south east water groundwater compliance assessment

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The Project

South East Water operates eight Water Recycling Plants and two Recycled Water Irrigation Facilities located within the urban and peri-urban environment servicing Melbourne's Eastern Suburbs.  Each facility is surrounded by multiple land uses potentially contributing similar contaminants (i.e. nutrients) to the surrounding environment. Potential contamination of groundwater is currently assessed through regular bi-annual monitoring of a network of groundwater bores at each facility. BlueSphere was engaged to review the routine monitoring data and provide a groundwater compliance assessment in accordance with its amalgamated licence and EPA Publication 1322.9 Licence Management (December, 2017) to assist in the prevention and management of potential groundwater contamination. 


Following a review of the available information, the project team developed a robust conceptual site model (CSM) for each facility and identified a number of data gaps in relation to potential sources of contamination and background groundwater quality conditions. In response, the routine monitoring program was improved to incorporate a targeted effluent and surface water monitoring program to assist with providing a better assessment of compliance.  The assessment  highlighted potential off-site sources of contamination and onsite infrastructure and historic practices that had the potential to impact on groundwater. The outcomes of this investigation facilitated targeting additional facility investigations and proactive management of site assets to optimally reduce risk.

Benefits to Client

  • Improvement of the monitoring system to identify site related issues and discriminate them from background issues. Our client was not having to deal with contamination deriving from others.

  • Refinement of the groundwater quality review process to allow for proactive environmental management to avoid contamination.

  • Focus of management effort to optimally reduce risk – better value for money from their efforts

  • Providing a clear and defensible information base to demonstrate regulatory compliance