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Hardisty P.E.,Level 7 Systems | Hardisty P.E.,University of Western Australia | Sivapalan M.,WorleyParsons EcoNomics | Humphries R.,Water Corporation of Western Australia
Journal of Environmental Management | Year: 2013

Options for treatment and discharge of wastewater in regional Western Australia (WA) are examined from the perspective of overall sustainability and social net benefit. Current practice in the state has typically involved a basic standard of treatment deemed to be protective of human health, followed by discharge to surface water bodies. Community and regulatory pressure to move to higher standards of treatment is based on the presumption that a higher standard of treatment is more protective of the environment and society, and thus is more sustainable. This analysis tests that hypothesis for Western Australian conditions. The merits of various wastewater treatment and discharge strategies are examined by quantifying financial costs (capital and operations), and by monetising the wider environmental and social costs and benefits of each option over an expanded planning horizon (30 years). Six technical treatment-disposal options were assessed at a test site, all of which met the fundamental criterion of protecting human health. From a financial perspective, the current business-as-usual option is preferred - it is the least cost solution. However, valuing externalities such as water, greenhouse gases, ecological impacts and community amenity, the status quo is revealed as sub-optimal. Advanced secondary treatment with stream disposal improves water quality and provides overall net benefit to society. All of the other options were net present value (NPV) negative. Sensitivity analysis shows that the favoured option outperforms all of the others under a wide range of financial and externality values and assumptions. Expanding the findings across the state reveals that moving from the identified socially optimal level of treatment to higher (tertiary) levels of treatment would result in a net loss to society equivalent to several hundred million dollars. In other words, everyone benefits from improving treatment to the optimum point. But society, the environment, and the Corporation are all worse off when treatment levels are pushed beyond what is economic and sustainable. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

PubMed | Water Corporation of Western Australia and Murdoch University
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Environmental science and pollution research international | Year: 2016

Biofilters are used for the conversion of odorous hydrogen sulphide to odourless sulphate in wastewater treatment plants under the right conditions of moisture and pH. One of the consequences of maintaining the suitable pH and moisture content is the production of large volumes of weakly acidic leachate. This paper presents a biofilter with a maximum H2S elimination capacity of 16.3gm(-3)h(-1) and removal efficiency greater than 95% which produces small volumes (1mL of solutionL(-1) of reactorday(-1)) of sulphuric acid with a concentration greater than 5.5M after 150days of continuous operation. The concentrated sulphuric acid was produced by intermittently trickling a minimum amount of nutrient solution down the upflow biofilter which created a moisture and pH gradient within the biofilter resulting in an environment at the top for the bacterial conversion of H2S, while sulphuric acid was accumulated at the base. Genetic diversity profiling of samples taken from different sections of the biofilter confirms that the upper sections of the biofilter had the best environment for the bacteria to convert H2S to sulphate. The formation of concentrated sulphuric acid presents an opportunity for the recovery of sulphur from the waste stream as a usable product.

Rodriguez C.,University of Western Australia | Rodriguez C.,Government of Western Australia | Linge K.,Curtin University Australia | Blair P.,Water Corporation of Western Australia | And 6 more authors.
Water Research | Year: 2012

Characterisation of the concentrations and potential health risks of chemicals in recycled water is important if this source of water is to be safely used to supplement drinking water sources. This research was conducted to: (i) determine the concentration of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in secondary treated effluent (STE) and, post-reverse osmosis (RO) treatment and to; (ii) assess the health risk associated with VOCs for indirect potable reuse (IPR). Samples were examined pre and post-RO in one full-scale and one pilot plant in Perth, Western Australia. Risk quotients (RQ) were estimated by expressing the maximum and median concentration as a function of the health value. Of 61 VOCs analysed over a period of three years, twenty one (21) were detected in STE, with 1,4-dichlorobenzene (94%); tetrachloroethene (88%); carbon disulfide (81%) and; chloromethane (58%) most commonly detected. Median concentrations for these compounds in STE ranged from 0.81 μg/L for 1,4-dichlorobenzene to 0.02 μg/L for carbon disulphide. After RO, twenty six (26) VOCs were detected, of which 1,4-dichlorobenzene (89%); acrylonitrile (83%) chloromethane (63%) and carbon disulfide (40%) were the more frequently detected. RQ(max) were all below health values in the STE and after RO. Median removal efficiency for RO was variable, ranging from -77% (dichlorodifluoromethane) to 91.2% (tetrachloroethene). The results indicate that despite the detection of VOCs in STE and after RO, their human health impact in IPR is negligible due to the low concentrations detected. The results indicate that 1,4-dichlorobenzene is a potential treatment chemical indicator for assessment of VOCs in IPR using RO treatment. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Marti C.L.,University of Western Australia | Antenucci J.P.,University of Western Australia | Luketina D.,Water Corporation of Western Australia | Okely P.,University of Western Australia | Imberger J.,University of Western Australia
Journal of Hydraulic Engineering | Year: 2010

Field experiments were conducted to investigate the near-field dilution characteristics of a hypersaline brine discharge into coastal waters via an offshore diffuser from a desalination plant. The aim was to determine the dilution of the negatively buoyant plume as it exited the diffuser under three different discharge Froude number regimes (one-third, two-thirds, and full-flow capacity) and to compare these measurements to scaling arguments derived from laboratory measurements. Equations based on the densimetric jet Froude number F, obtained from laboratory experiments, were found to adequately describe the dilution of the brine for cases when F>20. For F<20, no laboratory results exist and the dilution was found to be greater than that anticipated from an extrapolation of the laboratory results. © 2011 ASCE.

Bekele E.,CSIRO | Toze S.,CSIRO | Toze S.,University of Queensland | Patterson B.,CSIRO | And 2 more authors.
Water Research | Year: 2011

Secondary treated wastewater was infiltrated through a 9 m-thick calcareous vadose zone during a 39 month managed aquifer recharge (MAR) field trial to determine potential improvements in the recycled water quality. The water quality improvements of the recycled water were based on changes in the chemistry and microbiology of (i) the recycled water prior to infiltration relative to (ii) groundwater immediately down-gradient from the infiltration gallery. Changes in the average concentrations of several constituents in the recycled water were identified with reductions of 30% for phosphorous, 66% for fluoride, 62% for iron and 51% for total organic carbon when the secondary treated wastewater was infiltrated at an applied rate of 17.5 L per minute with a residence time of approximately four days in the vadose zone and less than two days in the aquifer. Reductions were also noted for oxazepam and temazepam among the pharmaceuticals tested and for a range of microbial pathogens, but reductions were harder to quantify as their magnitudes varied over time. Total nitrogen and carbamazepine persisted in groundwater down-gradient from the infiltration galleries. Infiltration does potentially offer a range of water quality improvements over direct injection to the water table without passage through the unsaturated zone; however, additional treatment options for the non-potable water may still need to be considered, depending on the receiving environment or the end use of the recovered water. © 2011.

PubMed | Water Corporation of Western Australia, University of Western Australia and CSIRO
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Environmental science & technology | Year: 2016

Free-living amoebae, such as Naegleria fowleri, Acanthamoeba spp., and Vermamoeba spp., have been identified as organisms of concern due to their role as hosts for pathogenic bacteria and as agents of human disease. In particular, N. fowleri is known to cause the disease primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) and can be found in drinking water systems in many countries. Understanding the temporal dynamics in relation to environmental and biological factors is vital for developing management tools for mitigating the risks of PAM. Characterizing drinking water systems in Western Australia with a combination of physical, chemical and biological measurements over the course of a year showed a close association of N. fowleri with free chlorine and distance from treatment over the course of a year. This information can be used to help design optimal management strategies for the control of N. fowleri in drinking-water-distribution systems.

PubMed | Water Corporation of Western Australia, University of Western Australia and CSIRO
Type: | Journal: Water research | Year: 2016

Global incidence of primary amoebic meningoencephalitis cases associated with domestic drinking water is increasing. The need for understanding disinfectant regimes capable of eliminating the causative microorganism, Naegleria fowleri, from bulk water and pipe wall biofilms is critical. This field study demonstrated the successful elimination of N.fowleri from the bulk water and pipe wall biofilm of a persistently colonised operational drinking water distribution system (DWDS), and the prevention of further re-colonisation. A new chlorination unit was installed along the pipe line to boost the free chlorine residual to combat the persistence of N.fowleri. Biofilm and bulk water were monitored prior to and after re-chlorination (RCl), pre-rechlorination (pre-RCl) and post-rechlorination (post-RCl), respectively, for one year. A constant free chlorine concentration of > 1mg/L resulted in the elimination of N.fowleri from both the bulk water and biofilm at the post-RCl site. Other amoeba species were detected during the first two months of chlorination, but all amoebae were eliminated from both the bulk water and biofilm at post-RCl after 60 days of chlorination with free chlorine concentrations > 1mg/L. In addition, a dynamic change in the biofilm community composition and a four log reduction in biofilm cell density occurred post-RCl. The pre-RCl site continued to be seasonally colonised by N.fowleri, but the constant free chlorine residual of > 1mg/L prevented N.fowleri from recolonising the bulk and pipe wall biofilm at the post-RCl site. To our knowledge, this is the first study to demonstrate successful removal of N.fowleri from both the bulk and pipe wall biofilm and prevention of re-colonisation of N.fowleri in an operational DWDS. The findings of this study are of importance to water utilities in addressing the presence of N.fowleri and other amoeba in susceptible DWDSs.

PubMed | Water Corporation of Western Australia, Curtin University Australia, University of Western Australia and CSIRO
Type: | Journal: Bioresource technology | Year: 2016

This study examined for the first time the use of bioelectrochemical systems (BES) to entrap, decompose and oxidise fresh algal biomass from an algae-laden effluent. The experimental process consisted of a photobioreactor for a continuous production of the algal-laden effluent, and a two-chamber BES equipped with anodic graphite granules and carbon-felt to physically remove and oxidise algal biomass from the influent. Results showed that the BES filter could retain ca. 90% of the suspended solids (SS) loaded. A coulombic efficiency (CE) of 36.6% (based on particulate chemical oxygen demand (PCOD) removed) was achieved, which was consistent with the highest CEs of BES studies (operated in microbial fuel cell mode (MFC)) that included additional pre-treatment steps for algae hydrolysis. Overall, this study suggests that a filter type BES anode can effectively entrap, decompose and in situ oxidise algae without the need for a separate pre-treatment step.

Pearce L.J.,Water Corporation of Western Australia
Proceedings of the 34th Hydrology and Water Resources Symposium, HWRS 2012 | Year: 2012

Usual flood estimation practice in Australia is to produce annual design floods based on assessment of annual flood peaks. Combining summer and winter flood frequency results to construct an overarching annual frequency curve can produce different results to the commonly adopted annual method. In south-west Western Australia flood events are strongly influenced by seasonality. This is a consequence of differing storm mechanisms and antecedent conditions of summer and winter events. Seasonal rainfall frequency distributions indicate most summer rainfalls dominate the low probability exceedance end of frequency curves. Equivalent flood frequency analysis shows similar tendencies, but with summer dictating at rarer probabilities than rainfall. The exceedance probability at which summer dominates is influenced by region, soil types, percentage clearing and impervious areas. This paper addresses the importance of seasonality in design flood estimation. © 2012 Engineers Australia.

PubMed | Water Corporation of Western Australia, University of Western Sydney and CSIRO
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2017

A Modified Robbins Device (MRD) was installed in a full-scale water distribution system to investigate biofouling and metal depositions on concrete, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and stainless steel surfaces. Bulk water monitoring and a KIWA monitor (with glass media) were used to offline monitor biofilm development on pipe wall surfaces. Results indicated that adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and metal concentrations on coupons increased with time. However, bacterial diversities decreased. There was a positive correlation between increase of ATP and metal deposition on pipe surfaces of stainless steel and HDPE and no correlation was observed on concrete and glass surfaces. The shared bacterial diversity between bulk water and MRD was less than 20% and the diversity shared between the MRD and KIWA monitor was only 10%. The bacterial diversity on biofilm of plumbing material of MRD however, did not show a significant difference suggesting a lack of influence from plumbing material during early stage of biofilm development.

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