Environmental Monitoring

In-plant water quality monitoring

Within the plant water quality is continuously monitored to ensure it meets the specifications and conditions that are stipulated in the VDP contract and required by the EPA licence.  The plant’s automated control systems are designed and operate to detect and treat any issues with water quality to ensure that only seawater concentrate that meets the required quality specifications goes back into the marine environment.

Marine monitoring

Monitoring and surveying of the local marine environment commenced when the government started to develop the project’s Environment Effects Statement.

A range of broader scope surveys were also undertaken as part of the project’s Baseline Marine Monitoring Program (BMMP).

The BMMP allowed enough data to be collected on the marine environment before the plant started operating to provide a benchmark against which future monitoring results could be measured.

An Operational Marine Monitoring Program (OMMP) was developed on the basis of information gathered over five years of investigation and research to enable the monitoring of any impact to the marine environment from the operation of the plant.

The OMMP commences when a water order is received from the State and before the Plant starts to produce water.  It includes:

  • Continuous in-plant monitoring of the seawater concentrate to ensure it is compliant with the EPA Discharge Licence
  • Continuous logging of salinity (conductivity and temperature) at fixed locations on the seabed (implemented in conjunction with the in-plant water quality monitoring)
  • Monitoring of the outlet structures to ensure they are performing correctly and that the seawater concentrate is being mixed correctly
  • Ecological surveys by both Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV) and divers
  • Periodic ecotoxiology testing of the seawater concentrate

Environmental reporting

The Marine Monitoring Program is overseen by the Marine Monitoring Management Group which comprises the EPA, DEECA, AquaSure and Watersure, as well as an independent external reviewer from the University of NSW.

Data from the OMMP is regularly collected and processed when the plant is operating, and is provided to an external consultant for independent statistical analysis.  Formal reporting on the OMMP is done annually when the Plant is operating.  

For further information click on the Environmental Monitoring and Reporting fact sheet.