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Audit seeks the finer detail
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Following the national survey of winery wastewater practices, an investigation of characteristics of water at each stage of use and treatment is now underway.
Among representative wineries selected for this second stage audit by CSIRO personnel engaged in the GWRDC-funded project is Rosemount Ryecroft at McLaren Flat whose environmental coordinator Gary Lyons already oversees a comprehensive recording system.
Some of these measurements are required by regulation to be undertaken, including those prescribed by the Environment Protection Authority. Others measurements are taken as part of quality assurance and in the winery’s own interests. The CSIRO team’s approach is to collate relevant information that is currently being collected by wineries involved in the project, conduct its own measurements where there are gaps and involve where necessary the services of a statistician for guidance on sampling techniques.
Some wineries will have more gaps than others. Rosemount, for instance, has a strong commitment to measurement whereas smaller wineries do not have the same capacity to allocate staff time, particularly during vintage.
“Our aims include minimising waste overall and gaining better control over certain salt streams,” Gary Lyons said. “We want to analyse the inflow as well and at any given point know what is going in and what is coming out.”
Essentially filtration and aeration are used to reduce solids and organics. It is considered that the focus on salts should be at the winery, however, because while organic matter can be treated, quality for viticultural use remains affected by potassium, sodium and bicarbonate concentrations.
Future developments will include use of hot water lines for more efficient cleaning as well as improvements based on trials of methods of capture and re-use of chemicals used for cleaning.