eFlash #431

eFlash #431

eFlash #431
Date: 24-Apr-2020

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

Weekly Update – 24 April

Our third online “essentials” networking event happened yesterday with 83 attendees at its peak.  Prof Stuart Khan provided a clear explanation of the science around COVID-19 as it relates to Water and Sewerage, and Lynne Powell stepped through her council’s planning approach to managing organic waste, including biosolids.  The feedback to us from both has been both fantastic and a little overwhelming.

The good news is that all presentations from the 3 essentials webinars to date (except Stuart Khan’s as he’s on leave) are available on Zoho.   If you don’t have access to Zoho, please contact Rob Fearon or email “Connect to Zoho” to rfearon@qldwater.com.au to be sent an invitation.

We are still working through a fairly major undertaking in migrating our web site across to a new content management system (thanks Des) and there are a few hosting issues still to resolve, including the best way to host videos while providing some level of restriction around public access.  We hope to have both presentations and videos of the essentials series available there soon.

The next event will be on Thursday 30 April at 10am with the following speakers:

Martina De Silva, Water Source Australia

“Creating a Universal Point of Entry Drinking Water System for Rural Areas Using IoT” 

Martina is leading a program of work for Water Source Australia which seeks to implement a new point of entry and remote monitoring treatment approach, particularly targeted at small communities in third world countries.  She was lined up to present at our May small communities forum in Goondiwindi, and through QWRAP commence a trial on a different water source in Charleville this month.  All on hold for now, but lots of potential in remote areas, tune in for the good oil.

Anna Whelan, Townsville City Council

“Update on Townsville contaminants research”

Anna has been heavily involved in qldwater activities including the SWEAP group Consortium for emerging contaminants and development of the program for last year’s contaminants of emerging concern forum and was recognised with a TRG Award in 2019.  Amongst her many hobbies has been championing research in a variety of wastewater treatment-related fields, arranging for TCC to support a number of students.  Anna will provide an update on the current research projects and upcoming activities.

Register for this event here

It would be advisable to test your connection, video and audio prior to the event, if you haven’t participated before.  For more detailed instructions, click here.

COVID-19 web page updates include:

New content from DNRME on Water and Wastewater Chemical Supplies – availability and suppliers:

“During the COVID19 pandemic, service providers remain responsible for adequately ordering and purchasing their own chemical supplies to ensure the safe and reliable delivery of their water and wastewater services. 

The Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy recognises that as the pandemic evolves, service providers may face some logistical or supply chain issues with these critical chemical supplies. To assist service providers the department has developed:

•    A to Z list of water and wastewater treatment chemicals

•    Suppliers of water and wastewater treatment chemicals

The lists aim to provide a central source of information regarding the availability of chemicals, any known supply chain issues and details of chemical suppliers. 

This information may help service providers to identify alternative chemical suppliers, should their current supplier experience difficulty in obtaining chemicals.  Note the supplier list is not exhaustive and is current as at 7 April 2020, and was developed based on information provided by qldwater, LGAQ and Seqwater.  These stakeholders have committed to continued collaboration on this matter whilst this list remains in use.

To ensure these lists remain relevant for the sector as the pandemic evolves, the department intends to update this information on a monthly basis. As service providers have the direct customer – supplier relationship with the chemical supplier, the department relies on service providers to provide timely and relevant information on:

a)    any difficulties or changes to the availability of the chemicals (e.g. difficulty in being supplied or delays in receiving chemicals), suppliers (e.g. cannot deliver on time due to lower number of deliveries to the region) or supply chain matters (e.g. increases in costs due to price shocks, raw material shortage, freight delays)

b)    any inclusions of key chemicals or chemical supplier(s) they use that are not on the list 

As such, service providers are encouraged to submit updates or raise issues early on by providing information (through the feedback form on the web page).

Also... scroll down... Company profile from Suez covering its capability to offer support to service providers, joining Aurecon, Aquatec Maxcon, Bligh Tanner Pty Ltd, Hunter H2O, Simmonds and Bristow and Viridis Consultants 

More new information added to the forum this week

As we head further into information overload on COVID, we are trying to limit emails on COVID-19 items to essential issues. Everything is now also summarised with links (along with anything directly relevant to Qld Service providers) on the updated ‘COVID-19 Resources’ post which is pinned to the top of the forums for easy access. If you are not already signed-up and want to access this information, please contact Rob Fearon or email “Connect to Zoho” to rfearon@qldwater.com.au to be sent an invitation.

Productivity Commission

qldwater representatives met with the Productivity Commission this week to provide input into the 2020 national water reform inquiry.  The Commission will confirm dates for release of draft consultation documents (an issues paper followed by a draft report) shortly.  Importantly the scope for this year includes the opportunity to move towards a broader review of the national water initiative.

Member assistance to respond to COVID-19 impacts

As previously announced, qldwater has a role in trying to contact members to gather information on the risks they have identified in relation to the pandemic and to try to provide appropriate linkages where we can.  The remit is broad but we are typically asking questions around staff shortages/ capability, chemical supply, critical spares and so on.  The Water Supply Regulator in DNRME has issued separate direction in relation to compliance, and members are encouraged to make contact with the Regulator in the event you believe you will have issues.

We are probably around two thirds of the way through the 72 members we hope to speak to, and have largely prioritised contact based on the risks you identified in DNRME’s earlier surveys.  It’s slow, but going OK, in a number of instances we’ve left messages but won’t be badgering people who aren’t able to respond assuming they have things in hand.

While we are working with a “new normal” and capacity for on-ground assistance is quite restricted, the response of the Queensland Urban Water and Sewerage Services sector at this time and collaborative culture demonstrated has been exceptional.  There are plenty of people in our network sharing useful materials and offering advice and mentoring in response to emergent issues.

If you haven’t heard directly from us yet and have an issue, or would just like to get the condensed version of what’s been happening, please don’t hesitate to contact medcameron@qldwater.com.au or 0407 761 991.  We’re averaging about 5 hours of online meetings and calls a day at the moment, so may not be able to pick up straight away, but will follow up all enquiries.

Best wishes,

Dave Cameron

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