New: Final report for project 2043

January 19, 2018

The final report for the project "Development of a risk-based framework for wastewater treatment plant discharges" is now available to members.

The overall objective of this project was to develop a risk-based framework for assessing the relative benefits of different disposal/treatment options and their impacts on the receiving environment that could form an objective basis for discussions and negotiations between utilities and regulators. The framework was to consider both the treatment plant characteristics and values of the receiving environment, and integrate the four major classes of pollutants of concern: nutrients, micropollutants, total suspended solids and pathogens. The framework is designed as an Excel workbook for ease of use and applicability across a number of different operating platforms.

Based on the review of the current situation, the prioritisation method often receives the greatest criticism from both the regulator and utility operators. It is hoped that by providing a standard format for assessing risk that tension is reduced when plant performance is discussed, particularly when dealing with multiple wastewater treatment facilities. The risk assessment may also provide a national benchmark to assess wastewater treatment plants and provides both state utility companies and regulators a tool to determine overall environmental performance across the country.

The project drew on elements of risk-based approaches in use by some Australian and overseas environmental regulators and prior research by the US Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF).

The Final Report and Excel workbook are available from the Project Page

Remember you must be logged in using your work (Member email) to access these documents.


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  • Having read this recent report I feel that there is one area that it is a little deficient on and that is in the impact of trade waste on plant performance. The report contains the following sentence: "Generally, if the proportion of trade waste is kept to less than 5%, the risk score is low. If above 25%, the risk score is high." without giving any reference or the basis for the percentages. I submit that it is the nature of the trade waste discharge, the trade waste regulations and the type of Wwtp that will govern any undue process upset and thus set the risk levels. Stating percentages of trade waste without any substantiation is very 'risky'.
    By Ian Law   February 6, 2018
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