The Sounding Board
The latest news and updates from Simmonds & Bristow
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From the Managing Director
The year 2020 has been more than a challenge for our communities, businesses and individually. The economic, societal and personal impacts of the pandemic and the public health response are beyond measure. Throughout this troubled time we have been busy helping our many clients throughout metropolitan, regional and remote Australia and Papua New Guinea continue to make good clean water.

Our Engineering & Scientific Services team has been faithfully monitoring and troubleshooting water supplies, effluent releases and swimming pools to help ensure this critical infrastructure is supporting its communities with safe drinking and bathing water and the environment is not being forgotten and harmed.

Our Plant Operation & Maintenance team has been extremely busy standing their post at their regional and remote treatment plants throughout the lock downs and restrictions, operating and servicing their communities WTPs, STPs, WWTPs and PCP, ensuring water quality for drinking and environmental release is safe and not causing harm.

Our training team, was initially shut out of the class room, yet the calls for help kept coming, so they flexed and very quickly launched online virtual training rooms to deliver the good oil and stay COVID Safe. And our quiet achievers in our support teams diligently kept the logistics up to the field and technology teams to allow them to keep going every day. I’m am very proud of our people and their courage during these times. Solutions to challenges were practical, straight forward and simply executed.
I trust you enjoy our new quarterly newsletter, the numerous articles and news content plus some funnies as well. These articles are also available on our website if you wish to revisit them or view other material in our news or resources sections.


David Bristow B.E.(Chem), CPEng, NER, RPEQ
Managing Director & Principal Engineer

How to Deal with Reduced Inflows into your Sewage Treatment Plant with Supplementary Feeding
Terrence Allen BE(Chem)
Process Engineer
Supplementary Process Feeding
The Sewage Treatment process can be challenging to keep operating effectively if your population drastically reduces. As biological processes, sewage treatment plants are very difficult to control and maintain at less than 25% of their design loading.

Businesses that experience significant seasonal swings will typically be designed to accommodate this variation, with parts of the plant either able to be slowed or ‘turned’ down or able to go off-line entirely to accommodate the lower populations. However if your business does not often experience these kinds of reductions in visitor numbers or population, you’ll need to take steps to ensure that the biomass that is the heart of your wastewater treatment process remains viable. This will typically be in the form of external feeding of your system. This can be achieved by dosing with a variety of chemicals to replace the carbon and other nutrients that would usually be present in sewage. There are a few chemical combinations that can achieve this.

Carbohydrate (Artificial Food):
For carbon, you can use either granular sugar or a sucrose solution; CSR sells a 60% sucrose solution specifically for enhancing process de-nitrification, however any reasonable sucrose solution should suit. Sugar does not need to be anything special, raw sugar, white sugar. It should all work. Molasses can also be used, but tends to be difficult to feed and can add a brown colour to your effluent.
Granular sugar will need to be dissolved to be dosed, however it should also be noted that 60% sucrose solutions are generally quite viscous, and may need to be mixed with water to allow it to be more easily handled.

How to Operate your Water Treatment Plant and Disinfection Systems at Reduced Flows
Terrence Allen BE(Chem)
Process Engineer
The current global pandemic has resulted in significant impacts on various business sectors. The downturn from the shut-down or isolation period and social distancing measures have impacted many industry sectors, with negligible travel and holiday making hitting resorts, holiday, construction, and contractor accommodation hard.

Many remote resorts and communities need to provide their own wastewater and water treatment infrastructure, and this infrastructure relies upon visitors, guests, contractors, and fly-in residents to operate reliably.

However, this shutdown or isolation period will not last forever. When it finishes, resorts, holiday places, construction and contractor camps, etc. will need to be ready for a possible sudden influx of visitors.

To help you keep your water treatment infrastructure operating at low flows and still make good clean water, we offer the following support.

WTP Operation at Low Demand
Running a WTP at low flow requires specific management but does not require any drastic changes to the plant itself; for most plants, simply changing its operational schedule will allow it to operate reliability and make safe potable water. 

To operate the plant at lower flow, the best method is to limit water making to a few long runs one or a couple of days a week. WTP equipment will typically operate better with more consistency if it is run for closer to its design run time, which is typically between 8 and 20 hours per day. 

It’s far better to run a WTP for 8 hours once a week as opposed to 1 hour every day. As such, water making should be saved up, and conducted in a few large batches. This is especially the case if the plant includes filtration equipment, as short run times generally do not allow filters to ripen effectively, and can result in water going ‘off’ within the filter due to ineffective or infrequent backwashing.  

Welcome to Our ESS Manager
Matthew Reid B.E.(Chem),RPEQ, CEng, MIChemE
Manager of Engineering and Scientific Services
Matt is an experienced RPEQ chemical process engineer and water quality specialist with demonstrated practical experience over the water treatment project cycle. He has in-depth technical knowledge of drinking water quality risk and process design of conventional water treatment, desalination, and advanced water treatment processes. He brings his engineering and management experience to Simmonds & Bristow to directly supervise, support, and develop process engineers, water quality specialists, and various technicians in our company.

Matt is practically grounded and understands the challenges facing water providers looking first and foremost to meet their compliance in an operationally sustainable way, and then working toward industry best practice based on their technical, public health, operational, and business risks. He has managed construction and commissioning of conventional water treatment and desalination plants and is perfectly placed to help water providers, councils, and utilities work sensibly toward their planning, design, and operational business objectives.
What Does MEDLI Actually Do?
MEDLI is the Model for Effluent Disposal via Land Irrigation
Benefits:The reiterative simulation process will provide you with a clear set of:
  • Wet Weather Storage capacity (tanks to store your effluent while it’s raining);
  • Irrigation area required, and
  • Irrigation regime (how much effluent and how frequently it can be discharged)

How Does the Modelling Process Work: When developing a MEDLI model we will take a set of known site data and look at a number of variables to come to the best operational practice (both environmentally & economically).
Typical inputs are:
  • Soil type and quality: either from your site’s soil investigation or from literature;
  • The vegetation over your irrigation areas (grass, native forest etc): either existing or planned;
  • Local climate data (we gather this information on your behalf)
  • Estimated effluent quality & quantity (this comes from your proposed treatment plant design)

The variables are then: Wet Weather Storage capacity; Irrigation area size; Irrigation regime, and sometimes, when the variable are restricted, we would also look at the effluent quality.

So What?
The larger your irrigation area, the more irrigation depth you can apply on any one day, which means you will need less wet weather storage.If land availability is low and you don’t want to ‘waste’ space for effluent irrigation, you can opt to have a higher level of treatment and a larger wet weather storage volume. This will save you some land area.The value of being able to predict your operational requirements before the plant is built cannot be underestimated. Changes made at the planning stage will cost way less and are easier to implement than when you’ve already got a plant installed onsite and an EA in your hand!

Alpine Resort Aeration & Heat Exchanger Upgrade
Tracey Baldwin B.E. (Mechanical)
Project Engineer & Estimator

I love the variety that my role as the company’s Project Engineer & Estimator offers. Working with the Operations & Maintenance team, I enjoy finding and delivering practical and technical solutions for upgrades and refits of Water and Wastewater Treatment Plants.
During the COVID19 lock down, I was at Charlotte’s Pass, upgrading the local STP Aeration & Heat Exchanger system. A great challenge and delivered on time and within budget, all before the winter ramps up. Now I’m refurbishing a residential care sewage treatment plant, renewing its bioreactor and extending its life for many years to come.
Give me a call if you’d like to discuss and resolve how you can renew and extend the life of your critical water /wastewater infrastructure rather than having to spend big bucks on a new one.
In 2019, our client contacted Simmonds & Bristow to provide engineering and project management support to undertake an aeration, heat exchanger and decanter upgrade. These works began in March 2020 and were to be completed prior to the winter ramp up.

This Resort Wastewater Treatment Plant is a sequence batch reactor (SBR) treatment plant based upon Extended Aeration Activated Sludge (EA-AS) technology. The main bioreactor consists of five (5) interconnected tanks, arranged in series. Whilst the SBR consists of five tanks, it operates as a single SBR train and as such, the SBR has a constant feed. The anoxic phase occurs in Tank 1 which is a small mixed tank at the start of the process. It is equipped with a single axial mixer and a hoppered base angled towards Tank 2. Tanks 2 – 5 are configured as intermittent aeration tanks and provide the primary aerobic capacity for the treatment plant.

The peak flow for the plant is experienced during the winter months when the ski season increases the patronage of the Village to 1000 people compared to the summer holidays at 300 people. There is a large portion of time around these occupancies that the village is essentially empty except for the full time staff that maintain the facilities. The plant undergoes a ramp up phase in the weeks leading up to the ski season to build up the biomass.

The treatment plant was bypassed to allow the works to be undertaken. The old single tank treatment plant was used as a bypass tank to keep biomass alive for reseeding of the plant after the upgrade works were completed. The old tank has the capacity of approximately half of the newer plants five tanks and the newer plant was decanted low enough so as to transfer most of the biomass to the bypass tank. Equipment was then set up to maintain the treatment process using the existing plants aeration system and a submersible pump for decanting to the maturation lagoon prior to filtration and UV treatment and releasing within specification as usual. This process remained in place for the duration of the works which was ten weeks in duration.

Water Industry Training - We’ve Been Everywhere Almost
We’ve been to Atherton, Ayr, Burdekin, Berrigan, Brisbane, Douglas, Cairns, Cooktown, Logan, Mareeba, Mackay, Redlands, Talandji (WA), Townsville, Whitsundays, Widebay all on-site then switched to Virtual Training for Sydney, Perth, FNQ ROC etc. 

S&B has been fortunate to have recently delivered multiple face to face water industry training sessions to our learners in Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia. Then when travel became limited we switched delivery seamlessly to Virtual Training. Our program was developed by our dedicated team from concept to trial and beta testing then on to a full course delivery in just 9 days.

The change to Virtual Training was so we could continue to provide a seamless change in our training delivery to the learners and to provide ongoing support so upskilling was not interrupted. We are still travelling throughout Queensland however, as required, we can switch to Virtual Training at a moments notice to ensure continuity of delivery.

Simmonds & Bristow are a registered RTO 1735

New Simmonds & Bristow Vehicles to service
our clients needs
We have 3 new vehicles to add to our fleet. They have been dispatched to various sites around Queensland to ensure we have the latest equipment to serve and meet our clients needs.

Simmonds & Bristow provide relief plant operators to cover for the client’s permanent staff being on leave, away at training, or awaiting replacement. The relief operator can also be deployed to provide the client with a back-up operator during major events or maintenance programs.

Simmonds & Bristow is a registered labour hire provider under the Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017 (QLD) (License LHL-02237-P3R5M) and we are pleased to be able to provide you with the support that you need.

Exciting News - Grand Opening of our new office
at Gold Coast
Linda Nyamaswe MEng, BEng (Env).

I’ve been with Simmonds & Bristow for almost 3 years since completing my Masters project that investigated the impact of slope and mulch cover on effluent irrigation systems. I am a process engineer with a Masters in Environmental Engineering and Pollution Control.
I’m excited to be based on the Gold Coast to provide practical solutions for our client communities from the northern rivers of NSW through the Scenic Rim and the regional and metro communities of the Gold Coast.
Feel free to call me (0429 681 811) to discuss and resolve your challenges, whether it’s a water or
wastewater treatment plant operational /design issue, a regulatory compliance matter, effluent irrigation issue, leachate problem or a water balance or water sensitive urban design stormwater challenge.
We are very pleased to announce the grand opening of our new office in Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast! Linda Nyamaswe, as an environmental engineer can provide clients with the benefit of her extensive water industry experience and professional knowledge across the Gold Coast, Scenic Rim and Northern Rivers regions.

Linda has a passion for the environment and will be able to provide advice and technical services to a wide range of clients within Council, Industry or Commercial who have either Water, Wastewater and/or Sewage Treatment plants. She will also have the full resources of the entire Simmonds & Bristow team, assuring clients that they will have access to our professional and experienced group of specialists in the water industry.

Linda's water industry expertise covers many facets across the industry. The professional approach she will bring to the region includes water sampling using NATA accredited procedures and providing interpretative reports that assist in decision making. Compliance monitoring including reporting and annual returns an important part of protecting the environment. Effluent irrigation system design, installation & commissioning including MEDLI modelling. Wastewater treatment plant assessments, troubleshooting and design. Stormwater water quality assessments, including contaminated stormwater systems. Assessment of Site-Based Management Plans and supporting water, wastewater, & stormwater management plans, Environmental Authority amendments and Water balance modelling.

Already many of S&B’s clients have been assisted by Linda’s input, here are some recent examples:
Land Fill site - Environmental Impact Assessment on Stormwater and Water Quality; Tourism - Island Resort - Effluent Irrigation System design, installation through to commissioning, Mainland Resort - Environmental Authority Annual Reporting; Local Government for a South East Queensland major Council - MEDLI modelling and assessment & Environmental Authority amendment. Water Balance Modelling & Effluent Irrigation Buffer Tank design; Rail Industry major network company- Receiving Environment Management Plan (REMP) Monitoring and Reporting.

If you would like to experience the Simmonds and Bristow difference, discuss your site/plant in more detail or require additional information or please contact Linda on lindan@simmondsbristow.com.au or 1800 620 690
Simmonds & Bristow Six Helpful Hygiene Hints

At Simmonds & Bristow, we are sharing good hygiene practices:
  • in the workplace which will ensure you are protecting your health and that of others.
  • as a wastewater treatment or network operator will protect your health, as well as the health of the public
  • while traveling you are likely to come into contact with a lot of people, and proper hygiene practices will help to protect your health
  • during water industry training will protect the health of us all!

What are the hazards?
It is important during training that measures are put in place to prevent the spread of illness or disease from micro-organisms. The main microbial hazards that may impact your health include:
  • Viruses: e.g. Rotavirus, Norovirus, Coronavirus
  • Bacteria: e.g. Campylobacter, Staphylococcus
  • Protozoa: e.g. Cryptosporidium, Giardia

Employee of the Month - July
Kimberley Kerby
Water Operations Trainer
For taking on additional tasks, as well as driving the WHS committee while she was performing her regular training lessons and tasks in the office and out on site.
Kim’s has a cheeky and cheerful manner making her an enjoyable colleague to work with.
Employee of the Month - August
Terrence Allen
Process Engineer
For seeing what needed to be done at Mirriamvale STP (Gladstone) and having the courage to see it through, ultimately wrangling a recalcitrant DAF process into submission.
For continuously looking out for our clients, helping them make good clean water. And for his self-management around a healthy work-life balance.
Encouragement Award - August
Naoko Trye
Sales Engineer
She has taken pride in understanding S&B systems, filing and record-keeping that has assisted managers and staff to work more efficiently and effectively for our clients.
Dealing honourably and building rapport with internal stakeholders and clients alike.
She has a pleasant demeanour and is a great new addition to the team.
The Lighter Side - S&B Blog#1 - Torres Strait Island Memories
Dr Travis Robinson BEnvMan (Hon) PhD
Senior Trainer
A drawing from Dr Travis to his nephew when he was delivering the Water Industry Training classes on the Torres Strait Island. One of the guys he trained was from Saibai Island and performing a dance group.

Because his nephew is only 10 years old, he told him that the Torres Strait Islanders catch the turtles, have a little ride on their backs, and then let them go again.