This indicator is an estimate of the amount of organic matter in effluent discharged into the ocean from the waste treatment plants (WTP) at each continental station.
TYPE OF INDICATOR
There are three types of indicators used in this report:
1.Describes the CONDITION of important elements of a system;
2.Show the extent of the major PRESSURES exerted on a system;
3.Determine ... RESPONSES to either condition or changes in the condition of a system.
This indicator is one of: PRESSURE
RATIONALE FOR INDICATOR SELECTION
Suspended solids measurements are an indication of the efficiency of the WTPs in breaking down organic matter, and of the amount being released into the ocean as a result of human occupation.
The stations produce liquid waste, comprising human waste, waste from kitchens and bathrooms, and limited volumes from workshops (contamination of the latter is usually minimal as it is cleaned of oil before discharge into the sewage system). This is treated in the waste treatment plants.
DESIGN AND STRATEGY FOR INDICATOR MONITORING PROGRAM
Spatial scale: Australian Antarctic continental stations and Macquarie Island station.
Frequency: Samples are collected, analysed, interpreted and reported monthly.
Measurement technique: Samples are tested using standard methods used for analysing suspended solids in wastewater, as published in 'Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater', 18th edition, 1992. Publishers: American Public Health Association and Water Environment Federation. Station doctors do the testing and are trained in its application before departure for Antarctica. The Laboratory Manager, Australian Antarctic Division, Kingston, interprets results.
Waste at Casey is also UV treated before being discharged into the environment. The data given for Casey station are readings after UV treatment.
The following would increase knowledge of the potential impacts of the discharge of the wastewater:
Winter and summer values will also be compared, to detect any effects resulting from smaller winter populations, and higher summer populations.
Chemical analysis of effluent for phosphate and other nutrients. This would indicate the extent of enrichment which may occur in the adjacent oceans, and allow feedback for example on the types of washing detergent supplied at stations and its effect on adjacent ecosystems.
LINKS TO OTHER INDICATORS
SOE Indicator 48 - Station and ship person days
SOE Indicator 50 - Volume of wastewater discharged from Australian Antarctic Stations
SOE Indicator 51 - Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) of wastewater discharged from Australian Antarctic Stations