Leonie and Carla: Start with why!

Carla and Leonie with Andy and Siwan at the 2023 graduation.

Leonie has a background of Hydrogeology and Environmental Science and Carla has a background of Chemical engineering and Environmental engineering, with an interest in wastewater storages. Working together seemed to be a perfect match as Leonie and Carla complement their strengths and allow each other to learn with their shared knowledge.

Leonie and Carla with their graduation certificates.

The project

Both Melbourne Water and Yarra Valley Water has their treated effluent stored in lagoons. Both also experience issues on how to manage their lagoons and the risks associated to it. The purpose of this project is to outline best practice lagoon management principles, provide guidance on the appropriate maintenance to maintain operational reliability and ensure no harm to the environmental.

Carla and Leonie doing field work.
Ravi and Carla drying pans.

The approach

Both Leonie and Carla agreed to use a risk-based approach to the monitoring and management of assets. The environmental risks associated with lagoon failure (including leaks) are a product of the likelihood and consequence of such a failure. Although the term ‘failure’ is often associated with a catastrophic event which causes significant physical damage, failure can equally represent minor or persistent leaks which have the potential to release any volume of industrial waste to the surrounding environment.

In the risk management hierarchy, any aspects of operation that are deemed to be high or extreme risk should be considered for elimination or substitution whereas for low-risk aspects, administrative controls alone may be sufficient to manage the risk appropriately.

What’s next?

This framework can be used to consider the indicators of sustainable lagoons, how to effectively manage lagoons and who to involve in managing lagoons. In addition, this framework will continue to develop as each lagoons are unique and will need a specific way to manage.

Thank you to Siwan and Andy, and the whole Waterway Management Program network. We’re very grateful to have been involved in this program and plan to continue the relationships built among the participants over the coming years.

Carla and Leonie at the Ballarat workshop.