eFlash #577

eFlash #577

eFlash #577
Date: 15-Sep-2023


Annual Forum Wrap | TracWater Best of the Best Queensland Water Taste Test Winner | Strategic Priorities Group Update | SWIM Leaderboard | Information Session: Workplace Exposure Standards for H2S and other chemicals | qldwater Submissions and Advocacy | Mackay Regional Council Vacancy | Asbestos Compliance Audits  | Draft Queensland Water Strategy | Community Engagement Review - Deployment of Renewable Energy | Activated Sludge and Biological Nutrient Reduction Course | WIOA FNQ Charity Bowls & Interest Day | Water Night | Work Well Speaker Series | Other Key Dates 


1. Annual Forum Wrap

It was great to catch up with so many of our members and industry partners at the Annual Forum in Toowoomba last week. Some of the highlights included: 

  • A site tour of the upgraded Perseverance Dam pump station inside an old tower structure built over the dam. 
  • Visiting the Wetalla Wastewater Reclamation plant, including a tour of the brand new LGI Biogas Generation facility. 
  • An excellent keynote address by Wayne Middleton highlighting the importance of water in community resilience and health. 
  • Panel sessions with past award winners to hear more about their career journeys in the water sector and perspectives on the Water Industry Worker program. 
  • An excellent presentation on Contaminants of Emerging Concern and the need for source control by Chantal Keane from Urban Utilities.  
  • An introduction to the new Federal Government Industry Skills Councils by incoming CEO of Build Skills Australia, Brett Schimming. 
  • Acknowledging industry contribution through awards to Terry Fagg from Western Downs Regional Council, Chris Mooney from the Department of Environment and Science and Zac Floyde Smith from Aquatec Maxcon. 
  • A workshop with the Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water to provide input into the new Queensland Government Statewide Risk Assessment Project. 
  • An interesting presentation by Jaek Passier from Toowoomba Regional Council on the utilisation of Council assets to generate electricity through the Underwriting New Generation Investments Program. 
  • A vision for industry reform through QWRAP delivered by Scott Mason, Coordinator for the Central Queensland QWRAP region. 
  • Unpacking climate change risks and opportunities for the Australian water industry presented by David Wiskar. 
  • Reflections on the issues and risks discussed at the forum, but also those not discussed but that should be on the radar, by our CEO Dr Georgina Davis. 

Follow this link for an overview of the event and to download the presentations.  

Photos of the event are available here.

Thanks to our sponsors who made this event possible: 

2. Fraser Coast wins the TracWater Best of the Best Queensland Water Taste Test

With a record-breaking 18 entries in the taste test this year, attendees were well hydrated as they worked their way through water samples from the Banana, Bundaberg, Central Highlands, Cherbourg, Fraser Coast, Gladstone, Goondiwindi, Gympie, Isaac, Livingstone, Mackay, North Burnett, Palm Island, South Burnett, Southern Downs, Toowoomba and Western Downs council regions as well as a blend of water from the Wide Bay Burnett Water Alliance! 

A big congratulations to Fraser Coast Regional Council with water from the Burgowan Water Treatment Plant getting the highest score. The Burgowan Water Treatment plant sources water from Lake Lenthall on the Burrum River and takes it through a pre-treatment process of lime and carbon dioxide to produce a non-corrosive product water. The treatment includes clarification, ozonation to remove dissolved organic matter, taste compounds and any algal toxins, biological activated carbon filters to remove readily biodegradable bi-products and residual floc particles and finally disinfection and water pH correction with sodium hypochlorite and sodium hydroxide respectively. 

Fraser Coast will now go on to compete in the National best tasting tap water competition to be held at the Lilydale & Yarra Valley Show on Saturday, 18 November. 

Toowoomba Regional Council’s sample from the Mt Kynoch Water Treatment Plant came second. 

3. Strategic Priorities Group Update

The qldwater SPG met on Friday last week to reflect on the Annual Forum and to help set the direction for programs to focus on for the coming year. It was also time for the current Chair to step down after two years in the role, and we thank Narelle D’Amico for her hard work and commitment as Chair and her assistance in building a strong voice for Queensland’s urban water industry. Narelle’s support over the past year both as a member of the SPG and then as Chair has been invaluable. 

Deputy Chair Trevor Dean will now step into the Chair role, with Chris Owen from the City of Gold Coast appointed as Deputy Chair. 

4. SWIM Leaderboard - Quilpie champions data entry for 2023!

Congratulations to Peter See and his team of dedicated SWIM data people at Quilpie Shire Council who were first to complete and publish their SWIM Annual Water and Sewerage Data this year. 

A notable recognition to the teams at Cook and Etheridge Councils for coming second and third, respectively. 

These guys now have 3 weeks to sit back and sip some beverages in the afternoon sun and watch others work away 😊. 

Please note that this years’ Annual Water and Sewerage Data is due (Published in SWIM) by COB Tuesday 3 October. Any trouble or questions please contact David Scheltinga. 

5. Information Session: Workplace Exposure Standards for H2S and other chemicals

On Wednesday, 13 September 2023, qldwater held an information session with Brad Geinitz, Chief Advisor Occupational Health & Hygiene from Workplace Health and Safety Queensland on what compliance to Workplace Exposure Standards (WES) standards looks like, and what information can be gathered by water utilities right now to understand their existing risk. This information will be very important if a regulatory impact assessment (RIA) is undertaken in Queensland. 

As a bit of background, in August 2021, as part of the review of the WES for 700 chemicals, Safe Work Australia proposed new lower limits for hydrogen sulphide and chlorine. These new limits have the potential to result in significant costs for water businesses. There has been a call from the urban water sector for an RIA to be undertaken ahead of any change to the limits due to the concern from the industry around the cost to water businesses to implement new practices, and the proposed timeline for compliance with those limits. An RIA, if undertaken, is the responsibility of state WHS ministers: in Queensland this falls under the purview of Minister for Industrial Relations, Grace Grace.  

A recording of the session is available on our website. 

6. qldwater Submissions and Advocacy

Two new submissions have been added to our website since the last eFlash. 

qldwater Submission to SEQ Regional Plan 2023:  Submission to the Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning raising concerns about the lack of planning for water and sewerage services in the plan and calling for meaningful consultation with the urban water industry to address the liabilities caused by the changes to the Queensland Development Code (QDC)—Building Over or Near Relevant Infrastructure. It calls on the Department to use water data from the Statewide Water Information Management (SWIM) system to provide quantification on the risks and opportunities for water security, the interaction of the urban water environment with key indicators such as catchment health and, amenity and recreational values. 

qldwater Submission IChEMS Schedule 7 Decisions: Submission to the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water on the proposed IChEMS Schedule 7 decisions supporting the listing of Pentachlorobenzene, PFOS, PFOA and PFHxS chemicals, and by extension associated precursor compounds and associated chemicals. Concerns raised include the high proposed limit for unintentional trace contamination, the timeframe for implementation and review of the decision too long, regulation should be expanded to include all members of the PFAS class of compounds and labelling of all products containing PFAS is required. 


7. Mackay Regional Council Vacancy

Are you, or do you know someone who is, passionate about science and ready to make a significant impact on your community? Do you have a background in laboratory management and a keen interest in environmental and water quality testing? If so, the Mackay Regional Council Laboratory has the perfect opportunity for you! 

Mackay Regional Council’s state-of-the-art laboratory plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety and quality of water, wastewater, and environmental samples across the region. They are seeking a talented and motivated Scientific Services Manager to lead and oversee the scientific and analytical services activities of the laboratory. As a key member of the Water Treatment team, you will play a crucial role in managing various scientific projects, ensuring regulatory compliance, and contributing to the long-term environmental health of the Mackay region. 

More info here. 

8. Asbestos Compliance Audits

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland inspectors will begin auditing businesses operating from buildings likely to contain asbestos (likely if built before 1990), and those that handle or store asbestos from next month. 

The audits will focus on compliance with the requirement for businesses to develop asbestos registers and management plans in accordance with the Management of Asbestos and Associated Risks regulation (Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011, Part 8.3). Inspectors will take enforcement action, including statutory notices and on-the-spot fines, if they find non-compliance with this requirement. 

The statewide audit campaign is part of the National Strategic Plan for Asbestos Awareness and Management 2019–2023 which aims to eliminate asbestos-related diseases in Australia by preventing exposure to asbestos fibres. This requires effectively targeting asbestos use and disposal, while addressing the harmful legacy of asbestos in homes, workplaces, and the environment. 

In a similar compliance audit last year, inspectors assessed a total of 116 businesses with 65 enforcement actions including 55 improvement notices, seven infringement notices, and three records of immediate compliance where the contravention was able to be remedied before the inspector left the workplace. 

Common locations of materials containing asbestos in a commercial building provides guidance to help identify where asbestos is likely to be found. 


9. Draft Queensland Water Strategy

The Queensland Government is seeking feedback on its Draft Queensland Water Strategy.  Details are available from the Department’s website.  From there, you will see a link to the Get Involved page and a short survey about the Strategy which will remain open until 3 October 2023. 

10. Community Engagement Review – Deployment of Renewable Energy

The Minister for Climate Change and Energy announced, on 4 July 2023, the establishment of a Community Engagement Review.  The Review will assess and make recommendations that will bolster reforms in community engagement around the planning and deployment of renewable energy infrastructure upgrades and developments. 

Andrew Dyer, Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner, has been appointed to lead the Review. The Review will deliver a report to the federal Minister by the end of 2023. The Report will include key recommendations for the government to consider. 

Information about the Review and public consultation process is available here. Further information about the Commissioner is available here. 

The Commissioner would value your contribution to the Review via the online public consultation process, available here, open until 5.00pm on Sunday 1 October 2023. 

Should you have any questions about the submission process, please contact the Review Secretariat by email. 


11. Activated Sludge and Biological Nutrient Reduction Course

The North Queensland (NQ) Queensland Water Regional Alliance Program (QWRAP) team were successful in obtaining QWRAP funding to assist with establishing a pilot training hub in the NQ region to deliver an Activated Sludge and Biological Nutrient Reduction Course. This intensive one week course will be delivered from 16 to 20 October by Griffith University in partnership with James Cook University in Townsville.  

The course is currently full and is capped at 25 participants. If you would like to be placed on the waiting list, please contact Jessica Arthy, Programs Development Officer at Townsville City Council.  

12. WIOA FNQ Charity Bowls & Interest Day

The WIOA Queensland Advisory Group will be holding an Operations Interest Day which will include an optional TRILITY Bowls for Charity networking opportunity on Friday 13 October 2023, to be held at the West Cairns Bowls Club. 

Previous events have proved to be a great day and well-received by all in attendance and we are hoping to make the 2023 day a greater success. 

WIOA members and their guests are invited to enjoy this networking opportunity and a relaxed game of bowls while raising money for charities in the FNQ region. 

Click here for more information and to register. 

13. Water Night

Water Night has been an ongoing annual, national event for four years with 14,000 people having participated so far who have shown a 24% increase in water literacy and a further 18% increase in knowledge about water used for everyday tasks.  

Water Night will take place on 19 October between 5pm-10pm as part of National Water Week. More details about this initiative is available here. 

14. Work Well Speaker Series

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland is hosting a series of online talks around safety at work including:  

  • The importance of work safety – with Jade North - former Socceroos and Brisbane Roar player and captain on Wednesday, 27 September 2023 10.00AM – 10.45AM AEST 
  • The 3M’s: meaningful, manageable, manual tasks – managing the risks of musculoskeletal disorders through a work design lens - with Dr Sara Pazell on Wednesday, 4 October 12.00PM – 1.00PM AEST 
  • Controlling noise in the workplace – with Marion Burgess AM on Thursday 5 October 11.00AM – 12.00PM AEST 
  • Promoting workplace safety for young employees – with Jahin Tanvir on Monday, 16 October 2023 2.00PM – 3.00PM AEST 
  • Staying safe at work – with Kevvie Walters, current Brisbane Broncos coach and former NRL player and Queensland Origin coach on Thursday, 19 October 2023 10.00AM – 10.45AM AEST 
  • The impacts of workplace injury on families – Riana Crehan’s story, motorsport presenter for the Supercars on Monday, 23 October 2023 10.00AM – 10.45AM AEST 
  • Developing evidence-based and practical solutions for preventing harm – with Dr Gregory Zelic on Tuesday, 24 October 2023 2.00PM – 3.00PM AEST 
  • Good work design – theory and solutions to support injury prevention and management – with Dr Carlo Caponecchia on Thursday, 26 October 2023 10.00AM – 11.00AM AEST 
  • Play it safe – Luke Hodge, former AFL player including for the Brisbane Lions on Tuesday 31 October 2023 10.00AM – 10.45AM AEST 

15. Other Key Dates 

  • 5 October - AWA QLD Water Awards
  • 10-12 October - IPWEA-QNT Annual Conference
  • 18 October - WBBUWA Operator Forum
  • 9-10 November - AWA QWater, Brisbane 
  • 24 November - Mackay Operator Forum
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