qldwater Blog

eFlash #436

eFlash #436
Date: 29-May-2020

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

Weekly Update, essentials webinars – 29 May

Our eighth online “essentials” networking event happened yesterday with 71 attendees participating throughout the session.  

(a)    Old school asset condition assessment

Shaun Johnston (Burdekin Shire Council)

The entire sewerage network of Burdekin Shire Council has been relined which has resulted in reduced infiltration but at the same time identified the impact that illegal connections to sewer has on wet weather flow. Smoke testing provides a means to simply identify illegal stormwater connections to sewers, broken and incorrectly connected domestic pipes and illegally modified manhole covers. Similarly, acoustic testing has started to be used at BSC to identify leaks, and unknown and illegal connections to the water network. Shaun provides an overview of these two relatively old school methods that have been applied at BSC, which can provide efficient and cost-effective solutions for smaller networks.

(b)    Regulatory approach to COVID-19

Chris Mooney (Department of Environment and Science)

In response to the COVID-19 crisis the Department of Environment and Science has developed some tools to support EA holders, which include a series of fact sheets on COVID-19, relating to biosolids and waste and resource recovery, and a specific notification form which provides a template to notify the department of any non-compliance issues as a result of COVID-19 directives. The template will help the department to assess the risk posed by any non-compliance. Some important changes as a result of COVID-19 emergency legislation include a six-month delay to the date that the Reef Protection Regulations come into effect to 1 June 2021, and new legislation that changes Environmental Protection Act to permit the department to issue a temporary EA for an environmentally relevant activity if compliance is compromised by COVID-19. The temporary EAs expire on 31 December 2020, with holders provided with an additional six months to return to compliance.

The recording of this webinar is now available on our new site at: https://qldwater.com.au/essentials-webinar-series and presentations will be at the same link, when available.

The next event will be on Thursday 4 June at 10am with the following speakers:

Dan Deere – Water Futures Pty Ltd


The national “ColoSSoS Project” – Collaboration on Sewage Surveillance of SARS-COV-2— will track and monitor the presence of the virus that causes COVID-19 and its persistence in the Australian sewerage network, thus providing information on where it is present in the population. 

Involving experts in health, microbiology, laboratory testing, wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) and policy communication, the initiative is a major collaborative effort across water utilities, health departments and researchers, with links to global expertise.

The ColoSSoS Project is a key initiative, not just for assisting in combatting the current COVID-19 pandemic, but for the future role of sewage surveillance as a tool to assist in safeguarding public health from infectious diseases.

Philip Keymar – Urban Utilities

“Microalgal and anaerobic water treatment at Helidon Regional STP with a focus on efficient nutrient recovery and greenhouse gas reduction”

Many would have had the opportunity through past qldwater and other industry events to observe the microalgal treatment trials at the Luggage Point Innovation Centre.  Philip was originally pencilled in for our small communities forum in Goondiwindi, and will present on the full scale trials at Helidon, in the Lockyer Valley.

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

Please note, we have cancelled the Essentials Webinar planned for 11 June as we are moving offices.  We will recommence on 18 June, but will be introducing a new approach for these, likely with a reduced frequency to coincide with Stage 3 of the COVID recovery process.

Productivity Commission Issues Paper

As reported in eflash #431, the Productivity Commission has commenced the 2020 National Water Reform Inquiry and has this week released its Issues Paper.

-    Initial submissions are due by Friday 21 August, with the final report anticipated in early 2021.

-    qldwater will be making a submission and members are welcome to provide feedback to us for inclusion by 7 August.

-    Now that there is a strong uptake with the Essentials Webinars, Dave Cameron/ Rob Fearon will run an Essentials session on an upcoming Thursday morning – likely late July – to step through our draft as a prompt for further feedback from members.

The Commission will undertake three key tasks for this inquiry. The first is to examine jurisdictions’ progress since the Commission’s 2017 inquiry in meeting their commitments under the NWI and the outcomes achieved by the NWI. The second and third tasks are forward looking — to assess the extent to which reforms to the NWI are needed to support government responses to existing, emerging or changing water management challenges; and to provide specific advice to the jurisdictions on ways to improve the NWI.

The Commission will prioritise water management challenges that have arisen or intensified since 2017, and look to assist jurisdictions in their joint efforts to improve the NWI.

The Commission will assess the progress of all jurisdictions against each of the eight NWI elements, focusing on whether or not the intended outcomes for that element have been achieved (or are at least being pursued), rather than assessing each individual action required by the NWI. Priorities for the assessment of progress are elements: 

-    where progress against the NWI has slowed or stalled since 2017 

-    that require ongoing monitoring and assessment (such as best practice pricing) 

-    where there is a risk of jurisdictions unwinding agreed reforms (‘backsliding’).

While a number of sections may be of interest to members, our focus will be on Water Services, from page 19.

qldwater Web Site Upgrade – password reset required

After several months of challenges for Des Gralton, www.qldwater.com.au has migrated across to a new content management system.  So what does this mean?

-    You will notice a different look and feel, but ultimately we will have more functionality to play with.  

-    There will be some pages under construction and some dead links for a while until we can rebuild them.  A request form has been developed for any documents you need but are unable to access in the short term.

-    While all customer details came across to the new system, your passwords did not as this is personal and secured information only accessible to you. If you have previously accessed our website and secure zones, you will need to reset your password (https://qldwater.com.au/request-reset-password) to gain access to the secured areas of our website.  Please use the same email address you used previously to reset your password.  If you have issues with your log in, please contact us so we can help you through any issues.

Employees of member organisations who have not accessed our website before can register here.

If you still experience any issues, please email dgralton@qldwater.com.au and she will happily sort you out.

The longer version (for the interest of anyone in the same boat) is that Adobe Business Catalyst will no longer be supported soon, so not finding a new system wasn’t an option.  We have migrated to Treepl, and while the static pages have worked well our hosted documents, of which there are an awful lot, have not.  We have made the change in spite of this to avoid having to continue to maintain two systems, and apologise for any inconvenience experienced while we are dealing with these frustrations.

We’re hiring!

With the departure of Diana Kislitsyna, we are recruiting a new Project Support Assistant.  We hope to conduct interviews in the next couple of weeks with a view to the new person starting in July.

Happy 50th Dave Scheltinga!

Our SWIM champion for the last 9 years, Dave Scheltinga, turns the big 5-0 on Monday 1 June.  One of the nicest blokes you’ll meet – congratulations on behalf of all at qldwater Dave and we hope everyone in the membership who knows you can find a few minutes to send you an embarrassing email or SMS on the day.


Dave Cameron

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