qldwater Blog

eFlash #430

eFlash #430
Date: 17-Apr-2020

Information for Water Industry Managers and Practitioners in the Queensland Water Industry

Weekly Update - 17 April

Our second online “essentials” networking event happened yesterday with 50+ attendees. Terry Fagg provided a great presentation on Western Downs’ approach to the pandemic with parallels drawn to the aviation sector, and Jeff Rohdmann got down and dirty with a range of initiatives Bundaberg Regional Council has and is implementing to manage sewerage odour and corrosion.  There have been many requests for copies of presentations, we are working out the best way to store them and the recordings for you to access and expect this to be resolved in the next couple of weeks.

The next event will be on Thursday 23 April at 10am with the following speakers:

Professor Stuart Khan, University of New South Wales

“COVID Facts and the Water Sector” 

Stuart has a very strong background in contaminants and treatment and will cover some key aspects of science and research around the virus.

Lynne Powell, Strategic Policy and Compliance Coordinator – Water and Waste, Cairns Regional Council 

“Developing Cairns' Organic Waste Roadmap”

Lynne is a key contributor to a number of qldwater activities including our SWEAP group and will discuss Cairns Regional Council’s planning approach to management of organic waste.

Register for this event here

It would be advisable to test your connection prior to the event.  For more detailed instructions, read this.


The COVID-19 web page has been updated with information from the following companies which have identified as potentially being in a position to offer support to service providers including remote mentoring, relief operations and other technical advice:

More to come, we are happy to include listings for other interested companies.  

We anticipate that DNRME’s summary information on chemical availability will be posted towards the end of next week.

Regulatory Approaches to COVID-19

A short poll was conducted at yesterday’s online event around regulatory approaches to the pandemic, with the result suggesting that more communication was potentially needed. Much of the following has been posted through the Zoho forum;

  • qldwater has developed two short discussion papers on water quality and environmental compliance risks which have been socialised through the forum. Disruptions likely to be caused by impacts of COVID-19 were listed along with how they may affect regulatory compliance. Options were proposed for reducing compliance risks along with an attempt to prioritise monitoring and analysis requirements across WQ and Environmental Regulators and triggers were suggested for if/when they should be ceased. Thanks to all contributors. The final documents have been provided to both DNRME and DES, and we are awaiting formal responses.
  • DES released a high-level statement on their current approach to compliance in the face of COVID-19 disruption on 1 April and have undertaken to provide more specific advice for sewerage services.
  • DNRME released a “regulatory requirements” email message to all service providers on 15 April making a statement on water supply safety, an offer of individual assistance for service providers, information on fluoridation and links to current health directions. There is always a chance that these releases are not getting to the right people, if you would like to see the content and haven’t as yet, please contact drinkingwater.reporting@dnrme.qld.gov.au.
  • WHS Queensland has now formally referenced the Safe Work Australia Statement of Regulatory Intent and indicated how it will be applied in Queensland. It confirms that WHS Regulators will apply a common sense and practical approach to interactions with workplaces and specifically mentions training and training demonstrations. More information is available at https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/coronavirus/_recache and https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/covid-19-information-workplaces/national-statement-regulatory-intent-covid-19.
  • If you wish to be included in the forum distribution list, where we are storing all information like this, please contact Rob Fearon or email “Connect to Zoho” to rfearon@qldwater.com.au to be sent an invite.

More new information added to the forum this week including details of a new remote assistance technology, information on research trials finding COVID-19 in sewage as part of the FAQs section, a fact sheet on COVID-19 and biosolids in the Resources section, as well as links to useful guidance documents on vehicle use for civil work crews and human resources considerations for employers in the IPWEAQ Knowledge Centre.

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