As an Associate Environmental Scientist at Tetra Tech Coffey in Newcastle, Craig Schrader has over 10 years of consulting experience designing and executing contaminated land investigations as well as developing integrated environmental, water and sustainability resources strategies for commercial and government clients.
Recently, Craig’s expertise in the delivery of resilient and sustainable solutions saw him partner with a client to gain EPA approval to re-use Water Treatment Residuals for a wider range of purposes. Here Craig shares his insights into this project.
What project were you helping the client address?
I recently assisted one of our clients to expand their beneficial reuse options of Water Treatment Residual materials derived from the water treatment process. Working with them, we facilitated the creation of a site-specific Resource Recovery Order/ Exemption for this material a few years back now and given its properties considered it appropriate to expanded upon the re-use options.
What were some of the leading drivers for the client to address in this wastewater project?
The initial Resource Recovery Order/ Exemption was limited to construction-based uses and at the time civil construction in the area resulted in excess material being generated. So there wasn’t the market demand for the material. Therefore, we considered other potential reuses for the residuals and thus a adjustment to the Resource Recovery Order/ Exemption was required.
What is so unique about this project?
We considered that the material is fit for purpose for a wider range of re-use options; however, we needed to demonstrate this to the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) through the assessment of laboratory results and soil chemistry interactions to assess the level of risk posed to a receiving environment.
Water Treatment Residuals are currently used for a wider array of uses in in Queensland, but not here in NSW. Through our work, our client will be one of the first in NSW to be applying this material for wider uses. A fantastic achievement.
Since commencing how long has this project been active?
We have been working closely with this client since 2012 on a number of different project types and have developed a good business relationship. With respect to this current project, we have been involved since 2017, with the initial Resource Recovery Order/ Exemption and with lack of demand for the residuals, resumed the project in mid-2022 to broaden its re-use opportunities.
Are we collaborating with any industry bodies for the project?
Our application was submitted to the NSW EPA for consideration and after some consultations, the EPA considered that we adequately demonstrated that the residual material was suitable for the additional re-use purposes we proposed. Now in addition to the previously approved uses (i.e. civil construction purposes), the Water Treatment Residuals have been approved for use in recreational land use scenarios and for landscape construction purposes.
What was the outcome /or key achievements from this project?
The outcome will result in broader re-use opportunities for the Water Treatment Residuals under an updated Resource Recovery Order/ Exemption. This will enable the sustainable re-use of material that is perfect for numerous re-use opportunities in the construction industry (i.e. from recreational land to civil construction projects). This means it will divert thousands of tonnes of material away from landfill each year saving the client a vast amount in disposal fees.
On a day-to-day basis – how are you helping our clients address their challenges?
Currently I am working on some preliminary and detailed site investigations as well as some remedial projects for our clients across the Hunter region. Partnering with our clients we look at the impacts on the environment, and then provide recommendations on approaches for the most sustainable outcomes. The best part of the work I do is the collaboration and the sharing of knowledge between the client and our team and the regulatory bodies (like the EPA) that we partner with.
What sets Tetra Tech apart from other consultants that work in the water and environment sectors?
Tetra Tech has been ranked number 1 in water by Engineering News-Record (ENR) since 2003. ENR also ranks our firm number 1 in water treatment and desalination because of our volume of work in this practice area. Our specialists have significant experience, with Tetra Tech Coffey involved in all phases of the water cycle, providing a truly integrated approach to manage our waters with a combination of state-of-the-art techniques and demonstrated best practices.
But what our clients really appreciate is our location and accessibility. Our clients here in the Hunter and north coast regions really value having a team that can respond quickly and mobilise to site. We also know the unique environment, soils and industries which make up the region. That intimate knowledge really gives our clients confidence when bringing us on board.
What do you most enjoy about your work at Tetra Tech Coffey?
I enjoy the variety of work that lands on my desk from week to week, particularly complex contaminated land assessments as well as developing resource recovery and remedial options for my clients. Tetra Tech really empowers us to be at the forefront of pilots or studies where we can test in real life scenarios the application of various treatment technologies.
Connect with Craig at Craig.Schrader@tetratech.com