Archived Industry News for Water Professionals - August, 2011
The Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) has confirmed it will have completed its work on the new Basin Plan in mid-October to allow for it to be finalised and printed by November.
The plan, which has been plagued by a series of delays, will be released to the public for a 20-week consultation period.
MDBA Chairman Craig Knowles has urged patience in the formation of the plan, saying that the complexities of water governance meant that the process would be time consuming and, at times, cumbersome. Mr Knowles said that time must be taken to ensure that more effective and efficient water governance, environmental works and cohesion were implemented in the Basin Plan.
High levels of winter rain coupled with dam releases have resulted in the Murray River flowing at above average levels, according to the South Australian Water Department.
New South Wales Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal has found that Sydney apartment dwellers are paying disproportionately less for water services than their counterparts in stand-alone houses.
Redland City Council has become the latest Queensland local government body to withdraw from Allconnex Water after it voted to break from the water retail supplier.
Research by Flinders University’s School of the Environment has shown that a shallow, high-rate pond system to treat wastewater will slash the loss to evaporation as well as boosting the rates of removal of bacterial and viral pathogens.
UNSW researchers have shown they can safely destroy hazardous industrial toxins in groundwater arising from PVC plastic production by injecting naturally occurring bacteria into a contaminated Sydney aquifer – an Australian first that raises hope of cleaning up this and similarly polluted sites around the country.
The trial has confirmed the bacteria's natural ability to degrade and clean up chlorinated solvents that leaked many years ago from a former ICI Australia chemical plant into the Botany Sands Aquifer, creating large plumes of contaminated groundwater.
ICI's successor, Orica Australia Pty Ltd, presently pumps out the contaminated water to prevent the plumes from spreading and entering Botany Bay. That water is then piped to a special treatment plant for decontamination. No other feasible option has been available.
"With present technology, it was expected that it might take decades or perhaps centuries before these toxic solvents are removed from the aquifer," says research team leader Associate Professor Mike Manefield, a Future Fellow in the UNSW School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences and Deputy Director of the Centre for Marine BioInnovation.
"Our tests showed that these bacteria effectively breathe these pollutants the way we breathe oxygen. It's a big step forward. These cultures represent a greener and cheaper tool we can use to clean up some of our contaminated sites. They have not previously been available in Australia. The real appeal is that they’re Aussie bugs."
Large volumes of the bacteria grown in beer kegs showed they thrived on a variety of diets, including ethanol, glucose and emulsified vegetable oils.
The team will soon publish technical details of the discovery of these cultures and has received $1.14 million in funding from industry and the Australian Research Council to carry out a large-scale biological remediation of groundwater at Botany and Altona in Victoria.
The CSIRO have deployed three deep-ocean moorings that will be used to observe and measure change in currents linking the Pacific and Indian Oceans through the Indonesia Archipelago, which is considered a key factor in influencing Australia’s climate.
The Department of Finance and Services has released a discussion paper for public comment regarding last resort arrangements under the Water Industry Competition Act 2006 (WIC Act).
The Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry has released its first report into the December and January floods, making a total of 175 recommendations to deal with a similar catastrophe in the future.
The Western Australian Government has announced that work will begin immediately to double the capacity of the Southern Seawater Desalination Plant (SSDP) to provide 100 billion litres of drinking water a year.