John ‘Sherlock’ Holmes from Whitsunday Regional Council has walked away a winner from this year’s Queensland Water Industry Operations Conference and Exhibition, held in Logan this week.
Mr Holmes was named Operator of the Year at the conference, which brings together a range of people involved in the operation and maintenance of urban, rural and industrial water-related infrastructure.
The senior treatment plant operator has 27 years of experience, combined with tertiary education and professional development training.
In a statement to iQ, Whitsunday Regional Council said there were many reasons Mr Holmes deserved the award, from his detailed knowledge of the local plants and his ability to predict and troubleshoot issues, to his positive ‘can do’ attitude and innovative ideas for improvement.
These qualities were recently on show after Cyclone Debbie, where he was instrumental in the coordination of plant and equipment to ensure water was restored as soon as possible for Whitsunday region residents.
Another highlight of the conference – run by the Water Industry Operators Association (WIOA) – was the ‘Water of Origin’ competition, pitting the Queensland winner of the Ixom Best Tap Water competition against the NSW/ACT winner – Icon Water from Canberra.
A sample from Toowoomba Regional Council’s Mt Kynoch Water Treatment Plant came out trumps in the taste test.
TRC Water and Waste Committee chair Cr Nancy Sommerfield said the Origin water win was well deserved.
“Our water also is a two-time winner of the south-west Queensland award for best tasting tap water,“ she said
The national winner will be announced during National Water Week at Launceston, Tasmania in November.
WIOA chief operations manager Craig Mathisen said the water taste tests were about raising awareness of the quality of the drinking water across Australia.
`“We see the award as a fun and exciting way to raise awareness of the quality of drinking water across Australia and recognise the efforts of local water service providers and their operators in delivering safe, valuable water services to their communities.” Mr Mathisen said.
John Mills, water operations manager at the Toowoomba Regional Council, said his team celebrated with a tall glass of water.
“The June 2017 vintage is a pretty good one,” he said.
“For us it’s a balance, because when you have dam and bore water blends, you have to make sure the hardness level doesn’t go up too much. A little bit too much hard water makes washing and lathering up soap more difficult.”
The Mt Kynoch Water Treatment Plant treats about 25 ML per day in cooler months (equivalent to 10 Olympic swimming pools) and up to 53 ML per day in warmer months.
Queensland WIOA Conference 2017 Winners
Queensland Operator of the Year
- John Holmes – Whitsunday Regional Council
Queensland Young Operator of the Year
- Harry Coleman – Toowoomba Regional Council
Queensland Operator of the Year (Civil/All Rounder)
- Glenn Cook – Gladstone Regional Council
Brian Davis Award for Best Paper Overall
Marcus Boyd – Toowoomba Regional Council
Nalco Water Prize for Best Paper by an Operator
1st Marcus Boyd – Toowoomba Regional Council
2nd Martin Coromandel – Queensland Urban Utilities
3rd Andrew Watson – South Burnett Regional Council
Ixom Water of Origin Taste Test
WINNER – QLD – Toowoomba Regional Council
Ron Bergmeier Award – Best Exhibition Site
- Cadia Group
WIOA Conference Charity
$ 3000 Presented to Water Aid via Seqwater Innovations Team