The APPEA Journal The APPEA Journal Society
Journal of the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA)
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Five years on: monitoring of Long Island Point’s Western Port wastewater discharge

Melanie Bok A C , Scott Chidgey B and Peter Crockett B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Esso Australia Pty Ltd (Esso), 12 Riverside Quay, Southbank, Vic. 3006, Australia.

B CEE Consultants, Unit 4, 150 Chesterville Road, Cheltenham, Vic. 3192, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: melanie.bok@exxonmobil.com

The APPEA Journal 57(1) 10-25 https://doi.org/10.1071/AJ16193
Accepted: 20 February 2017   Published: 29 May 2017

Abstract

The Esso Long Island Point facility is situated on the edge of Western Port, an important Ramsar designated wetland for migratory birds in Victoria, Australia. The gas fractionation and crude oil storage facility has operated for over 40 years and has discharged treated wastewater to Western Port for most of these years in accordance with its environmental regulatory licence. The 2003 State Environment Protection Policy for Waters of Western Port is the Victorian Environment Protection Authority’s regulatory framework for licensing wastewater discharges to the wetland, and among other items, requires that discharges must cause no ‘detrimental change in the environmental quality of the receiving waters’ or ‘chronic impacts outside any declared mixing zone’. A major upgrade to the water treatment facility in 2010 included a risk-based marine ecosystem program to monitor key environmental indicators including water quality, jetty pile invertebrate communities and seagrass condition. The program’s longer-term monitoring record has allowed assessment of potential chronic effects on invertebrates and seagrass by comparing temporal changes at monitoring sites over the period from pre-operations (2010) to present (2016) and spatial changes between near-field to far-field sites, kilometres from the discharge point. The program has shown that management of the discharge maintains beneficial uses and environmental objectives at the boundary of the mixing zone, and the marine ecosystem is protected from potentially slower and longer-term adverse effects in the far-field. The program demonstrates that the treated wastewater discharge has had no adverse impact on key environmental indicators in Western Port over the longer-term study period.

Keywords: crude storage, environment, fractionation, marine monitoring, Ramsar, water treatment.

Melanie Bok graduated as a Mechanical Engineer and recently completed a Master of Sustainability degree at Monash University. As the Environment and Regulatory Advisor at Esso Australia Pty Ltd, she gives advice on environmental and regulatory matters for Esso’s offshore platforms in Gippsland as well as the Long Island Point facility. This includes writing regulatory approval documents, coordinating monitoring programs for discharges, interfacing with environmental regulators and performing environmental roles in Esso’s emergency response team. She enjoys the Australian bush, cycling, kayaking, travelling, growing a vegie patch, and anything musical.

Scott Chidgey holds a Master of Science from the University of Melbourne, and is Principal Marine Environmental Scientist and Director of Consulting Environmental Engineers in Melbourne. Scott has more than 30 years of consulting experience in applied multidisciplinary marine studies throughout Australia, including oil and gas projects in Bass Strait, the Timor Sea and Gulf of Papua. He works closely with engineers and other scientists from a range of organisations, and maintains close contacts with research colleagues. Scott has particular expertise in developing and interpreting risk-based, integrated marine scientific programs for regulatory approvals and compliance purposes. He is responsible for risk-based monitoring programs for more than twenty licenced wastewater discharges in Australian states. Member of Australian Water Association and Australian Marine Sciences Association.

Peter F. Crockett is a senior marine scientist at Consulting Environmental Engineers. Peter has a Bachelor of Science (Marine Botany), Bachelor of Arts (Indonesian) and Master of Philosophy (Marine Botany) from the University of Melbourne. Peter is a member of the Institute for Marine Engineering, Science and Technology and the Australian Marine Sciences Association.


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