eFlash #584

eFlash #584

eFlash #584
Date: 03-Nov-2023


Essentials webinar series on Harmful Algal Blooms | New webinar: Service provider experiences with managing HAB | Funding announced for new Water Treatment Plant in Ayr | Increased funding announced for Works for Queensland program | ARENA grant funding for Logan | Rural Future Report 2023 | Review of EP Act Powers and Penalties | Moreton Water Plan | Queensland's new Energy Bill


1. Essentials Webinar Series on Harmful Algal Blooms

Yesterday we hosted the third in a series of Essential Webinars on Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs), this time with a focus on the impact of cyanotoxins on health.

Dr Phil Choi, Senior Environmental Health Scientist, Queensland Public Health and Scientific Services at Queensland Health provided an overview of the different types of algae, noting that algal blooms contain cyanobacteria that can produce toxins. Not all cyanobacteria will produce harmful toxins, and when they do, the toxins that is produced can vary according to the location. The safest approach is to treat all blooms as toxic at all times, and to record local data to build our knowledge.

The conditions that favour HABs include warm temperatures, high nutrients, low turbidity and calm or stagnant conditions: all circumstances that are associated with drier than usual wet seasons.

Phil talked about the common toxins in Queensland and the health impacts and symptoms that may result from exposure.

The best way to manage HABs is through prevention, but once an algae bloom is visible, service providers will need to respond quickly using the recommended sequence of treatment strategies:

  • physically removing or filtering intact cells first,
  • adding or increasing powdered activated carbon and
  • boosting oxidation.

Always follow the ADWG guidelines and don't be scared to ask for help - it's never too early to call the regulator and ask for advice or assistance.

Follow this link to watch recordings of all three presentations delivered to date, including links to some additional resources.

2. New webinar: Service provider experiences with managing HAB

Thanks to feedback from participants, we will be following up the three part series with a webinar focused on service provider experiences with managing HABs. Two service providers have volunteered to share their knowledge.

Tania Strixner-Harvey from Mount Isa Water Board - Blue-Green Algae at Clear Water Lagoon: The Journey So Far…..

Trish Knavel and Laura Shiels from Townsville City Council - Managing Harmful Algal Blooms – Utilising data to build resilience in plant and people

Thursday 9 November 2023 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Register here.


3. Funding announced for new Water Treatment Plant in Ayr

The Queensland Government is supporting water security in the Burdekin with a $46.88 million package to support the Burdekin Shire Council for Stage 1 of a new Water Treatment Plant in Ayr. This funding package also provides support for costs associated with refurbishing South Ayr bores to supplement current drinking water supplies and is part of an ongoing management plan following detections of PFAS in the groundwater.

Stage 1 of the new water treatment plant includes iron and manganese pre-treatment, dual media filtration (coal on sand), disinfection, solids handling, chemical storage and dosing.

Construction of the water treatment plant is set to begin later this year and be commissioned and supplying drinking water by 2026. In addition, funding for ongoing technical support, and groundwater monitoring and modelling of the Ayr aquifer will also be provided.

PFAS was first detected in the local groundwater in 2018 and Burdekin Shire Council took immediate action to establish new bores for the town’s water supply.  

4. Increased funding announced for Works for Queensland Program

The Queensland Government has announced a 50 per cent increase in investment for essential regional infrastructure under the Works for Queensland program with an extra $100 million in program funding for essential community infrastructure projects.

The upcoming 2024-27 Works for Queensland round will provide $300 million in funding to support critical local projects like water and sewerage infrastructure, housing and regional economic development. Funding guidelines for councils are expected to be released in April 2024 and will be developed in consultation with the Local Government Association of Queensland.

5. ARENA Grant for Logan

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency has announced a grant of nearly $300,000 to Logan City Council to investigate renewable energy production from FOGO at the Loganholme Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The feasibility study will look at diverting food and green organics (FOGO) waste from households to produce biomethane, biochar and fertiliser prill at the Loganholme Wastewater Treatment Plant. At present, the majority of Australia’s household FOGO waste is sent directly to landfill, producing methane emissions that are damaging the environment and wasting a potential source of bioenergy. In the City of Logan, more than a third of household waste can be classified as FOGO.

Logan City Council introduced a successful ‘opt-in’ green waste collection service (for garden waste only) in mid-2021, with 20,000 households now participating. The results of the FOGO study will help the Council investigate and plan for the introduction of a broader FOGO waste collection service in coming years.

ARENA previously awarded $6.2 million to Logan City Council for a gasification facility at the wastewater treatment plant. The gasification facility has been operational since 2022 and uses biosolids from the plant to produce renewable energy and biochar.

The biochar from this can be used with liquid from FOGO waste to produce fertiliser prill, with Logan Water envisaging an integrated facility supporting an onsite bioenergy recovery ecosystem.

6. Rural Future Report 2023

The Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water have released its Rural Water Futures Progress Report 2023 which is now available on the department’s website. 

The report documents the program’s achievements during 2022-23 and highlights the benefits delivered to stakeholders, the community and business. It also outlines progress on delivering Queensland Government commitments in response to the Independent Audit on Measurement and Compliance. Please contact RWFP@rdmw.qld.gov.au  if you have any questions about the Progress Report.


7. Review of EP Act Powers and Penalties

The Queensland Government is proposing to strengthen its Environmental Protection Act. It is now seeking feedback on its response to the independent review into the adequacy of powers and penalties available under the EP Act.

Submissions are due by 10 November 2023 and qldwater has drafted a submission. Please provide any feedback to Georgina Davis by COB Monday 6 November.  

8. Moreton Water Plan

The Minister for Water has formally commenced the Moreton water plan review with the release of the preliminary public consultation notice which is available here.

The Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water is seeking initial input from interested parties on the key issues to consider in the water plan review process. Once finalised the new water plan will replace the existing water plan. 

Submissions will be accepted until 2 February 2024. The Department will continue to undertake stakeholder engagement throughout the whole water plan review process. 

Should you wish to discuss the Moreton water plan review further, please feel free to contact the department on 07 3708 8999 or email MoretonWP@rdmw.qld.gov.au.

9. Queensland’s New Energy Bill

On 24 October 2023 the Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen and Minister for Public Works and Procurement introduced the Energy (Renewable Transformation and Jobs) Bill 2023 into the Queensland Parliament. The Bill seeks to: 

•enshrine key commitments from the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan in law

•create the infrastructure frameworks needed to build the Queensland SuperGrid

•establish the governance and advisory functions for a smooth, coordinated transformation to support workers and communities.

The Bill has been referred to the Parliamentary Transport and Resources Committee for detailed consideration. The committee invites submissions on any aspect of the Bill, from all interested parties. Guidelines for making a submission to a parliamentary committee are available here. 

Click here to make an online submission to the Bill/inquiry. The closing date for written submissions is 12pm, Friday, 8 December 2023.


  • 9 November at 10.00am - Essentials Webinar: Service Provider experiences managing HAB
  • 9-10 November - AWA QWater, Brisbane 

Back to list

More Reading

Back to list