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Sydney water utility exposes hazardous trade waste

Dumping liquid trade waste such as process plant effluent into our sewers is a growing problem, affecting residents’ health and the environment. But community water authority, Sydney Water, has upgraded its existing system to track waste before it goes into the sewerage system.

Sydney Water will use a locally-developed, computer-based system designed by Wastelink to monitor and control each stage of its liquid trade waste management, across a perimeter of 12,700 square kilometres of Sydney.

Integrated with Sydney Water’s existing procedures, the Wastelink system currently only tracks grease trap waste in the Sydney region but it will be progressing to support other liquid trade waste including oily water in the near future.

According to Sydney Water, Wastelink is a more powerful and advanced development than its predecessor, the WasteSafe system, also developed by Wastelink in 1992.

Sydney Water’s manager of customer sustainability, Andrew Kirkwood, said Sydney Water’s old system was unable to keep up with the utility’s growing demands on water management.

“We needed a system providing much greater control of the whole collectionto disposal process so we can minimise the impact on sewerage facilities,” Kirkwood told PACE.

Wastelink general manager, Sue Hood, said the Wastelink software allows water utilities to have visibility over the discharged liquid trade waste.

“The success of a trade waste management program involves installing a system to identify, permit and audit the discharge from trade waste dischargers and understand how these dischargers relate to the total sewerage system,” she said.

Already being used by Gold Coast Water, Toowoomba Council and Dubbo Council, the Wastelink software begins recording data as soon as liquid trade waste is collected by the waste contractor right up until it is transferred to a liquid trade waste depot.

Hood explained the waste goes through a pre-treatment device such as a grease trap of a restaurant or an oily water separator at a mechanical workshop before it is discharged to sewer. A waste contractor then uses the Wastelink software to record information about the discharged waste.

She said Wastelink can also be used to record information about the discharges.

“The Wastelink system also helps the utility manage the discharger’s details and the frequency of when the pre-treatment device needs to be pumped out by a licenced waste contractor,” Hood said.

Sydney Water’s Kirkwood pointed out that the data obtained by waste contractors is recorded and uploaded onto a central system via hand-held scanners.

“This gives Sydney Water the comprehensive, current and accurate data to monitor and plan liquid waste operations more cost-effectively and reliably than ever before — and so it fulfils our overall mission to protect public health and the environment,” he said.

Wastelink’s Hood added that in order to obtain the data about the discharged liquid when it is discharged , the system can be ‘hooked up’ to a weighbridge, load cell or flowmeter at the liquid waste depot.

“It ensures that the waste contractor is taking the waste to a licensed processing plant or depot by tracking and reporting on the litres discharged,” she said.

According to Sydney Water’s Kirkwood, Sydney Water has confidence in Wastelink to help keep ahead of the industry’s evolving requirements.

“With their deep insight into our needs, Wastelink worked hard to forge an excellent consultative relationship with Sydney Water,” he said.

“There is a mutual respect and understanding that makes this a very productive working partnership.”

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