Biosolids strategic planning: An Australian perspective

Fig. 1: Aerobic vs Anaerobic Digestion Econometrics

Abstract 

Water utilities in Australia have embarked on another round of business transformation as energy and environmental pressures are driven upward by the biggest resources led economic boom that Australia has witnessed. These utilities face escalating operating costs, tighter constraints on business practices and growing interest from far ranging stakeholder groups that present fundamental risks to their business viability. One of the most significant areas of operational risk and opportunity for these utilities is the appropriate release of biosolids back into society – through beneficial reuse and disposal routes. The way in which water utilities approach this issue has changed. Biosolids are now clearly seen as a product or resource, and rightly or wrongly there is growing corporate pressure to find a market for cost recovery from this product.

This paper presents the findings of a number of long ranging strategic planning studies for Australian water utilities into the current and future opportunities for this resource. It presents knowledge on market opportunities, technology innovations, business risks and financial triggers that provide a direction for water utilities into the future. It incorporates these drivers into a vision for future wastewater treatment infrastructure.

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