State and trends of the Australian Antarctic program’s station environment

The title of this assessment summary has changed for 2016. The original 2011 summary, grade, trend and confidence levels have been replicated here to assist comparison of changes between reporting cycles.

Component
Summary
Grade
Very poor Poor Good Very good
Confidence
In Grade In Trend
Comparability
To previous years

Person-days are a proxy measure for wide-ranging human activities that can interfere with physical, chemical and biological systems. Person-days vary annually depending on the number of scientific and operational projects that are approved

Year(s): 
2011
2
Stable
Confidence (in grade): 
Adequate
Confidence (in trend): 
Adequate
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Not assessed

Biological oxygen demand of effluent discharged into the ocean from the waste treatment plants at each continental station. Threshold ratings are occasionally reached when occupation of the stations is highest. There is a new sewage treatment facility at Davis Station, and one is under construction at Casey Station

Year(s): 
2016
3
Stable
Confidence (in grade): 
Adequate
Confidence (in trend): 
Adequate
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Somewhat comparable

Estimate of the biological oxygen demand of effluent discharged into the ocean from the waste treatment plants at each continental station Impact of sewage on environment at Davis Station currently under investigation

Year(s): 
2011
1
Stable
Confidence (in grade): 
Adequate
Confidence (in trend): 
Adequate
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Not assessed

Amount of organic matter in effluent discharged into the ocean from the waste treatment plants at each continental station. Moderately high levels of suspended solids are discharged into the ocean. There is a new wastewater treatment plant at Davis Station, and one is under construction at Casey Station

Year(s): 
2016
2
Improving
Confidence (in grade): 
Adequate
Confidence (in trend): 
Adequate
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Comparable

Amount of organic matter in effluent discharged into the ocean from the waste-treatment plants at each continental station

Year(s): 
2011
2
Stable
Confidence (in grade): 
Adequate
Confidence (in trend): 
Adequate
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Not assessed

Composition and weight of waste returned to Australia from Macquarie Island and the continental stations. The amount of waste returned to Australia is dependent on the cargo limit of the ship and varies between years

Year(s): 
2016
3
Stable
Confidence (in grade): 
Adequate
Confidence (in trend): 
Adequate
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Comparable

Composition and weight of waste returned to Australia from Macquarie Island and the continental stations. The amount of waste returned to Australia is dependent upon the cargo limit of the ship and varies between years

Year(s): 
2011
3
Stable
Confidence (in grade): 
Adequate
Confidence (in trend): 
Adequate
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Not assessed

Total weight of material incinerated, and the weights of the major components at all stations, is decreasing. This is because of improved practices—for example, the amount of imported packing materials is being reduced

Year(s): 
2016
3
Stable
Confidence (in grade): 
Adequate
Confidence (in trend): 
Adequate
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Comparable

Total weight of material incinerated, and the weights of the major components at all stations, is decreasing as importation of packing materials, for example, is being reduced

Year(s): 
2011
3
Stable
Confidence (in grade): 
Adequate
Confidence (in trend): 
Adequate
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Not assessed

Quantity of fuel used by generator sets and boilers at all stations. Fuel use is high but steady

Year(s): 
2016
3
Stable
Confidence (in grade): 
Adequate
Confidence (in trend): 
Adequate
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Somewhat comparable

Quantity of fuel used by generator sets and boilers at all stations

Year(s): 
2011
2
Deteriorating
Confidence (in grade): 
Adequate
Confidence (in trend): 
Adequate
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Not assessed

Quantity of fuel used for vehicles at all station is highly variable and depends on the use of vehicles. Increased fuel use at Casey Station is related to Wilkins Aerodrome

Year(s): 
2016
2
Stable
Confidence (in grade): 
Adequate
Confidence (in trend): 
Adequate
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Somewhat comparable

Quantity of fuel used for vehicles at all stations is highly variable and depends on the use of vehicles; however, the total quantity of fuel across all stations is increasing

Year(s): 
2011
2
Deteriorating
Confidence (in grade): 
Adequate
Confidence (in trend): 
Adequate
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Not assessed

Quantity of electricity used; also indicates fuel use. ‘Smart’ energy is being increasingly used at Mawson Station, where 40–45% of the electricity used is from renewable energy sources

Year(s): 
2016
3
Improving
Confidence (in grade): 
Adequate
Confidence (in trend): 
Adequate
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Comparable

Quantity of electricity used; also indicates fuel use. At Mawson Station and Macquarie Island, great savings are being achieved through the use of renewable energy sources

Year(s): 
2011
3
Improving
Confidence (in grade): 
Adequate
Confidence (in trend): 
Adequate
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Not assessed

Fuel use of all vessels engaged in transport of goods and people, as well as marine science voyages, varies between years, because of differing demands and sea ice conditions. For example, more fuel is required in years of heavy sea ice

Year(s): 
2016
2
Stable
Confidence (in grade): 
Adequate
Confidence (in trend): 
Adequate
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Somewhat comparable

Fuel use of all vessels engaged in transport of goods and people, as well as marine science voyages, varies with year because of differing demands and also variations in sea ice conditions. More fuel is required in years of heavy sea ice

Year(s): 
2011
2
Deteriorating
Confidence (in grade): 
Adequate
Confidence (in trend): 
Adequate
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Not assessed

Although fuel use by fixed-wing aircraft has been highly variable in the past, it has been relatively stable for the past 5 years

Fuel use by helicopters is reasonably stable

Fuel use does not include aviation ground-support elements

Year(s): 
2016
2
Stable
Confidence (in grade): 
Adequate
Confidence (in trend): 
Adequate
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Comparable

Although fuel use by fixed-wing aircraft has been highly variable in the past, it has been fairly stable for the past 3-4 years, and has been less than expected due to minimal intra-station flights

Fuel use by helicopters is reasonably stable

Fuel use does not include aviation ground-support elements

Year(s): 
2011
2
Stable
Confidence (in grade): 
Adequate
Confidence (in trend): 
Adequate
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Not assessed
Klekociuk A, Wienecke B (2016). Antarctic environment: State and trends of the Australian Antarctic program’s station environment . In: Australia state of the environment 2016, Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy, Canberra, https://soe.environment.gov.au/assessment-summary/antarctic-environment/state-and-trends-australian-antarctic-programs-station, DOI 10.4226/94/58b65b2b307c0