eFlash #504

eFlash #504

eFlash #504
Date: 16-Sep-2021

In this edition: Go Water Skills Partnership!| Special Webinar on Progress with COVID Sewage Surveillance| Update: National Performance Report (NPR) Indicator Review| Annual Forum Wrap Up| qCRAC-SWEAP Contaminants Source Control Workshop| QWRAP Webinar on Artificial Intelligence for CCTV Analysis| QAEHS Conference 'Testing the Waters'

1. Go Water Skills Partnership!

Straight from Minister Farmer’s media release today:

Industry and training partners to vie for Queensland’s top awards

 A workforce development program that helps ensure Queenslanders have safe, secure, and sustainable urban water services is a finalist in the state-wide categories of the 60th annual Queensland Training Awards.

 Minister for Training and Skills Development, Di Farmer, said the Queensland Water Skills Partnership is a successful industry collaboration that addresses critical skills needs facing the urban water industry in Queensland.

 “The Queensland Water Skills Partnership is a finalist in the Premier’s Industry Collaboration Award category. This award celebrates exemplary skills development by industry and organisations delivering nationally recognised training,” Minister Farmer said.

 “Being a finalist in this category is well deserved recognition of the efforts of those who are working together to support training and workforce development in the Queensland water industry.

 “The partnership supports water industry staff to achieve the skills and experience required across Queensland, and currently has 51 participating organisations including councils and water boards.

 There were some other finalists too.

2. Special Webinar on Progress with COVID Sewage Surveillance

We have an additional Essentials Webinar programmed for 28 September 1:30 – 2:30 on Sewage Surveillance for SARS-CoV-2.

 We are fortunate to have update presentations on both the successful national Colossos program (Dan Deere) and also on the Queensland-wide monitoring organised through Queensland Health (Jochen Mueller, UQ).

 This is a great chance to catch up on how the sewer monitoring in being used to trace COVID outbreaks and how the information (and samples) you are providing are being used.

Registrations for this special webinar is now open. Please register here

3. Update: National Performance Report (NPR) Indicator Review 

Over the last couple months, the NPR review team has been collating and interpreting the views and insights provided by the NPR indicator review participants into a working model and way forward. Additionally, they have been consulting with a range of other stakeholder and State representatives to examine patterns and quality issues in the existing data set to inform an understanding of national and jurisdictional reporting trends, and working to understand the alignment between the NPR and state and territory reporting frameworks and requirements.

The ‘bottom-up’ assessment of the current NPR indicators has been completed and can be found at https://www.npr.harc.com.au/bottom-up-assessment/. A proposed way forward has been outlined but these pathways are still being refined and finalised with the support of technical advisory panels in the next step of the review. qldwater has representation on these panels.

Further information can be found on the HARC NPR Review Webpage (https://www.npr.harc.com.au/).

4. Annual Forum Wrap Up

A huge week last week with a universally well-received annual forum, along with our Strategic Priorities Group (SPG) meeting and AWA Gala Dinner. The presentations and recordings from the events will be made available as soon as we’ve had a chance to edit.

 Some highlights:

Day 1 – Automated Metering

  • Some excellent presenters with Chris Owen from Gold Coast receiving most votes for favourite presentation just pipping Lalji Rathod from Southern Downs, but several other strong contenders. Jaason Englesmith from Jacobs did a great job of setting the global scene, and there were enthusiastic panel discussions.
  • Strong engagement from both asset owners and vendors – many of the case studies presented demonstrated learnings as a result of engagement across the industry and well-developed planning.
  • Our SPG is very supportive of future events around this topic – the need for education for stakeholders and decision makers around risks and benefits for these solutions was a common theme across the 3 days,
  • A key message – local government procurement processes including tenders don’t always encourage good results in this rapidly evolving space. It is important to:
    • Plan well, allowing reasonable timeframes for the market to respond
    • Specify a need or a problem to be solved, not a solution
    • Engage suitable expertise, including from other asset owners, to evaluate the offered solutions against the need.

Day 2 – North Stradbroke Island and Dinner

  • Stimulating virtual panel discussion on managing services in communities with transient populations. SPG is keen to see a broader event with this theme, to learn from those who have successfully developed fit for purpose/ fit for place solutions.
  • Congratulations to Mackay Regional Council for again taking out the Best of the Best Queensland Water Taste Test, pipping Bundaberg Regional Council. More to come on this one but Mackay will again take on the best water in NSW, Australia, and potentially the world!
  • 4 great vendor pitches with Trimble/ Smart Tech taking out the gong for best pitch.
  • Excellent presentations from Matt Ingerman at Redland City Council, demonstrating some of the challenges in managing STPs in the region, some history of water supply (from the island to the mainland) and an innovative presentation on the Pt Lookout STP including a drone flyover – some of the feedback suggested it was all the good bits of a tour without the smell!
  • Congratulations to Lynne Powell of Cairns Regional Council, the recipient of the 2021 SPG Industry Contribution Award.

Lynne has been a strong supporter of the urban water sector for many years while working for Cairns Regional Council. As well as representing regional Queensland service providers on many AWA and WSAA committees, she has played an active role on a number of qldwater groups, particularly the SWEAP and qCRAC steering groups. In each of these groups, Lynne acts as a thought leader and actively shares information and creates links across a range of disciplines and backgrounds.

 Lynne’s scientific acumen and knowledge of environmental, Great Barrier Reef, public health issues, research and regulation have benefited not only Cairns RC but also informed state processes more broadly. Other Service Providers have often been informed by and adopted Lynne’s approach and ideas and she is tireless in providing feedback and informed commentary for consultation processes, ensuring that the needs of Cairns RC and regional utilities are well represented.

Despite her broad portfolio, Lynne is always approachable and willing to share information and help others in the industry and is commonly the first to share information and offer a helping hand. She always seeks to maximise public benefits for regional communities through a rational and evidence-based approach based on her broad knowledge of the industry and its capacity and capabilities. This is the same approach members and SPG expect of qldwater making Lynne a worthy recipient of the SPG award.

  • Thanks to Troy Pettiford who completed his two year term as SPG Chair, and welcome to Narelle D’Amico as incoming Chair. Trevor Dean has been elected as new Deputy Chair.
  • An amazing presentation from the Cross River Rail project with full 3D+ models of this enormous projects and fully-gamified fly throughs of the development.

 Day 3 – Strategy and Asset Management

  • Excellent series of presentations with Professor Damian Batstone’s coverage of the viability of various hydrogen technologies already most-requested.
  • Engaging series of provocations and workshop session to inform our industry roadmap. The recurring theme was “education” – and SPG will be considering what qldwater can do to support tools to better inform decision makers and other stakeholders of industry challenges and potential solutions.
  • Similar enthusiasm around asset management – again SPG keen to see more on how to shift the focus towards integration of financial asset management and sound engineering. Charles Dyer from Winton was a clear favourite of the afternoon presentations but again positive feedback for all.

A big thank you to our Principal Sponsor Calibre for supporting this event, as well as our other sponsors Taggle, Suez, Veolia, Aquatec Maxcon, Concept Environmental Services, SmartTech Australia, Trimble, Wagners and Endress+Hauser.

Also a big thank you to our Dinner/Gold Sponsor Royce Water Technology.

 Our Thinktank Chair, Daryl Ross kindly provided a summary of key themes across the event which we will work up for a future publication. Daryl has been championing a number of related initiatives aimed at demonstrating industry leadership and partnerships.

 It looks like we are heading to the Gold Coast in 2022!

5. qCRAC-SWEAP Contaminants Source Control Workshop

Source control for emerging contaminants is an area that the qldwater Consortium for Research and Advocacy on Contaminants (qCRAC) has targeted for future action. This is because for some contaminants, for which treatment processes are complex and potentially costly, the most effective control method may be to control the chemical at the source before it enters the wastewater system. Interest in this area is the prompt for a workshop, jointly hosted by qCRAC and SWEAP.

 The workshop will be run as a webinar on 21 October 2021 from 10:00 - 12:30.

 We have lined up six speakers for what promises to be an informative and lively session: 

 Shaun Thomas (South Australia EPA)
 David Sheehan (Vic Water)
 Brad Clarke (ALEC)
 Jochen Mueller (QAEHS)
 Susi Vardy (DES)
 Colin Hester (UU) 

Register Here 

6. QWRAP Webinar on Artificial Intelligence for CCTV Analysis

This information webinar is being convened by qldwater for QWRAP regions to better understand the advantages and costs of AI CCTV analysis. The webinar is also free for attendance by any Queensland Water and Sewerage Service Providers and will be held on 9:30 – 12 on Tuesday 21st September.

The webinar includes presentations from three providers of AI technology (VAPAR, Abyss Solutions, Pipe AI) along with updates on trials by the Victorian IWN, Waterstart and Unity Water and discussion by Queensland service providers on recent experiences with CCTV programs. For more information or a link to the TEAMS meeting please contact webinar@qldwater.com.au.

7. QAEHS Conference 'Testing the Waters'

The Queensland Alliance for Environmental Health Sciences is hosting a conference in Brisbane from 28 September to 1 October on wastewater epidemiology that may be of interest to some of you.

The program for the event is now available at their website, which includes a presentation from Dr Jiaying Li, whose her application for an Advance Queensland Fellowship on contaminants of emerging concern in wastewater is being supported by the qldwater Consortium for Research and Advocacy on Contaminants.

 Registration for the event is free of charge.

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