It’s incomprehensible for most. The notion that around the globe we face issues arising from water stress on a planet whose surface area is made up of over 70 per cent water and whose total water volume – a staggering 96.5 per cent – is contained within our oceans.
A second version of the PFAS National Environmental Management Plan has been released by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.
All states, territories and the Federal Government collaborated to develop the PFAS National Environmental Management Plan (PFAS NEMP) version 2.0.
The environmental management of the group of manufactured chemicals known as PFAS (per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances) is a high priority for environmental regulators around Australia.
The PFAS NEMP 2.0 provides new and revised guidance on four areas, environmental guideline values, soil reuse, wastewater management and on-site containment, that were identified as urgent priorities in the first version of the NEMP.
This new guidance, as well as important clarifications regarding the intent of some of the PFAS NEMP 1.0 material, was developed by the National Chemicals Working Group across 2018 and considered by Heads of EPAs and Environment Ministers in late 2018.
The Department stated that PFAS NEMP 2.0 is now being implemented in the Commonwealth and other jurisdictions, subject to Ministerial approvals as set out in the plan.
“The document has incorporated feedback from the public consultations held in early-to-mid 2019 on the draft PFAS NEMP 2.0,” the Department stated.
The PFAS NEMP establishes a practical basis for nationally consistent environmental guidance and standards for managing PFAS contamination.
It represents a how-to guide for the investigation and management of PFAS contamination and waste management.
The first version of the NEMP, known as NEMP 1.0, was published in February 2018.
The PFAS NEMP 2.0 states that the widespread presence of PFAS in the environment in Australia and around the world is a result of its unique properties, which have led to it being widely used for many decades.
“PFAS are persistent and highly resistant to physical, chemical and biological degradation. Consequently, PFAS are found in humans, animals and the environment around Australia,” the PFAS NEMP 2.0 states.
“Addressing the wide range of issues associated with PFAS contamination, including the management of PFAS contaminated materials, represents a challenge for us as environmental regulators.”
Replacing a piece of equipment such as an industrial water pump can be a costly and time-consuming exercise. Avoiding the upfront cost and associated downtime, whether through predictive or regular maintenance, can enable extended product lifetimes.
BSC provides a full suite of services for industrial pumps that includes repair and refurbishment, asset care, site installation, commissions, and condition-based monitoring and assessments.
These services are conducted in a manner that directly suits the end users and starts with and understanding of the issues or faults that the pump is experiencing.
“If we’re assessing the condition of the equipment while it’s in an operation, and we’re doing some level of predictive maintenance, then we would be looking for indications that there are flow issues in the pump, from the data that we’re analysing,” says BSC Engineering Manager, Ryan Kendrigan.
“From there we would see if there is wear inside the actual pump housing and if we need to schedule a shutdown to either exchange or repair that pump to get it back to optimal working condition.”
“Once they’ve pulled the pump out then by visual inspection after the pump is disassembled, we can either provide the products for the customer to repair the pump themselves, or we have facilities to repair that ourselves depending on what’s fit for purpose.”
Working with the customer to find the solution that fits, BSC have the capabilities for whatever requirements may arise, according to Kendrigan.
“We have done 24-hour jobs where we’ve ripped the pump out ourselves, had it repaired and then back into service. For swimming pools, we’ve been able to pull the pump out at 7pm and have it back in and running at 5.30am when the filter system starts up again.”
Within this process, whatever the customer’s maintenance program is, BSC draw upon their range of products to find a solution. These include the industry-renowned sealants, protectants and coatings from LOCTITE backed by the world’s leading adhesive company Henkel. BSC Product Manager, Michael Rowe, describes how these fit in.
“There may be a requirement to repair some damage where whatever fluid that has been passing through a pump has either scoured or damaged part of the metal area in there. LOCTITE have a material that will help rebuild and repair a pump back to specification. So, instead of replacing the pump with a brand-new unit, they can do a repair that also reduces the overall cost of maintenance.”
During the operation of a pump, the constant movement of water, slurry, or other liquid wears down the internal parts. The metal or material will erode, needing to be repaired to ensure efficient functioning. As Rowe highlights, LOCTITE products are designed to overcome this reality.
“LOCTITE ceramic coatings such as LOCTITE PC 7227 Brushable Ceramic and LOCTITE PC 7255 Sprayable Ceramic can be applied over the original damaged surface area. Then they use a rebuild product, LOCTITE EA 3478 Superior Metal to build back the actual material of the pump and then they’ll apply another coat of the ceramic over the top of it again – this will bring it back to a nice smooth surface. It will also allow the medium to pass cleanly over those surfaces without building up,” said Rowe.
Henkel Key Account Manager, Neil Board states, “what distinguishes Henkel’s LOCTITE products when compared to other, similar products on the market, is that they are available in different colours, LOCTITE PC 7255 sprayable ceramic is available in Grey or Green, LOCTITE PC 7227 Brushable ceramic is grey and LOCTITE PC 7228 Brushable ceramic is White, the later also being AS/NZS 4020-2002 potable water approved.”
“Those colour differentiation’s allows you to see whether there has been wear,” said Board. “You’ll apply one colour first and then a second coating of a different colour over the top, so that on a visual inspection you can see what’s happening.”
Deciding on the right LOCTITE product to apply is part of the expertise of Kendrigan and other BSC engineers, who decide which solution fits the user’s need best.
“Depending on the overall wear of the pump, the repair work can use a couple of different products,” said Board. “That’s where the BSC engineering team will assess what’s required.”
Importantly, the BSC engineering team don’t just provide access to the products required but forge a partnership with customers to get the job done right.
“We work with our customers to supply them with the right components, and potentially give them the training and advice they will need to make their programs as efficient as possible,” Kendrigan says.
Kendrigan adds: “It’s not a case of supplying a product to a customer and forgetting about them, it’s about how can we make their lives easier and better by the services and solutions that we provide to them.”
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More than $165,000 in funding has been secured by groups working to improve their local communities and environment from waste and water management company SUEZ.
The 2018 SUEZ Community Grants Program provides individual grants of up to $15,000 have been awarded to community groups, organisations and schools.
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Recycling education programs, youth sustainability networks, community resources sharing initiatives and sustainable gardens are some of the successful projects that have secured funding.
Since it began in 2014, the SUEZ Community Grants Program has provided more than $740,000 to Australian organisations contributing to stronger communities and healthier environments.
SUEZ Australia and New Zealand CEO Mark Venhoek said the company sees supporting grassroots organisations and projects as crucial in helping communities and their local environments thrive.
“Every year we are inundated with applications from right across the country, from Western Australia to the east coast, for an incredibly diverse range of sustainable projects,” Mr Venhoek said.
“It’s inspiring and heartening to see such dedication to building strong and connected communities, creating a groundswell for sustainable living practices and supporting the circular economy. We look forward to seeing how this year’s recipients put the grants to work to grow the impact of their initiatives.
“We are always blown away by the depth of what’s happening out there in our communities, and it’s a real privilege to be able to continue to support that important work,” he said.
More than 60 tonnes of waste have been diverted from landfill thanks to a machine installed by the City of Melbourne that turns food scraps into waste water.
Over the last year, the ORCA aerobic digestion system has used micro-organisms to transform 62 tonnes of food scraps from the busy Degraves street face precinct into greywater, making it one of the most heavily used machines of its type in Australia.
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ORCA Enviro Systems Executive General Manager Tas Papas said micro-organisms in the unit digest the waste, creating wastewater that goes straight into the sewer system via a grease arrestor.
The ORCA is basically a mechanical “stomach” that digests fruit, vegetables, grains, dairy and proteins, so you end up with greywater that is safe to put into the drain without resorting to landfill,” Mr Papas said.
“Degraves Street cafes set aside food waste as part of their daily operations. By diverting the food waste from landfill, we are also able to prevent greenhouse gases from escaping into the environment.
“Over the course of a year, that also means more than 8,000 litres in diesel fuel is saved because fewer trucks are needed on the road.”
Because space is a premium in the city centre, ORCA was chosen to handle the increased volume of food waste being generated from the busy café district.
“The ORCA has helped City of Melbourne to build strong support among local businesses for food recycling efforts and keep the bustling precinct clean and appealing,” Mr Papas said.
The machine was installed in the Degraves Street recycling Facility in May 2017. The ORCA is rolling out across Australia in pubs, shopping centres, food courts and hotels.
Edith Cowan University (ECU) will begin phasing out single-use plastic water bottles and straws across all of its campuses from the start of semester two.
It follows initiatives on the east coast from the Universities of Canberra, Melbourne, Sunshine Coast and Monash University.
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ECU said it believes it is the first Western Australian University to limit the use of plastic water bottles on campus.
The phase out will be done as part of a staged approach to restrict single-use plastic water bottles. Beginning with around 40 events it holds on its campuses, ECU will instead provide water refill stations.
The university is also investigating solutions including an increase to the number of water fountains on campus, offering free or discounted multi-use water bottles on campus and discussing with commercial tenants for alternatives to single-use bottles.
ECU Vice-Chancellor Professor Steve Chapman said it was a big step forward for the University.
“With around 30,000 students and 1800 staff, we can make a huge difference by taking this first step to limit single-use plastic water bottles at our campus events,” Professor Chapman said.
“It’s also financially responsible. More than 90 per cent of the cost of bottled water can be traced back to the bottle, lid and label.
“This is not a ban. This is about education and providing alternatives. By offering high quality, convenient options to students, staff and visitors, we are confident we can reduce the demand for single-use plastic water bottles on our campuses.
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Veolia Water Technologies has been selected to deliver a water treatment plant at the Talison Lithium Mine in WA.
The mine, located in Greenbushes, is the biggest hard rock lithium mine in the world. The Greenbushes Lithium Mine Water Treatment plant will be constructed utilising some of Veolia Water Technologies products.
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Veolia Water Technologies will provide a water treatment plant solution based on ACTIFLO clarification, CeraMem ultrafiltration, high recovery RO and two stage EVALED thermal evaporation. The plant is designed to treat a maximum feed flow of 150 metres cubed and hour to recover the most water as possible.
It aims to double the output from the Greenbushes Operations and satisfy environmental requirements to reduce lithium contained in onsite mine water before it is discharged into environment.
Veolia Water Technologies specialises in water and wastewater treatment solutions to the private and public sector and design, build, operate and maintain wastewater treatment facilities.
Lithium from the mine is used in batteries, busses and passenger vehicles, aerospace allows, wind turbines, glass and ceramics.
Preliminary activities have commenced, and the construction of the water treatment plan is expected to be completed and operational in 2019.
Over 79 thousand tonnes of plastic is floating inside the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, 16 times higher than originally estimated, according to a study published in Scientific Reports.
The report examined a major ocean plastic accumulation zones between California and Hawaii called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Laurent Lebron and colleagues authored the study and found the amount of microplastics in the area were also rapidly accumulating, from 0.4 kilograms squared in the 1970s to 1.23 kilograms squared in 2015.
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According to the report, 99.9 per cent of all debris in this part of the ocean is made up of plastics. 46 per cent of this plastic is made up of fishing nets and three quarters of the debris was larger than 5 centimetres, including hard plastics and film.
Microplastics accounted for 8 per cent of the total mass of the plastics but made up 94 per cent of the estimated 1.8 trillion pieces floating in the area.
The researchers observed that common packaging plastics polyethylene and polypropylene were among some of the only types of debris thick enough to remain buoyant and remain in the zone.
While most of the larger items had broken down into fragments, researchers were able to identify containers, bottles, lids, packaging straps, and ropes. Some items in the test still had a readable production date, with one of the earliest being from 1977.
Aerial imaging and 652 net tows were used to capture the data. The differences between the estimates could be attributed to better technology allowing for a more accurate measurement, or an increasing level in ocean pollution in the areas following the 2011 Tohoku tsunami.
The report’s authors caution that more research is needed to quantify sources of ocean plastics in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and to better assess how long plastics stay in the area.