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Well here we are, December already. If you could hear the excitement in my voice (New Zealand accent and all), you'd know that I'm pretty fired up about that. No, not because I've got holidays coming up. I'm excited because our Training Team has been working extra hard to put together new resources, to develop new workshops and to deliver as much training as we possibly can. That's the stuff I love!

Wondering about this picture of me at my new favourite museum? It's from a little place up in the Northern Territory that I had the pleasure of visiting for a few weeks. This museum may not tickle everyone's fancy but it sure did mine! (And no, I am a not a relic to be consigned there permanently!)

Read on for our latest dose of sense (common sense, nonsense, both are welcome!) and as always, we hope that you enjoy.

- Liz Millan (Chief Trainer)

Every year at about this time we release a link to our open industry calendar. Although we update it throughout the year, this first version of the calendar often contains a large number of courses and workshops.

Make sure you check it out and look for your opportunity to upgrade your skills in 2017.

Visit our new and updated calendar right here.


New Web Training Videos: SMART Goals and the PDCA Cycle
A goal without a plan is just a wish.

At this time of year as we reflect on the year past and make resolutions for the New Year, it seemed an appropriate time to explore the topic of goal setting. The technique of setting SMART goals is relevant both to your work life and dare I say it, your private life.

After all it is no use arranging to go on a fishing trip with your mates if nobody brings the tackle and bait or worse yet the beer...

The first video should help set the scene in understanding the differences and inter-relationships between policies, plans and procedures.
Click here for that!
SMART goal setting will help you create suitable targets (and a plan to achieve them).
I hope you enjoy the second short video on what a SMART goal is. Click here to watch!

I will follow that with a video on the PDCA cycle (almost as cool as a Ducati!!). Click here to watch!

Revisit our Operator Maths Web Tutorials.


A year on from the deletion of the old NWP07 package we have completed the last remaining students enrolled under this old qualification. At the moment, we're 
delighted to already be signing off the first batch of completed qualification certificates under NWP 15.

The learners from Burketown, Carpentaria, Croydon, Doomadgee, facilitated by funding from LGAQ , co-funded by DET User Choice and fantastic support from their councils, have successfully gained this current NWP 15 qualification. We are thrilled by this and want to see more people gain this new qualification.

Please check out our 2017 Training Calendar on our website  (click here!). The calendar has a solid list already but we update it frequently throughout the year with single unit and full qualification offerings. Check back often - especially in the new year! If you can't see a course or workshop listed that meets your technology / study needs, just ask us.

We haven't forgotten about those of you holding older versions of Certificate II and III. We are thrilled to be able to offer you the opportunity to upgrade your qualification to the appropriate new Certificate III offerings...particularly Certificate III in Water Industry Operations NWP30215 & Certificate III in Water Industry Treatment  NWP30315.

You might get a pleasant surprise how the new package rules allow more flexibility and portability of equivalent units into the new Certificate III's. Many of you may only need to complete a single new unit of study NWPGEN001 Apply the risk management principles of the water industry standards, guidelines and legislation. (this has a component relating to wastewater also). The remaining 10 units of competency likely may be credit transferred or completed by RPL (recognition of prior learning). We are happy to consider your existing qualifications and skill sets to give you a customised individual training plan, at a special price based on your needs.

For those of you who do not hold a qualification already, but have a wealth of experience, we've made sure you won't miss out! Talk to us about a blended delivery/RPL process to get you over the line. Book in asap for an RPL evaluation in January or February...places are going fast!!

PS The trainers love to travel...we are itching to come & visit you at your plant or worksite, to upskill your team & offer our expert process support and advice as a side benefit of our visit. Hopefully you will be friendlier than my (fake!) little mate in the picture!

- Liz Millan (Chief Trainer)
Key Article Flashback: Stormwater Modelling and the Rationale Method

When it comes to storm season, you don't want to be swept under. Understanding more about how you can get ahead of bad weather by using models to plan and prepare is a good idea.

Mario, one of our Engineers, put together an article to help walk you through it. Read it here.

Tips From Travis: A Review of Training Whiteboard Drawings

Liz here....this month our Dr. Robinson shared a few of his "artistic efforts" with us. Well.... even though we're not sure his work has a future in the Louvre, we're happy to feature his "works of art" as part of his excellent work as a Trainer for S&B. Check them out (and the funny true stories that go with them!)
Dr. Travis Robinson here with my contribution to our December newsletter. Recently, I was telling Chief Trainer Liz that I had the chance to look back over some of the drawings that I have done on the whiteboard during the delivery of some of the training I delivered this year, and found some interesting additions.

For the Torres Strait Islander students, I often added a Dugong and a bloke fishing, as this was such an important part of the culture, and what most of the conversations revolved around. It was interesting to then mark the students' assessment material and see them incorporate these into their drawings as well (often better drawn then what I did).

I also added in the Torresian Imperial Pigeon as a risk factor for drinking water as part of the HACCP, which made the students happy (look in the palm tree).

I also try to introduce Bill Oldroyd (S&B Senior Trainer) to the students, so that they have some idea of what to expect when he comes up and takes the oher units. Most of the time, Bill is relaxing in a hammock drinking a cold beer.
Actually, I say that there is very little in the water and wastewater industry that Bill doesn't know and hasn't been involved in. And I say he is a good bloke to boot.

For Mossman, one of the students had recently fallen off her horse and had had a long stay in hospital, with some titanium plates inserted into her face. Therefore, for the units of competency NWPGEN001, one of the risk factors in the water cycle ended up having a horse with the student lying on the ground.

A lot of the Cooktown and Mossman students were cattle-men, so they were quite critical if the bull was not drawn anatomically correct.

For some reason, when I am explaining what an ecosystem is, and what types of ecosystems are in their region, I tend to use examples of animals as well. So for Mossman, the old Cassowary tends to make an appearance in the rainforest ecosystem.

Some of the student drawings do lead a little to be desired. I am not sure if I would hop in the land cruiser in this drawing from one of the students (note: the drawing was otherwise in plan view).

Unfortunately, I have yet to incorporate our Chief Trainer Liz into any of the drawings. But I am thinking of somebody looking into a microscope with a kiwi walking past in the background . I do always say that if you want to know about the microbiology present in the wastewater treatment process, there are few people I have met that know them as well as Liz.
Thanks Travis. Maybe for one of our upcoming Training Web Help Videos we'll do a "Drawing with Travis" episode! - Liz

Tips From Bill:

How to Do a Simple Drop-down Test to Check the Accuracy of your Dosing Pump

A drop down test is a fast and easy way to check the flow rate of your chemical dosing pump. Dosing pump flow rates should be checked regularly (at least every 3 months) and always after any maintenance has been carried out on the pump. It is important to verify that the dose rate your pump is delivering is accurate.

Most modern dosing systems with a fixed supply tank (poly dosing systems for example) include a graduated measuring cylinder and valves, arranged in such a way that a drop test can be carried out. Note that drop testing is not always suitable for some types of chemicals, so your dosing system may not have a drop test cylinder. When in doubt check with your supervisor.

To safely carry out a drop test the calibration cylinder should be on the suction side of the pump, with two isolating valves, as shown in the drawing below. The top of the cylinder should be vented back to the storage tank or to a suitable drain, and should never be left open to the atmosphere.

Drop Test Procedure

1. Before you start, ensure that Valve A is open and Valve B is closed. Now start the pump and run normally. Slowly open Valve B until the graduated cylinder fills with liquid up to the zero mark.
2. When the liquid level reaches the zero mark, close Valve A and, using a digital stopwatch or wrist watch with a sweep second hand, start timing as the liquid level drops. Time it for a period of 60 seconds and note the mark on the cylinder, to which the level has dropped. This is the measured value. Re-open Valve A and close Valve B.

3. Most cylinders have two scales. The left hand scale shows the volume of the column in mL. Divide the measured value (the volume pumped in mL) by 1000 to get litres. The time taken was 1 min (60 sec), so to get the flow rate in L/hour, divide the volume by the time and multiply by 60. To make life easier, the right hand scale on the cylinder is often a direct reading in litres per hour for a 1 minute test.

4. The test is done. Record your readings and check against the pump dose rate you set, to ensure it is within specification.


Just for fun! "A Well Planned Retirement"
From the London Times....
Outside England's Bristol Zoo there is a parking lot for 150 cars and 8 buses. For 25 years, its parking fees were managed by a very pleasant attendant.
The fees were 1£ for cars ($1.40), 5£ for buses (about $7). Then, one day, after 25 years of never missing a day of work, he just didn't show up.

The Zoo Management called the Council and asked it to send them another parking agent. The Council did some research and replied that the parking lot was the Zoo's own responsibility. The Zoo advised the Council that the attendant was a City employee. The City Council responded that the lot attendant had never been on the City payroll.

Meanwhile, sitting in his villa somewhere on the coast of Spain or France or Italy... is a man who'd apparently had a ticket machine installed completely on his own and then had shown up every day, to collect and keep the parking fees, estimated at about $560 per day -- for 25 years.

Assuming 7 days a week, this amounts to just over $7 million dollars ...... and no one even knows his name.

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Bug of the Month:
Euplotes moebiusi - Santa!

This fascinating member of the group of ciliate protozoa known as spirotrichs was seen in the activated sludge of a WWTP receiving dairy trade waste. This group of ciliates is differentiated by having a flattened body shape, a large and obvious oral groove (running nearly the length of the body), and hardened cilia, called cirri. The Euplotes uses these cirri to crawl over the surface of flocs, swimming and to capture food. E. moebiusi is quite rare compared to the more frequently seen E. patella. Euplotes feed on aggregated bacteria, also on microalgae and some small flagellates.

 In my experience they are found in systems with large dense flocs, which provide a good base for them to crawl over. I have typically seen them appear following a "bloom" of the smaller crawling ciliate Aspidisca. The E. moebiusi appeared in samples from this site when the operator began to return supernatant from a final lagoon, back to the head of the activated sludge plant. I guess algae were on the menu!

See what a good student this E. moebiusi is, he has his USI (unique student identifier). You can use the handy link  (click here) to create your own USI, which you can then use to enrol into training with an RTO...such as Simmonds & Bristow!

Simmonds & Bristow is also on Facebook! You'll find stories, pictures and links on our Facebook page. Click here to visit our Facebook page!
Where In The World Have We Been?

North, south, east and (occasionally) west - can you keep up with the S&B Training Team? Wherever we go, we enjoy meeting new people. Give us a wave if you see our a member of the team somewhere near you....

And In Other News....

The holidays are almost here and that means annual leave time for many operators. When regular operators are on holiday, it can be difficult to figure out who can keep the plant up and running.

Why stress? Contact Debra Smith at Simmonds & Bristow and investigate Relief Operators for your plant. Each  S&B Relief Operator will possess a combination of qualifications, experience and skills that meet or exceed the requirements of the client's brief. Your plant will be well cared for and you and your team can enjoy your well-deserved break!

 Or, call Debra at 1800 620 690!

Simmonds & Bristow|  training@simmondsbristow.com.au | 1800 620 690 | simmondsbristow.com.au