Melbourne Water Corporation

East Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne Water Corporation

East Melbourne, Australia
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Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: ENV.2009. | Award Amount: 10.66M | Year: 2010

IPCC climate change scenarios have a global perspective and need to be scaled down to the local level, where decision makers have to balance risks and investment costs. Very high investments might be a waste of money and too little investment could result in unacceptable risk for the local community. PREPARED is industry driven, 12 city utilities are involved in the project and the RDT carried out is based on the impacts of climate change the water supply and sanitation industry has identifed as a challenge for the years to come. The result of PREPARED will be an infrastructure for waste water, drinking water and storm water management that will not only be able better cope with new scenarios on climate change but that is also managed in a optimal way. We will have complexes monitoring and sensor systems, better integration and handling of complex data, better exploitation of existing infrastructures through improved real time control, new design concepts and guidelines for more flexible and more robust infrastructures. PREPARED will involve the local community in problem identification and in jointly finding acceptable system solutions, that are supported by all, through active learning processes. Activities and solutions in PREPARED will be based on a risk assessment and risk management approach for the whole urban water cycle, through the development of innovative Water Cycle Safety Plans. Other innovations are sensors and models that will enable faster and better actions on changes and new design rules for more resilient design. We will combine European knowledge with valuable knowledge from Australia and the USA, to make the European Water sector more competitive. This to enable our industrial partners to export the products developed in PREPARED to other regions of the world, thus contributing to the Lisbon Goals but also to the MDGs. To ensure this exploitation the PREPARED consortium consist of more than 50% industrial partners and is demand driven.

Humpage A.R.,Australian Water Quality Center | Froscio S.M.,Australian Water Quality Center | Lau H.-M.,Australian Water Quality Center | Murphy D.,Melbourne Water Corporation | Blackbeard J.,Melbourne Water Corporation
Water Research | Year: 2012

Rapid tests for the microcystin-type cyanobacterial toxins that are designed to be able to be used in the field have recently become available. The tests provide a semi-quantitative result over a relatively narrow concentration range (10-fold) and are available with detection limits relevant for drinking water and recreational water compliance testing (1. μg/L and 10. μg/L, respectively). The aim of this research was to assess the applicability of these tests for the determination of microcystin-related toxicity in treated effluent from the Western Treatment Plant and potable source water from Tarago Reservoir, both near Melbourne, Australia. Accuracy, precision, cross-reactivity, matrix effects and inter-operator variability were assessed. The claimed mLR concentration response range of the tests was confirmed within reasonable limits, although the false negative and false positive rates were significant for spike concentrations below 2.5. μg/L (Recreational Strip Test). Inter-operator variability was reasonably high (CV = 23%) and this was exacerbated by the use of untrained scorers. Contributing to this was significant inter-assay variability in test band intensity (CV = 28%). The strip tests responded to all 8 microcystin analogues tested and also to a mixture of another 7 analogues contained in a Certified Bloom Material. Cross-reactivity was always greater than 50%. Matrix effects due to the test waters or to cyanobacterial cell material were also relatively minor, being of the order of 2-fold at the maximum. Overall, these Strip Tests were found to be reliable for relatively rapid detection of microcystins around the upper limits of their response ranges, as recommended by the manufacturer. While the Recreational Water Strip test was less reliable in the lower ranges, it can be used in conjunction with the Drinking Water Strip test to reduce uncertainty around the 1. μg/L concentration. Despite limitations, both strip tests provide near real-time information which can assist with day to day operational decisions. When results indicate microcystin concentrations near compliance limits it is recommended that use of the test kits should be supported by accurate quantitative toxin testing together with traditional algal cell counts, and possibly emerging qPCR methods for species and toxin gene detection. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Koehler A.V.,University of Melbourne | Jex A.R.,University of Melbourne | Haydon S.R.,Melbourne Water Corporation | Stevens M.A.,Melbourne Water Corporation | And 2 more authors.
Biotechnology Advances | Year: 2014

Giardiasis is a gastrointestinal disease of humans and other animals caused by species of parasitic protists of the genus Giardia. This disease is transmitted mainly via the faecal-oral route (e.g., in water or food) and is of socioeconomic importance worldwide. The accurate detection and genetic characterisation of the different species and population variants (usually referred to as assemblages and/or sub-assemblages) of Giardia are central to understanding their transmission patterns and host spectra. The present article provides a background on Giardia and giardiasis, and reviews some key techniques employed for the identification and genetic characterisation of Giardia in biological samples, the diagnosis of infection and the analysis of genetic variation within and among species of Giardia. Advances in molecular techniques provide a solid basis for investigating the systematics, population genetics, ecology and epidemiology of Giardia species and genotypes as well as the prevention and control of giardiasis. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.

Smith H.G.,University of Melbourne | Sheridan G.J.,University of Melbourne | Lane P.N.J.,University of Melbourne | Nyman P.,University of Melbourne | Haydon S.,Melbourne Water Corporation
Journal of Hydrology | Year: 2011

Wildfires burn extensive forest areas around the world each year. In many locations, fire-prone forest catchments are utilised for the supply of potable water to small communities up to large cities. Following wildfire, increased erosion rates and changes to runoff generation and pollutant sources may greatly increase fluxes of sediment, nutrients and other water quality constituents, potentially contaminating water supplies. Most research to date has focused on suspended sediment exports and concentrations after wildfire. Reported first year post-fire suspended sediment exports varied from 0.017 to 50tha-1year-1 across a large range of catchment sizes (0.021-1655km2). This represented an estimated increase of 1-1459 times unburned exports. Maximum reported concentrations of total suspended solids in streams for the first year after fire ranged from 11 to ∼500,000mgL-1. Similarly, there was a large range in first year post-fire stream exports of total N (1.1-27kgha-1year-1) and total P (0.03-3.2kgha-1year-1), representing a multiple change of 0.3-431 times unburned, while NO3- exports of 0.04-13.0kgha-1year-1 (3-250 times unburned) have been reported. NO3-, NO2-, and NH3/NH4+ concentrations in streams and lakes or reservoirs may increase after wildfire but appear to present a generally low risk of exceeding drinking water guidelines. Few studies have examined post-fire exports of trace elements. The limited observations of trace element concentrations in streams after wildfire found high levels (well over guidelines) of Fe, Mn, As, Cr, Al, Ba, and Pb, which were associated with highly elevated sediment concentrations. In contrast, Cu, Zn, and Hg were below or only slightly above guideline values. Elevated Na+, Cl- and SO42- solute yields have been recorded soon after fire, while reports of concentrations of these constituents were mostly confined to coniferous forest areas in North America, where maximum sampled values were well below recommended limits. Likewise, reported wildfire effects on dissolved organic carbon were generally minor and elevated concentrations largely reflected background conditions. Available cyanide concentrations in small streams may approach levels of concern soon after fire, but increases are likely to be of short duration. Post-fire concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in streams have been found to increase but remained within the recommended limit. Large increases in exports and concentrations of some constituents after wildfire indicate the potential for impacts on water supply from forest catchments. In response, various water treatment measures may be required and in the absence of adequate treatment facilities or alternative sources, water supplies may be vulnerable to disruption. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Marshall S.,University of Melbourne | Pettigrove V.,Melbourne Water Corporation | Carew M.,University of Melbourne | Hoffmann A.,University of Melbourne
Environmental Pollution | Year: 2010

Several factors can contribute to the ecological degradation of stream catchments following urbanization, but it is often difficult to separate their relative importance. We isolated the impact of polluted sediment on the condition of an urban stream in Melbourne, Australia, using two complementary approaches. Using a rapid bioassessment approach, indices of stream condition were calculated based on macroinvertebrate field surveys. Urban stream reaches supported impoverished macroinvertebrate communities, and contained potentially toxic concentrations of heavy metals and hydrocarbons. Using a field microcosm approach, a bioassay was carried out to assess sediment pollution effects on native macroinvertebrates. Sediment from urban sites substantially altered the microcosm macroinvertebrate community, most likely due to elevated heavy metal and hydrocarbon concentrations. Macroinvertebrate surveys combined with a bioassay approach based on field microcosms can help isolate the effect of stream pollutants in degraded ecosystems. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Lomonte C.,University of Melbourne | Doronila A.I.,University of Melbourne | Gregory D.,Melbourne Water Corporation | Baker A.J.M.,University of Melbourne | Kolev S.D.,University of Melbourne
Journal of Hazardous Materials | Year: 2010

Mercury contaminated stockpiles of biosolids (3.5-8.4 mg kg-1 Hg) from Melbourne Water's Western Treatment Plant (MW-WTP) were investigated to evaluate the possibility for their phytoremediation. Nine plant species (Atriplex codonocarpa, Atriplex semibaccata, Austrodanthonia caespitosa, Brassica juncea, Brassica napus, Gypsophila paniculata, Sorghum bicolor, Themeda triandra and Trifolium subterraneum) were screened for phytoextraction potential in Hg-contaminated biosolids from MW-WTP. In addition, the same plant species were germinated and grown in two other substrates (i.e. potting mix and potting mix spiked with mercury(II)). Growth measurements and the mercury uptake for all three substrates were compared. Some plant species grown in potting mix spiked with mercury(II) grew more vigorously than in the other two substrates and showed higher levels of sulphur in their tissues. These results suggested that the mercury stress activated defence mechanisms and it was hypothesised that this was the likely reason for the enhanced production of sulphur compounds in the plant species studied which stimulated their growth. Some species did not grow in biosolids because of the combined effect of high mercury toxicity and high salt content. Atriplex conodocarpa and Australodanthonia caespitose proved to be the most suitable candidates for mercury phytoextraction because of their ability to translocate mercury from roots to the above-ground tissues. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Coleman R.A.,University of Melbourne | Coleman R.A.,Melbourne Water Corporation | Weeks A.R.,University of Melbourne | Hoffmann A.A.,University of Melbourne
Molecular Ecology | Year: 2013

Genetic markers are widely used to define and manage populations of threatened species based on the notion that populations with unique lineages of mtDNA and well-differentiated nuclear marker frequencies should be treated separately. However, a danger of this approach is that genetic uniqueness might be emphasized at the cost of genetic diversity, which is essential for adaptation and is potentially boosted by mixing geographically separate populations. Here, we re-explore the issue of defining management units, focussing on a detailed study of Galaxiella pusilla, a small freshwater fish of national conservation significance in Australia. Using a combination of microsatellite and mitochondrial markers, 51 populations across the species range were surveyed for genetic structure and diversity. We found an inverse relationship between genetic differentiation and genetic diversity, highlighting a long-term risk of deliberate isolation of G. pusilla populations based on protection of unique lineages. Instead, we adopt a method for identifying genetic management units that takes into consideration both uniqueness and genetic variation. This produced a management framework to guide future translocation and re-introduction efforts for G. pusilla, which contrasted to the framework based on a more traditional approach that may overlook important genetic variation in populations. © 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Ayres R.M.,University of Melbourne | Pettigrove V.J.,Melbourne Water Corporation | Hoffmann A.A.,University of Melbourne
Biological Invasions | Year: 2010

Eastern mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki) were introduced into Australia in 1925 and released to control mosquitoes. Gambusia holbrooki rapidly became invasive in recipient environments and now threaten native fauna. In this study, we used five polymorphic microsatellite loci and sequence from two mitochondrial genes, cytochrome b and cytochrome oxidase I, to evaluate genetic variation, colonisation and movement patterns of introduced G. holbrooki in the greater Melbourne area, and to assist in identifying the feasibility of local eradication. Microsatellite variation was consistently low within populations and there was evidence of bottleneck events for several populations. Populations displayed significant structuring associated with river basins rather than geographic distance, suggesting that habitat connectivity is important for dispersal. However, a few populations within river basins were more closely related to populations in other river basins than within their own basin, most likely reflecting a role of human-assisted dispersal in population establishment. Mitochondrial sequencing revealed only a single haplotype and suggested all populations were founded by individuals from a common source. These genetic data help delineate boundaries for local management strategies. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Koehler A.V.,University of Melbourne | Whipp M.J.,University of Melbourne | Haydon S.R.,Melbourne Water Corporation | Gasser R.B.,University of Melbourne
Parasites & vectors | Year: 2014

BACKGROUND: To date, Cryptosporidium cuniculus has been found exclusively in rabbits and humans. The present study provides the first published molecular evidence for C. cuniculus in an Australian human patient as well as a kangaroo.FINDINGS: Using PCR-based sequencing of regions in the actin, 60 kDa glycoprotein (gp60) and small subunit of ribosomal RNA (SSU) genes, we identified a new and unique C. cuniculus genotype (akin to VbA25) from a human, and C. cuniculus genotype VbA26 from an Eastern grey kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) in Australia.CONCLUSIONS: The characterisation of these genotypes raises questions as to their potential to infect humans and/or other animals in Australia, given that C. cuniculus has been reported to cause cryptosporidiosis outbreaks in Europe.

Tan K.S.,Melbourne Water Corporation | Rhodes B.G.,Melbourne Water Corporation
Australian Journal of Water Resources | Year: 2013

This paper describes an approach to estimate drought severity for drought response planning and urban water management considering the impacts of climate change and variability. Low flow frequency analysis was used to estimate drought severity (eg. 1-in-100-year average recurrence interval) of different drought durations from several months to years. Traditionally this was done using available historical streamflow record. However, recent research including the South Eastern Australian Climate Initiative has indicated that the prolonged drought experienced in southeastern Australia including Melbourne in the recent decade since 1997 has been unprecedented in historical context, and is potentially part of a long-term trend associated with global warming. This raises the issue of the practicality of the assumption of hydrologic stationarity. To account for the potential for more severe and frequent drought events, an adaptive approach is needed to adapt to the drier future in a changing and variable climate by considering experience from the recent 1997-2009 drought and the latest climate change projections. In this paper, drought severity for the Melbourne system is estimated based on historical streamflow data with monthly flow prior to 1997 adjusted using a flow duration curve decile method to reflect the recent dry conditions of 1997-2009. The approach is consistent with recommendations in the Victorian Guidelines for the Development of a Water Supply-Demand Strategy (DSE, 2011). The results indicate that drought severity and frequency increased by an order of magnitude under a changed climate based on a "return to dry" scenario. This shift in severity and frequency highlights the need for adaptive planning methods to address changes in hydrologic conditions under a variable and changing climate. However, it also raises many challenges for drought planning including uncertainties in climate change projections, attribution of recent drought to climate change and variability, and the appropriate hydro-climate baseline for applying climate change projections. © Institution of Engineers Australia, 2013.

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