In brief - Local studies of stormwater quality improvement devices may take months or years to complete
The guidelines under the Model for Urban Stormwater Improvement Conceptualisation operate as a barrier to competition and new providers entering the market.
Use of Model for Urban Stormwater Improvement Conceptualisation
In Queensland a manufactured stormwater quality improvement device is considered for its acceptability as part of an operational work application having regard to the criteria in applicable council planning scheme codes and the Queensland government State Planning Policy.
The usual method of demonstrating that a proposed site-based stormwater management plan will achieve a required reduction in pollutants is the Model for Urban Stormwater Improvement Conceptualisation (MUSIC).
MUSIC is a software program that models the performance of stormwater devices in urban catchments. The model relies on the input of pollutant reduction parameters for the stormwater device proposed to be used.
Need for rigorous scientific testing and publication of results
The guidelines for MUSIC require that the pollutant reduction parameters for a stormwater device be independently verified by rigorous scientific testing using a method to suit local or regional conditions and that the results of the testing be published in a credible engineering or scientific journal.
The practical outcome of this requirement is that for any new device to enter the market, the distributor must commission a local study which may take many months or even years to complete, depending on rainfall conditions. This may be despite the device having undergone rigorous scientific testing and being accepted for use in another jurisdiction.
While there is no questioning the intention of the requirement of the MUSIC guidelines, the practical effect is they operate as a barrier to competition and new providers entering the market.
Independent verification scheme will encourage innovation and competition
To ensure that new technologies and products come to market in Queensland quickly, there is value in developing an independent verification scheme for stormwater devices which can be relied on by councils.
Steps are already underway to develop such as system. Once in place, the scheme should help to encourage innovation and competition, leading to a better outcome for the community as a whole.
This is commentary published by Colin Biggers & Paisley for general information purposes only. This should not be relied on as specific advice. You should seek your own legal and other advice for any question, or for any specific situation or proposal, before making any final decision. The content also is subject to change. A person listed may not be admitted as a lawyer in all States and Territories. © Colin Biggers & Paisley, Australia 2020.