eFlash #580

eFlash #580

eFlash #580
Date: 06-Oct-2023


Essentials webinar series on Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB) | AWA Queensland Water Awards | qldwater advocacy | WaterAid Walk for Water qldwater team | Activated Sludge and Biological Nutrient Reduction Intense one week course - LAST CHANCE TO REGISTER! | Safety advocates on offer | Asbestos registers | Consultation of proposed changes to Powers and Penalties under the EP Act | Bundaberg Burnett Regional Water Assessment


Essentials Webinar Series

With the early onset of warm conditions in Queensland, qldwater have heard reports of cyanobacteria blooms (otherwise known as Harmful Algal Blooms or HAB) appearing in surface waters unusually early in the season, and in locations where they have historically been infrequent. 

With this in mind, we have arranged a series of Webinars focused on three aspects of HABs that are relevant to drinking water service providers. Over three weeks, we will present the following topics:

  • Climate and water outlook for the coming season: Bureau of Meteorology
  • Managing HAB through your Drinking Water Quality Management Plan: Office of the Water Supply Regulator
  • Heath aspects of HAB: Queensland Health

These webinars are all free for all to attend, and there will be plenty of time for questions.

Webinar 1: BOM climate and water outlook for the coming season

Thursday 19 October 2023, 10:00 – 10:40 am

Matthew Coulton, General Manager Agriculture and Water at the Bureau of Meteorology

We have all seen a warmer than average winter and now with both an El Niño and a positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) underway, their combined impact can increase the chance of below average rainfall over much of Australia and higher temperatures across the southern two-thirds of the country. Based on history, it is now also more likely that warm and dry conditions will persist over eastern Australia. Also El Niño events increase the risk of extreme temperature shifts, like heatwaves and hotter days and increase fire risks. Matt will provide a Climate and Water briefing for the coming four months.

Register here.

Webinar 2: Managing HAB through your Drinking Water Quality Management Plan

Thursday 26 October 2023, 10:00 – 11:30 am

Ted Aldred, Manager Water Supply Regulation – Water Operations and Systems, Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water

Blue green algae outbreaks in surface waters can be challenging for water service providers especially when coupled with other risks that are heightened by high temperatures. Boiling drinking water is not an effective means for removing or inactivating toxins associated with HABs. In this webinar Ted will talk about the role of the Drinking Water Quality Management Plan in managing these risks to provide safe drinking water for your community.

Register here.

Webinar 3: Health Aspects of Harmful Algal Blooms

Thursday 2 November 2023, 10:00 – 11:00 am

Dr Phil Choi, Senior Environmental Health Scientist, Queensland Public Health and Scientific Services, Queensland Health

The conditions that favour HABs include warm temperature, stratified water and calm or stagnant conditions: all circumstances that are associated with drier than usual wet seasons. If HABs do occur, they have the potential to impact drinking water supplies as well as recreational and irrigation water supplies. Queensland Health has recently updated its FAQ on HAB, and Phil will provide an overview of the health aspects of HAB. 

Register here

AWA QLD Water Awards

Congratulations to our past SPG Chair and all-round champion, Narelle D’Amico, for taking out the Regional Service Award at the AWA Queensland Gala Dinner last night. Narelle has been a staunch supporter of the Directorate and a key driver of collaboration through her involvement in the WBBUWA QWRAP region, the Water Skills Partnership and more. 

Well done also to Unitywater who won the R&D Excellence Award for their Yandina Creek Wetland and Blue Heart Sunshine Coast project. Apart from contributing to healthy waterways and increased biodiversity in the region, the wetland also acts as a living laboratory, a research hub, an eco-tourism destination and has cultural significance for First Nations people.

qldwater Advocacy

Two new submissions have been added to the qldwater website

qldwater Submission on the NSW Biosolids Regulatory Review - Release Date 03-Oct-2023: - The NSW Environment Protection Authority is consulting with communities and industry ahead of the development of an updated Biosolids Regulatory Approach for NSW. The Queensland End of Waste Code for biosolids leans heavily on the NSW Biosolids Guidelines, and the submission was developed with that in mind.

The original deadline for submissions was 3 October, which has been extended to 31 October, so there is still time to make a submission if you choose.

qldwater Submission to AEIC Review of Community Engagement Practices - Release Date 29-Sep-2023:  qldwater Submission to the Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner, Community Engagement Review Taskforce drawing urgent attention to several outstanding issues arising from the deficiencies in the regulatory legislation framework surrounding telecommunication deployment under telecommunication carriers under the Telecommunication Act 1997 impacting on the water sector.

WaterAid Walk for Water qldwater team 

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

While Neil has used the fundraiser as a good excuse to get back on his bike, Jess has tied her walks in with her volunteer work for the Mary River Catchment Coordinating Committee and Tiaro District Landcare, walking along the Mary River looking for turtle nests. While Des needs no excuse to walk her dogs along Sunrise Beach and Burgess Creek every day, this week she is doing it with immense gratitude for the excellent water and sewerage services most Australians have come to take for granted. 

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. Last year 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.

Activated Sludge and Biological Nutrient Reduction intense one week course - LAST CHANCE TO REGISTER!

Due to a couple of cancellations, there are some spots available in the Activated Sludge and Biological Nutrient Reduction course to be held at James Cook University in Townsville from 16 to 20 October 2023.

The course is aimed at people working in the wastewater industry as operators, engineers, scientists or managers who wish to have a working knowledge of troubleshooting and process optimisation of activated sludge and biological nutrient removal systems.

Peter Griffiths and Helen Stratton from Griffith University will be delivering this course in partnership with James Cook University in Townsville. Funding from the Queensland Water Regional Alliance Program (QWRAP) has assisted the North Queensland QWRAP Alliance with significantly reducing costs for participants. 

Contact Jessica Arthy, Programs Development Officer, Townsville City Council to secure your spot ASAP!

Other News

Safety Advocates on Offer!

October is Safe Work Month, and a great opportunity to reinforce with your workers why safety is vital to your business.  If you are wondering how to get the conversation started  why not Book one of the Department’s Safety Advocates who will share their real-life experiences with your team.

They can encourage safe work practices in your workplace with a personal story about how a workplace injury changed their lives.

Requests are subject to approval on a case-by-case basis and due to high levels of interest, Safety Advocate availability is limited, particularly during Safe Work Month in October.  Safety advocate requests must be submitted 4 weeks prior to an event.

Asbestos Registers

Safe Work Australia has published a new guide: Asbestos registers at the workplace. An asbestos register is a workplace safety management tool that records the location, type, condition and date of identification of all asbestos and asbestos containing materials at your workplace.

This guide has been developed to assist people who have management or control of a workplace with:

  • the understanding of what an asbestos register is and if the workplace needs one
  • developing and maintaining a comprehensive asbestos register
  • understanding who are considered ‘competent persons’ in relation to identifying asbestos and collecting information for asbestos registers.

Current Consultations

Consultation on proposed changes to Powers and Penalties under the EP Act

Following the independent review of the EP Act and Amendments that were made under the EPOLA Bill of 2022, a further set of amendments has been proposed. 

This round of proposed changes tackled amendments that were withdrawn from the final EPOLA Bill addressing recommendation 12 from the independent review: 

The power to amend Environmental Authority conditions be expanded to allow the Chief Executive or the Minister to amend conditions where the Minister or Chief Executive considers the environmental impact of the activity is not being appropriately avoided, mitigated or managed.

The consultation paper outlining two proposals for these and other changes, has been released for consultation with comment invited until 10 November 2023. The Local Government Association of Queensland has conducted a preliminary analysis of the proposed changes, which can be accessed by LGAQ members via this link. qldwater will be making a submission on the proposed changes.

Bundaberg Burnett Regional Water Assessment

The draft Bundaberg and Burnett Regional Water Assessment, led by Sunwater on behalf of the Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water, is now open for public consultation. The draft assessment sets out how existing infrastructure, new infrastructure and non-infrastructure solutions can help maximise water supply and drive economic growth. Future options to unlock more water in the region includes: 

  • initiating Detailed Business Cases for Stage 2 of the Bundaberg Irrigation Network Capacity Upgrade, Cooranga Weir and Barlil Weir projects; and 
  • initiating a Detailed Business Case for the Jones Weir raising and undertaking an options analysis to identify the preferred option to meet water needs in the West Barambah area, subject to conditions.

The Bundaberg and Burnett Regional Water Assessment area incorporates Bundaberg, Cherbourg Aboriginal, North and South Burnett local government areas.

Sunwater has planned consultation activities across the region throughout October and early November 2023, as well as online forums and an interactive website where the public can view proposed options and have their say. Public consultation details will be available on the Sunwater website

Feedback on the draft assessment is being sought by Thursday 2 November, 2023.  

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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