• Project No 2081
  • Project Name Researching Emerging Contaminants (RECON) monitoring program for the Eastern and Western Treatment Plants
  • Lead Organisation Melbourne Water
  • Research Lead Ecos Environmental Consulting
  • Main Researcher Nick O’Connor
  • Completion Year 2025

Status: In Progress

National Research Priority: Supply Optimisation

Project Description

Melbourne Water’s Eastern and Western Treatment Plants (ETP and WTP) treat over 90% of Melbourne’s sewage. The treated effluent is either discharged to Bass Strait (ETP), Port Phillip Bay (WTP) or recycled to a quality to permit it to be used as a substitute for drinking (potable) water for a wide range of end uses, where potable quality water is not required. Biosolids produced during the sewage treatment process are also recycled for land application.

On July 1st, 2021, new Victorian laws came into force which impose a general environmental duty (GED) such that ‘any person who is engaging in an activity that may give rise to risks of harm to human health or the environment from pollution or waste must minimise those risks, so far as reasonably practicable’ (Environment Protection Act 2017, Government of Victoria 2017). EPA Victoria have provided guidance on the concept of ‘reasonably practicable’ (EPA Victoria, 2020).

To build upon the State of Knowledge and ensure the supply of GED-compliant recycled water and biosolids, Melbourne Water will engage with EPA Victoria in collaborative research focussed upon better defining the delivered concentrations and loads for chemicals of concern known to be present, or likely to be present, in recycled water and biosolids for land application. The working title for this collaborative research is “Researching Emerging Contaminants” (abbreviated RECON). The RECON project will be delivered through Water Research Australia (WaterRA) and be managed by Ecos Environmental Consulting.