From the CEO
I am pleased to welcome the newest directors to the VicWater Board; Ms Lucia Cade, Chair of Western Water and Ms Joan Liley, Chair of South Gippsland Water and the re-elected Board director; Mr Terry Burgi from Southern Rural Water. They join the existing members of the VicWater Board; Mr Paul Clark from Melbourne Water, Mr Peter Quinn from Goulburn Valley Water and our newly elected Chair Mr Doug Shirrefs from South East Water. VicWater continues to be led by a group of very experienced individuals from all sectors of the Victorian water industry.
I would also like to acknowledge and thank the outgoing Chair and Board director Mr Mark Lawlor from Goulburn Valley Water and Board director Ms Joanne Anderson from North East Water for the expertise that they brought to their time on the VicWater Board. Finally I would like to acknowledge Gail Morley, Chair of East Gippsland Water for successfully nominating for the VicWater Board this year.
On other matters, VicWater’s major event, our Annual Conference was held in September. This year’s theme was “Reframing the Future, Unlocking our Potential”, with the presenters exploring how water corporations can plan, adapt and innovate to meet the challenges of an ever changing business environment.
For the second year the Conference was fully booked; with the 197 delegates benefiting from the extremely strong program of presenters, presenters who inspired and challenged them to think critically about the issues presented. It is our intention each year to build a Conference program that is of the calibre that ensures the issues and elements raised add value to water corporation Board’s and Executives in their annual strategic planning process.
Special thanks to our sponsors for their continued support as it would not be possible to deliver this event at the level that we do without their support.
One of the significant internal undertakings that we have worked through this year has been to conduct a review of VicWater’s existing suite of task groups. The review has been the first in a number of years and was done to ensure that the task groups operate effectively, focus their efforts on key industry priority issues and work at a strategic and policy level.
There have been a number of outcomes of this review with some task groups being strengthened, others being refocussed and some being disbanded. In addition there is consideration being given to whether some emerging industry issues would benefit from new groups being formed.
The groups that will no longer be housed under VicWater are the Sustainability Task Group, the Water Efficiency Task Group and the Water Educators Task Group. I believe that it may not be the end for all these groups, with some looking at other host options. Where possible VicWater will provide support for this as the work that the groups have undertaken during the time that they have operated has provided significant value to the broader industry.
I personally, and I know the VicWater task group coordinators, would like to acknowledge and thank the members, both past and present, of the Sustainability Task Group, the Water Efficiency Task Group and the Water Educators Task Group for generously giving their time and knowledge and for their passion and dedication to the issues.
A key project for VicWater is the Water Law reform project. The Victorian water industry has been able to contribute to this review though another VicWater working group. I would like to thank all the members of the working group who not only represented the interests of their own water corporation but ensured the collective voice of the wider industry was heard through every step of the reform process. I would also like to acknowledge and thank John Wilkinson for his expert Chairing of the working group and Shauna McDonald for facilitating the group and its work.
The status of the Water Law Reform work is that we are now awaiting the release of the exposure draft, after which the working group will participate in forming the Water Sectors response.
In amongst all of this positive activity it is unfortunate to have to highlight a negative; how the revised Fire Services Levy will be applied to a number of water corporations. It is especially disappointing so soon after the Water Plans have been determined that such an unexpected cost is going to be applied to a number of water corporations. VicWater is working with affected water corporations to better understand the impact and to work towards having the application of the unplanned costs done in as logical manner as possible. A collaborative piece of work is being done to propose alternative valuation methodologies to the Valuer General that better reflect the nature of water corporation assets.
Finally, I would like to wish you and your families all a safe and enjoyable Christmas and New Year (it really isn’t that far away) and no doubt I will see many of you in 2014.
Doug Shirrefs - New VicWater Chair
Doug is the current Chair of South East Water and was elected as the VicWater Chair at the October Board Meeting. Doug joined the VicWater Board in October 2011.
Doug is a barrister and economist who practices commercial law with a particular interest in competition and regulatory law. Before commencing practice as a lawyer, he held senior positions as a regulatory economist for both the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments. He has extensive experience in the utilities and infrastructure sectors.
As well as his positions at South East Water and VicWater, Doug is a Commissioner of the Taxi Services Commission. He was a long term Director of the Tintern Schools Board and a Director of Watermove Pty Ltd. Doug joined the Board of South East Water in August 2005 and was appointed as Chairman in October 2010.
What is your day job and what does it involve?
I’m a Barrister and a Director at two other companies. As a Director, I attend my fair share of meetings. As a Barrister, I juggle paperwork, opinions and court appearances. My favourite appearance is the one day each month when I act pro bono for people who can’t afford a lawyer at the Dandenong Magistrates’ Court.< PreviousNext >
Joan Liley - New VicWater Director
Joan is the current Chair of South Gippsland Water and recently filled a casual vacancy on the VicWater Board.
I live on a grazing property near Waratah Bay in South Gippsland. We fatten beef and sheep for domestic and export markets.
I have a passionate interest in conservation, fuelled by living so close to Wilson’s Promontory and the beautiful Cape Liptrap Coastal Park which adjoins our property.
After working as a research economist in Melbourne I fell into teaching when I married and moved to country NSW. My ‘accidental career’ became my passion until I retired to take up full time board work.
Water industry experience – how long you have worked in the industry and any previous experience in the industry?
- South Gippsland Water
Joined to the Board in July 2004, and was appointed Chair in October 2011
- West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority
Board Member and Deputy Chair July 2003 – Sept 2011 (retired)
- Gippsland Ports Committee of Management
Board Member & Acting Chair Dec 2003 – April 2011 (retired)
- Gippsland and Southern Rural Water Authority
Board Member 1998 – 2001
What VicWater group(s) do you participate in?
Chairs’ meetings and Vicwater Council. Regular attendee at conferences and workshops.
What value does your involvement in the VicWater group(s) bring to you personally?
It is wonderful to be able to share ideas and perspectives with other directors and water industry people. We all face common problems and despite our differing sizes we can learn much from each other.
From your perspective what is the top issue affecting the water industry at the moment?
Balancing the competing interests of our shareholder and other stakeholders and managing community expectations is a challenge. Rising infrastructure costs may make it difficult for us to provide new services and maintain our assets while managing our debt levels. The initiatives outlined in ‘Melbourne’s Water Future’ may assist in meeting this challenge.< PreviousNext >
VicWater Annual Conference
With the theme of “Reframing the Future, Unlocking our Potential”, the 2013 VicWater Conference focussed on exploring how water corporations can plan, adapt and innovate to meet the challenges of an ever changing business environment.
Over the two days the distinguished expert presenters provided continuity in their messaging, challenging delegates to think differently about the issues that are being faced. As a result, the delegates left the Conference with some very interesting discussion starters which will no doubt feed into their annual strategic planning process, providing real tangible outputs for both individual water corporations and the broader industry.
All presenters were generous and frank in the information they shared with the delegates, which was very much appreciated by VicWater and the delegates. VicWater would also like to thank the presenters for their efforts in the lead up to the event in researching and preparing their presentations.
The specific presenters were:
- The opening address was provided by Michael Waller, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) from the Office of Living Victoria (OLV).
- The key note address was delivered by Dominic Thurbon, the Chief Creative Officer and Co-Founder of international behaviour change organisation ChangeLabs. Dominic is a world top 10 speaker and was certainly illuminating, challenging and inspiring. He provided some really interesting examples of where one industry has developed efficiencies by looking at or working with other industries. Dominic’s presentation has been the impetus for a real post-conference buzz with the delegates.
- Tony Wright, VicWater’s CEO facilitated a panel session with Michael Waller, CEO of OLV, Dr Ron Ben-David, Chair of Victoria’s Essential Services Commission, Cynthia Gebert the Victorian Energy and Water Ombusdman and Geoff Tabe the Assistant Director of Shareholder Advisory Services at the Department of Treasury and Finance. The panel members each spoke briefly on the Conference theme from their respective roles as well as allowing questions from the delegates.
- Phil Anstis, the Strategic Planner at Central Highlands Water (CHW) presented a case study around scenario planning that has been undertaken at CHW.
- Peter Prevos a PhD candidate from La Trobe University and the Manager of Systems Monitoring at Coliban Water provided an update of his research entitled “The Invisible Water Corporation; moving from asset performance to customer experience”.
- Gavin Hanlon, the Managing Director of Goulburn-Murray Water (G-M Water) outlined a case study around the work that G-M Water have undertaken to maximise the efficiency of northern Victoria’s irrigation systems.
- Jamie Ewert, who works at Melbourne Water as well as the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities presented the outcomes of his “My Liveable Cities” project. This was a project that was supported by VicWater through funding from the 2013 Sustainability Award. Rob Catchlove, an Environmental Scientist with Alluvium Consulting worked with Jamie on the project and co-presented on the day.
- The 2014 Vision Super Sustainability Award recipient – Gwyneth Elsum from Melbourne Water was officially announced at the main Conference dinner. Peter Rowe, Vision Super’s CEO presented Gwyneth with her award of $10,000 to support the implementation of her project.
- Jeff Rigby, Managing Director and Neville Pearce, Chief Operations Officer – General Manger Service Delivery and Infrastructure; both from Coliban Water presented a case study around a review recently undertaken of Coliban Water’s public-private partnership arrangements.
- Bryan Lukas, a Professor of Marketing at the University of Melbourne provided an interesting and entertaining presentation around the question; “what would the water industry look like if Richard Branson ran it?” with a particular focus on the role of brand and value creation in the water sector.
- Dr David Hillson, otherwise known as The Risk Doctor provided a presentation that included a number of tangible and useful tips and techniques where Board directors and Executives can make use of their risk systems to enable and manage innovation.
- Keith Davis, the Project Manager of Strategy and Sustainability at Wannon Water outlined a case study of their Green Steps project. A project that sought to equip staff with a deeper understanding of sustainability issues, seeking to motivate them to adopt more sustainable practices.
- The Conference was closed by Mark Williams, the Managing Director and Sally Marshall, the Executive Manager for Business Planning and Performance, both from GWMWater. Their presentation outlined some of the ways that GWMWater is improving productivity through performance reporting.
We were thrilled to again welcome the Minister for Water, The Hon Peter Walsh to join us at the main Conference dinner. The Minister took time to address the audience, providing an excellent opportunity for them to hear about the government’s priorities as well as recognising and acknowledging new and finishing directors in the Victorian water sector.
Aside from the new thinking provided at the Conference, the other enormous benefit of this annual event is, as always, the networking, bringing together individuals from the top levels of all Victorian water corporations, key stakeholders, government departments and water industry supporters. This is often the one event on the calendar that allows for this level of networking.
We also thank the generous support of our sponsors (see below) and all those from the industry who provided their support by attending. Without the ongoing support from our sponsors it would not be possible to deliver this event at the level that we do each year and without the continued support from the industry in attending, of course there would be no event!
|Dinner & Technology Sponsor||Lunch Sponsor|
A New Generation at Southern Rural Water
Southern Rural Water has taken a step forward in hiring its first full time apprentice.
Nineteen-year-old Reece Storie is currently completing both Certificate 3 in Water Industry Operations and a Fitter and Turner Apprenticeship, working from Lake Glenmaggie, Blue Rock Lake and Cowwarr Weir.
“Southern Rural Water has a long and successful history of employing water industry operations and administration based trainees, many of whom are still with the organisation after several years,” said Manager Human Resources Jim Watt. “So taking on a field apprentice was logical – and it will meet the need of our business.”
Reece is employed by Apprenticeships Group Australia and hired to Southern Rural Water under the guidance of Headworks Supervisor East, Wayne Fleming, who is very pleased with how the apprenticeship is progressing.
“We employ several tradesmen within the Headworks group and have found that trying to find a tradesman with water industry experience in large dams is near impossible,” said Wayne.
“Because of our success with trainees in the past, and because we have such a diverse range of maintenance and operational functions across our storages, we saw a great opportunity here.
“Reece is able to do both his mechanical fitter apprenticeship and qualifications in storage operation – which means he will have a dual qualification at the end of his four year apprenticeship.”
Wayne is keen to employ more apprentices in the future.
“Employing an apprentice gives us the chance to develop young people in the water industry, and also allows us to focus their trade skills on plant and equipment relevant to our industry.”
Reece says that the best thing about working at Southern Rural Water is the chance to not only complete his apprenticeship, but also gain broad experience in catchment operations and water management.
“It’s a pretty rare opportunity,” he said. “In my mind, this is the right path to start a great career. Being paid to learn is something I love, even though I am on apprentice wages. But it’s the start of my career and I can only go up from here.”
Reece said he would encourage other apprentices to try a similar program.
“The opportunities within Southern Rural Water, and the way the team here has encouraged and taught me, is something I wouldn’t pass up,” he said. “They have made me feel very welcome.”< PreviousNext >
National Water Week - 20 to 26 October 2013
As part of this year’s National Water Week celebrations, fourteen of the nineteen Victorian water corporations have again run the Victorian primary school poster competition. The remaining water corporations ran other or in some cases many other activities and events throughout the week and even in the lead up to National Water Week. Of the water corporations that ran the poster competition this year they received an impressive number of poster submissions. There were over 4,600 posters received from over 150 Victorian primary schools.
National Water Week was started in 1993 by Melbourne Water; by 1995 the coordinated primary school poster competition that we know today commenced and continues to go from strength to strength. The competition is open to all students in Victorian primary schools and is an activity that many water corporations use to ensure that water is put in the forefront of children’s minds whilst allowing them to explore the issue on their terms in a creative way.
The competition offers both regional and state prizes in four categories; Prep, Grade 1 & 2, Grade 3 & 4 and Grade 5 & 6. The competition is an excellent way for water educators to see what messages are getting across to the young people in Victoria.
Water businesses promote and coordinate the competition to schools within their area, judge regional winners, organise prizes and presentations, often with local media exposure. State level winners and runners up are then selected from the regional winners.
The state level winners this year received a prize pack containing, a 7″ Samsung Galaxy3 tablet, a Methven Satinjet showerhead, a $20 Google Play Card, an Ollie’s World CD-Rom game (a fun way to learn about recycle, reuse and reduce), an AquaClic (a water flow controller that fits onto any standard Australian tap), a jigsaw puzzle (custom made from their winning poster entry), the Lorax video, lollies and a certificate of achievement. These prize packs were valued around $600 each. The 2nd place recipients received a prize pack valued around $440 each.
The continued success of the poster competition in many ways is attributed to the efforts of the dedicated Education Officers within the Victorian water businesses. The education of Victorian students on water related issues continues to have an important place in providing long term behavioural and attitudinal changes within the community.
Another integral factor in the continued success of Victoria’s National Water Weeks activities are our sponsors. Without their continued support the fantastic prize packs that the 1st and 2nd place recipients receive would not be as jam-packed full of goodies.
2013 NWW - 1st place Victorian primary school posters
East Gippsland Water Signs up MWH to Deliver Engineering Services
East Gippsland Water has selected MWH Global to provide the bulk of its engineering services.
The performance-based agreement commenced on 1 November and will initially run for three years, with a possible two year extension.
MWH boasts world-wide expertise in the water and wastewater industry and significant experience serving water corporations in Victoria.
The company is operating locally out of East Gippsland Water’s head office in Bairnsdale, and will be partnering up with local companies, where possible, to implement engineering projects.
MWH Australia Manager of Business Development and Strategy, Peter Robinson, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for MWH to work intimately with a new client to provide an efficient service delivery model, whilst also bringing our global network to the East Gippsland region.”
Said East Gippsland Water’s Managing Director, Bruce Hammond: “We need to ensure that we continue to offer best value to our customers, in light of very tight economic parameters set by the water industry’s economic regulator, the Essential Services Commission. We know that MWH is committed to establishing a base in the region to further strengthen our performance in delivering value for money services.”< PreviousNext >
Funding for Industry Offsets Framework
A Western Water-led project to develop an environmental offsets framework for regulatory compliance in waterways has received funding from the Smart Water Fund.
The project aims to understand the full cost of meeting environmental standards set by the EPA Victoria, and explore alternative options where it can be proven they will result in equal or improved environmental outcomes.
It is envisaged that the project will develop best management practices for the water industry to align with the EPA’s broader regulatory guidance.
The framework will be developed in consultation with the EPA, Department of Environment and Primary Industry (DEPI), Melbourne Water and the Victorian water industry amongst other stakeholders.
The $430,000 project will incorporate a working pilot at the Gisborne Recycled Water Plant, north-west of Melbourne, which will largely consist of a holistic aquatic ecosystem assessment. The study will identify the main stressors to Jacksons Creek, and the significance of recycled water releases.
Offset measures to reduce the primary stressors to the creek will be identified and assessed to measure their cost-effectiveness and community value compared to treatment plant upgrades or recycled water scheme extensions.
The aim is to design the framework to be flexible and applicable in a range of circumstances across the water industry, delivering cost-effective environmental compliance with net social, economic and environmental benefits.
The project has been strongly supported by the water industry and academia. Additional funding has been provided by Melbourne University through the Carlton Connect Fund. Financial and in-kind support has also been provided by Western Water, Wannon Water, Coliban Water, Central Highlands Water and Gippsland Water.
As the project leader, Western Water is inviting other organisations in the Victorian water industry to become involved in the project, which is expected to be complete by the end of 2014.
For more information contact Renewable Resources Officer Kate Berg on 9218 5552 or at email@example.com.< PreviousNext >
Contracts Signed for $400m of Water Works in Melbourne’s South East
South East Water has announced the appointment of two design and construction consortiums to undertake approximately $400 million of water and sewerage works, as part of its five year capital works program.
Contracts were signed this month by two joint ventures: Fulton Hogan, Delplant and Beca, and Comdain Infrastructure, Downer EDI and MWH. The two teams have secured a place as South East Water’s capital delivery partners for major pipes and structures work.
South East Water General Manager Asset Creation Charlie Littlefair said the program of works will start this month and continue through until June 2018, in line with the company’s five year Water Plan.
“The program will deliver approximately $400 million in capital works, with a focus on designing and constructing trunk sewer mains, water distribution mains, recycled water mains, water and sewage pump stations, reservoirs and contingency tanks and minor sewer treatment plant upgrades,” said Mr Littlefair.
“Water and sewerage services are largely hidden from view – clean, healthy water comes out of your tap, your toilet flushes and you think nothing of it. But with 23,000 kilometres of pipes and over 80 water pump stations and 255 sewage pump stations in our service area – it takes great expertise to design and construct our infrastructure.
“And so we’re pleased to have two strong consortiums working with us over the coming years to undertake these important works in Melbourne’s south east.
“We’re confident that our new model will allow for the best of competition combined with the best of collaboration in the delivery of new works over the coming five year period. We look forward to the two teams delivering South East Water – and our customers – the very best value in water and sewerage infrastructure,” concluded Mr Littlefair.< PreviousNext >
Rochester Benefits from $16.6 million Water Infrastructure Investment
Coliban Water is investing $16.6 million in water and wastewater services in the town of Rochester on the Campaspe River.
A $9 million upgrade to the Rochester Water Reclamation Plant commenced in September just as the $7.6 million upgrade to the Rochester Water Treatment Plant was being completed.
The two major projects will deliver more environmentally friendly wastewater treatments and improved water quality and security for around 3,000 customers in the region.
The upgrade to the Rochester Water Reclamation Plant will enable the plant to deliver Class B recycled water.
Currently the plant treats wastewater to Class C standard, which is stored on-site in lagoons for evaporation and some on-site irrigation.
The upgrade from a lagoon system to membrane biological reactor (MBR) technology will enable it to deliver 220-240 megalitres of Class B recycled water a year to Campaspe Irrigation Scheme customers in the area.
The MBR system combines biological treatment with ultrafiltration (UF) membrane separation and will utilise the latest technology and automated processes to improve plant efficiency and reduce operating costs.
A major advantage is that the UF membranes are not submerged in the biological reactor tank. This makes make them easier to clean, saves on chemical costs and improves the overall lifecycle of the plant.
The plant can also be remotely monitored and operators can respond immediately to ensure it operates at maximum efficiency.
A 10.2 kilometre pipeline to transport recycled water from the plant to our irrigation storage lagoon in Singer Road is also being built.
The supply and reuse of recycled water is done in accordance with Environment Protection Authority (EPA) guidelines to protect the environment and public health.
Works are expected to be completed by July 2014.
The commissioning of the water treatment plant was completed in September and included new treatment processes and the construction of a 1.85 metre high flood wall, which will ensure the plant continues to operate and supply water to customers in the event of a flood.< PreviousNext >
New Water Trading Website
Southern Rural Water recently launched a new, free service for landowners wanting to find someone to trade water with.
“Watermatch” is an online trading forum that allows people to register their interest in either buying or selling water in southern Victoria.
The website is already proving popular, with nearly 100 registered users and 30 trades already listed in its first few weeks.
General Manager Groundwater and Rivers, Craig Parker, said Southern Rural Water launched the service in response to customer requests.
“We know that a lot of people in Southern Victoria have trouble finding someone to trade with – often they have to advertise in their local paper, or just ask around,” he said.
“With Watermatch, anyone can easily register their interest in buying or selling water in different groundwater, river or irrigation systems. They can also register for automatic notifications whenever water becomes available to buy or sell in a particular area.”
The Watermatch website also has links to local trading rules and trading application forms.< PreviousNext >
New Building for North East Water
North East Water has now moved into the Corporation’s new Regional Headquarters in Wodonga.
The building is part of a $10.5 million construction project on Thomas Mitchell Drive which allows the Corporation to serve its customers from one location by consolidating current offices and the works depot.
It is a Five Green Star facility that showcases energy efficiency, water conservation, water sensitive landscaping and the re-use of timber from an old warehouse that used to be on-site.
The energy efficient design encourages natural airflow, and along with double glazing, will see energy consumption reduce by 62 per cent compared to the old office in central Wodonga.
An array of solar panels on the roof will generate up to 10 kilowatts per day and will provide the average daily energy required to supply the interior lighting.
Rain water captured from the site will be re-used for non-potable indoor use such as toilet flushing and all outdoor garden irrigation.
The landscaping showcases the use of bio-retention basins and grassed drains to improve the quality and reduce quantity of storm water runoff from the site.
The building was designed by Leffer Simes Architects and built by Zauner Construction and was completed in 12 months.
The Minister for Water, Hon. Peter Walsh was joined by Member for Benambra Bill Tilley in officially opening the new building on 8 November 2013.< PreviousNext >
Water Storage Boost for Orbost and Surrounding Communities
October saw the official opening of a significant water storage initiative benefiting Orbost and the surrounding communities of Jarrahmond, Newmerella and Marlo.
East Gippsland Water’s 45 million litre drinking water storage at Orbost is now protected by a shade cloth cover designed to safeguard water quality and cut evaporation from the storage by up to 90 percent.
The Victorian Government contributed $272,500 towards the $640,000 initiative from its Small Towns Water Quality Fund.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, officially opened the cover on behalf of the Water Minister Peter Walsh and said the project would help ensure that the local communities had secure, high quality drinking water supplies well into the future.
“The covered storage at Orbost is an excellent example of a cost-effective safeguard against extreme weather events and greatly reduces any risk of soil, algal or airborne contamination of water held in the storage,” he said.
The covered storage holds treated drinking water before it is supplied to the surrounding towns.
Said East Gippsland Water’s Chairperson, Joe Rettino: “This marks the completion of a major, multi-million-dollar program of initiatives that we have implemented across our region over the last five years. As well as installing a number of storage covers we have also constructed additional water storages and water treatment plants.”
The use of shade cloth follows pioneering research involving East Gippsland Water and the CSIRO, which demonstrated the effectiveness of the material. Similar covers are also installed over water storages at Mallacoota, Omeo, Cann River, Swifts Creek, Bemm River and Lindenow.< PreviousNext >
Role of Biosolids in Soil Carbon Sequestration
Climate change is a critical issue of the 21st century and the carbon (C) cycle plays a major role in both its cause and mitigation. Recent concerns over rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) have increased interest in the investigation of soil organic carbon (SOC) changes and carbon sequestration capacity in various ecosystems. While the current political climate supports an aggressive approach to reducing carbon emissions this could change.
Promoting soil C sequestration is considered as an effective strategy for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions including atmospheric CO2. Indeed, soil C sequestration is an important option not only to mitigate climate change but also to enhance soil fertility and the productivity of agro-ecosystems.
Carbon can accumulate in the soil due to increased inputs or reduced losses or a combination of both. Two major mechanisms, bio-chemical alteration and physico-chemical protection stabilise SOC, and thereby control its turnover. Conventional strategies for increasing C sequestration in soils include minimizing cultivation and other soil disturbances through conservation tillage, and improved crop rotation. However, the value of these measures is negated by the intensive farming practices used generally leading to the depletion of C from soil, thus reducing its capacity to act as a C sink.
Land application of biosolids on agricultural and degraded land has the potential to increase soil C and is considered an integrated, sustainable approach to utilising this wastewater treatment plant by-product. The biosolids products in Victoria have potential to contribute to soil C sequestration via land application. It is hoped that water businesses will be able to offset some of the spreading costs by claiming carbon credits for their land applied biosolids products in future, as well as adding value to the biosolids product.
The aim of this article is to demonstrate practical ways of calculating the carbon credit value of biosolids applied to agricultural land and provide guidance to other water businesses in Victoria. The three methods described in this article used South East Water’s biosolids land application data and literature data on net soil C sequestration from biosolids land application.
During 2012/13 period, all good quality 2009 biosolids stockpiles (5 stockpiles in total) which are classified as T1C2 under the Victorian EPA Guidelines for Environmental Management – Biosolids Land Application, were utilised beneficially on South East Water owned Bald Hill Farm at Pakenham. A total of 2977 dry tonnes (60% solids) of biosolids from Pakenham, Boneo and Somers treatment plants were applied over 36 ha by our spreading contractor in March 2013.
Applying biosolids to agricultural land could increase C storage in soils and contribute significantly to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Biosolids are beneficial for both restoring soil quality and sequestering C in soils. Applications of biosolids can lead to either a build-up of soil C over time, or a reduction in the rate at which C is depleted from soils. Therefore, the application of biosolids to cultivated soils is likely to reverse the decline in soil C storage, thereby contributing to the build-up in the stable C fraction in soils.
The carbon credits value for South East Water biosolids used beneficially in agriculture during March 2013 ranged from $45-$663/ha depending upon which of the above three methods was used. All these three methods used a fixed carbon price of $23 per tonne of CO2 equivalent for the purpose of this case study. However, the most variable factor is the actual rate of net C sequestration from biosolids application. In the absence of local data, only literature data (Tian et al, 2009 and Bolan et al, 2013) was used to calculate the tonnes of C sequestered in soil from the use of South East Water biosolids for land application. Significant benefits would result from investing resources to understand the value of land applied biosolids for carbon sequestration and establishment of scientifically based carbon sequestration methodology based on local agro-climatic and soil conditions.
Bolan NS, Kunhikrishnan A, Naidu R (2013). Carbon storage in a heavy clay soil landfill site after biosolid application. Science of the Total Environment. 465, 216–225.
Tian G, Granato TC, Cox AE, Pietz RI, Carlson CR, Abedin Z (2009). Soil carbon sequestration resulting from long-term application of biosolids for land reclamation. Journal of Environmental Quality. 38, 61-74.
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CodeSafe Wins Award
Codesafe has won the WorkSafe 2013 Health and Safety Invention of the Year Award.
After 33 years in the construction industry, CodeSafe’s founder had witnessed too many deaths and significant injuries in the workplace. He was adamant that a shift had to occur to refresh workplace culture around processes and procedures. Out of this desire, CodeSafe was born, from the field, for the field.
CodeSafe’s digital platform was developed after recognising that the majority of the workforce engages better with visual communication rather than the written word.
CodeSafe’s digital platform develops, stores and delivers visual communication messages to employees on demand.
CodeSafe reduces the risk of misinterpretation of the written word and overcomes language and literacy barriers through providing visual communication support to written procedures.
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