StormFilter Flow Test

Ocean Protect’s StormFilter is a stormwater treatment asset comprised of one or more structures that house rechargeable, media-filled cartridges that trap particulates and adsorb pollutants from stormwater runoff such as total suspended solids, hydrocarbons, nutrients, metals, and other common pollutants. To date, over 27,000 StormFilter systems have been installed by Ocean Protect in Australia – and stop an average of approximately 900kg of pollution entering Australian waterways every day.

Renew Solutions recently undertook flow testing of ‘real world’ StormFilter installations to determine if pollutant accumulation in these devices had caused any significant reduction in flows, and subsequently inform recommended maintenance actions – specifically, how often the StormFilter media may need replacement due to reduced flow conveyance through the media (as a result of pollution accumulation).  

Despite pollution accumulation observed in all tested StormFilter cartridges, the flow testing demonstrated that this accumulation would cause zero reduction in flow through the StormFilter cartridges. Furthermore, the test reaffirmed the StormFilter cartridge replacement frequency of 1-3 years in the field under real-world conditions and across a range of land uses.

If you have any questions about this research (or would like a full copy of the report), don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

The NSW Plastics Action Plan

The NSW Plastics Action Plan

The NSW Plastics Action Plan sets out the first six actions to achieve four long term outcomes to better manage plastics and reduce the impact they have on the environment.

 

Outcome 1: Reduced plastic waste generation 

Action 1: Introduce new legislation to reduce harmful plastics. 

  • Phase-out single-use plastics
  • Set design standards to limit the impact of harmful plastics
  • Making producers and brand owners of plastic packaging more responsible 

Action 2: Accelerate the transition to better plastic products

 

Outcome 2: Make the most of our plastic resources

Action 3: Support innovation

 

Outcome 3: Reduced plastic leakage

Action 4: Tackle cigarette butt litter 

Action 5: Reduce the risk of nurdles entering the environment. 

 

Outcome 4: Improved understanding of the future of plastics

Action 6: Support plastics research 

 

More information available at dpie.nsw.gov.au

 

Click here to view Action Plan. 

Major companies sign ‘radical’ deal to drastically reduce plastic waste by 2025

Major supermarket chains and multinational brands are among more than 60 organisations to sign up to a long-awaited pact to reduce plastic waste across Australia and the region.

The pact aims to by 2025 drastically reduce the amount of plastic waste from Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, ending up in landfills and the ocean.

They are pledging to reach four targets by 2025: 

  • eliminating unnecessary packaging
  • making all plastic packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable
  • increasing the amount of plastic packaging collected to 25 per cent
  • increasing the amount of recycled content used to make packaging to 25 per cent

To read the full article, please click here >> 

 

“Gully pit inserts” shown to reduce pollutants in stormwater

Abstract

‘Gully pit inserts’ (or ‘gully baskets’) are a commonly applied stormwater control measure given they can often be easily integrated into gully pits with no impact to the usability of the area. Stormwater treatment performance monitoring has been undertaken for a gully pit with a fine grade (200-micron) bag of 300mm depth in a car-park in Western Sydney, NSW, Australia. The gully pit insert receives runoff from a 100% impervious car-park area of 400m2. Influent and effluent water quality samples were collected using automated samplers, which were connected to pre-configured and calibrated flow analysis of treated effluent and sample pacing with remote communication and data access. Collected samples were delivered to and analysed in a NATA-accredited laboratory for pH and concentrations of suspended solids and nutrient species. Monitoring was undertaken between December 2019 and March 2021, with a total of fifteen (15) runoff events recorded during this period. The performance testing demonstrated that the gully pit insert was able to achieve significant reductions in stormwater pollutant concentrations, with a concentration reduction efficiency ratio for total suspended solids, total phosphorus and total nitrogen of 52, 67 and 41% respectively.

Introduction

Over recent decades, the implementation of stormwater control measures (SCMs) to achieve a more water-sensitive urban environment and reduce the hydrologic and water quality impacts of urban development has increased across Australia and overseas. ‘Gully pit inserts’ (or ‘gully baskets’) are a commonly applied SCM given they are often easily integrated into gully pits with no impact to the usability of the area and demonstrated ability to retain pollutants otherwise conveyed downstream into stormwater infrastructure and waterways.

The OceanGuard® technology is a gully pit insert designed to fit within new and existing gully pits to remove pollution from stormwater runoff. The system has a choice of filtration liners, designed to remove gross pollutants, total suspended solids and attached pollutants as either a stand-alone technology or as part of a ‘treatment train’ with other stormwater treatment assets that provide additional treatment.

Study authors and the Engineering Department of the Western Sydney University subsequently developed and implemented a gully pit insert testing regime to obtain further field-based evidence of its performance within Australia.

Methodology

Site details

The site is located at a carpark in Western Sydney, Kingswood, NSW, Australia (hereafter referred to as ‘the site’).  The carpark is swept periodically, but minor amounts of sediment and organic debris are typically present at the site. The carpark consists entirely of an impervious asphalt surface and has a high usage rate.

An OceanGuard® gully pit insert was installed within an existing gully pit within the car park. The system receives runoff from a 100% impervious area of 400m2, determined by land survey and site inspections. 

The gully pit insert was installed at the site in August 2019. The gully pit is a 900mm x 600mm square pit, and the gully pit insert has a fine grade (200 micron) bag of 300mm depth, with a design treatable flow rate of 20 L/s (Ocean Protect, 2020).

To access to the full journal paper available, please click here >>

Download the paper here – “Gully pit inserts” shown to reduce pollutants in stormwater

 

Eight things you didn’t know about the Swan River

Formerly known as the ‘Black Swan River,’ there’s much more to the Swan River than meets the eye. Here are eight things that might surprise you:

1. Perth locals could have been speaking French: In the 1820s there was a race between France and Britain to occupy the land by the Swan River. In 1829, Britain eventually formed the Swan River Colony, only just beating France to the punch meaning people in Perth could have been speaking French today!

2. Western Australia does not have a convict heritage: The Swan River Colony was a representation of change. It was the first Australian colony made up of free settlers, rather than convicts. Eventually the colony was renamed in 1832 to what we know as Perth today.

3. Western Australians are concerned about the health of the Swan: Due to pollution from stormwater drains, which fills the river with chemicals, plastic, sediments and other pollutants, locals can no longer eat the fish, crabs or shellfish collected from the river – and, locals are worried. In fact, according to new research commissioned by Ocean Protect, West Australians are concerned about marine and waterway health in relation to population growth – over half rated it as their number one concern from a total list of 12 common concerns including increased traffic, housing density, competition for jobs and possible reduced water supply. The study also found that 68 per cent of West Australians don’t know that stormwater is the leading source of pollution in city and suburban waterways.

4. The Swan River was named by a Dutch explorer: The river was originally named Swarte Swaene-Revier by Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh in 1697, in a nod to the famous black swans in the area.

5. The story of the kissing trees: On the southern shores of the Swan River, there are two old river gum branches that are draped next to each other, side by side. They are known as the ‘Bimban Born-Kissing Trees.’ According to Nyungar dreamtime, the trees tell a story of a forbidden love so strong that the land marked their passions forever!

6. Occupied by a special breed of dolphins: The Swan River is home to the Indo-Pacific Bottlenose dolphins, which are a breed of the common bottlenose dolphins, but are specific to the region. The Indo-Pacific Bottlenose dolphins are smaller, have more teeth and are less social than the common bottlenose dolphin.

7. Home to over 130 species of fish and wildlife: Both land and water animals call the Swan River home, including bull sharks, cobblers, herring, mullet, black brim, whiting, flatheads and blowfish. The Swan River is also home to waterbirds and terrestrial animals, including the famous black swans, pelicans, ibises, ducks, parrots, kingfishers, bush-tail possums and water-rats.

8. Flows for a short period of time: The Swan River is an ephemeral river, meaning it flows for shorter periods during or after a period of rainfall. The Swan River is dry during most of the summer and during autumn as well. However, over the rainy seasons, it runs through steep valleys causing a widening at the coast to form two shallow tidal basins.

An open letter to Australian Politicians

Open letter to Australian politicians and councillors – you are missing one very important environmental policy in your election promises.

Dear Members of Parliament and Senators,

As you pound the pavement campaigning to win office, we would like to draw your attention to a gaping hole in your environmental policies and we’re not talking about climate change. There is one immediate issue facing us: 80% of ocean plastic pollution comes from land-based sources and it flows there via urban stormwater runoff. Urban stormwater runoff also contains harmful levels of other less visible (but extremely damaging) pollutants, such as suspended solids, heavy metals, nutrients and bacteria.

The evidence is irrefutable. The technologies and legislation already exist to solve the problem. However, there is a massive divide between what we should be doing and what we are doing.

I ask you: if your tap was running and flooding your kitchen, what would you do first? Grab a mop and bucket or turn off the tap? You would turn the tap off, right? Let’s make it a legal requirement for private and public sectors to stop the flow of pollution to the ocean.

I acknowledge that our business will benefit from this initiative. However, so too will thousands of Australian businesses across multiple sectors – as will all Australians via more jobs and healthy oceans.

With the ocean providing over half the oxygen we breathe and being a major source of food for the world’s population, there is a critical need for action and we all have the ability to make change.

The facts:

  • Each year, at least eight million tonnes of plastics flow into the ocean – which is equivalent to dumping the contents of one garbage truck into the ocean every minute. If no action is taken, this is expected to increase to two per minute by 2030 and four per minute by 2050 [1]
  • Stormwater is recognised as the key source of pollution in our urban waterways and the vast majority of marine debris entering Australian waters is land-based and generated locally [3,4]
  • Every time it rains, stormwater runoff from most urban areas within Australia flows to our waterways and oceans without any stormwater treatment to remove pollutants (including plastics). Where stormwater treatment assets are present to capture pollutants, they seldom receive appropriate maintenance, meaning captured pollutants aren’t removed – often making the assets completely ineffective.
  • The degradation of our waterways and oceans is a public health risk and has a direct impact to our economy, with the ban on commercial fishing and cautions around consumption of fish products from Sydney Harbour due to pollution [5] as just one current example
  • A recent national survey found that the number one concern for Australians when it comes to population growth is marine and waterway health – rated higher than traffic congestion, competition for jobs and housing density [6]
  • The solutions to mitigate the aforementioned problems are available and cost-effective. However, the future cost to rectify these problems and implement appropriate solutions will only increase unless urgent action is undertaken now.

Solutions exist. We need your help to implement them.

We are calling on Federal, State and local Government to collaboratively achieve the following key outcomes:

  • Appropriate stormwater management for all new development, including targets associated with litter (pollutants greater than 5mm in diameter) and other pollutants, such as suspended solids and nutrients
  • Appropriate management and continued maintenance of existing and new stormwater treatment assets (on both private and publicly owned land) by 2021
  • Zero discharge of litter from all urbanised areas within Australia by 2040

If we kill the oceans, we kill ourselves.

Regards,

Jeremy Brown, Ocean Protect

[1] Ellen
MacArthur Foundation, 2017, The New
Plastics Economy: Rethinking the Future & Catalyzing Action
, https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/assets/downloads/publications/NPEC-Hybrid_English_22-11-17_Digital.pdf

[2] Melbourne
Water, 2016, Management of the ecological
impacts of urban land and activities on waterways – Issues Paper: understanding
the science
, https://www.clearwatervic.com.au/user-data/resource-files/2016_08-waterways-issues-paper-pub.pdf

[3] Dr Britta
Denise Hardesty, CSIRO, Committee Hansard,
26 February 2016, p. 1, https://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id:%22committees/commsen/439759d8-696a-4708-b877-eaf069b0776f/0001%22;src1=sm1

[4] Britta Denise
Hardesty and Chris Wilcox, CSIRO,
Understanding the types, sources and at‐sea distribution of marine
debris in Australian waters, https://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/pages/8ff786ed-42cf-4a50-866e-13a4d231422b/files/marine-debris-sources.pdf

[5] Department of Primary Industries, Fishing in Sydney Harbour, https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fishing/recreational/fishing-skills/fishing-in-sydney-harbour

[6] Survey commissioned by Ocean Protect and conducted by Pureprofile in January 2019. 1,000 Australians over 18 year olds and geographically segmented to represent the population.