January 19, 2018
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
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