Operator of the Year Civil 2023

Operator of the Year Civil 2023

Operator of the Year Civil 2023
Date: 24-Jul-2023

qldwater is proud to sponsor the Young Operator of the Year and Operator of the Year (Civil / Allrounder) at the WIOA QLD Conference each year,  and this year we were once again impressed by the quality of nominations.

The very worthy recipient of the 2023 Queensland Operator of the Year (Civil / Allrounder) Award is John Sebasio, Senior Operator from Veolia Water

John embodies so many of the principles and work ethic that set our industry sector apart from others. From demonstrated attention to Occupational Health and Safety and other regulatory responsibilities, initiative and innovation to improve operations, overall customer service focus and continued education and training achievement, John stood out in all elements.

John developed a minor capital works program to bring the local Water Treatment Plant (WTP) back to nameplate production rate, thereby ensuring continued supply at a sufficient rate to five local communities in the Northern Peninsula Area. 

He also regularly identified and implemented safety improvements across the plant and network. For example, John eliminated the need for confined space access to reservoir valve pits through modifications to the lids by drilling access holes to enable the valve wrench to be operated from above the pit. 

Due to the remote location and nature of the plant, John demonstrates continuous innovation in the delivery of work - managing extremely limited resources (both people and materials) in a remote and often difficult to access region. John takes personal responsibility and often performs critical, out of hours repairs, assuring continuity of supply and water quality for the community. 

John also manages the challenges associated with the availability of trained and competent contractors and resources, cultural impacts on water use and distribution, and balancing community perceptions of the water network with regulatory and operational requirements. 

John single handedly operated the Bamaga Water Treatment Plant and network for a period of 6 months, maintaining a safe water supply throughout the period while managing significant water quality incidents, a regular occurrence during annual heavy rainfall at the start of the wet season which causes very high turbidity and colour in feed water with potential to compromise disinfection processes. This can be managed through significant effort in manual sampling and disinfection of reservoirs.

John also took responsibility for repairing fire hydrants at the NPA hospital. His prompt actions ensured that the fire safety infrastructure remained intact and functional, providing a safe environment for patients, staff, and visitors.

Outside of work John runs weekly gym training sessions for the community, volunteers at cultural festivals and other community events, coaches local basketball and rugby teams and operates as a community health advocate and role model for remote, indigenous community members. John received a trophy and a professional development trip worth approximately $2,500.

Watch this great short video about the integration of John and the Veolia Water team in the local community - demonstrating the continuing and important connection to water through the lens of a local NPA man and a passionate water treatment operator: Bamaga’s Water - A Veolia Story.

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