eFlash #579

eFlash #579

eFlash #579
Date: 29-Sep-2023


Transforming Biosolids Symposium | High Risk Weather Season Ahead | WaterAid Walk for Water – Sponsor the qldwater team! | BOOK NOW - Activated Sludge and Biological Nutrient Reduction Intense one week course - 3 SPOTS NOW AVAILABLE! | Climate Change Related Expenditure | Water Supply Regulator Update | Finalisation of amendments to the Major and Minor Amendments Guideline | Lake Wivenhoe Proposed Marine Zone | UPCOMING EVENTS 


1. Transforming Biosolids Symposium

The Third Annual Symposium for the ARC Training Centre for the Transformation of Australia’s Biosolids Resources was held this week at the University of Queensland.

Transforming Biosolids is a research training centre funded by the Australian Research Council with a focus on capability and knowledge building, research development and training and developing strategic industry partnerships. The Queensland Water Directorate is a partner in the centre through the research consortium (qCRAC).

Keynote speakers included:

  • Professor Ian Pepper from the University of Arizona who provided an update on an ambitious program of sampling of historical biosolids land application sites across the US to assess PFAS contamination and potential impacts. 
  • Jim Schmidt from PROCOM provided insights on the development of complex processing systems from the point of view of his experience with international oil shale projects.

The conference featured research presentations from early career researchers ranging from the fields of chemical engineering, microbiology to social science. As this was the third symposium, the presentations include some real outcomes from research undertaken at the centre over the past three years. The researcher abstracts from the conference are available from the Symposium Webpage.

A highlight of the conference was a biosolids End User Forum, which included representatives from biosolids producers, regulators and farmers. The session explored how biosolids as a beneficial reuse product is managed and highlighted the value that is placed on biosolids by the agricultural industry.

2. High Risk Weather Season Ahead

qldwater attended the National Preparedness Summit organised by the National Emergency Management Agency on 25-26 September, which briefs critical sectors on the seasonal climate outlook, risks expected and national-level coordination mechanisms.  Australia’s Higher Risk Weather Season (HRWS) traditionally runs from October to April, noting that the HRWS period is extending year on year. 

The climate outlook is one of higher-than-average temperatures, lower-than-average rainfall and increased risk of bushfires. Such an outlook has particular risks for the urban water sector and the communities that we serve.

Commencing in October, qldwater has organised a series of Essential Webinars commencing with a Queensland-specific briefing from the Bureau of Meteorology on the climate outlook, then the Water Supply Regulator on how Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) risk should be identified in the DWQMP, targeted at those WSPs that may be experiencing HAB for possibly the first time. And finally, a session with Queensland Health to raise awareness of the possible impacts.

Registrations will open next week.

3. WaterAid Walk for Water qldwater Team 

Next week Neil Holmes, Jess Dean and Des Gralton will be walking and/or riding to raise funds and awareness to bring clean water to millions of people around the world.

We are joining a community of almost 120 teams representing more than 100 organisations in support of WaterAid’s mission to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere. Globally, last year alone, WaterAid provided access to clean water for 413,000 household members, 154,000 school students and almost 2.2 million patients in healthcare facilities.

If you would like to support our team, please follow this link.

4. Annual Performance Report (KPI and NPR data via SWIM): Due COB Tuesday 3 October 

The annual Performance Report (KPI and NPR data via SWIM) is required under s142A of the Water Supply Safety and Reliability Act 2008 and is due for the 2022-23 financial year by COB Tuesday 3rd October 2023.

PINS (fines) can be applied for late or non-submission of data.

DUE: 5pm Tuesday 3 October.

If you would like any further information or need help/advice please contact David.


5. Climate Change Related Expenditure

The Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) has now published a guideline and final position paper on climate change related expenditure.  

Businesses are increasingly considering climate change when making spending and investment decisions. The businesses that the QCA regulate will be spending both to adapt to intensifying weather-related risks, and to mitigate the emissions that drive climate change. The guideline sets out how regulated businesses can plan for and undertake climate change related spending that the QCA are likely to assess as being both prudent and efficient. While the final position paper presents the QCA’s final decision-making process and development of the guideline, after considering submissions from their draft position paper and October 2022 discussion paper.

6. Water Supply Regulator Update

A drinking water workshop is scheduled for 11 October in Emerald. The key focus will be on the revised DWQMP guideline (Guideline for the preparation, review and audit of DWQMPs) with complementary presentations by service providers and Queensland Health.

To attend this workshop, please register by 5 October, using this link. If you have any questions please email drinkingwater.reporting@rdmw.qld.gov.au.

7. Finalisation of amendments to the Major and Minor Amendments Guideline

During public consultation on the Environmental Protection and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2022, the Department of Environment and Science (the department) committed to review the non-statutory guideline Major and minor amendments (ESR/2015/1684) to provide further rigour and certainty around assessment level decisions for environmental authority amendment processes.

To inform this review, the department sought feedback from stakeholders about draft proposed edits to the guideline. Feedback was received from a range of stakeholders and updates to the guideline in consideration of the feedback received has now been finalised. The updated Major and minor amendments guideline (ESR/2015/1684) is published on the department’s website.

In summary, updates to the guideline include:

  • Review of legislative references to ensure alignment with the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (EP Act).
  • Revisions to the guidance about ‘significantly’ (section 4.2 in the updated version).
  • Inclusion of multiple flowcharts to visually show the amendment process and timeframes for EA and progressive rehabilitation and closure plan schedule amendments. 
  • Inclusion of a new appendix (Appendix 2) which includes information about amendment application requirements.
  • Restructure of the detailed examples (Appendix 4) to focus on the statutory definitions for minor amendments rather than industry type. 
  • Inclusion of other structural changes and improvements. 

Please note that the guideline must be consistent with the legislation and does not alter the definition of a major or minor amendment in the EP Act. A consultation summary has been prepared to identify how the feedback received was considered in the guideline update.

The department will be holding an online information session to provide an overview of the consultation feedback and key changes. To register your interest for this session and be informed about when it will be held, please email RRS.Consultation@des.qld.gov.au by COB Friday 6th October 2023. 


8. Lake Wivenhoe Proposed Marine Zone

Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) is undertaking a consultation process in relation to Seqwater's proposal to implement a marine zone on all of Lake Wivenhoe, Brisbane to better balance the needs of recreational visitors and the safe use and environment of Lake Wivenhoe. A marine zone is a specific area that separates from or intersects a main waterway by imaginary boundary lines drawn between a set of coordinates.

A marine zone will have rules (known as conditions) determining what can and cannot occur within the marine zone. These conditions are regulated under Schedule 5 of the Transport Operations (Marine Safety) Regulation 2016.

Submissions on the consultation paper close on Monday 16 October 2023. You can also provide your feedback or questions by email to consultation@msq.qld.gov.au.


9. Irrigation Australia Wamuran Irrigation Scheme

Irrigation Australia has some seats available on a half bus tour of the Wamuran Irrigation Scheme on 5 October 2023.

Unitywater is building a recycled water pipeline that will provide year-round water security for a number of farmers in the Wamuran region, while sustainably managing wastewater from their Caboolture South Sewage Treatment Plant (STP). The Wamuran Irrigation Scheme (WIS) will divert Class A recycled water from the STP to farms, giving producers greater certainty for crop planting and enabling them to expand their operations.

The bus will depart at 8.20am from Hasking Street, Caboolture (opposite Moreton Bay Council offices) and return at 12.30pm. 

To registerclick this link - registrations close today so get in quick! 

10. Other Key Dates 

  • 5 October - AWA QLD Water Awards
  • 10-12 October - IPWEA-QNT Annual Conference
  • 13 October - WIOA FNQ Operators Interest Day and Charity Bowls
  • 18 October - WBBUWA Operator Forum
  • 9-10 November - AWA QWater, Brisbane 
  • 24 November - Mackay Operator Forum

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