Have you met our Engineers & Scientists?  Click here to watch a video and get to know a few of them....
Well here we are with our first training newsletter of 2017. We've really appreciate the positive feedback we've been hearing from some of you about why you enjoy reading our little bits of news, education and all that other funny stuff we sneak in. We'd love to hear more about what you like reading, what you'd like to see...questions/complaints/compliments, we want them all. If you care to share, just click here and send us an email.

Our open industry courses are now really getting rolling for the year and our custom courses (the ones where we come right to you and deliver technical training specific to your treatment or network set up) are keeping our trainers hopping all over the place. If I didn't stop every now and then to pop into the office and work on these newsletters, I don't think I'd know which end was up!

But I love what I'm doing and that's pretty important to me. And even if you don't love what you do, you can love doing it well....which is why training is so important. How's that for a plug for signing up with S&B to get a few workshops or courses in?

Keep reading, keep learning and we'll see you again in April.

- Liz Millan (Chief Trainer)
PS: Just to prove how much I love my work...here's an oldie but goodie of me on holiday. LOL! You know you're addicted to the industry when your holiday photos in Europe show you and foreign manhole covers!

Meet Xin: The Calm Oasis at the Centre of Our Training Team

If you've done S&B training, chances are you've talked with Xin Zhang, our Training Coordinator. Xin is the one who makes sure your courses are scheduled, staffed and organised efficiently. She helps walk you through your funding options and works out any difficulties you may be encountering. Xin is your (and our!) "go to" person.

Xin a key member of our team, and we've been dying to introduce you to her. We just couldn't get her to stop working long enough to stand in front of a camera for a few minutes!

(In fact, we had to put this article in the newsletter as a placeholder just to convince her to finally do it!) To watch Xin's video, click here.

You can watch videos about the rest of the training team  here

Good news! Liz won't be quitting her day job!

Our Liz has been hard at work on some renovations during her days off recently. She was even starting to talk about flipping houses on the side. That is, until she got a hold of the spray paint. Liz calls this a "renovation spray painting fail lol" and would like to draw your attention to the two foot shaped patches on the drop cloth & jandal (thong) marks on her grey feet!
It sounds like Liz will be sticking to training and we couldn't be happier.

Tips From Travis: The Red Claw

Many water quality sampling plans require sampling to be undertaken immediately following rainfall events so that the impact of the rainfall on water quality is properly captured.
In fact, the water quality data from these rainfall events is often the most important data that will alert you to the contaminant loads impacting on water quality from the activity that you are involved in.

Although water quality sampling is often done in nice, scenic locations, sometimes access to some of the sampling points is made more difficult because of the high flows during or immediately following rainfall events.
One time I was undertaking sampling at a development site, and there was no way for me to park or gain access anywhere near one of the sample points where I had to sample. However, I was able to access it by walking the length of a newly constructed concrete stormwater channel, in which the flow had quickly subsided.


As I was walking along inside the channel, I noticed that there was some quite sizeable red-claw that had been washed out into the channel, and I thought that this would be a good opportunity for me to take the red-claw home to the kids so that we could cook them up and eat them.
When I took the four tasty morsels home, the kids decided that the yabbies were too cute to eat. And apparently (according to them) if you give animals names, you are not allowed to eat them!
So we set up a little aquarium for "Bert", "Ernie", "Elmo" and "Big Bird" (the red claw) to live in, with an aerator, swimming pool, sand and rock beaches, banana lounges, and some plants put in there to provide protection from the sun.
The only problem was that no matter what we fed the red-claw - bread, mince, vegetables, sausages - they just wouldn't eat anything.
This hunger strike on behalf of the "red claw four" continued, and after five days, when we woke up and checked on the red claw, one of them had died and the others had been feasting on the corpse!
To save the kids any further trauma, I took the remaining red-claw back to where I had found them and let them go.
Now I know better than to let them know if I catch any yabbies at work. Or if the kids do see them, the red-claw can only be named "fried", boiled", "lunch" or "dinner".

Liz here - Travis' story is a good one and it touches on the importance of correct handling and hygiene procedures. That's especially important if you're going to take a yabbie home from your sampling trip (as a pet or for dinner!). If you aren't sure what's required or how to manage these sorts of procedures, we can help. I asked Travis to elaborate a little bit on how and this is what he came up with:

Simmonds and Bristow have extensive experience in the development and implementation of water quality sampling plans in a range of different situations, including construction, development, industrial, or agricultural settings, as well as contaminant spills, background sampling, drinking water sampling, just to name a few.
We are able to offer you a range of different training options that will enable you to develop the skills and techniques necessary so that you will be able to confidently develop and implement water quality sampling plans. Then you too will be able to obtain accurate, representative samples that provide a clear assessment of water quality at your site, without the results being contaminated by incorrect handling and hygiene procedures.
Thanks Travis. And next time you plan to cook up some yabbies, how about NOT cooking them in the communal mess room kettle as happened in one construction camp I stayed in while delivering training (I went and bought my own $10 kettle the next day and locked it in my donga!!). - Liz

Tips From Bill: He's MIA! (Not really!)

We have had Bill busier than a blue a__ed fly improving our learner resources with lots of site photos and delivering the second week of network operations training already in January. The retic and sewer guys have told us they have enjoyed his wit and wisdom.
Poor Bill, I was "so mean" making him go to beautiful Mossman in FNQ to deliver this training, I'm giving him a rest from contributing to the newsletter this month. Luckily Travis has over excelled and given us some great material...see his "cooking" tips to follow... Liz

Tips From Travis: Travelling Master Chefs
How to Cook on the Road

The Simmonds & Bristow trainers are constantly on the road or winging it through the air all across Australia providing training to water industry operators and associated personnel.

The amount of travelling that we are required to do, coupled with the remote areas that we are often required to stay in, have meant that the trainers have had to develop some enviable skills in the preparation and presentation of meals while on the road.

So move over "Master-Chef Australia", here comes the culinary expertise of our own Simmonds & Bristow trainers. We hope it will help you out the next time that you are preparing your food while travelling!

  • Cooking up some hot dog sausages in the kettle supplied in the motel room because you don't have a hot-plate or saucepan;

  • Cooking up your two minute noodles for dinner the next night in the same kettle;

  • Putting the toaster on its side, and using it like it is a cheap George Foreman Grill;

  • Cooking up a couple of thin steaks in the toaster, using it like a vertical grill;

  • Placing a meat pie in some foil wrapping as you are leaving the motel in the morning, then placing it in the engine-bay while driving all day, and then when you check into the motel that night, your dinner will be already cooked;

  • Eating cold porridge in long-life milk for breakfast after you realise there is no microwave in your room (peeling thirty of those little plastic long-life milk containers so that you have enough milk);

  • After realising there is no bowl in your motel room, trying to stuff four Weet-bix's into a mug and eating them for breakfast. And then you have to eat them dry, because you used all the long-life milk yesterday in your cold porridge;

  • You realise that there is no vegetable peeler in your room to peel the potatoes, so you have a go using the safety razor you used for shaving;

  • Going to eat sausages and spaghetti in a tin - then realise there is no bowl, so you either have to microwave it in a coffee mug or eat it cold. And then you realise there is no can opener;

  • There are no spoons, forks or knives in the accommodation, so you are forced to try to stir your cup of tea with a pen. Which then starts to melt;

  • You eat a meal at the local restaurant, only to be told by the locals during training the next day that the restaurant has only just re-opened after an extended closure enforced by the health department due to rampant uncleanliness, the presence of cockroaches and other pest species beyond counting, and that they are suspected of substituting ibis in dishes in place of chicken (and the dish you selected and ate was, according to the menu, "chicken with almonds");

  • Buy a pack of four ice-blocks, thinking that they will last you the week. Get back to your room and stick them in the freezer section of the bar fridge in your room, then realise the next day that the freezer is not capable of keeping the ice blocks frozen, so you are forced to eat all four at once, and what you are left with is a runny, almost completely melted mess in a bowl. And a stomach ache from eating four melted ice blocks at once;

  • Eating a bowl of yoghurt and then thinking it tasted a little strange. Then realising you didn't buy any yoghurt, and the use by date on the cream you just ate expired more than a month ago;

  • Buy all the food for the week before you get to site, and then realise the smell and taste of bananas has permeated into all the rest of your food so that your lamb steaks, chicken kebabs, and jatz crackers all taste like banana;

  • You sit down at the end of your day with a cup of tea with water out of the hot water tap, because there is no working kettle (somebody probably broke it heating up their two minute noodles and hot dogs), and all you are able to muster is a tepid, weak tasteless cup of lukewarm water;

  • There is no bottle opener in your room. So you have to use a knife to try to dig out the cork from your bottle of port, and then you are forced to push the cork into the bottle of port so that you can get some of the port out. Then, when you are drinking the port out of the cup, you have to drink with your teeth together to try to sieve out pieces of cork.


Bon Appetit!

    You can also successfully boil eggs in those plastic open top kettles. I've also found, from experience, that those single serve cereal boxes have a waterproof liner, so if no bowl, you can pour the milk straight into the box, but if no spoon you have to dig your cornflakes out of that small box with your fingers!! Local produce also helps boost the food supply. I have found some nice mangoes in hotel gardens and local parks, even found some wild bananas on Erub Island. Every bit helps -  Cheers, Bill. 

    And I've used the little brush out of a packet of hair dye as a spoon before now, when arriving to an empty house after my tenant had left! - Liz

Learning From Across Simmonds & Bristow - Sharing Our Wealth of Knowledge
Discharge Options: Where does your wastewater go?

If you're interested in learning more about the options when it comes to disposing of effluent (and who wouldn't be?), why not check out this helpful article on our website? It was written by Mario, a graduate Civil Engineer from our Engineering and Scientific Services team.

Read it here.

Do you want to keep up with the latest news and information from Simmonds & Bristow? Do you want to know when new positions are available? If so, click here to follow us on Linked In to keep up with the latest news and events!
Bug of the Month:
Spathidium spathula - Shovelhead (no not a HD) !

Considering it was Valentine's not too long ago, I thought we'd let things get a little bit racier around here and talk about a bug who can celebrate Valentine's day all by himself if you know what I mean!
Seeing this predatory unusual shovel headed ciliate in an activated sludge sample from an extended aeration STP certainly got my motor running! (I only ever saw them in this single sample, out of all the hundreds of mixed liquors I have examined). 
Spathidium can be described as voracious carnivores of other free-swimming ciliate microorganisms. They are special in that they can reproduce either asexually (by splitting themselves into two), for many generations, at least 1000 generations have been observed of this "solitary behaviour"; or sexually through conjugation with another Spathidium (which would have to be more fun!!).
It has been noted that Spathidium is more likely to engage in conjugation if living conditions are becoming less favourable for it.(No comment!)
Additionally they have the freakish ability to fully regenerate themselves from small fragments of their heads or tail ends.
Their significance in an activated sludge population is really only that there must be significant amounts of other free-swimming ciliate protozoa present, to be preyed upon by the Spathidium. The plant in question was running a 18 - 22 day sludge age and was extremely alkalinity limited (final effluent alkalinity < 50 mg/L as CaCO3frequently). The operators were playing with the aeration around this period (in the middle of winter) and trying to restrict nitrification (and hence DO demand and alkalinity consumption) by reducing DO to levels in the range 0.5 - 1.0 ppm.
Don't try this at home folks (at that time they had no nitrogen limits in their discharge consent).

100x magnification 1 scale div = 10 µm

400x magnification 1 scale div = 2.5 µm

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Where In The World Have We Been?

We'd like to show you a more detailed version of this map, but we're travelling so much (and so broadly) that we had to zoom out like this just to get it all in from Tassie up to PNG!

And In Other News....

SAVE $$$$ and make sure your plant won't let you down!
Our Engineering and Scientific Services (ESS) Team has been offering a Jan/Feb Audit Special with Zero Travel Fees and more.

Plant Audits are a great way to check over your treatment plant to make sure things up to snuff. Stop problems early or catch them before they start.

You can download the audit flyer here. Given the popularity of this promotion and the fact that this is technically our February newsletter (even though it is also technically March 1st!) our ESS team is willing to let you get in on this great offer if you book your audit before the 10th of March. You can inquire with the ESS team by emailing them here. Don't wait!

We update this one pretty often, so keep checking back if you don't see what you're looking for. Or, better yet, send us and email or give us a call and we'll see what we can do for you!

Visit our new and updated calendar right here.


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