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Volume 40 no 6 SEPTEMBER 2013

Journal of the australian Water association

rrP $18.95


How a water corporation in Victoria handled a ‘boil water’ contamination incident – see page 39 Plus > Membranes & Desalination > research & Development > small Water & Wastewater systems > estuarine health

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Contents regular features From the AWA President

Leading The World In Water Know-How Graham Dooley


From the AWA Chief Executive


Driving Australia’s Prosperity With Sound Water Policies Jonathan McKeown


14 Key Principles For Water Cycle Policy Dr Peter Coombes

6 10

Postcard From The Blue Nile Wilf Finn


Industry News


AWA Young Water Professionals


AWA News


New Products and Services

Advertisers Index

CREATIVE DIRECTOR – Mike Wallace Email: ADVERTISING SALES MANAGER – Kirsti Couper Tel: 02 9467 8408 (Mob) 0417 441 821 Email: NATIONAL MANAGER – PUBLISHING – Wayne Castle Email: CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER – Jonathan McKeown

Follow Your Passion And Live Your Dream Jo Greene

Water Business

MANAGING EDITOR – Anne Lawton Tel: 02 9467 8434 Email: TECHNICAL EDITOR – Chris Davis Email:

My Point of View


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EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT – Despina Hasapis Email: EDITORIAL BOARD Frank R Bishop (Chair); Dr Bruce Anderson, Planreal Australasia; Dr Terry Anderson, Consultant SEWL; Dr Andrew Bath, Water Corporation; Michael Chapman, GHD; Wilf Finn, Norton Rose Fulbright; Robert Ford, Central Highlands Water (rtd); Ted Gardner (rtd); Antony Gibson, Orica Watercare; Dr Lionel Ho, AWQC, SA Water; Dr Brian Labza, Dept Health WA; Dr Robbert van Oorschot, GHD; John Poon, CH2M Hill; David Power, BECA Consultants; Dr Ashok Sharma, CSIRO. PUBLISH DATES Water Journal is published eight times per year: February, April, May, June, August, September, November and December. Please email for a copy of our 2013 Editorial Calendar. EDITORIAL SUBMISSIONS Acceptance of editorial submissions is at the discretion of the Editors and Editorial Board. • Technical Papers & Technical Features: Chris Davis, Technical Editor, email: AND

The Lion Co Australia Wastewater Recycling Plant at the company’s Castlemaine-Perkins Brewery in Milton, Brisbane.

opinion Water: Make It Your Business

volume 40 no 6

The Importance Of Attracting Investment To The Water Sector James Currie


feature articles Water Recycling: Some Australian Case Studies

Four Water Recycling Projects In Urban And Rural Regions Robran Cock


Community Attitudes To A Boil Water Incident

How Western Water In Victoria Managed Community Relations After A Contamination Incident In The Public Water Supply


conference report Asia Pacific Water Recycling & AWA Membranes And Desalination Conference Highlights And Key Speakers Of This Joint Event Diane Wiesner

technical papers Cover Community engagement and consultation are key for any water utility in the event of a ‘boil water’ contamination incident. Prompt, open and ongoing communication, along with clear and appropriate safety advice, will go a long way towards avoiding health issues and restoring public trust. See page 39.




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: • General Feature Articles, Industry News, Opinion Pieces & Media Releases: Anne Lawton, Managing Editor, email: 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: • Water Business & Product News: Kirsti Couper, Advertising Sales Manager, email: 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:, Web: COPYRIGHT Water Journal is subject to copyright and may not be reproduced in any format without the written permission of AWA. Email: DISCLAIMER Australian Water Association assumes no responsibility for opinions or statements of fact expressed by contributors or advertisers.

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From the President


I am often asked whether we need to continue to apply so much effort in developing alternative water supplies, making our water use as economical as we can and recycling water at every opportunity in those areas that are free of drought. The foundation of our Australian water industry was laid in the great drought of the 1850s. This drought initiated about 100 years of water-supply dam building to avoid the devastating consequences that arose from the six years of crippling drought that lasted from 1850 to 1856. We have now effectively exhausted productive dam sites around our major cities and have invested billions of dollars to manufacture drinking water from the ocean, and from treated wastewater and groundwater. Western Australia’s Water Corporation is to be congratulated on the launch and completion of its three-year Groundwater Replenishment Trial; I feel sure the Royal Engineer who wrote the Royal Commission report of 1859 would have endorsed this scheme! (As an aside, the Royal Commission report of 1859 also recommended some other momentous legal and financial changes, which I will write about in subsequent columns.) It is considerably cheaper and more resourceefficient to reclaim and recycle water that is already in our systems, or in close proximity to them. Better still, we would be wise to design our communities to apply a lower water demand on our natural ecosystems and water manufacturing plants. Doing both would be truly beneficial. And that, in fact, is what we are doing right around Australia. Whether or not our dams are full, we should press on with these good initiatives.

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In fact, as we look around the world and see what advances are being made, we can take real pride that the best work in this water field is being done in Australia. All our states and territories, as well as our creative Research & Development sector, are applying healthy doses of Aussie innovation to creating urban environments that have lower demand, increased liveability, lower unit cost of new water supplies, better water re-use, better policy and more focused regulation and pricing that promote a more constrained and more efficient water future. We need to continue with this value-creating work – it would be disappointing to starve it of funds and skill when we are making real headway on so many fronts. In our irrigated agricultural sector, which is an economic power house of the future for Australia, the improved water trading laws and systems of the last 20 years have had a profound and beneficial impact on the use of water – greater than the COAG leaders who developed them in 1994 could ever have imagined. Our Aussie know-how in both these urban and rural water sectors is priceless in a world market that struggles with how to get better value from a limited water resource where there is less fresh water to go around. The AWA Board has taken the decision to forge ahead with a more integrated and better-developed waterAUSTRALIA offering to our Corporate Members, to help grow the export of our water know-how and build a stronger water sector in Australia. Look out for more on this subject from our CEO and in future editions of Water Journal.


From the CEO


Water – and the way Australia manages it – is a major driver for the country’s economic prosperity. The contribution the water sector makes to our economic success needs to be more widely understood. The nexus between Australia’s water policies and the country’s economic strategies deserves more recognition. AWA needs to see itself as the primary national industry body for the water sector and an essential element of that task is to engage with our corporate members in the most relevant ways to help them prosper. In doing so we need to put our own activities into the context of global and regional trends for improved water management. Asia, for example, has become the engine and centre of world economic development. This rapid growth has been fuelled by changing demographics, with populations moving from rural to urban centres and shifts from agrarian to industrial economic dependence. At the heart of these seismic changes is the increasing demand for water and the need for improved water quality, infrastructure, technology and management knowhow. Australia is (rightly) seen in the region as a country that has developed world-class water quality serviced by effective assets and skilled resources. How we as an industry use this advantage will shape serious new business opportunities across Asia. In Australia water is no longer a priority policy issue and the appetite for large-scale capital projects has diminished. We are seeing a strong push to more integration between water management and urban planning that has the potential to lead to new private sector involvement and improved productivity.

To help meet these challenges AWA needs to take a strong lead in the following areas: Policy development and representing the water sector We need to engage with our corporate members to identify the main issues hindering business growth. AWA will hold a series of boardroom briefings across the country to meet with corporate members and discuss key concerns. We will also meet with the Water Ministers in each state to present outcomes of our State of the Water Sector Survey. As the peak industry body for the sector, AWA must also be seen to take a strong lead in controversial water issues such as water in the CSG industry, implementing the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, and improved workforce capacity and training. Looking beyond our own sector AWA needs to build stronger links to other business sectors including mining, agribusiness, food processing and manufacturing to make sure water has a place at the tables of influence. Helping our members maintain competiveness This includes: clustering members for procurement and supply chain management benefits; facilitating access to new domestic and international market opportunities; linking innovative new technologies and research to industry for commercialisation; showcasing industry capabilities; and packaging training and professional development accreditation to provide individuals with skills and experience to transfer across employers and industry sectors within a nationally recognised accreditation scheme. I look forward to hearing your views on how AWA can continue to increase its relevance and value to its members.

september 2013 water


My Point of View

14 KEY PRINCIPLES FOR WATER CYCLE POLICY Dr Peter Coombes, Chief Scientist, Office of Living Victoria Dr Peter Coombes is currently the Chief Scientist at the Office of Living Victoria and the Managing Director of Urban Water Cycle Solutions, which operates as an independent research think tank. Development of the Living Victoria policy, the establishment of the Office of Living Victoria as the change agency, and the successful submission of the Melbourne’s Water Future strategy to the Victorian Cabinet was not an “overnight” success. The journey has evolved over the past two decades from a range of inputs from many dedicated Victorians who challenged the sameness of views about water policy and projects. It was once a prevailing view that construction of the Thomson Dam had solved Melbourne’s water security issues, and emerging challenges of managing urban wastewater and stormwater did not seem to be front-of-mind. These challenges were certainly not seen as a systems problem. The extremes of our country produced fires, droughts and floods that prompted a broadening of thinking about our water cycle services and the liveability of our cities. My own journey to the Living Victoria policy involved a quest to better understand the behaviour of our cities and towns as integrated systems, and the belief that we can find additional opportunities. This led to the deconstruction of water, wastewater, stormwater, environmental, energy and economic systems that underpin the performance of our cities – which in turn led to the exposure of otherwise hidden challenges and opportunities. It was then a significant challenge to explain why deconstruction of the actually integrated systems that drive a city reveal

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different insights. The quest to explain these new insights led me to talented individuals from politics, bureaucracy and the international science community. The challenges of explaining systems outcomes certainly required the collaborative skill and patience of these people.

BUILDING A SYSTEMS FRAMEWORK An integrated systems approach was required to understand and demonstrate the likely behaviour of our cities and the options for interventions throughout a region. A unique analysis was created that is dependent on detailed local inputs throughout the system, such as demographic profiles and human behaviour, and linked systems that account for water supply, sewage, stormwater and environmental considerations. A Systems Framework was built on local scale (the people) inputs (a “bottom-up” process) rather than traditional analysis of metropolitan water resources that commences with regional scale assumptions and average (a “top-down” process). These activities have revealed key principles for understanding water cycle systems that are the pillars of Living Victoria policy, as follows: 1.

Cities and regions are not homogenous for all parameters relevant to water cycle management, such as demographics, socio-economics, climate, human behaviour (water use), topography and existing infrastructure (Cities are different everywhere). Analysis of water policy must include the spatial diversity and variability of a city in the planning and provision of infrastructure for water cycle management.

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Stormwater runoff and wastewater discharges from most cities are greater than the volumes of water that those cities use. These currently under-utilised local water sources, including rainwater, stormwater and wastewater, can be used to ensure the security of water supplies for a city while also increasing the local amenity of the city.



The behaviour of the water cycle for a city is actually dependent on the linked or integrated responses between the elements (water supply, wastewater discharges, stormwater runoff and environmental impacts). For example, stormwater runoff generates peak discharges and surcharges in wastewater infrastructure; and harvesting rainwater and stormwater can reduce impacts on waterways including flooding, stormwater pollution and erosion. Adoption of integrated water cycle management (IWCM) strategies accounts for the actual integrated behaviour throughout a city. The broader water industry (water authorities, local government, the private sector and the community) has already delivered a diverse range of innovative projects – many more projects are needed, but the industry has demonstrated the capability and capacity to deliver innovative solutions. New water policy is required to provide an authorising environment for IWCM projects and innovative solutions.


The current practice for water supply, wastewater and stormwater management involves transfer of water across long distances that use large amounts of infrastructure and resources – traditional water management is a transport logistics problem. New water policy should aim to minimise the distance and volumes of water, wastewater or stormwater that is transported across a city.


The costs of managing water cycle services (water supply, wastewater discharges and stormwater runoff) for a city includes operation, replacement and provision of infrastructure. The water industry should include all the costs of infrastructure in decisions about strategies for water cycle management.



The transfer of water from dams (such as Thomson Dam) or desalination plants across a city to supply water demands at each location in Melbourne (such as Werribee) includes cumulative costs throughout the system (management of dams, treatment plants, pumps, large transfer pipes and local infrastructure). A large proportion of this water is then discharged as wastewater from a building in Werribee that includes cumulative costs throughout the system of local infrastructure, pumps and rising mains to a wastewater treatment plant (such as Western Treatment Plant near Werribee). Analysis of water cycle strategies should include the cumulative costs and benefits of water cycle management throughout a region. Investments in water infrastructure are mostly dominated by large-scale infrastructure that is provided in preference to smaller and less expensive local solutions – this strategy involves long

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The industry has historically preferred large-scale centralised solutions such as desalination, but the decentralised watersaving actions of citizens ensured that water supplies were not exhausted during the recent drought. The community must be partners in multiple-scale strategies for water cycle management for cities.




The performance of a city (such as water demands, sewage discharges, stormwater runoff, environmental impacts and economics) for management of water resources is driven by the behaviour (actions and choices) of individuals at the local scale.




My Point of View

the Water recycling Facility at melbourne Cricket Ground. repayment periods, high financial costs and risks of delayed financial returns. Water policy should aim to build the resilience and affordability of water cycle strategies by including smallerscale solutions throughout the investment cycle – this process opportunistically minimises the timing and magnitude of infrastructure investment, and financial impacts on state budgets (Optimise the timing of investment in water cycle infrastructure – avoid lumpy “just in time” investments). 11.

There are not always opportunities for innovative large-scale projects, but there are always opportunities to encourage waterefficient practices and buildings throughout a city. For example, the greater Melbourne region is subject to high population growth which involves rapid development and renewal of buildings – water efficiency must be included in these buildings. Similarly, the best time to save water is when there is water in storages and it is raining. Water policy must include ongoing water efficiency as a core business strategy.


Finding the Pareto Optimum solutions (solutions with multiple benefits) – the best answers for water cycle management throughout a city will include multiple benefits (including water supply, wastewater and stormwater management, economics, amenity, health of the environment and the well-being of citizens) and trade-offs between various costs and benefits. For example, a water-efficient toilet saves water and reduces wastewater discharges; and a rainwater tank saves water and reduces stormwater runoff with associated impacts on waterways. Water policy should aim for solutions that provide multiple benefits (The best solutions provide multiple benefits throughout society).


Water cycle management and policies must respond to the continuous evolution of cities and society.


Analysis of water cycle management for a city must utilise appropriate spatial and temporal boundary conditions that allow balanced and comparable economic assessment of options. For example, analysis of the economic impacts of a water-efficient toilet must include the impacts across the entire water and wastewater systems in a city (such as requirement to operate, renew and provide infrastructure across multiple scales) at a planning horizon that accounts for the full life of infrastructure.

One of the most rewarding outcomes from the Living Victoria process has been an increase in discussion and collaboration throughout the water industry. It is exciting to witness the inclusion of many people across multiple disciplines in this process. Melbourne’s Water Future is currently in the process of stakeholder and community engagement prior to final submission to Water Minister Walsh and the Cabinet. Please see www.livingvictoria.vic. for more information.

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International Scientists have devised a better way to protect groundwater from acids, heavy metals and toxic chemicals, helping to secure the Earth’s main freshwater supply. The advance is a major step towards shielding groundwater from mining, industrial and domestic waste, all of which can contaminate the water for decades. A team led by Professor Derek Eamus at The National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT) and University of Technology Sydney (UTS) has developed a cheaper and more efficient way to test the optimal design of ‘store-release covers’ – layers of soil and plants that prevent water from leaking into the waste and contaminating the aquifers underneath.

Peak oil has generated headlines in recent years, but the real threat to our future is peak water. There are substitutes for oil, but not for water. We can produce food without oil, but not without water. In looking at water and our future, we face many questions and few answers. Could the world be facing peak water? Or has it already peaked? Go to Australian Policy Online website to read more.

An international team of researchers has showed that water purification membranes enhanced by plasma-treated carbon nanotubes are ideal for removing contaminants and brine from water. The study paves the way for the next generation of portable water purification devices, which could provide relief to the 780 million people around the world who face every day without access to a clean water supply. The team included Dr Zhaojun Han and Professor Kostya (Ken) Ostrikov from CSIRO’s Plasma Nanoscience Laboratories.

The 2013 World Water Week Report, Cooperation for a Water Wise World – Partnerships for Sustainable Development, provides input into the discussions at the 2013 World Water Week in Stockholm. The report focuses on some of the key opportunities and challenges to effective cooperation over trans-boundary waters, in the private sector and for environmental protection.

WaterAid Australia has welcomed the historic decision of the United Nations General Assembly to declare 19 November as World Toilet Day to help boost efforts to bring sanitation to all and end open defecation. Adam Laidlaw, Chief Executive, WaterAid Australia, commented: “WaterAid welcomes this recognition of the global sanitation crisis, and the need for the UN and member states to take action. This is not just the creation of another UN day, but a sign that governments recognise that toilets for all are essential for saving children’s lives.”

Australia is a major partner for Timor-Leste in water, sanitation and hygiene. Under our Timor-Leste Strategic Partnership for Development, making sure people have access to clean water and basic sanitation is a big focus and one where we have achieved a lot together. Timor-Leste is on track to meet its Millennium Development Goal target of 75 per cent coverage for rural drinking water by 2015, one of the few it is likely to meet.

water september 2013

The International 2013 savewater!® photographic competition is calling for budding photographers to share their photographs that illustrate the value of water and conserving it for the future. The photographic competition is designed to recognise creative talent with water conservation imagery as the key focus. There are three categories: Junior Student (up to 12 years old), Senior Student (13 to 17 years old), and Open. Competition closes September 30.

National The National Irrigators’ Council has claimed to be disappointed about the lack of consultation surrounding the Government’s decision to list as “critically endangered” the “River Murray and associated wetlands, floodplains and groundwater systems, from the junction of the Darling River to the sea” and the “Wetlands and inner floodplains of the Macquarie Marshes” was made after the Prime Minister had called the election. The Federal Water and Environment Minister, Mark Butler, says he listed the Murray River as critically endangered because of a loss of biodiversity. He says data collected over five years reflected an understanding in the scientific community that action needed to be taken.

Federal Water Minister, Mark Butler, has announced locations where the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office (CEWO) will recruit local engagement officers to increase the ability of Basin communities to contribute to environmental water management. Minister Butler said local engagement officers have been placed in locations close to important environmental watering sites and would be tasked to work with a range of water, environment and community organisations in their region.

Recent changes to income tax law now mean that taxpayers have a choice in how water infrastructure improvements are treated for income tax purposes. It applies to taxpayers who are eligible participants in a sustainable rural water use and infrastructure program. They can choose to have their eligible payments treated as either ordinary income, in which case they can include the payments and any related capital gains and losses in their tax return; or nonassessable non-exempt income (NANE), in which case they do not include the payments in their income tax return. To find out more go to

New environmental safeguards aimed at protecting water resources could be ditched before they are applied to more than a handful of coal and gas projects, with a new analysis showing nearly 40 developments have yet to be assessed for their impact on water. A study by the Lock the Gate alliance, a coalition of anti-coal seam gas campaigners, shows that of 43 coal and gas developments likely to impact water supplies, just four of them have had the so-called “water trigger” assessment applied to them.

Third pipe schemes (recycled non-potable water) have a risk of cross-connection with drinking water pipes, causing taste/odour complaints and creating potential health and public perception issues. A new project funded through the Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence and Smart Water has recently commenced to address this issue by incorporating UV fluorescence detection.




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CrossCurrent Federal Water Minister Mark Butler has announced $40 million in funding for three new environmental water recovery initiatives in the Murray-Darling Basin. The Federal Labor Government is investing more than $12 billion in the Murray-Darling Basin to ensure healthy rivers, strong communities and sustainable food and fibre production for current and future generations.

Around 300 billion litres of Commonwealth environmental water will flow into the River Murray Valley in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia over the next seven months, helping rejuvenate natural assets like the Lower Lakes in South Australia.

Meeting in Canberra last month, National Water Commissioners considered a range of issues and activities aimed at improved water planning and water management. Commissioners also met with the President of the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) Duncan Fraser. Together they discussed matters of shared interest including the agriculture sector’s emphasis on water access and on-farm water efficiency benefits, and the NFF’s Blueprint for Australian Agriculture.

New South Wales

Parliamentary Secretary for Environment and Urban Water, Amanda Rishworth, has announced progress on the Googong Township’s integrated water cycle system. The Parliamentary Secretary said the Federal Government’s $5.1 million investment in the system, which is almost complete, will improve water security in the region by reducing demand on potable water supplies as the area grows.

The Central Coast now has an extra year’s worth of water stored thanks to the Mardi-Mangrove Link pipeline. Since the pipeline started transferring water, more than 27,300 million litres have been stored in Mangrove Creek Dam.

The NSW Government has announced that more than $100 million will be spent over the next five years to improve the Malabar Wastewater Treatment Plant. Malabar Wastewater Treatment Plant is Sydney Water’s largest wastewater treatment facility and serves a population of 1.6 million people.


The New South Wales Government appears divided over whether it should intervene to ensure councils add fluoride to their water supplies. The issue has been thrown into the spotlight by a number of council decisions on the state’s north coast. Last month the Lismore City Council followed the lead set by neighbouring Byron Shire Council by deciding not to fluoridate its water. Health Minister Jillian Skinner says she is seeking legal advice on whether the State Government can force councils to add fluoride.

The Victorian Government is appointing a new Victorian Mineral Water Committee. They are looking for people with abilities and experience in any of the following areas: hydrogeology, strategic planning, crown land management, landscape planning, heritage conservation, and grant assessment. The new committee will be required to review the Victorian Mineral Springs Master Plan, with a view to outline capital works and activities required in mineral spring reserves, as well as identifying issues and opportunities within each reserve.

The NSW Irrigators’ Council is in the midst of preparing its response to State Water’s bulk water pricing submission to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and says State Water’s objectives are crystal clear – they want to shift risk to customers. Stefanie Schulte, Council’s Economic Policy Analyst, says this is a clear case of a monopoly operator exercising unwarranted and unwelcome market power.

South East Water has extended its online offering with a new iPhone app, giving customers the ability to manage their account on the go. South East Water Managing Director, Kevin Hutchings, said research had shown more customers wanted to use online self-service and apps to manage their bills, with over 80 per cent of customers surveyed using a smartphone every day.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has published the pricing proposal submitted by State Water Corporation for bulk water supply in the New South Wales Murray-Darling Basin. State Water supplies bulk water to around 6,200 customers in NSW. These customers include farms, irrigation corporations, local council town water suppliers and electricity generators.

The Victorian and Commonwealth governments have announced a new $100 million on-farm irrigation upgrade program that will save water for farmers and the environment across 54,000 hectares in the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District. The Victorian Farm Modernisation Project is a win for both irrigators and the environment, with the project expected to deliver 53 gigalitres (GL) of water savings, of which 30GL will go to the environment.

Cessnock is about to receive a $68 million investment in the electorate’s water and sewer system by Hunter Water, with the finishing touches being put to a major local water supply upgrade. Hunter Water is just two years into a six-year infrastructure program in the area, having already upgraded the Neath Pumping Station, increased the capacity of Branxton Waste Water Treatment works from 5,000 to 13,000 people and connected high-quality recycled water to The Vintage.

water september 2013

A new $84 million precinct on Frankston’s foreshore and the start of the Kananook Creek desilting project will revitalise the area and bring activity back to the waterway. Construction works have now begun for South East Water’s new head office in Frankston. South East Water will also start work this week to fulfil the Victorian Coalition Government’s $2.5 million commitment to de-silt Kananook Creek.



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South Australia

The Queensland Government has called on both sides of federal politics to financially support an unprecedented plan to help floodproof the state. Community Recovery Minister David Crisafulli says the state government will spend $50 million but more money is needed for big ticket infrastructure projects, such as major flood levees.

The River Murray will receive a $265 million boost to secure its future under a historic agreement between the Rudd Labor Government and the South Australian Labor Government. Federal Water Minister, Mark Butler, and Premier, Jay Weatherill, announced the South Australian River Murray Sustainability Program to help build strong and sustainable irrigation communities in the Murray, while securing

The Queensland Government has ruled out open-cut mining and capped water extraction in the Channel Country of Western Queensland. Queensland Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Andrew Cripps, said the announcement showed a positive plan for the region and set the record straight, after months of negative and misleading headlines.

the water resources needed for a healthy river.

South Australians will now have access to the most up-to-date water information and data. Minister for Water and the River Murray, Ian Hunter, says an enhanced WaterConnect website will improve the way critical information and data relating to water resources

Western Australia Residents across the south-west are being asked for their input into a long-term public water supply plan for their region. Water Forever: South West is a plan for the future of water and wastewater services across the region in the face of a drying climate. A draft report will be released publicly in early 2014 for further consultation, with the final report scheduled to be released in mid-2014.

are accessed.

Three highly credentialed South Australian women have been appointed to key positions on South Australia’s Native Vegetation Council and the Board of SA Water. Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Minister Ian Hunter has announced former State MP and Liberal Government Minister Caroline Schaefer, the first woman in Australia to be appointed Primary Industries Minister, will become the new Presiding Member of the Native Vegetation Council. Sue Filby and Carolyn Pickles have been appointed to

A new water allocation plan for the Gingin area will provide certainty for existing water users and support future growth and development. The WA Department of Water has released the Gingin groundwater allocation plan for a three-month public comment period. The plan sets out how water allocations and licences will be managed to maintain a reliable groundwater supply for agriculture, industry and urban development while also supporting local groundwater dependent systems.

The Water Corporation will cut water pressure to tens of thousands of Perth homes as part of efforts to save drinking supplies and stem leaks and burst pipes in its ageing network. Although details of the plan are still to be fleshed out, the state-owned utility confirmed it was preparing for a rollout of the water-pressure reduction program across the metropolitan area from next year.

the SA Water Board.

Loxton Waikerie Water Supply Plan in regional South Australia has been opened, which will reduce Loxton’s reliance on the River Murray, maximise stormwater capture and storage and identify options to replace potable water with recycled water supplies.

Northern Territory Power and Water has been working on delivering a water system augmentation program to meet future water requirements in the community of Ngukurr, located south-east of Katherine in the Roper Gulf Shire. Works to replace three kilometres of rising main from the bore field is now complete after several months of construction

Dam levels were at their lowest in more than a decade last month, despite the record drenching of Perth and regional Western Australia. Although in August Perth recorded its heaviest rainfall since 2003, the deluge is yet to make a mark with dam levels sitting at 27.4 per cent full compared with 28 per cent for the same time last year.

works during challenging weather conditions.

The Northern Territory Government has dismantled a long-running land and water community reference group in the Top End. The Daly River Management Advisory Committee (DRMAC) was set up seven

The WA Government is adopting world-class water recycling technology to help secure Perth’s drinking water supply after a successful three-year groundwater replenishment trial. The technology has the potential to supply up to 20 per cent of Perth’s drinking water needs in decades to come.

water september 2013

years ago under the Labor Government to provide guidance on policy with input from all sectors including those of beef, farming, fishing and Indigenous. A water allocation plan was recently finished by the group for the Oolloo aquifer, which stretches from Katherine north to the Douglas-Daly, but it is yet to be signed off.



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Tasmania Stage one of a stormwater harvesting project that will save more than 1.5 billion litres of drinking water each year in Glenorchy is now complete. Glenorchy City Council received funding from the Federal Labor Government of $9.2 million for the Derwent Park Stormwater Harvesting and Industrial Reuse project, to capture and treat stormwater from the Derwent Park catchment for irrigation, industrial and commercial purposes.

Member News Strategy expert Geoff Linke has joined Aurecon as Adelaide/ Melbourne Delivery Centre Manager. In his last role Geoff was General Manager Strategy at Sinclair Knight Merz and previously managed the firm’s Water unit. Geoff has met with some of Aurecon’s clients to discuss how integrating the Delivery Centres will enable clients to access a greater depth and breadth of skills.

Water Corporation has welcomed the following new General Managers: Ashley Vincent – GM Planning and Capability Group, Bennie Smith – GM Regional Customer Services Group and Mark Leathersich – GM Acquisition Group.

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SKM has appointed Marc Roberts as a Principal Engineer, Pipes & Pumps, based in its Sydney office. Mr Roberts brings to SKM more than 25 years’ experience in the fields of infrastructure delivery, solid waste management, environmental engineering and engineering for urban development projects.

Darryl Day, Past President of AWA and chair of the AWA International Water Association Australia Branch Committee, has taken a new role in energy with the Northern Territory Department of Mines and Energy. Darryl has been the General Manager Remote Operations with the Power and Water for the past seven years, and prior to that was the General Manager Water Services. After a busy few years at Unitywater, Robert Stringfellow is heading back to consulting as the Water Manager Northern Region for SMEC. This position will be responsible for the strategic direction for SMEC in the water sector for Queensland and the Northern Territory.

ODG Haden Construction Pty Ltd has official changed its name to RCR O’Donnell Griffin Pty Ltd.

Lend Lease has announced it is restructuring its Australian construction and infrastructure business, through the consolidation of its Abigroup, Baulderstone, Project Management & Construction and Infrastructure Services businesses. The strengths of these four businesses will be transitioned into sector-based businesses – one in each of the building, engineering and infrastructure services sectors.

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POSTCARD FROM THE BLUE NILE – from Wilf Finn Since the maps of the ancient Greek cartographer Ptolemy the source of the longest river in the world, the (White) Nile, had been noted as the ‘Mountains of the Moon’ – for centuries known only to be somewhere in the centre of Africa, but now recognised as Uganda’s Rwenzori Mountains. However, in July 1862 John Hanning Speke disproved this theory, tracing the Nile to its major source at Lake Victoria; only in the last few decades have streams in Rwanda and Burundi also been explored as potential points furthest from its mouth in the Mediterranean. (Even the motoring show Top Gear set out to find the source of the Nile earlier this year).

preparin to kayak below the majorg so Lake Vi urce of the White Nilect. oria,

While finding the source of the White Nile was one of the great adventures of the Victorian Age, the origins of its shorter, easterly counterpart – the Blue Nile – were far more easily determined. The Blue Nile runs south-east out of Lake Tana in the Ethiopian highlands, before turning west then north through Sudan to meet the White Nile in Khartoum.

HOLIDAY PLEASURES Our summer visit to East Africa led us not only to a day’s white water kayaking on the White Nile at Jinja – a well-known paddling spot just below the recently constructed Owen Falls Dam on Lake Victoria (more or less the source of the White Nile) – but also to a more leisurely boating trip on Lake Tana. From our base on the shores of Lake Tana at Bahir Dar, we followed the Blue Nile for 40 kilometres to where it plunges over the Blue Nile Falls (known locally as Tis Issat, or ‘smoking waters’). Being December, the opia, tanva in ethi ke water levels at the falls La on g Cruisin e blue Nile. source of th were low, and have been greatly reduced in the past decade through diversions for hydroelectricity immediately from Lake Tana that bypass the falls. From the Blue Nile Falls, the river plunges into steep gorges that have made following its passage far more difficult than the White Nile, and certainly no place for similar kayaking day trips. However, as it gathers tributaries on its course into Sudan, where it is joined by the flooding winter flows of the Atbara River, the Blue Nile becomes the major contributor to the ‘joint’ Nile River and the waters that flow north into Egypt.

the blue Nile Falls.

POLITICS, ‘DAM’ POLITICS It is for this reason that the construction of Africa’s biggest hydropower plant – the ‘Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Project’ (or GERDP) near the Ethiopian-Sudanese border – has attracted considerable attention, not least downstream in Egypt. Construction of the $4.3 billion project commenced in 2011 and according to the Ethiopian Government is nearly 25 per cent complete. It is planned that the 170-metre high, 1,800-metre wide dam wall will hold a reservoir of 63,000 gigalitres by 2017 – more than 50 per cent larger than the 39,000-gigalitre reservoir created by the Three Gorges Dam in China. The 6,000-megawatt hydropower station is due to be operational by 2018,and the Ethiopian Government has promoted it as a major new source of electricity not only for Ethiopia, but also for the broader east African region.

am entering the gorges downstre of the ‘smoking waters’.

water september 2013

Unsurprisingly, the GERDP has been strongly opposed by Egypt, not least on the grounds that it violates the 1959 Nile Waters Agreement, which shared the entire average annual flow of the Nile only between Sudan and Egypt. (The agreement also granted Egypt the right to construct the High Aswan Dam, which it commenced in 1960 and which only reached its full capacity of 43,000 gigalitres in 1976.)



As a result, an International Panel of Experts was established by Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan to review the GERDP. Its preliminary report was provided to the member governments in May this year, which led to the now infamous footage of Egyptian political leaders meeting with President Morsi and planning methods to destroy the dam (all of which was televised live on the state-owned television network). It was during this telecast that the now former president said that his government would defend the Nile, as... “If it loses one drop, our blood is the alternative” (Aljazeera website, dated 11 June 2013). A consequence of the heightened internal tensions and conflict within Egypt since May has been the slight cooling of tensions with Ethiopia and other upstream states about the dam. In late July this year, a special envoy for the interim Egyptian President Mansour ‘watered down’ these threats, at least with respect to military action. However, the future of the waters of the Blue Nile looks set to remain far more troubled over the next few years of construction of the GERDP, and certainly a far cry from a peaceful afternoon of boating at its source. Wilfred Finn is a member of the editorial committee of the AWA Water Journal, and a Senior Associate at the law firm Norton Rose Fulbright.


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Industry News

During his career, Moore has also held prestigious industry roles including Convener of Australian Standards IT/23/3 Committee. He was also appointed as Australia’s representative to the International Standards Organisation Committee ISO TC204/WG3. Alex Iljin is in the MWH Melbourne office and has 25 years of experience in transport planning and traffic engineering. For 20 years he has worked for leading Australian and global transport planning consultancies, managing complex multi-disciplinary planning projects. In his new role, Iljin will expand the business transport planning capabilities for MWH across the east coast of Australia, assisting clients to identify and plan infrastructure priorities and secure funding. He will also support private and public sector clients with transport planning services to ensure they develop a robust feasibility assessment and business case for funding approvals and project implementation. Iljin has planned and designed passenger and freight transport infrastructure and services for rail and road, integrating operational analysis with strategic planning to understand issues and develop robust, cost-effective solutions that solve problems and accommodate growth.


Demand drivers


Moore is in the MWH Sydney office and brings more than 30 years of consulting experience. He will lead the delivery of Alex Iljin planning, engineering, design and asset management services for clients in New South Wales and Victoria.

2030E (Unit in BCM)



• Population growth • Increased per capita water consumption


MWH Global in Australia has announced the appointments of Stephen Moore as transportation leader, Government and Infrastructure for New South Wales and Victoria, and Alex Iljin as business manager for infrastructure planning.

2010 (Unit in BCM)



• Expansion of the water intensive industries like power, iron & steel, chemical is leading to increase in water demand


• Domestic food grain demand increasing with increase in population • Demand for water intensive crops like wheat, rice are increasing substantially • Poor water management



to 91 bcm in 2030. Domestic demand is expected to grow from 34 bcm in 2010 to 66 bcm litres, and irrigation requirement is expected to grow from 606 bcm to 674 bcm in 2030.


A National Water Mission has been initiated to monitor integrated water resource management, help to conserve water, reduce wastage and enable more equitable distribution of water resources across and within states. The mission takes into account the provisions of the National Water Policy and has developed a framework for reducing water usage by increasing water-use efficiency by 20 per cent through regulatory mechanisms with differential entitlements and pricing. It seeks to make sure that a large share of the water needs of urban areas is met through recycling of wastewater and the water requirements of coastal cities with inadequate alternative sources of water by the adoption of new technologies such as low temperature desalination technologies that enable the use of ocean water. The mission seeks to develop new regulatory structures combined with appropriate entitlements and pricing. It also aims to improve the efficiency of existing irrigation systems, including rehabilitation of those that are run down, and also expand irrigation, where feasible, by making a special effort to increase storage capacity. In addition, incentive structures will be designed to promote waterneutral or water-positive technologies, recharging of underground water sources and adoption of large-scale irrigation programs that rely on sprinklers, drip irrigation, and ridge and furrow irrigation. Some of the key implications and business opportunities arising out of the National Water Mission include: • Mandatory green development in Special Economic Zones; • Sewage treatment and recycling in all residential buildings;

India has more than 16 per cent of the world’s population but only 2.4% of the world’s land area and 4% of the world’s renewable water resources. It is the second largest water consumer in the world. In the last decade, India has witnessed a drastic shift in the demand and consumption of water. It is now known that India’s per capita availability of water has reduced from 1,816 to 1,545 cubic metres from the period of 2001 to 2011, thereby shifting India’s status from being “water-adequate” to “water-stressed”. Nearly 25 per cent of the country’s population lives in water-scarce areas where the per capita availability of water is less than 1,000 cubic metres per year. India’s rapidly increasing population, urbanisation and industrialisation has led to a significant increase in the need for water. Over the next decade, the demand for water is expected to grow substantially, primarily fuelled by industrial requirements that are expected to double from 40 billion cubic metres (bcm) in 2010

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• Mandatory 20% water reduction for industries;

• Water labelling; • Fiscal incentives for promoting water-efficient technologies; • Revision of water tariffs; • PPP model for installation of groundwater recharge systems; watershed development programs, etc; • Water footprinting – promoting mandatory water audits, including those for drinking water purposes; • Incentivising recycling of water; including wastewater. Other funding programs include central [federal] government funding of US$20 billion for sewage treatment, irrigation and recycling and federal and state government funding of US$300 million for drinking water purification plants at rural areas in the FY 2013–14.


Specific opportunities exist across wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse, water efficiency usage services, water modelling, non-revenue water management, basin level water resource management, water database services, renewable energy-powered water treatment systems for rural drinking water supply, treatment of arsenic and fluoride impurities in groundwater, desalination, mapping of groundwater aquifers and collaboration with research institutes in the water space. To capitalise on the potential in the Indian water market, several international water companies have set up operations in India, including CH2M HILL, Veolia Water, Suez de Lyonnaise (Degrémont) and VA TECH Wabag, Thames Water (UK), Dow Chemicals, Dupont, Emerson, Hydronautics, Pentair (US), Grundfos (Denmark), Endress + Hauser, KSB Pumps, Krohne, Netzsch (Germany), Schlumberger/Actaris (France), Amiantit, Aplaco (Saudi Arabia) and Metrohm (Switzerland). Some of the Australian water companies operating in India include SMEC, Sinclair Knight Merz and Atlantis Water Management Solutions. For more information on partnerships with Indian organisations/ institutions in the water sector and to offer Australian technology and expertise in water, wastewater, water treatment and related areas in India, please contact Austrade at

MULPHA AUSTRALIA SELECTS GREEN REVERSE OSMOSIS SYSTEM FOR NEW DESALINATION PLANT IDE Technologies has announced that Mulpha Australia, owner of Hayman Island on the world heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef, has selected IDE PROGREEN™ to provide high-quality desalinated water to the island resort. Mulpha Australia’s Director of Group Asset Development & Projects, Greg Timar, said: “We are pleased to acquire this modular unit from IDE. As a result of its ‘plug and play’ abilities, the plant should be up and running in a relatively short time. An important aspect in the decision to award IDE the new plant was the ongoing operation and maintenance support to be provided to Hayman from the IDE Australian office. We are optimistic about the desalination benefits we will gain and IDE’s ability to address our critical needs for water capacity under restricted energy consumption and low operation and maintenance costs.”

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Industry News The IDE PROGREEN™ modular Reverse Osmosis (RO) desalination solution provides high-quality water while minimising the impact on the environment by eliminating the use of chemicals in the pre-treatment and desalination processes. The system is compact and flexible, which makes it easy to transport and install while considerably reducing operational costs. It features a patented RO Membrane Direct Osmosis Cleaning (DOC) system, for reduced energy consumption and stable performance. Under the agreement, IDE will operate and maintain the desalination plant at Hayman for 10 years. For more information please visit:

AECOM APPOINTED TO HUNTER WATER’S WASTEWATER TREATMENT PANEL Ensuring local communities can continue to make the most of their natural water environment is a common challenge facing Australian water utilities. To assist it to improve water quality while minimising cost increases for customers, Hunter Water has appointed AECOM to its Wastewater Treatment Panel. AECOM, which has NSW offices in Newcastle, Singleton and Sydney, will work with Hunter Water throughout the initial planning and design phase of potential upgrades to 19 wastewater treatment plants, in addition to contributing to Hunter Water’s wider objective to improve water quality through regulatory compliance, catchment management, reuse and improved operations. AECOM Chief Executive, Australia New Zealand, Michael Batchelor, said AECOM’s work on the wastewater treatment plants would leverage practical technologies and asset management principles, as well as community and stakeholder engagement to offer smarter solutions. “We’re committed to working with Hunter Water to service population growth in the region, while improving water quality and continuing to keep costs down for consumers,” said Mr Batchelor. “We will work to assist Hunter Water to manage capital expenditure

by optimising asset lifecycle costs, setting appropriate levels of service and talking to stakeholders. AECOM’s Newcastle team will work closely with our Sydney specialists to ensure Hunter Water benefits from our local understanding of key issues and experience working on similar projects across Australia and internationally.”

STANDARDS AUSTRALIA CEO APPOINTMENT The Board of Standards Australia has appointed Dr Bronwyn Evans as Chief Executive Officer, due to the forthcoming retirement of incumbent Colin Blair. “The appointment follows an exhaustive and rigorous process in which many high-calibre candidates were considered and assessed,” said Dr Alan Morrison, Chairman, Standards Australia. An engineer by profession, Dr Evans will come to the role following an extensive global career in healthcare and engineering, having most recently held the position of Senior Vice President, Quality, Clinical and Regulatory at Cochlear Limited. Prior to that Dr Evans held senior positions at GE Healthcare and Ultrasound. Dr Evans is a fellow of Engineers Australia. “Dr Evans will be the second consecutive CEO of Standards Australia who previously worked in standards development within the organisation. This practical and grassroots understanding of standardisation will be a significant advantage in the role,” Dr Morrison said. “I would like to pay tribute to Colin Blair, who has focused the organisation’s efforts around our core mission of developing internationally-aligned Australian Standards in the national interest.” As CEO, Dr Evans will be responsible for the implementation of Standards Australia’s 2014–18 Strategic Plan, which unambiguously outlines the organisation’s vision, mission and priorities. Commenting on her appointment, Dr Evans said: “I’m excited by the opportunity to lead an organisation which I have respected for many years, and which offers such tangible benefits to the Australian community.”

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RWL WATER POISED TO GROW One of South America’s leading water treatment companies has agreed in principle to join the RWL Water Group, a global water solutions provider. Headquartered in Mar del Plata in the province of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Unitek brings great experience in water treatment in South America, which creates one of many opportunities for cross-business synergies in the region between the other RWL Water portfolio companies, Aeromix, Eurotec WTT and Nirosoft.

From left: rWL Water president and CeO Henry Charrabé, Unitek CeO Alejandro rudometkin, Unitek Vp & Co-Owner Alejandro sturniolo, and rWL Water CFO Karl-Heinz Zorn.

“We are very excited that Unitek, which fits so perfectly with the RWL Water culture and technology, has agreed in principle to join forces with us. When completed, the addition of Unitek will provide us with the credibility, expertise and speed to respond to almost any water treatment need for our customers in Latin America,” says Henry Charrabé, President and CEO of RWL Water. Latin America is one of RWL Water’s focus markets. Over the past two years, the company has opened three sales offices throughout the region and an operations office in Colombia. Upon closing the Unitek transaction, the Group will have more than 90 years of combined experience in water and wastewater treatment and more than 250 dedicated employees to bring water, wastewater and waste-to-energy solutions to the world.

ENVIRONMENTAL RISKS OF PLANNED ORANGE PIPELINE UNDERESTIMATED A new UNSW-led study modelling the impacts of an approved $47 million pipeline pumping water from the Macquarie River to the city of Orange has revealed the potential for far greater risks to river health than those estimated by the environmental assessment. The pipeline, which will cost a further $728,000 per year to operate, was approved by the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure in May and the Planning Assessment Commission in June. However, UNSW scientists say there were critical flaws in the original environmental assessment. “The original environmental assessment was based on dry climate conditions and the wrong pumping thresholds, and there is increased opportunity to divert even more water in the future,” says Professor Richard Kingsford, Director of the Australian Wetlands, Rivers and Landscapes Centre at UNSW. Kingsford and his honours student Justin McCann independently modelled the impact of the pipeline on downstream flows to the river and Macquarie Marshes – which are listed by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance. They identified “critical issues of inadequate environmental assessment”. Key findings include: • The initial assessment said pumping could occur when flow levels were above 38 mega litres per day (ML/day). This is considerably lower than the 118 ML/day threshold identified by UNSW researchers. • The UNSW model closely reflected an independent assessment commissioned by the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure, which recommended 108 ML/day. • Current approval of the pipeline with a new pumping threshold of 108 ML/day has not had its environmental impact assessed. 

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Industry News



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Industry News • An upper threshold would not prevent increased water diversions. Enlarging the capacity of dams at Orange (e.g. Suma Park Dam or use of groundwater aquifer for storage) would considerably increase future diversions of water, inadequately accounted for in the environmental assessment. • There is significant potential to increase the maximum amount of water diverted from 3804 ML per year to 4380 ML per year, by varying pumping thresholds. “Our modelling identified the pumping thresholds were wrong, which was further supported by a government-commissioned assessment. What this means is that the approval is based on new thresholds, which have never been properly assessed,” says McCann. “The original environmental assessment has underestimated the ecological impact of this development.” Furthermore, Professor Kingsford says there’s a loop hole in the water planning that will allow increased diversions of water from “one of the most seriously compromised rivers in the Murray Darling Basin”. “This assumes there is spare water where there is none. The Macquarie Marshes have suffered for more than 40 years from diversions of water upstream for irrigation and towns. This is just another blow to its life-giving water supply,” said Professor Kingsford. The Australian Government is expected to make a decision on its environmental assessment under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 in coming weeks, with a particular focus on the impacts the development will have on the internationally recognised Macquarie Marshes.

VINSI PARTNERS’ EXPANSION Vinsi Partners is delighted to announce the opening of a new Brisbane office and the appointment of two new Materials Scientists. Dr David Harrison is joining the Newcastle office as a Senior Materials Scientist and has over 20 years’ experience in various technical roles within the steel, water and manufacturing sectors. He has been responsible for a range of different projects throughout his career, including the development of a remedial water treatment strategy for copper pitting corrosion, and has specialist knowledge on metallic coatings performance and coating processes. Dr Matthew Hales is joining the newly opened Brisbane office as a Materials Scientist following his work on corrosion sensors as a

Vinsi’s Brisbane Office. post-doctoral research fellow at QUT. He has previously worked on a number of projects involving the development of engineering test systems for novel chemical processes through to chemical/forensic analysis and identification of various materials.

BANKSIA AWARDS 2013 Tenix has been named a finalist in two categories of this year’s Banksia Sustainability Awards, widely recognised as Australia’s most prestigious environmental awards. Tenix CEO, Ross Taylor, said: “Four years ago we set the course for Tenix to be recognised as the leader in sustainable infrastructure delivery and these nominations show that we are well on track.” In the Built Environment award category, Tenix has been recognised for taking the lead in using the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia’s IS (Infrastructure Sustainability) rating scheme to guide its sustainable design and delivery of two sewage treatment plants in North Queensland for Whitsunday Regional Council. Council’s Mayor, Jennifer Whitney said, “Council has strongly supported the approach taken by Tenix in terms of sustainable infrastructure solutions, services and delivery, with the benefits to the community and the Great Barrier Reef the top priority. On behalf of Council, I congratulate Tenix who have worked tirelessly to achieve the rating as well as Council employees and those involved in the project.” In the Water award category, Tenix is a joint finalist with the Melbourne Cricket Club for the development of an innovative underground water recycling facility that now provides a sustainable

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Industry News supply of high-quality recycled water to the Melbourne Cricket Ground and the surrounding heritage-listed parkland. “The water recycling plant is a major initiative for the long-term sustainability, health and viability of Yarra Park,” said MCC CEO Stephen Gough. “It will also substantially reduce our reliance on potable water and increase park amenity for all users.” The Banksia Sustainability Awards acknowledge excellence, dedication and leadership. Winners will be announced on Wednesday 9 October 2013 at the Banksia Sustainability Awards Presentation in Melbourne.

SYDNEY WATER SELECTS DATACOL’S METER TECHNOLOGY Sydney Water has selected DataCol’s SevenX solution to read its 1.3 million water meters. The new system allows meter readings to be submitted from the field via the mobile phone network and send the data straight to the billing system. This translates to greater productivity as meter readers do not need to go back to base to upload routes or download readings at the end of each day. The system uses field devices that include GPS location and have the ability to capture images from the field, which can be very useful to show issues such as difficulty accessing a meter.

Sydney Water Manager for Customer Accounts and Billing, Colin Ridley said Sydney Water are pleased with DataCol’s meter technology. “The DataCol solution is robust, reliable and also cost effective. It will help us more easily move towards more automated meter reading in the future.” CEO of DataCol, Bruce Franks, said, “Sydney Water is constantly renewing its water infrastructure and making the right investments to support and facilitate the growth the city is going to experience in the future. They are bringing about significant updates to the infrastructure and were looking for a partner who could support them through this transition and we are happy to be their vendor of choice.” Mr Franks said being entrusted with meter reads and billing data for a large operation such as Sydney Water is a big responsibility and has been made possible since SevenX is a proven solution that has been audited and tested to comply with the highest industry standards. Sydney today is home to 4.6 million people and the number is expected to grow to 5.6 million by 2031, and will need half a million more houses according to the Department of Planning and Infrastructure. With 1.9 million connections servicing 4.6 million people and over $AUD2 billion in annual revenues, Sydney Water is Australia’s largest urban water supplier. DataCol, a New Zealand-based company, brings years of experience in the water, gas, electricity and agricultural sectors, and currently partners a number of city councils and water authorities across Australasia. Sydney Water selected DataCol on the basis of its track record and the proven efficiencies the SevenX solution brings to Sydney Water’s operations.




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Young Water Professionals

FOLLOW YOUR PASSION AND LIVE YOUR DREAM Jo Greene – AWA YWP National Committee President

As engineers and water professionals, how many of us can say that we love what we do on a day-today basis? I am lucky enough to be able to say that this is true for me – although it wasn’t always the case. Of course, loving what we do doesn’t mean we have to love every single aspect of the job, or every single minute – but we need to ask ourselves, are we generally working in the area in which we are gifted and doing what we were created to do?

DON’T ‘DO TIME’ IN A ROLE YOU DISLIKE Particularly as young water professionals, and those of you who are still graduates, people might tell you that you have to ‘do your time’, or ‘put in the miles’. While this may be true in terms of being in a role where you are gaining experience and learning, it doesn’t mean we should spend our days working in areas we really don’t like and have no passion for. What would you be doing workwise if money were no object? How would you really enjoy spending your working life? The water industry and the field of engineering is so vast and varied, it really doesn’t matter what you think of – it is out there, and if it isn’t maybe you are the one to make it happen! If you do something that you really like doing, eventually you will become a master of it. Once you are a master you will be able to make good money doing it.

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Work within your talents and with what drives you, and the rewards will come. This is the real secret of life – to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realise it is play.

THE IMPORTANCE OF LOVING WHAT YOU DO In Steve Siebold’s book, How Rich People Think, Oprah Winfrey is quoted as saying that you’ve got to follow your passion and do what you love. Of course, you need to find a way of getting paid for doing something you love – and it is possible. Richard Branson tells us to work to our strengths; Guy Laliberte (founder of Cirque du Soleil) says to do what you love and the money will follow. Some of the most successful and wealthy people work well into their later years. They don’t do it for the money. They do it because they have found what they love to do. Let’s face it, we shouldn’t be doing something we don’t like because we think this is the only way to make it in the water industry. Too many people spend their lives doing things they don’t like doing, to make enough money to go on spending more time doing what they don’t like doing! Australia has a dynamic water industry; we are lucky to have an enormous range of areas within which to find our enterprise. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams and have the career in water you are worthy of. Be the change you want to see in this world.


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september 2013 water


AWA News

AUSTRALIAN CURRICULUM HAVE YOU JOINED THE WATER WATER PROJECT WATER IN MINING AND ENERGY EDUCATION RESOURCES AUDIT SPECIALIST NETWORK YET? AWA has almost completed Phase 1 of the three-year Australian Curriculum Water Project (ACWP), which has involved developing a business plan, enlisting support through a subscription model, completing an extensive audit of educational water resources nationally, categorising resources that align to Curriculum topics and identifying gaps where additional resources are required. We will share details of the resources identified through the audit, and invite feedback from the Water Education Specialist Network and Project subscribers on any significant resources that may have been missed. This is part of our consultative approach to ensure the audit is comprehensive. The Water Education Specialist Network will receive a non-subscriber version of the audit, which will list all of the resources identified, including the resource title, the owner’s name, and a link to the resource. The full audit will only be made available to subscribers of the project and will have additional resource information, including: • A brief description of the resource; • The format of the resource, e.g. learning object, animation, book; • The audience for which the resource is appropriate in terms of the learning phase/s, e.g. Primary 4–6, Jnr Sec 7–10; • The specific year/level the resource is appropriate for, e.g. Year 1, Year 7; • The Australian Curriculum Learning Areas covered by the resource, e.g. Science, Geography; • The geographic context of the resource, e.g. National or State;

The Water in Mining and Energy Specialist Network was created to promote the importance of water management in the resources sector. It will also raise awareness of the critical role of water professionals, and provide a forum for policy development and training delivery. By highlighting best practice case studies, the Specialist Network will inform discussion within the water industry and community. The Network will work across the two streams of Minerals and Energy that comprise the resources sector and will focus on issues arising from industry interaction with water values. As such, the scope includes ground and surface water and any effects on these brought about by industry activities. The key objectives for the network are to: • Develop understanding of the role of water management in the resource industry; • Promote the role of water professionals within the industry; • Provide opportunity for exchange of skills between the resource and utility sectors; • Influence policy development on water in mining and energy issues; • Provide and facilitate access to targeted training on industryspecific issues. 5 reasons to join the Water in Mining and Energy Specialist Network:

• The water topics covered by the resource, e.g. urban water cycle, water chemistry;


Receive bi-monthly newsletters with the latest news and advances on water in mining and energy issues;

• Whether the resource touches on cross-curriculum areas such as sustainability;


Build your knowledge around water in mining and energy issues by attending seminars and events;

• Whether the resource fulfills any teaching areas in the Australian Curriculum, indicated by Australian Curriculum Codes;


Contribute to policy development on water in mining and energy issues;


Build contacts with people that share similar water in mining interests;


Hear about training and networking opportunities.

• The resources pedagogy, e.g. inquiry, interactive. Once complete, subscribers to the project will receive the final results along with a report of recommendations for new resources that will support Curriculum-aligned water education. This report will be available to subscribers in September. The last two years of the project will focus on the development of resources, supported by project subscription funding. Of course, the major benefit of the project will be collating leading resources into a one-stop portal supported by Education Services Australia, for access by teachers, students and industry members across the country. The Australian Curriculum Water project is managed by AWA and supported by 22 subscribing organisations. We are looking to extend the benefits of this project to all of our corporate members, so if you are not yet a subscriber please give us a call. For more information on the Australian Curriculum Water Project and how you can get involved please visit www.awa. phone 02 9436 0055.

water september 2013

To join this network and be kept up to date on developments, please visit the AWA website and go to “Manage your account”.

VALE (BILL) WILLIAM DULFER William Dulfer was born in 1926. He was educated at Scotch College, Melbourne and enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy and served as an Able Seaman in a minesweeper towards the end of the war. He completed his civil engineering degree at Melbourne University and in 1951, after his graduation, joined the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works (now Melbourne Water) as a junior engineer.


AWA News This was followed by a career in water supply and water storages in the position of Deputy Chief Engineer Water, and later as Chief Engineer Water Supply, and was responsible for the planning and design of all the major water projects (including Thompson Dam), water supply distribution (large mains, service reservoirs) and reticulation. This was during a time when Melbourne’s water and sewerage systems were going through a major augmentation.


Bill was an active member of AWA and served as President of the Victorian Branch for many years; he was active in the Water Journal Committee and was editor of the Victorian Waterline Newsletter. He was regarded by his peers as highly knowledgeable, serious and conscientious and, for his service to AWA, was awarded Life Membership in 1995. 

Are you looking to up-skill your water operations staff? Do you want to reduce onsite workplace health and safety risks? Are you looking to improve efficiencies across your business? If you answered yes to any of these questions then why don’t you enroll your staff to complete a Certificate III in Water Operations?

Bill passed away peacefully on 22 July 2013. A Memorial Service was held for him on 29 July at the Le Pine Chapel in Camberwell, Victoria. Bill was an inspiration to his colleagues, family and friends and will be greatly missed greatly.

AMENDMENT In Part 2 of our Ozwater’13 Report published in the August issue, we refer to the paper titled ‘Drinking Water in the Pipeline’ as being presented by Stephen Jewell. In fact, although Stephen was co-author of the paper, it was actually Andrew Wundke from GWMWater who presented it. We apologies for any inconvenience.

REGISTRATIONS OPEN FOR THE NATURAL ORGANIC MATTER CONFERENCE Registrations for the Natural Organic Matter Conference, which takes place 1–4 October 2013, are now open. This event will showcase innovations and practical applications in the field of Natural Organic Matter (NOM) Research. Jointly organised by IWA, the Australian Water Association (AWA) and the Curtin Water Quality Research Centre (CWQRC), the Conference will deliver an excellent scientific program featuring distinguished international keynote speakers, complemented with informative technical tours and unique social activities highlighting the best that Perth has to offer.

WATER INDUSTRY 101 ONLINE COURSE AVAILABLE Water Industry 101 is an introduction to the water sector providing a snapshot of current issues, trends and challenges. The online course is comprised of a series of lectures delivered over the web, available at any time and any place, for self-paced learning of specific content. Students gain access to lectures in the form of voice-over Powerpoints, further reading lists and the opportunity to email queries to the lecturer. More information and registration details can be found at

AWA, with joint venture partner Opus International Consultants, has created the AWA Opus Water Industry Training Institute (WITI) to deliver nationally recognised water industry training in partnership with The Learning Collaborative (RTO National ID 32350). WITI can deliver Certificate II and Certificate III in Water Operations. Qualifications can be customised to suit workplace needs. WITI trainers are currently delivering Certificate III in Water Operations to mining industry employees in the Pilbara via a mix of face-to-face training delivery and assessment, supported by regular electronic classroom sessions. Visit the WITI website at

BRANCH NEWS NSW New Branch Committee Members The NSW Branch recently held its Branch Committee elections. We are delighted to announce the 2013–2015 committee members are: Adam Wilson (Coffs Harbour City Council), Cheryl Marvell (Sydney Water), Erin Cini (Element Solutions), Graham Attenborough (Sydney Catchment Authority), Ian Chase (Beca), Kate Miles (AECOM), Katherine Marshall (WaterUp), Lee-Anne Sylva (GHD), Paul Freeman (Sydney Water), Sally Rewell (Sydney Water), Tim Summers (SEQWater) and Tony Cartwright (Sydney Water). The NSW Branch Committee elected executive positions are held by Mark Trembath (Johnson Screens) (NSW Branch President), Karen Eaton (UGL), and Ivan Reolon (Aquatec Maxcon) (NSW CoVice Presidents) and Murray Thompson (Port Macquarie Hasting Council) (NSW Immediate Past President).

Branch Seminar Series The NSW Branch held the fourth seminar in the AWA NSW Branch Seminar Series in Newcastle on Wednesday 24 July. This seminar focused on how the water industry is coping with the challenges and opportunities that arise with asset management and ageing infrastructure, including how to cope with changing materials and technologies, how to minimise life cycle costs and how to stretch budgets to cope with the problems of ageing infrastructure. We would like to thank all the speakers who presented at this seminar: Murray Thompson and Fiona Conlon (Port Macquarie Hasting Council), Peter Gray (ITS Trenchless) and Hugh Chapman (Aqua Environmental). We would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Seminar Sponsor – ITS Trenchless for their support of the event.

september 2013 water


AWA News NSW Heads of Water

2013 NSW Engineers & Operators Conference

The 2013 NSW Heads of Water was held on Friday 2 August at the Ivy Ballroom, Sydney. Guests were entertained by Master of Ceremonies Rob Carlton and also had an opportunity to hear from the recently appointed AWA CEO, Jonathan McKeown, on his vision for AWA going forward. During the evening, Murray Thompson (Immediate Past NSW Branch President) thanked the 2011–2013 NSW Branch Committee and publicly handed over his Presidency to incoming NSW Branch President Mark Trembath. Mark also delivered a speech on his plans for the NSW Branch and introduced the audience to the 2013-–2015 NSW Branch Committee.

The program for the 2013 NSW Engineers & Operators Conference is now available online at This year’s conference will focus on optimising smarter, cheaper ways of delivering services while maintaining or improving keeping customer service levels for operators of water and wastewater infrastructure.

Many thanks to all those who attended this sold-out event, and to our Event Partners, Beca and Xylem Water Solutions, whose support ensures that we can continue to be able to offer these types of events. We look forward to planning the 2014 Heads of Water.

Waste Management Seminar ‘Seminar 5 – Wastewater Management: New Horizons, Innovations and Challenges’ was held on Wednesday 14 August at the UTS Aerial Function Centre, Sydney. This seminar covered the broad topic of wastewater treatment, focusing on new processes and technologies, recent innovations and challenges the industry currently faces. Presenters included Geoff Watson (GHD), Gerin James (Aquacell), Lorin Sole (Ishigaki Oceania), and co-presenters Heri Bustamante (Sydney Water) and Yvan Poussade (Veolia Water). We would like to thank the speakers for presenting at this event, the delegates who attended and the Seminar Sponsor, Sydney Water, for their support.

All the right connections for the water industry. Whether it’s for drinking, irrigation or industry, Australia’s climate and reliance on water has produced some of the world’s most innovative suppliers of water products and services. Now there’s an online tool that brings all these suppliers together in one central location. ICN’s Water Directory is a pivotal connection point for project and procurement managers looking for the best water industry suppliers in our region. This comprehensive directory has a powerful search function that allows you to find suppliers with capabilities that exactly match your needs. Combine this with the experience and knowledge of ICN’s consultants and you can be sure you’ll never miss an opportunity to find the perfect partner. Start exploring Australia’s ICN Water Directory today at

ACT New Branch Committee Members The ACT Branch recently held the Branch Committee elections. We are delighted to announce the 2013–2015 committee members are: Anntonette Dailey (Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs); Brad Sherman (CSIRO); Deniss Cirulis, Julia Jasonsmith (Murrang Earth Sciences); Julien Lepetit (AECOM); Luke McPhail (e-Water); Michael Ross (ACT Government); and Walter Reinhardt (The Australian National University). The Committee-elected executive positions are held by Adrian Piani – URS (ACT Branch President); Kimberly Lippmeier – ACTEW Water (ACT Vice President); and Simon Webber – ACTEW Water (ACT Immediate Past President).

Water For the Future On 3 July, the ACT Branch held the Water for the Future event. This lunchtime session explored the successes of the previous strategy, Think Water, Act Water, and outlined the key components of the new strategy – Water for the Future, and the proposed strategic direction for water management in the Territory. We would like to thank all those who attended and the speakers, Mr David Butt, Executive Manager Water, Policy in the ACT Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate and Mr Michael Ross, Senior Manager – Water Resources, Water Policy, ACT Government and ACT Committee member.

QLD QWater’13 Conference The QWater’13 Conference will be held at Novotel Twin Waters, Sunshine Coast, from 8–9 November 2013. The conference program has been created to appeal to all participants in the water industry, either directly or in support activities. The program will have a selection of speakers across the following topics: • Our Customers, Our People A key focus on cost of living pressure by government, utilities and customers will continue to constrain revenue growth. How are we engaging with our customers to deliver services they value? How are we developing our customer-focused workforce? • Water Business The governance and structure of our industry continues to evolve. How is the current economic, political and regulatory environment shaping our businesses?  • Excellence in Programs and Projects Our utilities continue to strive for excellence in operations, asset management and project delivery. Let’s celebrate the success of and learn from the challenges. More details can be found on the AWA website.

water september 2013


AWA News

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


Transpacific Industries Group

Corporate Bronze

Lucas Operations Pty Ltd

QLD Corporate Bronze

Mottech Water Management


Corporate Gold Philmac Pty Ltd


NT L Seddon, M Fogg

Corporate Bronze

QLD K Lee, L Macadam, M Varidel, D Couton, D Dawson, T McAlister, W Brown, K Parsons

Alltype Engineering Underground Services

NEW INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS ACT E Robinson NSW B Elliott, J Smith, D Salwa, V Suresh, A Courtman, S Cunningham, D McKenzie, K Silvester, T Randall, S Geboers, U Clarson, A Lucas, C Hetherington, L Ta

SA D Rochford, M VergaraGodoy, CH Goh, A Whitehouse, N Hughes, S Abou-Handman, J Pivac, M Nykiel, B Renna, J Phillips, L Blinco VIC W Mosse, Z Lazdins, J Baressi, G Adam, D Chambers, M Brassington, G Hawke WA J Stockley, K Wray, P Mackenzie, E Ryan-Reid, L Miles, H Lamparski, O Hoar, P

Wiseman, R Guenoff, J Preo, S Diggins, M Siqueira, T Abrahams, P Reed

NEW OVERSEAS MEMBERS R Bridgland, Singapore


September Wed, 18 Sep 2013

ACT Water Leaders Dinner, Boat House by the Lake, Canberra, ACT

Wed, 18 Sep 2013

NSW Seminar Series, UTS Aerial Function Centre, Sydney, NSW

Wed, 25 Sept 2013

SA YWP Seminar – Defining Cultural Flows, SA Water Learning Centre, SA

Wed, 25 Sept 2013

ACT Student Awards Presentation Evening, CSIRO Discovery Centre, Canberra, ACT

October Tue, 01 Oct – Fri, 4 Oct 2013

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

Wed, 09 Oct 2013

SA Water Wednesday Seminar – Joint event with Adelaide University, Adelaide University, SA

Wed, 09 Oct 2013

QLD Monthly Technical Meeting, Brisbane, QLD

Thu, 10 Oct 2013

NSW YWP Mentoring Event, Sydney, NSW

Wed, 16 Oct 2013

SA Technical Seminar, Adelaide, SA

Fri, 18 Oct 2013

Water in Mining Conference, Burnie, TAS

Tue, 22 Oct 2013

Victorian Water Summit and Awards Ceremony, VIC

Fri, 25 Oct – Sat, 26 Oct 2013

WA National Water Week Conference – 9am–5pm, Broadwater Resort, Busselton, WA

Mon, 28 Oct – Wed, 30 Oct 2013

15th NSW Engineers and Operators Conference, Novotel, Sydney Olympic Park, NSW

November Fri, 8 Nov – Sat, 9 Nov 2013

QWater’13 Conference, Sunshine Coast, QLD

Wed, 13 Nov 2013

NSW YWP Bootawa Water Treatment Plant Tour, Taree, NSW

Sat, 16 Nov 2013

SA Annual Water Awards Gala Dinner 2013, Adelaide Town Hall, SA

Fri, 22 Nov 2013

Galah Dinner & Debate incorporating 2013 YWP Award, Wellington Room, Wrest Point, TAS

Fri, 22 Nov 2013

WA Water Awards Gala Dinner, Hyatt Hotel, Perth, WA

Wed, 27 Nov 2013

QLD End of Year Celebration, Brisbane, QLD

Thu, 28 Nov 2013

SA YWP – End of Year Technical Seminar & Networking Event, Adelaide, SA (TBC)

Thu, 28 Nov 2013

NSW Legends of Water, Sydney, NSW

september 2013 water



WATER: MAKE IT YOUR BUSINESS James Currie from Black & Veatch talks about water management in Australian industry and the importance of attracting investment to the sector Australia has faced severe challenges from drought and flood in recent years. I wonder, however, how many business leaders in Australia have water as a high priority today? Hopefully, more than we might guess, but probably not yet as many as there should be. Given the worldwide focus on pressing environmental concerns, it is important to note that the relationship between water and energy is closer than a lot of people think. Water is a fuel, vital for business and every bit as critical to moving our economy forward as energy. Almost a quarter of the world’s limited water supply is used by industry. As a business leader, it’s this figure that catches my attention. A lot of consciousness around water use relates to direct use of water in our homes. Yet only eight per cent of water is consumed domestically. The remainder is used by agriculture and, importantly, industry.

A TIME TO TakE Water Seriously Efforts to extend the utility of each drop of water on the individual level should be applauded, especially today, but we can truly make a difference by paying more attention to water used by industry. By looking at the supply chain and industry’s total water impacts in a holistic manner, big gains and big savings can be made. In addition, we as a world are getting thirstier. Water use is outpacing our rapid population growth. We are increasing our water use at more than twice the rate of population growth during the last century. This thirst has been driven by global trends such as increased migration to cities and rising demand for more and varied goods and services. Given the demands of the droughts we have faced, Australia can point to considerable improvements in water use per capita. According to the Asian Development Bank, we sustained economic growth with 30 per cent less water during the first decade of this century. However, the effects of population growth continue to be acutely felt in Western Australia, a state pinched

WATER september 2013

by increasing demands for water resulting from its mining boom as well as reduced rainfall. Fortunately, boardroom attitudes to water are changing globally. Water is serious business, especially if there’s too little or too much. Many of tomorrow’s successful businesses will be those that can capitalise on changing water availability, measure and manage their water use, and manage the risks that water shortage or excess can pose to their supply chain. This is being felt by many large companies today across Australia. The CDP Water Disclosure Australia Report 2011 invited 54 of the 100 largest companies listed on the Australian Securities Exchange – those that operate in industry sectors that are waterintensive or are exposed to water-related risk. More than two-thirds identify water as a substantial risk to their business and half of these companies report experiencing detrimental water-related business impacts in the past five years. This is more than the 38 per cent who report such impacts globally. Yet, a response rate of only 41 per cent to this survey is potentially worrying. Many companies from the mining, oil, and gas and energy sectors did not fully participate, indicating water and the risk it poses to their supply chain may not be as high on their boardrooms’ agenda as it could be.

Water Efficiency And Power Production Electricity production plays a major role in how water is used. Large quantities of water are typically required in power production, and seemingly small and unrelated actions can have staggering implications on consumption when aggregated. For example, a simple Google search consumes the equivalent of 1/16th a teaspoon of water [as calculated by one of our engineers]. Only wind and solar photovoltaic electricity production require minimal water withdrawal. We are, unfortunately, not at the stage where we can flick a switch to wind or solar for a number of pragmatic reasons. The sheer volume of new facilities required to offset current generation



With almost 25 per cent of the world’s water supply used by industry, it’s vital that companies manage their water use efficiently. capacity is daunting, let alone the need to develop advanced storage technologies. However, using more water-efficient technologies at conventional power plants could produce significant gains for electricity producers in Australia. Around the world, we’re seeing this happen. In South Africa, for example, Black & Veatch helped Eskom adopt air-cooled condensers as an alternative to traditional water cooling techniques at its 4800 MW Kusile power plant. When completed, it will be one of the largest power plants in the world using air-cooling technology and will save approximately 327,000 cubic meters of water per day when operating at full load – more than enough to fill 130 Olympic-sized swimming pools through this one innovation. Outside the power sector, there are many innovations that other businesses can apply to save water. Reuse is a way businesses could make a big impact on their water consumption. Recent advances in membrane technology, championed in countries such as Australia and Singapore, mean high quality recycled water can be produced cost effectively to meet the rigorous requirements of specialised producers of semiconductors and pharmaceuticals. Adapting and proving the reliability of membranes for recycling at global award-winning facilities like the Bundamba Advanced Water Treatment Plant near Brisbane has paved the way for a mature public and private market for membrane technology. Predictions from business consulting firm Frost & Sullivan recently estimate the potential for more than 60 per cent growth in this market in Australia and New Zealand within just six years. Other industrial players, including power producers and manufacturers, can also look seriously at closed loop applications, where systems retain and reuse hot water, steam or cold water for a variety of alternative purposes. Real long-term operational savings can be achieved from limited capital investments.

Cogeneration technologies, where steam or heat is produced alongside electricity, are becoming more widespread in Australia. We are now helping the Chinese government, through a US-funded grant, to evaluate trigeneration technology where the high demands for energy and water from China’s industrial sector could be eased by producing electricity, steam or heat, and cooling at the same time.

nEEd FOR FUNDING Funding for the adoption of these new technologies will still be required. Investing in upgrading water and related infrastructure is critical to secure our water and energy resources in Australia. The good news for investors is that demand for water is comparatively inelastic. Goldman Sachs once again highlighted last month the stable, long-term return that investing in utilities, infrastructure and water rights provides. In order for Australia to realise greater water efficiencies, we need to continue to attract global and local finance to invest in our future. For business, every day should be ‘Water Day’. I encourage business readers to continue to push water up on their agenda, and to participate in conservation programs and best practices to save water. Not just when it rains too much or not enough. James Currie is Client Services Director – Australia, with Black & Veatch. Black & Veatch is a global engineering, consulting, construction and operations company specialising in infrastructure development in energy, water, telecommunications, management consulting, federal and environmental markets.

september 2013 water


Feature article

WATER RECYCLING: SOME AUSTRALIAN CASE STUDIES Water recycling is an essential component in securing and maintaining a sustainable water supply in Australia. Robran Cock describes four water-recycling projects in key urban and rural regions around the nation. Water recycling is a fundamental part of plans to build and maintain a sustainable water supply in Australia because it alleviates pressure on natural water resources across the nation. The most critical element of a successful water-recycling project is treating water to a defined standard so it can be utilised as a secure, alternative resource fit for a variety of purposes. Recycled water can be used across a range of sectors, including resources, industry, municipal and domestic purposes. However, proponents of recycled water schemes must ensure they understand the relevant guidelines for the various uses of recycled water in Australia. Another critical element to effective water recycling and reuse schemes is attracting the best managers and field staff to manage water infrastructure. Staff with the relevant qualifications and necessary experience can also ensure the safety of employees and contractors. This article describes four significant projects across urban and rural parts of Australia – the Berri Barmera Reuse Scheme, the Lion Co Australia Wastewater Treatment Plant, the Victor Harbor Wastewater Treatment Plant and the Waikerie Wastewater Scheme.

berri bArmerA reuse sCheme The Berri Barmera Reuse Scheme is centrally located in South Australia’s Riverland and is a $14 million partnership between the Berri Barmera Council and TRILITY, a specialist water recycling

treatment lagoons used in the berri barmera reuse scheme in south Australia.

water september 2013

business. The project is considered to be an excellent example of a local community working in partnership with industry and community groups to solve major infrastructure and environmental issues. In the year 2000, the Berri Barmera Council embarked on a project to reuse 100 per cent of its wastewater through a series of significant infrastructure upgrades and the construction of an integrated reuse network throughout the area. The project also included treatment of wastewater from local wine-makers at Glossop. At the time, local government had limited ability to fund upgrades and an innovative commercial solution needed to be found. This opened the way for private investment to play a role in collaborating with the local council to ensure an optimum outcome for local residents and businesses in the long term. In total, the infrastructure built included new wastewater treatment plants, pump stations and rising mains at Berri, Barmera and Glossop. An industrial wastewater treatment plant at Barmera was also built, with 2,500 people serviced in total. The local region relies heavily on irrigation from the River Murray and it was imperative that the new water supply provided an alternative water supply to reduce the draw from the river, helping


Feature Article to ensure an environmentally sustainable future for the region. Ultimately, the project has delivered successfully on its objectives, with reuse water dramatically reducing reliance on the River Murray by more than 650ML per year. The wastewater treatment plant constructed in Berri is capable of treating 400ML a year of Community Wastewater Management Systems (CWMS) reuse water for distribution on Berri Golf Course and council sporting grounds. Two new CWMS pumping stations were also constructed to replace existing assets, which included the wet wells, control equipment and telemetry for remote monitoring. A similar plant was constructed at Barmera, where the treated wastewater is reused on the Barmera Golf Course and Riverland Field Days site. Barmera also received a new CWMS pumping station of a similar design to the Berri facility, which is capable of providing 224ML of water per year for reuse. The Glossop lagoons were upgraded to a capacity of 39ML per year and the water is reused on adjacent vineyards or transferred to the Barmera site for further treatment. Each plant utilises a combination of enhanced lagoon-based treatment, pressure screen filtration and chlorination processes prior to the distribution of the Class B water. Pumping stations and new pipelines enable the transfer of treated effluent to demand areas. Water can also be transferred between the three plants, thereby creating an integrated reuse network that has been established between the three towns. An important part of the project from TRILITY’s perspective was to find the right solutions to meet the growing needs of each of the communities and their associated industries.

Trade waste from a local winery is transferred to the Barmera site, where a specialised wastewater treatment plant uses a sequenced batch reactor with chemical addition to treat the effluent for disposal. The contract with the Berri Barmera Council to design, build, finance and operate water reuse facilities across the Riverland is in operation for 25 years. The project provides a disposal path for industrial wastewater and the treated effluent is used to irrigate the local golf courses and parklands. Minimising the environmental impact of the system was paramount. The new treatment plants and pumping stations replaced existing assets, which were ageing and at risk of failing. The new treatment lagoons replaced infrastructure, which included asbestos sheeting and substandard leakage prevention. The new lagoons utilise an HDPE lining over a compacted clay base to minimise the possibility of leakage, and detection systems ensure that no water is leaking into the surrounding soil and water table. The Riverland’s central sporting area for hockey, baseball and softball is Alan Glassey Park at Berri, which also receives reuse water as part of this project. Providing irrigated playing fields ensures sport can be played in comfort all year round. One of the key aspects of the project has been the minimisation of energy consumption in the treatment process. This was achieved by applying the time-tested treatment method of facultative lagoons to achieve the required level of treatment. In addition to the low-energy domestic wastewater treatment, the treatment of the industrial wastewater was based on future expansion to irrigate giant reeds, which can be used sustainably in paper production or power generation.

The Lion Co Australia Wastewater Recycling Plant at the company’s Castlemaine-Perkins Brewery in Milton, Brisbane.

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Feature Article In order to reduce the cost as much as possible, several funding sources were used for the project. Government grants, council and winery funds were utilised, with the remainder coming from project equity delivered by TRILITY. The project was also broken up into four separate contracts for earthworks, pipelines, lagoon liners and MEI and Process. Three contractors were engaged.

The Lion Co Australia Wastewater Recycling Plant As one of Brisbane’s largest water consumers, Lion Co Australia has been proactive in reducing its impact on the city’s water infrastructure with support from TRILITY in an operation and maintenance contract. Lion Co Australia’s 3.8ML/day wastewater recycling plant uses microfiltration and a reverse osmosis membrane system and is located within the company’s Castlemaine-Perkins Brewery in Milton, Brisbane. The company is one of Australasia’s leading beverage companies with operations in Australia and New Zealand and is engaged in the production, marketing, sales and distribution of beer and other beverages in both countries. The effects of drought and climate change on water sources have been particularly severe in the high growth region of South-East Queensland. Lion Co Australia has been proactive in managing its water sources and sought a solution to reduce its mains water intake. The plant treats trade waste effluent to produce high quality water suitable for reuse within the brewery, incorporating a complex design of traditional wastewater treatment technologies to produce an intermediate system suitable for further treatment in its integrated membrane system of microfiltration and reverse osmosis. The plant also produces a biogas suitable for partially replacing the town gas necessary for the operation of the site’s steam boiler, thus further reducing the carbon footprint of the site.

Victor Harbor Wastewater Treatment Plant Back in South Australia, on behalf of SA Water, TRILITY designed, built, financed and now operates and maintains the Victor Harbor Wastewater Treatment Plant in the popular coastal town located on the Fleurieu Peninsula 90km south of Adelaide. The project includes a wastewater treatment plant (commissioned in 2005), pumping stations and storage reservoirs to deliver recycled water suitable for unrestricted irrigation of private gardens, community parklands and golf courses. On completion, the Victor Harbor WWTP was the largest double-deck Submerged Membrane Bioreactor (SMBR) plant built in Australia. In 2011, the plant was upgraded to accommodate Department of Health regulations and further reuse options, as well as catering for Victor Harbor’s population swell during the holiday season. The new treatment plant had to cope not only with these peak seasonal loads, but also replace ageing and overloaded infrastructure. The plant design concept incorporates several staged upgrades to financially align it with population growth in the region. The Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) and ancillary infrastructure treat sewage to six-log virus removal, incorporating the SMBR process fitted with Kubota flat-sheet membranes. The SMBR process involves multi-point load balancing with the addition of carbon from liquid sugar and alum precipitation for enhanced denitrification and phosphorus removal, respectively. Pathogens are removed by membrane filtration and the treated

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effluent is then subjected to ultraviolet disinfection and a chlorine contact time of more than 30 minutes before being delivered to the finished water storage lagoon. The agreement also involved the construction of pump stations and approximately 13km of pipelines to enable storage of the reclaimed water in the Hindmarsh Valley reservoir, an unused basin that SA Water re-commissioned. The treated effluent is suitable for the unrestricted irrigation of crops, parks and gardens and is delivered by a controlled gravity reticulation network system. The nutrient concentration of the treated wastewater, as required by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), is one of the tightest specifications in Australia, to allow winter discharges to the sensitive Inman River catchment. The plant was originally designed to utilise polymer sludge thickening and clay-lined lagoons to dry the waste-activated sludge. High rainfall caused these lagoons to become overloaded and emit objectionable odours. This led to complaints from neighbouring residents, financial penalties and a letter from the EPA requesting immediate and permanent actions. The operations team worked to find a temporary solution to immediately mitigate the odour, as well as a permanent, sustainable solution for the remaining operational years. Water-capping was the most effective method for immediate odour mitigation and provided extra time to implement the permanent solution of decommissioning the sludge thickener and installing underdrains. Not only did these upgrades significantly reduce sludge drying time and odour, but they were more environmentally sustainable, more cost effective, reduced overall power consumption and enabled the plant to provide more reuse water to the community.

Waikerie Wastewater Scheme The Waikerie Wastewater Scheme in South Australia’s Riverland was instigated because the original wastewater treatment lagoons were located on a River Murray floodplain and were overloaded. A new solution was required to remove the risk of flooding, while also preparing for future growth and a sustainable long-term disposal path. With only 1,100 connections, the financial viability of the project was a challenge, requiring innovative solutions. A new wastewater treatment plant was designed and built, in addition to the upgrade of an existing pump station and the construction of a 40-megalitre capacity recycled water storage lagoon, as well as the installation of a pipeline for the recycled water. The facility is a purpose-built aerated biological WWTP that provides treated water in compliance with the Department of Health and Environment Reclaimed Water Guidelines for Class B treated effluent, which is then used for irrigating the local golf course. The plant is operated in accordance with EPA and Department of Health approvals, with regular sampling undertaken to verify performance. WJ

The Author Robran Cock (email: is TRILITY’s Regional Operations Manager – SA/ WA, where he is responsible for service delivery. Robran is a professional engineer with a Masters Degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering and a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering with honours. He also has undergraduate qualifications in science and an MBA from the University of South Australia.


Feature Article

COMMUNITY ATTITUDEs TO A Boil Water Incident After a lengthy boil water incident, Western Water was keen to find out how customers responded, and how the incident affected their attitude to the drinking water supply. Kylie Smith and Peter Donlon tell the tale. Introduction In early 2012 Western Water in Victoria declared a boil water notice for a semi-rural area about an hour west of Melbourne. The notice was not lifted for all customers until more than six weeks later. Western Water’s incident response centred on customer engagement, to ensure the approximately 85 affected customers were fully informed of the situation and given the appropriate support and advice. Some months after the incident, Western Water commissioned detailed qualitative research to assess how customers responded, and if there were any long-term impacts.

THE Incident Shortly after low-level Faecal Streptococci contamination was identified at a testing point, an incident was declared. Although the likelihood of customers being affected by the contaminated water was low, the possible consequences for customers and Western Water were significant. The potential risk of most concern was customers’ health and safety. The possible impacts on Western Water’s reputation, and the loss of trust in the safety of the drinking water supply for affected customers – and Western Water’s serviced population of 155,000 – were also of great concern. The incident team prioritised customer and community engagement, with the first action to identify affected customers and ensure they were notified. Communications staff produced a letter to customers, explaining that:

• Routine testing had shown contamination in their drinking water supply; • Western Water and the Department of Health recommended boiling all water for drinking and food preparation until further notice; • Western Water was working to identify and rectify the source of the contamination; • A drinking water furphy (tanker) had been placed at the local primary school for use by residents; • Residents could buy bottled water and keep receipts for reimbursement by Western Water; • Contact details were provided for further advice. Two staff members door-knocked every affected customer, leaving the letter behind in a prominent place in cases where residents were not at home, with follow-up contact by phone. Each household was also given a 10-litre container of drinking water. This boil water notice was unusual in that Water Systems staff and contractors were unable to identify the source of the contamination quickly. This meant great challenges for communicating with customers and keeping them engaged, as well as maintaining their trust in Western Water as a provider of safe drinking water. Customers received further letters around four to five days apart over the next three weeks. As the incident went on, key messages to customers needed to change, and different groups of customers received different messages. Emphasis was placed on reassuring customers that Western Water was doing all it could to resolve the issue. Importantly, customers were given specific, clear information about what the company was doing, rather than a generic message that actions were under way. When the site of the contamination (although not the cause) was identified after two weeks, most affected customers were able to be isolated from the water source, leaving around 30 customers on the boil water notice. A small number of customers remained on the boil water notice for six weeks before water quality testing showed conclusively that there was no evidence of contamination, and the boil water notice could be lifted.

september 2013 water


Feature Article Assessing Western Water’s response

The study conducted for Western Water used in-depth interviews, carried out with 15 customers, to gain a broad picture of customers’

In order to gain an understanding of how this lengthy boil water notice had affected itscustomers, Western Water commissioned a research project to interview customers involved and obtain their feedback. It was hoped the research would show whether communications and engagement had been effective, what Western Water could

responses and attitudes. It was felt that this was the most valuable information, as the relatively small number of people involved meant it was not possible to get useful quantitative data. The research showed that the majority of customers were satisfied with how Western Water managed the situation, and found the boil water notice “inconvenient but manageable”. However, it identified

learn from the experience, and the ways in which the company

several ways in which Western Water could improve its response if

could improve if such an incident occurred in the future.

such an incident were to occur again.

The objectives of the project, conducted by Business Research Associates, were to examine the effectiveness of communications, the extent to which customers modified their behaviour, and the longer-term effects such as people’s attitude to, and use of, tap water. The project focused on: • Customer perceptions of the level and mode of communication from Western Water during the incident;

The majority of customers received information regarding the boil water notice quickly, and acted promptly to change their behaviour. However, some customers felt gaps between communications were too long. In contrast, some customers felt a bit bombarded with information, with Western Water staff visiting homes greeted with a “You again!” response.

• Customers’ attention to, understanding of and response to the communications;

No customers interviewed by researchers ignored the message that their water needed to be boiled; indeed, mention of “faecal

• Behavioural changes made by customers during and after the alert; • The extent to which customers took advantage of Western Water

contamination” in the original letter led to people taking the advice very seriously. The core message perceived by customers from Western Water’s

support; • Customers’ expectations on communication, advice and support for such an alert, and satisfaction with the way Western Water

communications channels was “boil or use alternative sources of water where the water was going to be ingested directly through food or drink”.

handled the incident response;

While the risk of drinking the water or using it for food preparation

• Whether the event resulted in any longer-term changes to

was perceived as high, the risk of using the water unboiled for other

customers’ behaviours or their attitudes to water quality.

activities was sometimes seen as acceptable or unavoidable. The

An initial literature review found there was very little publicly available research on the effects of boil water notices on customer behaviour.

extent to which people changed their behaviour varied; for example, some boiled water for drinking, but did not boil water used for teeth brushing. Brushing teeth and washing vegetables were the two

However, a study carried out in the UK on a boil water notice

activities where behaviour was likely to be inconsistent.

declared in 1998 found nearly two-thirds of households took some form of risk as defined by the boil water notice, including a number who had consumed unboiled water between the time the contamination was identified and the time they received the notice.

These variations in behaviour change were due to: • Some changes being perceived as too inconvenient – “Kept using unboiled tap water for brushing teeth, preparing food, dishwashing, pets”;

Perceived risk High



Drinking a glass of water




forgetting to boil – “Hard to remember not to wash vegetables

Having a shower or bath




under the tap”;

Brushing teeth/gargling




Preparing food (eg, washing vegetables)


– “Still used tap water for brushing my teeth – don’t see much

Making hot drinks (eg, tea or coffee)


risk in that”.

Making cold drinks (eg, cordial)


Making ice


Making baby formula


Washing or rinsing dishes




Water for pets




inconvenient, a few found the experience quite stressful. These

Water for livestock



customers were generally in one of two categories: households


including members with extra risk factors, such as open sores or

Watering vegetable garden Using a water filter

• People’s perception of risk was different for different water uses

• There was also some uncertainty around specific behaviours, for example, “should water just be brought to the boil or kept boiling for a continuous period, say 5–10 minutes?”

3 4

Attitudes to risk for different household activities identified by customers during interviews.

water september 2013

• Not absorbing the message for a particular use, or simply

Although most customers viewed the boil water notice as merely

impaired immune systems; or customers who did not feel they were promptly notified. In the second case, it is possible people did not open letters left for them, believing they were junk mail.


Feature Article A majority of customers told researchers they were satisfied with how Western Water had managed the boil water notice. A few were not satisfied, either because they felt communication and support were inadequate, or because they were unhappy about the long period of inconvenience. Although the length of the boil water notice was outside Western Water’s control, customers did not necessarily make a distinction between their feelings about the incident itself, and their feelings about Western Water’s handling of it. Some people also reported they now had less confidence in the quality of their tap water after the incident. In a few cases this has had a significant impact: “Very cautious now. No longer drink the tap water and still using bottled water for food preparation. If it’s happened once, it could happen again.” An analysis of affected customers’ water usage during and after the boil water notice period showed only 15 per cent of households had lower usage in the May billing period in 2012 compared to the same period in 2011. However, any impact on water usage may be affected by other factors, such as weather and changes in water restrictions.

Improving Western Water’s response The research has been invaluable in identifying where Western Water can improve its communications and customer engagement in such incidents. When asked for their suggestions on how Western Water should handle such incidents, customers identified their main expectations as: • Being notified the same day the health risk is identified; • The use of multiple communication channels to ensure everyone affected is contacted; • Open communication – for Western Water to give the facts regarding level of risk, cause of contamination and what is being done to rectify it, as well as detailed information about specific uses of water; • Regular, timely updates with specific information; • Being informed quickly when the notice is lifted; • Recognition of the inconvenience caused; support, advice and empathy. The key focus will remain on early notice and regular updates, even if some customers may feel communications are “over the top”.

To ensure people receive the message quickly, it is important to use as many communication channels as possible, so there are many opportunities for the message to get through. A letter with “Important Notice Regarding Your Water Supply” in large red letters may be taken seriously by some customers, yet discarded as junk mail by others. Likewise, not all customers will be home when staff members visit in person. Phone, email, SMS, social media and even word of mouth – asking people to give their neighbour a call or pop over when they get home – are all useful channels. In this regard, it is important to have detailed customer contact information and good systems in place to access customers’ contact information quickly. The research found that, although Western Water had supplied detailed information, some customers did not absorb the detail, or tended to forget advice in relation to specific uses, meaning a more creative approach may be needed. Western Water has since updated its fact sheets on boil water notices, creating a range of clear, easy-to-read information sheets covering a range of topics in detail – for example: water for pets; making tea or coffee; is it OK to have a shower if I have a cut or abrasion? Another innovation Western Water has now introduced is packs of sticky notes showing the message “Remember to boil” in large red letters, which will be distributed to customers in future incidents, to be stuck around the home as a prompt. The research also found that a common approach to all customers, no matter how robust, will not satisfy everyone, and a tailored approach is needed for vulnerable customers, with extra support and help. The researchers concluded that individuals’ perception of risk and sense of control over a situation influenced how the boil water notice messages were processed and acted on. In that sense, by increasing support for more vulnerable customers, it may be possible to increase their sense of personal control and improve behaviour change outcomes. Quickly identifying those customers who have special needs (e.g. a family member with health problems) and taking an individual approach to meeting those needs have been identified as important factors in future incidents of this kind. Although most customers perceived the incident was handled well by Western Water, there are areas for improvement, and in-depth, independent customer research was an effective way of identifying these and formulating actions for future incidents. WJ

The Authors Kylie Smith (email: Kylie.Smith@westernwater. is Western Water’s Senior Media Advisor. Her career in journalism has included working for regional and metropolitan newspapers. Peter Donlon (email: peter.donlon@ is Western Water’s General Manager, Customer and Community Relations.

september 2013 water


Conference Report

ASIA PACIFIC WATER RECYCLING AND AWA MEMBRANES & DESALINATION CONFERENCE This joint conference took place from July 1–4, 2013 at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre. Diane Wiesner reports on the highlights.

DAY 1 PROCEEDINGS Adam Lovell, Executive Director for the Water Services Association Australia (WSAA), opened the joint Asia Pacific Water Recycling (PWR) and AWA Membranes and Desalination Association (M&D) Conferences on behalf of WSAA and AWA, and welcomed delegates before passing the microphone to the other member of the Organising Committee, Brian Good, presenting for the Water ReUse Association. Brian took the opportunity to draw attention to the similarities between recent and predicted climate scenarios for the US, his home country, and Australia, with the increasing likelihood of drought in a number of US states. Mark O’Donohue, CEO of the Australian Water Recycling Centre, drew attention to the sharing of knowledge between Australia and the US, particularly in regard to building the case for public acceptance of direct and indirect potable water reuse. Neil Palmer, CEO of the National Centre of Excellence for Desalination (NCEDA), joint conference partner, looked to the importance of forward planning in providing a climate-resilient water supply. Particular mention was made of the role of the seawater desalination plant on the Gold Coast, approved when water was scarce at the height of the 2004–2010 drought and serving as the only supplier of safe, clean, drinking water during the following periods of flood. The increasing variability of the global weather patterns provided the first of the keynote speakers, Dr Shane Snyder, Professor and Co-Director of the Laboratory for Emerging Contaminants at Arizona University, US, with the opportunity to focus on the concerns of citizens in parts of Texas, where direct potable reuse is under serious consideration. He contrasted this with the prolific use of water, which characterises many other cities in that country and with other states such as Alberto, which has been devastated by flooding.


Dr Snyder then identified the four key drivers that had successfully built the case for water reuse in the US: water reliability resilience – the need for redundancy in the system; resource recovery and reuse; environmental protection; and improvement in water quality (by recovering wastes from water which can subsequently be reused). The challenges to these drivers he named as the increasing public demand for more water, the need for sustainable population growth and limiting demand expectations in this emerging scenario. At the same time, planners needed to recognise that “no one size fits all” – i.e. each community and each situation was different and the “solution” needed to be tailored accordingly. Experience in the US (and Australia) had proven that non-potable reuse of purified water was accepted by the community, though this could not be divorced from the problems with cross-connections and the expenses associated with dual pipe systems. Direct potable reuse was more difficult for the public to accept, unless the scarcity of water became so critical that not only were households restricted in their use of water, but business and employment continuity could not be assured. Dr Snyder provided a case study drawn from desert US. The second keynote on Day 1 was Peter Moore, Acting CEO of WA’s Water Corporation. Peter’s theme was the importance for Perth’s major water utility in providing water security to its 1.7 million people through diversity – a situation, such as that in south-west Western Australia, where climate change pressures have resulted in long, dry summers, lower rainfall and less runoff (from 1960–2010, a 30–40 per cent reduction in rainfall), accentuated in 2012, the second driest summer on record following 2010, the driest on record. Looking at available sources of supply, there are limited surface storages for water around Perth. Three aquifers with associated groundwater schemes contribute to supply. Water restrictions were acknowledged as helpful, but limited. Fortunately, the WA


Conference Report

From left: Don Begbie, Dr Oz Sahin, Dr Harry Ridgeway, Professor Kim, Neil Palmer and Peter Hillis at the first M&D session on Day 1. Government recognised the need for a radical new source of supply. The result was the decision to embark on construction of a seawater desalination plant, a brave initiative at the time, but one that has proved to be a saviour in terms of providing a safe, reliable supply of drinking water for Perth. Intelligent planning has ensured that the concerns about environmental impacts from carbon emissions, energy use, concentrate discharge and ecosystem degradation have proven to be without foundation. Peter then moved on to talk about the groundwater replenishment schemes that have been the most recent focus of studies of public acceptance of the safety of using reuse water drawn from the Leederville Aquifer, after storage. The positive response to the concept has encouraged the Water Corporation to further pursue the possibility of using aquifer recharge with purified water and subsequent redraw of water in the other two aquifers, thereby greatly boosting Perth’s resilience to future supply risks. The Asia Pacific element in the Conference title was amply fulfilled from the welcome attendance and presentations by Dr Haifeng Jia from Tsinghua University, who provided a most interesting overview of China’s efforts to secure water supply for its people, with a focus on water recycling initiatives. He cited an example of stormwater harvesting in the city of Suzhou near Shanghai. Another important speaker was Dr PC Chiang from Taiwan, whose work focused on removing persistent pollutants from water. Delegates from Japan, the Republic of Korea, and the Asia Pacific Desalination Association were also in attendance.

The second speaker for Day 2 was Professor In S Kim from the Republic of Korea, who leads the country’s National Centre for Seawater Desalination Plant (Sea Hero), a research hub for water supply centred on desalination technologies. The main focus of the Sea Hero R&D program is achieving eco-friendly design for seawater desalination plants. There are four key paths: 1.

Core technologies – e.g. doubling the size of the vessels to better accommodate 8” to 16” membranes in larger trains for improved efficiency, including attention to the O rings resulting in a malefemale interlocking device that provides a more stable and secure housing for the membrane itself;


Materials and devices – e.g. researching improved fabrication of high performance SWRO membrane, high pressure pumps – less noisy and less vibration;


Innovation in design and construction – optimising the pretreatment process is a priority and the researchers are working with an innovative DAF unit with Ball Filter;


O&M technology – here the research team is developing a dynamic SWRO process simulator.

Day 2 Proceedings

These key speakers for the two Conferences provided a magnificent opportunity on both days for the following sessions outlining research work and project management undertaken by AWA’s members and their colleagues. The Conference Dinner provided an excellent opportunity for everyone to meet AWA’s new Chief Executive, Jonathan McKeown, who gave a brief introduction to his recent work in Thailand during its own flood crisis and for him to also greet the representatives from countries in our region.

On Day 2 of the event, membrane technologies and desalination took centre stage. Dr Harry Ridgeway, Visiting Research Scientist at King Abdulla University of Saudia Arabia, delivered a fascinating talk highlighted by brilliant photographic images from scanning electron microscope (SEM) work on the behaviour of bacteria on the surfaces of membranes – which, by their tendency to adorb onto and into the pores, limit the passage of water molecules. Key to this fouling behaviour is that the build-up of biofilm on the membrane appears to be exopolymeric substances (EPS) extruded by the bacteria, strands of which could be seen under the SEM as they lie on the membrane surface. The EPS appear to behave as a hydrogel, have a complex biochemistry, 98 per cent water by weight and contribute to the hydraulic resistance of the biofilm. However, these apparent properties pose a conundrum: a biofilm (of which the EPS material is a critical component) is a hydrogel, so why does it retard the passage of water and what is the mechanism for this resistance?

Adam Lovell from WSAA presents keynote speaker Dr Shane Snyder with a thank you gift.

SEPTEMBER 2013 water

technical features

Application Of Sonar Technology For The Profiling Of Sludge In Wastewater Pond Systems

Membranes & Desalination Outcomes Of The Australian Ozone/Ceramic Membrane Trial On Secondary Effluent

N Dow et al.


N Robertson & N Palmer


J Sullivan et al.


M du Plessis & E Paskett


D Horton


N Goodman et al.


Performance results from a trial conducted at Eastern Treatment Plant, Melbourne

Provision Of Wells For Feed Water Supply And Aquifer Reinjection At NCEDA

Installation, testing and commissioning of three groundwater wells at Rockingham Sand Aquifer

Green Cities/Integrated Planning Sydney Water’s Climate Change Adaptation Journey

Key research findings and organisational learnings

Research & Development Valuing Water Industry R&D

A framework for valuing water R&D investments in financial and non-financial terms

Using Patents And Patent Databases For Commercial Advantage How patent databases can be a powerful resource for managers and researchers in water technology

Small Water & Wastewater Systems Transformation And Dispersion Of Inorganic Nitrogen Compounds In Septic Tank Absorption Trenches

Results of a combined field and modelling study of septic tank systems in silty soils around Melbourne

This icon means the paper has been refereed

Community Engagement Gaining Community Acceptance For Integrated Water Supply Management Solutions As The New Neighbour

T Meek


J Gourley et al.


JA Phillips


Yarra Valley Water’s Doncaster Hill Recycled Water Scheme

Water Quality Passive Sampler Technology Used To Measure Micropollutants In Canberra’s Watercourses

A project across four different sites reveals the presence of 13 micropollutants

Estuarine Health Algal Blooms, Estuarine Health And Sustainable Coastal Development In Australia

Why a comprehensive policy document on eutrophication and bio-monitoring programs are urgently needed

The Rockingham desalination research facility.





OUTCOMES OF THE AUSTRALIAN OZONE/CERAMIC MEMBRANE TRIAL ON SECONDARY EFFLUENT Performance results from a trial using ozone combined with ceramic membranes to treat secondary effluent at Eastern Treatment Plant in Melbourne N Dow, D Murphy, J Clement, M Duke

ABSTRACT This paper presents the performance results from a trial using ozone combined with ceramic membranes to treat secondary effluent at Eastern Treatment Plant (ETP), Melbourne. The ceramic membrane employed was a 25m2 Metawater (Japan) microfiltration element, installed in the CeraMac system provided by PWN Technologies (The Netherlands). The overall objective of the project, funded primarily by the Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence (AWRCE), was to demonstrate the performance and cost benefits of ceramic membranes to treat water containing high organic matter typical of secondary effluent. Operating with raw feed water (no ozone or coagulation), a water flux of 50 L/m2.h was achieved within an acceptable clean-in-place frequency of 90 days. When 3 mg(as Al3+)/L of polyaluminium chloride (PACl) coagulant was dosed immediately prior to the membrane, a sustainable flux of 100 L/m2.h was achieved. The addition of ozone (no coagulant) also enhanced flux to 75L/ m2.h. However, combining ozone and coagulant resulted in a sustainable flux of 182L/m2.h where the equipment became limiting. Thus, higher fluxes may be achievable but were unable to be tested. Ozone reduced trans-membrane pressure (TMP) rise rate between backwashes, while coagulant improved TMP reversibility. Their combination led to higher sustainable fluxes. The main chemical consumed was coagulant (when used), then hypochlorite solution. Long-term TMP profiles demonstrated a reduced need for cleaning chemicals when operating at low or moderate flux. Therefore, flux can be traded for

reduced chemical use. The decision of which aspect to favour would, therefore, depend on the application. Pathogen removal work found an LRV (virus) of 4.0 attributed to the membrane process alone, while an LRV (bacteria) >2.3 was measured over the entire process. E. coli was not detected in the product water under any operation condition. Enhanced disinfection of the reject stream was confirmed with an LRV of 0.6 between feedwater and reject being recorded. This contrasts with a 1.3 log increase in the reject stream when ozone is not employed, which is expected for the process operating at 93% water recovery. The ozone and ceramic membrane hybrid process, therefore, has unique performance virtues that could be of value for water recycling in Australia.

INTRODUCTION Membrane technologies are now widely adopted in water treatment, with most installed membranes using polymeric materials. All membrane processes undergo some degree of fouling as a consequence of their operation, resulting in a loss of performance, and thus need to be routinely cleaned. Membranes generally require regular chemically enhanced backwashing (CEB) to maintain production rates, while more intensive chemical Clean-in-Place (CIP) routines are used to remove more strongly bound fouling compounds, especially when more ‘challenging’ waters are being filtered. Degradation of polymeric membranes from chemical attack as a direct consequence of this cleaning weakens their structure over time. Eventually membrane elements fail, compromising water quality, and ultimately complete replacement is needed after five

to 10 years. The cost associated with membrane degradation can be significant for secondary effluent filtration, as cleaning and membrane replacement costs are responsible for about 60% of the total operating costs (Bartels et al., 2004). Therefore, exploration of more robust membrane materials is gaining interest, especially in the areas of challenging waters. One group of membrane materials that resists cleaning-chemical attack is ceramics, which have recently emerged as a viable water treatment technology (Karnik et al., 2005; Lehman and Liu, 2009). Ceramic membranes are largely chemically inert and installations dating from 1998 have reported no replacement, no membrane breakage, and no loss of flux. The application of ceramic membranes is attracting increased interest, with Japan installing many plants, mostly for decentralised treatment (Clement et al., 2009). Currently, there are 117 plants operating or under construction with pressurised ceramic membranes in Japan, with a total capacity of 547ML/day. There are very few plants operating on wastewater, so opportunities for water recycling are still emerging. Based on the experience from surface water treatment, ceramic membranes offer longer life, more robust operation and lower failure rates than polymeric membranes. In turning to ceramic membranes for water treatment, new concepts have emerged. One area of interest is the ability to pair ceramic membrane filtration with direct ozone addition. The combination of ozone and ceramic membranes is an innovative step for water recycling for a number of reasons. Ceramic membranes do not degrade in the presence of ozone, but instead assist



Technical Features



Technical Features EXPERIMENTAL METHODS Pilot trials were carried out using a 2.5m3/h nominal capacity (based on flux of 100L/m2.h) ceramic microfiltration membrane process, operated with ozonation at Melbourne Water’s Eastern Treatment Plant, treating secondary effluent to a quality suitable for reuse applications. The CeraMac pilot plant (as shown in Figure 1) provided by PWN Technologies was constructed by RWB Water Services (the Netherlands). The simplified flow diagram is shown in Figure 2 and consists of a single Metawater, 2,000 channel, 25m2 ceramic element (0.18m diameter x 1.5m long, as shown in Figure 3) of 0.1 µm pore size configured in dead-end mode. Figure 1. PWNT’s pilot plant installed at Melbourne Water’s Trials Plant at ETP.

Figure 2. Flow diagram of the CeraMac ceramic membrane process. Dashed lines indicate backwash flow. Numbers indicate sample points. in the oxidation reactions. Dissolved ozone in contact with the ceramic surface accelerates the formation of highly reactive free radicals that break down organic matter and disinfect the water. This can improve ozonation efficiency over conventional ozone treatment and potentially reduce ozone demand. This leads to the second innovative step where the ozone works as a continuous membrane cleaner (Clement et al., 2009; Karnik et al., 2005; Lehman and Liu, 2009; Zhu et al., 2011). This gives the unique opportunity of a potential “low cleaning chemical” operation. Ceramic membranes are reported to operate at higher flux and/ or water recoveries, and are commercially available, with installation costs reducing as markets grow. Due to their chemical robustness, improved efficiency with ozone, reduced residuals for disposal and longer life, ceramic membranes combined with ozonation may offer cheaper operation (on a $/m3 water-


treated basis). This project seeks to test this hypothesis and investigate the combined ozone/ceramic membrane advantage in the context of recycling of secondary effluent. Uniquely in this project, disinfection performance of the ozone/membrane system was investigated. The purpose of this was to estimate the pathogen rejection and inactivation capability of the new process. Of particular interest is the ability of the membrane/ozone system to catch viable organisms on the membrane within a stream of flowing ozonated water. This in theory would enhance disinfection by means of much longer contact times. Effective disinfection of both permeate and reject streams is now possible, which potentially expands the options where the reject water can be disposed. The robustness of the process to real wastewater, potential for reduced chemical use and disinfection performance are key tasks for this project, with results presented in this paper.

Ozone addition was performed through a Statiflo static mixer with the dose determined by ensuring residual ozone concentrations of >0.8mg/L at the membrane surface (sample point 3). In-line coagulation was performed using polyaluminium chloride (PACl – 23% as Al2O3) dosed into the ozonated effluent directly after the pilot plant’s feed pump, and immediately before the membrane. To determine the minimum dose of PACl, a ‘jar test’ was conducted to identify an appropriate level of coagulant dosing. For the secondary effluent at ETP, this amount was 3 mg(as Al3+)/L. To confirm the validity of the jar test, the PACl was dosed into the pilot plant in-line and a grab sample taken immediately prior to the membrane. Pin floc was observed in a similar fashion to the jar test, confirming the minimum dose required for the plant.

Figure 3. Metawater 25m2 ceramic membrane element, 0.1µm pore size. The ETP effluent contains approximately 10–15mg/L dissolved organic carbon (DOC), and is moderately coloured (true colour approx. 80 PtCo units). The high organic content presents a reasonably high fouling potential for


polymeric membranes and represents the type of wastewater where ceramic membranes may find application. The ceramic plant was operated under the following pre-treatment modes: • Direct feed (un-pre-treated); • Coagulant pre-treated; • Ozone pre-treated; and • Ozone plus coagulant pre-treated. In each test, the plant was operated at three or more steps of increasing permeate flux with all other operational parameters fixed. The goal of the stepped test was to establish the highest flux for each pre-treatment condition that was determined to operate sustainably over the long term. Each step treated approximately 360m3 of water unless gross fouling stopped the run early. This attempt to filter the same volume at each step was to expose the membrane to similar fouling loads. At fluxes above 150L/m2.h volumes of 360m3 are reached within seven days, so operation was maintained for at least a week to account for incoming water variations. Chemically enhanced backwashing (CEB) using 100mg/L sodium hypochlorite was carried out after every five regular backwashes. An acid CEB using HCl at pH 2 was performed after seven hypochlorite CEBs. Prior to each experiment, the membrane was cleaned using a prescribed CIP method featuring a soak in hypochlorite (1,000mg/L as free Cl2) for one hour, then acid solution (HCl at pH 2) for 20 minutes. The effectiveness of the cleaning procedure was confirmed by performing a clean water test at 100L/ m2.h for a minimum of one hour, and achieving a TMP of < 0.4 bar. Virus and bacteria log reduction value (LRV) capability was explored in the process. For viruses, the common surrogate MS2 coliphage was used in a challenge test. While this study was not a validation, challenge tests were guided by the US EPA Membrane Filtration Guidance Manual. The test was performed in clean water to avoid fouling layer rejection effects, and without the influence of ozone, thereby providing a conservative estimate for virus LRV. A high flux, 200L/m2.h, was used with feed water spiked with MS2 in the order of 107 PFU/100mL. For the bacterial test particle, naturally occurring E. coli was chosen to assess the LRV (bacteria) over all process operation modes (including coagulation and ozone).

E. coli in the feed was typically in the order of 103 orgs/100mL. An additional test feature was to assess the novel concept for enhanced inactivation when ozonated water flows continuously over pathogens caught on the membrane. Natural E. coli was also used to explore this concept by quantifying their numbers in the backwash water. Coliphage were enumerated by Australian Laboratory Services (ALS) using fRNA double and single agar layer methods. E. coli was measured by ALS using the Collilert method.

was employed, as TMP rises were smaller compared to no PACl dosing (Figure 4). Further, there was negligible TMP rise at 50L/m2.h over the period of the test. At 150L/m2.h, after an initial rapid rise, the TMP rose more slowly. However, at 200Lm2.h, the TMP rise resulted in reaching the upper limit of 3 bar and the run was terminated prior to filtering the required test volume.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION The results from the different pretreatment modes are shown as TMP vs. volume filtered, presented in Figures 4 to 7. Examples of the full TMP profile over the entire test period for the nominal flux of 100L/m2.h for un-pretreated and coagulation only, and ozone plus coagulant runs at 162 L/m2.h are shown in Figure 10. MAXIMUM FLUX – DIRECT FEED TO MEMBRANE

The results in Figure 4 show a graph of initial TMP (i.e. the TMP after backwash at the start of each filtration cycle) as a function of volume filtered. This shows that the complete run of over 300m3 of filtered water was captured with negligible rise in initial TMP. However, when flux was increased to 75L/m2.h, TMP rise was rapid, and the run was terminated as TMP hit the maximum limit of 3 bar. Therefore, the maximum sustainable flux of effluent without pre-treatment was between 50L/ m2.h and 75L/m2.h.

Figure 5. Fouling rate as a function of volume filtered, in-line coagulation pre-treated effluent. MAXIMUM FLUX – WITH OZONE

Ozone was injected into the raw feed water until >0.8mg/L was detected at the membrane (sample point 3 in Figure 2). Residual ozone was measured using the indigo method (Standard Methods, APHA, 2005). Results of the fouling rate of a maximum flux test with ozone pre-treatment are show in Figure 6. The effect of ozone provided more stability to the TMP as compared to the un-pretreated feed (Figure 4) at 50L/m2.h. At the increased flux of 75L/m2.h, stable TMP was also observed, which provides evidence that ozone on its own can assist with cleaning the membrane.

Figure 4. Fouling rate as a function of volume filtered, un-pre-treated effluent. MAXIMUM FLUX – WITH COAGULATION

The results of the test with coagulant addition are shown in Figure 5. It was observed that filtration characteristics were altered when in-line coagulation

Figure 6. Fouling rate as a function of volume filtered with ozonated pre-treated effluent.



Technical Features




Figure 7 shows the results of the maximum flux test with both in-line coagulation and ozone injection. We see that the benefits of each pre-treatment combined to yield even higher fluxes achieved without severe fouling in the course of the run. Flux up to 182L/m2.h was achieved, but could not be exceeded due to the limit of the water supply and ozone injection system. Higher fluxes may, therefore, be possible.

to coagulation, resulting in greatly improved filtration characteristics. Therefore, the two pre-treatments appear to work together to allow much higher fluxes. However, further investigation into this combined ozonation/coagulation effect is needed as there are other possible explanations. These results imply that ozone can potentially reduce the need for hydraulic backwash (leading to improved water recovery) and/or reduced coagulant use. Furthermore, in combination there appear to be synergistic effects that may enable reduction of hypochlorite CEB frequency and, therefore, chemical costs and associated disposal. Thus the use of ozone as a water treatment barrier can also offset membrane cleaning chemicals, demonstrating one of the objectives of chemical reduction proposed in this project.

economic criterion. Further, a CIP is required after the TMP at the start of the filtration cycle reaches 1.5 bar to avoid high pumping energy due to excessive filtration pressures. Table 1 shows that each pre-treatment condition has a flux that corresponds to a CIP frequency of 90 days or greater. Despite the fact that plant footprint is greatly reduced due to increased fluxes, infrequent CIP is still desirable. However, the results in Figure 7 varied without any discernible trend, so no slope could be estimated. We see rising and declining TMP over the course of the run, suggesting longer-term operation is needed to account for variable water quality. The promising result is that a relatively high rate of fouling for a particular water can be reversed due to the cleaning action of coagulant and ozone. CHEMICAL USE

Figure 7. Fouling rate as a function of volume filtered with coagulation and ozone pre-treated effluent (fouling trend was not able to be calculated reliably). Overlaying TMP profiles of the four combinations is shown in Figure 8. This plot reveals a more detailed explanation of the observed performance benefits. The TMP curves are between the CEBs (TMP recovery at each hydraulic backwashes are visible). Compared to effluent without pre-treatment, ozone pre-treatment uniquely prevented TMP rise between backwash cycles, indicating ozone reduces the fouling nature of the influent. This could be due to ozone reacting with the organics, which prevents their build-up on the membrane, either because they are physically smaller, or because of their altered chemistry. This was observed in previous studies of this group, thus confirming the effect on the pilot trial (Zhu et al., 2011). On the other hand, the TMP profile of coagulant pre-treated effluent reveals similar TMP rise per cycle to the raw feed, but returns closer to the initial value after backwash, indicating improved filter cake structure. The combination of coagulation and ozonation appears to combine these individual effects, resulting in an unnoticeable TMP rise. The ozonated organics are potentially more amenable


Figure 8. TMP rises as a function of time for a period between CEB. Results show un-pre-treated profile, coagulant only, ozone only, and ozone plus coagulant addition. Flux = 50L/m2.h. ECONOMICAL RUNNING CONDITIONS

The frequency of CIP routines for a given set of operating settings has a large bearing on a plant’s running costs. Therefore, the fouling rate obtained by TMP rate of increase from previous tests can be used to estimate which condition is suitable for economical operation over the longer term. The basis for this decision is the number of days before a CIP is needed, determined from the linear regression of TMP trend extrapolated to a defined TMP limit (a negative slope indicates no observable fouling). The results for the effluent without pretreatment and the three pre-treatment options are shown in Table 1. A decision to engage a CIP to restore performance is dependent on the site, but a minimum of 90 days between CIPs is a reasonable

The chemicals required for normal operation of the plant, as delivered in concentrated form, are presented in Table 2. PACl solution, when used, had the highest consumption based on the dose rate of 3mg(as Al3+)/L. Next was hypochlorite solution, but about three times lower by volume compared to PACl. Acid use was lower again, although initial acid consumption was reduced due to a revised acid CEB frequency. It was observed acid CEBs were having little improvement on TMP. As shown in Figure 8, when coagulant is used and operating at low flux, there does not appear to be any need for CEB (i.e. no TMP rise observed). This is the basis to support the notion that reduced chemical consumption operation is possible. PATHOGEN REDUCTION POTENTIAL

Table 3 lists the results of the virus removal test carried out at 200L/m2.h. Samples were taken before and after the membrane at five minutes and 10 minutes into two filtration cycles. The overall LRV was found to be 4.0, which indicates the virus rejection potential of this ceramic membrane. By comparison, a pilot study on a 0.4µm polymeric MBR membrane showed an LRV of 3 for coliphage (DeCarolis and Adham, 2007), while a lab scale study on a 0.1µm PVDF hollow fibre membrane found an LRV of 2 to 3 for MS2 coliphage (Huang et al., 2012).


Table 1: Estimation of run time before CIP for various pre-treatment options. Max. flux (L/m2.h)

TMP rise (kPa/h)

Days to CIP













Coag + Ozone





Table 2. Summary of approximate chemical use in L of solution (as delivered) per ML water treated. PACl 23% (L/ML)

Hypo 13% (L/ML)

HCl 32% (L/ML)




Coag only




Ozone only







Pre-treatment None

*NC = Not confirmed

Ozone + Coag

Table 3. LRV results of MS2 coliphage, flux 200L/m2.h, clean water (no ozone or coagulant).

Table 4. LRV determinations using E. coli in feedwater, flux 150L/m2.h, with various pre-treatments.


1 2

Sampling Time (min)

Feed phage (pfu/100ml)

Perm phage (pfu/100ml)


6.7 x 106



6.9 x 106



11.4 x 106



7.6 x 106


LRV overall To assess the LRV potential for bacteria, E. coli naturally present in the secondary effluent was utilised as the challenge particle. The results displayed in Table 4 show the LRV of E. coli between the feed and the pretreatment (when used) and membrane permeate. All permeate samples were found to contain no E. coli, indicating the naturally occurring population was insufficient to calculate actual LRV. Based on the incoming E. coli count, LRV at any condition was >2.3. Also shown in Table 4 is viable E. coli measured in the backwash water, expressed as a negative LRV with respect to feed E. coli count. The negative value indicates a concentrating effect of bacteria, which is to be expected considering all particles caught by the membrane can only leave the system via the backwash (a 14-fold concentration of solids is expected with a water recovery of 93%). However, this swings to positive LRV values of 0.5 to 0.7 when ozone is used. This is evidence of inactivation of E. coli caught on the membrane surface due to the continuous stream of ozonated water that flows over them for up to the entire filtration cycle time.

LRV (Lowest feed – highest perm.)


LRV – feed to pre-treatment

LRV – feed to permeate

LRV – feed to BW


















*Negative LRV indicates increasing concentration of E. coli in backwash (BW) water.



to be expected as the MF membrane has little rejection of dissolved organic compounds. The addition of ozone showed an expected reduction in colour measurements and some reduction in UV absorbance, but resulted in little DOC removal. This indicates ozone reactivity with chromophore-containing compounds, but the organic matter was not mineralised.

CONCLUSIONS These results represent key performance outcomes of the PWNT CeraMac ceramic membrane/ozone trial on secondary effluent. Raw secondary effluent applied to the process achieved a sustainable flux

of 50L/m2.h. The addition of coagulant led to enhanced sustainable fluxes, which reached up to 100L/m2.h. Using ozone resulted in sustainable fluxes up to 75L/ m2.h. Ozonation and coagulation led to sustainable fluxes of at least 182L/m2.h. But as the ozone injection equipment on the site reached its limit at this flux, higher fluxes appear to be likely. The functions of coagulant and ozone appeared synergistic in terms of enabling the improved membrane performance. Coagulant assisted TMP reversibility during backwash, while ozone reduced the TMP rate between backwashes. Together, these effects yielded the


Figure 9 shows water quality indicators (true colour, UV254 absorbance and DOC) measured in terms of % reduction to the influent at a flux of 50L/m2.h. The results show that little reduction of organic matter related indicators was observed until ozone was used. This was

Figure 9. Water quality indicator reduction between feedwater and post-membrane with different pre-treatment at 50L/m2.h.



Technical Features



Technical Features James Currie (B&V) and Gareth Roeszler, Simon Wilson and David Halliwell (WaterRA) are also appreciated. PWN Technologies and RWB Water Services, the Netherlands, are gratefully acknowledged for providing and delivering the CeraMac system, and the plant operation support to the project. Marcel Varenhorst, Chiel van Foeken and Wouter Hut at RWB Waterservices, are individually acknowledged for their support of the plant’s delivery, installation and ongoing support. All staff at Eastern Treatment Plant and the Trials Plant, especially Mark Lynch, are thanked for their support in setting up and operating the plant on site. Gilbert Galjaard from PWN Technologies, the Netherlands, is also acknowledged for his guidance on the operational conditions and ceramic membrane water treatment chemistry. Jon Bates, Alastair McNeil and Hazel Ho with Black & Veatch are Figure 10. TMP profiles for ceramic membrane runs over time. Top figure is with direct water acknowledged for assisting feed, middle figure is with coagulation, and bottom figure is ozone with coagulation. with the process reviews, higher fluxes achieved. It was observed water would be useful with respect HAZOP review and assistance that use of cleaning chemicals, and even to the disposal strategy. over the course of the project. Publicity for the project was undertaken by Debbie coagulant, could potentially be reduced. This work therefore supports the Middendorp, Director Global Marketing It appeared reductions in CEB frequency performance benefits proposed by and Communications PWN Technologies (i.e. chemical use) is possible when ceramic membranes in conjunction with and Richard Meredith, PWN Technologies’ operating at moderate or low flux, but ozone. High fluxes, and/or reduced communication representative in Australia. generally not when high flux is sought. chemical usage and enhanced total THE AUTHORS Pathogen removal testing found disinfection, are unique features that Noel Dow (email: Noel. an LRV (virus) of 4.0 attributed to the would have benefits for wastewater has been membrane process alone. The absolute recycling. A costing study is due to be working as a researcher bacterial LRV was determined to be completed by late 2013 to quantify these for Victoria University’s >2.3 as no E. coli could be found in benefits for water recycling in Australia. Institute for Sustainability the product permeate. The concept and Innovation for five years ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS of enhanced pathogen inactivation in and has been mainly involved in water This project was financially supported by the reject stream was confirmed with and wastewater treatment projects. The the Australian Water Recycling Centre of an LRV of 0.6 between feedwater and development, construction and operation Excellence, funded by the Commonwealth reject water. This contrasts with a 1.3-log of pilot plant equipment has occupied of Australia. Funding from Melbourne increase in the reject stream when ozone most of his time at the institute. Water, South East Water and Water was not employed. While the challenge Danny Murphy Research Australia is also gratefully testing indicated expected performance (email: Danny.Murphy@ acknowledged. The efforts across MF membranes, it is the enhanced of the project team: Julia Roehr, Stephen backwash pathogen disinfection that is au) is a Process Engineer Gray, Nicholas Milne, Bo Zhu (VU), Lisa unique to this ozone/ceramic membrane at Melbourne Water’s Solomon, John Mieog, Judy Blackbeard hybrid process. This has benefits to Eastern Treatment Plant. (MW), Anne Gooding, Pam Kerry (SEWL), operations where disinfected reject He has been heavily involved in the



tertiary treatment upgrade of the Eastern Treatment Plant throughout the process selection, commissioning and operational phases. Danny’s focus areas have been disinfection challenge testing, ozone contactor optimisation, biological filtration performance testing, energy and chemical optimisation, and operations support. Jonathan Clement (email: jclement@pwntechnologies. nl) is CEO of PWN Technologies, Velserbroek, the Netherlands, and is an internationally recognised water treatment specialist, specialising in drinking water. Jonathan has been the principal investigator on numerous global research projects examining the technology to improve water treatment. He conducted over 10 AWWA research foundation projects on water treatment and distribution. He has worked on new pre-treatment technologies for membrane systems and with emerging technologies such as UV and ion exchange for removal of organics.

Associate Professor Mikel Duke (email: Mikel.Duke@ is a Principal Research Fellow at the Institute for Sustainability and Innovation at Victoria University. His research interests focus on innovative technologies for sustainable water treatment and foods processing. He has developed new membrane materials and demonstrated new membrane processes in these applications as a principal investigator on 35 projects over the last nine years. His specialist research areas in these projects are ceramic membranes, membrane fabrication, sensors, membrane distillation and reverse osmosis.

REFERENCES APHA (2005): Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater. American Public Health Association, Washington DC, 21st Edition. Bartels C, Franks R, Furukawa R, Murkute P & Papukchiev U (2004): Integrated Membrane System for Low Fouling RO Desalting of Municipal Wastewater, pp 1–56, Desalination Research and Innovation Partnership. Clement J, Tian XY & Tan TW (2009): Development and Application of an

Alternative Innovative Treatment Scheme for Water Reuse, presented at OzWater’09 in Melbourne, March 16–18, 2009. DeCarolis JF & Adham S (2007): Performance Investigation of Membrane Bioreactor Systems During Municipal Wastewater Reclamation. Water Environment Research, 79, 13, pp 2536–2550. Huang H, Young TA, Schwab KJ & Jacangelo JG (2012): Mechanisms of Virus Removal from Secondary Wastewater Effluent by Low Pressure Membrane Filtration. Journal of Membrane Science, 409–410, 0, pp 1–8. Karnik BS, Davies SHR, Chen KC, Jaglowski DR, Baumann MJ & Masten SJ (2005): Effects of Ozonation on the Permeate Flux of Nanocrystalline Ceramic Membranes. Water Research, 39, 4, pp 728–734. Lehman SG & Liu L (2009): Application of Ceramic Membranes with Pre-ozonation for Treatment of Secondary Wastewater Effluent. Water Research, 43, 7, pp 2020–2028. US EPA (2005): Membrane Filtration Guidance Manual. Number: 815R06009. November, 2005. Zhu B, Hu Y, Kennedy S, Milne N, Morris G, Jin W, Gray S & Duke M (2011): Dual Function Filtration and Catalytic Breakdown of Organic Pollutants in Wastewater Using Ozonation with Titania and Alumina Membranes. Journal of Membrane Science, 378, 1–2, pp 61–72.



Technical Features



Technical Features

PROVISION OF WELLS FOR FEED WATER SUPPLY AND AQUIFER REINJECTION AT NCEDA Installation, testing and commissioning of three groundwater wells constructed within the Rockingham Sand Aquifer N Robertson, N Palmer

ABSTRACT This paper discusses the installation, testing and commissioning of three groundwater wells constructed at a range of depths within the Rockingham Sand Aquifer. The wells were constructed for the National Centre of Excellence in Desalination Australia (NCEDA) at Murdoch Campus, Rockingham, Western Australia. The wells are primarily designed to provide, on an intermittent basis, between 50–300m3/day of various quality groundwaters, blended in preparation for desalination research requirements on campus. Remixed concentrate and permeate, post-desalination trials, is reinjected into the deepest well, eliminating the requirement for an offsite brine management process. Wastewater from chemical cleaning processes is neutralised and discharged to sewer.

INTRODUCTION NCEDA was established to provide research and development of desalination technologies and solutions to address Australia’s unique water needs. In 2010 the Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts provided funding for the Centre, and Murdoch University is the administering organisation responsible for developing a research program, engaging partners and managing intellectual property frameworks. The hub of NCEDA is a world-class desalination pilot-scale testing and research facility. The pilot-test facility will allow researchers to performancetest new and improved desalination technologies and processes at a pilot scale, enabling industry to validate commercial products, integrate currently available technology and assess potential


technology options. Results will deliver processes that are likely to have worldwide applications as improvements are made in the efficiencies and carbon footprints of future desalination facilities. CH2M HILL was appointed lead design consultant for the pilot-scale testing and research facility. A key benefit for NCEDA is the ability to dispose of the wastewater stream so that concentrate and permeate produced through desalination trials can be reinjected into saline groundwater intersected by the ‘deep’ well, in accordance with regulatory approval. The deep well was constructed to intersect the ’saline’ seawater wedge that has developed inland of the Rockingham coastline and is present beneath the NCEDA facility. This approach eliminates the requirement for alternative, less sustainable, brine management strategies such as evaporation.

ROCKINGHAM DESALINATION RESEARCH FACILITY The Rockingham Desalination Research Facility (Figure 1) offers variable salinity feed water, chemical dosing, waste collection, instrumentation and control system infrastructure to researchers and industry seeking plant fabrication, operation, plug and play performance testing, process validation and membrane analysis services. The feed water system is described later in this paper. Three independent storage tanks can receive blends of two sources of groundwater (saline and brackish) from the supply bores. The blended water is distributed through three independent reticulation systems to six internal and three external pilot plant tie-in points. Each of the three reticulation systems can run automatically at constant pressure delivering up to 12.5m3/h by

Figure 1. The Rockingham desalination research facility.


or reinjection to, the Rockingham Aquifer would not present any longer-term risks to the quality of fresh groundwater in any of the three groundwater bearing horizons. These aquifers, and completed well depths, are depicted in Figure 3. Superficial Aquifer The upper aquifer is shallow, unconfined, flows westerly, is approximately 30m thick, characterised by clay limestone/sand, and includes the cavernous Tamala Limestone. Recharge is primarily through infiltration of rainfall, which further provides recharge to the Rockingham Sand Aquifer. A seawater wedge is present along the coast, with salinity typically between 500–1000mg/L total dissolved solids (TDS).

Figure 2. The pilot scale test facility showing reticulation and tie-in points. a variable frequency drive pump. Permeate and brine are collected through separate drainage systems for each tie-in point, recombined and sent by gravity to recharge the saline groundwater aquifer. Chemically altered water (such as spent membrane cleaning solutions) are neutralised automatically before discharge to the sewerage system.

HYDROGEOLOGICAL SETTING The intersection of various quality groundwater-bearing horizons was targeted within the Rockingham Sand Aquifer, present beneath the upper superficial aquifer and above the Leederville Aquifer. It was imperative that groundwater abstraction from,

Rockingham Aquifer This semi-unconfined sand aquifer is located beneath the superficial aquifer from about 30m to a depth of about 130m below the site. A seawater wedge extends inland and beneath NCEDA, above which groundwater is relatively fresh (250–700 mg/L TDS), discharging to the ocean. Recharge is through the infiltration of rain and downward leakage from lateral inflow from the Leederville Aquifer to the east. Leederville Aquifer This groundwater resource is semi-confined to confined and can be relatively fresh to brackish (500–3,000mg/L TDS), principally dependent on where and how deep a

Figure 3. Hydrogeological X-section (reproduced and modified from Rockwater, 2000), Department of Water, Water Resource Planning Series No. 23, 2008.

Figure 4. Drilling the first borehole for subsequent construction of Well PB-1.



Technical Features

Technical Features

Table 1. Salient drilling results. Well Name


Drill Depth


Screen Depth



A pilot hole was drilled to intersect the base of the Rockingham Sand Aquifer, and hence the top of the Leederville Aquifer. The upper 30m of the Superficial Aquifer was reamed to accommodate the installation of surface casing, designed to ensure that the sands and variously cavernous water-bearing Tamala Limestone would be hydraulically isolated from the Rockingham Sand Aquifer. At the Leederville Aquifer, drilling was terminated and the borehole made ready to run the geophysical logging tools designed to help pinpoint the depth where the Rockingham/Leederville transition occurred. Bentonite was subsequently installed from 118–138m to isolate the Rockingham from the Leederville formations.




Drilled to a target depth of 86m based on the review of geophysical/lithological data garnered from well IB-1, as well as a review of a second suite of geophysical logging undertaken due to the separation from IB-1. Groundwater was targeted at thte upper horizon of the ‘saline’ horizon previously identified within the Rockingham sands between 79–85m. Concurrently, care was taken to position the screen deep enough to minimise the opportunity for freshwater to be drawn into the well.




Lithological and geophysical logs undertaken at neighbouring well PB-2 were utilised to help to design the target depth and subsequent well production string for PB-1, due to the proximity of PB-2 (located approximately 5m to the west).

water allocation decisions and regulates the use of water through the powers Resistivity


Ohm m 50 100 150

API Units 10 30 50 70 90 110130

Well Details

COARSE SAND SAND. Top of Rockingham formation. Coarse. Light grey/brown. Loose.

Screens: 105-117m

Figure 5. Down-hole Geophysical Logs presented for the three key target groundwater bearing horizons within the Rockingham Sand Aquifer.

Saline, base of the Rockingham Sand / top of the Leederville


CLAY CLAY. Minor shale and sand. Light brown/grey.


COARSE SAND SAND. Top of Rockingham formation. Light brown/yellow. Coarse angular grains.

‘becoming saline, ‘top’ of the seawater wedge

SAND. SAND. Light brown/yellow. Becoming fine.

Fresh water beneath clays

CLAY CLAY. Grey. Moist. Soft. Slight pasticity. Minor limestone and sand.


00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23

The Department of Water implements

Screens: 79-85m

66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83



Screens: 40-46m

24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44


well is positioned, as this determines the likelihood of intersecting the seawater wedge/mixing zone thickest nearer to the ocean, whereas further inland and higher in the aquifer the water quality will be fresher. Depth (m)



assigned to it under the Rights in Water and Irrigation Act 1914 and the Rights in Water and Irrigation Regulations 2000. Recently, the Department of Water developed the Rockingham–Stakehill Groundwater Management Plan to guide the management of groundwater resources to achieve sustainable water allocations for groundwater users and protection of groundwater-dependent ecosystems. NCEDA was granted permission to complete the three project wells, screened at various depths within the Rockingham Sand Aquifer.

WELL DESIGN AND DRILLING Prior to well design, CH2M HILL conducted some preliminary groundwater flow and transport modelling to demonstrate that any deleterious effects, including ‘up-coning’ of the saline ‘seawater wedge’ present at the base of the Rockingham Aquifer, either due to the proposed periodic abstraction, or reinjection of post-trial water, is unlikely. It is, however, imperative that these outcomes are validated by results derived through future and ongoing groundwater monitoring. Monitoring should also consider the longevity and efficiency of the well, including screen degradation, fouling and yield assessment1. Each of the wells was designed to operate under relatively low flow rates (50–300m3/day). Once preliminary design and modelling was completed, the pilot hole-drilling

1 In addition, it is recommended that NCEDA supports the aims of the Department of Water and the Water Corporation’s interactive ‘Perth Regional Aquifer Modelling System’ (PRAMS) model, designed to help ensure that abstraction/re-injection remains an environmentally sustainable water resource management option.



Table 2. Rationale for well screen target depths, screen type and slot size (aperture). Well ID Target Groundwater Horizons




Screened across saline groundwater at the base of Rockingham Sands

Screened across ‘brackish/ saline’ groundwater below freshwater interface

‘Fresh’ groundwater – beneath clay aquitard (Rockingham Sands and Tamala Limestone)







Screened Interval (meters below ground) Slot Size – 316 Stainless Steel Wire Wound Screens (mm) program commenced, with the primary goal designed to delineate the major lithological units to the target depth, the top of the Leederville Aquifer. Figure 4 shows the commencement of drilling at well location PB1. However, construction was designed to maximise yield and minimise potential longer-term issues resulting from blockage or bio-fouling. Salient drilling details are described in Table 1.

GEOPHYSICAL LOGGING, WELL CONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT Geophysical logging of boreholes was commissioned to help identify drilling formation changes, transition zones of groundwater salinity, and to allow accurate design of production casing string and screen position. The logging suite was designed to help distinguish between the various intersected formations; including water quality parameters (wire-line 16” and 64” normal-resistivity tool), lithological variation (natural gamma ray tool) and borehole diameter/gauge indicative of borehole wall collapse/caving (calliper log). A snapshot of the most salient observations determined using this

Figure 6. Well screen and riser column in readiness for installation.3

Table 3. Summary of groundwater quality parameters and level. Well ID




Static Water Level (meters below ground)




Salinity – Airlifting TDS (ppm)




Salinity – Pumping (infield Determination) TDS (ppm)




Laboratory Results – Test Pumping TDS (mg/L)




Table 4. Yield potential, static water level and proposed submersible pump parameters. Well

Required Yield (m3/day)

Short-Term Injection Rate (m3/day)

Static Water Level (mbGL)

Pump Inlet Depth (mbGL)

Pump Inlet Depth (mbSWL)

PB-1 (Shallow)






PB-2 (Intermediate)






IB-1 (Deep)






Table Notes: Head loss calculations should be accounted for, due to associated pipe-works and pumped vertical head, etc, as may be fitted upstream of the well head works.

data and geophysical logs (resistivity, gamma and calliper tools), across three depth sections of interest, are depicted in Figure 5. Final well construction designs were evaluated after consideration of the lithological assessment of the returned drill cuttings, cross-referenced with the downhole geophysical results and a laboratory particle-size distribution (PSD)2 assessment, undertaken to select the appropriateness of the slot diameter of the screens. The relative permeability and grain size distribution for sediments of the targeted water-bearing zones plays an important role in choosing the depths at which screens are positioned. In addition, derivation of a specific screen aperture, or slot size, specific to each target groundwater-bearing horizon helps to ensure that future pumping efficiency

is maximised. The more efficient the well screen design, the more efficient longerterm pumping becomes. Hence, PSD tests were conducted on drill cuttings collected at prospective screen intervals to help determine the most efficient well screen designed and manufactured. The slot size was evaluated using the approach described in Groundwater & Wells, 2nd Ed., 1986, Driscoll FG, where 40–50% of the relatively homogeneous sediments are retained by the ‘slots’ during subsequent development of the well. Johnson Well ScreensTM were ordered for installation in the well. Figure 6 depicts the well screen and riser column prior to installation at well PB1, while Table 2 presents a summary of the rationale for screen interval target depths, type and slot size.


PSD tests are conducted using a series of variously increasing size metal sieves, through which dried drill cuttings are mechanically shaken, and the retained fractions weighed to allow a grain size distribution ‘curve’ to be calculated.


The well screens are made by simultaneously welding stainless steel wire as it is wound around vertical support bearers at the pre-determined slot interval requested; the most suited to match the physiology of the horizon to be screened. With this data, a specific aperture size was ordered specific to each screen horizon.



Technical Features



Technical Features A conservative approach to well screen design was adopted and included the installation of between 6–12m of screens in the three wells. Once the well production string was in place, a graded gravel pack was emplaced in the annulus between the formation and screens. A bentonite plug was installed above the gravel pack, and within the remainder of the annulus to the surface casing. A demudding agent was introduced to each well and, together with subsequent airlift development including jetting and surging, removed remnant drill muds and fine sediments.

WATER LEVELS AND QUALITY Static groundwater levels, measured for the three wells, were all less than 10m. Water quality data, including total dissolved solids (TDS), was measured during the airlifting and pumping phases and is summarised in Table 3. However, there are some measured inconsistencies and it is worth noting that on the scheduled test days it was unfortunate that suitable water disposal options could not be secured, and to this end pumped water from well PB-2 was required to be injected to the deep well IB-1, and water pumped from well IB-1 was injected into well PB-2. Hence, a full analytical suite is not reported. This unfortunate circumstance is likely to have impacted on the water quality results presented in Table 3.

WELL YIELD AND EFFICIENCY Pump tests were completed at each well to help ascertain whether the required yield (abstraction or re-injection) rate would be attainable and sustainable in the longer term4. In addition, the tests help establish useful criteria, including ‘Specific Capacity’5, applicable for various pumping rates, by which the ongoing use and efficiency of the wells can be established. Results assisted in evaluating pump design, depth and required safeguard controls to prevent over-abstraction and/ or re-injection rates. Specific Capacity results (SC) for the shallow well, PB-1, was evaluated at 800m3/day/m, while at intermediate depth well PB-2 SC is approximately 300m3/day/m (PB-2), and for deep well IB-1 a value of 350m3/day/m was achieved.

The deepest of the three wells has a dual-purpose capability and is able to be utilised for abstraction of saline groundwater, or reinjection of the research facilities concentrate and permeate stream, thereby eliminating the need for an off-site facility.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS NCEDA is grateful for the efforts of CH2M HILL and Bunbury Drilling in the design and execution of the drilling program, and the WA Department of Water, Kwinana Peel Region, with respect to approvals during drilling and the longterm licence to take water.



Nick Robertson (email: Nicholas.Robertson@ch2m. has worked as a consultant for the provision of hydrogeological environmental services for 25 years across Australasia, Europe, Middle East and Africa. Projects have included urban and remote groundwater resource, dewatering, contamination and remedial assignments.

Three groundwater wells were successfully constructed to a depth of 46m, 75m and 117m within the Rockingham Sand Aquifer for the purposes of abstracting variously fresh to saline quality groundwater for use as feed water to the NCEDA research facility in Rockingham, Western Australia.

Neil Palmer (email: neil. is CEO of the Australian National Centre of Excellence in Desalination, in Perth, WA, which administers $20m of research funding from the government’s Water for the Future initiative.

The selection of submersible pump/ design (size and capacity) depth setting for the inlet and useful safeguards against over-abstraction and injection are tabulated in Table 4.


Water abstracted during the pump tests was either stored in purpose-built dams (prior to subsequent collection and offsite removal), or injected to IB1, with no observable impacts observed in monitoring wells during these relatively short pump tests. Further assessment is required to validate this assumption.


It is worth noting that due to non-linear well loss effects, specific capacity of a well is also a function of the pump rate, and decreases with increase in pumping rate, making the absolute determination of specific capacity of little value, other than its primary use in comparing the efficiency of the well through time, as discussed.

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Technical Features

Key research findings and organisational learnings J Sullivan, N Nelson, G Allen, N Quinn



Sydney Water is at the end of an intensive three-year Climate Change Adaptation Program of work to better understand and reduce the potential impacts of future climate change on the organisation and its customers. This paper summarises its adaptation journey and highlights the key research findings, organisational learnings and multifaceted approach required to tackle this potentially complex issue. Sydney Water’s commitment to understanding future risks and opportunities of climate change has provided a baseline of information, tools and in-house capability that is now being integrated into business planning.

The Australian urban water industry has been among the first globally that has had to invest in adaptation due to climate variability. The Climate Institute (2012) assessed the water industry as relatively advanced in its climate change adaptation preparations and early responses have been positive. However, this preparation and investment has mainly been in relation to water supply security, and for the sector there is still a need to address the emerging risks to infrastructure.

The topic of climate change adaptation has raised much debate about how to best improve understanding of the links between appropriate investment and the risk. Climate change has the potential to alter the frequency, intensity, duration and distribution of climate-related hazards such as fires, coastal storms, flooding, hail, wind and heatwaves. These changes could have a significant impact on Sydney Water’s assets. Sydney Water is responsible for water, wastewater, recycled water and some stormwater services to over 4.6 million people in Sydney, the Illawarra and the Blue Mountains. Sydney Water manages a broad range of strategic and operational risks that can potentially impact the achievement of its corporate goals. The company has an established enterprise risk management framework and strong emergency management culture, supported by a program of scenario exercises and stress testing. While climate change is only one of many risks the business must consider, it has the potential to challenge its current thinking about how companies plan and set corporate objectives and how they engage with the external world.

Like many organisations starting out on the climate change adaptation journey, the first piece of work involved assessing key climate risks and identifying potential adaptation measures through a qualitative risk assessment process. The qualitative risk assessment was carried out in 2008 following the general approach outlined by AGO (2006) and adapted to suit Sydney Water’s corporate risk management framework. The risk assessment identified a large number of potential climate change risks for Sydney Water, and it was evident from the staff knowledge and engagement during the process that the corporation was well positioned to respond. Some of the possible hazards and impacts that were identified as a higher priority for Sydney Water during the initial qualitative risk assessment include (Allen et al., 2009): • Changes in bushfires patterns (frequency and intensity), causing increased potential for long-term damage or loss of assets and reduced services; • Storm surge and sea level rise resulting in flooding and salinity impacts on low-lying assets/facilities, resulting in increased expenditure for asset protection, maintenance and rehabilitation. Additionally, this risk could increase sewer overflows due to infiltration;

• Extreme weather events (increased wind, lightning, hail, landslip and bushfire risk) causing a loss of communication or power to assets, impacting on the company’s ability to meet regulatory and customer standards and expected service levels; • Flooding due to episodic, intense rainfall events, resulting in the stormwater system exceeding capacity, causing damage in and beyond trunk lines; • Higher temperatures and longer hot, dry periods may result in lower base flows in sewers, promoting higher sewer concentrations, siltation, and increased corrosion and odour potential in sewer concrete structures, pipe networks and wastewater treatment plants. While this was a good starting point and resulted in good engagement within the business, it became apparent quite quickly that the organisation had a lot of work to do before it could move towards implementing adaptation options. More information was needed to be able to quantify the impacts, costs and benefits on a local scale to help assess and select adaptation options. To address this need, Sydney Water launched its Climate Change Adaptation Program at the end of 2009.

PROGRAM THEMES The three key challenges for the Sydney Water Climate Change Adaptation Program were to understand the vulnerability of the business to climate change impacts, identify current resilience capability to respond to events; and develop costed and prioritised adaptation options for the business to consider. These challenges became the three Program Themes (see Figure 1, overleaf). The program was designed with clear linkages and progression through the themes, with each building on the last and informing the next






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Figure 1. Overview of Sydney Water’s Climate Change Adaptation Program. theme. For instance, the outputs of the Vulnerability Theme were used to inform the Resilience Theme in identifying potential gaps in current practice and adaptive capacity. Similarly, the Adaptation Theme was then informed by the outcomes of both the Vulnerability and Resilience Themes. THEME 1: VULNERABILITY

The focus of Theme 1 is to understand (qualitatively and quantitatively) the additional exposure to arising acute and chronic climate change hazards. Specific aims include: 1.

Assess the exposure and vulnerability of critical infrastructure (water, electricity and telecommunications) to potential creeping and chronic climate change hazards;



Identify supply chain interdependencies between Sydney Water and supply chain providers including electricity/ telecommunications and bulk water;


Assess and quantify the points of vulnerability, including the impacts of disruptions in electricity/ telecommunication supplies on water operations under various climate scenarios, including the cascading impacts on dependent communities, businesses and other critical infrastructure assets.

To achieve these aims Sydney Water partnered with the Federal Attorney General’s Department under their Critical Infrastructure Program for Modelling and Analysis (CIPMA) in the ‘Vulnerability of critical infrastructure to climate change’ project. CIPMA was established in the early

2000s by the Federal Government in response to the emerging terrorist threat to critical infrastructure. CIPMA is the only program of its kind with the skills and access to the sensitive data required to examine the relationship and dependencies between critical infrastructure systems. In undertaking the collaborative CIPMA ‘Vulnerability of critical infrastructure to climate change’ project, Sydney Water took a multi-stage approach (Figure 2). The project began with mapping Sydney Water’s exposure to climate hazards, including sea level rise, coastal recession, bushfire and storm wind. This stage identified the assets with the greatest potential to be impacted. The next stage involved identifying infrastructure interdependencies. This analysis looked at the organisation’s assets’ reliance


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on electricity and telecommunication supplies. This information was then used in Stage 3 to assess and quantify the company’s vulnerability, including consequential impacts to local communities and surrounding regions. Two case study areas were selected from Sydney Water’s area of operations (the Blue Mountains and the Illawarra), to demonstrate the full vulnerability and consequential analysis. The project outputs are not only relevant under future climatic scenarios, they also identified current exposure to operational supply chain vulnerabilities. For example, in some situations the failure of one electrical zone sub-station could impact up to nine critical water assets. With this information Sydney Water is now able to address these upstream dependencies in its contingency planning. With the support of project stakeholders, including Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy and Telstra, the project produced a series of exposure maps showing potential impacts on infrastructure and a dependency analysis and mapping of Sydney Water’s infrastructure with key electricity and telecommunication providers. The key learning in the process of understanding the company’s vulnerability has been both the complexity and scale of the task. Determining vulnerability involves detailed assessment of an asset’s exposure in light of its ability to cope when exposed to a particular hazard. In assessing an asset’s ability to cope, a huge number of aspects need to be considered, including asset-specific contingency plans, supply chain dependency and existing asset damage.


The focus of this theme is to understand the organisation’s existing resilience to the impact of extreme event disruptions and to identify how well placed the organisation is to respond and recover from future events. The specific aims include: 1.

Benchmark Sydney Water’s current resilience and ability to cope with natural events;


Identify areas of improvement and recommend targeted actions to increase resilience to future extreme events;


Inform Sydney Water’s strategic approach to managing and planning for extreme natural hazard risks.

The 100-plus-year history of Sydney Water is, in itself, a testament to its resilience and its continued delivery of an essential service, in spite of enormous changes over that period. But the intensity, frequency and duration of future climate events are likely to be different, and there are many things to be learnt from the organisational response during and post these historical events. The first step was to investigate Sydney Water’s long history of exposure to extreme natural events to better understand how the organisation responds and recovers from these events. Researchers from Risk Frontiers were engaged to study the impacts of past extreme events on the organisation and how they have helped shape its current emergency management culture. Looking back at the organisation’s history showed how each significant event resulted in improvements to emergency response and planning.

The intent was that the program would help identify current gaps in terms of direct organisational response to extreme events. What was found as the program evolved was that resilience is much more than an operational response to an event. It needs to encompass the ability of the organisation to better prepare for change, whatever that might be, and continue to deliver a valuable service to Sydney Water’s customers in a world of uncertainty. This emphasised the importance of issues that extend beyond operational protocols to encompass corporate strategic planning, staff engagement, effective partnerships and strong leadership. This was explored as part of a national water industry benchmarking study initiated and led by Sydney Water. Sydney Water funded a New Zealandbased consultancy, ResOrgs, to carry out a national water industry resilience benchmarking project involving five Australian water utilities. The purpose was to identify strengths and opportunities to improve Sydney Water’s ability to adapt to future extreme climatic events that are likely to be more frequent and intense and that might compromise the organisation’s ability to deliver its core services. The utilities in this study were chosen based on their high reputation for resilience while covering a wide range of water company settings: large and small, urban and rural, with a range of ownership structures. They were also selected because they face a range of hazards, many with climate change implications. The resilience model used in conducting the benchmark study was developed by ResOrgs and incorporates work carried out by the Federal Attorney General’s Department. It consists of three attributes: Leadership and Culture; Networks; and Change Ready. These three attributes are then composed of 13 Indicators that are used to assess an organisation’s resilience in a number of key areas (see Figure 3, overleaf). The outcomes of the project showed that the hazards these water utilities were concerned about varied for a range of reasons including: location; mitigation steps taken; and organisation history. In general the rankings for each individual water utility were in line with their recent past experience. The top-ranking hazard of concern was loss of critical service; this could be deemed a technical dependency hazard, not a natural hazard. The next



Figure 2. Overview of the ‘Vulnerability of critical infrastructure to climate change’ project stages.

Furthermore, defining how the asset’s vulnerability impacts on Sydney Water’s wider system requires an assessment of the redundancy in the system, dependent assets and the other exposed assets. This is a challenging task, considering the number of assets required to deliver services to over 4.6 million people, so prioritisation of critical asset risk was essential.



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Figure 3. Resilience indicators developed by ResOrgs ( three ranking hazards, drought, flooding and bushfires, are all natural hazards that could become worse as a result of climate change. Sydney Water’s resilience strengths were found to lie largely in emergency response and planning. The benchmarking found Sydney Water to have strong emergency and risk management processes in place, including good processes for debriefing and converting learnings to actions, as well as highly responsive staff with a strong “one-inall-in” attitude during emergencies. The benchmarking study identified that the strengths seen in Sydney Water’s emergency processes are not always evident in ‘business as usual’. Leadership

and decision-making across the organisation during ‘business as usual’ could benefit from the more adaptive attributes displayed during the ‘emergency response setting’. In the latter setting, there is high trust, improved effectiveness and well established delegation, including the ability of the business to repurpose resources from one part of the organisation to another. THEME 3: ADAPTATION

The focus of the final theme is to embed climate change adaptation into existing business practices and processes, including budget cycles, risk management and monitoring/review processes. The specific aims include: 1.

Develop a flexible, scalable and responsive adaptation management framework with the capability to compare the impact of climate change and adaptation measures on cost, asset life, risk likelihood and consequence;


Identify and assess adaptation responses to possible climate change futures that consider Sydney Water’s risk tolerance, regulatory framework and trigger points for action; and


Produce prioritised adaptation responses supported by cost-benefit analysis and multi-criteria assessment for infrastructure, maintenance, operations and customer servicing.

The development of a climate change adaptation quantification methodology was the most challenging component of the entire program. Despite an extensive review of existing tools and methods, there were no stand-alone ‘off-the-shelf’ quantification tools that allowed Sydney Water to dynamically assess climate change risks to specific assets, as well as to its system as a whole. Sydney Water needed an approach that was sensitive to spatial variations and the operational characteristics of different asset types. Additionally, as the tool will be crucial to decisions of future investment, the method needed to be robust and transparent. With this in mind, Sydney Water partnered with the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) and consultancy, Climate Risk, to produce a national online climate change quantification tool, AdaptWaterTM, for the urban water industry. The project was recognised as being an industry-leading initiative and received co-funding from the Australian Government under its Climate Adaptation Pathways Program. AdaptWaterTM runs specified scenarios and interrogates the asset data in real-time to calculate the

Figure 4. AdaptWater™ impact mapping of risk cost comparison of unadapted and adapted assets.



Technical Features to develop information, guidance and capacity-building activities for organisations responsible for managing interconnected water infrastructure to help resolve this complexity. The study highlighted a number of barriers to climate change adaptation where interconnected infrastructure is involved. From this project a step-wise framework was developed for considering adaptation in a collaborative, consultative way, recognising the complexity of interconnected issues (SCCG, 2012).

AdaptWaterTM can be used to prioritise assets that are most at risk or most costly under the chosen climate change hazards. Once the risk cost of impacts is determined, a sequence of adaptation options can be developed and compared. The efficacy of an adaptation option is determined by re-evaluation of the impacts of climate change on the assets, and can be compared to the un-adapted asset or alternative adaptation options (Figure 4).


Sydney Water views AdaptWaterTM as the hub for accessing climate change knowledge from the organisation, broader water industry and international science community. AdaptWaterTM pulls together the outcomes of Themes 1, 2 and 3 to complete a detailed assessment of climate change vulnerability, to quantify the impacts based on our resilience and compare the cost benefit of the full range of adaptation responses from “no response” to the pre-emptive “no regrets” responses. While AdaptWater™ helps address risks to Sydney Water’s assets, the organisation’s success in adaptation hinges on its stakeholders, both in their views and Sydney Water’s interactions with them. As a large water utility Sydney Water has a diverse range of stakeholders including customers, regulators and peers. There may be a number of stakeholders impacted by, or with the capacity to have an impact on, the implementation of adaptation options. An individual business approach to climate change adaptation can potentially result in maladaptation when done in isolation. It is vital then to identify the relevant stakeholders and engage with them to identify potential issues and opportunities. Taking a coordinated approach allows infrastructure providers to share and reduce costs through more efficient implementation. Sydney Water partnered with the Sydney Coastal Council’s Group and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage

The benefits of the Program have extended beyond an enhanced understanding of what climate change adaptation might mean for Sydney Water. The company has learnt that understanding what climate change adaptation means to an organisation is a journey and one that involves not only the individual organisation but many other players who form part of that organisation’s supply chain. This certainly adds to the complexity of the challenge. Leadership from the top has been key to getting the business on board with climate change adaptation. Additionally, buy-in from the whole business ensures the best integration of current planning processes, data management, emergency management, asset management and risk protocols. Emergency management experience, in particular, really helped to ground climate change within the business because staff could relate to the many examples of extreme events that the organisation has managed over the last 100 years of operation. Managing climate change impacts is all about understanding and contextualising uncertainty and risk. When faced with such a complex and global issue as climate change, it is vital that the wealth of experience within the organisation, the industry and the wider community is drawn on for advice and insight. The program helped to capture and consolidate a lot of existing information and experience of past events and management strategies. While recognising the risks that climate change poses for the organisation, the Program has allowed Sydney Water to identify opportunities climate change brings to improve both the efficiency and effectiveness of its operations, without increasing the financial burden on its customers. Climate change catalyses the company into revisiting much of its current thinking about how it plans and prioritises

effort and how it chooses to engage with external stakeholders. Sydney Water knew that it wouldn’t have all the answers, despite the intensive three-year program of work. What the company wanted was a baseline of information, tools and capability within the organisation that it could build on and update as required. Like any successful journey, it requires ongoing commitment and monitoring as climate change knowledge and tools advance over time.

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD? Outcomes from the Program, such as exposure maps, datasets, fact sheets and reports, are now being considered by the business when planning new assets and maintaining existing operations. While a full-time commitment to the Program is nearing completion, there will continue to be an ongoing investment in climate change adaptation and monitoring of Program outcomes. Sydney Water is committed to understanding what impact climate change will have on future cities and how water utilities can contribute to adaptation initiatives. The impact of climate change is being integrated into many aspects of the business, including: • Strategies to service future growth; • Operational plans to meet performance requirements; • Maintenance scheduling; • Emergency scenarios and resilience planning; • Capital investment decisions; • Corporate risk prioritisation; • Risk mitigation strategies; and • Contribution to urban development and understanding what customers value. The challenge going forward is not to be complacent but to continue the journey to ensure that Sydney Water remains well positioned to adapt in a timely and costeffective way to future climatic changes for its own operations and in the communities it services.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The Authors wish to thank a large number of internal and external stakeholders for the success of the Sydney Water Climate Change Adaptation Program. Sydney Water staff members have been fundamental to its success. External stakeholders key to



consequences of climate change hazards in terms of the risk they present to an organisation’s key performance indicators. This is where AdaptWaterTM goes above and beyond any other tool. By using detailed utility data, AdaptWaterTM is able to break down each unique asset into its elements (civil, electrical, mechanical etc) and defines the major material characteristics and design of each component to establish its damage threshold and failure points.



Technical Features the Program include the External Advisory Group (Professor Bruce Thom, Erik Maranik, Adjunct Associate Professor Mike Tarrant, Professor Ann Henderson-Sellers), project partners (WSAA and utility members, Federal Attorney General’s Department, Sydney Coastal Councils Group, Climate Risk Pty Ltd, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education) and external service providers (ResOrgs, Risk Frontiers and Element Solutions).

which includes doing research and development to better understand the impacts of climate change and energy efficiency on Sydney Water’s operations.


Natalie Quinn is a Graduate Environmental Scientist at Sydney Water who worked on a number of climate change adaptation projects during the third and final phase of the Program.

Jessica Sullivan (email: jessica.sullivan@sydneywater. is a Project Manager within the Water and Energy Futures Portfolio at Sydney Water. She is responsible for planning and implementing projects under the company’s three-year Climate Change Adaptation Program. Dr Nicola Nelson (email: nicola.nelson@sydneywater. is a Program Manager for the Water and Energy Futures Portfolio,

Dr Greg Allen (email: greg. au) is the Acting Manager for Corporate Strategy at Sydney Water, which includes strategic research into emerging risks for the business, including understanding climate change risks.

REFERENCES AGO (Australian Greenhouse Office) (2006): Climate Change Impacts & Risk Management. A Guide for Business and Government. Dept of Environment & Heritage. Allen G, Longmuir G & Sullivan J (2009): Sydney Water’s Response to Climate Change. Sydney Water Corporation. Ozwater’09 Conference & Exhibition, Melbourne, 16–18 March, 2009.

Mallon K, Cini E, Sullivan J, Kristevic O, Brown S, Quinn N & de Lacy C (2012): AdaptWaterTM: Climate Change Adaptation Quantification Tool for the Water Industry. Ozwater’13 Conference & Exhibition, Perth, WA, 7–9 May, 2013. Sydney Water (2012a): Wastewater Treatment Plants, Sydney Water, retrieved December 18, 2012. www.sydneywater. WastewaterTreatmentPlants/ Sydney Water (2012b): Water Systems, Sydney Water, Retrieved March 07, 2013. Oursystemsandoperations/WaterSystems/ The Climate Institute (2012): Coming Ready or Not: Managing Climate Risks to Australia’s Infrastructure (Sydney: The Climate Institute, 2012). WSAA (Water Services Association of Australia) (2012): Climate Change Adaptation and the Australian Urban Water Industry. Occasional Paper 27. March 2012, Sydney. SCCG (Sydney Coastal Councils Group) (2012): Demonstrating Climate Change Adaptation of Interconnected Water Infrastructure. www.sydneycoastalcouncils. change_adaptation_of_interconnected_ water_infrastructure_project.


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VALUING WATER INDUSTRY R&D A framework for valuing water research and development investments in financial and non-financial terms M du Plessis, C Killen


The need for a practical and robust framework to determine the value of water R&D in both financial and

non-financial terms has never been greater. Economic regulators are increasingly questioning the value of R&D expenditure compared to the need for increased capital expenditure and operational cost reductions. The development of integrated water services, water fit for purpose and the move to “smart city” water management requires a new way of assessing the value of the multidisciplinary water industry R&D. There have been many attempts to build frameworks and models for determining the value of public sector R&D. Most of these solutions have proved to be highly impractical and complex, and there is little evidence of their use in practice.


Table 1. Examples of urban water R&D research areas of focus.

The water industry makes significant investments in R&D (tens of millions of dollars annually). Water research in Australia is very broad and diverse, reflecting the challenges facing water utilities. Table 1, although not a complete list of current research priorities, provides an insight to the diverse areas where R&D funding is being invested by the urban water industry (AWRDC, 2012).


R&D Theme

Drinking Water

• • • • •

Public Health

• Water quality health risks • Pathogens • Public health (risk)


• Treatment and management • Technology and efficiency • Resource recovery

Recycled Water

• Public acceptance • Public health (risk)


• Asset risk/management • Water–energy nexus

Water-Smart Cities

• • • • • •

Much of this R&D may be classed as being for the public good because the outcomes are shared and disseminated to benefit the water industry both nationally and internationally. Outcomes are aimed at improving the economic, social and environment performance of utilities and the broader industry. The prevailing culture in the water industry is open and collaborative. Intellectual property (IP) protection is generally not a high priority. This is in contrast to the commercial R&D sector where IP protection (through patents and other means) is a key strategy to ensure competitive advantage. 1

Treatment & Management Chemicals and disinfection by-products Seawater desalination Rainwater Groundwater

Integrated water cycle management Institutional arrangements Economics/markets Social & human attitudes/behaviour Stormwater Climate change impacts

Source: Urban Water Research Theme Mapping – Australian Water Research and Development Members (AWRDC, 2012).

Commercial R&D is defined as R&D undertaken by private and public sector firms in the consumer and industrial product and service sectors. It is relatively easy to determine the ROI from R&D based on sales of products and services in the market.



This paper presents a framework for assessing the value of investment in water R&D (research and development). The framework acknowledges that public good water R&D is not assessed in the same way as commercial R&D, where financial return on investment predominates. Public good water R&D is generally assessed in broader, non-financial terms that include social, environmental and political dimensions. The proposed R&D Value Framework builds on insights and practices from commercial R&D and the IT industry. It provides a practical management approach for investment decisionmaking and a way to justify R&D expenditure to business managers and economic regulators.

Water industry executives, business managers and economic regulators are often under pressure to improve the return on these R&D investments. The problem is that it is notoriously difficult to measure the return on investment (ROI) on public good R&D undertaken by water utilities. Unlike commercial R&D projects1, the value of water R&D cannot simply be assessed in financial terms using discounted cash flow methods (net present value – NPV). In the water industry, R&D project value is generally assessed in financial terms as well as broader, non-financial terms that include social, environmental and political dimensions.


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CASE STUDY: WATER RESEARCH BENEFITS CALCULATOR (WRBC) SA Water’s WRBC is a key element of the Corporation’s Strategic Research Management Framework and is a simplified process that uses an uncomplicated scoring mechanism based on a “yes or no” approach. The WRBC provides an upfront measurement of the research and scores the research against the key elements of the Strategic Plan. Once the research has been scored against the Corporation’s Strategic Plan, it then undergoes a secondary and more comprehensive measurement against five key elements, namely: • Strategic impact • Operational impact • Financial impact


• OHS and environment • Infrastructure and capital. Using a simple Excel-based spreadsheet, the metrics based on a yes/no scoring mechanism are depicted on a portfolio (bubble) map. The insights provided by the portfolio maps allow projects to be prioritised to maximise the return on the research investment. (Source: Ho et al., 2013) There is a large body of literature on the management of product development and R&D projects in commercial organisations (Cooper and Edgett, 2009)2. The focus on R&D effectiveness and ROI in commercial firms has been driven by global competition and consumer power. To date, however, there is very little guidance provided by the literature for public sector organisations like water utilities where the challenge is to understand and measure R&D value in non-financial terms (Killen, Young and du Plessis, 2012). This paper presents a framework for maximising the value of water R&D in financial and non-financial terms. The framework is adapted from R&D management philosophies and practices identified in research in the commercial R&D, product development and IT industries. It addresses three key questions that will allow water utilities to assess the value of R&D investments: 1.

Are we spending the right amount of money on R&D (i.e. is the quantum of expenditure on R&D correct)?


Do we have a value-based governance structure for making decisions about which R&D projects to invest in? Are we investing in high-value projects that maximise return on investment for the organisations?


Are we delivering the R&D in the most efficient way possible?


Driven by a purposeful and strategic approach, the R&D Value Framework addresses three key questions:

Research has shown that organisations that take a strategic and purposeful approach to R&D and technology investment (Third Generation R&D) achieve a higher ROI than organisations that adopt an ad-hoc undisciplined approach (Roussel et al., 1991)3. This is the clear message from commercial R&D, new product development and the IT industry. First and foremost, industrial R&D (public sector or commercial) must be driven by the strategic needs of the business. The water industry is no different. It is critical to get the strategy right.

1. The right level of R&D Investment What is the correct level of R&D investment as a percentage of revenue? This can be a difficult question to answer. Work done in the UK suggests that the average level of R&D expenditure for the water industry is less than 0.5% of revenue and that a more appropriate level to drive innovation in the industry should be around 1% (UK Council for Science and Technology, 2009). This level appears to be about right based on global industry benchmarking by Booz & Company (Jaruzelski et al, 2011).

Figure 1. R&D Value – Scorecard based on several dimensions.


A significant body of management research has been conducted by Dr Robert (Bob) Cooper and his team at McMaster University in Canada over the last 30 years.


Third Generation R&D is a mode of R&D management that is both purposeful and strategic. R&D is organised in a way that integrates R&D and technology plans across the business in an active partnership between the R&D function and the rest of the business. R&D is seen as a key business function that adds value and not a separate technical function to be treated as an overhead to be cut-back when times get tough.



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Table 2. Scorecard approach to the value dimensions. Value Dimension

Weighted Criteria

• Strategic fit Alignment

• Strategic leverage • Impact

Aspects that are assessed • Alignment with strategic plans • Platform for new business or to solve problems in other areas • Potential impact locally, nationally or internationally

• Economic (financial) • Environmental • Public health (risk) • Social/stakeholder

• Assess financial and non-financial benefits on a Triple Bottom Line (TBL) basis

• Regulatory

Project Risk

• Probability of technical success

• Deals with uncertainty inherent in R&D

• State of science

• Probability that benefits won’t be realised

• Project complexity Source: Thorp (2003) and Harrison (2012).

2. Value-driven decision-making governance process The Stage-Gate Process is the most widely used management system in commercial new product development (NPD). Stage-Gate breaks down NPD activities into smaller stages (where project activities are conducted) and gates (where business evaluations are made using clearly defined criteria). It has proven to be an effective approach to reduce failure rates in NPD investments. Extensive research conducted by a team led by Dr Robert Cooper, inventor of the Stage-Gate Process, has shown that firms that use both financial (e.g. NPV) and non-financial criteria (in the gates) to assess project value have a higher success rate in the market (Cooper, Edgett and Kleinschmidt, 2001). Similar studies conducted in Australia in new product and service development environments have confirmed these findings (Killen, Hunt and Kleinschmidt, 2008). It has been found that traditional Stage-Gate systems simply do not work for commercial R&D or technical development (TD) projects where the outcomes are less certain (Cooper, 2007). Traditional NPD processes are designed for fairly well-defined and predictable projects. Technology developments, however, are by their nature high-risk projects, with many unknowns and great technical uncertainties. Commercial TD projects share many of the attributes of public good water R&D projects.

In recent times, leading commercial firms have developed customised StageGate processes and assessment criteria to deal with the high risk, technical uncertainty and commercial uncertainty of R&D and TD. They use a scorecard approach to assess the value of the R&D that emphasises both financial and nonfinancial criteria. This approach can be adapted to the assessment of the value of water R&D investments. Like the commercial R&D and NPD sector, the IT industry grapples with the problem of high project failure rates and justifying the value of new technology investments. Leading firms now adopt a value management approach to justify their IT investments (Thorp, 2003). This has led to the

Value governance gets away from the traditional technology-driven, fragmented approach to making IT investments. Significantly, the Val IT approach uses both financial and nonfinancial criteria to assess the value of IT investments. For example, it has successfully been used to demonstrate the value of an IT-enabled change management process in a police service (Val IT Case Study, 2007). As a government agency, business value to the police is not about financial return on investment (ROI) – it’s about contribution to strategic outcomes (like reduced crime rates) and other nonfinancial outcomes and risk management. This same approach can be applied to water R&D investments. Figure 1 shows a decision-making framework for assessing the value of water R&D investments. The framework was adapted from the Value IT framework discussed and the work of Robert Cooper. The value of an R&D investment is a function of how the project aligns with the strategic direction of the organisation, the benefits that will accrue from the project, assessed on both financial and non-financial terms, and the project risk, the uncertainty inherent in all R&D projects. Three value dimensions, alignment, contribution and risk, are assessed using a scorecard approach (see Table 2). Each project is scored on a scale of 1–10 using a set of weighted criteria. The sum of the scores across the three dimensions of

Figure 2. Portfolio maps support decision-making that maximises the value of R&D investments.




Value Governance (Val IT) approach, a holistic, top-down, strategically driven approach to IT investment (IT Governance Institute, 2008).


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Table 3. Examples of a value scorecard for R&D projects. Value Dimension

Score = Zero

Score = 10

Alignment Only peripheral fit with organisational strategy

Strong alignment with several elements of strategic plans

Strategic leverage

One-off project, limited to an insignificant issue/problem

Opens up possibility of new service areas, addresses several issues


No impact, no noticeable harm if project dropped

Organisational future depends on this problem, significant local, national or international impact


Organisational strategy fit

Contribution Significant ROI or cost savings possible


No economic benefit, high capital cost or operational costs


No benefit to the environment, potential negative impact

Significant, positive environmental outcomes

Unacceptable to customers, community, stakeholders and regulators, negative reactions, damage to reputation

Customers, community, stakeholders and regulators need and want it; enhances reputation

Increased public health risk

Significant improvement to public health and reduction in risk


Public Health

Capital expenditure deferred

Project Risk Probability of technical success

Project complexity

Large knowledge gap, must discover new science, difficult to envision the solution, many hurdles along the way

Incremental improvement, existing science, can already see a solution, straightforward to do

Requires new capabilities, resources that are not readily available, many different parties required to provide input and resources

Can be done with existing knowledge and resources, experienced project managers in place

Greater than five years

One year or less

Time to deliver solution Adapted from: Cooper (2007).

value gives the overall value score for the project. Table 3 shows examples of the types of scoring questions that could be used in this type of analysis. Features of the scorecard relevant to public good water R&D are that it: • Is based on insights and practices from commercial R&D and IT; • Provides a practical approach to value assessment – no complicated models are needed; • Recognises that R&D projects must be strongly aligned to the business strategy; • Strongly emphasises non-financial criteria, a Triple Bottom Line (TBL) approach; • Acknowledges the uncertainty inherent in water R&D projects.


The weighting of the value dimensions should be different for blue-sky R&D projects and operational projects. R&D projects have higher risk-weighting (tolerance) than operational projects that emphasise lower risk to increase the probability that benefits will be realised. Experience shows application of the same scoring model to both R&D and operational projects tends to favour lowrisk, less innovative projects (Cooper and Edgett, 2009, Killen et al., 2008).

than to minimise all risks. Projects with higher risks are often required to make new discoveries and produce long-term contributions, and a healthy portfolio requires a balance between high-risk and low-risk projects. The scorecard approach can be used to develop portfolio maps (bubble maps) to analyse R&D investment portfolios to ensure the right strategic balance (risk, time horizon) and to maximise value.

The R&D Value Framework allows the use of portfolio management methods to select which R&D projects will be funded. Alignment and Contribution are assessed to ensure a balance across strategic and benefit areas while delivering high overall outcomes. Project risk is assessed to acknowledge and appropriately manage risks – however, the overall goal is to balance risks across the portfolio rather

Figure 2 shows an example of a portfolio map that uses the scores from the value scorecard. The size of the bubble shows the investment required. Portfolio management is widely used by leading firms in the commercial R&D and IT sectors to maximise the value of their project investments (Cooper, Edgett and Kleinschmidt, 2002).


Technical Features

3. R&D Efficiency – The way the R&D is undertaken R&D efficiency is about the way the R&D is undertaken as opposed to the outcomes, as discussed. Efficiency is about the R&D process, the deployment of resources cost effectively and funding leverage. Collaboration is a key element for carrying out R&D efficiently in the water industry. This allows the industry to work on projects of national and international significance, share scarce resources (increase leverage) and prevent duplication of effort. The establishment of the Australian Water Research and Development Coalition (AWRDC, 2012) by research brokers is an important initiative to ensure efficient research delivery. Focus areas for efficient R&D delivery include: • Streamlined R&D project management process (using a type of Stage-Gate governance process); • National and international collaboration on R&D needs across the industry; • Prevention of duplication of work being done elsewhere; • External resourcing of specialist expertise; • Leveraging of funding from external sources; R&D efficiency criteria can be incorporated into the R&D Value Framework as a set of go, no go criteria around collaboration and leverage (e.g. projects that have explored opportunities to collaborate with others are allowed to proceed, projects that have not are stopped, pending further investigation). This hurdle provides a screen in the R&D

governance process to eliminate projects where questions of R&D efficiency have not been carefully considered.

CONCLUSION In this discussion paper we have presented a framework for maximising the value of water R&D investments. Based on management philosophies and practices from the commercial R&D, NPD and IT sectors, it recognises that the value of water R&D cannot be assessed in dollar terms only. In many cases, non-financial considerations may be more important. The framework builds on and leverages existing scorecard and portfolio management tools used by water utilities to provide a holistic assessment of the business value of R&D investment. The framework can be used to prioritise R&D investments to maximise value across economic social, environmental and political dimensions.

THE AUTHORS Michael du Plessis (email: au) is an Independent R&D Consultant. His previous roles in industry include technical management roles in Orica and Innovation and R&D Manager for Sydney Water. He has worked in a variety of countries including South Africa, the United Kingdom and Australia. Michael is also lecturer in Innovation and Technology Management within the Faculty of Engineering and IT at the University of Technology Sydney. Catherine Killen (email: au) is a Senior Lecturer and the Head of Innovation Programs in the Faculty of Engineering and IT at the University of Technology, Sydney. She has published more than 50 journal articles and conference papers based on her research on innovation and project portfolio management processes in a wide variety of public and private organisations. Catherine also develops and teaches courses and programs on the management of technological innovation at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

REFERENCES Australian Water Research and Development Coalition (AWRDC) (2012): home, accessed 27 May 2013. Cooper RG, Edgett SJ & Kleinschmidt EJ (2001): Portfolio Management for New Product Development: Results of an Industry

Best Practices Study. R and D Management, 31, pp 361–381. Cooper RG (2007): Managing Technology Development Projects, IEEE Engineering Management Review, 35, No 1, First Quarter 2007 pp 67–76. Cooper RG, Edgett SJ & Kleinschmidt EJ (2002): Portfolio Management: Fundamental for New Product Success, Product Development Institute Inc, wp/wp_12.pdf, accessed 20 March 2013. Cooper RG & Edgett SJ (2009): Successful Product Innovation: A Collection of Our Best, The Product Development Institute Inc, ISBN1-4392-4918.0. Governance of IT Investments, The Value IT Framework (2008): IT Governance Institute, Illinois USA. Harrison P (2012): Picking the Winners Based on Business Value. Bringing a Value Focus to Portfolio Management, presented at the Project Portfolio Management Special Interest Group at The University of Technology Sydney, 3 April 2012. Copyright IBM Australia. Ho L, Newcombe G, Howard J, Adcock P & Burch M (2013): How Do We Measure the Value of Water Research for Utilities? Proceedings of the Ozwater’13 Conference, Perth, May 2013. Improving Innovation in the Water Industry: 21st Century Challenges and Opportunities (2009): UK Council for Science and Technology. Jaruzelski B, Loehr J & Holman R (2011): The Global 1000, Why Culture is Key, Booz & Company Inc, New York USA. Killen CP, Robert AH & Kleinschmidt EJ (2008): Project Portfolio Management for Product Innovation. International Journal of Quality and Reliability Management, 25, 1, pp 24–38. Killen C, Young M & du Plessis (2012): Valuing Non-commercial Projects for Portfolio Decision Making. Presentation at the Australian Institute of Project Management National Conference, Melbourne 2012. Roussel PA, Saad KN & Jackson T (1991): Third Generation R&D – Managing the Link to Corporate Strategy, Harvard Business School Press. Seqwater (2012): Draft Research Strategy 2012–2017. Thorp J (2003): The Information Paradox, Fujitsu Limited, Tokyo. Val IT Case Study: Value Governance – Police Case Study (2007), IT Governance Institute, Illinois, USA. Value-Governance-Police-Case-Study.pdf, accessed 20th March 2013.



The water industry has some experience in the use of multicriteria scoring models and portfolio management tools to prioritise and assess the value of R&D investments. SA Water has developed the Water Research Benefits Calculator (WRBC), a simplified approach to score projects qualitatively and quantitatively to value research and innovation (see case study). Seqwater uses portfolio management tools for R&D investment based on benefits realisation criteria and benefits mapping (Seqwater, 2012). The R&D Value Framework shown in Figure 1 aims to expand these tools into a broad strategic governance framework to maximise the business value of water R&D investments.


Technical Features


Patents provide their owners a monopoly on an invention for a set period of time. In return, the patent must fully disclose the details of the invention to the public. As such, relevant patents have the potential to be problematic for, for example, a new commercial venture. Patents also represent an important source of technical information, which can be used to assist in developing a solution to a technical problem or to identify whether or not a new invention may be patentable. Patents can also be used to provide an idea of, for example, a company’s research activities or commercial direction. Consequently, patent databases represent a powerful resource for both commercial managers and researchers.

BACKGROUND: PATENTING IN WATER TECHNOLOGIES In today’s market, the global water industry is estimated to be worth US$500 billion and it is estimated to grow to US$1 trillion by 2020 (Nahal and Lucas-Leclin, 2012). It therefore stands to reason that stakeholders will invest significant sums of money in the development of water technologies and that those stakeholders will seek to


6000 5000 4000 3000 2000





















1000 1992

Over the past 20 years there has been a steady increase in patent filings for water technologies across a variety of water industry sectors, and this is projected to increase. Furthermore, over the last 10 years in particular there has been an enormous increase in the amount of patent information that has become freely available over the internet. As discussed in detail in this paper, such information is readily searchable free of charge using a range of databases, and this information can be used for commercial advantage.




Cumulative Number of Patent Families


How patent databases can be a powerful resource for managers and researchers in water technologies

Year Figure 1. Desalination and desalination/renewable energy: cumulative number of patent families (van der Vegt et al., 2011).

maximise their commercial return on any research and development expenditure. A key way to maximise such commercial return is by seeking patent protection for new inventions that are developed. Indeed, an acceleration of patent filings has been observed over the past 20 years in various water technologies. In 1991 there were around 1,600 patent families worldwide for desalination technologies and technologies that integrate desalination and renewable energy (note: each patent family represents a single invention; patent protection may be sought for that invention in one or more countries). This increased to about 2,600 patent families in 2001 and 4,551 in 2011 (Figure 1) (van der Vegt et al., 2011) – i.e. the number of patent families in the desalination and renewable energy field has almost doubled over the past 10 years. Similarly, in 1991 there were around 1,000 patent families worldwide in the membrane and UV water treatment field, and this increased to about 3,100 in

2001 and around 6,400 in 2011 (Figure 2) (van der Vegt and Iliev, 2012). There has, therefore, been a more than doubling of the number of patent families in the membrane and UV water treatment field over the past 10 years. It stands to reason that this trend is indicative of increased commercially relevant research in these water technologies, as patent protection is generally not pursued unless it is believed that there is a likelihood of a commercially significant return. It has been noted that, with increasing demand and decreasing supply, water is predicted to be one of the largest economic growth sectors in the world over the next several decades. Furthermore, while there has been a relatively low level of invention or otherwise general innovation in this industry in the past, this is likely to change (Grossman, 2010). Increased invention in this industry is likely to result in more patents filed, which is a good reason to review patent data into the future.


Technical Features technological concepts and how those concepts can be implemented. One of the reasons why such information must be provided in a granted patent is from a policy perspective: namely, patents are intended to promote the dissemination of ideas, which in turn leads to more rapid innovation.

6000 5000 4000

Other information may be obtained from a patent database or patent. For example, a patent will detail who owns it and who are the inventors. Furthermore, the status of the patent may also be ascertained, as to be enforceable a patent must be granted and must not be lapsed.

3000 2000

























Figure 2. Membrane and UV water treatment technologies: cumulative number of patent families (van der Vegt and Iliev, 2012).


patent term for novel inventions that may not necessarily qualify for a 20-year term patent).

Patents provide their owners with a monopoly over an invention for a set period of time. In Australia, a standard patent may provide an owner of an invention a monopoly for up to 20 years. In return, the patent must provide a full disclosure of the invention.


Patents are country-specific documents; a patent is generally only enforceable in the country in which it is granted. However, the same patent application may be pursued in multiple countries, in which case it will be separately examined (and perhaps eventually granted) in each jurisdiction. As discussed, when the same patent application is pursued in multiple jurisdictions the resultant group of patents is called a “patent family”. To successfully obtain a granted patent, the invention over which a monopoly is claimed must be novel (it must not have been previously known) and it must involve an inventive step (i.e. not be obvious) over what is previously known (for example, see Australian Patents Act 1990 (Cth) s 18). Full details of the invention must also be disclosed in the patent, including the best way of performing the invention (for example, see Australian Patents Act 1990 (Cth) s 40). There are other requirements that must be satisfied for a valid patent but space does not permit covering them in this article, nor will Australian innovation patents be discussed in detail (these provide their owners with an eight-year

On one hand, patents can represent a potential “landmine”, due to the potential of infringing another party’s patent rights. In Australia, a granted patent may be infringed if a person (or organisation, for example) exploits the invention claimed by the patent without the consent of the patentee (Australian Patents Act 1990 (Cth) ss 13 and 120, and Schedule 1 definition of “exploit”). The claimed invention may be exploited by: a.


where the invention is a product – to make, hire, sell or otherwise dispose of the product, to offer to make, sell, hire or otherwise dispose of the product, use or import it, or keep it for the purpose of doing any of those things; or where the invention is a method or process – to use the method or process to do any act mentioned in (a) in respect of a product resulting from such use.

Therefore, before commencing a new project or taking a new commercial direction, it could be worthwhile checking for patent landmines. SOURCES OF INFORMATION

On the other hand, patents also represent a valuable source of information. Patents must describe the invention fully, including the best method of performing the invention (Australian Patents Act 1990 (Cth) s 40). Patents therefore detail information, including

A patent or a patent application can lapse for a number of reasons. Possible reasons for an Australian patent to lapse include: expiry of the patent term; failure to pay the renewal fees (these are due every year for the life of the patent from the fourth year after filing); failure to request examination; and failure to successfully address the examiner’s objections to thereby secure acceptance (Australian Patents Act 1990 (Cth) s 142). For example, according to the Australian Patent Office database there are 316 patents and patent applications with the word “desalination” in the title. Of these, 245 (78%) have lapsed and 71 (22%) are still active. If a patent has lapsed, then it may cease to be a “landmine”, but it still may be useful as a source of technical information or commercial intelligence.

PATENT INFORMATION AVAILABLE FROM FREELY AVAILABLE DATABASES ON THE INTERNET While there has been a large increase in the number of patent filings for various water technologies over the previous decades, over the last 10 years or so there has also been an enormous increase in the amount of information that is freely available over the internet. Patent information is no exception, and more and more patent information can be readily accessed by the public free of charge. Many national patent offices maintain databases that may be searched free of charge, such as those maintained by the Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, European and United States Patent Offices. Most of these databases are discussed below. While not discussed in further detail, the Canadian Patent Office database may be accessed at patents1., and the New Zealand Patent Office database may be accessed via



Cumulative Number of Patent Families



Technical Features


Table 1. Selection of patent databases that may be searched free of charge. Database

Jurisdiction of Patent Documents





Principally Europe, but also covers multiple other jurisdictions.

Google Patents

Various, but covers Europe and United States

Patent Lens

Australia, Europe, United States and International (Patent Cooperation Treaty/PCT) Applications.


Principally International (PCT) Applications, but also other jurisdictions

USPTO full text search

United States of America

There are also databases that are maintained independently of any patent office. Some of these, like Patent Lens and Google Patents, may be searched free of charge. Others, such as Delphion and STN charge a fee for access. A selection of databases that may be searched free of charge are outlined in Table 1, and are discussed further below. AUSPAT – AUSTRALIAN PATENT OFFICE

The Australian Patent Office (IP Australia) database of Australian patent documents is called AusPat (the term “patent document” encompasses both granted patents and patent applications that have not yet proceeded to grant). This database has recently undergone significant improvements, and it now provides Australian patent specifications dating back to 1904 (IP Australia, 2012). The database provides extensive information on most patent documents, especially those filed relatively recently. For example, for each patent document AusPat includes details such as: the applicant/patentee, inventors, patent status, filing date and expiry date, among others. An electronic copy of the patent specification may also be downloaded. For patent documents dating back to 2006 and that are open to public inspection, AusPat also includes eDossier, which provides access to various information filed during prosecution of the application (such as examination reports, responses to examination reports and amendments).


In the Advanced Search function, AusPat also allows searching of the entire text of many patent specifications. ESPACENET – EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE

Espacenet allows free access to more than 80 million patent documents worldwide, which contain information about inventions and technical developments from 1836 to the present (European Patent Office, n.d.). Espacenet may be searched in many different languages. This is a very powerful database, providing information such as details of patent family members, citation data (providing information on documents cited during examination of a specific application, or identifying circumstances in which a specific application is cited during examination of other applications), references to other kinds of technical non-patent literature, and links to the European Patent Register for European patent documents. Espacenet also allows a machine translation to English to be generated for many non-English patent documents. Electronic copies of patent documents from a variety of jurisdictions may be downloaded directly from this website. The European Patent Register is separate from Espacenet, and via the register details of European patent documents may be accessed, including examination reports (Official Communications) and responses filed.


Google Patents provides patent data, especially from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the European Patent Office (Google Patents, n.d.). US patent documents available via Google Patents date back to 1790, and European documents date back to 1978. Google Patents allows full text searching of US patent documents, as well as an electronic download of US patents (in pdf format). Google Patents also includes a Prior Art Finder to identify documents that may be relevant to the novelty or inventive step of a patent. PATENT LENS

Patent Lens allows full-text searching of over eight million patent documents. This data is obtained from the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the European Patent Office and IP Australia (the Australian Patent Office) (Patent Lens, n.d.). Patent Lens also integrates patent family information from over 60 countries directly into the search results, and also provides an electronic download of patent documents and links to respective patent offices. PATENTSCOPE – WORLD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ORGANIZATION

Many patents are filed via the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). Under this treaty, a single international (PCT) application may be filed. In general,


Technical Features

PatentScope is principally a source of information on PCT applications, although it also contains information on countries/regions in which a PCT application entered the national/ regional phase, as well as details of many applications filed at various patent offices worldwide (including, for example, Europe and the United States). In June 2013, PatentScope included details of 2.3 million PCT applications dating back to 1978, as well as details of many more millions of applications at various national/regional patent offices (World Intellectual Property Organization, n.d.(b), World Intellectual Property Organization, n.d.(c)). The database allows searching of applications based on, for example, applicant or inventor names, application numbers, words in patent abstracts and application titles, and publication dates. An electronic copy of applications may be downloaded, along with, for example, copies of search reports and patentability opinions. UNITED STATES PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) maintains many different databases, and these may be accessed at search/index.jsp. However, two very useful databases are the patent and patent application full-text and image databases, which may be accessed via The patents full-text database (PatFT) allows full-text searching of granted US patents dating back to 1976. The applications full-text database (AppFT) allows full-text searching of patent

applications published since March 2001. Both databases allow searching of the entire patent specification or sections of the specification, as well as information such as inventor, applicant and assignee details, and application/publication or patent numbers (United States Patent and Trademark Office, n.d.).

HOW THIS INFORMATION MAY BE USED FOR COMMERCIAL ADVANTAGE The information available in these patent databases can be used in a wide variety of ways, depending on the commercial situation at hand, or technical problem that needs to be addressed. Some brief examples of how these databases may be used include: I.

Identifying patents that a new commercial venture might be at risk of infringing

Especially before commencing a new project or operation, it is generally worthwhile considering whether or not there may be any patent infringement issues. In this way, a potential patent “landmine” can be avoided. This is known as freedom-to-operate or clearance searching. As noted above, patents are countryspecific documents. Consequently, if commercial activity is only planned in Australia, then Australian patents are of most concern. However, it should be kept in mind that patent infringement may occur by activities such as importing a patented product. Therefore, if a product is produced in Australia that will be exported, then it may be necessary to investigate whether or not there may be patent infringement issues in the country into which the product will be imported. At this point, it should be noted that it can be very difficult to identify all patents that may be relevant to a specific technology. In performing a thorough search, a detailed understanding of the relevant databases is essential. Therefore, if a thorough freedom-tooperate search is needed, it would be best to engage the services of a registered patent attorney. Nevertheless, these databases may be of assistance in performing a preliminary investigation of whether or not there may be any freedom-to-operate issues. However, if a potentially relevant patent is identified, then it would be best to

again engage the services of a registered patent attorney to obtain an opinion on whether or not the patent may be infringed by the proposed commercial activity. This is because it can be a very complex task to ascertain the scope of protection afforded by a patent. An example of how the databases may be used to identify a relevant Australian patent is as follows. Say, for example, that you are potentially interested in sanitising sludge from sewage treatment plants so that it can be used as a fertiliser or soil improver. After performing keyword searches on Google Patents, you identify US Patent No. 7,820,049 to Agronova AS. This patent relates to a method that involves preparing sanitised organic sludge by (i) mixing a cellulose containing component, a super absorbent and dewatered organic sludge; (ii) leading the mixture to a sanitising container; and (iii) continuously supplying air to the sludge mixture until the desired temperature has been reached. From a brief review of the patent, it is concluded that this patent may be relevant to the planned commercial activities. As commercial activities are planned in Australia only, it is necessary to investigate whether or not there is an Australian family member of US 7,820,049. To investigate this, go to Espacenet and perform a “Smart Search” for US7820049 to bring up the bibliographic data for this US patent. On the menu on the left, click on INPADOC patent family (which identifies patent family members of the selected patent document). This shows that there is an Australian family member, AU2006309367. To identify the status of the Australian family member and to locate a copy of the Australian patent specification, open AusPat and perform a “Quick Search” for 2006309367. This shows that AU2006309367 is a granted and in-force Australian patent, and, by accessing the database entry, a copy of the patent specification may be downloaded. II.

Identifying relevant information to assist in developing a solution to a commercial problem

As discussed, one policy objective of the patent system is to promote innovation through the dissemination of information. Therefore, patents are a very useful source of technical information. Be aware, though, of potential patent infringement issues when using a device, apparatus or



between about 18 and 31 months after the PCT application is filed it enters the national or regional phase, in which the application is effectively converted into separate national or regional applications (World Intellectual Property Organization, 2013). In this phase a patent applicant may choose to proceed with patent applications in up to 147 different countries or regions worldwide, including Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan and China (World Intellectual Property Organization, n.d.(a)). Before entering the national/regional phase, a preliminary prior art search and patentability opinion is provided.


Technical Features method described in a granted patent, especially if the patent is neither expired nor lapsed. An example of how the databases may be used is provided below.


Say you are developing a method for removing high concentrations of fluorine from a wastewater stream, and you would like to investigate what solutions have been developed for this problem. Using Patent Lens, for example, a patent full-text search may be performed for “‘fluorine removal’ wastewater treatment”. This search provides 32 hits, which can be investigated in further detail. One of these hits is US Patent No. 7,329,357. This patent relates to a method for removing fluorine from wastewater by adding into the wastewater a fluorine-reactive agent (that comprises a water-soluble sodium compound and a water-soluble aluminium compound) so as to precipitate sodium aluminium fluoride from the wastewater. The sodium aluminium fluoride is generated by reaction of the sodium and aluminium ions in the fluorine-reactive agent with the fluorine ions in the wastewater. This patent provides an example in which fluorine is removed from a wastewater sample with a pH value of about 3 and which contains about 3000 ppm of fluorine. A mixture of NaOH and NaAlO2 (with a molar ratio of 3:1 in the wastewater) is added to the wastewater to form the precipitate Na3AlF6. After filtering the precipitate, the treated wastewater had a pH value of about 7, and contained about 300 ppm fluorine. III. Identifying

whether or not your new invention may be patentable

If a new invention has been developed, it may be worthwhile to investigate whether or not it might be possible to secure patent protection for the invention. This is known as patentability searching. The patent system is complex, and if an opinion on the patentability of an invention is needed it is best to speak with a registered patent attorney. If a document that is potentially relevant to an invention has already been identified, then it is worthwhile bringing this to the attorney’s attention when discussing a new invention. It is very important, however, that the invention is not publicly


disclosed before speaking to an attorney, otherwise the options available to seek patent protection for the invention become more limited or may be non-existent.

Partnership. This identifies 32 patents that can be reviewed further.

For example, you may have developed a gas sparger for use in a filtering membrane system. By doing a “Smart Search” on Espacenet for “gas sparger”, 51 hits are identified. After reviewing these, Taiwan Application No. 201127479 to Zenon Technology Partnership is identified, which may be relevant. This patent relates to a gas sparger for an immersed membrane system that produces an intermittent flow of bubbles even if provided with a relatively continuous gas flow. A patent family search (an INPADOC search on Espacenet as discussed both previously and below) may be performed to obtain an English language family member of the application which can be considered further.

Determining where competitors or potential collaborators are seeking patent protection for their inventions can be advantageous in assessing the location of their present or future commercial activities. Furthermore, if you need to select countries in which you wish to pursue patent protection for your invention, identifying the countries selected by other parties for similar inventions may be informative.


Identifying new commercial partners or competitors and investigating the research focus of competitors

By performing searches on patent databases it may be possible to identify companies or organisations with a similar or complementary research focus. Having identified companies or organisations with relevant patents, it can be advantageous to further investigate their research focus by performing searches on the name of the company or organisation, or on the name of the inventors on a relevant patent. In this way, it might be possible to identify new commercial partners or competitors and to develop an idea of their research focus. For example, Taiwan Application No. 201127479 discussed in (iii) is owned by Zenon Technology Partnership. To see what patents this company has in Australia, a “Structured Search” may be performed in AusPat for patents or applications in which the applicant name includes “Zenon Technology Partnership”. This provides 16 hits that can be reviewed further. Similarly, by accessing the USPTO full-text database for patents (PatFT), it is possible to identify the granted US patents owned by Zenon Technology Partnership. To do this, perform a “Quick Search” in PatFT for patents in which the assignee name is Zenon Technology


Identifying where outside Australia major competitors are seeking patent protection

This information may be readily obtained using the databases discussed above. For example, suppose you have developed a desalination process and apparatus and you are aware of Australian Patent No. 2007297818 to Siemens Industry Inc, which relates to similar subject matter. In the method discussed in this patent a feedwater such as seawater may be fed to a filter (such as a microporous or nanofiltration membrane) to produce a permeate. The permeate, in turn, can be fed to an electrodeionisation system to produce fresh water. To investigate where the patentee has pursued patent protection for this invention, perform a “Smart Search” in Espacenet for “AU2007297818”. After bringing up the bibliographic details for this patent, click on “INPADOC Patent Family” on the left of the screen (this identifies the patent family members). From this search it can be seen that AU2007297818 belongs to a patent family which includes applications filed in Canada, Chile, China, Eurasia, Europe, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Singapore, Taiwan, the United States and South Africa.

CONCLUSION Patent databases represent a powerful resource for both commercial managers and researchers. As patenting in water technologies is projected to increase, patent documents and the information contained within these databases are likely to become even more important to water industry professionals in the future. Disclaimer: Information provided by the author is of a general nature only and is not to be interpreted as constituting legal advice. Patent searching and interpretation should be carried out


Technical Features by a registered patent attorney. Note that national patent office databases and other free-to-search patent databases will have incomplete coverage of patents and patent applications, and some databases may contain errors. In particular, patent applications typically will not appear on any patent database until about 18 months from their earliest priority date. Therefore, when conducting a search of a patent database, be mindful that relevant patent entries may be missed.

THE AUTHOR Dr Doug Horton (email: is a registered Australian and New Zealand Patent and Trade Marks Attorney at Cullens Patent and Trade Marks Attorneys. Holding a PhD in chemistry, he drafts and prosecutes patent applications, and also performs searches and provides opinions for chemical, biochemical and mechanical inventions.

Australian Patents Act 1990 (Cth). European Patent Office, Vienna, Austria (nd): Espacenet brochure. Available from www.epo. org/searching/free/espacenet.html [10 June 2013]. Google Patents (nd): About Google Patents – Google Help. Available from: py?hl=en&answer=2539193 [10 June 2013]. Grossman B (2010): Water Technology US Patent Landscape Annual Report, Foley & Lardner LLP, Preface. IP Australia, Australian Government (2012): AusPat User Guide; Searching Australian Patents. Available from au/auspat [10 June 2013]. Nahal S & Lucas-Leclin V (2012): A Blue Revolution – Global Water; Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Available from www.merrilledge. com/Publish/Content/application/pdf/ GWMOL/ABlueRevolution-globalwater.pdf [10 June 2013]. Patent Lens (nd): Patent Help. Available from search-help.html [10 June 2013]. United States Patent and Trademark Office (nd): Patent Full-Text Databases. Available from [11 June 2013].

van der Vegt H, Iliev I, Tannock Q & Helm S (2011): Patent Landscape Report on Desalination Technologies and the Use of Alternative Energies for Desalination, World Intellectual Property Organization, Chapter 5. van der Vegt H & Iliev I (2012): Patent Landscape Report on Membrane Filtration and UV Water Treatment, World Intellectual Property Organization, Chapter 4. World Intellectual Property Organization (2013): Time Limits for Entering National/Regional Phase under PCT Chapters I and II. Available from html [11 June 2013]. World Intellectual Property Organization (nd) (a): PCT Contracting States and Two-letter Codes. Available from www/pct/en/list_states.pdf [11 June 2013]. World Intellectual Property Organization (nd)(b): Offices for which PCT national phase information is available in PATENTSCOPE Search Service. Available from nationalphase.jsf [11 June 2013]. World Intellectual Property Organization (nd) (c): National Collections – Data Coverage.


All database searches and information provided in this article were correct as at June 2013.


Available from en/help/data_coverage.jsf [11 June 2013].

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Technical Features

TRANSFORMATION AND DISPERSION OF INORGANIC NITROGEN COMPOUNDS IN AND AROUND SEPTIC TANK ABSORPTION TRENCHES Results of a combined field and modelling study of septic tank systems in silty soils around Melbourne N Goodman, M Connor, S Yuen, A Pharoah


ABSTRACT A combined field and modelling study was conducted on septic tank systems treating household wastewaters in silty soils around Melbourne. Hydrological and soil property measurements made in and around absorption trenches at eight study sites were used in the development and validation of a model describing moisture dispersion patterns in surrounding soils. Hydraulic loading rates ranged from 2 to (metre length of trench)-1. Soil samples from around the absorption trenches were chemically analysed. Measured ammonia and nitrate concentrations indicate that nitrification occurred predominantly in the absorption trench; at low loading rates all incoming ammonia was nitrified before wastewaters left the trench. At low hydraulic loading rates in particular, hydrological modelling and field monitoring data indicated that much of the wastewater entering trenches would move to the ground surface and be lost by evapotranspiration. Spatial trends in measured ammonia and nitrate concentration data were consistent with this and indicated that much of the incoming nitrogen was moving upwards rather than downwards to the water table.

INTRODUCTION In many rural and semi-rural parts of Australia it is impractical to connect homes to municipal sewerage systems, and on-site wastewater treatment systems (OWTS) are used instead. The most common OWTS is the septic tank system, used by around 800,000 Australian households (Beal et al., 2005). In conventional septic tank systems, wastewaters first undergo primary treatment in a settling tank, where suspended solids settle out and


decompose anaerobically. Supernatant from this tank passes via a distribution box to one or more absorption trenches; it is in these trenches, and the soils surrounding them, that secondary and tertiary treatment occurs. Trenches are typically half-a-metre deep and tens of metres long. To distribute waste loads more evenly, the supernatant is passed through a slotted plastic pipe laid horizontally along the trench in a gravel bed. Wastewater entering the trench contains various contaminants, including organic compounds, nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus, salts and pathogens. In a well-functioning absorption trench/soil system, these contaminants are largely inactivated, immobilised or rendered innocuous by a combination of physical, chemical and microbiological processes before the wastewater merges with underlying groundwater. The effectiveness of these purification processes, as well as wastewater dispersion patterns around trenches, are strongly influenced by local conditions, including: soil properties; climate; topography; surface vegetation type; and depth to groundwater. Our limited understanding of how these conditions affect hydrological and contaminant removal processes is reflected in Australian septic tank design standards and guidelines. In AS/NZS 1547:1994 (Standards Australia, 1994), soil permeability was the only parameter used when specifying design and installation procedures. In its successor, AS/NZS 1547:2000 (Standards Australia, 2000), consideration is also given to soil profile characteristics and other soil properties. Reference is also made to climate, surface vegetation and topography, but these are not factored into design procedures.

Until recently, these gaps in our understanding of septic tank systems had attracted limited attention. However, concern has been growing about pollution of groundwater and surface waters by septic system effluents, especially in peri-urban residential areas (e.g. Levett et al., 2010). Consequently, some local authorities around Melbourne have decided to replace existing systems with reticulated sewerage (Department of Sustainability and Environment, 2006). This will be expensive: for example, Yarra Valley Water has 17,000 clients using septic tank systems and the estimated cost for replacing these systems with reticulated sewerage is over $300 million (Macdonald and Narangala, 2008) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; around $18,000 per client. With a better understanding of septic tank systems, particularly processes operating in and around absorption trenches, it should be possible to improve septic tank design and installation procedures and to determine more accurately how local conditions influence overall system performance. This would make it easier to decide when costly replacement of septic tank systems with reticulated sewerage is justified and when retaining existing systems is more appropriate. With this in mind, a project was initiated at the University of Melbourne, in partnership with the Environment Protection Authority Victoria, the Municipal Association of Victoria, South East Water, Yarra Valley Water, Central Highlands Water and Goulburn-Murray Water. The overall objective was to learn more about hydrological and contaminant removal processes in and around septic tank absorption trenches. Nutrient attenuation processes were


Technical Features

Table 1. Septic tank characteristics and soil properties (Jayarathne, 2008). Loading rate (LR) (L/day/m) (estimated from water use data)

Saturated hydraulic conductivity (m/s)

Years of operation (Age of system)

Seasonal depth of water table (m)

Soil characteristics USCS*

Healesville A

Single 40m trench


8.2x10-8 to 1.4x10-6


2.5 to 4.2

Low-to-medium plasticity clay/silt

Healesville B

Single 17m trench


8.2 x 10-8 to 1.4 x 10-6


2.5 to 4.2

Medium plasticity clay/silt

Nyora A

4 distribution boxes and 4 trenches each 30m


2.81 x 10-8 to 7.7 x 10-7


2.1 to 2.5

Medium plasticity clay/silt

Nyora B

5 distribution boxes and 5 trenches each 31m


2.98 x 10-8 to 1.8 x 10-7


1.5 to 3.1

Low-to-high plasticity clay/silt

Kilmore A

Single 65m trench


2.6 x 10-7 to 2.8 x 10-6


Not determined

Low-to-medium plasticity clay, medium plasticity silt

Kilmore B

Single 96m trench


1.5 x 10-6 to 5.2 x 10-6


Not determined

Medium plasticity silt

Kilmore C

Single 43m long trench


3.05 x 10-7 to 3.0 x 10-6


Not determined

Medium plasticity silt


5 distribution boxes and 5 trenches each 40m


3.18 x 10-8 to 1.6 x 10-6


2.8 to 4.1

Medium plasticity clay/silt


*USCS – Unified Soil Classification System (AS1726-1993, 1993). of particular interest since nitrates from septic tanks are a major source of groundwater contamination in the US (Nolan et al., 1997) and nitrate contamination of groundwater has been observed in Western Australia and New South Wales (Whelan and Barrow, 1984; Whitehead and Geary, 2009).

METHODOLOGY From previous studies of septic tank systems in regions with sandy soils (e.g. Whelan and Barrow, 1984), we have some understanding of what happens to wastewater-derived chemicals and nutrients in coarse-grained, highly permeable soils. Much less is known about wastewater flows and contaminant removal processes in less permeable silty

soils (the prevalent soil type around Melbourne). Our project focused on silty soils and had two components: a fieldwork investigation, and development of a hydrological model describing wastewater dispersion patterns around absorption trenches. FIELD INVESTIGATION

Eight septic tank systems, all on silty soils, were selected for detailed investigation. These were located in three different areas around Melbourne: the northern urban fringe, the northeastern suburbs and a semi-rural area south-east of the city. All systems were well-established, on flat ground, properly installed, well maintained, and readily accessible by drilling equipment. Site characteristics and relevant soil properties are given in Table 1. A sampling matrix of nine test holes located adjacent to and at distances of 750mm and 1500mm from the front end of the primary trench was dug at each site.

Figure 1. A study site showing the sampling hole layout.

In addition, three control holes were dug nearby. Undisturbed soil cores were collected from each test hole at four different depths

(460, 860 and 1260 and 1660mm). All soil samples were collected using open tube samplers inserted by a “Dingo Digger” geo-probe. After sample collection, aluminium tubes (outside diameter 50mm) were permanently installed in the holes, to a depth of 2m, to enable soil moisture contents to be measured using a neutron probe; this was done at monthly intervals over the 12-month period after sampling (November 2006 to November 2007). PVC pipes, one-metre long and of 30mm inside diameter, were installed at three points along the trench to monitor ponding levels (Jayarathne, 2008; Jayarathne et al., 2013). Figure 1 shows a typical study site layout. The 240 soil samples collected for purposes of chemical analysis were immediately sealed and labelled. Prior to analysis, samples were first air-dried and then oven-dried for at least 24 hours. Temperatures were kept low (45–50oC) to minimise nitrogen loss by volatilisation. Using a clean mortar and pestle, ovendried samples were ground until less than 2mm in size and then stored in clean, sealed plastic containers. Potassium chloride extraction was used to find the concentrations of both nitrate (NO3-) and ammonium (NH4+) species. Samples were also analysed for exchangeable cation content (EC), pH and chloride ion concentration (Pharoah et al., 2007).



Construction details of the trench(es)


Technical Features MODEL DEVELOPMENT

inferred that the soil macrostructure was markedly heterogeneous around the study trenches, with the result that hydraulic and contaminant flows occurred non-uniformly through the soil matrix. In hindsight this is not that surprising, given that soils on residential blocks are frequently disturbed during site preparation, building operations and absorption trench construction. Despite the above problems, the analytical measurements nevertheless provided insights into the fate of some contaminants, in particular nitrogen.

To develop a hydrological model describing moisture dispersion patterns around absorption trenches, we used the VADOSE/W software package, a module of the GeoStudio 2004 software program developed by GEO-SLOPE International Ltd. The model allows data on soil type, soil horizons, climatic conditions and vegetation characteristics to be entered. It was calibrated using measurements made by Brouwer and Bugeja (1983) on a septic tank system at Mount Macedon, Victoria, and validated using field data from the eight study sites described above. Details of the model and its development can be found in Jayarathne (2008) and Jayarathne et al. (2013).




The model was used to produce diagrams showing predicted moisture flow patterns and soil volumetric moisture content (VMC) values over a domain extending 3.25 metres outwards from the trench centreline and four metres down from the ground surface (Jayarathne, 2008). Daily predictions were generated for each study site over a 700-day period (1 January 2006 to 2 December 2007); Figure 2 shows the diagram for the day that soil samples were collected at the Kilsyth study site. Diagrams like Figure 2 help determine whether the trench base is connected to underlying groundwater by a continuous zone of moisture-saturated soil. In such a case, wastewater will reach the water table comparatively quickly, contaminants will have less chance of being removed or inactivated, and the likelihood of contaminant levels in groundwater becoming unacceptably high increases commensurately. Soils at the Kilsyth site reached saturation at a VMC of 0.36– 0.39 (Jayarathne, 2008), hence Figure 2 predicts that such a moisture-saturated connecting zone was present when samples were collected at this site. The model also calculates water balances across the model domain and predicts the magnitude and direction of moisture flowpaths around the trench. For the study sites, the model predicted that 38–77% of total water inflows (wastewater + rainfall) would be lost by transpiration and a further 7–15% by evaporation at the ground surface. Percentage losses by evapotranspiration were highest at the site where total inflows were


Figure 2. Water flow patterns in the soil around the Kilsyth site trench on the day soil samples were collected. (The left-hand axis lies along the vertical centreline through the trench, shown with its base at a depth of 0.5 metres. Distances are in metres; contours show lines of equal volumetric water content (VMC)). lowest; in addition, sites with a drier climate had proportionately greater evapotranspiration losses (Jayarathne, 2008; Jayarathne et al., 2013). The magnitude of these losses meant that modelled water dispersion patterns around absorption trenches (as in Figure 2) show moderate to large flows of water up towards the ground surface. The above findings showed that at the study sites only 10% to 50% of total water inflows (which includes rainfall) were ending up in groundwater. This has significant implications where soluble contaminants like ammonia and nitrate pose an environmental risk. Where evapotranspiration losses are high, a correspondingly high proportion of soluble contaminants will be carried up towards the ground surface and, in the case of ammonia and nitrate, be largely taken up by plant roots. This accords with an observation by Brown and Thomas (1978) that, at low effluent infiltration rates, surface vegetation took up around 46% of the nitrogen entering septic tank absorption trenches. CHEMICAL ANALYSES

It was originally envisaged that by chemically analysing the 36 soil samples collected around each absorption trench, a clear picture would emerge of how each contaminant was distributed through the adjacent soils. However, distribution patterns proved to be much more ill-defined than expected. It was

Over 85% of the nitrogen in wastewaters entering absorption trenches is ammonia-nitrogen, in the form of the ammonium ion NH4+-N; the balance is organic nitrogen (Field et al., 2007). This dissolved ammonia either passes unchanged through the trench and surrounding soils, or, under aerobic conditions, is converted to nitrate by nitrifying bacteria (Bernet and Sperandio, 2009). Denitrification of nitrate to N2 can occur under anaerobic conditions in the presence of readily oxidisable organic compounds (Tchobanoglous, 2008). However, experience indicates that denitrification occurs at appreciable rates only rarely (Field et al., 2007). So the predominant nitrogen species will be the ammonium and nitrate ions. Both these ions are highly soluble and should, therefore, follow similar pathways to the wastewaters dispersing through soils around trenches. Hence, by examining the relative amounts of ammonia and nitrate present at different locations in the soils around the study trenches, much can be learned about nitrogen transformation processes and where these occur, as well as about nitrogen dispersion pathways. Because of differences in loading rates and site conditions, contaminant distribution patterns obtained from soil sample analyses differed markedly from site to site. To illustrate this, results for three sites are presented here. Measured ammonia and nitrate concentrations are shown on 3-D figures (e.g. Figures 3 and 4) that provide a diagrammatic representation (not to scale) of a block of soil adjacent to one side of the trench. The positions of the sampling holes (see Figure 1) are indicated by the nine vertical dashed lines. The circles show the relative size of the measured ammonium/ nitrate concentration at each of the four sampling depths in each sampling hole – concentrations are proportional to the


Technical Features diameter of the circle. The top face of the block is at ground level, while its lower face is at a depth of 1.8 metres. The lefthand face lines up with the front edge of the trench. The rear face of the block is in the same plane as the near side wall of the trench, which is shaded. Site 1: Kilsyth

Since inflows to absorption trenches contain little if any nitrate, the nitrate detected in soils around the Kilsyth absorption trench must have been formed by nitrification. It seems improbable that this is occurring in the soil, since

Figure 3. Three-dimensional plot of ammonium ion concentration in soil adjacent to the front end of the trench at the Kilsyth site. The side wall of the absorption trench is shaded grey. Grid nodes show the location of the 36 sampling points. The left-hand, bottom and right-hand axes show, respectively: the depth, distance from the front end of the trench, and distance from the trench side wall at which samples were taken. Circles at each sampling point show the magnitude of the measured ammonium ion concentration at that point. Circle diameter is proportional to concentration: the largest circle represents a concentration of 34mg/L and the smallest a concentration of 1.5mg/L.

Site 2: Healesville A This site had one distribution box, connected to a 40m trench. The system was seven years old and received wastewater from a residence occupied by one adult. The estimated loading rate was (metre length of trench)-1, by far the lowest loading rate for the sites studied. Ammonia concentrations in samples from around the absorption trench (not shown) were all similar to those from the control holes (range: 0.8â&#x20AC;&#x201C;1.8 mg/kg). However, as Figure 5 shows, many measured nitrate concentrations were well above background soil nitrate levels (0â&#x20AC;&#x201C;3.5mg/kg). Soil pH levels at this site were distinctly more favourable for in-soil nitrification, ranging between 6 and 8. However, for nitrification to occur in the soil, ammonia needs to be present, and at least some sampling points should have had ammonia concentrations above background levels. Given that this was not the case, and that sizeable nitrate concentrations were present in soil adjacent to the trench, it can be inferred that at this site the ammonia entering the trench was being completely nitrified in the trench before the wastewater percolated into the surrounding soil. Similar observations were made in a study of septic tank systems in Arizona (Field et al., 2007) where samples taken from

Figure 4. Three-dimensional plot of nitrate ion concentration in soil adjacent to the front end of the trench at the Kilsyth site. The side wall of the absorption trench is shaded grey. Grid nodes show the location of the 36 sampling points. The left-hand, bottom and right-hand axes show, respectively: the depth, distance from the front end of the trench, and distance from the trench side wall at which samples were taken. Circles at each sampling point show the magnitude of the measured nitrate ion concentration at that point. Circle diameter is proportional to concentration: the largest circle represents a concentration of 24mg/L and the smallest a concentration of 0.25mg/L.



This site had multiple distribution boxes, each connected to a 40m trench. The system was nine years old and treated wastewater from a residence occupied by five adults. The loading rate estimated from measured household water consumption data was (metre length of trench)-1, the highest loading rate of all the sites studied. Ammonium concentrations in soils around the trench studied in this project are shown in Figure 3. At most locations, ammonia concentrations were similar to those from the control holes (range: 1.9-3.2mg/kg). However, at five irregularly distributed points, concentrations were well above background levels; this suggests that movement of water away from the trench occurs preferentially through a limited number of channels within the soil. The highest concentration of ammonium was 34mg/kg, at a depth of 860mm in the hole closest to the head of the trench (Hole 1). Corresponding nitrate concentration measurements are shown in Figure 4; again, most concentrations were similar to those for the control holes (range: 0-2.7mg/kg), with only five measurements above this range. The maximum value was 24mg/kg in Hole 1 at a depth of 460mm.

nitrification ceases once pH falls below 5.5 (Hurse, 1996), and pH values of soil samples from this site all lie in the range 4.9â&#x20AC;&#x201C;5.4. So nitrification must be happening before wastewaters diffuse into the surrounding soils, i.e. in the absorption trench. The fact that the highest soil nitrate concentration occurred immediately adjacent to the base of the trench supports this.


Technical Features soils at a distance of 0.3m from trench sidewalls contained nitrate but no ammonia. These authors did not consider that nitrification might be occurring in the trench itself, but concluded that it must be taking place in the 0.3m wide band of soil between the trench and the sampling holes. In the light of our observations this conclusion appears questionable. Site 3: Kilmore B This site had a single distribution box connected to an S-shaped trench with three legs and a total length of 96m. The system was 16 years old and treated wastewater from a residence occupied by two adults. The estimated loading rate was (metre length of trench)-1, intermediate between those for the previous two sites. As at the Healesville A site, measured soil ammonia concentrations (not shown) were all at background levels. Measured soil nitrate concentrations are shown in Figure 6.


Ammonia and nitrate distribution patterns at the Kilmore B site show strong similarities to those at the Healesville A site. Again there was essentially no ammonia in the soils around the trench, but levels of nitrate were substantial indicating that extensive nitrification was occurring in the trench and none in the surrounding soils. Figure 2 shows that on the day samples were collected at the Kilsyth site much of the water escaping the trench was predicted to be moving upwards to the ground surface. A similar pattern of water movement was predicted for the Healesville A site. However, model predictions for the Kilmore B site indicate that although much water was still being lost at the ground surface, there was a much stronger downward flow

Figure 5. Three-dimensional plot of nitrate ion concentration in soil adjacent to the front end of the trench at the Healesville A site. The side wall of the absorption trench is shaded grey. Grid nodes show the location of the 36 sampling points. The left-hand, bottom and right-hand axes show, respectively: the depth, distance from the front end of the trench, and distance from the trench side wall at which samples were taken. Circles at each sampling point show the magnitude of the measured nitrate ion concentration at that point. Circle diameter is proportional to concentration: the largest circle represents a concentration of 22mg/L and the smallest a concentration of 0.26mg/L.


of water than at other sites. This difference in water dispersion patterns helps explain why it was only at the Kilmore site that nitrate concentrations above background levels were observed at the lowest sampling depth.

CONCLUSIONS In septic tank systems located in silty soils, and treating household wastewaters, conversion of ammonia to nitrate via nitrification occurs predominantly in the absorption trench rather than the surrounding soil. At low loading rates (up to (metre length of trench)-1) nitrification appeared close to complete, but at a loading rate of 12 (metre length of trench)-1 wastewaters percolating into surrounding soils still contained un-nitrified ammonia. Ammonium and nitrate ions are highly soluble and their dispersion patterns in soils around septic tank trenches were consistent with moisture dispersion patterns derived from a combination of hydrological modelling and field measurements. At low loading rates the bulk of the wastewater moved towards the ground surface, where it was lost by evapotranspiration; in such cases very little nitrate or ammonia was transported down towards the water table. However, at higher loading rates ammonia and/or nitrate was detected at greater soil depths, implying that under these conditions some of the nitrogen entering the trench will be carried down to the water table. It was evident that both climatic conditions and surface vegetation characteristics play important roles in determining the fate of wastewater entering septic tank absorption trenches. Present septic tank design procedures take no

Figure 6. Three-dimensional plot of nitrate ion concentration in soil adjacent to the front end of the trench at the Kilmore B site. The side wall of the absorption trench is shaded grey. Grid nodes show the location of the 36 sampling points. The left-hand, bottom and right-hand axes show, respectively: the depth, distance from the front end of the trench, and distance from the trench side wall at which samples were taken. Circles at each sampling point show the magnitude of the measured nitrate ion concentration at that point. Circle diameter is proportional to concentration: the largest circle represents a concentration of 30mg/L and the smallest a concentration of 0.25mg/L.


Technical Features account of losses through evapotranspiration. However, a better understanding of just how climate and surface vegetation characteristics influence water migration pathways is needed before improved design procedures can be introduced.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The encouragement and financial support provided by our project partners (listed earlier) is very much appreciated. The contribution of Ruwan Jayarathne to the fieldwork and modelling components of this study is gratefully acknowledged.

THE AUTHORS Nigel B Goodman (email: nigel.goodman@ is a Scientist at CSIRO Land and Water, Victoria.

Samuel T. S. Yuen (email: stsy@unimelb. is a Senior Lecturer, Department of Infrastructure Engineering, University of Melbourne. Andrew Pharoah (email: apharoah@ is an ME candidate, Department of Infrastructure Engineering, University of Melbourne.

Beal CD, Gardner EA & Menzies NW (2005): Process, Performance, and Pollution Potential: A Review of Septic Tank-Soil Absorption Systems. Australian Journal of Soil Research, 43, 7, pp 781–802. Bernet N & Spérandio M (2009): Principles of Nitrifying Processes. In: Environmental Technologies to Treat Nitrogen Pollution (ed. FJ Cervantes) IWA Publishing, London, UK, pp 23–39. Brouwer J & Bugeja RM (1983): Land Capability For Septic Tank Effluent Absorption Fields (Parts A and B). Australian Water Resources Council Technical Paper No. 80. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra, Australia. Brown KW & Thomas JC (1978): Uptake of Nitrogen by Grass from Septic Fields in Three Soils. Agronomy Journal, 70, pp 1037–1040. Department of Sustainability and Environment (2006): Yarra River Action Plan: Securing Water Quality for a Healthy Future. Dept of Sustainability and Environment, Victorian Government, Melbourne, Victoria. Field JP, Farrell-Poe KL & Walworth JL (2007): Comparative Treatment Effectiveness of Conventional Trench and Seepage Pit Systems. Water Environment Research, 79, 3, pp 310–319. Hurse TJ (1996): Removal of Ammonium-N from a Wastewater Treatment Lagoon at the Werribee Treatment Complex, Werribee. Master of Engineering Science Thesis, Dept of Chemical Engineering, University of Melbourne. Jayarathne GWRS (2008): Hydrological Performance of Onsite Soil Absorption Systems. PhD thesis, University of Melbourne, Victoria. Jayarathne R, Yuen STS, Connor MA, Pivonka P & Pharoah A (2013): A Hydrological Study of On-Site Soil Absorption Systems. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Water Management, 166, pp 43–53.

Levett KJ, Vanderzalm JL, Page DW & Dillon PJ (2010): Factors Affecting the Performance and Risks to Human Health of On-Site Wastewater Treatment Systems. Water Science and Technology, 62, 7, pp 1499–1509. MacDonald S & Narangala R (2008): Decentralised or Centralised, and How to Choose. Presented at the AWA/EHA Onsite and Decentralised Sewerage and Recycling Conference, 12–15 October 2008, Benalla, Victoria. Nolan BT, Ruddy BC, Hitt KJ & Helsel DR (1997): Risk of Nitrate in Groundwaters of the United States – a National Perspective. Environmental Science and Technology, 31, pp 2229–2236. Pharoah A, Jayarathne R, White L, Connor M, Yuen S & Pivonka P (2007): The Distribution of Chemical Contaminants in Soil Around Septic Tank Absorption Trenches. In: RA Patterson and MJ Jones (eds.) Proceedings of On-Site ’07 Conference: Innovation and Technology for On-site Systems, 25–27 Sept 2007, University of New England, Armidale, NSW, pp 271–278. Standards Australia (1994): AS/NZS 1547:1994. Disposal Systems for Effluent from Domestic Premises. Standards Australia Limited, Sydney, NSW. Standards Australia (2000): AS/NZS 1547:2000. On-site Domestic Wastewater Management. Standards Australia Limited, Sydney, NSW. Tchobanoglous G (2008): The Role of Onsite and Decentralised Wastewater Management in the Twenty-First Century. Presented at AWA/ EHA Onsite and Decentralised Sewerage and Recycling Conference, 12–15 October 2008, Benalla, Victoria. Whelan BR & Barrow NJ (1984): The Movement of Septic Tank Effluent Through Sandy Soils Near Perth. 1. Movement of nitrogen. Australian Journal of Soil Research, 22, 3, pp 283–292.


Michael A Connor (email: maconnor@ is a Senior Fellow, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Melbourne, Victoria.


Whitehead J & Geary P (2009): Sand Mounds for Effective Domestic effluent management. Water 36, 1, pp 80–90.

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Technical Features



ABSTRACT For governments and water utilities responding to climate change and population growth, ensuring water security and promoting sustainable water use are the focus of current water policy. Integrated water cycle management (IWCM) contains strategies to encourage sustainable water use that can add another dimension to water utilities’ services, many of which are somewhat different to what the community has come to expect. Gaining community acceptance and support for such new services is critical. Without community support, the task of introducing new services into specific areas could be difficult. Alongside these technical innovations, it is important to provide more targeted information, education and engagement programs to ensure customers understand, and support these developments in their neighbourhoods. Yarra Valley Water (YVW) has been working on IWCM projects, in partnership with other organisations. These projects have provided YVW with opportunities to work more closely with particular customers and stakeholders in ways that extend beyond what might be termed more traditional interactions. These engagement efforts have challenged, and changed, YVW’s previous thinking regarding best practice engagement methods.

INTRODUCTION Using YVW experiences, this paper explores how community engagement approaches have changed to reflect people’s expectations to be more involved in decisions that may directly affect them. In July 2013 the State Government of Victoria released a draft whole-of-


water-cycle strategy for consultation – Melbourne’s Water Future (www. – of which IWCM is a key component. One element of the plan to deliver this strategy is to ensure that the wider community has greater involvement in water cycle planning decisions (Office of Living Victoria, 2013). This commitment arguably requires water utilities’ community and stakeholder engagement approaches to rise to a new level. Water utilities consult with their customers and stakeholders on matters as diverse as policy development and strategic planning, pricing, renewal of pre-existing assets and the construction of new infrastructure. It is widely acknowledged by project managers and community engagement practitioners that, where stakeholder and customers can see a direct impact such as siting infrastructure, more interest is generated. Engagement methods need to be able to effectively respond to this. For more seemingly distant issues such as policy development, extensive engagement will also be necessary to ensure that broad community agreement on such matters is able to be tested at the local level when particular projects are implemented. This paper uses one of YVW’s current projects as a case study to explore the daily experiences of engaging the community in project development and implementation, including the siting challenges. YARRA VALLEY WATER

Yarra Valley Water, the largest of Melbourne’s three retail water businesses, provides water supply and sewerage services to over 1.7 million people and 52,000 businesses in the northern and eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Victoria. Owned by the State Government of

Victoria, its activities are overseen by an independent Board of Directors appointed by the shareholders. Covering approximately 4,000 square kilometres, YVW owns and maintains over 9,000 kilometres each of water and sewer mains. Subject to regulation by various government agencies, including Victoria’s independent economic regulator, the Essential Services Commission (ESC;, YWV makes payments to the Victorian Government equivalent to the income tax and sales tax that would be payable if the company was not state-owned. Every four years the ESC requires water utilities to develop water plans and they have recently completed their draft plans for the next five years. In June 2013 the ESC announced its final decision on these water plan proposals. Among other things, these plans outline proposed investments and projects, levels of service to customers and changes to water pricing for a specified period of time. Significant price increases – partially to offset the Victorian Desalination Plant costs – have been an element of these plans. Water utilities are mindful that these increases may not be well received by their customers. Community perceptions of government and corporate organisations are also changing. For example, Grattan (2012) describes a growing loss of public confidence in a variety of institutional structures and institutions, including government and corporate organisations, political parties and non-government organisations. While not specifically addressed by Grattan, the water industry too could be a focus of public disquiet, affecting efforts to engage customers about significant matters such as water policy, water pricing and service delivery.


Technical Features

Artist’s impression of the proposed treatment plant complex (without landscaping).



Research undertaken by YVW while developing its most recent draft water plan clearly demonstrates customers remain primarily concerned with having a reliable water and sewerage service at a reasonable price; they also value effective resolution processes for when things go wrong (YVW 2012:7). Yarra Valley Water has also been involved in research with other water sector participants to investigate customer expectations and values associated with water and water services (see for example IPSOS Customer Value Study, YVW, 2011; Newfocus YVW Service/ Brand Monitor, 2011). Key findings from this customer expectation and values research suggest that: • Customers consider water the most essential of essential services; • For sewerage services not much is known, with the prevailing attitude being ‘out of sight, out of mind’, but

• There is a high level of trust in water utilities with the baseline level of services being met; • There was some concern about how the drought of recent years was managed; • There is a growing concern about the affordability of water. Further data from this research revealed that the work utilities undertake to provide a reliable service, including forecasting demand and supply, planning infrastructure projects and the associated day-to-day operational and maintainence activities, remains generally poorly understood, in spite of efforts to communicate this to water users. THE FOCUS OF YARRA VALLEY WATER’S APPROACH TO SERVICE DELIVERY AND ENGAGEMENT

Against a backdrop of regular research to inform its work, YVW also works with customers and stakeholders to: • Keep them informed – provide timely, clear and relevant information about changes or activities that may affect them; • Keep them involved – seek their contributions and feedback about our initiatives or activities; • Seek their commitment to follow our advice (for example, water saving); • Honour commitments made – not making false promises; • Work collaboratively on changes.

YVW recognises that all aspects of its business operations ultimately influence customer and stakeholder interactions, not just those few of importance to customers. Thus, they all need to be considered as part of an overall risk assessment when planning any specific communications activities. From YVW experiences, areas where customers and stakeholders need access to comprehensive information include: • Investments and price increases. Substantial investment in new assets leading to price increases, and being able to effectively explain them in ways that people are more likely to understand, support and accept efficiency and productivity achievements; • Environmental and community impacts of routine operations and infrastructure projects; • Meeting regulatory expectations; • Delivering large new infrastructure projects and renewing ageing infrastructure; • Ensuring customer interactions (e.g. responding to water and sewerage faults, billing enquiries and other service provision) meet or exceed expectations; • Meeting the challenges of climate change; • Re-thinking the more ‘traditional’ ways of delivering water and sewerage services, such as providing recycled water and implementing decentralised systems. Additionally, the nature of YVW’s engagement needs to account for



Approaches to community and stakeholder engagement are constantly evolving and YVW has made concerted efforts to change the way it communicates with its customers and stakeholders, embarking on extensive conversations about the increasingly complex issues of water governance and new servicing solutions. The challenge is how best to frame and develop effective engagement processes, conversations and interactions with customers and stakeholders against the backdrop of the contextual issues raised here. Regular customer research assists us to do this.

there is an expectation that when things go wrong responses are effectively and quickly managed;


Technical Features the characteristics of the community, including that it is: • Interacting with a community with greater access to information and a diversity of communication channels; • Engaging with a community that is increasingly ‘time-poor’; • Engaging with a community that is increasingly mistrustful of governments and the corporate sector; • Communicating with people who are tired of ‘spin’ and growing increasingly cynical about any communications from government; • Engaging with a culturally and linguistically diverse community.


However big or small the issue being communicated about is, YVW’s approaches are underpinned by an obligation to ensure the community and stakeholders are clear about the purpose of any engagement. That is, the issues at hand are clearly communicated. YVW seeks to provide easily accessible information, through a range of channels, carefully evaluate feedback and ensure that those providing feedback know how their comments have been considered. THE EVOLUTION OF YARRA VALLEY WATER’S ENGAGEMENT APPROACHES

The literature on best practice community and stakeholder engagement approaches is vast, but there are three engagement approaches that have particularly shaped YVW’s approaches. These include approaches developed by the Scottish Community Development Centre, the Consensus Building Institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2); these are briefly described in the following paragraphs. The Scottish Community Development Centre (SCDC) has examined engagement between communities and government agencies ( This work facilitated the development of the 2005 National Standards for Community Engagement. While these standards were primarily developed for Scottish government agencies, they are nevertheless relevant for many other organisations seeking to improve their relationships with their customers and stakeholders. They outline principles for effective engagement, including:


• Fairness, equity and inclusion; • Sharing purpose and method to achieve outcomes; • Improving the quality of engagement through learning from experience; • Sharing ownership of agendas enabling all viewpoints to be reflected; • Recognising and sharing the collective experience and knowledge of all involved; • Encouraging opportunities to enhance knowledge and skills; • Providing accurate and timely information. The Consensus Building Institute (, in particular the work of Lawrence Susskind and associates, has developed approaches that assist organisations to constructively work with the community and their stakeholders to prevent issues escalating. Susskind and Field (1996:13) have developed the ‘Mutual Gains Approach’, described by them as effective ways to address important public issues. This approach assumes dealing with the public is a multi-party and multiissue negotiation. Key behaviours to be adopted in working this way include: • Acknowledging the concerns of others; • Working collaboratively to find solutions; • Being willing to share power; • Admitting when you are wrong; • Acting with integrity; • Working with a focus on building long-term relationships. This method also involves focusing on establishing a good process, creating an environment that sees good preparation, value creation (exploring options), value distribution (determining key principles that can be agreed to guide decisionmaking), and follow-through. The IAP2 Public Participation Spectrum (see is also being increasingly used as a reference to design and inform engagement processes in a range of sectors. The Spectrum has a range of approaches that could be used to meet specific engagement objectives, including to inform, consult, involve, collaborate or empower, and is regarded in the public engagement field as ‘best practice’.


While these approaches and their intent may appear reasonable, other factors can often influence organisations’ thinking about the approach they want to take with their engagement efforts, particularly with more contentious projects and issues. For example, when risks are perceived to be low or the issue is not considered to be overly contentious, organisations appear more willing to let these principles extensively inform their engagement efforts. When stakes are higher, particularly when dealing with potentially controversial issues, adherence to these principles may sometimes be prone to lapse and community concern and conflict can escalate as a result. The reasons for this can be varied, but include concerns about reputation or brand risk. The urge to control can emerge, and this arguably starts to affect the extent to which good engagement principles continue to underpin communication and engagement activities. This can lead to an environment where conflict quickly escalates (Sandman, 2009). Engagement strategies based upon the need to control can also be counterproductive and potentially have a negative impact on future interactions, particularly when ongoing relationships need to be maintained. When best practice principles – that is, committing to openness, fairness, transparency and a real willingness to engage with change in an open way – inform organisations’ engagement processes, community and stakeholder respect is more likely to grow than diminish. There are many examples of when these kinds of principles genuinely drive engagement efforts; even those with strongly opposing views to particular issues, while still not necessarily agreeing with the final decision, are more likely to speak positively about the engagement process. Further, the organisations initiating the engagement find that their reputation remains intact. The work of Peter Sandman provides a useful starting reference ( The author has also experienced conflict resolution adopting these approaches, leading to greater community acceptance of controversial projects (Meek, 2004).


Technical Features When community and stakeholder engagement initiatives have been less inclined to follow best practice principles, conflict resolution specialists have often been required to try to ‘patch things up’. Depending on the level of conflict, it can take some time to re-build trust, if at all. YVW’s efforts to keep these engagement principles central to its work are demonstrated in its actions, including: • Undertaking early and personal contact with directly affected residents, businesses and community groups that face impacts such as property acquisition and/or nearby construction; • Tailoring community engagement programs to cover consumers with diverse needs such as culturally and linguistically diverse groups. A ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach is unlikely to be successful; • Working with people who are locally known and respected to help to engage their particular communities;

• Allowing sufficient time for people to analyse and test ideas put forward; • Providing clear information for discussion and scrutiny by the community and stakeholders being engaged, and have it available for use in whatever form of communication is used for the engagement exercise e.g. community forums, workshops and greater use of web-based media where appropriate. Comprehensive feedback needs to be provided to all suggestions made (including the less conventional thoughts); • Participating in major speakers’ panels, and presenting to universities and major service clubs to explain particular initiatives; • Using existing stakeholder groups to feed in comment and likely issues; • Building strong relationships

CONVERSATIONS ABOUT COMPLEX MATTERS – DONCASTER HILL RECYCLED WATER SCHEME CASE STUDY YVW has been a leading advocate for water reform in Victoria and is committed to implementing innovative projects. This case study presents the Doncaster Hill Recycled Water Scheme, providing some insights about the best time to commence customer and stakeholder engagement. The project involves ‘retrofitting’ an urbanised area with new sewerage infrastructure. It has proven to be contentious because it has involved siting this infrastructure near sensitive land uses – homes and public open space. The technologies being implemented are also less conventional, therefore requiring significant efforts to truly explore user acceptance. Doncaster Hill is a designated Principal Activity Centre (PAC) under the Victorian State Government’s Melbourne 2030 – Planning for Sustainable Growth framework (see It is located around a large shopping centre, approximately 20 kilometres east of Melbourne’s central business district. The area includes many high-rise offices and retail outlets with several high-rise apartment developments planned. Over the next 10 years approximately 4,000 new dwellings will be built. The Doncaster Hill Recycled Water scheme is a joint project between YVW, Manningham City Council and Melbourne Water. Developed as an integrated water management strategy, the project will supply a new in-fill urban development (Doncaster Hill) with wastewater extracted from a nearby sewer and treated to Class A standard. A treatment plant, water recycling plant, ventilation stack and storage tanks will need to be constructed, as well as pipelines to service properties. The recycled water will be used for toilet flushing, in the laundry and for garden watering, thus reducing the demands placed on the potable supply system. With support from Manningham City Council, YVW mandated a Class A Recycled Water Scheme. This means that any new development constructed in this

precinct will be required to incorporate a third pipe for recycled water. Doncaster Hill is believed to be Australia’s first highdensity redevelopment to incorporate a dual water pipe system to deliver recycled water to future residents. Project benefits include reducing drinking water use by 30 per cent, decreasing energy use when compared to a conventional project by 10 per cent, and reducing nitrogen flowing into Port Phillip Bay. A key challenge has been to determine suitable sites to locate the supporting infrastructure. YVW adopted what could be termed a more conservative approach of commencing engagement when it had a clear understanding on its part about the technical feasibility of various servicing options for the proposed scheme. Yarra Valley Water’s preferred servicing option was not universally accepted. The proposed location of the treatment plant was in a neighbouring municipality, whose residents would receive no benefits from the scheme. After learning that this municipality was against the idea for this reason, YVW confined its considerations to sites within the Manningham Council area where residents would get the direct benefit. The site selection process also considered a number of social, technical and environmental factors. Technical and environmental considerations included finding the best location in the sewer for maximum flows and proximity to the end users, to limit the greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity used to pump water. Social considerations involved determining what sites could be available for the treatment plant. In such a built-up area the choices were limited to public open space – in this case a creek corridor running adjacent to a major freeway. The proposed treatment plant site was in a public reserve adjacent to some nearby homes. Yarra Valley Water developed a comprehensive community engagement and communications strategy for this project, based on the following elements: • Effective listening which involved ensuring people’s views were heard and acknowledged; • Early notification of potentially affected residents and interested parties; • Briefings with key stakeholders –



• Adopting an approach to suit the audience. Some audiences might be very supportive and simply require the facts and a timetable to accept any changes and actions. Some groups might not understand the changes and require a more informal and slower pace to accept the proposals. Some may not accept the changes and actions may include negotiation and compromise to accept the proposals;

through ongoing engagement and communication with formal stakeholder groups (business, environmental and ‘Friends of’ groups in particular).


Technical Features

Artist’s impression of the proposed treatment plant complex (with landscaping). keeping regular contact with the local member of parliament and council personnel in particular; • Personal contact with residents living close to the proposed project site; • Having many opportunities to interact with the community – information sessions, tent-in-the-park reserve, door-knocks, tours of an existing YVW sewage treatment plant, website including questions and answers;


• Regular updates; • A proactive media strategy. An important part of this engagement process for YVW was seeking community feedback to help guide final design elements for the treatment plant building. The proposed treatment plant required a Council Planning Permit and a Works Approval from the Environment Protection Authority (EPA Victoria), the state government environmental regulator. Manningham Council ultimately rejected YVW’s Planning Permit application. EPA Victoria issued a Works Approval. Yarra Valley Water carefully planned the timing and duration of its engagement activities so they did not conflict with certain times of the year such as the summer school holiday period. Even allowing for possible delays with getting specific documentation accepted by the relevant statutory authorities, the latter stages of the engagement period ended up coinciding with local government elections, a factor which arguably affected the council’s decision regarding the Planning Permit. YVW ultimately decided to not proceed


with the project at this site, but remains committed to delivering a recycled water service to the Doncaster Hill precinct. Previous council community engagement about the Manningham PAC initiative also had an impact on YVW’s engagement efforts. Yarra Valley Water found that many people were still strongly opposed to that initiative and these sentiments featured large in various interactions with many members of the community. Yarra Valley Water also learned that some people were not necessarily opposed to these kinds of innovations in principle, but they would prefer the proposed treatment plant was somewhere else. Other conversations revealed that there were some people living in the area closest to the proposed treatment plant site who were supportive of the idea. The more specific concerns included: • The affected community’s past consultation experiences with other government agencies led to a degree of scepticism about YVW’s intentions;

• Property values being undermined; • Long-standing community opposition in the area to higherdensity development. Clearly, from some of the community’s point of view, this project is part of the push towards higher-density living; • General stigma associated with the words ‘sewage treatment plant’, and resulting health fears. Yarra Valley Water sought to provide the technical information and studies underpinning the project in a format that was easily understandable and tried to ensure people had full access to the information. Yarra Valley Water also committed to being available to discuss any issues at any time and to be transparent and open to scrutiny. An important commitment YVW also made was to really listen to people – ensuring particular issues were accurately understood, confirmed with those people concerned and providing thorough responses to them in writing and on the project website.

• Close proximity to homes (approximately 25 metres to the nearest home);

When to commence engagement was an important aspect of the strategy. Starting too early poses a risk that trust may be lost because of insufficient detail available to answer people’s questions. Waiting until further detail is developed could lead to adverse reactions because people may perceive engagement is starting too late, assuming the work is a foregone conclusion. This situation could exacerbate increasing community mistrust and cynicism towards large institutions.

• Operational impacts – potential for noise, odour, truck movements, chemical storage and delivery;

The case study described here has been about managing change. We know that, for human beings, change can at

• Construction impacts such as traffic disruption and noise. People were experiencing many impacts from current apartment construction activities that had been going on in the area for some time; • People didn’t want part of their park used for the facility;


Technical Features times be challenging, confronting and will not always be embraced by everyone. The Doncaster Recycled Water Scheme represents change in both the built environment and water service delivery. For the Doncaster community the urban character of its neighbourhood is being changed to adapt to population increases and the need to ensure the environment can cope with this. While YVW’s treatment plant is designed to deal with these kinds of challenges, it’s still a hard message to sell, with many lingering questions: Could more have been achieved if the engagement process for Doncaster Hill started at the time of site selection? Could more have been achieved if there had been more work undertaken to determine the extent of the local community’s understanding of what IWCM was and what that would mean for that local area? Could more have been gained in sharing the problem with the community and stakeholders much earlier in the project planning stages? What if YVW had relinquished control during the engagement process and fully embraced the ‘mutual gains approach’?


Commitment to best practice engagement principles is fundamental to achieving outcomes acceptable to all stakeholders. This can also enable the development of processes conducive to mutual problem solving. These kinds of ‘ground up’ efforts are more likely to engage interested parties and, in turn, increase the confidence of the organisation for further engagement activities. They should also provide a more solid foundation upon which any emerging issues or controversy can be resolved – because these engagement efforts have been based on investing in building constructive relationships. There are some interesting approaches being developed in the public engagement field, arguing that very early engagement will achieve more success. These approaches might be generally described as ones that involve the concept of ‘co-design’ or ‘collaborative governance’. For example, Twyfords’

For the engagement process to have the best chance of success, it requires a mutual commitment to collaboration, co-defining the dilemma, co-designing the engagement process, co-creating solutions and co-delivering actions. The intent underlying this approach is that it can lead to more widely supported solutions. This is an idea that could be something to consider in exploring siting issues for IWCM projects. Where organisations need to engage on broader matters of policy, activities that seek to reach a wide range of interest groups to gauge people’s views can be useful to test assumptions and ideas, while providing initial feedback on the best engagement processes to use. It needs to be recognised and accepted that no matter what efforts are undertaken not everyone will be happy with the outcome, but they may be more likely to agree that the engagement efforts enabled their concerns to be adequately heard.

THE AUTHOR Toni Meek (email: Toni. is Community Engagement Manager at Yarra Valley Water. Toni has over 20 years’ experience in community and stakeholder engagement roles in the environment industry.

REFERENCES Consensus Building Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology,, viewed 3 July 2013. Consensus Building Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, cbis-mutual-gains-approach-negotiation, viewed 3 July 2013. Department of Planning and Community Development, State Government of Victoria (2002): Melbourne 2030 – Planning for Sustainable Growth, www., viewed 11 July 2012. Essential Services Commission (2013): Price Review 2013: Greater Metropolitan Water Businesses. Final Decision, www.esc.vic., viewed 4 July 2013. Grattan M (2012): The Glass of Public Trust in Politics is Nowhere Near Half Full, The Age, 15 June 2012. International Association for Public Participation (IAP2):, viewed 5 July 2012.

Current community frustration and anger being expressed towards large institutions probably influences institutional decision about the timing and purpose of engagement, particularly if it is about something unpopular. Fearing an angry reception, there is a tendency with the more contentious projects for decision-makers to be more reluctant to engage, or limit how they engage, for fear of the potential community backlash. Such choices pose significant risks to company brand and reputation. Paradoxically, when organisations commit to early engagement that meaningfully seeks customer and stakeholder feedback, even when not everything is ‘known’ and irrespective of the level of controversy, brand and reputation can remain intact.

Meek T (2004): Environment Improvement Plans – Going Beyond Compliance to Achieve Sustainability, paper presented at the International Union of Air Pollution Prevention and Environmental Associations (IUAPPA) 13th International World Clean Air Congress, London. [Online] Available:

As the water industry continues to foster innovative technical solutions to respond to important societal and environmental challenges, finding effective ways to bring people along on the ‘journey’, no matter how complex the issues may be, can really be enhanced through the kinds of best practice community and stakeholder engagement approaches it adopts.

Twyfords (2011): Collaboration – The Power of ‘Co’,, viewed 4 July 2013.

Office of Living Victoria (2013): Consultation Draft July 2013. Melbourne’s Water Future,’s_ Water_Future_full.pdf, viewed 3 July 2013. Scottish Community Development Centre (2005): National Standards for Community Engagement,, viewed 3 July 2013. Sandman Peter M (2009): Trust the Public with More of the Truth: What I Learned in 40 Years in Risk Communication. The 2009 Berreth Lecture, presented to the National Public Health Information Coalition, Miami Beach, Florida, October 20, articles/berreth.htm, viewed 2 July 2013.

Yarra Valley Water (2011): Customer Value Study, IPSOS (Internal Report). Yarra Valley Water (2011): Yarra Valley Water Service/Brand Monitor, Newfocus (Internal Report). Yarra Valley Water (2012): Yarra Valley Water Water Plan 2013/2014 to 2017/2018,, viewed 4 July 2013.



There is a real opportunity for the water industry to further enhance its community and stakeholder engagement approaches on the ‘hard-to-engage’ activities, such as water governance, infrastructure development and policy reforms.

collaborative governance model fosters approaches that aim to ensure that all potentially affected parties to an issue work cooperatively with the particular organisation dealing with the issue from the start (


Technical Features

PASSIVE SAMPLER TECHNOLOGY USED TO MEASURE MICROPOLLUTANTS IN CANBERRA’S WATERCOURSES A project across four different sites reveals the presence of 13 micropollutants J Gourley, P Maiden, J Doyle, M Fordham, C Hepplewhite



Environmental waters such as lakes and streams typically contain a diverse range of chemicals, both natural and introduced. Some of these introduced substances are present at only very low concentrations and are generally referred to as micropollutants. They can include pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs), endocrinedisrupting chemicals (EDCs), including steroids, various natural or synthetic chemicals, and disinfection by-products. Micropollutants are of concern in the environment because, even at very low levels, they may affect organisms that live in the water ecosystem or those that consume the water (including humans). In many cases the micropollutants of concern occur at concentrations at or below normal instrument detection limits. This limits the usefulness of a one-litre grab sample of water typically used for analysis. One way to overcome this difficulty is to use ‘passive samplers’ – units that are placed within the waterway and absorb chemicals of interest over a period of time (typically weeks to months). This increases the ability to detect contaminants by preconcentrating the micropollutants. The resulting concentrated sample is sent to the laboratory for analysis. The accumulated micropollutant contained in the passive sampler reflects a time-weighted average for the duration of deployment. Time-weighted data incorporates the variability in pollutant concentration into a single figure, and provides an indication of pollutant load. It is understood that rain events can produce pulses of pollutants, which can be ecologically significant, but may be missed by routine grab sampling. Thus, passive samplers deployed over time may catch these pulse events


as well as providing data on low background concentrations. However, the quantification of such pulses in terms of concentration and duration may not be known and, therefore, the direct comparison of spot data and timeweighted data may be limited. There are several passive sampler devices available for use, and they differ in their ability to adsorb chemicals of different polarity. For organic contaminants in water, there are two main types of passive sample devices typically used: semi-permeable membrane devices (SPMD); and polar organic chemical integrative samplers (POCIS) (Alvarez, 2010). Other passive sampler devices available (noted by O’Hara, 2009) include ‘Chemcatcher’ (Kingston et al., 2000), ‘Ceramic Dosimeters’ (Bopp et al., 2005), Empore disks and the ‘Membrane Enclosed Sorptive Coating’ (MESCO) (Vrana et al., 2006). MESCO devices are suited to marine environments and, in particular, for hydrophobic organic pollutants such as Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) and Polychlorinated Biphenols (PCB). PASSIVE SAMPLER PROJECTS UNDERTAKEN IN AUSTRALIA

A number of passive sampler studies have been undertaken in Australia in recent years. Foulsham et al. (2009) undertook a three-year study in Western Australia’s Swan and Canning catchments. This study included insecticides, herbicides and PAHs from the catchments and waterways of the Swan and Canning rivers and estuaries. A study into endocrine disruptors within wastewater treatment plants in SouthEast Queensland was undertaken by Tan (2006) and involved Empore disks to detect a range of EDCs including estrogens, androgens and alkylphenols. The Reef & Rainforest Research Centre

Ltd (2010) is currently undertaking a study on behalf of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) – the Reef Rescue Marine Monitoring Program. One component of the study involves investigation of pesticides within the aquatic environment of the GBR lagoon using passive samplers (Empore disks). Sampling of pesticides in the drainage canals of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area waterways was undertaken by the NSW Department of Conservation and Environment in 2006 using passive samplers and compared to grab samples (Hyne and Aistrope, 2006). The Victorian Centre for Aquatic Pollution Identification and Management (CAPIM) is undertaking a range of projects involving passive samplers, including the ‘Upper Yarra Pesticide Program’, ‘Urban Stormwater Pollutant Tracking in the City of Whittlesea’ and the ‘Development of Novel Passive Sampling Devices for Selected Metals and Pesticides’ projects. Muschal (2000) undertook experiments with solvent-filled polyethylene bags as passive samplers to measure pesticides in the Gwydir and Namoi Rivers in the north-west of New South Wales. Water Quality Research Australia Limited (WQRA), in collaboration with the University of Queensland, is currently developing and calibrating aquatic passive sampler technologies for pharmaceuticals and water pollutants. OTHER RELEVANT PASSIVE SAMPLER PROJECTS WORLDWIDE

A broad range of passive sampler projects has been undertaken across the world in the last decade. Detection of low-level concentrations of organic chemicals was undertaken by Jones-Lepp et al. (2004) and successfully detected four prescription drugs and two illicit drugs that were present in wastewater effluent in Nevada, Utah and South Carolina in the US.


Technical Features chemical integrative samplers (POCIS) were chosen, as they are suitable for many of the potential micropollutants that were determined as likely to be found in the ACT waterways. The POCIS consisted of absorbent powder surrounded by protective membranes that were contained in a stainless steel â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;washerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; approximately 10cm in diameter (Figure 1). The POCIS was then inserted into a protective stainless steel canister to minimise damage in the field, while still enabling water to flow past the device. SITE SELECTION AND SAMPLER DEPLOYMENT AND COLLECTION

Figure 1. A passive sampler, including the POCIS and protective canister for deployment in the waterways. Li et al. (2010) undertook a study of 30 pharmaceuticals, PPCPs and EDCs using POCIS devices within the Great Lakes of North America (specifically Lake Ontario in Canada). McCarthy et al. (2009) investigated organic compounds (pesticides and wastewater indicator chemicals) in an untreated drinking water supply on the McKenzie River near Eugene in Oregon, US. Bueno et al. (2009) undertook a study to detect a range of biocides, pesticides and pharmaceuticals at a marine aquaculture site on the Mediterranean Sea in the south-east of Spain using POCIS devices.

The choice of receiving phase used in the passive sampler is dependent on the chemical characteristics of the target contaminant (e.g. pesticides, pharmaceuticals, heavy metals) and how well it preferentially absorbs the target contaminants from the passing water. Within this project, polar organic

Passive samplers were deployed at four sites in waterways of the ACT. One-litre grab samples were also collected from the same location at the conclusion of the passive sampler deployment. The four sites were chosen based on the likely range of expected exposure to micropollutants (including agricultural, urban and wastewater treatment plant discharges). The waterways included Cotter River, Murrumbidgee River and Molonglo River (Figure 2 and Figure 3). Due to the very low level analysis of the micropollutants, contamination


MacLeod et al. (2007) experimented with 25 different PPCPs to find the uptake rate of chemicals onto POCIS samplers and also investigated both upstream and downstream of a wastewater treatment plant in Edmonton, Canada. Li et al. (2011) undertook laboratory experiments to understand the effect that pH and dissolved organic matter might have on uptake rates for PPCPs and EDCs with POCIS devices.


Several different passive samplers are available for deployment into waterways. The criteria for selection in this project were to use devices that could be constructed relatively easily or purchased, and that the passive samplers were suited to the concentration of polar organic compounds in fresh water.

Figure 2. Passive sampler deployment sites in the ACT.



Technical Features were retrieved and transported to the laboratory in a portable freezer unit.

• 1,7-dimethylxanthine (metabolite of caffeine)


• Caffeine (stimulant)

The process of analysis is essentially one of extracting the absorbed micropollutants from the sorbent material in the POCIS using a solvent and then analysing the extract. The sorbent material (Oasis HLB) was separated from the protective membranes of the passive sampler and placed in a disposable filtration tube. Micropollutants were then extracted from the absorbent powder, using methanol. The resulting extract was evaporated and reconstituted for analysis using liquid chromatography mass spectrometry mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to assess for a broad range of chemicals shown in Table 1. Figure 3. Installing a passive sampler and taking hand-held meter waterquality readings at the Cotter River.


of passive samplers from a variety of sources (such as field and lab staff, unclean preparation areas or transportation containers etc.) was of concern during the project. Hence, careful preparation and handling of the devices and the use of sterile containers for transport was undertaken. Transport to site was undertaken in a portable freezer unit to preserve the integrity of the receiving phase. The POCIS were deployed in the rivers, making sure that the units were located in the waterway where they would be continuously submerged and also be subject to continuously running water. The POCIS were installed inside the canisters and left in-situ for approximately 40 days during June and July 2011. Stream flow data was obtained from gauging stations near the deployed samplers to understand the volumes of water passing the samplers during the time of deployment. After field deployment, the passive samplers

Quality assurance included the use of field blanks, which travelled to each site in a separate container to the waterdeployed POCIS. The field blanks were exposed to the air at each sample site during the deployment and retrieval of the water-based POCIS. Fabrication blanks were also tested by storing manufactured POCIS in a sealed container, which did not leave the laboratory. Both field and fabrication blanks were analysed using the same methods as the waterbased POCIS samples.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Results were produced from both passive samplers and one-litre grab samples for all four sites. None of the chemicals listed in Table 1 was detected in the grab samples. This result was expected due to the relatively low concentration of micropollutants. The passive samplers were analysed for two chemical analysis groups: pharmaceuticals/personal care products and steroids – a total of 45 chemicals. The passive sampler results indicated the presence of 13 micropollutants across the four sites:

• Carbamazepine (epilepsy treatment drug) • Clarithromycin (antibiotic) • Clindamycin (antibiotic) • Diazepam (mood-altering drug also known as valium) • Estrone (female hormone) • Ifosfamide (cancer treatment drug) • Ketoprofen (anti-inflammatory) • Metoprolol (heart disease medication – beta blocker) • Paracetamol (pain reliever) • Roxithromycin (antibiotic) • Tolefanamic acid (migraine drug) The results were converted to a mass of chemical per POCIS. These results were only able to provide a confirmation of the presence or absence of the analysed chemicals. The amount of chemical detected on a POCIS is a function of its uptake rate (known as the sampling rate Rs (litres/day)). Using this sampling rate, an estimation of the time-weighted averages of pollutant concentrations within the waterways can be made. The sampling rate has been published in the literature for some chemicals. Further work is being undertaken to determine the sampling rate for a range of chemicals detected in the ACT.

Recent studies have shown that micropollutants can have a chronic ecological impact, even at very low concentrations, due to continuous exposure (Lazano et al., 2012; Vajda et al., 2011). With their ability to collect information Table 1. List of micropollutants analysed from passive and grab samples. on compounds that Chemical Group Chemical would otherwise be 1,7-Dimethylxanthine, Azithromycin, Bezafibrate, Caffeine, at concentrations Carbamazepine, Chloramphenicol, Chlorophene, Clofibric acid, below detection, Ciprofloxacin, Clarithromycin, Clindamycin, Coumarin, Diazepam, passive samplers Pharmaceuticals and Diclofenac, Enrofloxacin, Erythromycin, Gemfibrozil, Ibuprofen, Ifosfamide, may have a role in Personal Care Products Indomethacin, Ketoprofen, Lincomycin, Methotrexate, Metoprolol, future water quality Nalidixic acid, Norfloxacin, Paracetamol, Roxithromycin, Sulfadimethoxine, monitoring programs Sulfamethazine, Sulfamethizole, Sulfamethoxazole, Tolfenamic acid, to assist regulators Trimethoprim, Tylosin, Tolfenamic acid, Triclosan and managers to target Equilenin, Equilin, 17α-Estradiol, 17β-Estradiol, Estriol, Estrone, specific pollutants and Steroids 17α-Ethynyl estradiol or classes of compounds.



Technical Features CONCLUSION This project undertook to detect the presence of micropollutants across four different sites within the waterways of the Australian Capital Territory. Micropollutants typically occur at very low concentrations and normal analysis (i.e. a one-litre water grab sample) is not enough to detect the presence of the chemicals with even the most sensitive analysis equipment. Passive samplers were installed at the four sites and remained in situ for 40 days, accumulating micropollutants onto the absorbent phase of the samplers. Care was taken in the manufacture and transport of the samplers to minimise the risk of contamination. Field and fabrication blanks were included within the analysis to provide confidence to the results. Analysis was undertaken of the passive samplers from the four sites using liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/ MS MS). Out of 45 tested micropollutants (in the categories of pharmaceuticals/ personal care products and steroids), 13 were found to be present including antibiotics, caffeine, hormones, an epilepsy treatment drug, valium, beta blockers, a migraine treatment drug and cancer treatment drugs.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This research was conducted with funding from ACTEW Water’s Applied Research and Development program.

THE AUTHORS James Gourley (email: is an Environmental Engineer with a keen interest in providing sustainable solutions to a broad range of environmental issues.

Jim Doyle (email: Jim.Doyle@alsglobal. com) is a Principal Chemist with ALS with an extensive background in commercial and scientific applications of environmental organic chemistry. Mathew Fordham (email: Mathew.Fordham@ is a Chemist with ALS Environmental Division – Water Resources Group and has over 15 years’ experience in environmental applications. Dr Chris Hepplewhite is the Water Quality and Research and Development Manager for ACTEW Water in Canberra.

REFERENCES Alvarez DA (2010): Guidelines for the Use of the Semi-Permeable Membrane Device (SPMD) and the Polar Organic Chemical Integrative Sampler (POCIS) in Environmental Monitoring Studies: US Geological Survey, Techniques and Methods 1 – D4, 28 p. Bopp S, Weiss H & Schirmer K (2005): TimeIntegrated Monitoring of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Groundwater Using the Ceramic Dosimeter Passive Sampling Device. Journal of Chromatography A, 1072, 1, pp 137–147. Bueno, MJM, Hernando MD, Agüera A & Fernández-Alba AR (2009): Application of Passive Sampling Devices for Screening MicroPollutants in Marine Aquaculture Using LC-MS/ MS. Talanta, 77, pp 1518–1527. Foulsham G, Nice HE, Fisher S, Mueller J, Bartkow M & Komorova T (2009): A Baseline Study of Organic Contaminants in the Swan and Canning Catchment Drainage System Using Passive Sampling Devices. Water Science Technical Series Report No 5, Department of Water, Western Australia. Hyne RV & Aistrope M (2006): Development of a Passive Sampler Device for Polar Pesticides. Australian Government – Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation. RIRDC Publication No 06/009. Jones-Lepp TL, Alvarez DA, Petty JD & Huckins JN (2004): Polar Organic Chemical Integrative Sampling (POCIS) and LC-ES/ITMS for Assessing Selected Prescription and Illicit Drugs in Treated Sewage Effluents. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 47, pp 427–439. Kingston JK, Greenwood R, Mills GA, Morrison GM & BL Persson (2000): Development of a Novel Passive Sampling System for the Time Averaged Measurement of a Range of Organic

Pollutants in Aquatic Environments. Journal of Environmental Monitoring, 2, 5, pp 487–495. Lazano N, Rice CP, Pagano J, Zintek L, Barber LB, Murphy EW, Nettesheim T, Minarik T & Schoenfuss HL (2012): Concentration of Organic Contaminants in Fish and their Biological Effects in a Wastewater-Dominated Urban Stream. Science of The Total Environment, 420, 15, pp 191–201. Li H, Helm PA & Metcalfe CD (2010): Sampling in the Great Lakes for Pharmaceuticals, Personal Care Products, and Endocrine-Disrupting Substances Using the Passive Polar Organic Chemical Integrative Sampler. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 29, pp 751–762. Li H, Helm PA, Paterson G & Metcalfe CD (2011): The Effects of Dissolved Organic Matter and pH on Sampling Rates for Polar Organic Chemical Integrative Samplers (POCIS). Chemosphere, 83, pp 271–280. MacLeod SL, McClure EL & Wong CS (2007): Laboratory Calibration and Field Deployment of the Polar Organic Chemical Integrative Sampler for Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in Wastewater and Surface Water. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 26, pp 2517–2529. McCarthy KA, Alvarez D, Anderson CW, Cranor WL, Perkins SD & Schroeder V (2009): Evaluation of Passive Samplers for Long-Term Monitoring of Organic Compounds in the Untreated Drinking Water Supply for the City of Eugene, Oregon, September–October 2007: US Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2009–5178, 20 p. Muchal M (2000): Applications of Solvent Filled Polyethylene Bags as Passive Samplers of Pesticides in Rivers. Australasian Journal of Ecotoxicology, Vol 5, pp 141–148. O’Hara Susan (Thesis) (2009): Silicone Rubber Passive Samplers for Water Quality Monitoring of Persistent Organic Pollutants in the Marine Environment. Masters. Paper 47. Dublin Institute of Technology. Reef & Rainforest Research Centre Ltd (2010): Reef Rescue Marine Monitoring Program: Quality Assurance/Quality Control Methods and Procedures. Report prepared for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Reef & Rainforest Research Centre Ltd, Cairns (85 pp). Tan BLL (2006): Chemical and Biological Analyses of Selected Endocrine Disruptors in Wastewater Treatment Plants in South-East Queensland, Australia. PhD thesis. Australian School of Environmental Studies. Griffith University. Queensland, Australia. Vajda AM, Barber LB, Gray JL, Lopez EM, Bolden AM, Schoenfuss HL & Norris DO (2011): Demasculinisation of Male Fish by Wastewater Treatment Plant Effluent. Aquatic Toxicology, 103, 3-4, pp 213-221. Vrana B, Paschke A & Popp P (2006): Calibration and Field Performance of Membrane-Enclosed Sorptive Coating for Integrative Passive Sampling of Persistent Organic Pollutants in Water. Environmental Pollution, 144, 1, pp 296–307



The presence of these chemicals on the passive samplers can be converted to time-weighted average water concentrations using a factor known as the sampling rate (Rs). Determining Rs for all of the listed chemicals is the subject of further research. With increasing scientific and regulatory focus on the potential ecological impacts of compounds that may be biologically active, even at concentrations normally below detection limits, passive samplers could have a role in many future water quality monitoring programs.

Patrick Maiden (email: Patrick.maiden@ghd. com) is a Principal Aquatic Ecologist at GHD, providing innovation projects and technical services in the water and environment industries.


Technical Features

ALGAL BLOOMS, ESTUARINE HEALTH AND SUSTAINABLE COASTAL DEVELOPMENT IN AUSTRALIA Why a comprehensive policy document on eutrophication and bio-monitoring programs are urgently needed JA Phillips

ABSTRACT Recent scientific advances have emphasised that anthropogenic nutrient enrichment and algal biomass estimates are not good predictors of eutrophication, a serious problem affecting estuaries worldwide. Rather, an understanding of undesirable disturbance to the balance of organisms in the ecosystem provides a more accurate diagnosis. Marked shifts in algal species composition and abundance progressively occur with increasing nutrient enrichment and the consequent environmental degradation caused by large amounts of algal bloom-generated organic matter. These shifts, based on differing eco-physiological responses of algal species to nutrient enrichment, provide an effective tool for assessing risks and impacts of eutrophication. Estuarine monitoring programs are currently being developed in which the biotic indices derived from algal community structure are supported by physico-chemical indices. A comprehensive policy document on eutrophication, based on current rigorous science, and bio-monitoring programs are both urgently needed for assessments of estuarine health and the sustainability of coastal development.


Keywords: algal blooms, estuarine health, sustainable development, eutrophication, phytoplankton, community structure.

INTRODUCTION Extensive coastal development driven by the rapidly expanding human population has already transformed large sections of the east Australian coastal zone (e.g. the Sydney metropolitan area and southern Queensland) into urban areas. This demographic trend, which will result


in the inevitable loss or degradation of natural ecosystems, is expected to continue, with projections in the 2006 Australia State of the Environment report of the urbanisation of 42.3% of the coastal zone between Noosa and Nowra by 2050. Although urbanisation presents the strong potential for pollution of many different kinds, the most serious pollution problem impacting estuaries worldwide is excessive nutrient enrichment from anthropogenic sources. As naturally highly productive ecosystems, estuaries are particularly vulnerable to increased nutrient loading. These ‘nutrient sinks’ accumulate and retain nutrients by flocculating, adsorbing and sedimenting 90% of the nutrients in particulate organic matter during the mixing of fresh and salt water (Levin et al., 2001). Increased nutrient loading stimulates the growth of some phytoplankton and macro-algal species and potentially leads to the formation of algal blooms. Prolonged nutrient enrichment has fuelled decadal-long algal blooms that have significantly damaged many estuarine systems in Europe (e.g. the Baltic Sea), North America (Chesapeake Bay) and Australia (Peel Harvey Inlet, WA, McComb and Lukatelich, 1995; and the Gippsland Lakes, Victoria, Cook and Holland, 2012).

DEFINING EUTROPHICATION Until the 1990s, eutrophication was considered to be an enrichment process in which excessive nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) loading into aquatic ecosystems caused a marked decline in water quality. Estuarine monitoring programs have traditionally measured physical and chemical factors, with water column nutrient (particularly

dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) and dissolved inorganic phosphorus (DIP)) levels and Chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) concentrations playing key roles in determining water quality. These two parameters are now known to be poor predictors of the risk of algal blooms, evident from studies of 51 estuaries where only 36% of the variance in phytoplankton Chl-a correlated to the N loading rate (Borum, 1996; Cloern, 2001). The simple nutrient loading-increased algal growth model fails to address the variability in, and complex responses to, nutrient-loading characteristic of estuarine ecosystems. Sampling frequency (e.g. once a month) providing periodic ‘snapshot’ measures of DIN and DIP may fail to detect the temporal and spatial complexity of nutrient availability in estuaries, where nutrients are often delivered in pulses and during non-sampling periods. Many phytoplankton and macroalgal species experiencing these varying nutrient levels often exhibit an asynchrony between external nutrient supply and growth rate. They avoid nutrient limitation by absorbing and storing nutrients during high ambient nutrient conditions for future growth during favourable (often seasonal) environmental conditions (Fujita, 1985; Smayda, 1997b). Furthermore, bloom species exhibit rapid nutrient uptake rates and tight nutrient cycling, often resulting in low water-column nutrient levels surrounding the bloom (Lapointe and O’Connell, 1989; Schindler and Vallentyne, 2008). Chl-a concentration may be low when nutrient concentrations are high due to light limitation of photosynthesis owing to turbid water and/or short water residence times, which quickly remove the algal biomass from the estuary. As well, Chl-a


Technical Features with the bloom species (Smayda, 1997a). Given these advances in our scientific understanding of eutrophication, tools that more accurately monitor estuarine health and the risk of algal blooms need to be developed for the purposes of effective environmental management.

Chl-a content varies within species with physiological state and usually increases in low light regimes and among the great diversity of algal species, which have marked differences in cell size, chloroplast size and Chl-a content. For example, among the algae, Chl-a concentration is higher in large cells with large chloroplasts containing high levels of Chl-a compared to large cells with small chloroplasts containing low levels of Chl-a. As well, intense grazing pressure on phytoplankton communities can reduce Chl-a concentration.

Recent definitions of eutrophication emphasise that the excessive nutrient enrichment originates from anthropogenic sources and that the consequent accelerated growth of algae produces an undesirable disturbance to the balance of organisms in an ecosystem and the quality of the water concerned (OSPAR, 2003).

Furthermore, it is important to note that nutrient enrichment and increased algal growth are not harmful if the increased primary production flows through food webs, including food webs supporting fisheries production. However, algal species differ in their edibility and, therefore, the risk and trophic consequences of blooms vary

‘Undesirable disturbance’ is defined as a perturbation that degrades the health or threatens the sustainable human use of aquatic ecosystems. Thus, nutrient enrichment is the necessary precursor, but is no longer the only parameter used to diagnose eutrophication. Similarly, elevated biomass is not evidence of undesirable disturbance and may often occur naturally (e.g. spring phytoplankton blooms in temperate seas in response to naturally high nutrient levels and increasing temperature, light intensity and day length) without

causing detrimental effects to natural ecosystems. Rather, scientific concern has shifted to the potential impact that increased algal biomass has on ecosystem structure and function. Algal blooms are the culmination of many changes to the balance of organisms in an ecosystem and represent a radical change in the nature of the ecosystem, prematurely ending the life span of a lower nutrient system while beginning the life span of a more nutrient-enriched system (Costanza and Mageau, 1999).

DEFINING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT Sustainability is supposed to underpin human interactions with natural ecosystems. Although the Council of Australian Governments (CoAG) adopted the ‘National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development’ in 1992, this commitment has not prevented the continued coastal degradation documented in four (1996, 2001, 2006 and 2011) successive Australian State of the Environment reports. Unfortunately, lack of progress on instigating sustainable development practices to meet targets agreed upon at



Figure 1. Bulldozers removing a stranded bloom of the brown macro-alga Hincksia sordida from Main Beach, Noosa, in 2005.


concentration is a proximate estimate of phytoplankton community biomass, which incorrectly assumes that all phytoplankton species are physiologically equivalent and that this parameter adequately measures the behaviour of the dominant species (Smayda, 1997a, b; Cloern, 2001).


Technical Features Self-perpetuating blooms are fuelled at least partially by nutrients in the sedimented organic matter from previous algal blooms. Recurrent blooms of both toxic and non-toxic species are potentially harmful, causing environmental degradation, loss of biodiversity, disruption to estuarine food webs and fish, and invertebrate kills from hypoxia or anoxia. Persistent algal blooms potentially harm tourism and commercial fisheries, restrict recreational use of estuaries (beach closures, boating and fishing exclusions) and cause closure of aquaculture facilities, all threatening the sustainable human use of estuaries.

Figure 2. Microscope image of Hincksia sordida. the UN Conference on the Environment and Development in 1992 (the first Earth Summit) is a worldwide problem (Butchart et al., 2010; Veitch et al., 2012). At this critical time in the Earth’s history, when humanity must choose between a utopian or dystopian future, the 2012 Rio+20 Summit failed to initiate the processes where all countries commit to sustainable development and the ‘greening’ of their economic systems.


There is a plethora of definitions for the term ‘sustainable development’, but few definitions give clear guidance for the purposes of environmental management. CoAG defined sustainable development as ‘the pattern of activity which meets the needs of this generation without reducing the opportunities available to future generations’. Biologists link sustainable development to ecosystem health, the latter defined as the ability of an ecosystem to maintain its structure (organisation = species diversity and degree of trophic exchange) and function (vigour = primary production, metabolism) in the face of external stress (resilience) (Costanza and Mageau, 1999; Reynolds, 2002). Resilience is a system’s ability to maintain its vigour and organisation in the presence of stress, although this term is commonly used as the time taken for a system to recover from stress and magnitude of the stress from which the system can recover. This gives us a clear working definition of sustainable development applicable to estuarine management.


IMPACTS OF ALGAL BLOOMS Tracking the progressive changes in algal species composition and abundance provides valuable tools for assessing the impact of eutrophication on estuarine ecosystem structure and function. With increasing nutrient enrichment, slowgrowing algal species sensitive to higher nutrient conditions are progressively replaced, initially by generalist algal species and then by fast-growing bloom-forming species (Borum, 1996) that are often not readily consumed by herbivores, attributes that enable bloom species to attain very large population sizes. Massive, self-perpetuating blooms are usually overwhelmingly dominated, usually by one, or, less frequently, a few algal species tolerant of the harsh environmental conditions generated by the bloom. The uncoupling between algal primary production and consumption results in an increased rate of supply of organic matter to aquatic ecosystems, with the progression from low to very high organic matter reflected in the classification of oligotrophic to mesotrophic to eutrophic to hypertrophic estuaries. Sedimentation of algal-derived organic matter stimulates microbial decomposition which consumes oxygen, leading to sediment and water column hypoxia or anoxia and the production of toxic substances (H2S, NH4) in the anaerobic conditions prevailing in eutrophic and hypertrophic estuaries.

Toxic species contain potent neurotoxins or hepatotoxins that have resulted in human mortalities and dermotoxins, but the effects of long-term low level exposure to chemical cocktails of aerosols (e.g. H2S, NH4, volatile organic compounds) being released from decaying algal blooms in residential areas remains poorly known, although respiratory (asthma-like symptoms) and skin irritations have been reported. Increased nutrient loading into estuaries initially causes subtle changes in the species composition and abundance of algal communities that are only detected by monitoring. Prolonged nutrient loading and increasing levels of organic matter favour the development of algal blooms which, at first, usually occur seasonally, but later may persist throughout the year for many years. Persistent algal blooms are difficult and expensive problems to remedy, if they can be remedied, compared to simple less costly prevention based on sustainable development. Mitigation measures (removing macroalgal blooms off beaches, filtering of water or chemical treatments for phytoplankton blooms) treat the symptom (excessive algal biomass) and not the cause (nutrient enrichment) and, thus, are often unsuccessful and almost always expensive, with the cost increasing over decades as the blooms fuelled by high nutrient loading continue unabated. Hence, proactive management is needed, not only to reduce nutrient inputs into estuaries, but also to instigate monitoring of algal communities to identify the early warning changes in the estuarine environment before the estuary becomes eutrophic, to assess estuarine health and to evaluate when management is successful in reducing the abundance of bloom species.


Technical Features BIOMONITORING AND ESTUARINE HEALTH Estuarine monitoring programs based on the structure of ecosystems and supported by selected physicochemical parameters are also currently being developed in the United States and Europe. American and European programs (e.g. Lacouture et al., 2006; Devlin et al., 2007), which benefit from decades of quantitative data on the structure of algal communities, use ‘naturalness’ as the comparator against which deviations in the physical, chemical and biological parameters of the environment caused by human activities or natural environmental cycles are quantified. The European Union Water Framework Directive (EU WDF) classifies the ecological health of estuaries on a scale of ‘high’, ‘good’, ‘moderate’, ‘poor’ or ‘bad’ status and aims to have all estuaries in the EU with ‘good’ ecological health status by 2015. The WDF measures the deviation from reference (or ‘high’) status of natural or least-impaired estuaries that experience minimal or no human impact, ranging through to ‘poor’ status of estuaries severely impacted by the human race. Considerable differences between the algal flora and environmental factors ensure that bio-monitoring programs developed for the cool temperate northern hemisphere have limited use for assessing the ecological health of Australian estuaries. For example, the WFD indices use some indicator organisms that are not recorded in Australian estuaries; the diatom:dinoflagellate ratio when our estuaries are usually dominated by diatoms only or by diatoms and cryptophytes; and winter watercolumn DIN levels and summer Chl-a concentrations as annual maxima when algal growth occurs throughout the year in most Australian estuaries.

Algae possess many attributes useful for the purposes of environmental management. They respond quickly to nutrient enrichment. Phytoplankton with short generation times (measured in

days), are the first response organisms to nutrient enrichment. Nutrient enrichment stimulates fast-growing macro-algal species to double their biomass in weeks. Both phytoplankton and macro-algal species provide a continuous sample of the surrounding water that better reflects the more significant long-term environmental changes, rather than small short-term changes in water quality detected by sampling only physicochemical parameters. In addition, bio-monitoring samples all environmental factors acting on the biota, not just the few physico-chemical factors being monitored. Of great importance for the development of biotic indices is the enormous diversity of algal species that vary greatly in their ecological and physiological responses to nutrient enrichment (Smayda, 1997b). These essential species-level data provide effective management tools for assessing estuarine health. Australian estuarine phytoplankton species belong to four of the six kingdoms of life (Kingdoms Protozoa, Plantae, Chromista, Bacteria) and at least 10 phyla (Bacillariophyta (diatoms), Dinophyta, Cryptophyta, Chrysophyta, Chlorophyta, Euglenophyta, Prasinophyta, Eustigmatophyta, Raphidophyta, Cyanobacteria). Estuarine macro-algae belong to the Kingdoms Plantae, Chromista and Bacteria and four phyla (Chlorophyta, Phaeophyta,

Rhodophyta, Cyanobacteria). Slowgrowing algal species with low nutrient uptake rates inhabit estuaries with ‘high’ health status. Generalist algal species with high nutrient uptake rates driving high growth rates become abundant with increasing nutrient enrichment. Persistent blooms that discolour the water (phytoplankton blooms) or form drifting masses (macroalgal blooms) may be endpoint indicators of degraded environments that have become highly selective for a few species. These species become the unchallenged dominants by virtue of their specialist adaptations to tolerate the harsh bloom conditions (e.g. very low light, low concentrations of C and bioavailable P, anoxia), which are beyond the survival limits of most algal species (Reynolds, 2002). The brown macro-alga Hincksia sordida, the green macro-alga Ulva paradoxa, the green unicellular picoplanktonic Nannochloris sp. and the cyanobacterial unicellular picoplanktonic Synechocystis sp. have formed largely mono-specific blooms in subtropical estuaries in Queensland (Phillips, 2006; Phillips and Moore, 2011; J Phillips pers. obs.). Estuarine algal blooms are expected to worsen on the Australian east coast with continued population growth and concomitant environmental degradation.



Biotic indices based on the structure of macroalgal and phytoplankton communities and supported by physicochemical indices are currently being developed for assessing ecological health of estuaries and the sustainability of coastal development in Australia.

Figure 3. Microscope image of estuarine phytoplankton bloom.


Technical Features Coastal development is clearly not ‘sustainable’ if Australian estuaries are experiencing algal blooms of increasing duration and frequency fuelled by nutrients from anthropogenic sources. These algal blooms are the result of the mismanagement of the catchment and the aquatic ecosystems associated with the catchment. Estuarine eutrophication is part of a broader syndrome of overuse and pollution of the Earth’s resources, which has dramatically accelerated over the past 200 years. This period is called the Anthropocene, the human-driven geologic age of the planet. Humans are changing Nature, the Earth’s life support system on which the human race relies for its very existence. The time to make the policy and social changes to protect Nature and ensure the survival of the human race is now. Detection and assessment of nutrient enrichment has important environmental and socio-economic implications for the management and conservation of coastal waters. Effective management to mitigate or eliminate estuarine algal blooms in Australia should focus both on compiling a comprehensive policy document for the management of eutrophication and on instigating bio-monitoring programs to determine estuarine health, the risk of algal blooms and whether coastal development is sustainable.


Data on the eco-physiology of algal species should be given prominence in the policy document, as these data are crucial for informed environmental management. The policy document should be available to all levels (Federal, State, Local) of government to enable policy makers and environmental managers to make sound coordinated decisions for estuarine management. We need to improve current estuarine environmental value objectives, which are remarkably deficient in biological data, by incorporating recommendations of the proposed policy document into existing management documents. For example, many algal species bloom in Australian estuaries, but only Lyngbya majuscula of the four species listed in the 2008 NHMRC Guidelines for Managing Risks in Recreational Water, a document widely used by local government for estuarine management, have bloomed in our estuaries. Of the other three species, Karenia brevis is endemic to the Gulf of


Mexico (Hallegraeff, 2010), Pfiesteria piscicida is rare and probably introduced in ballast water into Australia where, until now, it has presumably failed to establish (Park et al., 2007a), and P. shumwayae has not been detected in southern Australian estuaries (Park et al., 2007b). Given the human impact already apparent on estuaries, bio-monitoring programs are urgently required to assess ecological health of Australian estuaries and detect the changes in estuarine algal community structure before algal blooms cause massive environmental degradation. The old adage is true – what we monitor, we manage, but this environmental management must be based on currently accepted rigorous science. The human race can no longer afford to accept environmental management that continues to deplete natural resources at unsustainable rates to undermine our natural asset base.

THE AUTHOR Dr Julie Phillips (email: au) is an algal specialist with over 20 years’ experience undertaking research projects at Australian universities. She is currently an environmental consultant for local and state governments and private industry organisations.

REFERENCES Borum J (1996): Shallow Waters and Land/Sea Boundaries. In: Eutrophication in Coastal Marine Ecosystems. Jorgensen BB & Richardson K (eds). American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC. pp 179–203. Butchart SHM [& 44 others] (2010): Global Biodiversity: Indicators of Recent Declines. Science, 328, pp 1164–1168.

Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 92, pp 283–301. Hallegraeff GM (2010): Ocean Climate Change, Phytoplankton Community Responses, and Harmful Algal Blooms: A Formidable Predictive Challenge. Journal of Phycology, 46, pp 220–235. Lacouture RV, Johnson JM, Buchanan C & Marshall HG (2006): Phytoplankton Index of Biotic Integrity for Chesapeake Bay and its Tidal Tributaries. Estuaries & Coasts, 29, pp 598–616. Lapointe BE & O’Connell J (1989): NutrientEnhanced Growth of Cladophora prolifera in Harrington Sound, Bermuda: Eutrophication of a Confined, Phosphorus-Limited Marine Ecosystem. Estuarine, Coastal & Shelf Science, 28, pp 347–360. Levin LA [& 12 others] (2001): The Function of Marine Critical Zones and the Importance of Sediment Biodiversity. Ecosystems, 4, pp 430–451. OSPAR (2003): Eutrophication Strategy. In: 2003 Strategies of the OSPAR Commission for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (2003-21). OSPAR Secretariat, London, UK. Park T-G, Bolch CJS & Hallegraeff GM (2007a): Morphological and Molecular Genetic Characterisation of Cryptoperidiniopsis brodyi (Dinophyceae) from Australia-wide Isolates. Harmful Algae, 6, pp 718–733. Park T-G, Desalas MF, Bolch CJS & Hallegraeff GM (2007b): Development of Real-Time PCR Probe for Quantification of the Heterotrophic Dinoflagellate Cryptoperidiniopsis brodyi (Dinophyceae) in Environmental Samples. Applied & Environmental Microbiology, 73, pp 2552–2560. Phillips JA (2006): Drifting Blooms of the Endemic Filamentous Brown Alga Hincksia sordida at Noosa on the Subtropical East Australian Coast. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 52, pp 962–968.

Cloern JE (2001): Our Evolving Conceptual Model of the Coastal Eutrophication Problem. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 210, pp 223–253.

Phillips JA & Moore K (2011): Coastal Algal Blooms of South East Queensland. A Field Guide. South East Queensland Healthy Waterways Partnership, Brisbane, Australia.

Cook PLM & Holland DP (2012): Long-term Nutrient Loads and Chlorophyll Dynamics in a Large Temperate Lagoon System Affected by Recurring Blooms of Cyanobacteria. Biogeochemistry, 107, pp 261–274.

Reynolds CS (2002): Resilience in Aquatic Ecosystems – Hysteresis, Homeostasis and Health. Aquatic Ecosystem Health and Management, 5, pp 3–7.

Costanza R & Mageau M (1999): What is a Healthy Ecosystem? Aquatic Ecology, 33, pp 105–115.

Smayda TJ (1997a): What is a Bloom? A Commentary. Limnology & Oceanography, 42, pp 1132–1136.

Devlin M, Best M, Coates D, Bresnan E, O’Boyle S, Park R, Silke J, Cusack C & Skeats J (2007): Establishing Boundary Classes for the Classification of UK Marine Waters Using Phytoplankton Communities. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 55, pp 91–103.

Smayda TJ (1997b): Harmful Algal Blooms: Their Ecophysiology and General Relevance to Phytoplankton Blooms in the Sea. Limnology & Oceanography, 42, pp 1132–1136.

Fujita RM (1985): The Role of Nitrogen Status in Regulating Transient Ammonium Uptake and Nitrogen Storage by Macroalgae. Journal of

Veitch L, Dulvy NK, Koldewey H, Lieberman S, Pauly D, Roberts CM, Rogers AD & Baillie JEM (2012): Avoiding Empty Ocean Commitments at Rio+20. Science, 336, pp 1383–1385.


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HDPE cast-in linings have been available on the Australian market for nearly 20 years. BluSeal AKS is now the market leader in this category. While distributor Bluey Technologies has taken a cautious approach to introducing this lining, there have been some impressive applications to date. Since their introduction, cast-in HDPE liners have been used on projects including the Adelaide Desalination Plant, Werribee Aqueduct and Eastern Treatment Plant in Melbourne.

Repeat clientele include Inghams, Tyson Foods, JB Swift, Nestle, Chevron and Anglo American. Repeat applications include washwater recycle, pond replacement, DAFF enhancement, backwash reclamation, clarifier polishing, resource recovery, sludge thickening, water re-use and membrane protection.

The primary concern for Bluey Technologies, according to Bluey’s Managing Director Daniel Bosco, “has been to ensure that all applications are supported by systematic installer training regimes and site quality processes to ensure a durable and cost-effective outcome for every project. Bluey Technologies supports each typical application with a warranty and a 100-year design-life statement of durability. We are determined to ensure that every application, once complete, will remain in place for life.”

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Bluey Technologies insists that AKS be installed only by trained and approved

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water Business where the product was grouted or concrete applied onto the surface of an existing structure. This represents an excellent solution for ageing underground water and wastewater assets.”

installers. The company has teamed up with Partec in Brisbane to offer a course in welding and repair of the HDPE lining. AKS installer Adrian Willingham of Willcen says, “The course is designed to ensure that, as an installer, I am aware of all the minimum welding requirements for the product. The course also covers important topics such as how to tension the AKS onto formwork and ensure that a flat finish is achieved.” Adrian is also eager to point out that “the quality systems set up for installation of AKS cover all aspects from receipt and handling of materials to installation, and also ongoing maintenance. During the installation, the focus is very much on the welded joints. Every metre of welded joint is tested by one of several methods available to the installer. Installation and welding of HDPE is covered extensively by both the Bluey installation guidelines and also European standards.” HDPE cast-in linings have been used on international projects such as the Deep Tunnel Sewer Scheme in Singapore and the STEP project in Abu Dhabi. These projects consist of many kilometres of deep underground sewer lined in HDPE protection liner. Peter Hardie, of AKS Lining Systems in South Africa, which manufactures the product for Bluey, claims that “AKS is not only suitable for new structures, where it has been used extensively in Australia. It is also suitable for applications in refurbishment and secondary applied linings. Millions of square metres have been applied in underground applications around the world,

Durability is always a primary consideration for both new and refurbished structures. In recent years, the expectations of asset owners have increased to a point where it is no longer acceptable for a coating to last only 30 to 50 years. Most specifiers are now looking for products that will last 100 years or more. Epoxy coatings, cementitious lining and other hybrid linings have struggled to handle the onerous demands of long-term durability in a harsh sewer environment. HDPE is one of the few products widely regarded by experts as being durable over such periods. Testing, in fact, supports an HDPE life expectancy in such environments of well over 100 years. From a contractor’s point of view, HDPE cast-in linings have been selected for their significant cost- and time-saving advantages compared to other systems. HDPE linings are applied at the time of concrete construction so that there is no need to wait 28 days as we do when applying a liquid coating. Steven Kotevich of John Holland notes that “when applying AKS to the structure, we don’t lose time waiting for the concrete to cure. We also avoid the usually painstaking task of having to prepare the concrete surfaces and ensure they are dry. This all saves precious time and cost at such a critical stage of our project.” AKS is the most widely used HDPE cast-in liner in Australia. Daniel Bosco says that “demand for the product has significantly exceeded our expectations and continues to grow each year. We have been market leaders in supplying cast-in liners for a number of years and it is due to the trust that people have in the product.” For more information about BluSeal AKS, please contact Bluey Technologies at

US PROJECT PROVIDING OPPORTUNITIES FOR AUSTRALIAN COMPANIES The US$34 billion Ichthys project is providing many opportunities for Australian companies across the country. The project is being developed by a Joint Venture between the INPEX group of companies, major partner TOTAL group companies and the Australian subsidiaries of Tokyo Gas, Osaka Gas, Chubu Electric Power and Toho Gas. Osmoflo, an Australian-owned desalination and water recycling company, is one such company that is now providing services to the project, through the assistance of ICN. Osmoflo was nominated through ICN’s vendor identification process for a work package to supply two water desalination plants (the plants), which will supply potable and process water for the project’s offshore facilities. Osmoflo went on to secure these contracts worth $15 million. “These were highly contestable packages and so they were great wins for Osmoflo”, said Marin Slunjski, National Manager Water Services, Osmoflo. “ICN has brought opportunities with the Ichthys project to our attention, and opened the door for us to access this work.” The plants will be installed on two offshore facilities currently being built in South Korea. The plants are being constructed at Osmoflo’s headquarters in South Australia and will be installed and commissioned before the facilities leave the fabrication yards. The project has committed to full, fair and reasonable opportunity for Australian industry to take part and has entered into a comprehensive Industry Participation Plan with the Australian and Northern Territory governments. “The Ichthys project is expected to run for at least 40 years so we have to have an efficient, transparent way of informing

september 2013 water


water Business potential suppliers of its requirements,” says Kevin Peters, CEO ICN Northern Territory. “And through our on-the-ground consultants and ICN Gateway, that’s what we’re delivering.” To support ICN, the Australian Government has provided funding through its Supplier Access to Major Projects (SAMP) program, which enables ICN to allocate sufficient resources to engage appropriately and service the Australian Industry Participation requirements for the project. Last year Osmoflo was awarded its first contract on the project to supply a membrane-based demineralisation plant. The plant will provide 1,565kL/d of high purity water to a power station that will deliver electricity to the onshore processing facilities at Blaydin Point. The resources supply chain crosses a multitude of sectors and represents an opportunity for many SMEs across Australia . ICN is Australia and New Zealand’s innovative industry matchmaker. If you’re a major project developer, ICN can put you in contact with the best suppliers. If you’re a supplier we will connect you with the best projects for your business. For more information on how ICN can help your business please go to: call your local ICN office on 1300 961 139.

water september 2013


energy management:

SCADA systems have been around for decades, and despite technology improvements in hardware and software, a large percentage of SCADA applications provide the same level of operational functionality today that they did from the beginning. From a control room perspective, the information acquired from control devices enables the operator to visualise what is happening in the field, and when things are not in order, enunciate alarms to elicit an appropriate response. Although data is acquired – perhaps even stored in a historian for the purpose of viewing trend information and reporting – it is rarely used in a meaningful, issue-changing way.

• Understanding your energy usage and costs for your water or wastewater operations can become a significant revenue stream back to the municipality. When you look at the industry, major cost factors are labour, energy and chemicals. Leveraging energy management solutions, we can track the consumption of electricity and chemicals through metering, then find ways to optimise operations. For example, would it be beneficial to understand how much water is pumped during peak energy times, and how to reduce to avoid excessive cost? None of these cost factors are expected to go down, so it is imperative to act quickly.

BeyondSCADA solutions can provide long-term value, and a tremendous return on investment for a municipality. Leveraging the existing SCADA framework, these solutions enable: Condition-based maintenance: • Easy to configure, powerful integration between the SCADA system and your asset management system enables the departure of “run to fail” as a maintenance strategy. Data collected from field devices track how many hours a pump has run, or how many times a valve has cycled. Using OEM recommendations, or base-lined historical data, a device can indicate a need for maintenance, automatically request a work order from your asset management system and notify maintenance personnel. Bi-directional communication enables operations to visualise equipment disposition and progress. Maintenance procedures can also be digitised and delivered electronically via Workflows to ensure proper execution.

Workforce mobility: • Stranded, or non-automated, assets represent a tremendous risk to municipal operations. Important data must be collected and analysed separate from the data collected by SCADA. With Workforce Mobility you can leverage the experience of your senior operators to create electronic rounds normally executed with clipboards. So as operators conduct their rounds, they are doing it with the best and most accurate routine available. The data collected is stored directly into the mobile device. Upon round completion, instead of turning in the clipboard and putting it on somebody’s desk, you are cradling the device, taking the results of the round and synchronising it with the data from your automated field devices. Any values collected that may deviate from normal are automatically evaluated and may trigger a maintenance request order or automatically generate an alarm within the system. process and management Workflows: • Workflows ensure standard responses to critical alarms and events. Many municipalities have workflows in place


water Business to guide the workforce, typically called Standard Operating Procedures. The problem is these procedures are usually paper documents stored in binders and rarely accessible when needed most. With a retiring workforce, situational awareness of these standards must be captured and transferred properly through training in order to prevent improper operation. In a BeyondSCADA solution, workflows monitor the real-time data transfer, looking for triggers. When your SCADA system detects that you may have a possible main break the last thing you want the operator to do is get up to find the right procedure, or to start calling people because they risk losing situational awareness. Automatic workflows can, based on this possible main break, send automatic notifications to the lab, to the police to shut down roads, and notify the utilities and maintenance crews. As the maintenance crew gets a notification, they have awareness to activate an alternate flow, close valves for a faulty line and there is collaboration with the lab to check for contamination. Throughout this workflow, if you had a new operator onstation: what level of confidence would we have on a new operator to be able to handle this sequence of events the right way to prevent a force main break? With a BeyondSCADA automated workflow, it is guaranteed, and your operator stays on-station and manages the situation while the workflow goes about doing everything within this routine to make sure that it is done effectively. You have predictive response, ensuring a more efficient workforce. You have workforce accountability. If something in the chain of workflows does not react in a timely manner, it can escalate up to a supervisor. Everything within the workflow procedure is reported in the event of an EPA or OSHA audit. These are challenging times, but technology is available that can help. In much the same way that technology has helped other industries, it can help the water and wastewater industry achieve significant operational improvements and cost reductions. SCADA systems have played an important role up to now, but they can do much more. It’s time the industry moved BeyondSCADA.

A BeyondSCADA solution: • Empowers your workforce with increased mobility, communication and intelligence; • Enforces operational standards with workflows and mobile, intelligent rounds; • Enables return on investment by reducing maintenance and energy costs; • Energises municipalities with collaborative data in one environment delivering one version of the truth; • Ensures consistent and accurate data to protect you against compliance concerns. As a leading software vendor with deep roots in the water and wastewater Industry, it is our obligation to present viable solutions to municipalities, addressing their major issues keeping them on mission. For more information please contact Cliff.

GET YOUR LEGAL ADVICE FROM AN INDUSTRY INSIDER Chris Lenz is a lawyer and chartered professional engineer with a passion for water and wastewater. It began in his earlier engineering days, supervising the construction of a mass concrete dam and a water pipeline in a remote location – then, designing a wastewater treatment plant, pump stations, carrying out flood studies and assisting with hydrological research. He then built subdivisions and water pipelines as a contractor. It’s experience that has given Chris an intimate understanding of the practical and commercial issues industry participants face every day. These days, as a lawyer with over 20 years of experience, Chris is still fulfilling his original intention of combining these two professions for the benefit of clients. He now heads Lenz Moreton, a specialist Engineering and Construction law firm providing innovative and effective legal solutions for clients involved in the development and maintenance of infrastructure. “With margins and time frames tighter than ever, those members of the engineering

and construction industry involved with infrastructure need to work more cooperatively to ensure the profitability of their business. Yet participants are so frequently in dispute, or at least at loggerheads about their respective rights and obligations,” Chris says. “Anecdotal evidence suggests that the economy is weakening, and our experience is that parties are even keener to avoid spending their dwindling dollars, or chase someone else for the payment of those dollars. “Our clients, who may be consulting engineers, suppliers or Tier 2 contractors, are being forced to use legal avenues to recover their money; and as is so often the case, the complex technical facts and the strict contractual terms that they have agreed to make recovery more difficult.” Chris Lenz brings his unique insight to these complex situations. With a solid grasp of the practical commercial and contractual issues, he has the know-how to help you avoid disputes as well as the skills to resolve them if they arise. “Our ability to understand the technical issues differentiates our firm from a lot of others in the marketplace. Getting advice before you sign a contract can help ensure your business is protected and set you up for success should a dispute arise. Our costeffective contract review service works on the basis that prevention is always better than cure. Investing a small amount up front can make a big difference to your business and has saved many of our clients from dealing with expensive and time-consuming disputes. “Over the last 18 months, the firm has been developing technical expertise in the important areas of water and wastewater treatment, as well as Coal Seam Gas water management. Having this knowledge enables Lenz Moreton to quickly grasp your commercial and technical issues in order to develop workable legal solutions to your problems. Our solicitors provide practical advice regarding: • Preparing, editing or reviewing contracts; • Addressing issues that arise during the administration of your contracted work;

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Water Business • Handling claims (including payment claims and schedules and subcontractor’s charges); • Adjudication and arbitration; • Resolving disputes through alternative dispute resolution and litigation. Our clients include: • Small and mid-tier construction companies; • Engineers and architects; • Suppliers of goods and services; • Specialist installers of equipment. To find out more please call 07 3220 0299 or visit

COST-EFFECTIVE SOLUTIONS FOR NETWORK EFFICIENCY Veolia Water has recently launched its Smart Water Services group. This autonomous and dedicated group offers a series of stand-alone services, designed to assist water authorities improve critical aspects of their operations with a particular focus on Non-Revenue Water (NRW) management, asset management, water traceability and smart networks. The Smart Water Services portfolio draws on Veolia Water’s diverse and global operational expertise. By working closely with our clients we can tailor operational and capital improvement programs by combining smart and well-proven tools. Our range of services includes: Aquadiag™ Aquadiag™ is a mobile water network diagnosis van designed and developed by Veolia Water. It is a non-disruptive, non-destructive and non-intrusive tool that can assess water quality and pipe conditions across the water network. Aquadiag™ is designed to quickly, accurately, comprehensively and conveniently measure water quality parameters, identify and understand potential issues and provide an accurate snapshot of the health of your network. Water supply remains uninterrupted and any portion of your system can be monitored as analysis is performed directly from network fire hydrants. Water Traceability To achieve full water traceability and continuous monitoring of the water quality in your distribution system, Veolia Water has developed an integrated approach. The approach is based on state-of-the-art

water september 2013

technologies including our multi-parameter probes called KAPTA 3000 that continuously record and transfer water quality data to a control system, with sophisticated tools for data review and analysis. The data can help you better understand your network behaviour, help you improve your services to customers, and alarms can be raised immediately reducing any sanitary risks to the community. As the condition of water meters deteriorates over time, leaks, backflow problems and general lack of accuracy can lead to higher quantities of non-revenue water. This means efficient metering is essential to the financial sustainability of any water authority. While meters are a relatively simple asset on their own, the meter fleet is a more complex infrastructure due to the large number and diversity of meters that need to be managed. Veolia Water has developed a unique approach to water meters management that goes beyond compliance to Australian standards and regulatory requirements. This empirical approach is supported by sophisticated statistical tools and a state-ofthe-art bench test. The methodology used is unique to the Australian water market, focused on providing a fresh perspective on clients’ issues, and has the potential to deliver increased revenue and optimised capital renewals. Veolia Water Meter Unit Veolia Water owns and operates its own NATA-accredited water meter laboratory, of which Veolia Water is appointed as an approving and verifying authority by the

National Measurement Institute (NMI). The laboratory is fully equipped to test the accuracy of all types of water meters, to repair damaged meters and calibrate new and in-service meters. Tests can be performed to comply with Australian Standards (AS 3565.1 and 3563.4), NMI (R49), WSAA Code of Practice or with client-specific requirements. Inflow and Infiltration (I&I) I&I can have a huge impact on both operational and capital expenses in the management of the wastewater cycle. Veolia Water has developed a comprehensive service and is a compelling single source supplier for I&I studies. This results in a combination of field data collection using velocity and height sensors located at critical areas of your sewerage system with the use of our in-house GesCIRA® software to map out and quantify I&I. This beginning-to-end solution sets Veolia Water aside as a partner of choice on the path towards “Smart Sewers”. Bathing water Veolia Water can provide a wide range of services from the one-hour response bacteriological analysis Coliplage® to the full scope of work required for continuously and proactively managing bathing water quality. This includes profiling marine currents and tides, catchment pollution and run-off analysis, regular water quality checks, communication with communities, remote access to bathing information via smart phones and much more. Please go to for more information.

Advertisers Index Acromet 16 Aquatec Maxcon 9 Baleen 7 Bintech 19 Bluey Technologies 62 Brown Brothers 96 DCM Process Control 26 Hach Pacific 21 ICN – International Capability Network 32 International Water Centre 95 Invensys 17 James Cummings 51 Lend Lease IFC & 1 Lenz Moreton Engineering & Construction 98

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Pentair 3 Piping & Automation Systems OBC Projex Group


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Solarwasser 99 Sydney Water


Tenix 22 Veolia 15 Water Infrastructure Group


Weidmuller 13 Xylem 25 Zetco IBC



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Water Journal September 2013  
Water Journal September 2013  

In this issue read our "My Point Of View" by Dr Peter Coombes, Chief Scientist at the Office Of Living Victoria, on their 14 Key Principles...