To address the changing trends in stormwater management, Melbourne Water and EPA have embarked on a joint project to update the BPEMG to consider the relevance of ‘quality only’ targets with the understanding of other parameters and place-based drivers.
In reviewing the guidelines, Melbourne Water has identified a range of initiatives that will likely be required for implementation.
A current challenge is the ambiguity associated with stormwater treatment measures that may or may not meet the required standards set under the guidelines. Drawing upon international models, it has recognised a number of verification pathways for stormwater treatment measures that could be applied, and the importance of access to credible information regarding the efficacy of particular measures to treat stormwater to standards.
As part of its industry consultation, Melbourne Water has provided the SIA with a copy of a ‘Roadmap Report’ and seeks feedback on how we can best work with industry to develop a consistent, objective, informed and science-based approach to verifying stormwater treatment measures.
SIA has expressed an interest in working with Melbourne Water to shape any initiative they may undertake to ensure it has a national relevance.
To read the full report go to: IVS_road_map_discussion_paper_draft_5_July_13.pdf
At a recent meeting called by some of Australia’s leading manufacturers and distributors with Association President Andrew Allan, serious concern was expressed that the credibility of the whole industry could come under fire from the outrageous performance claims of some manufacturers.
The need for nationally recognised performance validation criteria was discussed (see page 3 for further information) but the discussion went much further. One of the more interesting issues raised at the meeting was the need for an Association Code of Conduct. Andrew Allan asked the participants at the meeting to have a think about the benefits of a Code of Conduct and how, if it was thought to be worthwhile, the best way for the Association to put something together
Managing Director of Stormwater 360, Jeremy Brown , supported the idea of a Code of Conduct. In a follow up note to the Association Mr Brown said, "The development and application of a binding Code of Conduct would be a very important step in confirming and maintaining the credibility of the Association in particular and then the industry as a whole."
He warned however, that development application and enforcement of a Code of Conduct was ‘not a five minute job.’
He pointed out that a Code of Conduct must,
- have widespread support within the industry
- have clear objectives
- be well designed
- provide benefits to signatories
- be effectively implemented
- be underpinned by an effective complaint handling system
- be administered by an appropriate body
- be properly and objectively enforced
- be regularly evaluated and reviewed to retain currency and support from stakeholders.
"And it is not just a job for the Executive’ Brown added.
The Australian National President, Andrew Allan, recently met with three of the country’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of stormwater management infrastructure.
The representatives of Stormwater 360 (Jeremy Brown), Rocla (Stephen D Baker) and Humes (Dr Charles Kelly) all raised significant concerns about performance claims being made by other suppliers in the industry.
All three pointed out that misleading performance claims do enormous harm to companies trying to do the right thing. Even more importantly however they maintained that misleading performance claims will have a significant impact on the stormwater industry segment as a whole.
"When you have a supplier making performance claims that just can’t be achieved in the field everyone in this industry suffers," Jeremy Brown, Managing Director of Stormwater 360 said following on from the meeting.
"When manufacturers’ claims lose credibility, product specifiers have to spend much more time and money investigating those claims as do project assessors and that adds to everyone’s bottom line.
"And think of the challenges faced for example by the young civil engineer designing a commercial development who may not have the skill set to assess manufacturers performance claims - they can take the word of the manufacturer, which could be a risky decision, or they can seek further professional advice which only adds up to more expense and delay’ Brown continued
Nationally agreed performance evaluation criteria just make such good economic and environmental sense for everyone.
DA’s could be approved more quickly with much higher levels of environmental certainty.
"We just have to have a set of performance standards that clients can use to decide which system is best for them.
Two of the country’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of stormwater management infrastructure have supported the push for performance validation protocols of proprietary devices.
Dr Charles Kelly, Commercial Manager (Water Solutions) from Humes and Stephen D Baker, Manager Water Quality of Rocla offered their support in separate communications with the Bulletin’s editorial team.
Dr Kelly said, "Performance validation of proprietary devices is imperative if the industry is to move forward with a balance of options available to key specifiers and asset owners.
"The development of these protocols will, however, not be a five minute job.
"For a start, detailed input will be required from academics, leading consultants within the field, authorities as asset owners, authorities as assessors, regulators at both the state and federal levels and suppliers of all levels of treatment," Dr Kelly added.
"Importantly, all participants must be heard regardless of their size and/or perceived presence and standing in the industry, with a view to a completely open and fair discussion as to the features and benefits of such an approach."