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Coastal Outfall System Upgrades in Australia: Benefits, Costs, and Improved Transparency - Final Report

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Coastal wastewater outfall systems around Australia present a unique opportunity for supplying additional water supplies to Australians. This report estimates the benefits and costs of doing so and provides recommendations for wastewater reform. A large proportion (64%) of Australia’s 176 coastal outfalls are currently contributing to poor water quality for Australia’s coastal waterways and ocean environments because, wastewater is treated to only a lower level of quality, referred to as primary or secondary treatment (National Outfall Database, 2018). As this report finds, by upgrading these outfalls to a tertiary level (a higher level of treatment) a greater opportunity for re-use is likely to be realised along with reduced disposal to the ocean and coastal waterways. Through upgrades therefore, policy and decision-makers can deliver a range of local to national benefits above costs. As evidence, this report finds that the net benefit (benefits less costs) of coastal outfall upgrades in Australia are estimated to amount to between $12 billion and $28 billion in 2019 dollars, depending on the discount rate and the project period used. The costs of these upgrades were estimated to be between $7.3 billion to just over $10 billion. By definition and history, coastal outfalls were established to reduce the cost of treatment, requiring a lower quality of wastewater treatment and disposal by using the assimilative capacity of the ocean and coastal waters. Such policy decisions were historically undertaken without reference to the benefits (Blackwell, 2008) and, in part, this represents the originality of our study. Such a cost minimisation approach inherently results in less than preferred policy decisions and outcomes for society because once benefits are included along with costs, a different level of preferred treatment is likely to result (Blackwell, 2003). Ascertaining the preferred level of treatment requires an assessment of the benefits in addition to the costs. This study does this for the 176 coastal outfalls around Australia, ranking them nationally and at the state or territory level. The broad range of benefits from upgrades include improved water and resource management, agricultural output, human health and wellbeing (including improved recreational and social and cultural opportunities), and improved environmental and ecological consequences for receiving environments (Blackwell, 2008). Broader benefits to nearby properties and associated industries and local economies are also likely. By investing in these infrastructure upgrades, a series of local and regional employment and income benefits can also be delivered as regional economic development projects. This is the first time that estimates of this kind have been calculated because of the relatively recent existence of a National Outfall Database (2018). The priority listings are designed to help decision and policy makers allocate constrained funds to the financing of upgrades in the best possible way that delivers the greatest net benefit. The report also briefly provides options for funding the upgrades and new ideas on improving the transparency and incentives to account for the broader benefits of upgrades for outfalls. The report consists of five sections: 1. Introduction 2. Literature Review 3. Methods 4. Results and 5. Improved Transparency, Funding and Recommendations.
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Coastal Outfall System Upgrades in
Australia: Benefits, Costs, and
Improved Transparency Final Report
Dr. Boyd D. Blackwell
PhD PGBEcon(Hons1A) BEcon BCom
AquaEquis Consulting, Armidale, New England, New South Wales,
Australia
John Gemmill
MAppSci BEng ND
Clean Ocean Foundation, Wonthaggi, Bass Coast, Victoria, Australia
(4 March 2019)
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Coastal Outfall System Upgrades in Australia Final Report, Blackwell & Gemmill ©4 Mar 2019
Acknowledgements
This project has been funded by the Clean Ocean Foundation. We appreciate the financial and
administrative support from this organization and their staff. We are also grateful to Prof. John Rolfe for
his comments on an earlier version of the report along with comments from South East Water. The
authors are solely responsible for the design of the study, and for any errors in the analysis and
reporting.
Suggested Citation
Blackwell, B., Gemmill, J., 2019. Coastal Outfall System Upgrades in Australia: Benefits, Costs, and
Improved Transparency - Final Report, 4 March 2019 Clean Ocean Foundation, Wonthaggi,
Victoria, 71 pp.
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Table of Contents
Terms and Abbreviations ........................................................................................................ 4
Executive Summary ................................................................................................................ 7
1. Introduction .................................................................................................................................. 8
Economic and Public Policy Fundamentals .......................................................................................... 8
2. Literature Review .......................................................................................................................... 9
International Values for Treatment Upgrades ..................................................................................... 9
Domestic Upgrade Values .................................................................................................................... 9
Funding ............................................................................................................................................... 11
Transparency ...................................................................................................................................... 11
3. Methods ..................................................................................................................................... 11
4. Results ........................................................................................................................................ 11
5. Improved Transparency, Funding and Recommendations ........................................................... 12
1. Introduction ...................................................................................................................... 15
1.1. Background .............................................................................................................................. 15
1.2. Australia’s Coastal Outfalls ....................................................................................................... 16
1.3. Some Economic and Public Policy Fundamentals ...................................................................... 18
1.4. Report Outline ......................................................................................................................... 20
2. Literature Review .............................................................................................................. 21
2.1. Introduction ............................................................................................................................. 21
2.2. International values for upgrade benefits ................................................................................. 21
2.2.1 Constructed Wetlands, the Circular Economy and Sanitation Alternatives .............................. 25
2.2.2 Ecoservice Values of Wetlands and Swamps ............................................................................ 26
2.3. Domestic Values for Upgrades ................................................................................................. 27
2.3.1. Managed Aquifer Recharge ...................................................................................................... 34
2.4. Improvement in Receiving Waters’ Quality .............................................................................. 34
2.4.1. Valuation of Marine Ecosystems .............................................................................................. 34
2.5. Grey Literature ......................................................................................................................... 34
2.6. Funding Options ....................................................................................................................... 35
2.7. Transparency ........................................................................................................................... 37
2.8. Conclusion ............................................................................................................................... 37
3. Approach and Methods ..................................................................................................... 39
3.1. Introduction and Overview ...................................................................................................... 39
3.2. Types of Benefits ..................................................................................................................... 40
3.2.1 Direct and Indirect Benefits ...................................................................................................... 40
3.2.2. Market and Non-market Benefits ............................................................................................ 40
3.2.3. Use and Non-use Values .......................................................................................................... 41
3.2.4. Ecosystem Goods and Services “Ecoservices” ...................................................................... 41
3.3. Methods .................................................................................................................................. 42
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3.3.1 Benefit Estimates ...................................................................................................................... 43
3.3.2 Cost Estimates ........................................................................................................................... 45
3.3.3 Stakeholders .............................................................................................................................. 45
3.4. Summary and Conclusion ........................................................................................................ 46
4. Results ............................................................................................................................... 48
4.1. Introduction ............................................................................................................................ 48
4.2. Total State Rankings ................................................................................................................ 48
4.3. State Rankings of Individual Outfalls ....................................................................................... 49
4.4. National Rankings ................................................................................................................... 51
4.5. Limitations .............................................................................................................................. 55
4.6. Conclusion ............................................................................................................................... 56
5. Transparency, Funding and Recommendations .................................................................. 57
5.1. Introduction ............................................................................................................................. 57
5.2. Why Transparency? .................................................................................................................. 57
5.3. Recommendations ................................................................................................................... 58
Appendix A ............................................................................................................................ 60
Appendix B ............................................................................................................................ 62
References ............................................................................................................................ 66
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Terms and Abbreviations
BCA: Benefit-cost analysis. Refer to CBA.
Coastal Outfall: Outfalls that dispose to the ocean, estuaries and rivers on the coast
CBA: Cost-benefit analysis. Also known as benefit-cost analysis. It is a method for ascertaining the net
benefit (benefits less costs) of a range of options for addressing a particular policy decision or project
development. It is preferred to CEA because it takes account of benefits in addition to costs of any given
option, providing a ranking of options based on the NPV of each of those options. In other words, it
provides an indication of the most efficient or economically preferred option. It also includes SCBA.
CM: Choice Modelling/Choice Experiment/Discrete Choice Modelling is a stated preference non-market
valuation method that is used to ascertain the willingness to pay for a good or service by accounting for
various factors that are most likely to determine the benefit of the good or service at the margin (small
changes in the quality and quantity of the good or service provided).
COF: Clean Ocean Foundation
CSO: Has two meanings depending on the context:
o Community Service Obligation, a government term to describe a subsidy for the price of a good or
service to account for a common or public good or where it is planned that the price will increase
through time to eliminate the subsidy.
o Combined Sewage Outfall where when the capacity of a treatment plant is exceeded by a flood
event, then the water from the streets or land flows through the treatment plant and is not treated
taking raw waste into the receiving waters.
CVM: Contingent Valuation Method is a stated preference non-market valuation method that asks
people directly their willingness to pay for a particular good or service within varying bounds of set
parameters for the good or service and other important factors. It is a similar method to the choice
modelling method, but the latter has been developed, as espoused by proponents, to overcome the
shortcomings of CVM.
Discount rate: The rate used to discount future costs and benefits into present day dollar terms. It
usually includes the risk-free rate (or underlying rate set by the Reserve Bank) and some premium for
risk or the cost of funds (equity and debt). However, some people argue for lower rather than higher
discount rates, particularly where the benefits from a good or service aren’t received for a long time into
the future.
HPM: Hedonic Pricing Method is a revealed preference, non-market valuation method that typically
uses the property market to reveal measures of the benefits of environmental goods and services. Other
markets can also be used to reveal the benefits of a particular good or service.
Mixing Zone: Is the area where disposed wastewater mixes with the receiving water as part of the
receiving water’s assimilative capacity. However, inevitably, the greatest damage to the environment
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and receiving waters occurs in the mixing zone (Blackwell, 2008; Blackwell and Iacovino, 2009; Blackwell
and Wilcox, 2009). In further zones, the impacts may be less visible but can also cause negative
consequences for recreation and the environment.
NPV: Is a measure of the net present value of a given option for a project or policy choice. It is an
economic and financial tool that is used to bring all present and future cost and benefit flows into
present day dollar terms using an appropriate discount rate.
NOD: National Outfall Database founded by Clean Ocean Foundation and other entities
Non-market valuation method: A method that is used to value goods and services that are not traded in
markets or have not yet been traded in markets. These methods can be broken into stated and revealed
preference methods.
o Stated preference methods directly ask people to state their preferences for a particular good or
service. These methods include CM and CVM.
o Revealed preference methods use associated markets with the good or service in questions and
uses the relationship between that market and the good or service in question to derive preferences
for that good or service. These methods include TCM and HPM.
o Hybrid methods use a combination of stated or revealed preference methods and include those
such as contingent behavior or contingent travel cost.
Outfall: A pipe or similar structure that disposes of wastewater into a receiving body of water. In this
report a reference to an outfall, also includes any connecting system infrastructure which is typically the
treatment plant that determines the quality of water disposed through the outfall. By outfall we are also
referring to the outfall system, including the WTP. By definition, wastewater outfalls were developed to
dispose of low-quality wastewater at least cost by using the simulative capacity of the ocean and coastal
water. Upgrading outfalls, by definition means less wastewater being disposed into the ocean because it
is of a higher quality and can be re-used.
SCBA: Social CBA, where in addition to the private, project or market costs and benefits of a given
option, the broader social or non-market, public costs and benefits of a given option are also included in
the analysis to ensure that all costs and benefits to all stakeholders are accounted for in the analysis.
Such analyses are important when projects or policy choices involve public as well as private benefits.
Sewage: Water-based effluent that comes from households, industry and other users. It also refers to
wastewater.
STP: Sewage treatment plant. A plant that treats sewage.
TCM: Travel Cost Method is a revealed preference non-market valuation method that uses the travel
market to derive the benefits for a particular good or service, such as an outdoor recreation site or a
particular recreational activity e.g. surfing etc.
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VT: Value Transfer is a method for valuing goods and services by using values attained in one particular
application for another related application, taking account of suitable adjustments for differences
between the two applications. The term is also known as benefit transfer when the values transferred
between the applications more specifically represent benefits.
Wastewater: Water that has been used, typically with some form of pollution or contaminants added.
The pollution typically is in the form of suspended and dissolved solids, e-coli, plastics (microfibers and
microbeads), nitrogen, phosphorous, pharmaceuticals, flame retardants and other hydrophilic
contaminants. The term also refers to sewage.
Water: H20
WTP: The term has two meanings which depend on the context in which the abbreviations are used.
o The first meaning is an economic one referring to the willingness to pay, a measure of the benefit
that people receive from a good or service.
o The second is wastewater treatment plant which has a similar meaning to a sewage treatment
plant. It is a plant that treats wastewater to improve the water’s quality for potential re-use or
disposal with less negative impacts and enhanced positive impacts.
WAMNERPs: Water Management and Nutrient and Energy Recover Plants. A term for WTPs or STPs that
better reflects the opportunities for a broader set of sustainable resource management goals.
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Executive Summary
A large proportion (64%) of Australia’s 176 coastal outfalls are currently contributing to poor water
quality for Australia’s coastal waterways and ocean environments because, wastewater is treated to
only a lower level of quality, referred to as primary or secondary treatment (National Outfall Database,
2018).
1
As this report finds, by upgrading these outfalls to a tertiary level (a higher level of treatment) a
greater opportunity for re-use is likely to be realised along with reduced disposal to the ocean and
coastal waterways. Through upgrades therefore, policy and decision-makers can deliver a range of local
to national benefits above costs.
As evidence, this report finds that the net benefit (benefits less costs) of coastal outfall upgrades in
Australia are estimated to amount to between $12 billion and $28 billion in 2019 dollars, depending on
the discount rate and the project period used. The costs of these upgrades were estimated to be
between $7.3 billion to just over $10 billion.
By definition and history, coastal outfalls were established to reduce the cost of treatment, requiring a
lower quality of wastewater treatment and disposal by using the assimilative capacity of the ocean and
coastal waters. Such policy decisions were historically undertaken without reference to the benefits
(Blackwell, 2008) and, in part, this represents the originality of our study. Such a cost minimisation
approach inherently results in less than preferred policy decisions and outcomes for society because
once benefits are included along with costs, a different level of preferred treatment is likely to result
(Blackwell, 2003). Ascertaining the preferred level of treatment requires an assessment of the benefits
in addition to the costs. This study does this for the 176 coastal outfalls around Australia, ranking them
nationally and at the state or territory level.
The broad range of benefits from upgrades include improved water and resource management,
agricultural output, human health and wellbeing (including improved recreational and social and cultural
opportunities), and improved environmental and ecological consequences for receiving environments
(Blackwell, 2008). Broader benefits to nearby properties and associated industries and local economies
are also likely. By investing in these infrastructure upgrades, a series of local and regional employment
and income benefits can also be delivered as regional economic development projects.
This is the first time that estimates of this kind have been calculated because of the relatively recent
existence of a National Outfall Database (2018). The priority listings are designed to help decision and
policy makers allocate constrained funds to the financing of upgrades in the best possible way that
delivers the greatest net benefit. The report also briefly provides options for funding the upgrades and
new ideas on improving the transparency and incentives to account for the broader benefits of upgrades
for outfalls.
The report consists of five sections which are summarised in turn:
1. Introduction
2. Literature Review
1
These outfalls predominantly receive wastewater from wastewater treatment plants, that then have the capacity
to treat wastewater at different levels of treatment, with primary being the most basic, secondary providing a
greater level of treatment and tertiary being the highest level of treatment. In this report a reference to
wastewater outfall upgrade means a wastewater outfall system upgrade such as upgrading the treatment plant
that delivers water to the outfall.
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3. Methods
4. Results and
5. Improved Transparency, Funding and Recommendations.
1. Introduction
Wastewater outfall upgrades present a significant opportunity to capture both the private and public
benefits that result from increased recycled water use, byproducts and the improvements in
environmental conditions of receiving waters from disposal. The National Outfall Database (NOD) is an
initiative of the Clean Ocean Foundation and the Marine Biodiversity Hub, supported by funding from
the Australian Government. For the first time in Australia’s history, the NOD provides a national
inventory of Australia’s 176 coastal outfalls including the volume of water and the amount of pollutants
and nutrients disposed into coastal receiving waters. The existence of the NOD raises awareness at
various scales local, regional, state, national and international of the extent of our waste in water
use and provides essential information to assess the impacts on receiving waters. Most importantly the
NOD also supports the estimation of likely benefits in addition to the costs of upgrades. Calibrating and
estimating the benefits and costs of upgrades nationally can achieve a ranking for a planned sequential
response to undertaking any upgrade implementation.
Economic and Public Policy Fundamentals
Economic theory and practice (Blackwell, 2008) demonstrates that users, society and service providers
benefit from wastewater upgrades but that the benefits from doing so, are not necessarily
immediately obvious to the market or to decision makers whom act on behalf of organisations and
society to fund an upgrade. This fundamental economic asymmetry sets the foundation for the
approach taken in this report. In the body of the report, a figure is provided that depicts the market for
recycled water and encapsulates these concepts.
Upgrading outfalls delivers on a number of important public policy issues:
1. means improved conditions for receiving waters that are likely to result in improved outcomes
for the local environment, society and economy through increased diversification and quality of
recreation and tourism
2. means improved conditions for the health of humans using the water either directly for
eventual consumption or indirectly through activities such as recreation and tourism in and
near receiving waters
3. provides a much-needed additional sources of water during drought
4. can help better support secure supplies of water, independent of rainfall, for agricultural
production, other industries, and parks, gardens and sporting facilities
5. improves local economies both directly through the jobs and income created through the
funded upgrades, but also indirectly from the improved environmental conditions and flow-on
benefits to the economy and society
6. delivers an improved economic environment for water service providers where additional
funding is provided for upgrades and where the upgrades provide guaranteed cost savings,
saleable byproducts and sources of energy
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7. improves the local economy both directly through the jobs and income created through the
funded upgrades, but also indirectly from the improved environmental conditions and flow-on
benefits to the economy and society.
There are very few public policy issues which are capable of addressing such a range of benefits covering
a diversity of government portfolios.
2. Literature Review
There are several important findings from the review of the literature.
Literature Review Key Finding No. 1 (LRKF1): The Gunawardena et al. (2017) review of a large number
of domestic and international studies of water sensitive systems and practices identifies that the public
are willing to pay significant amounts of money for wastewater treatment projects.
International Values for Treatment Upgrades
LRKF2: Logar et al. (2014) suggest that because CBA justifies investment from an economic viewpoint, it
supports a Swiss national policy on a nationally supported sewage treatment plant upgrade for
micropollutants. This study shows that it is standard practice to apply CBA to these types of problems.
Literature Review Key Insight
2
No. 1 (LRKI1): It is likely that treatment upgrades may generate declining
returns to scale, though this should be assessed on a case by case basis for each location because it will
depend on the initial quality of receiving waters and the current scale of the plant.
LRKF3: Hernández-Sancho et al. (2015) conclude that implementing wastewater programmes in
developing countries is often feasible from an economic viewpoint where the environmental and health
benefits are integrated into the overall economic assessment. This is similar to the findings of Blackwell
(2008) in developed country settings.
LRKF4: Consideration should be given to integrating biofuel production systems with wastewater
treatment given positive research findings on internal rates of returns but these are site specific and
should be tested as such (Alloul et al., 2018; Xin et al., 2018).
LRKF5: Ensuring that economic analyses of wastewater treatment includes ecosystem service values or
wider economic benefits reduces the tendency for serious ecological damage (Jiang et al., 2018).
LRKF6: In the longer-term, rather than considering simply retrofitting centralized treatment plants, a
broader set of more viable, possibly decentralised and incentive compatible solutions to sanitation
should be included as part of circular economy and lifecycle systems view.
Domestic Upgrade Values
LRKF7: Bennett et al. (2016) provide the ideal measure of the benefits to Sydney households for
increased volumes of water recycling to 2030 through annual rises in rates and bills. Their study
2
A literature insight is different to a finding. Findings reflect those of a past study. Insights synthesise the findings
of the study with other information (e.g. economic theory and practice) to draw our extended findings.
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indicates that these volumetric estimates provide a measure of the broad range of benefits from
recycling water that can be used in cost-benefit analyses such as those for which this report is written.
The details of the Bennett et al. (2016) study are provided in the body of the report.
Household awareness of Sydney’s water systems and the current use of recycled water were found to
be variable (Bennett et al. 2016), with:
27 percent of households not aware that that desalination water was being used by Sydney
homes, business and councils,
36 percent were not aware that recycled water was being used in Sydney
44 percent were not aware that recycled water Is not used for drinking and
39 percent of households were not aware that treated wastewater was released into Sydney’s
rivers and oceans.
LRKF8: Given the existence of the Clean Ocean Foundation, Surfers Against Sewage UK, Heal the Bay
California, and Surfrider Northern Sydney, through people being willing to donate to support the work of
these NGOs’, combined with the findings of Deloitte Access Economics (2016, p. 5) that improvements in
water quality at Sydney’s coastal beaches through improved wastewater management account for use
and nonuse values of $140m/yr, value added in tourism of $332m/yr and avoided absenteeism from
illness of $140m/yr, provide clear evidence of the environmental benefits from improvements in the
water quality of receiving environments.
LRKF9: While Gillespie and Bennett (1999) appears highly relevant being a study of removing sewerage
discharges to the nearby ocean for the Vaucluse area in Sydney, it has its problems. These include the
WTP bids not being tied to the amount of water recycled and the level of treatment specified, time
periods for the payment vehicle are not specified, and CVM is used. Given these limitations we are
therefore hesitant to use these estimates to value the benefits from water recycling and we believe the
Bennett et al. (2016) study is superior.
LRKF10: Hardisty et al. (2013), which finds that secondary treatment in Western Australia is more
optimal than tertiary treatment, should not be relied on because a number of underlying assumptions
may not be valid including, no market for the sale of recycled water (Eckard, 2017), constant service
provision across the scenarios (McNamara, 2018; Moore, 1978), the assumed relatively small reduction
in ambient pollution (Boesch et al., 2001; Fagan et al., 1992), health impacts are not accounted for
(National Research Council, 1993), amenity value should be site dependent (Blackwell and Wilcox,
2009), no spatial component is included in the value transfer (Blackwell, 2006a, 2007), and the wider
benefits (externalities) (Blackwell and Iacovino, 2009; Otway, 1995; Stuart-Smith et al., 2015) from
higher levels of treatment were likely to be underestimated in the analysis. However, the example given
by the study’s general approach of including externalities in addition to financial costs is positive and
finds in favour of secondary treatment over primary.
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Funding
LRKF11: Cavagnaro (2010, pp. 2, 7) indicates that ‘cities and water authorities can attain (the benefits of
upgrades) without investing their own capital up front’ through immediate long-term guaranteed cost
savings and a ‘Performance Contracting Funding Model’. Operational savings are used to make
payments subject to a performance contract with any underperformance being paid in cash to the
upgrade recipient.
LRKF12: In a literature and case study review undertaken by the Bureau of Rural Sciences (Mooney and
Stenekes, 2008) on social aspects of agricultural recycled water schemes, funding was found to
predominantly come from state or Commonwealth governments to meet the necessary capital hurdle
for upgrades and securing capital was a key to the success of schemes.
Transparency
LRKF13: A lifecycle approach to assessment and ranking of upgrades should be undertaken (Guven et al.,
2018).
LRKF14: In the future, rather than being viewed as wastewater treatment plants these facilities may be
better known as water management and nutrient and energy recovery plants (Apostolidis et al., 2011).
3. Methods
This study transfers values from the Bennett et al. (2016) study to estimate the benefits of each of
Australia’s 176 wastewater outfalls. Key inputs that determine these benefits include the WTP estimates
from Bennett et al. (lower, mean and upper bound estimates), current plant treatment level (primary,
secondary or tertiary), plant capacity and flow, relevant local populations, and net present value (NPV)
analysis (using varying discount rates (3, 6 & 9 %) and time periods (15 and 30 years).
These benefits were then compared to two costs estimates, a simple one accounting for $5m fixed cost
and $1m per ML per day of variable cost, and a second one that is more complex and provided by a
water agency. The more complex estimates account for the non-linear (curvilinear) nature of capital
expenditure (capex) and the linear relationship of operational expenditure (opex), including again NPV
analysis (as undertaken for the benefits). Adding these capex and opex expenditures and then
subtracting them from the benefits of upgrades provides estimates of the net benefits of any given plant
upgrade. These upgrades can then be ranked based on the net benefits provided.
4. Results
The net benefit of coastal outfall upgrades in Australia is significant amounting to between $12 billion
and $28 billion
3
in 2019 dollars depending on the discount rate used and the project period, with costs
of between $7.3 billion to just over $10 billion. Individual projects have been ranked at an individual
level by state and territory and across the nation. There is considerable variation between states and
territories in the number of outfalls, the total net benefits provided and the costs of upgrades. These
3
The estimated net benefits assume 63 percent of wastewater is recycled, an historical average calculated from
Australian wastewater recycling facilities. In some cases, as much as 100 percent of wastewater may be recycled,
resulting in much larger net benefits.
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can be explained in part by the number of outfalls and size and geographical spread of relevant local
populations that will benefit from the upgrades but also by the Individual jurisdictional asset condition
and their respective histories, evolutions and success with water and wastewater reform.
All states overall have net benefits from upgrades except for the Northern Territory and Tasmania which
experience net losses. Victoria’s net benefits move from negative to positive when moving from a 15 to
30-year time period of assessment. NSW has the largest net benefit ($8-19 billion), followed by Western
Australia ($3-5 billion), South Australia ($2-3 billion), Queensland ($90-730 m), Victoria (-$24 m to 150
m), Northern Territory ($-46 m to -54 m) and Tasmania (-$411m to -460m).
Despite most states providing positive net benefits for upgrades in total, all states and territories have a
larger number of outfalls that have negative net benefits than positive. This may reflect the historically
dispersed and ‘local public good’ nature and cost structure of wastewater treatment and disposal.
4
Having stated this, because total net benefits are positive, a number of larger investment projects in
each state provide sufficient net benefits to offset those large number of projects with net losses, as is
particularly the case in New South Wales, Western Australia and South Australia, in that order. This
finding also holds to a lesser extent in Queensland and Victoria.
The indicative estimates presented in the tables of the body of the report provide a preliminary ranking
to aid discussion on a desirable and practicable approach to wastewater upgrades around the country.
More accurate estimates prepared on a case-by-case basis, taking account of specific contexts of any
given case would need to be undertaken before a decision is made to undertake an upgrade at any given
site. This would naturally form part of the business case preparation of any given upgrade to a specific
outfall system.
5. Improved Transparency, Funding and Recommendations
This study provides an initial assessment and ranking of coastal wastewater outfalls around Australia.
What this demonstrates is that improved transparency in the net benefits of upgrades will help aid
decision-making and public policy preparation around upgrades. We also note from the literature review
a number of innovative options for funding upgrades and because of the public benefit components of
upgrades, funding from government is also appropriate. In addition to building opportunities for pooling
funding, transparency
5
will help build trust between the stakeholders of wastewater upgrades leading to
an improved discussion about how future work should proceed and where effort is best focused. We
there have a number of recommendations in this regard:
1. To set a target for better performance and reduced waste such that all coastal outfalls around
Australia be upgraded to meet the Tertiary Class A+ standard of recycled water by 2030.
4
Such assumptions may of course not hold in every given situation and we have not undertaken any detailed
analysis of micro-treatment and emerging technologies that may exhibit different cost structures. Future research
at case specific locations could test these assumptions.
5
More work on the issue of transparency is being prepared by COF to further elaborate these policy issues.
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2. There is a need for adoption of National Standards for Reporting of WTP data including
transparency criteria implemented as a prerequisite for WTP upgrade funding. An Initial “Pilot”
program could be implemented on selected WTP upgrades.
3. To establish a working group to rapidly implement a set of key publicly available National
Reporting Standards relating to the operation of WTPs and their interaction with the environment.
This group would comprise of key industry, community, academic and government participants.
This would include standards to transparently evaluate:
I. Plant Performance:
a. Process Costs
This would ensure that the community and industry could understand a plant is
reaching the upper limit of capability in terms of operational costs and its impact on
the environment and recreational users etc.
This is especially important for proactively identifying ageing infrastructure and the
opportunity for capital upgrades involving options for recycling and climate change
adaptation.
Parameters would include:
Number of connections/Population
Plant performance efficiencies measures such as operating costs, failures and
remedial actions taken to ensure best practice nationally.
Flows and composition and efficiency. Integration with real time 24/7 publicly
accessible data wherever possible e.g. bypass events and out of license
discharges, number, reason.
b. Environmental and Social Costs
Indicators of environmental monitoring e.g. last time outfall environment
monitored results. This would include real-time assessments of the assimilative
capacity of local receiving waters and whether these are being breached and the
associated economic costs (e.g. losses in recreational, commercial and other values
from lower levels of treatment).
c. National Standards and Management of Emerging Pollutant Issues
National standards are required for how WTPs engage and report on standards
required for a framework to manage emerging pollutant issues.
4. Evaluate Community Satisfaction with Engagement and Transparency
Citizen science projects that have been successfully undertaken could be used case examples for
responsible agencies in better managing their outfalls and improved collaboration with
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Coastal Outfall System Upgrades in Australia Final Report, Blackwell & Gemmill ©4 Mar 2019
communities. Examples include those from Chesapeake Bay in North America. Other
international and some domestic examples are also likely to be available.
5. Economic Instruments for Improved Societal Outcomes
A review of potential economic incentives to help ensure greater incentives for transparency
and the building of trust and collaboration between wastewater stakeholders could be
investigated including tradable pollution permit schemes. This review would naturally include an
assessment of funding options for wastewater upgrades.
6. Circular Economy, Lifecycle Approach and Plant Description
Noting LRKF14, rather than being called wastewater treatment plants (WTPs), these facilities
should be called water management and nutrient and energy recovery plants (WAMNERPs)
(Apostolidis et al., 2011).
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1. Introduction
1.1. Background
This report provides first-time estimates of the likely benefits and costs of upgrading Australia’s coastal
outfalls
6
to provide a priority listing for decision and policy makers. Because outfalls historically receive
and dispose of wastewater treated to the lowest levels of quality, that is, primary or secondary level
treatments, upgrades to outfalls represent a significant opportunity for policy and decision makers to
deliver benefits to local people across the country. Upgrades to tertiary levels for treatment plants
improves opportunities for wastewater re-use and improves the quality of, and reduces the quantity of,
wastewater disposed of into ocean and coastal waterways. These later benefits translate into the co-
benefits of improved community recreational and health outcomes (Blackwell, 2008). Broader benefits
beyond these direct benefits are also likely (Blackwell, 2008).
Determining a national policy on ocean outfall upgrades presents an opportunity for addressing a range
of policy issues in health, water scarcity (drought) and agriculture, recreation, building regional jobs and
income and adaptation to dynamic climate systems.
While this report is focused on coastal (including ocean and estuarine and river) outfalls, indeed there
could be a much larger set of outfalls into receiving freshwater environments inland from the coast,
presenting another opportunity to deliver lasting health, recreational, water scarcity, agricultural and
economic benefits to rural, regional and remote Australia.
Upgrading Australia’s estimated 176 (National Outfall Database, 2018) outfalls (see Figure 1) is not cost-
less and needs to be competitive with other uses of public funds such as opportunities for public and
private investment in education and other areas of health.
Therefore, there is a need to compare costs and benefits of upgrades to provide an indication of the
return to public (and private) funds spent on upgrades.
Given this brief background, this study attempts to answer a series of salient research questions.
Research Question 1 (RQ1). Conceptually, what are the direct and indirect benefits, both market
and non-market from upgrading Australia’s coastal outfalls?
RQ2. Which of these benefits are easily measured through methods such as value transfer, while
which are more difficult and will require more time and effort and what is the relative magnitude
of the less well-known values?
RQ3. What are the likely costs of upgrades?
RQ4. What are the net present values of the net benefits (benefits costs) and how do outfalls
rank across Australia?
RQ5. What is the best approach to funding the upgrades to provide incentives for more
transparent reporting while supporting upgrade completion?
6
While this report refers to upgrading outfalls, the meaning here is an upgrade to the wastewater treatment plant
that feeds the outfall wastewater to dispose of it into coastal waters. In this sense it is an upgrade to the outfall
system.
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1.2. Australia’s Coastal Outfalls
According to the National Outfall Database (2018), Australia has an estimated 176 coastal outfalls (see
Figure 1) comprising 109 ocean outfalls and 67 estuarine or river outfalls as summarized in Table 1.
Figure 1: The 176 coastal outfalls mapped by the National Outfall Database. Source: (Clean Ocean Foundation,
2017).
Table 1: Australia’s Coastal Outfalls by State/Territory
States
Estuarine
Ocean
Total
Upgrade^ Flow (GL)
Upgrade* Flow / Total Flow
New South Wales
-
29
29
1,229
94%
Victoria
-
19
19
84
13%
Queensland
40
11
51
221
40%
Western Australia
-
12
12
209
84%
Tasmania
27
14
41
81
89%
South Australia
-
10
10
113
67%
Northern Territory
-
14
14
31
100%
Total
67
109
176
1,968
64%
Notes and Sources: Synthesis of various items from National Outfall Database (2018). * means outfall systems currently treating to a lower level
of treatment at primary or secondary treatment levels. ^Of course, not in all cases, will all this water be re-used and we assume 63% is used.
See the methods section for more details.
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The information in Figure 1 and Table 1 comes from the National Outfall Database (National Outfall
Database, 2018) which tracks 33 different indicators to identify the quality of outfall effluent along the
coastal areas of Australia.
The National Outfall Database is a collaboration between the Clean Ocean Foundation (2018), the
Australian Government and leading Australian Universities through the Marine Biodiversity Hub as part
of the National Environmental Science Programme (National Outfall Database, 2018). The National
Outfall Database was an initiative which began between the Clean Ocean Foundation and the Australian
Maritime College (later subsumed by University of Tasmania) to identify the extent and content of water
being disposed of around Australia’s coastline.
Figure 2: Example of Information on a single outfall Nambour Outfall. Source: National Outfall Database
(2018).
Prior to the development of the NOD, little was publicly known about the extent of the wastewater
resource being disposed into receiving coastal waters at any geographical scale. The NOD now provides
detailed information at a range of spatial scales including national, state and outfall-specific scale. Figure
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Coastal Outfall System Upgrades in Australia Final Report, Blackwell & Gemmill ©4 Mar 2019
2 provides an example of the information presented for the Nambour Outfall at Maroochydore on the
Sunshine Coast, Queensland. Such information is now accessible to anyone, raising a greater awareness
and understanding for all stakeholders. As can be seen in Figure 2, the NOD tracks water quality
indicators such as suspended solids, phosphorus, nitrogen, faecal coliforms, PH level and flow volume of
water disposed. The existence of the database now allows for a net benefit assessment and
prioritization of upgrades across Australia’s 176 coastal outfalls as delivered through this report. These
outfalls discharge an estimated 1350 GL of water annually, the equivalent of almost three Sydney
harbours (Clean Ocean Foundation and Marine Biodiversity Hub, 2018). Leading state discharges include
New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania each disposing into coastal waters of hundreds of thousands of
litres of wastewater per person per year (Clean Ocean Foundation and Marine Biodiversity Hub, 2018).
Included in these disposals are relatively substantial amounts of nitrogen and phosphorous for New
South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia (Clean Ocean Foundation and
Marine Biodiversity Hub, 2018).
1.3. Some Economic and Public Policy Fundamentals
There is not a great deal written about the economic theory of coastal outfalls and wastewater in
Australia. However, Blackwell (2008) provides a key piece of theory and practice that better helps
conceptualise the problems and thus the opportunities associated with wastewater and outfalls in
Australia and more generally across the globe. The market for wastewater fails as depicted in Figure 3.
Figure 3: Demand and Supply for Recycled Water. Notes: * Social Demand includes all positive broader benefits
(called ‘externalities’) that would result from reusing the wastewater and not disposing of it into
receiving waters. Source: Adapted from Blackwell (2008, p. 4).
By considering the broader benefits and costs to society beyond simply market demand and supply, the
broader opportunities of wastewater plant upgrades can be conceptualized and captured. Figure 3
0
Price of
water
($/ML)
Quantity/quality of
water (Megalitres, ML)
Private Marginal Cost
(Supply)
Societal Demand*
Private
Demand
Price fixed
A
B
Higher level of treatment
C
P3
P2
P1
Q1
Q2
Market equilibrium without price controls
and broader benefits included
Efficient societal equilibrium
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Coastal Outfall System Upgrades in Australia Final Report, Blackwell & Gemmill ©4 Mar 2019
depicts such a case. The vertical axis depicts the price of water, while the horizontal axis depicts the
quantity or quality of water. The private demand and private marginal cost or supply of recycled water
are identified in the figure. The supply curve is kinked because wastewater treatment or recycling is
limited to the capacity of a given plant additional supply beyond its capacity can only occur where the
facility is upgraded and this is typically a significant upfront fixed cost for a local government authority
or service provider, raising the average or marginal cost per unit of water supplied. The higher level of
treatment allows a higher level of societal demand to be achieved with an efficient societal equilibrium
at point B versus the current less than optimal equilibrium at point A. The amount of water recycled
increases from Q1 to Q2 and the price desired by society of P2 which is higher than the current market
price of P1 or a subsidized price of the ‘price fixed’ line. Moreover, the figure shows that the value of the
recycled water is higher from society’s perspective at P3 than that from the market (service provides
and direct water users) at P1. Thus, at current levels the value per ML of broader benefits from recycling
water are the difference between P3 and P1 at a recycled amount of Q1. The higher benefits from
upgrades are twofold with an increase in the volume and quality of water recycled and in the price. In
this case the benefits to society of consumers is increased from 0P1AQ1 to a much larger rectangle,
0P2BQ2.
In short, users and society benefit and service providers benefit from a wastewater upgrade but the
benefits from doing so, are not necessarily immediately obvious to the market or to decision makers
whom act on behalf of society to fund an upgrade. This is the reason for the National Outfall Database
and for the commissioning of this report; to provide an estimate of the net benefit (benefits less costs)
of upgrading each of Australia’s coastal outfalls to support prioritised and strategic decision making on
allocating funds for upgrades. These net benefit measures can be compared between upgrade sites and
against other competing opportunities for spending government, private sector or NGO funds. In this
sense, these estimates are designed to be transparent and transferable.
Upgrading outfalls deliveries on a number of important public policy issues:
1. provides a much needed additional sources of water during drought
2. can help better support secure supplies for agricultural production, other industries, and parks,
gardens and sporting facilities
3. means improved conditions for receiving waters that may result in improved outcomes for the
local environment, society and economy (e.g. through increased and diversification of
recreation and tourism)
4. means improved conditions for the health of humans using the water either directly for
eventual consumption or indirectly through activities such as recreation and tourism in and near
receiving waters
5. delivers an improved economic environment for water service providers where additional
funding is provided for upgrades and where the upgrades provide guaranteed cost savings,
saleable byproducts and sources of energy.
6. improves the local economy both directly through the jobs and income created through the
funded upgrades, but also indirectly from the improved environmental conditions and flow-on
benefits to the economy and society (see item 3 above).
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7. provides an opportunity to protect and secure critical infrastructure from rising sea levels
associated with the dynamic climate systems.
There are very few public policy issues which are capable of addressing such a range of benefits
reflected in a diversity of government portfolios.
1.4. Report Outline
The remainder of the report consists of six sections. Section 2 provides a brief literature review to place
the Australian experience outfalls within the domestic and international context. Section 3 outlines our
approach and methods. Section 4 presents the results. The report ends with Section 5 which makes a
number of recommendations for delivering funding and improved transparency including through the
use economic and other incentive mechanisms.
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2. Literature Review
2.1. Introduction
The goal of this review, covering the economic valuation literature for studies that have assessed the
values of wastewater upgrades, was to inform the study’s approach, gather information for the transfer
of values, and provide context and insights for finance options and incentive structures that provide
greater transparency and incentives to deliver improved outcomes for all stakeholders.
The literature consists of five main focus areas:
studies that relate to value of recycled and reused water from an upgrade facility that is, the
market value of the water when upgraded, whether for potable use, agricultural, sports fields or
other industrial re-use;
values for the improvement in the water quality of receiving waters which can be further broken
into value for:
o improvements in recreational and visual amenity
o improvements in health outcomes for users of the receiving waters
o improvements in the health of ecosystems that form part of the receiving waters
upgrade matters in general including the grey literature of government reports relevant to
upgrades of coastal outfalls
finance options
tools and instruments that can improve transparency and incentives in the industry to direct
upgrades where they provide a net benefit to society (to all stakeholders including private as
well as public benefit)
domestic (particularly those for sites which fall within the NOD) versus international studies of
the above areas
Each of these are addressed in turn and we end this section with a conclusion.
As an overview, an important review of economic valuation studies of water sensitive systems and
practices was completed in 2017 by (Gunawardena et al., 2017) which summaries a large number of
studies that are relevant to wastewater management. These include international and Australian studies
that have used a range of methodologies including contingent valuation, choice experiments (choice
modelling), and shadow price evaluations and costs-benefit studies. Literature Review Key Finding No.
1 (LRKF1): The Gunawardena et al. (2017) review of a large number of domestic and international
studies of water sensitive systems and practices identifies that the public are willing to pay significant
amounts of money for wastewater treatment projects.
2.2. International values for upgrade benefits
Table 2 outlines a selection of recent international studies that value the benefits of outfall upgrades. As
can be noted from the table, typically these studies obtain willingness to pay (WTP) for improvements in
sewage/wastewater treatment to improve the health of receiving waters such as rivers (Birol and Das,
2010; Ndunda and Mungatana, 2013) lakes (Zhang, 2011) and wetlands (Kaffashi et al., 2013).
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Coastal Outfall System Upgrades in Australia Final Report, Blackwell & Gemmill ©4 Mar 2019
Table 2: International studies of sewage/wastewater treatment facility upgrades
Authors,
year date
Title
Journ
al
Benefits
captured
Method
Payment
Vehicle
Attributes
Population,
sample size
Values
Birol and
Das
(2010)
Estimating
the value of
improved
wastewater
treatment:
The case of
River
Ganga,
India
JEM
Improvem
ents in
capacity
(all
primary) &
technology
(for
secondary
treatment)
of STP on
banks of
River
Ganga,
India
Choice
experime
nt,
condition
al logit
model
with
interactio
ns, face-
to-face
Higher
monthly
municipal
tax
Treated
wastewater
quality and
quantity,
regeneratio
n of a park
Chanderna
gore
municipalit
y resident
households
, n=150
INR/mnth 5.82
(USD0.08) for
secondary
treatment & INR
3.54 (USD0.05)
for high quantity
of water; = INR
100.32/yr/h
=3.3m/yr/munici
pality
Kaffashi
et al.
(2013)
We are
willing to
pay to
support
wetland
conservatio
n: local
users’
perspective
IJSD
WE
Value of
Shadegan
wetland
non-
market
services,
Iran,
537,700 ha
Choice
experime
nt and
dichotom
ous
choice
contingen
t
valuation
of
wetland
users
Once-off
donation
to wetland
conservati
on
Natural
scenery,
water
quality
(un,modera
tely, &
acceptable)
biodiversity,
ecological
functions
Shadegan
town &
related
villages,
n=400
High level
conservation of
wetland: CVM
USD 3.03/h; CE
USD
8.28/donation;
acceptable
water quality
USD 4.23/h.
136308
households=$0.5
m
Kontogia
nni et al.
(2003)
Social
preferences
for
improving
water
quality: An
economic
analysis of
benefits
from
wastewater
treatment
WRM
Full
operation
of WTP for
improvem
ents in
Thermaiko
s Bay
water
quality,
Thessalonk
i, Greece
Continge
nt
valuation,
maximum
WTP
open
ended
Increment
al increase
in water
rates for 5
yrs
Socio-
economics,
actual and
intended
behaviour
Thessalonki
794330
residents,
n=466
Euro
15.23/4mths/h
Logar et
al.
(2014)
Cost-
benefit
analysis of
the Swiss
national
policy on
reducing
micropollut
ants in
Treated
Wastewate
r
EST
Benefits of
upgrading
STPs to
reduce
environme
ntal &
health
risks of
MPs,
Switzerlan
d
Choice
experime
nt, mixed
multinom
ial logit
model,
online
Increase in
annual
household
water bill
(current
level
$US374)
Potential
environmen
tal risk
reduction,
impact
spatial scale
reduction,
new
knowledge
availability
of impacts
on human
health
Swiss
national
public,
n=1,000
USD73/yr/h to
reduce potential
environmental
risk to a ‘low
level’; USD113m
across all STP
catchment
households –v-
USD97m cost to
upgrade 123
STPs
Ndunda
and
Mungata
Evaluating
the welfare
effects of
improved
JEM
Improved
wastewate
r
treatment
Discrete
choice
experime
nt,
Municipali
ty tax per
household
per month
Quality and
quantity of
treated
wastewater
Urban &
peri-urban
irrigation
farmer
KES/mnth/h 51
(USD0.51) for
low to high
quality, 17.39
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Notes and Sources: EST=Environmental Science & Technology. IJSDWE=International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology.
JEM=Journal of Environmental Management. JZU-SA=Journal of Zhejiang University- Science A. WRM=Water Resources Management.
H=household. MP=micropollutant. STP = sewage treatment plant. USD= US dollars. KES=Kenyan Shillings. INR=Indian Rupiahs. Conversions done
using https://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/ as at 26 September 2018.
Most importantly amongst these studies, a Swiss study (Logar et al., 2014) undertook a cost-benefit
study of 123 sewage treatment plants (STPs) using a choice experiment through a national online public
survey to assess the potential to reduce the environmental risks of micropollutants (MPs) to a low level.
Households were WTP USD $73 per annum to reduce the potential environmental risk to a ‘low level’.
Across all households within the STPs’ catchments, the environmental risk reduction benefits were
estimated at $113m versus the costs of the upgrades at $97m with a net benefit to the Swiss catchment
constituents of $16m annually (Logar et al., 2014, p. 12500). LRKF2: Logar et al. (2014) suggest that
because CBA justifies investment from an economic viewpoint, it supports a Swiss national policy on a
nationally supported sewage treatment plant upgrade for micropollutants. This study shows that it is
standard practice to apply CBA to these types of problems.
Concurrently with the above study, Eggen et al. (2014) outline the benefits of upgrading wastewater
treatment plants including the reduction in discharge of micropollutants in the Aquatic Environment.
The authors indicate that because of full scale studies of ozonation or carbon treatment through
upgrades to WTPs that reduce MP discharges and concomitant reduced toxicities, social and political
acceptance, and technical and cost-effectiveness feasibility, the Swiss authorities implemented
additional wastewater treatment steps to improve water quality. The authors suggest that
considerations by the Swiss authorities will be of interest to other countries as well. Upgrading WTPs is
not the only solution to reduce MP discharge but should be part of a broader multipronged mitigation
strategy.
In Portugal a bio-economic model was used to estimate the relationship between ecological and
chemical status of freshwater wetland systems using value transfer for cultural ecosystem services from
surface water status (Roebeling et al., 2016). This provided a relationship between surface water status
na
(2013)
wastewater
treatment
using
discrete
choice
experiment
programs
to mitigate
impacts of
water
pollution
to Motine-
Ngong
River in
Nairobi,
Kenya
random
paramete
r logit
model
for
irrigation,
riverine
ecosystem
restoration
households
, n=241
(USD0.17) for
high quantity,
22.18 (USD0.22)
riverine
ecosystem
restoration
(dummy); KES
90.57 (USD 0.90)
in total = 163m
(USD 1.61m)
annually across
150,000 farmer
households
Zhang
(2011)
Measuring
the value of
water
quality
improveme
nts in Lake
Tai, China
JZU-
SA
Improvem
ents in
water
quality
(Grade V)
in Lake Tai,
2338 km2
Continge
nt
Valuation
Environme
ntal fee
People
more
dissatisfied
with water
quality
were WTP
more
5 lakeside
cities, n=
141 CNY/yr/h; all
5 lakeside cities
amounts to CNY
3.8 billion over
next 10 years
undiscounted
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and cultural ecosystem values. Improving the status of surface waters to good provided a marginal
benefit of 0.48m Euros per year (2.02-1.54m for the wetland before and after the change respectively)
(Roebeling et al., 2016, p. 219). The authors found that this marginal benefit, though remaining positive,
declined as surface waters are further improved. Literature Review Key Insight
7
1 (LRKI1): It is likely
that treatment upgrades may generate declining returns to scale, though this should be assessed on a
case by case basis for each location because it will depend on the initial quality of receiving waters
and the current scale of the plant.
Hernández-Sancho et al. (2015) undertook a study of the economic valuation of wastewater considering
the cost of action and the cost of no action. They state that undertaking a financial analysis of
wastewater treatment is typically undertaken by the service provider while an economic analysis is
required to inform public decision making and take into account the broader costs of inaction, notably:
adverse human health effects associated with reduced quality of drinking and
bathing/recreational water
negative environmental effects due to the degradation of water bodies and ecosystems where
untreated or inadequately treated wastewater is discharged
potential effects on those economic activities that use polluted water for crop production,
fisheries, aquaculture or tourism.
These costs of inaction naturally become the benefits of taking action to treat wastewater. LRKF3:
Hernández-Sancho et al. (2015) conclude that implementing wastewater programmes in developing
countries is often feasible from an economic viewpoint where the environmental and health benefits
are integrated into the overall economic assessment. This is similar to the findings of Blackwell (2008)
in developed country settings.
Birol and Das (2010) undertook a choice experiment to ascertain mean WTP by households for water
quality and quantity improvement for a municipality, Chandernagore in India to clean up the Ganga
River. They found that households’ benefits were INR 5.82/month (USD 0.08) in higher municipal taxes
for secondary treatment (high quality) disposal to the Ganga River and INR 3.54/month (USD 0.05) for a
high quantity of water (capacity of treatment expanded such that all is primary treatment). These
estimates amount to INR 100.32 per household per year or INR 3.3m across the municipality. At the time
only 24 percent of wastewater with a running cost of INR 2.5m per year expanding to INR 10.4m for 100
percent treatment. Given this ‘back-of-the-envelope’ CBA (Birol and Das, 2010, p. 2170), costs exceed
benefits and the rise in taxes would not be sufficient to meet the costs of the upgrade. The authors
conclude that their study results are only preliminary and a more thorough set of beneficiaries needs to
be included (farmers, industry, local, national and international public), including an extended choice
experiment, more accurate cost estimates of upgrades and maintenance, and long-run discounting (i.e.
NPV analysis) are required to make an informed decision.
7
A literature insight is different to a finding. Findings reflect those of a past study. Insights synthesise the findings
of the study with other information (e.g. economic theory and practice) to draw out and extend the findings.
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In contrast, Ndunda and Mungatana (2013) undertook a study of the WTP by urban and peri-urban
farmers for upgrades in wastewater treatment in Nairobi, Kenya to improve the quality of wastewater
for use on farms and disposed to the Motoine to Ngong Rivers. Farmer households were WTP KES 51 per
month for improvements in water quality from low to high, KES 17.39 for low to high quantity of water,
KES 22.18 for riverine ecosystem restoration (dummy) amounting to KES 90.57 in total. Annually across
150,000 farmer households this represents KES 163m (USD 1.61m). The authors conclude that these
estimates could be used in a CBA of upgrades once costs and the broader benefits are assessed. These
would include benefits to other stakeholders from pollution abatement in the river and the
maintenance costs and the costs to reconstruct wetlands. Similar to (Birol and Das, 2010), the authors
also point to including a long-run discount rate in the CBA to capture welfare effects on future
generations.
While the two studies from India and Kenya present after conversion very low values these should be
considered within the context of the purchasing power of their domestic currencies. What is important
is the relativity of benefits to costs or benefit cost ratios or positive net benefits.
Xin et al. (2018) found that integrating biofuel production with wastewater treatment was cost-effective
way for better waste remediation and reduced environmental impact for biofuel production. A techno-
economic analysis was undertaken using biofuel production, wastewater treatment improvement, tax
credits, carbon credits and co-products utilization within the integrated system (e.g. glycerol used as
organic carbon. The internal rates of return of the integrated system were superior in comparison to
non-integrated systems. LRKF4: Consideration should be given to integrating biofuel production
systems with wastewater treatment given recent research findings. These findings are similar to a
study undertaken in Europe (Alloul et al., 2018) where sewage has a strong potential for biorefinery
feedstock subject to future research.
In a Chinese study (Jiang et al., 2018) that modeled the trade-off between pollution control cost and
ecosystem damage cost found that wastewater treatment cost functions show economies of scale in
plant capacity (i.e. as capacity increase, the per unit cost declines). The study also found that with a low
value attached to ecosystem services serious ecological damage resulted and the receiving waters
assimilative capacity increased by prohibiting over extraction of water. LRKF5: Ensuring that economic
analyses of wastewater treatment includes ecosystem service values or wider economic benefits
reduces the tendency for serious ecological damage (Jiang et al., 2018).
2.2.1 Constructed Wetlands, the Circular Economy and Sanitation Alternatives
Often in the valuation of environmental goods and services, the cost of creating human built systems to
manage waste or address environmental degradation are used to proxy the value or shadow price of
such services. In contrast, the reverse logic could also be used, where the value of treating, recycling and
reusing wastewater could be assessed through the cost of creating natural system imitations of
infrastructure alternatives such as WTPs and STPs. One area of growing interest in recent decades is the
use of constructed wetlands to help process waste and recycle water. For example Masi et al. (2018)
consider the role played by constructed wetlands (CWs) as an alternative to conventional sanitation in a
new circular economy within an ecosystem services paradigm.
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Coastal Outfall System Upgrades in Australia Final Report, Blackwell & Gemmill ©4 Mar 2019
A companion field of research to constructed wetlands and the circular economy is micro-scale and
decentralized wastewater treatment (e.g. see Makropoulos et al., 2018). Again, this could no doubt be
part of a future vision of wastewater treatment but for the majority of wastewater treatment
Australians use centralized large-scale treatment facilities. However, new greenfield residential and
industrial developments present an opportunity and success for decentralized treatment (Horne, 2016)
and some success in retrofitting brownfield development is emerging (e.g. see Makropoulos et al.,
2018).
Ormerod (2016, p. 537) argues that the trend towards potable water recycling disrupts the normally
hidden process of urban water delivery, treatment, and disposal’ and by doing so, brings into question
the assumption that waterborne sanitation is the only method and instead refocuses our attention to
alternatives including composting toilets and dry sanitation.
LRKF6: In the longer-term, rather than considering simply retrofitting centralized treatment plants, a
broader set of more viable, possibly decentralised and incentive compatible solutions to sanitation
should be included as part of circular economy and lifecycle systems view.
2.2.2 Ecoservice Values of Wetlands and Swamps
Values for wetlands in treating water run-off from the land are part of the work on global assessment of
ecosystem services. A key study in the environmental economic valuation of global ecosystems is that of
Costanza and colleagues (1997), which provided one of the first valuations of the world’s total marine
and terrestrial ecosystems and resulted in a large body of supporting and critical literature (see
examples from Ayres, 1998; Daly, 1998; Herendeen, 1998; Hueting et al., 1998; Serafy, 1998). One
outgrowth from this work was the development of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA 2005),
whose Current States and Trends reports including chapters provides an overview of the techniques for
linking the assessment of ecosystems to human well-being (DeFries et al., 2005) and summarizes the
health of the world’s marine fisheries (Pauly et al., 2005). Such assessments clearly demonstrated the
importance of marine ecosystems to human wellbeing around the globe, as well as some of the threats
to these marine ecoservices.
Since then, there has been a burgeoning scientific and conservation literature discussing how to best
operationalize the definition, measurement, policy and economic uses of ecosystem services (e.g., new
Journal of Ecosystem Services created in 2012; Special Issue, Ecological Economics: The Dynamics and
Value of Ecosystem Services: Integrating Economic and Ecological Perspectives 2002 volume 41). In turn,
others have questioned both the technical limits and wisdom of our ability to monetize various
ecoservices (e.g., see Farley, 2012; Parks and Gowdy, 2013). Nonetheless, the framework of ecosystem
services continues to expand and become increasingly influential at both national and international
levels of the government, business, and conservation sectors. For example, a national-level macro-
assessment of coastal ecoservices for Australia, conducted by Blackwell (2006a, b, 2007), is summarized
in Table 3, noting that total values for beaches were missing from the global assessment, upon which
the Australian assessment was based.
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Coastal Outfall System Upgrades in Australia Final Report, Blackwell & Gemmill ©4 Mar 2019
Table 3: Macro-level assessment of Australia’s coastal ecoservices, including values associated with both marine
and aquatic habitats
Category
Ecosystem
Sub-ecosystem
Area of selected
ecosystems (km2)
A
Value /km2 ($AUS
2005)
B
Total annual value ($AUS
billion 2005) C=A×B
Marine
12,438,119
103,704
1,359.3
Open ocean
10,256,150
45,314
464.7
Coastal
2,181,969
728,645
894.5
Estuaries
16,592
4,105,563
68.1
Open beaches a
14,686
-
-
Seagrass/algae beds
51,217
3,417,227
175.1
Coral reefs
48,960
1,092,383
53.5
Shelf
2,065,200
289,504
597.9
Peri-
terrestrial
-
124,604
-
Wetlands
-
2,658,582
-
Tidal
marsh/mangroves
21,790
1,796,364
39.1
Swamps/floodplains
-
3,520,801
-
Lakes/rivers
-
1,528,078
-
More recently, there has been progress in expanding treatments of ecoservices to cultural values (Chan
et al., 2012; Daniel et al., 2012). There has also been a shift in focus within marine ecosystem valuation
to analyses that can help with adaptation, resilience, and transitioning, given ongoing and projected
impacts from a changing climate for marine ecosystems (e.g., Cooley and Doney, 2009; NCCARF 2013).
Some researchers are now calling these “adaptation values” (Butler, 2013) for which (Rolfe et al.,
Forthcoming) have responded in part with adaptation values for coastal crown lands in Australia.
Table 3 shows that wetlands through tidal marsh and mangroves provides a value of $1.8m AUD per
square kilometer in 2005 and swamps and floodplains provide values of 3.5m AUD per square kilometer.
The latter is one of the highest value biomes along with estuaries to where wastewater is typically
disposed. However, at the time of the study it was known that open beaches were highly valued
ecosystems for their recreational values, though these values had not been included in the global
assessment upon which the national assessment was based. Logically, high value beaches and estuaries
will be degraded where higher volumes and lower quality disposal of wastewater occurs. Inversely,
where disposed wastewater quality is improved and the volume reduced, then the health of high value
beaches and estuaries will improve. The key question here however is by how much? One value that is
included in the ecosystem services provided by wetlands is for their wastewater-recycling capacity. In
effect, ascertaining the costs of upgrades provide an opportunity-cost value for filtration services
provided by wetlands.
2.3. Domestic Values for Upgrades
The Australian domestic values for upgrades are summarized in Table 4. Bennett et al. (2016) is the key
domestic study which ascertained the WTP for:
recycled water volume in Sydney by 2030
recycled water reuse by (i) local councils, (ii) homes, (iii) business and industry or (iv) flush out
rivers and creeks in western Sydney, and
disposal of remaining wastewater into Sydney rivers or the ocean.
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Table 4: Domestic studies of sewage/wastewater treatment facility upgrades, AUD
Authors
, year
date
Title
Journa
l
Benefits captured
Method
Payment
Vehicle
Attributes
Population,
sample size
Values
Alam,
Rolfe &
Donagy
(2006)
Economic
and social
impact
assessment
of water
quality
improvemen
t
AJRS
Full range of economic
and social
benefits
of
improvin
g water
quality in
rivers,
coastal
waterway
s and
estuaries
of
Queensla
nd
Referencing
values from
various
activities
associated
with use
and non-
use of
waterways
NA
NA
Queenslan
d, NA
Indicative
rather than
precise
Gillespi
e and
Bennet
t (1999)
Using
Contingent
Valuation to
Estimate
Environment
al
Improvemen
ts Associated
with
Wastewater
Treatment
AJEM
Untreated Sewerage
treatment and
disposal options for
Vaucluse, area in
Sydney, but level of
treatment not
specified
Contingent
Valuation
Method,
Dichotomo
us Choice
Bid
values:
$5, $20,
$50, $100
per
househol
d. No
time
frame
provided
so
appears
to be a
once-off
payment
Options:
(a)
diversion
channel to
Bondi STP
(b) new
STP at
Vaucluse
Christison
Park &
discharge
through 3
existing
outfalls
(a) 200
Vaucluse
households
; 50
Randwick
households
(b) 50
Vaucluse
households
Median WTP,
Vaucluse Tunnel
$137
Randwick
Tunnel $71
Vaucluse STP
$76
Hardist
y et al.
(2013)
Determining
a sustainable
and
economically
optimal
wastewater
treatment
and
discharge
strategy
JEM
Wider environmental
and social benefits of
adv. secondary
treatment including:
water, greenhouse
gases, ecological
impacts and
community amenity,
Western Australia
(WA)
Value
transfer
included in
CBA
including
financial
costs
(capital &
operations)
for a single
site in WA
over 30 yrs
NA
Financial
costs
(CAPEX &
OPEX) and
externalitie
s
8600
households
, a single
site
assessment
VT: See Table 5.
Bennet
t et al.
(2016)
Community
preferences
for recycled
water in
Sydney
AJEM
Increased volume and
alternative end uses
(industrial, open space
irrigation, domestic,
enviro-flows) of
recycled water for
urban expansion in
Sydney
Choice
modelling,
online
Higher
rates and
bills/yr
Volume of
extra
wastewate
r recycled
in Sydney
2030, use
alternative
s: councils,
business &
industry,
rivers &
creeks,
homes;
disposal
rivers or
ocean
Sydney
residents,
n=824
Mean for
recycled H2O:
WTP/GL/yr=8.6
9 (6.19-11.15)
95%CI;
Use:
Business/Indust
ry 19.67 (11.06-
28.85)
Disposal: rivers
(tertiary) rather
than ocean
(primary)=5.69
(0.46-11.11)
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Coastal Outfall System Upgrades in Australia Final Report, Blackwell & Gemmill ©4 Mar 2019
Notes and Sources: CBA=cost benefit analysis. AJEM=Australasian Journal of Environmental Management. JEM=Journal of
Environmental Management. AJRS=Australasian Journal of Regional Studies. H=household. MP=micropollutant. STP = sewage
treatment plant. VT=value transfer.
The payment vehicle used was extra annual household council rates or bills within a choice modelling
context, much like being offered a range of varying quality and quantity of goods at a supermarket with
equally varying prices (payment vehicle costs). For this reason, the choice modelling approach and the
context for these values are realistic.
A final dataset from the Sydney population provide a usable sample of 824 respondents, starting from a
base of 18,888 email invitations with 1673 respondents accepting and 1255 completing a questionnaire.
Household awareness of Sydney’s water systems and the current use of recycled water were found to
be variable, with
27 percent of households not aware that that desalination water was being used by Sydney
homes, business and councils,
36 percent were not aware that recycled water was being used in Sydney
44 percent were not aware that recycled water Is not used for drinking and
39 percent of households were not aware that treated wastewater was released into Sydney’s
rivers and oceans.
Those households more likely to be aware of recycled water use in Sydney typically lived closer to where
it was used or is planned to be used by households, for example, Western Sydney, whereas households
in Sydney’s inner city and eastern regions were found to be less aware.
On average respondents were found to prefer an increase in recycled water for Sydney with a WTP of
between $6.19 and $11.15 per year for each extra GL of recycled water to 2030 (Bennett et al. 2016, p.
63).
In addition, respondents were willing to pay between $11.06 and $28.85 each year for recycled water to
be used to displace potable water use by business and industry, rather than to displace water use in
homes (Bennett et al. 2016, p. 63). However, respondents were unlikely to pay (indifferent) for recycled
water to be used by Western Sydney Councils or for environmental flows in Sydney rivers rather than in
homes.
Importantly for this outfall upgrade study, respondents were also found to be WTP between $0.46 and
$11.1 each year to have extra wastewater disposed into Sydney rivers rather than the ocean (Bennett et
al. 2016, p. 63). The preference for the rivers was interpreted by Bennett et al. (2016) as reflecting a
respondent understanding that wastewater disposed in rivers was required to be treated to a higher
level (tertiary) than that disposed in the ocean (primary).
Bennett et al. (2016, p. 63-64, words in brackets added) go on in their study to emphasise the use of
care in the interpretation of these estimates for ‘cost-benefit analysis of water recycling infrastructure
projects’:
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Coastal Outfall System Upgrades in Australia Final Report, Blackwell & Gemmill ©4 Mar 2019
We would recommend that benefit-cost analyses of specific recycling projects focus on the volumetric
WTP estimates in this study (i.e. first set of estimates outlined above) and treat those estimates as a
measure of all the benefits that accrue to households. The estimate of WTP to see recycled water used by
business and industry as distinct from other uses should not be used as an estimate of the benefits from
specific recycling projects, since respondents are not WTP this amount for each and every recycling
project that contributes to the total volume of water recycled by 2030. (Bennett et al. 2016, p. 64, words
in brackets added)
LRKF7: Bennett et al. (2016) provide the ideal measure of the benefits to Sydney households for
increased volumes of water recycling to 2030 through annual rises in rates and bills. Their study
indicates that these volumetric estimates provide a measure of the broad range of benefits from
recycling water that can be used in cost-benefit analyses such as those for which this report is written.
The work of Bennett et al. (2016) is directly related to the work undertaken by Marsden Jacob
Associates (2014a) and their overarching conceptual pricing and framing report for Sydney water
recycling (Marsden Jacob Associates, 2013). We also note the practical guidance from Marsden Jacob
Associates (2014b) for assessing the environmental and social values associated with non-potable
recycled water but we note that Marsden Jacob Associates (2013, p. 32) state that:
Finally, we note that despite a widely held intuition that water recycling will provide other environmental
benefits, the effective environmental regulations in Australia mean that water extraction and wastewater
discharge impacts are minimised. Therefore the most significant benefits of recycled water schemes are
often reflected in the avoided costs of meeting the minimum regulatory requirements (such as lower
wastewater treatment costs, nutrient abatement costs or carbon prices) rather than in direct
environmental benefits.
We disagree with this statement because there is evidence that often WTPs are unable to fully process
wastewater, particularly during wet and heavy weather events, such that typical standards and
guidelines are breached in receiving waters, despite authorities simultaneously meeting their regulatory
requirements under their licenses (see for e.g. Perraton, 2015; Perraton et al., 2015). We would
therefore argue, as further evidenced through the existence of Clean Ocean Foundation and
proliferation of similar NGOs (people are willing to contribute monies to these foundations to help
cleanup receiving waters) and the findings of Deloitte Access Economics (2016, p. 5) for Sydney Water
on the benefits of improved water quality at Sydney’s coastal beaches through improved wastewater
management (e.g. use and non-use values of $140m/yr, $332m/yr in value added tourism, and $140m in
avoided absenteeism from illness attributable to beach water quality), that there are significance
environmental (and social and economic) benefits from improvements in the quality of water being
discharged into receiving waters and environments. There may be similar arguments for extraction of
water resources also but we do not address those here.
LRKF8: Given the existence of the Clean Ocean Foundation, Surfers Against Sewage UK, Heal the Bay
California, and Surfrider Northern Sydney, through people being willing to donate to support the work
of these NGOs’, combined with the findings of Deloitte Access Economics (2016, p. 5) that
improvements in water quality at Sydney’s coastal beaches through improved wastewater
management account for use and nonuse values of $140m/yr, value added in tourism of $332m/yr
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Coastal Outfall System Upgrades in Australia Final Report, Blackwell & Gemmill ©4 Mar 2019
and avoided absenteeism from illness of $140m/yr, provide clear evidence of the environmental
benefits from improvements in the water quality of receiving environments.
Gillespie and Bennett (1999) appears to be a highly relevant Australian study being based on valuing two
options (a. pipe tunnel to existing Bondi STP or b. new STP at Vaucluse to dispose through three existing
coastal outfalls) for managing untreated wastewater disposal in the Vaucluse area of Sydney. The values
obtained were $137 for Vaucluse households and $71 for Randwick households for the tunnel option
(a), and $76 for Vaucluse households for the new STP in Vaucluse. While the study refers to 5.1 ML/day
of untreated sewage being discharged via three coastline outfalls, unfortunately the level of treatment
(primary, second or tertiary) is not specified for any of the options though the first option would suggest
little or no disposal in the Vaucluse area. Regardless, for Vaucluse residents, the benefit of removing
discharge to the Vaucluse area coastline is a median of $26.86 per household per ML/day of discharge.
For an example of a simple cost-benefit analysis, these benefits equates to $26,860 per household per
GL. The payment bid time periods are unspecified suggesting they are once-off payments. Given there
are 11,840 people in Vaucluse, Watsons Bay and Rose Bay area (SA2), with an average of 2.7 people per
household, there are 4,385 households in the area. With this number of households, the benefit to the
Vaucluse area from removing discharges on the Vaucluse coastline is $0.6m. The Randwick residents
(140,660 people, 2.5/household) WTP adjusting for the $76 in value, amounts to $4.3m. Together with
the values from Vaucluse households, the total benefit from the discharge removal amount to almost
$5m in benefits. Escalating this value to present day dollars using a discount rates three, six and nine
percent results in a values of $9.3m, $17m and $31m.
The costs, assuming an upgrade to tertiary treatment (though this is not specified in the article) using
the data we have in the method section (provided by South East Water) amounts to almost $14m. The
net benefits range from -$4.7m to $17m for the range of discount rates considered. These calculations
demonstrate the capacity to quickly calculate the net benefits from this given option and the sensitivity
of the net benefits to the discount rate.
LRKF9: While Gillespie and Bennett (1999) appears highly relevant being a study of removing
sewerage discharges to the nearby ocean for the Vaucluse area in Sydney, it has its problems. These
include the WTP bids not being tied to the amount of water recycled and the level of treatment
specified, time periods for the payment vehicle are not specified, and CVM is used. Given these
limitations we are therefore hesitant to use these estimates to value the benefits from water recycling
and we believe the Bennett et al. (2016) study is superior.
In another Australian study, similar to the above Swiss study, though at a state level in Western Australia
(WA) based on a single site, Hardisty et al. (2013) undertook an economic analysis of upgrades in WA to
establish the optimal level of treatment given a number of treatment options:
1. Facultative Pond Treatment, Stream Disposal status quo, is protective of human health but is
the lowest level of treatment of alternatives considered.
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Coastal Outfall System Upgrades in Australia Final Report, Blackwell & Gemmill ©4 Mar 2019
2. Advanced Secondary Treatment, Stream Disposal involves intermittently decanted extended
aeration plant and sand filtration and UV disinfection. Has higher capital cost and higher level of
treatment than option 1 but higher quality of effluent is disposed to receiving waters.
3. Facultative Pond Treatment, Evaporation Pond Disposal All treated wastewater is contained
within the pond and except for extreme events there is no continuous discharge to the
environment
4. Facultative Pond Treatment, Storage Dam Disposal, Sale of Water Storage in the dam prevents
continuous discharge to receiving waters and water can be sold to local users where demanded.
5. Tertiary Treatment, Stream Disposal Reverse Osmosis (RO) is added to the secondary
treatment option. It raises water quality to drinking level (potable). Typically exhibits high-
energy requirements and cost.
6. Tertiary Treatment, Dam Storage Disposal, Sale of Water provides the highest level of
treatment and highest level of protection to the environment along with sale of the water
where demand permits.
The financial costs of each of the above six options were assessed taking account of the experience of
costs of the Water Corporation in Western Australia (WA) and are outlined in Table 5. Capital costs
(CAPEX) include all materials, equipment and labour required to upgrade the facility. Operating costs
(OPEX), including energy and non-energy costs are again based on the Corporation’s empirical data from
similarly sized facilities across the state. As the level of treatment increases with reduced disposal to
receiving waters and increased option for sale of the water, the costs increase, both OPEX and CAPEX,
though advanced secondary treatment (option 2) has higher energy operating costs than options 1, 3 &
4 which involve facultative pond treatment. Tertiary treatment (options 5 & 6) have the highest energy
costs of all.
Table 5: Financial Costs of Upgrade Options, Single Plant, Western Australia, $AUD m 2008.
Option
Description
CAPEX
OPEX (/yr) non
energy
OPEX (/yr)
energy, 2009
OPEX (/yr)
energy, 2038
1
(STATUS QUO) Facultative pond
treatment + stream discharge
0
0.28
0.13
0.97
2
Advanced secondary treatment, stream
discharge
8
1.93
0.17
1.26
3
Facultative pond treatment, evaporation
pond discharge
13
3.44
0.13
0.97
4
Facultative pond treatment, dam
discharge, water sale
20
5.51
0.13
0.97
5
Tertiary treatment, RO, stream discharge
24
3.72
0.82
5.97
6
Tertiary treatment, RO, dam discharge,
water sale
44
8.95
0.82
5.97
Source and notes: Hardisty et al. (2013). RO=reverse osmosis
Table 6 outlines the values transferred in the study and their literature sources. The service provision
value comes from a Greek study and is not Australian.
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Coastal Outfall System Upgrades in Australia Final Report, Blackwell & Gemmill ©4 Mar 2019
Table 6: Benefit measures, Single Plant, Western Australia, $AUD 2008
Category
Units
Low
Base
case
High
Source
Greenhouse Gasses
$/t
CO2e
0
25
85*
*Stern (2006)
Water total economic value
$/m3
0
0.35**
1.65*
**WADP&I (2007); *Wade (2001)
Biodiversity
$/hh/y
5.9
11.79*
23.58
*Loomis and White (1996)
Ecosystem support of
streams
$/hh/y
25
30*
60
*Le Goffe (1995)
Community amenity of
streams
$/hh/y
120*
171**
560*
**Sutherland and Walsh (1985); *Greenley et
al. (1982)
Service provision
$/hh/y
-
100%
17
+100%
Kontongianni et al. (2001)
Source and notes: Hardisty et al. (2013).
Water total economic value’ in Table 6 includes direct use-value, ecological support value and the
option value. Biodiversityrelated to the loss of endemic or high value species. Amenity valueused a
study that included recreational and bequest, option and existence values. Service provision reflects a
value to society from the wastewater treatment.
There are a number of assumptions in the analysis which are questionable or do not hold in the case of
coastal treatment plants and outfalls; specifically:
Assuming the outfall only contributes 10 percent of ambient pollution (In the case of Sydneys
outfalls this appears much higher according to (Fagan et al., 1992) and similarly for the United
States (Boesch et al., 2001)) .
Disposing of freshwater into saltwater has negative effects on the surrounding ecosystems and
environment (Blackwell and Iacovino, 2009).
A reduction in indirect health costs is not included in the analysis (National Research Council,
1993)
Amenity values would vary by site, for example, there is no spatial treatment in the transfer of
values (Blackwell, 2006a, b, 2007).
Under tertiary treatment, no value is attributed to reduced loss of biodiversity across all the
scenarios (Otway, 1995; Stuart-Smith et al., 2015).
There is limited value across the scenarios attributed to stream ecosystem support value
(Otway, 1995; Stuart-Smith et al., 2015) or amenity value (Blackwell and Wilcox, 2009)
Service provision remains constant across the scenarios (McNamara, 2018; Moore, 1978)
The on-sell of water appears not to occur in scenario 4 (i.e. the authors believe there is no
market) (Eckard, 2017).
Given these limitations, the authors expect that the benefits of tertiary treatment are
underestimated and therefore the conclusions drawn about secondary treatment being the most
optimal (while appears sound from a conceptual/theoretical economic perspective i.e. zero or
100% treatment is not likely to be optimal rather some level or middle quality of treatment is
optimal) may not be valid once these externalities are better accounted for.
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Coastal Outfall System Upgrades in Australia Final Report, Blackwell & Gemmill ©4 Mar 2019
LRKF10: Hardisty et al. (2013), which finds that secondary treatment in Western Australia is more
optimal than tertiary treatment, should not be relied on because a number of underlying assumptions
may not be valid including, no market for the sale of recycled water (Eckard, 2017), constant service
provision across the scenarios (McNamara, 2018; Moore, 1978), the assumed relatively small
reduction in ambient pollution (Boesch et al., 2001; Fagan et al., 1992), health impacts are not
accounted for (National Research Council, 1993), amenity value should be site dependent (Blackwell
and Wilcox, 2009), no spatial component is included in the value transfer (Blackwell, 2006a, 2007),
and the wider benefits (externalities) (Blackwell and Iacovino, 2009; Otway, 1995; Stuart-Smith et al.,
2015) from higher levels of treatment were likely to be underestimated in the analysis. However, the
example given by the study’s general approach of including externalities in addition to financial costs
is positive and finds in favour of secondary treatment over primary.
2.3.1. Managed Aquifer Recharge
A recent study reviewed the success of managed aquifer recharge where wastewater is used to recharge
aquifers replying on a natural treatment process of filtration, sorption, degradation and infiltration
through the unsaturated zone to ‘polish’ a given source of water to a desired quality prior to reuse
(Bekele et al., 2018). Cases are referred to Perth, Western Australia, Monterey, California and
Changwon, South Korea. This type of reuse is related to the ideas of constructed wetlands and has
shown to provide opportunities for setting compliance targets for mitigating risks to human health while
maintaining high performance MAR schemes (Bekele et al., 2018).
2.4. Improvement in Receiving Waters’ Quality
2.4.1. Valuation of Marine Ecosystems
The economic literature that estimates values for components of marine ecosystems is vast but
dominated by extractive and other commercial market uses, such as fisheries, aquaculture, oil and gas,
and transportation. For this project, however, we focused on studies that estimate values of the marine
environment for its conservation and recreational use.
2.5. Grey Literature
There is an extensive grey literature that documents the ‘benefits of wastewater treatment plant
upgrades’. Just in a single Google search using this term resulted in over 37 million results. Institutions
from local to global scales are espousing the benefits of upgrading wastewater treatment plants, from
environmental benefits (Hydroflux, 2018) of improving water quality in receiving rivers, improved river
protection status, environmentally sensitive design and latest treatment and monitoring benefits,
improvements in plant building heating from greater methane gas creation, and lifecycle costing
reductions (City of Cornwall, 2014).
In a Canadian case study, the costs of the wastewater treatment plant upgrade was shared between the
Government of Canada, Province of Ontario and City of Cornwall, each contributing $18.5m for a
$55.5m Canadian dollar upgrade of the Cornwall Wastewater Treatment Plant to include secondary
treatment (City of Cornwall, 2014). This will help meet Provincial and Federal policies and regulations
35
Coastal Outfall System Upgrades in Australia Final Report, Blackwell & Gemmill ©4 Mar 2019
and increase the plant’s overall capacity, supporting future growth and development of the city and
allowing it to better manage potential Combined Sewer Overflows.
Through the Climate Action Programme, Cavagnaro (2010) indicates that upgrades present an
opportunity to:
improve operating efficiency of a plant by automating processes and enabling limited staff to
accomplish more
help the local environment through
o reductions in greenhouse gas and other air emissions, displacing fossil-fuel energy with
renewables, such as digester gas, wind and solar power
o enhancing water quality and wildlife habitats
provide economic benefits such as
o boosting the economy by creating construction, operations and maintenance jobs
o improving the quality of biosolids provided to farmers, landscapers and residents
improve the reliability of and consistency in permit compliance
enhance the community’s quality of life through enhanced aesthetics and recreation from
improved water quality and wildlife habitats and curtailment of odors to improve community
relations
A selection of examples from the world wide web include positive reports on upgrades in Cronulla,
Dugog, Queanbeyan, Morpeth, North Head (NSW); Calliope (Gladstone), Mareeba, Point Lookout (Qld);
Blackmans Bay (TAS); Geraldton (WA); Drouin (VIC) along with company and government website
listings.
In an industry online based article, Grant (2018) presents the value of on-site wastewater treatment as
including improvements in public image, compliance, cost savings, flexibility and resource recovery.
Energy supplies can be neutral through anaerobic digestion systems, water can be re-used by being
strategically treated to a level that is required by the organization, and by-products such as nutrient rich
fertilizer can be produced high in nitrogen and phosphorus. Two case examples are provided: one where
a snack manufacturer eliminates sewer charges (cost savings) through an upgrade and a second where a
local authority required a confectionary manufacturer to pretreat wastewater (compliance).
2.6. Funding Options
LRKF11: Cavagnaro (2010, p. 2, 7) indicates that ‘cities and water authorities can attain (the benefits of
upgrades) without investing their own capital up front’ through immediate long-term guaranteed cost
savings and a ‘Performance Contracting Funding Model’. Finance is usually structured such that
monthly savings are greater than the monthly payment on the improvements (Cavagnaro, 2010, pp. 2-
3). With a ‘Performance Contracting Funding Model’ the energy and cost savings gained through the
more efficient operation of plant are defined under a performance contact over 10 to 15 years with an
energy service company (ESCO). The improvements are offset from the savings that result annual
36
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results are guaranteed by the performance contract. Where savings in a given year fall short of the
contract amount, the ESCO pays the water or local government authority the difference, ensuring that
set upgrade repayments are met.
In a local case study presented by the Queensland Government’s Department of State Development
(n.d.), the 2017 Mareeba Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade had a total project cost of $15m, with
State Government Building our Regions funding of $1.5m, Local Government funding of $7.5m and
Commonwealth funding of $6m. The Department refers to:
45 jobs that were created during construction,
improved wastewater capacity to allow town population to expand to 12,500 people with future
expansion to 16,500
reduced operating and maintenance costs of the plant of $200,000 per year over the 20-year life
of the plant totaling $4m.
improved water quality for effluent released into Two Mile Creek and operating within state
government environmental standards
biosolids used as fertilizer by local farmers on sugar cane, avocados, bananas, mangoes, lychees
and cropping pastures
This information provides a sense of the $4m operating and maintenance cost savings relative to the
local governments contribution to the capital costs of $7.5m which helps in covering any cost of capital.
In another example, the Cronulla Wastewater Treatment Plant in Sydney was upgraded from primary to
tertiary treatment in 1999 by SUEZ (2017) to a project cost of $90m serving 210,000 people at 52.7 ML
per day (dry weather). Three ML per day of recycled water is available for reuse. SUEZ operated the
plant for a three year period following construction then returned it to Sydney Water with 100 percent
compliance with all contractual obligations including process performance, operating cost verification
and training of the future operations team. This upgrade has improved water quality at Cronulla local
beaches and Bate Bay while meeting the sewage treatment needs of a growing population.
The Australian Government’s Bureau of Rural Sciences (Mooney and Stenekes, 2008) undertook in 2008
a literature review and analysis of the social aspects of establishing agricultural recycled water schemes.
Key drivers for schemes were the need for pollution control because of impacts of nutrients on local
waterways and increasingly stringent pollution control regulations. One finding from the study was that
the success of schemes depended on the creation of new water markets, where recycled water was
emerging as a substitute for freshwater supplies when the later was scarce. Success of schemes
depended on institutional champions including farmers and early community and stakeholder
engagement as a key part of the planning process. Importantly for our study, they study also found that
environmental, social and economic values were explicitly incorporated into standard assessment
procedures used for recycled water options. LRKF12: Funding was found to predominantly come from
state or Commonwealth governments to meet the necessary capital hurdle for upgrades and
institutional; that is, securing capital was a key to the success of schemes. Legal arrangements were
needed to overcome the competing objectives of finding alternative mechanisms to dispose of treated
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wastewater and the risk of securing long-term water markets for recycled water. Legal arrangements
were required to cover risk of recycled water users from service providers to farmers.
2.7. Transparency
Guven et al. (2018) found that a full lifecycle approach to assessment should be undertaken to evaluate
the performance of wastewater treatment plants and to compare different upgrading options,
particularly in regards to evaluation of environmental impacts such as climate change, terrestrial
acidification, ecotoxicity and fossil depletion. Adding food waste to wastewater can help in regards to
climate change for the case at hand involving a WTP in Istanbul, Turkey. LRKF13: A lifecycle approach to
assessment and ranking of upgrades should be undertaken in order to capture the broader benefits
and costs of upgrades across time.
Apostolidis et al. (2011) state that given the recent decadal dry period combined with aggressive targets
for the volume of water recycled, Australia provides an array of case studies of the developments in
recycling from policy, regulatory and technological perspectives. During this time, recycled water
became a legitimate source of water for non-drinking purposes in ‘a diversified portfolio of water
sources to mitigate climate risk’ (Apostolidis et al., 2011, p. 869). The authors identify the challenge of
indirect potable reuse schemes which have lacked community and political support to date. In the
future, recycled water demand will increase with a growing population, urbanization and as climate
change impacts are realized. Also, the evolution to date suggest that schemes will become more energy
efficient reducing their GHG contribution, be integrated with urban planning, greater substitution of
sources, and greater efficiency on premises of businesses allowing for multiple uses of the water before
it is released to the environment. Furthermore there will be greater recovery of valuable by-products
such as phosphorus, nitrogen, potassium and other commodity chemicals. LRKF14: In the future, rather
than being viewed as wastewater treatment plants these facilities may be better known as water
management and nutrient and energy recovery plants.
2.8. Conclusion
This literature review has outlined the range of values associated with wastewater treatment and water
recycling. The literature on international values is vast and demonstrates a range of issues that need to
be considered within the context of a domestic study on the benefits of WWTP upgrades at a national
level. Of particular note is the Swiss study which assess the significant net benefits of undertaking
upgrades for WWTPs across the nation to remove micro-plastics. Our reform process in Australia is yet
to consider this. Such as study also demonstrates a shift in the science and public opinions on
wastewater and how it could best be recycled and disposed of. In Australia, Bennett et al. (2016)
provides the most recent and accurate measure of people’s WTP for wastewater treatment and
recycling in Australia. It uses the state of the art method, choice modelling, to estimate Sydney
households WTP for each extra GL of water to 2030 from annual rates and bills. They also provide
direction for the use of their estimates in undertaking a cost benefit analysis such as is undertaken in
this study. For these reasons we use this estimate as described in the next section.
Other issues of importance to this study found in the literature include:
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the use of constructed wetlands, appreciation of the circular economy and dry-sanitation
alternatives provide a broader understanding of alternatives and the future for wastewater
management
managed aquifer recharge has shown to provide benefits for wastewater treatment in Western
Australia and poses as an alternative to traditional wastewater treatment plants
Swamps and wetlands provide an alternative to human constructed wastewater treatment
plants, but the natural habitats have limits in terms of their capacity to manage pollution and
deliver such ecosystem goods and services (ecoservices)
innovative funding solutions through immediate long-term guaranteed cost savings and
performance contracting funding models, balanced by an appreciation of the public private
benefits provided by upgrades and the need for Australian government to support upgrades to
deliver the broader public and social benefits
improved transparency by undertaking a lifecycle approach to the assessment and ranking of
upgrades to capture the broadest possible assessment of costs and benefits over time along
with an evolutionary view of seeing wastewater treatment plants as water management and
nutrient and energy recovery plants.
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3. Approach and Methods
3.1. Introduction and Overview
This initial study of the benefits and costs of upgrades for coastal outfalls around Australia used a
relatively simply approach to capture the benefits. There is a broad range of benefits from improving
wastewater upgrades as depicted in Figure 4. We used the value or benefit transfer method to assess
the benefits of upgrades and relied on two approaches to the cost of upgrades; a simple one and a more
complex industry approach. Because this is an initial study, there are a number of benefits which are not
explicitly captured in our approach, but we make note that the Bennett et al. (2016) estimates used,
without explicitly being stated represent the total WTP for the benefits received from recycling water.
Figure 4: Market and non-market benefits of wastewater upgrades. Tick=assessed in this study; Cross=not
assessed in this study and left for future research.
Therefore, to identify which components of value have been explicitly captured and which have not is
difficult. A tick in Figure 4 provides those benefits that are likely to be captured through our approach,
Total Economic Benefit
Market benefit
(captured by the
market)
Non-market benefit
(not captured by the
market)
Direct use
Value of recycled water
sold
Value byproducts sold
Cost savings, offsets and
credits
Indirect use
surpluses (losses) for
marine related
businesses
spend by users of
marine environment
income flows from
original spend of users
through economy
amenity value to
surrounding properties
and facilities
Use benefit Non-use benefit
Indirect use
e.g. non-
pecuniary
spillovers to
areas outside
receiving waters
Option
future ability
to use or
conserve
water or
receiving
waters
Direct use
Recreational for
receiving waters
Existence
knowing rec ycled
water/receiving
environment
improves although no
use is intended
Bequest
providing recycled
water/improved
receiving
environment to
future generations
Vicarious
History, culture, art,
poetry, other media
ü
?
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while those that are not likely to be captured in the estimates provided by Bennett et al. (2016) are
indicated by a cross. Those for which wastewater recycling WTP studies typically underestimate and so
whether Bennett et al. has captured these is marked by a question mark. For these reasons, we believe
the estimates provided are likely to be lower bound and true benefits are likely to be larger than those
presented in this report. Thus, future research could focus on those benefits not yet captured that are
likely to be more significant than others. In this section we briefly outline the types of benefits and the
methods used.
3.2. Types of Benefits
3.2.1 Direct and Indirect Benefits
When an upgrade to a WWTP is undertaken there are three broad groupings of benefits as a result. The
first is in terms of improved quality of quantity of water recycled and available for direct use in a range
of opportunities. Specifically these include for use in industry, parks and gardens and sporting facilities,
and agricultural applications as well as urban water use more generally. These are particularly important
when supplies are short in times of drought and recycled water has a degree of rainfall independence.
The second set of benefits that are indirectly related to the creational of additional recycled water and
include improvements in plant operational efficiency resulting in cost savings such as through co-
digestion and generation of methane gas to generate electricity offsetting a plants power requirements
and reducing its carbon footprint (with subsequent carbon credits should there be a market for carbon).
A third set of benefits relate to the improvement in the quality and quantity of the receiving
environments into which WWTP dispose the remaining wastewater. Upgrades to WWTPs, with
increased water recycled, may result in less water being disposed to receiving waters, but even when
there is increased water disposal (along with increased recycling i.e. the plant capacity is expanded to
meet the demands of a growing population), this is disposed at a higher quality and creates less
pollution and degradation of receiving environments. With environmental improvements comes a range
of economic, social and cultural, and environmental and ecological benefits.
3.2.2. Market and Non-market Benefits
Market benefits refer to those goods and services provided by upgrades that are traded in markets.
Such market goods and services typically have well known prices and include the market value of
recycled water that is sold, and by-products from raising the level the treatment as well as cost savings
in plant operations from, for example, co-digestion and generation of methane gas to offset the plants
power requirements. Where there are markets created for carbon, a reduction in the carbon footprint
from such upgrades can also be considered as a market benefit. In contrast, non-market refers to those
goods and services provided by the upgrade that are not traded in markets, and are therefore un-priced
and not as well known. Where these are no market for carbon for example, any reduction in carbon
footprint would translate to a non-market benefit. Any benefits that are captured by improved
environmental, ecological or social consequences for the receiving waters location, may tend to be a
non-market benefit, though these benefits may be subsequently captured by various markets in part
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such as marine recreation goods and service providers and tourism ventures. Together, market and non-
market benefits make up the total economic benefit (TEB) of upgrades as depicted in Figure 4.
3.2.3. Use and Non-use Values
A further distinction is made in Figure 4 through application of use and non-use benefits. “Use” includes
both consumptive (or extractive) and non-consumptive (non-extractive) utilization of a good or service.
Recycled water used for irrigation or sporting fields are consumptive (though typically from a common
pool of water resources), while recreators or tourists whom share the area of improved water quality
from receiving waters enjoy non-consumptive use of the resource.
In contrast to use values, non-use or conservation values of upgrades include existence, bequest,
vicarious, and option values. People in a community may value the existence of improved environmental
and ecological health of an area of receiving waters (i.e. beaches, rivers, estuaries, bays and the ocean)
though they may never use these locations themselves. Others may also value bequesting to other
people (including their children or future generations) improved environmental and social outcomes for
receiving waters. Vicarious value of improvements in water quality may also translate to improved
opportunities in the arts, song, dance and cultural more generally. Furthermore, while some people may
not currently use the receiving water’s location for recreation or tourism, once upgraded and the water
quality improves, they then have the option of doing so, even where they don’t currently use the site.
Option value is therefore an important to conceptualizing the opportunities for improved benefits
through outfall upgrades. In this sense, there is a latent demand for recreation at a polluted receiving
waters site, which is not realized until the upgrade is complete, environmental quality improves, and the
demand for recreation is realized over time.
3.2.4. Ecosystem Goods and Services – “Ecoservices
The final distinction in values is that provided through the concept of ecoservices (ecosystem goods and
services). Such an approach identifies the goods and services provided by ecosystems into key types:
provisioning services, such as food and materials;
regulating services, such as storm and flood protection;
cultural services, such as providing for recreation, health, spirituality, and education; and
supporting services, such as providing refuge for species and for its reproduction
A taxonomy of ecoservice components is provided in Table 7. Note in the table that there are specific
water related ecoservices provided by well-functioning receiving water environments such as the
provision of freshwater (through the water cycle), water regulation and purification, serenity and
amenity values, recreation and tourism, water cycling and nutrient cycling and regulation. However,
healthy receiving water ecosystems, provide the full range of ecoservices outlined in Table 7. With a
deterioration of the health of receiving water ecosystems (including the associated zones such as the
open ocean, riparian zones, shores and beaches), the full range of ecoservices can deteriorate. By
undertaking upgrades, water quality and receiving environment health can improve, with co-benefits to
the full range of improvements in ecosystem services detailed in Table 7.
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The ecoservices approach helps align the well-being of humans with the health of the ecosystems that
they rely on. As the health of an ecosystem deteriorates, so too do the sustainable flows of ecoservices
and the benefits to humans. A recent global analysis of marine and coastal ecosystem health, calculated
country by country, utilizes this framework of sustainable ecosystem services and human benefits to
develop an Ocean Health Index (Halpern et al., 2012). In general, marine ecosystems (including coastal
ecosystems) can assimilate and process certain levels of pollutants, for example from wastewater
outfalls, without having populations and communities reach tipping points that change ecosystem
dynamics in non-linear and unfavorable ways. However, with increased pressure from a number of
sources, including increased human populations and increased wastewater pollution, coastal waterway
assimilative capacity can be breached, particularly in the mixing zone of the outfall. For this reason, WTP
upgrades often have multiple goals of improved recreational outcomes in addition to broader
biodiversity conservation. These multiple goals are implicitly represented in the different TEB
components depicted in Figure 2.
Table 7: Types of ecoservices (Blackwell, 2006b).
Category
Ecoservice
Provisioning services
Freshwater
Food
Fiber (including clothing and shelter)
Fuel
Genetic resources
Biochemicals, natural medicines and pharmaceuticals
Ornamental resources
Regulating services
Air quality regulation
Climate regulation
Water regulation
Erosion regulation
Water purification
Waste treatment
Disease regulation
Pest regulation
Natural hazard regulation
Cultural services
Cultural diversity
Spiritual and religious values
Knowledge systems
Inspiration
Aesthetic and serenity values
Social relations
Sense of place
Cultural heritage, historic and artistic values
Recreation and ecotourism
Supporting services
Sand or soil formation
Photosynthesis
Primary production
Nutrient cycling/regulation
Water cycling
3.3. Methods
In order to gain net benefits we subtracted from the estimated benefits of upgrades their respective
estimates costs. Upgrades occurred for secondary and primary levels of WWTP. Where a plant was
tertiary, no upgrade was warranted and these are presented as no change in the priority ranking tables
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in the results section.
8
Upgrading all plants to the same tertiary level was required to be assumed ensure
that across upgrades, the quality of water disposed into receiving waters was the same, comparing like
for like in preparation of the cost and benefit estimates. In terms of nexus with wastewater, the costs of
upgrade were driven by discharge limits (as undertaken by South East Water see below) and the
benefits from upgrade were driven by the amount of flow adjusted for a proportion that would not be
recycled (assuming not all water will be recycled in realty all cases). The costs of upgrades are not driven
by the same parameters as the benefits of upgrades there is a natural dichotomy here and these are
detailed in the following sections.
3.3.1 Benefit Estimates
The main method we have used to estimate the benefits from wastewater upgrades is to transfer
relevant economic benefit estimates (‘values’) from previous studies.
9
The literature review in the
previous section outlines the range of values available in the literature. For the reasons noted, the most
relevant is the study by Bennett et al. (2016) which undertook a choice modeling study of Sydney
residents on their WTP for recycled water. In their study, they note specifically the application of their
values to cost-benefit studies. Bennett et al. (2016) stipulate that the estimates can be used in
wastewater upgrade assessments but that their estimates for increased water recycling are the key ones
to use rather than where the water is ultimately used or how the water is disposed (rivers or ocean). We
therefore apply this advice in the study at hand. We do so by taking Bennett et al. estimates of WTP per
household per GL of recycled water, converting them to 2019 current dollars on per ML basis, and
multiplying by the flow of the relevant wastewater treatment plants collected by the NOD, over the
period of the project, using Net Present Value analysis. Because not all wastewater flow in any given
year will be recycled, we reduced the annual amount of water to be recycled to 63 percent which
reflected the weighted average wastewater recycled, calculated from schemes surveyed across Australia
using Apostolidis et al. (2011). We also used two time periods for the upgrade project, 15 and 30 yrs and
a range of discount rates (r = 3, 6 or 9%) in the NPV analysis to allow for sensitivity analysis of the
benefits.
In applying the value transfer method we followed the process suggested by John Rolfe (pers. comms, 7
January 2019) to consider the following steps:
1. Assess target situationthis is the upgrading to tertiary treatment level Australia’s 176
coastal outfall systems.
2. Identify source studies available and select benefit transfer type where the type is
dependent on source studies. While there were three main studies available, as noted
above, Bennett et al. (2016) is the most recent and appropriate study that assesses the total
benefits for recycled water in Sydney. Gillespie and Bennett (2009) is less preferred because
8
There are actually different levels of tertiary treatment and future research should distinguish between those
that treat to a higher level.
9
Value transfer involves reviewing primary research undertaken to assess the economic value of similar or related
sites and translating these values to the case study site. This approach can be quite complex and appropriate
measures to transfer the values from the primary site(s) must be used. Such measures can include areas of habitat
and numbers of users depending on the particular valuation method used in the primary research.
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Coastal Outfall System Upgrades in Australia Final Report, Blackwell & Gemmill ©4 Mar 2019
it involves contingent valuation, considered less rigorous to choice modelling (as undertaken
by Bennett et al. (2016), and because it only assesses the benefits of removing disposal, not
the total benefits of using the recycled water. Marsden Jacob (2014) is the same study as
Bennett et al. (2016). The benefits from Gillespie and Bennett (1999) could be added to
those from Bennett et al. (2016) but this may involve some double counting.
3. Assess site differences and identify if Benefit Transfer (BT) is possible and basis for BT
adjustment. While no two sites are identical, Sydney represents the majority of the Australia
population, is specific to Australia and involves decisions of recycling and disposal. The key
adjustment mechanism is the flow of wastewater through the outfall system. For value
transfer, having an example like Bennett et al. (2016), which is so close the cases at hand, is
not typical of benefit transfer applications.
4. Assess population differences by identifying if BT is possible and the basis for the BT
adjustment. At each outfall system, the relevant local or serviced population was obtained
typically from the ABS 2016 census data or from the service provider licenses. These were
then converted to household numbers using an average household size making the BT
adjustment possible.
5. Assess scale of change in both cases and identify if BT possible and basis for BT adjustment.
As noted above, the scale of change, is the amount of flow treated and available for reuse.
These were obtained from the NOD for all of Australia’s outfalls. A limitation is that the
Bennett et al. (2016) study was for GL of water recycled by 2030, where in many small scale
outfall systems, the scale is in the order of ML. Regardless, conversions were made for scale
to assess the benefits at the smaller scale.
6. Assess framing issues (scope, scale, instrument, payment vehicle and length, WTP or accept
format used, use versus non-use) to test if the source study is appropriate for BT and
identify any basis for BT adjustment. The study by Bennett et al. (2016) used choice
modelling to assess Sydney households WTP to increased water recycling by 2030. As noted
in the literature review, it did so by also considering whether disposal should be moved
from rivers to the ocean but people had lower WTP for this option, most probably as the
authors point out because river disposal requires higher levels of treatment. Adjustments
were made for scale and scope through the flow measures. Payment vehicle and length
were appropriate being household annual water rates or bills. Bennett et al. (2015)
represents the total benefits from recycling the water but may have a greater reflection of
use versus non-use values, though by using these measures, the benefits will be
conservative.
7. Assess statistical modelling issues by identifying appropriateness of model in source study
and identify any basis for BT transfer. There were very few statistical modelling issues in
Bennett et al. (2016) the main one being that respondents were found to not be willing to
pay more for disposal of wastewater to the ocean rather than rivers, because as the authors
suggested, people saw rivers as providing higher treatment levels. This sits will with the
study at hand.
8. Perform benefit transfer processwe do this as stated above and present the results in the
results section.
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3.3.2 Cost Estimates
Two estimates of costs were prepared. One using a simple method based on an upfront fixed cost of
$5m, regardless of the capacity of the treatment plant, combined with a variable cost of $1m per ML per
day.
The second estimate was prepared by South East Water engineers and includes a component for capital
expenditure and operational expenditure both of which depend on the capacity of the plant. This
analysis provided tenth (lower bound), likely and ninetieth percentile (upper bound) estimates of costs.
We simply add capital and operational costs for a given plant’s capacity. We present the likely costs here
noting that actual costs are subject to a range of site-specific variations and should be prepared
separately on a case by case basis before any upgrade decision is made. For this reason, the cost
estimates provided here are preliminary and with further estimates required taking account of site-
specific context to increase their accuracy. Figures 5 and 6 provide illustrations of the cost estimates
prepared by South East Water and used in this study.
3.3.3 Stakeholders
Key stakeholders are outlined in Table 8. Beneficiaries of upgrades include local households (and their
political representatives) and visitors (both benefit from increased water supply or increased benefits
from improvements in receiving waters), water service providers and non-use interest populations
within and outside the local area. Stakeholders whom may help in funding upgrades include the service
providers themselves, various levels of government, members of the local community from their rates
or water charges, community and NGO groups such as COF (though typically their resources are
relatively limited), and the private sector (including tourism industry and philanthropic groups).
Figure 5: Indicative Capital Cost Estimates for Tertiary Treatment. (Source South East Water 2018.)
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Figure 6: Indicative Operating Costs Estimates for Tertiary Treatment. (Source South East Water 2018. Accounts
for chemicals, power (Assumes 500 kWhr/ML for 0.5 to 1 ML/d plant and 300 kWHr/ML for 1000
ML/d plant), testing and labour.
Table 8: Stakeholder matrix
Stakeholder Grouping
Types
Beneficiaries of Upgrades
Local household population and their political representatives
Visitors from outside the local population
Water service providers
Non-users within or outside the local population
Funders of Upgrades
Water Service Providers
Local Government Authority, State and Australian Governments
Recycled water and by-product users
Private sector (including tourist and recreational market industry)
Where resources available, NGO or community groups
3.4. Summary and Conclusion
This section of the report has outlined our approach and the methods used to value the benefits and
costs of upgrades of WWTPs from primary or secondary to tertiary treatment levels. Once estimated, we
subtract the costs from the benefits of upgrade for each of the 176 outfalls around coastal Australia to
assess each outfalls net benefits. We then rank each outfall from highest to lowest net benefit in the
results presented in the following section. We take account of the time value of benefits and costs by
using a net present value approach (with discount rates of 3, 6 and 9%) and lifespans of plants of 15 or
30 years to allow for some sensitivity analysis.
Outfall upgrades provide a range of benefits, from increased recycle water, byproducts, cost savings and
credits as market benefits through to boarder benefits from higher quality wastewater disposed to
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receiving environments. These broader benefits also include those related to recreation and spillovers
into various industries including tourism and the value of nearby property. This in turn provides ripple
effects through the local economy raising jobs and income (not just from the upgrade) and society in
improving the amenity and sense of place. Given this study is a preliminary assessment, a number of
these broader benefits are not assessed and should form part of future research focus. For these
reasons the estimates given in this report should be seen as lower bound.
One vexed area of benefits is option values associated with upgrades, particularly those from
improvements in water quality and increased demand for recreational use of the receiving water sites.
Because receiving water quality is typically low for (primary and secondary treatment) outfall sites,
current demand levels do not reflect the potential for increased demand given environmental
improvement. Our approach does not take account of rising populations (though upgrades typically
include increased capacity to treat water and increases in recycled water) of recreational receiving
waters and these are likely to be latent and less obvious until the upgrades are undertaken, water
quality improves and recreation demand grows at these sites. Furthermore, even where people don’t
hold current recreational values, they may hold significant option value to undertake recreation and
other activities at the site in question. For these reasons our benefit estimates are conservative.
Two methods of estimating costs were used, one that is simple with a fixed $5m estimate plus a $1m
per ML per day. The second set of estimates was provided by a water authority and account for capital
expenditure and operation expenditure varying by the capacity of the given plant. For larger plants the
second set of estimates tended to be less than the first, while for smaller plants the second set of cost
estimates were above those of the first. These differences reflect the non-linear (curve) nature of costs
accounted for in the second set of estimates, whereas the first is linear. These estimates are preliminary
and actual costs and benefits of upgrades will be dependent on site-specific details and require further
detailed case-by-case assessment.
There are a range of stakeholders involved in WWTP upgrades broadly broken into those that benefit
and those that may help to fund upgrades. Beneficiaries include the local population and visitors (and
their political representatives) (both from the increased volume of water supply and improvements in
receiving water quality and adjacent areas), water service providers, and people with non-use interests
(existence, bequest, vicarious). Likely funders of upgrades include all levels of government, the private
sector (including tourism industry and philanthropists), NGOs and community groups (though these
typically are not well resourced), service providers, the public through higher rates or water charges (or
other mechanism). We discuss the options for funding in more detail in the literature review and results
sections of this report along with a discussion of transparency.
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4. Results
4.1. Introduction
In this section of the report, using the methods outlined in previous section, we present the results from
our assessment of the net benefits of upgrades. These results can be divided into
total state summaries and rankings
state rankings of individual outfalls and
national rankings of individual outfalls.
4.2. Total State Rankings
State and territory total rankings (except for ACT which is land locked) of net benefits from upgrades are
summarized in Table 9 for a 30-year project period and in Table 10 for a 15-year project period. The
total state rankings do not change depending on the period or discount rate (3, 6 & 9%) used. In
contrast, the magnitude of net benefits changes considerably, with net benefits being larger for a longer
project period. Across the nation the net benefits from upgrades sum to between $12 to 28 billion. All
states and territories overall have net benefits from upgrades except for the Northern Territory and
Tasmania which experience net losses. Victoria’s net benefits move from negative to positive when
moving from a 15 to 30-year time period of assessment. NSW has the largest net benefit ($8-19 billion),
followed by Western Australia ($3-5 billion), South Australia ($2-3 billion), Queensland ($90-730 m),
Victoria (-$24 m to 150 m), Northern Territory ($-46 m to -54 m) and Tasmania (-$411m to -460m).
Table 9: Net benefits (NBs) and Costs of outfalls, ranked by state totals, 2019 $m, t=30 years
State/territory
n
NB r=9%
Costs
NB r=6%
Costs
NB r=3%
Costs
New South Wales
28
11,667.3
5,246.6
14,380.0
5,887.7
18,769.8
6,959.4
Western Australia
12
3,380.3
620.2
4,118.5
675.3
5,318.3
767.3
South Australia
10
2,142.3
280.5
2,597.5
305.8
3,337.6
348.0
Queensland
51
294.7
842.4
460.0
902.7
726.5
1,003.3
Victoria
19
33.2
291.0
76.8
311.7
146.8
346.3
Northern Territory
6
-52.5
94.0
-50.0
99.7
-46.1
109.2
Tasmania
41
-413.7
499.8
-429.7
533.0
-457.4
588.5
Grand Total
167
17,051.6
7,874.6
21,153.1
8,715.9
27,795.6
10,122.0
Table 10: Net benefits (NBs) and Costs of outfalls, ranked by state totals, 2019 $m, t=15 years
State/territory
n
NB r=9%
Costs
NB r=6%
Costs
NB r=3%
Costs
New South Wales
28
8,430.4
4,840.2
9,157.1
5,143.5
10,118.5
5,552.2
Western Australia
12
2,553.5
585.3
2,771.1
611.4
3,060.0
646.5
South Australia
10
1,636.4
264.5
1,772.0
276.5
1,952.2
292.6
Queensland
51
88.0
804.2
128.7
832.7
182.5
871.1
Victoria
19
-23.5
277.8
-13.6
287.6
-0.5
300.8
Northern Territory
6
-57.9
90.4
-58.0
93.1
-58.3
96.8
Tasmania
41
-411.2
478.8
-421.6
494.5
-435.8
515.7
Grand Total
167
12,215.7
7,341.4
13,335.7
7,739.3
14,818.6
8,275.6
49
Coastal Outfall System Upgrades in Australia Final Report, Blackwell & Gemmill ©4 Mar 2019
Costs of upgrades are also presented alongside the net benefits (NBs). Total national costs of upgrades
range from $7.3 billion to just over $10 billion with a middle score of $7.9 billion for a 30-year project
period at a discount rate of nine percent. The ranking of state or territory costs of upgrade do not match
that for net benefits; while New South Wales has the largest and most significant state costs ($4.8-$7
billion), Queensland has the next highest total state costs ($0.8-$1 billion), followed by Western
Australia ($0.6-$0.8 billion) and then Tasmania ($0.5-$0.6 billion). Northern Territory has the least costs
of upgrades ($90-$110 m) closely followed by South Australia ($300-$350 m).
These cost structures are partly reflected by Queensland having the largest number of coastal outfalls at
51, followed by Tasmania with 41, and NSW at 28. The Northern Territory has the fewest number of
coastal outfalls at 6, two of which have limited information.
The net loss for Tasmania reflects a recent period of difficulties in water reform with movements to
regional water authorities from local government management of water and waste water services, back
to a single state-based agency. This may well reflect a large number of aging assets across a relatively
small population of users.
In contrast, NSW has the largest population of all states across which a larger accumulation of net
benefits is likely, though one would expect the same for Victoria being the second largest populated
state but it has nine fewer outfalls than NSW. Interestingly, Queensland has the largest number of
outfalls and the third largest population in Australia relative to NSW and Victoria, but the benefits from
upgrades are relatively smaller. This may reflect a large state area and greater dispersal of population
(i.e. relatively smaller local populations for a given outfall) along the coast where outfalls are located.
Victoria may suffer from smaller local populations too.
4.3. State Rankings of Individual Outfalls
Tables 11 and 12 provide state rankings for individual outfalls using a 30-year time period and discount
rate of nine percent. Despite most states providing positive net benefits for upgrades in total, all states
and territories have a larger number of outfalls that have negative net benefits than positive. This may
reflect the historically dispersed and ‘local public good’ nature and cost structure of wastewater
treatment and disposal.
10
Having said that, because total net benefits are positive, a number of larger
investment projects in each state provide sufficient net benefits to offset those large number of projects
with net losses, as is particularly the case in New South Wales, Western Australia and South Australia, in
that order. This finding also holds to a lesser extent in Queensland and Victoria. Further individual state
insights can be gleaned from considering the detail of Tables 11 and 12 and is left for the readers own
interpretation and needs.
Further state and territory rankings at 15 years and a discount rate of nine percent are provided in
Appendix A.
10
This cost structure maybe one that is by design. We have undertaken no detailed evaluation of the analysis of
micro-treatment technology and processes which may prove to have a different cost structure.
50
Coastal Outfall System Upgrades in Australia Final Report, Blackwell & Gemmill ©4 Mar 2019
Table 11: Net benefits (NBs) and Costs of outfalls, Qld, Tas and NSW, 2019 $m, t=30 years, r=9%
Qld
NBs
Costs
Tas
NBs
Costs
NSW
NBs
Costs
Oxley
316.2
98.7
Macquarie Point
31.5
23.3
Malabar
8,178.2
1,222.6
Loganholme
199.9
110.9
Boat Harbour
0.0
0.0
North Head
3,028.7
1,408.5
Maroochydore
32.7
58.9
Cambridge
0.0
0.0
Burwood Beach
522.0
567.0
Sandgate
10.5
46.4
Rokeby
0.0
0.0
Bondi
468.5
732.5
Beenleigh
0.0
0.0
Round Hill
0.0
0.0
Belmont
81.4
532.4
Bowen
0.0
0.0
Selfs Point
0.0
0.0
Port Kembla a
4.0
0.0
Cannonvale
0.0
0.0
Sisters Beach
0.0
0.0
Bellambi a
3.3
0.0
Capalaba
0.0
0.0
Margate
-1.4
1.4
Batemans Bay
0.0
0.0
Cleveland Bay
0.0
0.0
Dover
-1.5
1.5
Camden Head
0.0
0.0
Coombabah
0.0
0.0
Richmond b
-1.5
1.5
Coffs Harbour
0.0
0.0
Edmonton
0.0
0.0
Bridport
-1.6
1.6
Coniston Beach
0.0
0.0
Elanora
0.0
0.0
Triabunna
-1.7
1.7
Forster
0.0
0.0
Gibson Island
0.0
0.0
Strahan
-1.8
1.8
Narooma
0.0
0.0
Innisfail
0.0
0.0
Currie
-1.9
1.9
Penguin Heads
0.0
0.0
Luggage Point
0.0
0.0
Cygnet
-2.1
2.1
Potter Point
0.0
0.0
Mackay North
0.0
0.0
Electrona
-2.1
2.1
Skennars Head
0.0
0.0
Mackay Southern
0.0
0.0
Turners Beach
-2.5
2.5
Tomakin
0.0
0.0
Marlin Coast
0.0
0.0
Bicheno
-2.7
2.7
Bermagui
-5.2
5.2
Merrimac
0.0
0.0
Orford
-2.8
2.8
Eden
-7.4
7.4
Millbank
0.0
0.0
Risdon
-3.6
3.7
Merimbula
-11.8
12.0
Mt St John
0.0
0.0
St Helens
-3.6
3.6
Crescent Head
-13.0
13.1
North Rockhampton
0.0
0.0
Port Sorell
-4.0
4.0
Wonga Point
-24.8
61.6
Port Douglas
0.0
0.0
Sorell
-4.0
4.0
Ulladulla
-36.7
39.1
South Rockhampton
0.0
0.0
Midway Point
-4.0
4.0
Norah Head
-37.7
67.0
Thorneside
0.0
0.0
Somerset
-4.5
4.6
Bombo
-71.0
73.5
Victoria Point
0.0
0.0
Riverside
-7.1
7.2
Boulder Bay
-76.4
116.9
West Rockhampton
0.0
0.0
Bridgewater
-7.3
7.4
Warriewood
-145.6
169.0
Woree
0.0
0.0
Ulverstone
-8.5
11.4
Shellharbour
-189.3
218.8
Lucinda c
-0.2
0.2
Cameron Bay
-10.3
12.0
Karana Downs
-2.0
2.0
Wynyard
-10.4
10.9
Tin Can Bay c
-4.5
4.5
Blackmans Bay
-11.3
12.0
South Trees Inlet b
-5.2
5.2
Newnham
-11.4
11.8
Landsborough
-5.5
6.1
Hoblers Bridge
-12.0
12.3
Redcliffe
-6.3
25.8
Stanley
-13.5
13.5
Fairfield
-8.0
8.7
Port Arthur
-14.1
14.1
Bundamba
-8.4
44.2
Pardoe
-14.2
25.0
Burpengary East
-9.0
23.3
Rosny
-14.7
16.0
Caboolture South
-9.2
23.3
Prince of Wales Bay
-16.8
19.8
Eli Creek
-11.0
13.1
Ti-tree Bend
-38.5
46.4
Goodna
-11.1
39.8
George Town
-53.8
54.8
Coolum
-11.4
15.1
Smithton
-153.8
154.2
Carole Park
-14.1
16.0
East Bundaberg d
-15.2
30.8
Wynnum d
-15.7
18.9
Gladstone b
-16.5
23.3
Nambour
-16.6
22.9
Kawana
-16.7
58.9
Pulgul Creek
-17.9
17.9
Murrumba Downs
-18.0
78.7
Wacol d
-20.3
24.6
Maryborough
-21.9
24.1
Total
294.7
842.4
(413.7)
499.8
11,667.3
5,246.6
Notes: a. Net benefits for Port Kembla and Belambi represent benefits only without a cost estimate because these outfalls are
mainly used for overflow during wet weather only, are part of the Conniston Beach system which is at a primary treatment level
(i.e. upgrade not assessed for purposes of this report), have no discharge limit and upgrade costs are based on discharge limits.
Their costs of upgrades would need to be assessed individually. b. The flow estimates of these upgrades may be subject to
significant error and the resulting net benefit estimates should be interpreted with caution. Their benefits of upgrades would
51
Coastal Outfall System Upgrades in Australia Final Report, Blackwell & Gemmill ©4 Mar 2019
need to be assessed on a more nuanced case-by-case basis. c. The net benefit and cost estimates of these outfalls should be
interpreted with caution and more nuanced assessments should be undertaken to gain better estimates of these upgrades. d.
The cost estimates for these upgrades should be viewed with caution. Nuanced case-by-case cost assessments are required for
these upgrades.
Table 12: Net benefits (NBs) & Costs of outfalls, Vic, WA, SA and NT, 2019 $m, t=30 years, r=9%
Vic
NBs
Costs
WA
NBs
Costs
SA
NBs
Costs
NT
NBs
Costs
Black Rock
170
105
Woodman
Point
2,235
186
Bolivar
WWTP
2,203
213
Berrimah
-6
6
Anglesea
0
0
Beenyup
1,317
180
Bolivar
High
Salinity
0
0
Ludmilla
-11
30
Apollo Bay
0
0
Subiaco
0
0
Glenelg
0
0
Leanyer
Sanderson
-15
32
Boags Rock
0
0
Wickham
0
0
Northern
outfall
0
0
Palmerston
-20
27
Boneo
0
0
Home Island
-1
1
Southern
outfall
0
0
Galiwinku
Nil
info.
Nil
info.
Delray Beach
0
0
Christmas
Island
-7
7
Port
Augusta
-9
9
Maningrida
Nil
Info.
Nil
Info.
Lorne
0
0
South
Wetlands
-15
18
Port Pirie
-11
12
Werribee
0
0
North
Wetlands
-17
18
Port
Lincoln
-12
12
Foster
-3
3
Alkimos
-20
39
Finger
Point
-13
16
Port
Welshpool
-3
3
Point Peron
-27
39
Whyalla
-17
18
Port Fairy Ind
-4
4
East
Rockingham
-39
39
Toora
-5
5
Bunbury
-46
94
Baxters
Beach
-8
10
Port Fairy
Dom
-9
9
Cowes
-11
12
Portland
-13
14
Altona
-17
33
Warrnambool
-28
34
McGaurans
-36
60
Total
33
291
3,380
620
2,142
281
-53
94
4.4. National Rankings
Table 13 provides a national ranking of individual outfalls from largest to smallest net benefits,
regardless of state based location over 30 years at a discount rate of nine percent. Net benefits range
from $8.2 billion for Malabar, $3 billion for North Head, $0.5 billion for Bondi, $0.3 billion for Oxley,
$32m for Maroochydore, $11m for Sandgate, through to losses at Karana Downs of $2m and up to
$190m at Shellharbour.
The national rankings change depending on the discount rate and project time period. Rankings for a
period of 15 years at a discount rate of nine percent are provided in Appendix B.
Table 13: Net benefits (NBs) & Costs of outfalls, ranked by 2019 $m, 30 years, r=0.09
52
Coastal Outfall System Upgrades in Australia Final Report, Blackwell & Gemmill ©4 Mar 2019
Outfall Name
Net Benefits $m
Costs $m
Malabar
8,178.2
1222.6
North Head
3,028.7
1408.5
Woodman Point
2,235.2
185.8
Bolivar WWTP
2,203.3
213.4
Beenyup
1,316.8
180.2
Burwood Beach
522.0
567.0
Bondi
468.5
732.5
Oxley
316.2
98.7
Loganholme
199.9
110.9
Black Rock
170.0
104.8
Belmont
81.4
532.4
Maroochydore
32.7
58.9
Macquarie Point
31.5
23.3
Sandgate
10.5
46.4
Port Kembla a
4.0
0.0
Bellambi a
3.3
0.0
Anglesea
0.0
0.0
Apollo Bay
0.0
0.0
Batemans Bay
0.0
0.0
Beenleigh
0.0
0.0
Boags Rock
0.0
0.0
Boat Harbour
0.0
0.0
Bolivar High Salinity
0.0
0.0
Boneo
0.0
0.0
Bowen
0.0
0.0
Cambridge
0.0
0.0
Camden Head
0.0
0.0
Cannonvale
0.0
0.0
Capalaba
0.0
0.0
Cleveland Bay
0.0
0.0
Coffs Harbour
0.0
0.0
Coniston Beach
0.0
0.0
Coombabah
0.0
0.0
Delray Beach
0.0
0.0
Edmonton
0.0
0.0
Elanora
0.0
0.0
Forster
0.0
0.0
Gibson Island
0.0
0.0
Glenelg
0.0
0.0
Innisfail
0.0
0.0
Lorne
0.0
0.0
Luggage Point
0.0
0.0
Mackay North
0.0
0.0
Mackay Southern
0.0
0.0
Marlin Coast
0.0
0.0
Merrimac
0.0
0.0
Millbank
0.0
0.0
53
Coastal Outfall System Upgrades in Australia Final Report, Blackwell & Gemmill ©4 Mar 2019
Outfall Name
Net Benefits $m
Costs $m
Mt St John
0.0
0.0
Narooma
0.0
0.0
North Rockhampton
0.0
0.0
Northern outfall
0.0
0.0
Penguin Heads
0.0
0.0
Port Douglas
0.0
0.0
Potter Point
0.0
0.0
Rokeby
0.0
0.0
Round Hill
0.0
0.0
Selfs Point
0.0
0.0
Sisters Beach
0.0
0.0
Skennars Head
0.0
0.0
South Rockhampton
0.0
0.0
Southern outfall
0.0
0.0
Subiaco
0.0
0.0
Thorneside
0.0
0.0
Tomakin
0.0
0.0
Victoria Point
0.0
0.0
Werribee
0.0
0.0
West Rockhampton
0.0
0.0
Wickham
0.0
0.0
Woree
0.0
0.0
Lucinda c
-0.2
0.2
Margate
-1.4
1.4
Home Island
-1.4
1.4
Dover
-1.5
1.5
Richmond b
-1.5
1.5
Bridport
-1.6
1.6
Triabunna
-1.7
1.7
Strahan
-1.8
1.8
Currie
-1.9
1.9
Karana Downs
-2.0
2.0
Cygnet
-2.1
2.1
Electrona
-2.1
2.1
Turners Beach
-2.5
2.5
Foster
-2.5
2.5
Port Welshpool
-2.7
2.7
Bicheno
-2.7
2.7
Orford
-2.8
2.8
Risdon
-3.6
3.7
St Helens
-3.6
3.6
Port Fairy Ind
-3.7
3.7
Port Sorell
-4.0
4.0
Sorell
-4.0
4.0
Midway Point
-4.0
4.0
Tin Can Bay c
-4.5
4.5
Somerset
-4.5
4.6
54
Coastal Outfall System Upgrades in Australia Final Report, Blackwell & Gemmill ©4 Mar 2019
Outfall Name
Net Benefits $m
Costs $m
Bermagui
-5.2
5.2
South Trees Inlet b
-5.2
5.2
Toora
-5.2
5.2
Landsborough
-5.5
6.1
Berrimah
-6.0
6.1
Redcliffe
-6.3
25.8
Christmas Island
-6.7
6.8
Riverside
-7.1
7.2
Bridgewater
-7.3
7.4
Eden
-7.4
7.4
Fairfield
-8.0
8.7
Baxters Beach
-8.3
9.8
Bundamba
-8.4
44.2
Ulverstone
-8.5
11.4
Port Augusta
-8.8
9.0
Burpengary East
-9.0
23.3
Caboolture South
-9.2
23.3
Port Fairy Dom
-9.2
9.4
Cameron Bay
-10.3
12.0
Wynyard
-10.4
10.9
Port Pirie
-10.8
12.2
Eli Creek
-11.0
13.1
Goodna
-11.1
39.8
Ludmilla
-11.3
29.9
Blackmans Bay
-11.3
12.0