The Sounding Board
The latest news and updates from Simmonds & Bristow
View PDF of Newsletter here
From the Managing Director
In 2020, we have been contending with Covid-19 like everyone else has. The world has changed, and Australia has also been impacted during this year with Fires, Droughts and Floods.

Throughout the year we have been extremely busy supporting, advising and training our many clients in regional and remote communities across Australia and also in the South Pacific. During the fire season earlier this year, our operations and maintenance teams provided support to Alpine and Coastal regions with relief operators and maintenance crews by assisting in restoring and keeping plants operating. While the drought continues to affect many regional areas across Queensland and New South Wales we have been assisting towns and regional councils update and upgrade the plants with design solutions to ensure their assets are maintained and operating to their optimum. With La Nino upon us, we are monitoring the effects of high rains falls and how to prevent overflows and pre-empt any issues. Whether is Island Resorts, outback towns, coastal areas or alpine regions we are there to support you. An essential part of our service offering is our water industry training as upskilling improves knowledge and practical experience to our learners. I want to congratulate our training team who partnered with five regional councils to win the joint award for the Regional Water Industry Worker Pilot Program at the AWA 2020 conference.
This year we will be supporting Australian Farmers and their families as drought conditions continue. We will be providing Farmer Gift vouchers across regional and remote Australia, bringing Christmas cheer to Farmers families and their local communities. If you would like to support Aussie Farmers please go to
As we approach the end of the year, like no other we have seen, I wish our customers and clients, suppliers and their families have a safe and enjoyable break over Christmas and New Year. I trust that in 2021, we can build on the great efforts, sacrifices, improvements and of course, the resilience we have all developed over the past year, without any of the ordeals.


David Bristow B.E.(Chem), CPEng, NER, RPEQ
Managing Director & Principal Engineer
Merry Christmas from Simmonds & Bristow Staff
Simmonds & Bristow will be supporting Australian Farmers and their families this year as drought conditions continue
Talks with Terry - Running a Process Slowly
Terrence Allen BE(Chem)
Process Engineer
So you may have seen the flyer about how to feed your plant at low flow. (If you haven’t, here are the links “How to Deal with Reduced Inflows into Your STP” & “How to Operate Your WTP and Disinfection Systems at Reduced Flows”)

Well, feeding isn’t the end of it. To keep things stable, you also need to set your plant up to run slowly. Proper setup for low flow operation will allow you to keep the process stable and producing consistent quality water.

The info below should help you work out how to set up and run your plant at lower flow rates than normal flows.

Low flow, what does it even do?
So my flows are low, that’s good, right? I mean the plant is designed for 100kL/day and I’m running at 10kL/day, I should be using 10x less chemical and it should be 10x better, right?

Well no… That makes sense conceptually, but it’s not actually the case.
Oh, really? That’s not particularly intuitive, is it?

Maybe not at first, but it does make sense once you know what’s going on, and there are two major reasons as to why sewage treatment plants don’t typically cope too well with very low loads.

The first is due to the fact that the majority of treatment is handled by a biomass. Like any living thing, it needs a minimum loading (i.e. food) to run stably. If you don’t provide your biomass with the minimum amount of loading, it will starve. This will cause part of your biomass to die off, some of it will take action to protect itself, and you can even cause bad bacteria to start to grow, which causes further issues.

The second reason is due to the physical limitations of the equipment used in the process. Typically you design a treatment process for its intended capacity, and most of the equipment you’ll use won’t have a massive turn-down ratio. This results in issues with flow, mixing and aeration energy, which also interferes with the biomass.

Huh… yeah ok, I think that makes sense.
Great. Let’s go over it in a bit more detail then.

Welcome to Our Water Operations Trainer
John Conaghan
Water Operations Trainer
John joined Simmonds & Bristow as Water Operations Trainer in 2020. As a knowledgeable and passionate professional with over 30 years of experience, John brings treatment and desalination plant skills, plus expertise in delivering successful training programs to learners across Australasia, Europe and the Americas.

John has over 20 years of experience as a Marine Chief Engineer where he was responsible for Water Treatment onboard ships, turning seawater into Potable water utilising onboard desalination plants. He also has extensive experience in wastewater treatment of Blackwater, Greywater, Greasetraps and Oil Water Separators. He abided by the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) which is the main international convention for addressing ship sourced pollution. These regulations are aimed at preventing both accidental pollution and pollution from routine vessel operations.

John is an experienced trainer with a proven history of training - from a perspective of not solely “teaching to pass”, but also aiming to provide the deeper knowledge and understanding required for a more effective operational working environment and promotion of safety culture. Prior to joining Simmonds and Bristow John undertook delivering Health, Safety and Environmental training with KBA Training Centre [Singapore]. He thoroughly enjoys working in a face-to-face, collaborative educational environment and takes pride in seeing the positive impact “real world” experience and student empathy can make in the classroom. A strength of John’s is in working with employers, and providing them with guidance on meeting their obligations, including supporting them in providing the range of work and supervision to their learners.
Welcome to Our Water & Wastewater Engineer
Stephanie Gauvrit
Water & Wastewater Engineer

Stephanie joined us this year with extensive experience with Water and Wastewater design, training, planning and building, analysis, optimisation/refits and site monitoring with over 20 years of experience. She has designed Water and Wastewater treatment systems, for example, membrane bioreactor, biofilter, physical & chemical treatment, demineralisation, ion exchange, reverse osmosis, ultrafiltration, aerobic & anaerobic treatment, sand & activated carbon filter, evapoconcentration and iron removal across wastewater, stormwater, irrigation water and potable water. 

What makes her stay in the same field for more than 20 years? It because every water and wastewater treatment plant is different, especially between various industries and sites. Stephanie likes to study projects and find out atypical solutions to suit the customer's needs specifically. She likes to make laboratory pilots and then after site pilots to check that the solution is possible and will be effective and efficient. Her involvement includes following the construction of a project right through to and during the start-up. Her passion is to present to customers that we have the best solution for them.
The Importance Of Alkalinity In Coagulation
(Inorganic Coagulant) and pH Control
- Changes in Alkalinity
Stephanie Gauvrit
Water & Wastewater Engineer

Why Coagulation:
  • to clarify water and remove organic matter
  • for aesthetics and health
  • to form colloids

Coagulation definition:
To change the nature of existing particles to allow settlement to take place. Coagulation is the destabilisation of colloids by the addition of chemicals that neutralise the negative charges.
Common Inorganic Coagulants:
Ferric Sulphate, Aluminium Sulphate (Alum),
Polyaluminium Chloride (PACl), Aluminum ChloroHydrate (ACH)
Coagulation mechanisms:
  • Charge neutralisation
  • Complexation and precipitation
  • Adsorption
  • Enmeshment

Simmonds & Bristow presents
  • The Stormwater Summer Readiness Guide
  • The WWTP Operator's Guide to Getting Summer Ready
  • The WTP Operator's Guide to Getting Summer Ready

Five Queensland Regional Councils partnered with Simmonds & Bristow win a joint award
at AWA 2020 conference
The Australian Water Associations 2020 conference Gala Dinner awards at the Sunshine Coast Convention Centre in Queensland, Mackay Regional Council, Whitsunday Regional Council, Townsville City Council, Cairns Regional Council and Burdekin Shire Council won a joint award for their Regional Water Industry Worker Pilot Program in The Organisational Excellence Award category.

Simmonds & Bristow congratulate these Councils’ on their award. We are proud to be their Registered Training Organisation (RTO) for this important and significant training project. We want to thank the Councils’ teams and our training team for their efforts in making this all happen. The training provided such excellent outcomes for the learners and councils alike.
The award was for attracting, training and retaining workers in regional areas has significant challenges. In response to this challenge, five regional councils partnered to review the skills of their workforce and reduce the risks to water quality across the regions. Challenging the traditional model, the project has seen these councils collaborate on an upskilling project for their employees. This program demonstrates true collaboration and leadership of the water industry within regional Queensland.
Farewell - Bill Oldroyd
Happy Retirement enjoy your travels around and across this great continent.
Bill joined Simmonds & Bristow as a Senior Trainer in 2014, after an unsuccessful attempt to retire! He was lured back into the workforce by Simmonds & Bristow because he wanted to be a trainer and share his vast experience in the water industry with the new generation. Bill has 40 years’ experience in the water industry, in many different roles, both operational and Professional. Bill's experience includes many years with Councils and water utilities in various parts of Australia and overseas.

Thank you for being such an absolute professional, a knowledgeable trainer, a helpful co-worker, and a good friend.

Now go and relax! Happy Retirement!
Employee of the Month - September
Gary Green
Operations Supervisor
For taking on new responsibilities within the O&M business group and adjusting his day to day core responsibilities several times, always with a smile and a can-do attitude.

The quiet achiever who supports his team to deliver daily operations & projects alike. An easily-managed individual with excellent ownership of any task he comes in contact with.
Employee of the Month - November
Faisal Imtiaz
Office Coordinator
For being an invaluable member of the team. Nothing is too much trouble and he is always willing to assist, no matter what the task is.

Faisal always finds a way to get things done and done well.
Encouragement Award - December
Chris Mok
Office Administrator
For standing firmly on his post and provide outstanding support to the O&M team.
He demonstrated great resilience during a difficult time when there is a high peak in workload. Chris is a valuable team member and contributed significantly to the O&M department’s operation and services.
The Lighter Side - S&B Blog#2
- Fun Quiz: What kind of Operator should you be? 
by Liz Millan
Training Services Manager & Chief Trainer