Good influent and effluent quality data is vital to facilitate advanced planning of capital expenditure in a treatment plant, optimise operating costs, and reduce the risk of consent non-compliance and the adverse public scrutiny that follows such an incident. This paper addresses the importance of preplanning and budgeting for a monitoring programme and the subsequent collection, management, QA and presentation of the influent and effluent data.
Sound data is the foundation of sound decision-making. The key is, well in advance of consent renewal or capital work, to budget for and implement a monitoring programme to collect the necessary data. Effectively, sampling needs to be part of a council’s asset management or operational budget and be allowed for accordingly at appropriate points in the Long Term Plan (LTP).
It is important to have good data management and audit the data collected regularly for unusual changes or abnormal results. The processes of sample collection, preservation, custody and testing need to be rigorous and designed to identify more than just consent breaches. Regular sanity checks, including graphing of data, are invaluable. Additionally, understanding tradewaste discharges can be a fundamental part of the process, particularly at small plants where their affect can be significant.