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7.

Assessment of Seawater Intake and Concentrate Outlet Project Components


Intake and outlet tunnels will be located in the Tasman Sea east of Kurnell. The key issues associated with the intake and outlet infrastructure are the impacts of discharge of seawater concentrate on receiving water quality and the impacts of intake operation and discharge on aquatic ecology. Design approaches are discussed and the results of the modelling and ecological survey undertaken to assess impacts are detailed. Spoil management is also considered a key issue and is dealt with in Chapter 9, along with the assessment of spoil impacts associated with the delivery infrastructure.

7.1 Overview
Establishing receiving water quality data A detailed seawater quality sampling program for the Kurnell intake location has been initiated. The objectives of the ongoing seawater quality assessment study are to characterise seawater quality for design purposes, to determine seasonal variations and to assess the influence of freshwater flows and the effect of hydrodynamic conditions. The program will also establish the background water quality in the ocean to allow discharges from the plant to be assessed. Intake and outlet design The desalinated water produced from a seawater reverse osmosis process is normally in the range of 40 to 45 per cent of the feedwater flow. Therefore, between 55 and 60 per cent of the feedwater will be returned to the ocean as seawater concentrate. The seawater intake and discharge outlet will be tunnelled some 50 to 70 metres under the Kurnell Headland and approximately 30 metres under the seabed, avoiding disturbance to the land and seabed during construction and operation. Seawater will be drawn from the Tasman Sea at a point some 300 to 400 metres offshore of the Kurnell Peninsula and in water depths of approximately 20 to 25 metres on a large reef shelf with flat and featured bedrock with drop-offs of 1 to 2 metres. Some small patches of boulders and sand are also present. The outlet is likely to be some 500 - 1,000 metres south of the intake.

Assessment of Seawater Intake and Concentrate Outlet Project Components

7.1

Figure 7.1 Offshore seabed Kurnell Figure 7.1 Offshore seabed Kurnell

Botany Bay

Captain Cooks Landing


Prince Charles Parade

Kurnell

Botany Bay National Park

Quibray Bay

Caltex Refineries
Drive

Co ok

Captain

Desalination Plant Site

Botany Bay National Park

Tasman Sea

2.0km

Medium to coarse grained orange coloured sand with 40% shell Fine grained grey coloured sand with 5% to 20% mud and 30% to 40% shell Fine grained fawn coloured sand with 30% shell Fine to medium grained, golden coloured sand with 10% shell (and can be up to 60%) Rocky reef

The outlet for the seawater concentrate will be approximately 250-350m offshore and in water depths of approximately 20-30m. The area is characterised by a large reef shelf with extensive boulder field (boulders 0.3-2m diameter) overlaying bedrock. Figure 7.1 shows the nature of the seabed off Kurnell. Drop-offs of 13m are present and sand has accumulated in the gutters. Shallower areas (20m depth) consist of flat bedrock. Tunnels will be about 50-70m below the Botany Bay National Park. The exact route of the tunnel and location of the intake and outlet are yet to be determined. The final locations will be determined during the detailed design stage. The conceptual intake and outlet locations are identified in Figure 7.2. A number of alternative options to construct intake and outlet structures have been considered to suit the particular coastal features in Sydney including directional drilling, laying a pipeline on either a rocky or sandy seabed, and tunnelling. While further review and optimisation of the intake design will occur during the pre-construction design of a plant, tunnelling or horizontal directional drilling techniques will provide the best solution. These construction methodologies have been used in a number of similar applications, such as construction of Sydney Waters deep ocean outfalls. Pipelines across the surface of the Botany Bay National Park were ruled out for ecological reasons and because there would be a need for pump stations on or near cliff faces. Pipes laid on the seabed were ruled out due to concerns over the stability of such pipes during storms, construction difficulty and possible effects on sand movement and coastal processes.

Discharge outlets will be designed to maximise dispersion of the seawater concentrate and work with currents to quickly disperse and dilute it.

7.2

Environmental Assessment of the Concept Plan for Sydneys Desalination Project

Figure 7.2/E6 Intake and outlet locations Figure 7.2 Intake and outlet locations
Si

rJ

os

ep

Caltex Refineries
h

Desalination Plant Site

Dune or beach well intakes were rejected as being suitable for large plants because they require an extensive length of beach for sufficient inflow. Other important issues relate to the practical maintenance and life of the fine intake screens. Beach well intakes are generally used for plants of less than 40 ML/day capacities. Intakes from the rocky seabed relying on fractures either naturally occurring or created by blasting were also examined and ruled out. Cliff face or shoreline intakes have not been recommended due to the unacceptable risk associated with all elements including construction, impact on water quality and operation and maintenance. These risks are due to the large wave energies, large sediment/kelp transport potential and difficulties in maintaining an intake in these conditions. The selection of rocky reef locations for intake and outlet was based on a balance of issues including ease of construction, depth of location, ecological impact and location with respect to currents. The chosen locations will allow effective dilution and a minimisation of intake of sands and sediments. The intake structures will be designed so that the strength of the intake draw-in current around the inlet is generally less than that of the passing current. This will reduce entrainment of fish and larval species, kelp and other marine matter. Outlets at cliff faces or shorelines were not recommended for the principal environmental reason that adequate dispersion of the discharge could not be achieved. Use of the existing sewage ocean outfalls was not adopted, mainly because of the impact on the plume behaviour due to the change in density of the discharge and the existing capacity of the outfalls. Figure 7.3 provides an indicative view of possible main features of an intake and outlet structure.

e riv sD nk Ba
Intake

l Tunne

Tasman Sea
Outlet Tunnel

Assessment of Seawater Intake and Concentrate Outlet Project Components

7.3

Figure 7.3 Intake and outlet design features Figure 7.3 Intake and outlet design features

Individual intake structure

Intake port

Sea floor

Rock

Intake riser connected to intake tunnel

Grout seal
Not to scale

Intake

Individual outlet structure Discharge nozzle

Sea floor Grout seal Rock Outlet riser connected to outlet tunnel
Not to scale

Outlet

7.4

Environmental Assessment of the Concept Plan for Sydneys Desalination Project

Characteristics of discharge An inventory of indicative waste streams and their constituents generated at a reverse osmosis desalination plant is shown in Figure 7.4 and Table 7.1. A conservative conventional pre-treatment design has been assumed (i.e. coagulation flocculation followed by two stage open dual media filtration). Wastewater from the desalination plant will consist mainly of elevated salinity seawater, backwash water from the pre-treatment filters and from the cleaning of the reverse osmosis membranes. The discharge will also contain any chemicals Figure 7.4 Typical waste streams from a Reverse Osmosis desalination plant required for the pre-treatment of the feedwater. These waste waters are collectively referred to as seawater concentrate.
Figure 7.4 Indicative waste streams from a reverse osmosis desalination plant

Chlorine to control marine growth

Seawater intake

Polymer and coagulant (FeCl3) to enhance coagulation and removal of particles

Pre-treatment Process

Backwash

H2SO4 and anti-scalant to prevent scaling

Sodium bisulfite to remove Chlorine

Elevated salinity seawater (including anti-scalant)

RO Process

Cleaning Process

Biocide

Acidic detergent

Biocide

Acidic detergent neutralised

Fluoride for teeth Potabilisation Chlorine disinfection Lime sludge

Drinking Water

Seawater concentrate discharge to Tasman Sea

Distribution

Assessment of Seawater Intake and Concentrate Outlet Project Components

7.5

Table 7.1 provides details of some of the chemicals used in the desalination process. Their potential impact is discussed in section 7.2.1.
Table 7.1 Typical chemicals required for reverse osmosis treatment process and products discharged to the ocean
Chemical Sodium hypochlorite Sodium bisulfite solution Use Intermittent dosing of seawater entering intake to control marine growth. Added to sodium hypochlorite treated seawater to neutralise any residual chlorine. Also reduces by-products of sodium hypochlorite treatment. Added to seawater to prevent scaling of RO membranes. Pre-treatment of intake water as a coagulant to aid removal of suspended solids. Pre-treatment of intake water to enhance coagulation and removal of particles. Cleaning of membranes (intermittently with frequency dependent on extent of membrane fouling). The actual products used and frequency of cleaning to be determined through pilot testing, operations monitoring and the warranty requirements of the membrane suppliers. Anti-scalants are typically sodium salts of polycarboxylic acid. Dosed continuously to RO feedwater to prevent scaling of RO membranes. Biocides may be required to be added to the RO system intermittently to aid control of marine growth. Lime Sodium bisulfite Added to drinking water Lime used for pH and alkalinity adjustment and corrosion control. Lime sludge is produced in lime water separators. Preservation of membranes during membrane shutdowns. Chemicals added to drinking water, including sodium hypochlorite and ammonia for disinfection and hydrofluorosilic acid for fluoridation not discharged.

Sulphuric acid Ferric chloride Polymer (polyelectrolyte) Acidic detergent

Anti-scalants and biocides

7.1.1 Spoil generation


Spoil will be generated by excavating the intake and outlet tunnels and the associated shafts. Depending on the option that is ultimately selected, there is likely to be approximately 280,000 tonnes (175,000 m3) of spoil generated by these tunnels. There is a range of possible options to manage and reuse the spoil and this will be finalised by the contractor. In the case of intake and outlet tunnelling, as most of the spoil will be good quality sandstone residual, it is anticipated that the majority of the spoil will beneficially reused. The material may be able to be used on the site of the desalination plant but this will depend on construction sequencing and volume requirements. Chapter 9 deals with the assessment of spoil management.

It is anticipated that the majority of the spoil generated will be beneficially reused.

7.2 Assessment of water quality


7.2.1 Assessment context
Marine water quality has been set in line with the Proposed Marine Water Quality Objectives for NSW Coastal Waters (EPA 2002). Objectives to be achieved include the protection of marine ecosystems, recreation, aquaculture and visual amenity. To assess whether these objectives would be met, assessment was made against relevant indicators. These included ANZECC guidelines (ANZECC, 2000) addressing physio-chemical, biological and other parameters. In addition, the impacts of chemicals introduced during the treatment process were also addressed. The objectives and indicators are summarised in Table 7.2.

7.6

Environmental Assessment of the Concept Plan for Sydneys Desalination Project

The ANZECC guidelines recognise a mixing zone at the discharge point. A mixing zone is the area around a point discharge and management goals for the ambient waters apply at the boundary. The extent and nature of mixing zones are governed by the design parameters of the structure through which the discharge occurs and the hydrological conditions at the discharge site. Mixing zones are generally designated to manage the discharge of soluble, non-bioaccumulating substances. Reduced environmental benefits are accepted within the mixing zone as long as the values and the uses of the broader ecosystem are not jeopardised. The ANZECC guidelines recommend a management philosophy of continual improvement, in order to reduce the size of the mixing zone over time (ANZECC, 2000). Toxicity testing provides a mechanism to assess the combined toxicity effects of all chemicals in the discharge. It directly measures the bioavailability of these chemicals, the effects of interactions between chemicals and the potential for ecological impacts. This approach is preferable to chemical or component-specific evaluations of discharges because it accounts for synergistic effects and the bioavailable fraction of particular substances. Toxicity testing is also useful because analytical techniques or toxicity data may be unavailable for specific chemicals. In addition, as outlined in section 7.3, potential impacts on marine species and habitat will be assessed.
Table 7.2 Water quality assessment against Marine Quality Objectives for NSW Coastal Waters (EPA, 2002)
Environmental Value Applicability to the Project Aquatic ecosystems Water Quality Objective Relevant Biological Indicators Relevant Physicochemical and Visual Indicators Assessment of the following will be undertaken: Salinity Iron Nutrients (total nitrogen and total phosphorous) Turbidity Suspended solids pH Dissolved oxygen Assessment of the following will be undertaken: Suspended solids Temperature Iron Relevant Indicators for Toxicants in Marine Coastal Waters Pesticides and metals (with the exception of iron) are not assessed, as these are not introduced into the treatment process. Chemicals added during treatment will be assessed. Relevant Indicators for Sediments

Objective 1: To maintain or improve the ecological condition of coastal marine waters.

Biological indicators in relation to bioaccumulation are not relevant to the seawater concentrate as there are no expected bioaccumulatory effects. Chemicals added during treatment will be assessed.

Relevant indicators for sediments.

Aquaculture and human consumption of aquatic foods

Objective 2: To maintain or improve coastal marine water quality for the production of foods for human consumption [whether derived from aquaculture or recreational, commercial or indigenous fishing] and for aquaculture activities.

Microbiological indicators are not relevant as there will be no introduction of human pathogens in the seawater concentrate. Chemicals added during treatment will be assessed.

Pesticides and metals (with the exception of iron) will not be assessed, as these are not introduced into the treatment process. Ambient metals levels in seawater concentrate will reduce to background concentrations at the edge of the mixing zone. Chemicals added during treatment will be assessed.

No indicators identified.

Assessment of Seawater Intake and Concentrate Outlet Project Components

7.7

Table 7.2 Water quality assessment against Marine Quality Objectives for NSW Coastal Waters (EPA, 2002) (continued)
Environmental Value Applicability to the Project Recreation (primary and secondary) and visual amenity Water Quality Objective Relevant Biological Indicators Relevant Physicochemical and Visual Indicators Assessment of the following will be undertaken: Visual clarity (as turbidity) Temperature pH Relevant Indicators for Toxicants in Marine Coastal Waters No relevant indicators in regard to marine waters are identified. Relevant Indicators for Sediments

Objective 3: To maintain or improve coastal marine water quality so that it is suitable for activities such as swimming and other direct water contact. Objective 4: To maintain or improve coastal marine water quality so that it is suitable for activities such as boating and fishing where there is less bodily contact with the waters. Objective 5: To maintain or improve coastal marine water quality so that it looks clean and is free of surface films and debris.

Microbiological indicators are not relevant as there will be no introduction of human pathogens in the discharge. Chemicals added during treatment will be assessed.

No indicators identified.

7.2.2 Assessment
This assessment section is structured to address: The existing coastal environment with respect to receiving water quality; The dilution that will be achieved; and How this dilution compares to the criteria for the project, in particular the ANZECC criteria. To estimate the impacts of salinity and other parameters in the marine environment, modelling has determined the concentrations at the end of the initial mixing zone (near field). Initially, dilution increased rapidly with distance from the diffuser, but further away the rate of further dilution slowed as the turbulence became affected by ambient conditions. The dilution eventually becomes approximately constant; the location where this occurs defines the end of the near field, where mixing is primarily due to turbulence (Roberts et al, 1997). The concentration of chemicals and other parameters at the edge of the mixing zone was estimated based on the concentration of intake seawater and the subsequent effect of the treatment process and the dilution at the edge of the mixing zone. In the case of salinity, the reverse osmosis process concentrates seawater. Total suspended solids increase from the intake level due to the addition of ferric salts and the resultant precipitation of ferric hydroxide flocs. The analysis has been based on samples collected since April 2005; a relatively short time to comprehensively characterise offshore water quality. During the design and construction phases, sampling will continue to better confirm the intake water quality. In addition, toxicity testing will be used to confirm the impacts of salinity and other chemicals at the edge of the mixing zone. It is expected that predicted impacts will be confirmed through the additional monitoring program. If this is not the case, mitigation measures include treatment of waste streams prior to discharge or use of alternative chemicals in the seawater treatment process.

7.8

Environmental Assessment of the Concept Plan for Sydneys Desalination Project

Coastal environment and receiving water quality The intake and outlet will be located in the Tasman Sea east of Kurnell. Kurnell is located on the southern coast of Sydney and forms the southern headland of Botany Bay. Botany Bay is a large shallow bay and the water column is relatively well mixed vertically. It has inflows from the Georges River and from the Cooks River and during wet weather, the water within Botany Bay can become turbid with sediment laden fresh water. The tidal range within Botany Bay is the same as on the open coast, being approximately 1.4 metres on average with ranges up to 2 metres. The entrance of Botany Bay is approximately 20 metres deep and the bathymetry outside of Botany Bay drops away rapidly to over 80 metres deep within approximately 1 kilometre offshore. The tidal discharge from Botany Bay will spread northward or southward in the direction of the prevailing ocean current, however, momentum of this discharge is quickly dissipated. Offshore of Sydney, including Kurnell, stratification due to temperature in the warmer seasons increases up to about 0.1oC per metre and is virtually nil in the winter months. Currents are dynamic and dominated by the shore parallel component (i.e. running parallel to the coast) that is on average about 0.2 m/s to the south, but with movement also to the north. Currents in the shore normal direction (i.e. running towards or away form the coast) are much smaller especially at depth. The shore parallel component of current at Sydney is dominated by the East Australian Current, coastal trapped waves and local winds. At approximately 20 metres depth off the Kurnell Peninsula, the bed currents are around 0.05 m/s but are slightly higher than at most other locations off Sydney. The direction is predominantly southward with influence from surface winds affecting return flows for surface onshore or offshore currents. There is some influence of the flood and ebb tide from Botany Bay around the northern end of the headland. A current meter and data probe have been installed near the intakes to build up a database of current information to inform the detailed design of intakes and outlets. Five metre high waves with periods of around 10 to 12 seconds are expected to occur between once and twice per annum off the coast of Sydney. Such a wave event is likely to cause significant mixing throughout the water column at 20 metre depths and possibly cause some re-suspension of bed sediments. Turbidity in the coastal waters around Sydney is influenced primarily by estuary discharges but is generally very low. During floods, the turbidity around beaches and the shoreline generally increases. Other inputs to the Sydney coastline include predominantly stormwater, sewer overflows and treated sewage effluent. The deepwater ocean outfalls discharge approximately 1,000 ML/day through three outfalls at North Head, Bondi and Malabar between 2.2 and 3.7 kilometres offshore in water depths between 50 and 80 metres. There are smaller local treated industrial wastewater and sewage effluent outfalls in the vicinity including the Cronulla Sewage Treatment Plant Potter Point outfall. Modelling indicates that the impact of these outfalls at the Kurnell Peninsula is low because outflows are highly diluted (WRL, 2005). Temperature and salinity data collated from outfall programs for the Illawarra and Sydney region show that average salinity varies between 34 and 36 parts per thousand (ppt) throughout the year. Any variations are generally due to the balance between dilution by precipitation, river inflow and concentration by evaporation, in addition to water temperature and the extent of mixing between surface and deeper water.

Assessment of Seawater Intake and Concentrate Outlet Project Components

7.9

Extent of dilution and impact the modelling approach As part of the environmental assessment process, the Water Research Laboratory (WRL see Appendix A2) has undertaken detailed modelling studies to investigate: The discharge of seawater concentrate through a seabed outlet; The zone of influence of the seawater concentrate discharge, particularly the extent of the near field; and The likelihood of re-entrainment of seawater concentrate discharge back into the seawater intake. The investigations made use of complex mathematical models and data for the Sydney Coastal region. A full copy of the WRL report is presented as Appendix A2. The movement of discharge away from the outlet was simulated and the discharge plume behaviour was then analysed. This allowed for an assessment of both the zone of impact and the likelihood of re-entrainment of discharge back into the seawater intake. Unlike a more common wastewater plume that is buoyant and will rise to the surface, a seawater concentrate plume is dense and tends to sink into the lower strata. Both buoyant and dense plumes will undergo similar near field mixing processes of entraining surrounding ocean waters. The dense plume has lesser intermediate and far field mixing processes that typically comprise bed velocities associated with currents, baroclinic flows associated with density differences and the influence of turbulent mixing down from the surface due to winds and waves. To have a reduced zone of impact it is important to achieve the optimal near and intermediate field dilutions and not rely on far field dilutions. The amount of near field dilution achieved will depend primarily on the strength of receiving water currents, the discharge velocity and angle of discharge, and increased mixing due to wave activity. Developing a dilution target Salinity has been used to establish the dilution target at the end of the near field. The target dilution was set at the dilution required to be within 1 ppt of average salinity in the receiving water, i.e. for the Sydney case to be within 1 ppt of 35 as the 34 to 36 ppt natural variation of receiving water salinity. This corresponds to an approximate 3 per cent change at the end of the near field. This level of increase was considered to be within the natural variation of the receiving waters and marine organisms are not likely to be affected by this scale of salinity variation. Table 7.3 provides a summary of the increase in salinity at the end of the near field as a function of dilution and seawater concentrate salt concentrations. This indicates that, assuming a discharge of 65 ppt (less than double background seawater), an initial dilution of around 30 would result in salinity being within 1 ppt of ambient conditions by the assumed outlet design. Additional far field mixing will then occur to provide further dilution.

7.10

Environmental Assessment of the Concept Plan for Sydneys Desalination Project

Table 7.3 Increased salinity for various dilutions and discharge concentrations
Dilution (number of dilutions) 5 10 15 20
Increase in Salinity = (Dilution*35 + 1*Seawater Concentrate) / (Dilution + 1) - 35

Discharge Concentration (ppt) 50 2.5 1.4 0.9 0.7 0.6 0.5 0.4 0.4 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.2 55 3.3 1.8 1.3 1.0 0.8 0.6 0.6 0.5 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.3 60 4.2 2.3 1.6 1.2 1.0 0.8 0.7 0.6 0.5 0.5 0.4 0.4 65 5.0 2.7 1.9 1.4 1.2 1.0 0.8 0.7 0.7 0.6 0.5 0.5 70 5.8 3.2 2.2 1.7 1.3 1.1 1.0 0.9 0.8 0.7 0.6 0.6

25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60

Salinity modelling results and the conceptual diffuser design A conservative estimate of near field dilution has been made based upon available research into the mixing of dense plumes including work presented by Roberts et al (1997). The specific design of such an outlet needs to balance the required near field dilution and the hydraulic head available/desired to operate the outlet. The method of Roberts et al (1997) was selected because it is both based on site specific measurements and conservatively assumes zero current receiving waters. Any currents present in the receiving waters will be expected to significantly increase the near field mixing. This is the case with Kurnell. The method thereby provides a very conservative and precautionary approach to estimating water quality impacts. The conceptual outlet for release consists of a tunnel under the seabed with a number of risers/heads, each containing a number of nozzles. The discharge will jet out of these nozzles at a reasonably high velocity at an angle of 60 from the horizontal. The discharge jet will be diluted through turbulent entrainment of the surrounding waters, rise to a maximum height in the water column and then sink towards the bed under density flow. The spacing of the risers has been determined to balance the interaction of individual plumes and engineering constraints. A concept riser spacing of approximately 25 metres has been adopted which will result in some mixing of neighbouring plumes before the ultimate end of the dense near field. The modelling assumes a design involving three risers with four nozzles per riser. With this design and the maintenance of exit velocity of around 7 m/s, salinity levels within 1 ppt of the background can be achieved at the edge of the near field. These results are shown in Table 7.4 and are depicted in Figure 7.5 for a 500 ML/day plant.

Assessment of Seawater Intake and Concentrate Outlet Project Components

7.11

Figure 7.5/E11 Graphic showing dilution

Figure 7.5 Dilution of seawater concentrate

Natural seawater salinity 34-36ppt

Cronulla Beach Boat Harbour/ 34-36ppt Aquatic Reserve 34-36ppt

End of near field 36ppt

Out of diffuser 65ppt

End of near field 36ppt

Heads of Botany Bay 34-36ppt

Silver Beach 34-36ppt

50-75m 3Km Not to scale 6.5Km

50-75m 3Km 5Km

Size of the near field or regulatory mixing zone The mixing zone is the area or volume where the initial dilution of a discharge occurs. Water quality criteria apply at the boundary of the mixing zone. The near field in simple terms is effectively the mixing zone. It is estimated that the near field may extend some 50-75 metres. A regulatory mixing zone for a 500 ML/day plant can be thought of as a limited area or volume where the initial dilution of a discharge occurs. Water quality criteria apply at the boundary of the (regulatory) mixing zone and are suspended within the zone. In simple terms, the near field is effectively the regulatory mixing zone. The size of the mixing zone is estimated to be less than half a hectare in an environment of no flow. This will vary in size depending on tidal effects and current flow. In quiescent flow, the size of the impact zone will tend to be smaller, however, the concentration of the plume will tend to be higher due to lower currents to assist entrainment and flow into the far field. Conversely, during periods where currents occur, i.e. most of the time, the size of the mixing zone will be larger but the plume will be lower in concentration. The assessment considers a 500 ML/day plant. Impacts from a 125 ML/day plant will of course be considerably less. Far field regions of dispersion Once the plume reaches the end of the near field it continues to disperse through the action of currents and other influences. The ultimate fate of the plume is dependent on its movement into the far field. The extent of the far field plume has been estimated using computer modelling programs. It should be noted that this work involved a 500 ML/day outlet and thus can be regarded as a worst-case scenario. A map showing how the plume would disperse off Kurnell is shown in Figure 7.6. The dilutions shown are those that would be achieved 99 per cent of the time. A 99 percentile dilution shows the least diluted plume likely to be generated; it will only occur 1 per cent of the time and for the remaining 99 per cent of the time the plume will be more diluted than the plume shown.

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Environmental Assessment of the Concept Plan for Sydneys Desalination Project

In summary it can be seen that excellent dispersion will be achieved off Kurnell and that elevated salinity would not occur, for example, in Botany Bay, Bate Bay or Cronulla Beach. When the conservative nature of the assumptions relating to the Roberts model is taken into account (that is the model assumed that no currents exist) it is predicted that there will be no impact at the end of the near field. The extent of the far field plume was estimated based on the intake and outlet being approximately 1,000 metres apart and the results are shown in Figure 7.6. Modelling was also undertaken based on a separation distance of approximately 500 metres and this predicts similar levels of far field dilution at the inlet location. Figure 7.6/E11 99 per cent plume dilutions
Figure 7.6 99 per cent plume dilution

Botany Bay

Captain Cooks Landing


Prince Charles Parade

Kurnell

Botany Bay National Park

Quibray Bay
Sir Jos

Caltex Refineries
Drive

eph

Co

Captain

Desalination Plant Site

Seawater inlet
e

ok

Potter Point outfall

Ban ks Driv

Botany Bay National Park

Seawater concentrate outlet Near-field mixing zone

Tasman Sea

2.0km

Far-field dilutions Dilution of at least 30 - 60 Dilution of at least 60-120 Dilution of at least 120 - 180 Dilution of at least 180 - 240 Dilution of at least 240 - 300

Impacts of the various constituents As outlined in section 7.2.1, the ANZECC process was applied to assess marine water quality impacts. The range of environmental values and water quality objectives as they apply to this project were analysed. Potential water quality impacts were assessed against Marine Water Quality Objectives for NSW Coastal Waters (EPA, 2002) and ANZECC (2000) to identify relevant biological, physicochemical, visual and other indicators for monitoring.

Assessment of Seawater Intake and Concentrate Outlet Project Components

7.13

Water quality impacts associated with discharge Preliminary baseline marine water quality monitoring at Kurnell has been undertaken since April 2005. No additional historical data were found from a literature search. Table 7.4 shows the results of the ambient seawater monitoring of those constituents of concern in the discharge, as well as the estimated concentration or characterisation of the constituents in the final discharge from the plant and at the edge of the mixing zone. The table shows that all constituents are predicted to be at background levels at the edge of the mixing zone.
Table 7.4 Typical composition of seawater intake and seawater concentrate (500 ML/day desalination plant)
Parameter Seawater Intake11 Seawater Concentrate Predilution12 17 27 ~68 56,400 65,700 6 20 Diluted At edge of Mixing Zone 14.1 24.1 7.9 8.0 35,700 40,850 2.1 10.3 Commert

Temperature (oC) pH Total dissolved solids (TDS) (mg/L) Total suspended solids (TSS) (mg/L) Turbidity (NTU) Total iron (included in TSS) (mg/L) chloride (mg/L) Free Chlorine (mg/L) Sulphate (mg/L) Total nitrogen (g/L)

14 24 ~8 35,000 40,000 <2 10 0.3 23 <1 19,500 22,000 2,500 3,200 110 340

Temperature increase <1-2oC due to high pressure pumps. Reduction in pH due to H2SO4 dosing of seawater intake. Increase in TDS concentration due to RO desalination process. Increase in TSS due to dosing of FeCl3. Solids comprise mainly Fe(OH)3. Increase in iron due to dosing of FeCl3. Increase in chloride concentration due to RO desalination process. Neutralised before discharge. Slight increase in sulphate concentration due to dosing of H2SO4. Baseline ambient seawater nitrogen levels exceed published ANZECC trigger values. Additional nitrogen levels estimated from typical doses of water treatment chemicals. Limited data set available and further sampling required. Minimum baseline ambient seawater values fall significantly below minimum ANZECC trigger value range.

Refer to suspended solids values and comments. <4 31,700 33,800 0 4,070 5,210 553 924 1 1.1 19,894 22,381 0 2,551 3,265 124 359

Total phosphorus (g/L) Dissolved oxygen (% saturation)


11

7 - 24 71 96 (bottom) 82 98 (surface)

11.3 38.6 100

7.1 24.5 See below13

Based on range measured in seawater undertaken since April 2005. Based on indicative constituents as outlined in Table 7.1 and Section 7.1. Not modelled, however, discharge dissolved oxygen levels are greater than ambient levels. Also see later this section for additional comments.

Ferric hydroxide Ferric chloride or ferric sulphate used in the treatment process will form ferric hydroxide (FeOH3) in the form of flocs that could potentially settle on the seabed. FeOH3, however, is a light material, which is expected to have extremely low critical shear strength and be easily dispersed by currents. Critical shear is the shear force required by a moving current or wave activity to lift the material back off the bed. The expectation that there is sufficient shear and mixing forces in the environment around Kurnell is based upon there being little or no sediment or mud material around the outlet location. This would indicate there is sufficient existing shear forces to disperse low critical shear strength material. FeOH3 is being examined as part of ongoing studies. Although it is unlikely, should studies show that sedimentation and accumulation are occurring in the vicinity of the outlet or that there are visual impacts from the plume, mitigation options to treat filter backwash are available (refer to section 7.2.3 on mitigation).

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Environmental Assessment of the Concept Plan for Sydneys Desalination Project

FeOH3 is a commonly found metal hydroxide in nature and is highly insoluble in seawater. Review of the literature values found no trigger values for iron. USEPA quality criteria do not exist for iron as it is considered a non-priority pollutant (Latterman & Hopner, 2003). The EU Water Directive does not consider iron to be of environmental significance (Chave, 2001). Turbidity and suspended solids Waters with high turbidity or suspended solids levels can affect light penetration. This can adversely impact on aquatic plant life that relies on light as an energy source. Very high suspended solids can also produce adverse impacts on some aquatic animals as they may occlude gills. Increased turbidity and suspended solids, if very high, may also produce adverse aesthetic impacts. Additional suspended solids and turbidity loads produced in the desalination process will be small and are not expected to cause adverse impacts. As shown in Table 7.4, suspended solids at the edge of the mixing zone are not significantly different from background seawater levels. pH pH is a measure of the acidity or basicity of waters and a pH of 7 is deemed neutral. Low pH values are referred to as acidic whereas high values are deemed alkali or basic. A stable marine pH of around 8, or a fraction above, is necessary to ensure ecosystems are not harmed. As marine waters are well buffered by a mixture of carbonate and bicarbonate ions, they are usually quite resistant to large pH changes when neutral wastewaters are discharged into them. All discharges from the desalination plant will be neutralised prior to discharge and therefore there will be no impact as far as pH change is concerned. Salinity (including total dissolved solids and chloride) The marine environment is highly saline, with total dissolved solids (or salinity) in the order of about 35,000 mg/L. The main component of seawater that contributes to this is sodium chloride, or common salt. As a comparison, salt levels in seawater are approximately 300 times greater than drinking water. The addition of small quantities of water treatment chemicals such as sulfuric acid, sodium hypochlorite, ferric chloride and sodium bisulphite will contribute a small additional salinity load to the background seawater in the order of 1 per cent. Despite concentration of seawater as part of the desalination process, subsequent dilution in the mixing zone will ensure salinity levels (total dissolved solids) return to ambient levels by the time the diluted discharge reaches the edge of the mixing zone. As such there are no expected impacts associated with salinity as shown in Table 7.4 and discussed previously in section 7.2.2. Dissolved oxygen Dissolved oxygen is not considered to be a major issue as a result of the discharge. The stream being discharged will be saturated with oxygen and therefore oxygen will be carried with this stream down towards the bed. While there is a potential in some circumstances for a secondary influence of stratification by the diluted concentrate to influence dissolved oxygen, in Sydney the environment is such that the plume will continue to disperse and has no opportunity to pool. Dissolved oxygen levels will not be impacted. Nutrients (including total nitrogen) Small quantities of chemicals are used to treat seawater during reverse osmosis; details of which are highlighted below. A small component of these chemicals contain nitrogen, however, final chemical constituents will be subject to final design. Whilst increased nitrogen and phosphorus can be associated with eutrophication potential, there is expected to be no impact as a consequence of the very low levels introduced and subsequent dilution at the edge of the mixing zone (Table 7.4).

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Treatment chemicals Various chemicals are used in the desalination process such as flocculants, coagulants, coagulant aids, acids for pH correction and scaling prevention, disinfection and fluoridation chemicals as well as antiscalants and alkalis. These chemicals can be broadly divided into two groups those frequently used in standard drinking water treatment and those specialist chemicals used in the reverse osmosis desalination process. A number of these chemicals are approved by the US National Sanitation Foundation (NSF/ ANSI standard 60 certified for use in RO systems producing drinking water); this also reflects their safety in relation to human health impacts. Water treatment polymers used and rejected in the treatment process will contribute a small additional nitrogen load to the receiving water environment as these chemicals are polyamide-based (usually between 9 per cent and 20 per cent nitrogen by weight). The form of nitrogen in polymers is not biologically available as it is chemically inert and bound to flocs. Chemicals present in the discharge and their respective fate and impact in the ocean are summarised in Table 7.5.
Table 7.5 Typical chemicals required for reverse osmosis treatment process and fate in ocean
Chemical Sodium hypochlorite Discharge Sodium and chloride ions in negligible concentration. This is currently used in drinking water treatment.

Sodium bisulphite solution Sodium and sulphate ions in negligible concentration. Sulphuric acid Ferric chloride Sulphate ions (negligible increase of less than 1 per cent compared to naturally occurring sulphate ions in seawater). Backwash water comprises suspended solids originating from seawater feed and suspended iron hydroxide from the ferric chloride flocculant dosing. Some iron will remain dissolved. This is currently used in drinking water treatment. Polyelectrolytes (the type likely to be used have high molecular masses and consist of approximately 15 per cent nitrogen). No toxic effects are expected from these organic substances. Products are readily available that are approved for drinking water treatment. Likely to be based on citric acid, however a sulphamic acid solution may be used. In general the volume of wastewater generated during cleaning is small compared with the seawater concentrate return, and will be neutralised prior to discharge. Ammonium and/or nitrogenous-containing ions. Anti-scalants and biocides These substances are not expected to have discernible impact on seawater quality. The biocides used decompose rapidly into harmless natural by-products in aquatic environments in less than a day under neutral pH and normal plant operating temperatures. RO anti-scalants and biocides do not contain metals and have no potential for bioaccumulation of contaminants in nearby sediments. Calcium carbonate, silica and lime. This is currently used in drinking water treatment.

The majority of chemicals used in the desalination process are the same as those used in standard drinking water treatment.

Polymer (polyelectrolyte)

Acidic detergent

Lime

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Environmental Assessment of the Concept Plan for Sydneys Desalination Project

7.2.3 Mitigation
The following section outlines the water quality mitigation principles for the project. The reader should refer to Chapter 13 for the commitments that Sydney Water is making as part of the project. As part of ongoing studies, Sydney Water will verify impact assessments associated with the operation of the plant. If predictions are not met then further mitigation measures will be introduced. Figure 7.7 illustrates the assessment Figure 7.7 Future steps to confirm predictions impact process that will be usedin managing dischargeand to trigger additional mitigation if necessary.
Figure 7.7 Future steps in managing the impact of seawater concentrate

A marine monitoring program will identify any long-term effects to help protect water quality and the marine environment.

Planning study

Current meter data Desktop modelling of impact

Verification of model

Known toxicology Acceptable dilution Physical model of discharge Toxicity testing

Verification of model

Project development

Actual plant design and construction

Monitoring programs for ecology Monitor discharge impacts Monitoring programs for water quality

Optimise discharge design or operation if required

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Marine monitoring program A marine monitoring program will play an important role in establishing the longterm effects of the desalination plant. The objective of the Desalination Marine Monitoring Program is to confirm and quantify impacts that may result from the operation of a seawater desalination plant situated at Kurnell. Two key aspects of the program relate to potential impacts associated with: The seawater intake as it relates to raw source water quality (human health and end-use impacts) and potential environmental impacts near the uptake zone; and The outlet as it relates to the release of seawater concentrate to the marine environment and the potential environmental impacts. Seawater intake monitoring will measure any substances that are important to the desalination treatment process so human health and other end uses can be protected and to identify any environmental impacts. Discharge monitoring will characterise the types and concentrations of constituents (including toxicity) being discharged, quantify the volume, verify the area of impact of the discharge; and quantify changes in the quality of marine waters surrounding the discharge location. Potential changes in reef assemblages (large mobile benthic invertebrates and sessile organisms) will also be recorded. Both the intake and discharge monitoring will be conducted in two phases: a baseline phase to quantify the existing structure of the marine environment and a post-commissioning phase in which results will be compared with data from the baseline phase. Samples will be collected from sites which might change after commissioning the desalination plant (impact sites) and from more remote sites where changes are not expected (control or reference sites). Water quality parameters will then be compared before and after the desalination plant is commissioned and at control and impact sites. Options to mitigate discharge impacts Although studies to date indicate that ferric hydroxide will not accumulate in sediment, further studies will be commissioned to confirm this. If these further studies indicate that ferric hydroxide is likely to cause visual or ecological impacts then two options would be available to mitigate this effect. The first option would be to increase the discharge pump rate to create more dispersion and thus reduce impacts. The commissioning stage of the plant will optimise this rate. The second option is to treat backwash water and landfill the treated sludge. A typical backwash water treatment process might consist of: A lamella separator to separate the suspended solids in the filter backwash effluent; Sludge dewatering with a centrifuge or belt press. The dewatering equipment could be designed to dewater backwash sludge and lime sludge from the lime saturators of the potabilisation; and Transportation to a suitable landfill. The salinity of the treated sludge means it could not be used beneficially. The optimal approach needs to consider the impacts of treating, transporting and disposing of a salty sludge at a landfill.

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Environmental Assessment of the Concept Plan for Sydneys Desalination Project

7.3 Assessment of aquatic ecology


Water quality changes from treatment chemicals or modification to the physicochemical characteristics of the receiving waters could stress aquatic fauna or communities if not controlled. In this section, potential impacts on aquatic ecology from the water quality changes are discussed.

7.3.1 Assessment context


Four principles influenced the assessment and design of the facility to: Minimise potential impacts on important aquatic environments; Minimise potential impacts on commercial and recreational fishing, and aquaculture; Minimise potential impacts on threatened species listed under the TSC Act, FM Act and EPBC Act; and Ensure consistency with DECs Guidelines for Threatened Species Assessment as required in the Director Generals requirements.

7.3.2 Assessment
There will be physical impacts on reef habitats from the intake and outlet structures. Disturbances will include barge drilling and fitting of intake and outlet structures. There will be no significant impacts to threatened or endangered species from the desalination plant. Impacts to whales will not be significant but management during construction may be required. Existing marine environment The Ecology Lab inspected proposed intake and outlet locations in March 2005. Appendix A3 contains the consolidated Ecology Lab report for all aspects of the concept plan. The aims of the site inspections were: To physically inspect habitats near potential intake or outlet sites; To broadly determine if the areas were suitable to install and operate intakes and outlets; To examine the suitability of substrata at nominated locations; To identify other issues that could eliminate potential sites; and To identify species listed under the TSC Act, FM Act and EPBC Act. Only sites within a depth range 15 to 30 metres were selected, striking a balance between engineering constraints of longer routes and disturbance due to wave motion and disruption to fishing and other activities in shallow water. The sites were situated on reefs that are part of larger systems extending from the shore into deeper areas. Any disturbance caused by the intake and outlet structures will affect only a very small proportion of the entire reef. The seabed at all sites generally had very little slope. The major features of reefs at each site are summarised in Table 7.6, while Table 7.7 records fish species at the intake and outlet locations. Plates 8 and 9 depict the intake and outlet locations.

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Plate 8 Kurnell intake

A Bedrock with mosaic of algae

B Patch of kelp

C Sponges and ascidians on reef with drop-off in background

C Jellyfish

Plate 9 Kurnell outlet

A Boulder field

B Eastern blue devil fish

C Trumpeter

C One-spot pullers

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Environmental Assessment of the Concept Plan for Sydneys Desalination Project

Table 7.6 Summary of features of the intake and outlet functions


Position and Description Intake Coastal reef, 2124 m, aproximately 312 373 m offshore Easting: 0336899 0336820 Northing: 6233821 6233739 Habitat Description Large reef shelf with flat and featured bedrock with drop-offs of 12m. Some small patches of boulders and sand were also present in the area surveyed. Depth relatively uniform at 2223m. Kelp present in patches throughout the area surveyed. Mosaic of red and brown algae with a variety of sponges and ascidians was present on bedrock. Fish fauna abundant and diverse, no protected or commercial species observed. Highly unlikely to be trawled in this area. Considerations Physical impacts to reef habitat and biota, including algae, sessile organisms, mobile invertebrates and fish. Potential for intakes being clogged by algae from kelp beds. Attraction of fish to intake structures potential for entrainment into desalination plant and impingement on intake screens. Threatened species issues. Likely habitat for vulnerable Black cod (Epinephelus daemelii) and protected weedy seadragon (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus) and eastern blue devil (Paraplesiops bleekeri). Locally important recreational fishing grounds, commercial trap and line fishery. Physical impacts to reef habitat and biota, including algae, sessile organisms, mobile invertebrates and fish. Impact of increased salinity and temperature on the seabed - potential toxic impacts of discharge. Threatened species issues. Likely habitat for vulnerable Black cod (Epinephelus daemelii) and protected weedy seadragon (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus). Eastern blue devil fish (Paraplesiops bleekeri) observed. Possible issues with sand inundation from channel further offshore. Locally important recreational fishing grounds; commercial trap and line fishery.

Outlet

Coastal reef, 2028 m, approximately 263 281 m offshore Easting: 0336481 0336475 Northing: 6232835 6232730

Large reef shelf with extensive boulder field (boulders 0.32m diameter) overlaying bedrock. Drop-offs of 13m with accumulation of sand in gutters. Shallower areas (20m depth) consisted of flat bedrock. Large beds of kelp dominated flat bedrock areas. Mosaic of red and brown algae present on boulders and bedrock not dominated by kelp. Protected eastern blue devil fish (Paraplesiops bleekeri) observed in crevice within survey area. Commercial species yellow fin bream (Acanthopagrus australis) was observed in the survey area. Fish fauna was abundant and diverse. Area not trawlable; no other legal nets likely to become fouled.

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Table 7.7 Mobile fish species observed during site inspections


Common Name Blue morwong Maori wrasse Longfin pike Eastern blue groper Mado Black reef leatherjacket Red morwong Silver sweep Bastard trumpeter Eastern blue devil fish Yellowfin bream One spot puller Goatfish Scientific Name Nemadactylus douglasi Ophthalmolepis lineolata Dinolestes lewini Achoerodus viridis Atypichthys strigatus Eubalichthys bucephalus Cheilodactylus fuscus Scorpis lineolata Latridopsis forsteri Paraplesiops bleekeri Acanthopagrus australis Chromis hypsilepis Upeneichthys spp. 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 Kurnell Intake Kurnell Outlet 4

Impingement and entrainment impacts While larger biota such as fish could avoid the estimated intake current velocity, smaller biota could become entrained or trapped on screens, causing potential clogging and requiring greater power to maintain seawater intake rate. The survival of biota impinged on intake screens depends on the design of the screen, speed of the intake current, size, age and species of biota and water conditions. Recent advances in the design of intake screens have improved the survival of impinged biota significantly and the ultimate screen design for this project should consider the size range and abundance of local species. Studies at NSW power stations (refer Appendix A3) and suggest that the rate of impingement of fish and crustacea is not large and affects relatively few economically important species. Significant mortality appeared to occur when fish were impinged with jellyfish due to release of nematocysts into the fish. An intake velocity of less than 0.6 m/s would assist in minimising impingement. In the current project the intake velocity would be less than 0.1 m/s at the intake face and as low as 0.026 m/s some 2 metres distant from the intake face, which would be low enough to allow many fish and mobile zooplankton to avoid impingement. The impact of the entrainment of marine biota (including plankton) will be related to the volume of seawater required. Any biota entrained into the intake tunnel will be removed in the pre-treatment process. It has been estimated that in the order of 2 per cent of the total population of fish larvae, in similar habitat to the area of the intake in the southern Sydney region, may be entrained for a plant of 500 ML/day. Entrainment of larvae for a 125 ML/day plant would be significantly less. More work will be required to improve the estimates of impacts on number of fish larvae entrained. The design has been based on ensuring intake currents are less than surrounding currents most of the time to minimise any vacuuming effect. Fish were abundant and diverse at the potential intake and outlet sites and included one adult protected species (eastern blue devil fish) and some species of commercial value. Habitat for two other protected species was also noted (refer Tables 7.6 and 7.7). The density of fish larvae off Sydney is known to vary by at least an order of magnitude and is variable throughout the year with smallest densities likely during winter. Fish eggs and larvae may peak in spring and summer following spawning. Less information is available on the distribution, abundance and seasonality of other planktonic organisms that could clog screens or require modifications to pre-treatment regimes.

Intake structures will be designed to minimise the possibility of fish, plankta, larvae, kelp and other marine life being drawn into the system.

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Environmental Assessment of the Concept Plan for Sydneys Desalination Project

More detailed information on the nature of the planktonic community will be required to finalise screening and pre-treatment process designs to reduce mortality in marine biota. This is described in section 7.3.3. Seawater concentrate discharge impacts There is limited information on the effects of desalination plant discharges on benthic or planktonic communities. The design has therefore sought to dilute the concentrate as quickly as possible by a purpose built diffuser system so that there are minimal effects on the marine environment. Inside the mixing zone, the salt concentration in the seawater concentrate will initially be approximately 65 ppt, compared to background levels in the order of 34 to 36 ppt. The temperature of seawater concentrate discharge will be about 1 to 2oC above ambient conditions. This may attract some biota more suited to this slight increase, which could affect the structure of animal assemblages around the outlet. As the outlet site is likely to be on a reef, the discharge plume is likely to affect reef-dwelling organisms to a greater extent than those living in or near soft sediment habitats. Larger, mobile biota such as fish will be able to avoid higher salinity near the discharge point, but smaller invertebrates and some species of fish living in or near reefs and bottom sediments inside the mixing zone could be affected. These include fan corals, sponges, stalked and sessile ascidians, anemones and attached algae. Little information is available on the salinity tolerances of these species or their responses to treatment chemicals. Monitoring will confirm the impact zone. For a 500 ML/day plant under quiescent conditions, the near field will be about 0.5 hectares which is 0.05 per cent of rocky reef in the vicinity of Kurnell and an insignificant percentage of rocky reef between the Illawarra and Broken Bay. As little specific information can be found on the effects of desalination plant discharges on benthic or planktonic communities, toxicity tests will be done on discharge surrogates using local species. The studies will also include testing of treatment chemicals as discussed in section 7.2.3. Threatened species impacts Factors affecting threatened and protected species were the potential disturbance to: Threatened and protected species during construction, operation and maintenance of underwater facilities; Habitat of threatened and protected species during construction, operation and maintenance of underwater facilities; and Food sources of threatened and protected species during construction, operation and maintenance of underwater facilities. Constructing the intake and outlet works could temporarily disturb threatened, protected and migratory species whereas ongoing operations might cause longerterm effects. Ten species of marine mammals (Australian fur seal, New Zealand fur seal, blue whale, southern right whale, humpback whale, Antarctic Minke whale, Brydes whale, pygmy right whale, dusky dolphin and killer whale), two species of cartilaginous fish (grey nurse shark and great white shark), one species of bony fish (black cod), four species of marine reptiles (loggerhead turtle, green turtle, hawksbill turtle and leathery turtle) listed in the TSC Act or the FM Act were identified for assessment. Eight Part tests were carried out to satisfy the draft threatened species assessment guidelines under Part 3A. In all cases, it is highly unlikely that a desalination plant at Kurnell will affect threatened species. In addition, the plant will have similar, minimal effects on other protected or listed species including the estuary cod, elegant wrasse, eastern blue devil fish, Ballina angel fish and seadragons.

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Despite there being no great potential for threatened, protected or migratory species to be harmed by the project, there is potential for construction noise to cause cetaceans (whales) to temporarily move further offshore. As migratory corridors are likely to be wide, the effects on cetaceans will be minor. However, there could be temporary consequences to whale watching as the whales may be further offshore. Cape Solander is used for whale watching and cetaceans would be less visible to shore-based observers if they were further offshore. This may result in the Cape Solander Whale Migration Study recording fewer whales during the offshore construction period. Management measures will be developed to reduce disturbance to cetaceans during construction of the intake and outlet, thereby minimising the impact to whale watching and the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Cape Solander Whale Migration Study. This could involve stopping or scaling down construction works when cetaceans are approaching the area of construction where practicable. Table 7.8 assesses species listed under the NSW TSC Act and FM Act. Note that a no indicates the impact is not likely to be significant; yes indicates it would be significant. n/a indicates that factor is not applicable to the species (refer Appendix A3 for actual 8 Part Tests).
Table 7.8 Summary of 8 Part Tests for the impacts of the project on threatened species listed under the Fisheries Management Act or Threatened Species Conservation Act

Interference with commercial and recreational fishing


Species name and scheduled category Common name Act a Factors considered in the 8 Part Test (see Appendix A3) b c d e f g h

Endangered species: marine reptiles


Caretta caretta Loggerhead turtle TSC

impact
no

impact
n/a

impact
no

impact
no

impact
n/a

impact
no

impact
no

impact
no

Marine mammals
Balaenoptera musculus Blue whale TSC no n/a no no n/a no no no

Fish
Carcharias taurus Carcharodon carcharias Grey nurse shark Great white shark FM FM no no no n/a no no no no no n/a no no no no no no

Vulnerable species: marine reptiles


Chelonia mydas Dermochelys coriacea Green turtle Leathery turtle TSC TSC no no n/a n/a no no no no n/a n/a no no no no no no

Marine mammals
Eubalaena australis Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus Arctocephalus forsteri Southern right whale Australian fur-seal New Zealand furseal TSC TSC TSC no no no n/a n/a n/a no no no no no no n/a n/a n/a no no no no no no no no no

Fish
Epinephelus daemelii Black cod FM no n/a no no n/a no no no

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No anchoring zones around the intake and outlet may be required and will be discussed with relevant authorities such as NSW Maritime and Sydney Ports Corporation. Recreational fishing Recreational fishing (including spearfishing) in an area off the Kurnell Peninsula in the near field will potentially be affected, as some targeted species (i.e. demersal fish such as snapper and bream) will avoid the plume. Targeted pelagic species (e.g. kingfish and tailor) will be less affected, as the plume will most likely be close to the bottom. Although recreational fishing in the near field will potentially be affected, the small area affected represents only a small percentage of the total area available to recreational fishing in the region. Under quiescent conditions with a 500 ML/day plant operating the area of impact or near field will be in the order of 0.5 hectare or 0.05 per cent of rocky reef in the vicinity of Kurnell and an insignificant percentage of rocky reef between the Illawarra and Broken Bay. Commercial fishing Commercial fisheries in the vicinity of the desalination project include the Ocean Trap and Line Fishery, the Lobster Fishery, the Abalone Fishery, the Sea Urchin and Turban Shell Fishery and the Ocean Hauling Fishery. There are no restrictions to commercial fishing around Kurnell Peninsula, where the intake and outlet for the desalination plant are proposed to be built. The Ocean Trap and Line Fishery in NSW is a multi-method, multi-species fishery targeting demersal and pelagic fish that includes the entire NSW coast, in continental shelf and slope waters. Snapper, spanner crabs, yellowtail kingfish, leatherjackets, bonito and silver trevally form the bulk of the commercial catch. Other key species include rubberlip morwong, blue-eye, gummy shark, bar cod and yellowfin bream. In 2000/2001 in NSW an estimated 1,742 tonnes of fish were caught in the fishery with an estimated value of $10 million at first point of sale. The fishery uses a variety of methods, most commonly involving a line with hooks, or traps. Demersal fish trapping (for snapper, rubber-lipped morwong and leatherjackets) is conducted around Kurnell Peninsula (Steffe and Murphy, 1992). The Lobster Fishery in NSW is a small but valuable fishery worth approximately $4.6 million (reported commercial catch). Eastern rock lobster is the main species harvested but occasionally, southern rock lobster and tropical rock lobster are also caught. The fishery has an inshore sector that uses small beehive or square traps in waters up to 10 metres deep. Lobster traps are deployed around the Kurnell Peninsula and occasionally on reefs, breakwalls and groynes in Botany Bay. The Sea Urchin and Turban Shell Fishery in NSW is a small fishery where divers collect two species of sea urchin and two species of turban shell. Operators in this fishery have not worked around the Kurnell Peninsula in the past. However, the species targeted by the fishery occur at Kurnell. The Ocean Hauling Fishery targets approximately 20 finfish species using commercial hauling and purse seine nets from sea beaches and in ocean waters within 3 nautical miles of the NSW coast. On average 3,500 tonnes of fish are taken each year, mainly sea mullet, luderick, yellowtail scad, blue mackerel, pilchards and sea garfish. The total catch is worth around $6 million at first point of sale. Purse seining for garfish, yellowtail scad and blue mackerel may occur occasionally around Kurnell Peninsula. Ongoing operation of the intake and outlet will potentially affect commercial fishing in a small area around Kurnell Peninsula. Some targeted species will be likely to avoid the discharge plume (i.e. lobsters and demersal fish such as snapper and bream) and a smaller quantity of less mobile species may die (i.e. abalone, sea urchins and turban shells). Pelagic species caught by purse seiners (e.g. garfish, yellowtail scad and blue mackerel) will be less affected, as the plume will most likely be close to the bottom. The proportion of affected area is miniscule and represents only a small percentage of the total area available to commercial fishing in the region. Planktonic larvae
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It can be expected that there will be some mortality of planktonic larvae of many commercial and recreational species due to impingement at the inlet, or entrainment, and due to the impact of the outlet plume. Although there is potential for this type of mortality to affect recruitment to local commercial fish stocks, there is no evidence of this occurring at overseas desalination plants. Notwithstanding this, data will be collected to estimate the mortality to planktonic larvae.

7.3.3 Mitigation
The following section outlines the aquatic ecology mitigation principles for the project. The reader should refer to Chapter 13 for the commitments that Sydney Water is making as part of the project. The reader should refer to section 7.2.3 for details of the mitigation options available to either increase diffuser velocities or treat filter backwash should verification programs show that the discharge of plant streams cause unacceptable toxicity. In addition, there is evidence that elevation of intakes above the seabed can minimise the intake of larval species. Testing programs will assess whether intake and outlet designs need to be modified or plant operation varied at certain times of the season. The amount of biota that are impinged on intake screens and entrained into the plant will depend on the design of screens used to remove biota from feedwater. More detailed information on the nature of the planktonic community is required to design intake screens that would minimise marine biota mortality. As the distribution of plankton are known to vary through time, this information will be collected through field surveys before the plant is constructed to finalise screen design and pre-treatment processes.

7.4 Environmental risk analysis for other issues


Minor issues associated with the seawater intake and seawater concentrate outlet project components are identified in Table 7.9.
Table 7.9 Other issues associated with the intake and outlets

Issue Noise and Vibration

Construction Emissions associated with construction activities

Operation Pumping noise

Mitigation Equipment choice No blasting offshore Vibration standards for structural damage and human exposure

Level of residual risk (H/M/L) Low

Visual Dust

Presence of a temporary jack up barge offshore Dust and other emissions generated by construction activities at Kurnell plant site Effects of tunnelling on groundwater Erosion and sedimentation control during tunnelling

Operational visual effect considered negligible n/a

Minimise construction time Dust suppression during construction of tunnels Design management/ grouting and dewatering controls Spoil, grout and drill fluid management during tunnelling

Low Low

Groundwater

Effects of tunnels on groundwater n/a

Low

Erosion Control/ Sedimentation

Low

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Table 7.9 Other issues associated with the intake and outlets (Continued)
Issue Traffic and Access Construction Additional traffic movements during the construction phase. Temporary traffic disruption during construction Operation n/a Mitigation Where feasible and needed, scheduling of disruptive spoil transportation outside peak commuting hours, peak weekend times and school start and finish times where relevant; Arrangements to reduce impacts on road network developed in consultation with road authorities. Traffic control in accordance with RTA Traffic Control at Work Sites and AS 1742.3 1996, Traffic Control Devices for Works on Roads Contaminated Soil Some material to be excavated may be potentially contaminated Chemicals and fuels used during construction General construction wastes n/a DEC guidelines for contaminated soils apply Dangerous goods storage and use of NSW and Commonwealth standards DEC guidelines for waste classifications and disposal Minimise, reuse, and recycle waste in accordance with Resource NSW Strategy Utilities and Services Air Quality Disruption during construction n/a Minimum disruption in consultation with utility providers and utility users Design to minimise intake of marine debris and control odours (if needed) Liaison with NSW Maritime regarding no anchoring zones Engineering Standards Guidelines for Maritime Structures Liaison with Sydney Ports Corporation regarding navigation restrictions and notifications Water Use Water required for site activities Water required for site activities Implement measures to optimise efficient use of water Low Low Low Level of residual risk (H/M/L) Low

Chemical Use

n/a

Low

Waste

General operational wastes

Low

Marine debris screenings

Low

Navigation and Fishing

Potential navigation risk of temporary jack up barge

No anchoring zones Potential navigation risks of intake/outlet structures

Low

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