiidae and disturbance category (non-urban, periidentified in a previous study by the two snail species (Physidae and urban and urban). Tippler, Wright and Hanlon (2012a). Hydrobiidae). The abundance of each Water quality data had been collected Three replicate 30cm x 30cm quadrats taxa in each quadrat was identified from each site twice annually (spring and were selected to survey pool, edge on site and recorded. autumn) since 2009. A calibrated TPS and riffle habitat. Benthic material was A one-factor analysis of variance 90FLMV field meter was used to measure disturbed within each quadrat for 30 electrical conductivity (EC), dissolved (ANOVA) was used to investigate seconds and captured in a 30cm x 30cm whether macroinvertebrate abundance oxygen percentage saturation (DO%), kick net with 250-micron mesh. Contents turbidity (TU) and pH in situ. Grab (for each gastropod species and collected from each quadrat were sorted mayflies), water quality and riparian samples were collected for laboratory separately. Discriminate picking was


Technical Papers Water chemistry changes strongly between the low-impervious and the high- and medium-impervious streams across the Georges River. These changes may actually contribute to the survival and higher abundance of invasive snails at peri-urban and urban streams. In particular, the higher pH, salinity and elevated calcium and bicarbonate levels may favour the survival, growth and reproduction of invasive snails. P. acuta and P. antipodarum were absent from non-urban sites in this study, i.e. sites with the lowest pH, salinity, calcium and bicarbonate levels. The results indicate that the modification to freshwater chemistry is associated with an increase in invasive gastropod density.








Figure 3. Abundance of Leptophlebiidae, Physidae and Hydrobiidae (± SEM) for disturbance categories (based on catchment imperviousness) from across the Georges River catchment NSW, between January and March 2013. Light blue = low disturbance (non-urban), dark blue = moderate disturbance (peri-urban), green = high disturbance (urban). assessment of total nitrogen (TN), total Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN), total phosphorus (TP), total alkalinity (Alk), carbonate (CO32-), bi-carbonate (HCO3-) and hydroxide (OH-), calcium (Ca), chloride (Cl), sodium (Na), magnesium (Mg), potassium (K) and sulfate (SO42-). Samples were analysed using standard methods (APHA, 1998) by a commercial National Associations of Testing Authorities (NATA) accredited laboratory.



In total, 826 invertebrates were collected from surveys of the invasive gastropods and mayflies. The invasive Hydrobiidae (P. antipodarium) was the most abundant (483), then Leptophlebiidae (276) and invasive Physidae (P. acuta) (67). Analysis of variance (ANOVA) revealed that only Leptophlebiidae abundance varied significantly according to disturbance category (non-urban, peri-urban and urban). The mayfly (Leptophlebiidae) was most abundant at non-urban sites (total = 243, mean = 16.2), less abundant at peri-urban sites (total = 33, mean = 2.75) and absent at urban sites (mean = 0). In contrast, Physidae and Hydrobiidae were absent from non-urban sites (mean = 0). Physidae was absent from peri-urban sites (mean = 0) but was present


at urban sites (total = 67, mean = 2.29). Hydrobiidae was present at peri-urban sites (total = 2, mean = 0.17), but had the highest abundance at urban sites (total = 481, mean = 20.04). This study found that the level of imperviousness of sub-catchments of the Georges River is associated with distinct changes to freshwater macroinvertebrate communities and water chemistry. The abundance of the two invasive snails (P. acuta and P. antipodarum) increased in tandem with the level of ecosystem degradation. Our results indicate that disturbance (i.e. degraded water quality and conditions stressful to aquatic ecosystems) allows species, such as invasive gastropods, with a wide acceptance of environmental factors, to ‘invade’ freshwater ecosystems of the Georges River catchment. One of the most important findings of this research was that no invasive snails were collected from the cleanest (i.e. <3.3 % impervious surfaces in the catchment) freshwater streams in the Georges River. This is surprising, given that both of these species are among the most successful invasive freshwater invertebrates in the world.

Concrete drainage material has created an unnatural ‘‘urban geological’’ signature or source of ions (Hart & McKelvie, 1986), and recent studies have suggested that the increased levels of calcium and bicarbonate in urban streams are the result of concrete. Leung and Jiao (2006) found water that came into contact with the basements and foundations of high-rise buildings was likely to be responsible for the chemical signature of high levels of bicarbonate, calcium and other ions. Davies et al. (2010a) observed clear differences in the chemistry in water conveyed through new and old concrete pipes when compared to the control. The old concrete pipes did record substantial increases in ionic levels (calcium, bicarbonate, hardness, total anions and cations) through the experiment, but, surprisingly, these were lower than the increases recorded in the new concrete pipes. This research demonstrates that P. acuta and P. antipodarum are successfully occupying the peri-urban and urban freshwater streams of the Georges River catchment. Current research suggests that invasive gastropods dominate macroinvertebrate groups (Tippler, Wright & Hanlon, 2012a); (Alonso & Castro-Díez 2008). Experimental studies by Ponder (1988) and Kerans et al. (2005) also demonstrated P. antipodarum reduced colonisation by other invertebrates in the early stages of succession. Riley, Dybdahl and Hall (2008) suggested that P. antipodarum interfered with colonisation by growing more rapidly and limiting the growth of other native species of freshwater snails. Similarly, P. acuta has been found to inhibit the growth (by competitive advantage) of other gastropods (Winterbourne, 1980; Zukowski and Walker, 2009). It seems


Technical Papers

Table 1. Summary of the water chemistry across stream disturbance categories as defined by catchment imperviousness (non-urban, peri-urban and urban) collected from sites in the Georges River catchment NSW by GRCCC, between spring 2009 and autumn 2012. F-value, significance (p) (ns = not significant, ** = 0.05, *** = 0.005), degrees of freedom (df), range and mean calculated for sub-catchment imperviousness, pH, electrical conductivity, dissolved oxygen percentage saturation, turbidity, total nitrogen, total phosphorus, carbonate, calcium. Level of catchment urban development based on % Impervious Surface ANOVA

Non-urban (0-5%)

Peri-urban (5-19%)

F-value, (p), DF







Sub-catchment Imperviousness

45.9 (***) 2,23

0.01 - 3.3


6.2 - 18.4


19.9 - 70.7



14.7 (***) 2,49

4.46 - 7.41


5.60 - 8.52


5.93 - 7.86


Electrical Conductivity (µS/cm)

18.9 (***) 2,49

56 - 274


152 - 322


108 - 1553


Dissolved Oxygen (% saturation)

11.7 (***) 2,49

109 - 69


59 - 98


3 - 108


2.5 (ns) 2,49

0.1 - 7.5


1.2 - 9.2


1.1 - 345


TN (mg/L)

21.1 (***) 2,49

<0.10 - 0.50


0.10 -0.60


0.30 - 1.60


TP (mg/L)

6.8 (**) 2,49

<0.01 - 0.50


<0.01 - 0.06


0.01 - 0.26


HCO3 (as CaCO3) (mg/L)

33.8 (***) 2,49

< 1 - 64


10 -55


22 -172


Ca (mg/L)

35.7 (***) 2,49



3 -14


8 -64



23.7 (***) 2,48







Physa acuta

1.96 (ns) 2,48







Potamopyrgus antipodarum

2.36 (ns) 2,48







Turbidity (NTU)

unlikely that invasive snails have not attempted to ‘invade’ the cleanest streams in the Georges River, although there is no available data to assess whether this has occurred.

Rehabilitation of degraded urban streams is widely advocated to reverse the effects of the ‘urban stream syndrome’ and improve water quality and stream ecology (e.g. Walsh et al., 2005; Tippler, Wright and Hanlon, 2012a). This research is a timely reminder that it is important to protect high conservation value streams (and their catchments) from hazards associated with human development. Urban development continues to ‘creep’ into many otherwise clean and natural catchments and this research suggests that this may change water quality that enables invasive gastropods to prosper. Protection of pristine natural streams with unmodified water quality and stream ecosystems from urban development would always

be preferable to rehabilitating degraded streams. This does not discount the value in undertaking restoration of urban waterways. Stream rehabilitation is very important and needs to improve attitudes towards urban design and ensure that stream ecology is considered in new developments. This research also encourages urban water professionals to broaden their focus beyond nutrients and sediments to also target and maintain a pre-development hydrological balance of pH, salinity and the natural mineral composition. An examination of the worldwide literature has not revealed any examples where urban stream rehabilitation has been able to improve the pH, salinity and mineral composition. This paper was a runner-up for the Undergraduate Water Prize at Ozwater’15 in Adelaide in May.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The Author would like to thank Carl Tippler and the Georges River Combined Councils Committee (GRCCC) for providing the original raw data for the foundation work of her thesis. She also wishes to thank Carl, Ian Wright and Adrian Renshaw for providing guidance throughout her honours project and for reviewing and editing previous versions of her thesis. Finally she thanks Ian for reviewing and editing this paper for publishing.



The absence of invasive gastropods, the abundance of mayflies and the comparatively high water quality evident in the non-urban streams suggest that these are high conservation value ecosystems in need of protection from further urban development in Sydney. Consideration should be given to listing such streams as ‘endangered ecological communities’ under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act (1995) and the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999) to better enable their conservation. Such listings must include the entire hydrological catchment of the high conservation value stream, as urban development, even in a very small proportion of the catchment (less than 5%) is likely to degrade water quality and allow occupation by invasive species (Tippler, Wright and Hanlon, 2012a). Some of the water chemistry changes observed in urban streams are thought to be due to the effects of leaching from concrete stormwater infrastructure (particularly increases in pH, salinity, calcium and bicarbonate levels) (Wright et al., 2011). This is an area requiring further research. Alternative stormwater

materials such as stone and vitrified clay may be preferable in settings where downstream waters drain to high conservation value streams. Current ANZECC (2000) guidelines state that the low limit trigger values of pH for lowland rivers should be 6.5 pH, which in our study indicates a waterway with a moderate degree of urbanisation. Furthermore, the guidelines do not include any trigger values for calcium and bicarbonate, but this study has shown a significant increase of ions as the level of urbanisation increases. Further research is required to strengthen the data to make a case for a change to the current guidelines.

Urban (> 19%)


Technical Papers THE AUTHOR Katie Shield (email: kathryn.shield@ sydneywater.com.au) completed a Bachelor of Science (Environmental Science) and a Bachelor of Science (Honours) at UWS. Katie won the 2014 Australian Water Association NSW Undergraduate Water Prize for her honours thesis, and has presented her thesis at the 7th Australian Streams Management Conference in Townsville and the Ozwater’15 Conference in Adelaide. Katie has been working at Sydney Water for two-and-a-half years on the graduate program and is currently in her third placement at Hornsby Heights Wastewater Treatment Plant.

REFERENCES APHA (1998): Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater, 20th edn, American Public Health Association, Washington, DC. ARMCANZ & ANZECC (2000): Australian and New Zealand Guidelines for Fresh and Marine Waters, Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council/ Agriculture and Resource Management Council of Australia and New Zealand, Canberra. Bowler PA (1991): The Rapid Spread of the Freshwater Hydrobiid Snail Potamopyrgus antipodarum (Gray) in the Middle Snake River, Southern Idaho, in Proceedings of the TwentyFirst Annual Symposium of the Desert Fishes Council, Bishop, CA, US, pp 174–182. de Cock KN & Wolmarans CT (2007): Distribution and Habitats of the Alien Invader Freshwater Snail Physa acuta in South Africa, Water South Africa, 33, pp 717–722. Conway TM (2007): Impervious Surface as an Indicator of pH and Specific Conductance in the Urbanizing Coastal Zone of New Jersey, US, Environmental Management, 85, 2, pp 308–316. Davies PJ, Wright IA, Findlay SJ & Jonasson OJ (2010a): The Effect of the In-Transport Process on Urban Water Chemistry – An Examination of the Contribution of Concrete Pipes and Gutters on Urban Water Quality, paper presented to NOVATECH 2010 – Proceedings


of the 7th International Conference on Sustainable Techniques and Strategies in Urban Water Management, Lyon, France. De Francesco, CG & Hassan GS (2009): The Significance of Molluscs as Paleoecological Indicators of Freshwater Systems in CentralWestern Argentina, Palaeogeography,


Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 274, 1–2, pp 105–113. Dillon RJ, Wethington A, Rhett J & Smith T (2002): Populations of the European Freshwater Pulmonate Physa acuta Are Not Reproductively Isolated from American Physa heterostropha or Physa integra, Invertebrate Biology, 121, pp 226–34. Dorgelo J (1987): Density Fluctuations in Populations (1982–1986) and Biological Observations of Potamopyrgus jenkinsi in Two Trophically Differing Lakes, Hydrobiological Bulletin, 21, pp 95–110. Hart BT & McKelvie ID (1986): Chemical Limnology in Australia, in P DeDeckker & WD Williams (eds), Limnology in Australia, CSIRO, Melbourne, pp 3–31.

of Mayflies (Ephemeroptera) in Two Tropical Asian Forest Streams. Freshwater Biology, 48, 3, pp 485–99. Schreiber ESG, Glaister A, Quinn GP & Lake PS (1998): ‘Life history and population dynamics of the exotic snail Potamopyrgus antipodarum (Prosobranchia : Hydrobiidae) in Lake Purrumbete, Victoria, Australia’, Marine and Freshwater Research, vol. 49, pp. 73-8. Setunge S, Nguyen N, Alexander BL & Dutton L (2009): Leaching of Alkali from Concrete in Contact with Waterways, Water Air Soil Pollution: Focus, 9, pp 381–391. SMCMA (2012): Georges River, www.sydney.cma. nsw.gov.au/georgesriver.html, viewed 5 July 2012.

Hughes RN (1996): Evolutionary Ecology of Parthenogenetic Strains of the Prosobranch Snail, Potamopyrgus antipodarum (Gray), Molluscan Reproduction in Malacological Review Supplement, 6, pp 101–113.

Smith BJ (1996): Identification Keys to the Families and Genera of Bivalve and Gastropod Molluscs Found in Australian Inland Waters, in Cooperative Research Centre for Freshwater Ecology, Identification Guide No. 6, Thurgoona, Australia.

Kerans BL, Dybdahl MF, Gangloff MM & Jannot JE (2005): Potamopyrgus antipodarum: Distribution, Density, and Effects on Native Macroinvertebrate Assemblages in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, North American Benthological Society, 24, 1, pp 123–138.

Tippler C, Wright IA & Hanlon A (2012a): Is Catchment Imperviousness a Keystone Factor Degrading Urban Waterways? A Case Study From a Partly Urbanised Catchment (Georges River, South-Eastern Australia), Water Air Soil Pollution, 223, pp 5331–44.

Kolar CS & Lodge DM (2001): Progress in Invasion Biology: Predicting Invaders, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 16, pp 199–204.

Vitousek PM, Aber JD, Howarth RW, Likens GE, Matson PA, Schindler DW, Schlesinger WH & Tilman DG (1997): Human Alteration of the Global Nitrogen Cycle: Sources and Consequences. Ecological Applications, 7, pp 737–50.

Leung C & Jiao JJ (2006) Change of Groundwater Chemistry from 1896 to Present in the MidLevels Area, Hong Kong, Environmental Geology, 49, 7, pp 946–959. Mack RN, Simberloff D, Lonsdale WM, Evans H, Clout M & Bazzaz EA (2000): Biotic Invasions: Causes, Epidemiology, Global Consequences, and Control, Ecological Applications, 10, pp 689–710. Pimentel D, Lach L, Zuniga R & Morrison D (2000): Environmental and Economic Costs of Non-Indigenous Species in the United States, Bio-Science, 50, pp 53–65. Ponder WF (1988): Potamopyrgus antipodarum – A Molluscan Coloniser of Europe and Australia, Molluscan Studies, 54, pp 271–85. Quinn GP, Lake PS & Schreiber ESG (1996): Littoral Benthos of a Victorian Lake and its Outlet Stream: Spatial and Temporal Variation, Australian Journal of Ecology, 21, pp 292–301. Riley LA, Dybdahl MF & Hall RO (2008): Invasive Species Impact: Asymmetric Interactions between Invasive and Endemic Freshwater Snails, North American Benthological Society, 27, 3, pp 509–520. Roth G (1987): Zur Verbreitung und Biologie von Potamopyrgus jenkinsi (EA Smith, 1889) im Rhein-Einzugsgebiet (Prosobranchia:Hydrobiidae)’, Archiv für Hydrobiologie, 79, pp 49–68. Salas M & Dudgeon D (2003): Life Histories, Production Dynamics and Resource Utilisation

Walsh CJ, Roy AH, Feminella JW, Cottingham PD, Groffman PM & Morgan RP II (2005): The Urban Stream Syndrome: Current Knowledge and the Search for Cure, Journal of the North American Benthological Society, 24, pp 706–723. Wethington AR & Lydeard C (2007): A Molecular Phylogeny of Physidae (Gastropoda: Basommatophora) Based on Mitochondrial DNA Sequences, Journal of Molluscan Studies, 73, pp 241–57. Winterbourne MJ (1970): The New Zealand Species of Potamopyrgus (Gastropoda: Hydrobiidae), Malacologia, 10, pp 283–321. Winterbourne MJ (1980): The Distribution and Biology of the Freshwater Gastropods Physa and Physastra in New Zealand, Journal of the Malacological Society of Australia, 4, pp 233–234. Wright IA, Davies PJ, Findlay SJ & Jonasson OJ (2011): A New Type of Water Pollution; Concrete Drainage Infrastructure and Geochemical Contamination of Urban Waters, Marine and Freshwater Research, 62, 12, pp 1355–1361. Zukowski S & Walker KF (2009): Freshwater Snails in Competition: Alien Physa acuta (Physidae) and Native Glyptophysa gibbosa (Planorbidae) in the River Murray, South Australia’, Marine and Freshwater Research, 60, pp 999–1005.


Water Business

water business TREATING TODAY’S ORGANICS FOR TOMORROW’S ENERGY According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australia generated approximately 12.8 million tonnes of organic waste in 2010, making it the nation's second largest waste stream after construction. But unlike postconstruction resources, organics recovery remains low. Recovered organics is a resource stream with both an energy and a nutrient value and it has the potential to provide a more economical input to agricultural markets. When food production goes wrong, 20,000 litres of, for example, chocolate liquid can go from being a delicacy to a waste. For resource recovery companies, such feedstocks are difficult to treat using conventional recovery infrastructure. They are too wet to send to composting, unsuitable for soil injection and are a written recipe for odour and leachate when sent to landfill. Thinking outside the box An emerging answer to these challenging organics streams is anaerobic co-digestion. Here, excess capacity available in anaerobic digesters at wastewater treatment plants is used to treat wet organics from municipalities and the food and beverage (F&B) market. The dual use of facilities is a result of an emerging trend in infrastructure planning, whereby the formerly parallel fields of water and waste management, and energy production are merging into the single offering of a new generation of resource management companies. Using the circular economy principles, all material flows are managed to maximise their economic value and minimise pollution. It is this thinking that drove this year’s amalgamation of SUEZ's water and waste management companies under a single brand. A new approach SUEZ operates anaerobic digesters around the world, helping towns, cities and industry make the best use of their water and waste resources by providing smart and reliable solutions tailored to their customers’ needs. Since September this year, SUEZ has assisted the Strasbourg Urban Community to become the first in France to inject

biomethane produced from a local Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) into its natural gas network. In collaboration with the local distributor of natural gas, more than 1.6 million m3 of biomethane will be produced from wastewater each year. This provides a local, sustainable and lowcarbon source of renewable energy. SUEZ has been pushing the boundaries of biogas recovery, including opening a dedicated biosolids methanisation laboratory, with more than $15 million invested in R&D in the last eight years in this area alone. Australia's first co-digestion plant In Australia, SUEZ and its joint-venture partner, Transfield Services, first introduced co-digestion technology into the country through the Allwater Alliance, which in collaboration with SA Water, operates and maintains the water and wastewater services in metropolitan Adelaide. Following a successful research program in 2010, a fully automated co-digestion plant was commissioned at the Glenelg WWTP in July 2013. Jennifer Dreyfus, a site engineer at the Glenelg plant and a co-digestion expert, said the addition of sugars, alcohols and other organic rich substrates provide a healthy boost to the site’s anaerobic digesters. Prior to the co-digestion upgrade, the digesters were only treating sludge from the plant that did not have enough organics to maximise biogas production. The addition of five to six per cent dairy and liquid food waste increased gas production by around 25 per cent. In turn, this has reduced the reliance of the plant on natural gas and grid electricity.

The plant is now helping the F&B industry put their waste to good use, with eight suppliers providing approximately 30 trucks a week of by-products from milk, cheese, beer, wine and soft drink, to the Glenelg plant. "This co-digestion stream would normally be sent to sewer or landfill. When sent to sewer, this material is corrosive and increases the energy required to treat the wastewater. "It is all about sending the right waste to the right place." Renewable energy with national potential Leveraging off the success at the Glenelg plant, Dreyfus said the next phase of the co-digestion program was an expansion to the Bolivar plant, South Australia's largest wastewater treatment site. With six large digesters on-site at Bolivar, there is a vast capacity for improved resource recovery and the generation of renewable energy, and this should not to be underestimated. For example, in the first 16 months of operation the co-digestion plant at Glenelg received 13.2 ML of liquid waste products, which produced an extra 1,290 MW of energy. This makes the Glenelg plant a bigger source of renewable energy than any solar installation in South Australia. "People are now talking about wastewater treatment plants as resource recovery facilities," Dreyfus explained. "Our goal is to not only make our plants energy selfsufficient, but potentially become power plants in their own right."

November 2015 water


water Business RIVER PUMP GOES SUBMERSIBLE The Templeton family, sugar cane farmers on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, have cut energy costs and gained additional water efficiency by installing a Tsurumi submersible dewatering pump. The new installation is a safer, flood-proof solution for water harvesting that delivers 3,000 lpm at 850 Kpa. The original system at the farm had an 18.5kW end suction centrifugal pump mounted on a trolley beside the creek. This supplied water to a variable-speed 75kW end suction pump positioned 18 metres above the creek water level, away from the highest known flood level. The combined pump system supplied water at a rate of 2,400 lpm, at 700KPA, to irrigate pasture, sugar cane and a valuable ginger crop on the Templetons’ farm. In the event of heavy rain, a tractor was used to haul the old pump/trolley up a 40-metre railway track, away from the creek. Creek levels can rise fast, and this procedure had significant risks, especially when performed at night on a steep, wet, slippery bank. The Pump House, Nambour-based Aussie Pump distributor, came up with an “out-of-thebox” solution to the problem. A Tsurumi LH619 submersible dewatering pump, installed inside a 630mm PN10 poly pipe sleeve, now delivers water to the 75kW irrigation pump. The poly sleeve runs down the creek bank, secured by cables and chain anchors. “Dewatering pumps aren’t usually used for applications like this, but these big highhead pumps are ideal for water harvesting from rivers or dams,” said Peter Chadband from the Pump House. Four main features of the Tsurumi submersible make it suitable for this application: 1.


The pump’s resistance to abrasion means it can handle sand in the creek water in times of dry weather.

The pumps can be installed either in shallow wells or bores, but also lend themselves to being installed in shrouds or poly pipe sleeves. They can be mounted vertically or in a range of angles through to horizontal without affecting pump performance. Although originally designed for mine dewatering, the Tsurumi LH series is equally at home in agricultural water harvesting applications. The centre-mounted discharge means discharge pipes or hoses are balanced. The Tsurumi submersible pump is totally different in design and concept to normal submersible water harvesters or line shaft pumps. The closed style impellers are manufactured from high chrome iron and are durable and corrosion-resistant. The pump comes with a double silicon carbide mechanical seal, protected in an oil chamber. The oil chamber eliminates spring failure caused by corrosion or abrasion and keeps both surfaces of the mechanical seal lubricated and cool. A patented oil lifter developed by Tsurumi provides guide veins inside the oil chamber than ensures the mechanical seals are lubricated even if the oil levels fall. Standard on all Tsurumi pumps is an antiwicking block at the cable entry. This feature prevents the incursion of water due to capillary wicking in the event that the power cable is damaged or the end submerged. “We’ve seen the 75kW pump deliver more flow while drawing 10% less current due to the increased efficiency gained by a positive suction pressure at the pump inlet. It’s a great outcome using less labour, less energy with increased performance and improved safety for the client,” said Chadband. Like all Tsurumi pumps, the LH series is covered by a three-year warranty. For more information please go to: www.aussiepumps.com.au.

Its slimline design and the central discharge flange allow the pump to fit easily inside a poly pipe sleeve.


The inbuilt thermal motor protection shutdown device protects the pump from dry running.


The robust construction and hard-wearing mechanical seal arrangements are designed for abrasive mining applications.

The 6” pump selected, a Tsurumi LH619, has a 19kW three-phase motor with DOL start. The pump produces a maximum 4,370 litres per minute flow and has a vertical head of 42 metres.

water November 2015

Installation of a Tsurumi high-head submersible to harvest river water led to increased efficency and improved performance of the irrigation system on the Templeton’s sugar cane farm.

PENTAIR LAUNCHES X-FLOW HELIX TECHNOLOGY AT WEFTEC At the WEFTEC (Water Environment Federation’s Technical Exhibition and Conference) exhibition in September in Chicago, US, Pentair launched its patented flux-enhancing Helix technology, available on all X-Flow tubular membrane modules. Another novelty presented was the X-Flow Compact 75G, a membrane module developed for the most demanding water treatment applications. X-Flow is Pentair’s international membrane brand, delivering membrane technology to OEMs, partners and contractors through a worldwide network. Pentair engineers proactively support clients with cutting-edge and cost-efficient solutions that are built to cope with the most challenging conditions in water treatment. Ever since its inception, Pentair has actively pursued innovation through a continuous process of research and development, cooperation and interaction with customers around the world. The new X-Flow Helix technology is a great example of this, as it enables users of heavy-duty membrane technology to improve their operations and reduce operational costs. Helix provides the solution to the problem of membrane fouling in highsolids ultrafiltration (UF). Inside the tubular membrane modules, the build-up of insoluble particles results in a cake layer at the membrane wall, which increases energy consumption and decreases overall performance. The common answer is to step up the crossflow speed and energy use, and accept the drop in efficiency and productivity. Helix introduces continuous turbulence right at the membrane wall, effectively cleaning the membrane at low crossflow velocities. Depending on the feed water characteristics, Helix can deliver up to 100% extra productivity and lower energy consumption by 50%. The Compact 75G, also exhibited at WEFTEC, is the newest addition to the X-Flow Compact product range featuring the new Helix technology. Pentair developed the X-Flow Compact 75G, a glass fibre-reinforced epoxy module with high mechanical strength and chemical resistance, for the most demanding applications, including large water treatment plants and produced water treatment in the oil and gas industry. For more information please go to: www.x-flow.com



system on his rainwater tank that supplies drinking water to his newly built house.


Clean, safe drinking water is essential for good health, however when you’re living on a rural property, clean water from a rainwater tank is not always guaranteed. Contaminated water supplies have been responsible for major outbreaks of severe gastrointestinal illnesses such as gastroenteritis and infections caused by the protozoan parasites Cryptosporidium and Giardia. Gastrointestinal illnesses can be particularly severe for the very young, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems.

“I first came across UV-Guard when I was reading The Land newspaper and saw one of their advertisements. I have a young family with three children and I felt it was important to protect them from any waterborne pathogens that could potentially affect our tank water supply,” Mr Galbraith said.

An industrial wastewater treatment plant using technology being introduced to Australasia is demonstrating to the food, beverage and agribusiness processing industries how to turn waste into profit. The plant, employing Global Water Engineering technology distributed here by CST Wastewater Solutions, removes more than 99% of organic pollutants from wastewater and turns them into profitable biogas green energy.

A water supply management plan, which includes Ultraviolet (UV) light water disinfection, can safeguard contaminated tank water supplies to prevent illness in your family. UV-Guard Managing Director, Richard Vallance, said UV water disinfection can be easily implemented with UV-Guard’s range of water treatment systems. “Our SLF-Series can easily be fitted to a rainwater tank to provide not only pathogen-free clean water, but also peace of mind knowing that your family is protected from contaminants,” Mr Vallance said.

“We didn’t want to take any risks with our drinking water, so the decision to install the UV-Guard system was a no-brainer really. Plus it was very easy to install; I was able to do it all myself. UV-Guard’s system was the best choice for our setup as it can be operated on 12V and 24V DC power supplies, which is ideal for us as we rely on our off-grid solar system to power our home.” The SLF-Series can also be used on livestock water supplies, providing pathogenfree water from dams for troughs. For more information please go to: www.uvguard.com.au

“UV can be used to provide continuous assurance of water quality and requires relatively low maintenance. It also has the advantage of not involving the addition of chemicals or affecting the water’s taste. Typically the UV disinfection system is installed in pipework delivering water from a tank to a dwelling or selectively to taps used to supply water for drinking and food preparation.”

The new plant is being commissioned in California by the world’s largest winery to transform wastewater into recycled water in a place where, like Australia and parts of New Zealand, population growth, climate change and severe drought can challenge governments’ ability to provide clean water for a healthy environment. The technology involved transforms waste from a disposal problem into a source of ongoing profit from green energy and recycled water worth tens of millions of dollars over the lifetime of the plant, says the Managing Director of CST Wastewater Solutions, Mr Michael Bambridge. CST Wastewater Solutions is deploying similar technology in Australia and New Zealand, where it can be used in applications including food, beverage and agribusiness applications extending from meat, dairy, crop, fruit, vegetable, timber and any industrial plant with a biological waste stream. The California plant has the capacity to process up to 1740m3 of strong wastewater containing more than 27,000 kg of COD from the winery and an onsite distillery. From this it can generate up to 635 million litres of reclaimed water per year, which is used to irrigate surrounding vineyards.

UV-Guard customer, James Galbraith, is based on a beef cattle farm in the Southern Highlands of NSW and has installed an SLF


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November 2015 water


water Business On an annual basis when the plant reaches full capacity, the reclaimed water capacity is equivalent to more than 250 Olympic swimming pools filled with high-quality water for reuse. This resource reduces the drain on community water supplies and provides an immediately accessible, predictable and reliable resource for the company involved, says Ian Page, Vice President of Global Water and Energy (GW&E), GWE’s technology supplier in the US and Canada. Harnessing both anaerobic and aerobic treatment technologies, the California plant transforms the wastewater into water clean enough for a variety of potential non-potable uses. “The result, which has been successfully achieved in numerous applications of GWE technology, is equivalent to an improvement of more than 99 per cent in the quality of water produced for recycling,” says Mr Page. In the process of breaking down and transforming wastewater nutrients, the plant can produce up to 8330 Nm3 of biogas (methane), equivalent to 5800kg a day of fuel oil. This represents a production capacity of more than 2000 tons of fuel oil a year, worth tens of millions of dollars over the life of the plant.

“Such savings go straight to the bottom line in profit in perpetuity,” says Mr Page. “Not only can wineries produce such savings, but so also can any food, beverage or other business with a biological waste stream. This represents a huge diversity of industry globally, with the technology being particularly effective for industries such as red meat, poultry, fish, dairy, brewery, canning, paper and packaging, food processing and agribusiness processing including many of the world’s most important crops, including fruit, cane, grain, maize, yams, sorghum, potatoes, beans and cassava.”

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water November 2015

GWE Process technology involved in the California winery project included SUPERSEP™ solids removal, heating and heat recovery, in-line pH control, ANUBIX™-T (EGSB) anaerobic treatment, a high temperature biogas flare, odor control, aerobic MBR (membrane bioreactor), BIOSULFURIX™ biogas scrubber, GASODRIX™ biogas drying and activated carbon filters. Nearly 400 wastewater treatment and waste-to-energy plants using Global Water Engineering technology are in service throughout the world.

The latest GWE technologies, including GWE’s RAPTOR™ treatment system for organic residues, won GWE a major international chemical engineering award from the Institute of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), which represents more than 40,000 chemical engineers worldwide. This latest 2014 Energy Award involved a world first with Chok Chai Starch in Thailand, where a GWE RAPTOR™ system is used to convert wet pulp waste product from the processing of cassava roots into biogas. Scores of plants using GWE technology also produce green energy to power boilers and electricity generators. Further treatment steps for recycling of water after anaerobic processing can also result in up to 75 per cent of the treated water being available for re-use. Depending on the scale of the anaerobic plant employed, the green energy generated can repay the cost of the anaerobic plant within as little as two years – and go on generating profit virtually in perpetuity. GWE Chairman and CEO Mr Jean Pierre Ombregt says advanced anaerobic technology is strongly applicable to any factory or process with one or more digestible solid waste streams. “Green energy alternatives such as wind power and solar power get most of the headlines for their achievements, but anaerobic processes are even more suited to industry in many instances, given that it provides reliable base load power and simultaneously treats wastewater to high discharge standards. “Biogas from wastewater is an outstanding source of base load power. As part of a renewable energy mix – complementing wind and solar generation, for example – electricity generated with biogas is highly reliable and consistent. As the major component of natural gas, methane is an environmentally attractive alternative to fossil fuels.” For further information please go to: www.cstwastewater.com

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