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Bennie's Blog 10

Capital Works

This week is my last post as the guest writer for Bennie’s Blog. So for this edition, I want to continue to provide information around two capital programs that I am responsible for that go together like milk and coffee. 

As mentioned in edition 8, TasWater is committed to minimising the impact on the environment and TasWater customers.

To enable us to achieve this we undertake a CCTV program. What is a CCTV program you ask? This is where a camera is inserted into the sewer network to allow us to undertake condition assessments of the sewer pipes.  The pipes that are prioritised for this work are based on regularly reported sewer overflows from manholes to the environment or within private properties. These assessments allow us to schedule capital works to either replace the pipeline through traditional methods such as open trench excavation and installation of new pipes or via the less intrusive trenchless technology where a fibreglass liner is installed within the existing pipe and cured in place to form a new pipe surface.

Currently, both programs are in full swing and are evidence that TasWater is ‘Getting it Right’ by delivering responsible solutions that benefit both public and environmental health.

Mark McConnon



Where you might see us:



Bennie's Blog 9

Safe at work - Safe at home

Over the past couple of weeks, I have introduced you to some of the capital programs that are designed to improve water quality and limit environmental impact. This week I want to reflect on one of our values here at TasWater which is to achieve Zero Harm.

Each day we look to ensure that our employees get home in the same healthy state that they came to work. We focus on making them safe in the dangerous workplace until they can get home to their families. But what happens when they get home? Does safety stop when they leave the front door of their workplace?

Too often we hear about people getting injured in the home, particularly while undertaking DIY tasks. When you reflect on this, do we put the same priority around our safety at home as we do in the workplace? In some circumstances, I would suggest not. How often do we see people mowing their lawns without hearing and eye protection (some extreme cases wearing thongs) or moving heavy items like they are the new Superman? Would you do the same at work knowing the risks?

TasWater over its journey, unfortunately, has had some of its valued employees away from the workplace due to DIY injuries sustained at home. These types of incidents remind us how important it is to promote a safe workplace but the success to delivering a safety culture is to ensure that employees know that safety is not just something that needs to be done at work. Rather, safety is a value that each person needs to hold on to no matter where they are, the workplace, on holidays or at home. So next time you are planning to do something at home, think safety first as your wellbeing is the most important thing for you and your loved ones.

Mark McConnon



  • The Australian Government has some great tips on how to be safe around your home. For more information click HERE.

If you see TasWater staff or vehicles in your area in southern Tasmania is could be one of the following reasons.

    • Scouring programs in Lindisfarne, Kingston, Taroona and Blackmans Bay.
    • Sewer manhole inspections at Granton.
    • Sewer drain cleaning in Blackmans Bay. 

Please help us all stay safe while we work. Your speed is our safety. (link to: https://www.rsac.tas.gov.au/campaign/your-speed-is-our-safety/)




Bennie's Blog 8 - 15/11/2018  (With Mark McConnon, Program Director Capital Works.)

In this week’s blog, I'd like to talk about a Capital Program that is focussing on minimising the impact on the environment and TasWater customers. When heavy rainfall is experienced in some areas across the state, TasWater encounters an increase in uncontrolled sewage discharges from manholes and sewer pump stations. These discharges can impact the environment by flowing into creeks, rivers and onto beaches affecting their recreational use while on other occasions impacting on our customers by flooding their properties.

The main contributor to these discharges is an increased flow from stormwater or groundwater that enters the sewerage system.  The inflow can enter the system through a number of ways however illegal rainwater connections into the sewer network and/or landscaping that diverts stormwater into manholes or overflow relief gullies (ORGs) are the most common sources.

The obvious solution to fix this problem is through the construction of larger pipes, pump stations and treatment plants at a cost of many millions of dollars. TasWater is committed to addressing inflow/infiltration to reduce environmental and customer impacts through its Inflow and Infiltration program, which will undertake investigations to identify sources and undertake fixes to prevent inflow/infiltration and remove unnecessary upgrade works. 

You may see TasWater staff and truck in your area this week. This is what we are doing in the South:

  • Scouring at Channel highway Kingston
  • Scouring at Taroona
  • Scouring at Warrane
  • Scouring at Oldbeach/Otago Bay

*Sourcing is when the pipes are flushed with water.

If you require more information about the planned works click HERE.

Bennie's Blog 7 - 6/11/2018 (With Mark McConnon, Program Director Capital Works.)

I want to pick up from Bennie’s Blog Edition 4 which was based around water quality. TasWater customers currently experience varying levels of water quality due to ageing infrastructure around the state. We have identified initiatives that we will undertake to ensure improvements in water quality as we continue to strive to achieve our vision of supplying all TasWater customers with drinking water that is clean and safe to drink.

One of TasWater's Capital Delivery Programs is an initiative that will assist with improving water quality throughout the state. The program relates to water pipeline renewals and a focus on the targeted replacement of assets likely to cause customer dissatisfaction (like discoloured water). It was developed by reviewing customer complaints, water quality data and pipeline materials and will result in the upgrade of problematic pipes.

This is the first small step in addressing water quality issues relating to infrastructure. If you are experiencing water quality issues, send us an email or go to the TasWater website for more information.

  • To contact TasWater click HERE.
  • Visit our Facebook page HERE.


Bennie's Blog 6 - 30/10/2018

Before I moved to Tasmania two years ago, I would occasionally hear stories about TasWater from my wife and my in-laws. Often these stories were negative. Once I started working at TasWater, the stories became more frequent because they all knew that I was on the “inside”.

When I began looking into these stories, I soon discovered that my family and friends had taken most of their information from the media or their friends.  Of course, some of the stories I could substantiate but most of the others just weren’t true at all, or if they were there was a reasonable explanation from a business point of view.

This sort of thing can be frustrating for a business, but what I have learned over many years in the customer service industry is that – regardless of whether a story is true or not – a negative story always provides an opportunity to improve from a customer service point of view.

Whether it is our services themselves or showing the value of what we are doing in their neighbourhood – it may be clearing up misunderstandings about why something is late or even why the water tastes different today –there is always an opportunity to improve.

We need to listen to all feedback no matter where the story comes from and take immediate actions to improve every customer interaction and create positive customer experiences for all.

We have some positive customer experiences, but we are the first to admit that we haven't always got it right. We have some work to do but believe we are on the journey.

  • If you have feedback for us, click HERE.

Bennie's Blog 5 - 23/10/2018

My employees keep telling me that summer is coming.  Though I can’t tell from the temperature changes because I am not acclimatised, I can tell from some of the water quality and water tasting panel results that we are starting to see in the raw water sources across the state. Well, your question should be what is TasWater doing to ensure good looking and tasting water to the customers.

I bought a new Tasmanian house in December last year and discovered that the water was discoloured from the tap “but only the hot water”.  My immediate reaction would have been to ring TasWater but before that I rang a plumber who came and told me that my hot water cylinder was old and worn out which was causing my issue.  I now have great looking and good tasting water from the tap.

Several activities have started to eliminate these issues across the state including changing some of our plant processes, flushing the water moving in our pipe networks, replacing galvanised pipes across the place and simply of telling our customers how to minimise any of these issues if they see, smell or taste differences in the water.

My biggest advice to our customers is to run the tap, send us an email or go to the TasWater Web site for more information

  • For frequently asked questions about your water click HERE.
  • To check if there is an emergency outage in your area click HERE.
  • To report an issue of to get in contact click HERE.


Bennie's Blog 4 - 16/10/2018

Water quality

On a recent trip to Queenstown, I bumped into one of our valued customers “Debbie”. Debbie had an interesting viewpoint about our recent investment in the town, in terms of the new water treatment plant.  Debbie told me that she enjoyed the water that she was drinking before we put into the plant.  She also said that she didn’t want all the chemicals in the water and definitely doesn’t like having to pay for it.  Her statements really made me think.

I understand the disinfection qualities of having the chlorine in the water and the dental health benefits of having the fluoride added in today’s world.   I explained this to Debbie and also talked about the highly technical people that we have working to ensure quality water is provided to all communities in Australia.  Debbie also told me a story about her daughter that is using tank water that tastes good and she doesn’t have to pay for it.

Clearly, TasWater’s first priority has to be the health and wellbeing of our customers.

Perhaps one day there will be an additive-free solution that produces the same quality of water we now achieve, but we have to ensure that every customer is safe today. Part of that is taking the advice of health specialists and meeting the regulations required by both the Australian and Tasmanian Governments.

I am not a doctor of water but I know with all the talent we have in Tasmania, Australia and around the world, that innovations often arise. Maybe something suitable will come up that is just as safe, just as affordable and proves just as reliable over time as the system we have in place now. Until then we will continue to do everything we can to supply water that meets the healthy standards our customers deserve.

Bennie's Blog 3 - 09/10/2018

Environment

A couple of colleagues and I headed up to the North-West (Devonport/Forth) and then down to the West Coast (Zeehan, Queenstown, Rosebery) last week to see some of our people at work.  I can’t say enough about the dedication of TasWater staff ensuring that the customer experience our community receives is always positive. I can remember speaking to our staff that demonstrated taking ownership in every word they spoke and action they took.

The other memorable thing about the trip (of course I didn’t drive) was the beautiful environment in Tasmania.  I went up through the Great Lakes and stopped by Bothwell and spoke to another very committed operator about ensuring his plant was delivering good quality water and him understanding the changes in the environment in terms of water catchments changing as environmental conditions change.

What a magnificent site to see that is the Great Lakes.  Man, that’s a lot of water.  Just like some of the other huge water sources across the state.  It made me think that with so much water on show, maybe that’s why some people don’t necessarily think of it as a precious and valuable resource like other minerals like gold and copper.

Even though nearly 70 per cent of the world is covered by water, only about two per cent of the world's water is fresh water without saline and only one per cent of that water is easily accessible.  We must protect our environment.  It’s too beautiful and precious to see damaged.

Bennie's Blog 2 - 02/10/2018

Health 

I can remember my mother telling me growing up, telling me to remove the complications in your life to reduce your stress.

I wasn’t always a good listener to my parents’ advice, but with this one, it has worked for me.  My wife and our two little girls see the positive difference in my behaviour and attitude when my all around health is good.

I believe that having alignment and a healthy mind, body and spirit is a really good way to focus on the important things in life and is also beneficial for our family and friends.

Mental health week is coming up next week with mental health day on 10 October.  Let’s all take time out to look after ourselves, our minds. Remove one complication in your life and chill out.

Sometimes we can’t understand and/or remove complications in our life by ourselves.  Sometimes we need to speak to others for help.  Reach out to someone and either talk or listen.  I do it all the time!

Bennie's Blog 1 - 25/09/2018

Our TasWater commitment to safe driving in Tasmania

Driving vehicles is one of our highest risks that we manage on a daily basis.  I have only been in Tasmania, Australia for 16 months this time but am continuously surprised of how many public driving infringements I observe in my travels. 

Just driving between Devonport and Hobart last week we saw various speeders, several vehicles with brake lights out and several people not using turn indicators just to name a few.

We spend a lot of effort talking to our people about driving safety and the commitment I have seen in this organisation by employees has been amazing.  Particularly in terms of having the courage to challenge those who don’t drive to the rules.  No, we don’t always get it right but we are getting better.

The examples are where our people assist the community whether on the road and coming across accidents, at sporting events or just helping people in need is a behaviour and a care factor that we can’t teach. 

Hey, I am not the best driver (my wife and employees tell me) and don’t necessarily like driving. But we have dedicated people driving in all conditions to ensure we are able to respond to customer related issues and needs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year across this large state. 

If you ever see any of our vehicles not following the road rules, let us know because we care about the safety of all Tasmanians.