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Wastewater management is every ones responsibility aiding sustainability

Wastewater management is every ones responsibility aiding sustainability

Do you know what happens to your water when you flush the toilet?

At Whywait Plumbing, we know how important it is to take care of our wastewater. Wastewater is any water used in homes or businesses that needs to be cleaned before it can be safely released into the environment. If not appropriately managed, wastewater can pollute our water sources, harm wildlife and affect our health. That’s why we want to help our clients understand the best ways to handle their wastewater.

First, it’s essential to know that there are different types of wastewater. Household wastewater comes from everyday activities like showering, washing dishes and doing laundry. Industrial wastewater is created by restaurants, mechanics workshops, bakeries, supermarkets, butcher shops, factories and can have different chemicals and pollutants. Both types of wastewater need to be cleaned before they are let into the environment. Most of the time, this cleaning happens at a wastewater treatment plant. These plants use a combination of physical, chemical and biological methods to remove pollutants and bacteria from the water.

Households produce an average of 300 litres of wastewater per person per day. Despite popular misconceptions, ninety-nine per cent of this wastewater is just water. The other one per cent is contaminated wastewater. Wastewater is a vital resource and will be released to our land, waterways and the ocean as recycled water after treatment.

What is wastewater?

At Whywait Plumbing, we ensure that our customer’s wastewater management treatment systems are working correctly. This includes regular maintenance and repairs for septic tanks, treatment plants, grease traps, house drain sewer systems, and installing new systems when needed. If you live in the City of Gold Coast, then you are connected to the council sewage system unless you live in a rural area.

It’s also important to try and reduce the number of pollutants that get into the wastewater system in the first place. This means being careful about what we put down the drain or toilet, such as grease, oil and chemicals.

Another essential aspect of wastewater management is appropriately disposing of greywater. Greywater is water that has been used for things like laundry or showering but does not have fecal matter in it. Greywater can often be reused for watering gardens or flushing toilets, which helps us save our freshwater resources.

Stormwater is also wastewater being the runoff that flows from roofs, parks, gardens, roads, paths and gutters into stormwater drains after rain in urban areas. Stormwater flows untreated directly to local creeks, streams or rivers, eventually flowing into the ocean. As a result, most stormwater receives no treatment. However, this is changing in new subdivisions and commercial sites with stormwater treatment to remove vegetation debris, human litter, sand, and gravel using bioretention basins and gross pollutant traps.

What are On-site Sewerage Facilities?

At Whywait Plumbing, we understand that not everyone has access to the same sewerage infrastructure provided by the council. That’s why we want to explain what On-site Sewerage Facilities (OSSF) are and how they can help keep your property and the environment safe. Traditionally these have been called septic tanks.

OSSF’s are systems that treat and dispose of the sewerage generated on your property within your property boundaries. These systems include septic tanks, aerated wastewater treatment systems, passive wastewater treatment systems and composting toilets. These types of systems are typically required in areas that are not serviced by council sewerage infrastructure.

It’s important to note that well-maintained OSSF can help protect public health and safety and reduce the risk of environmental harm with contaminated water flowing into creeks and streams. So, if you have an OSSF on your property, it is essential to keep it well-maintained to ensure it continues to work effectively.

If you have questions or concerns about your On-site Sewerage Facilities, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Whywait Plumbing. We’re always happy to help!

How is wastewater treated in a sewage treatment facility?

At Whywait Plumbing, we want to ensure you understand how sewage is treated before it is released into the environment and, ultimately, into the ocean. On the Gold Coast, there are four wastewater management treatment plants at Pimpama, Coombabah, Merrimac and Elanora, which process your wastewater in four stages:

  • In the first stage, primary treatment, they remove large objects and debris from the sewage. They do this by passing the sewage through screens to catch anything that shouldn’t be there, like plastic or other trash. They also use grit traps to remove smaller particles like sand. After that, they let the sewage sit in tanks so that any remaining solids can settle to the bottom and be removed. Finally, they also skim off any grease or scum that floats to the top.
  • Next, they use microorganisms to break down and remove any remaining dissolved wastes and small particles. This is called the secondary stage treatment. Finally, they add microorganisms to the sewage that eat away any remaining pollutants.
  • In the third stage, nutrient removal, they remove nitrogen and phosphorus from the sewage. These nutrients can cause problems in our waterways, like algal blooms.
  • Finally, they disinfect the sewage to ensure it’s safe to release back into the environment as recycled water for golf courses and parks or ocean discharge. They do this by adding chemicals or using ultraviolet light to kill any remaining disease-causing microorganisms. They may also let the sewage sit in the ponds for several weeks, allowing the microorganisms to die off naturally before releasing it.

We hope this helps you understand the sewage treatment process and how it keeps our waterways clean and safe!

How can you help?

At Whywait Plumbing, we educate our clients on wastewater management and provide the necessary services to manage their wastewater seriously.

There are multiple ways you can help that are simple everyday tasks:

  • never connect stormwater drains to any part of your house sewer drains
  • never put substances such as petrol, oil, solvents, pesticides or herbicides into sewer or stormwater drains
  • compost all kitchen food scraps
  • use natural cleaning products that are phosphate and bleach free
wastewater management  creates a clean environment for drinking water

Ultimately we are all individually responsible for sustainable wastewater management to keep our water sources and the environment clean and safe for future generations by working together.

Is Gold Coast water safely disinfected with chlorine or chloramine?

Is Gold Coast water safely disinfected with chlorine or chloramine?

Where does Gold Coast water come from?

Your Gold Coast water is sourced from Seqwater, which literally can source it from anywhere. The most common is from rainfall collected in dams which are part of lakes, rivers and streams.

Remember, all rainwater is essentially recycled water. So before the water gets to your taps, it has travelled a long way. Frequently it has travelled overground, picking up dirt, decaying vegetation and animal droppings.

Gold Coast water is mainly from the Hinze Dam, and the Little Nerang Dam system is the city’s main water source. It has a total capacity of around 320GL, and the upgrades to the Hinze Dam completed in 2011 have increased its ability to store water during floods. The area that provides water to the dam is 207 square kilometres and includes the Numinbah Valley and Springbrook Plateau, with most of it being covered by natural bushland in state forests and national parks.

The Gold Coast Desalination Plant (GCDP) was also added in 2009 as an additional source of drinking water, which converts seawater from the Pacific Ocean into safe drinking water. The city receives treated drinking water from Seqwater, which is treated at the Molendinar and Mudgeeraba water treatment plants (WTP) with a combined capacity of around 265 ML/day, and the GCDP with a capacity of 133 ML/day. Sometimes they also receive additional water from the Mt Crosby WTP through the Southern Regional Water Pipeline (SRWP), which has a capacity of 130 ML/day.

The Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG) state that disinfection is the most important step in ensuring safe drinking water. The city’s drinking water supply is disinfected using chlorine (hypochlorite) and GCWW works to ensure a level of disinfection between 0.2mg/L and 1.8mg/L throughout the drinking water supply network at all times. This is to prevent contamination of the drinking water and protect public health.

Hinze Dam source of Gold Coast water from Whywait Plumbing

How is Gold Coast water disinfected?

Disinfecting your drinking water means that naturally occurring bacteria and germs need to be destroyed before water is distributed through all the water supply main pipelines in the City of Gold Coast.

When it comes to disinfecting drinking water, two of the most commonly used chemicals are chlorine and chloramine. Both of these chemicals are effective at killing bacteria and other harmful microorganisms, but they have some key differences.

Chlorine is a powerful oxidizer that has been used to disinfect drinking water for more than a century. It is a gas that is added to water in the form of a liquid or a powder. Chlorine works by penetrating the cell walls of microorganisms and destroying their enzymes, which kills the organisms. Chlorine is effective at killing a wide range of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. It is also relatively inexpensive and easy to use.

Chloramine, on the other hand, is a compound that is formed when chlorine is combined with ammonia. Like chlorine, chloramine is added to water to disinfect it, and it is also effective at killing a wide range of microorganisms. However, chloramine is more stable than chlorine, which means that it can remain in the water for more extended periods of time. This can be beneficial because it provides a more consistent level of disinfection. In addition, Chloramine is less corrosive than chlorine and can be safer for your plumbing and appliances.

Both chlorine and chloramine have their own set of benefits and drawbacks, and each is suited to different types of water treatment applications. Chlorine is commonly used in small and large water treatment plants, and chloramine is mainly used in distribution systems and large treatment plants.

Your Gold Coast water flowing from your tap is currently disinfected with chlorine.

Can I filter my drinking water?

Filtering your drinking water is simple. Let’s face it most of us drink the water from the kitchen tap.

You can go to the expense of installing whole-of-house water filtration systems, but they are expensive to install and maintain.

For most people, the solution is to filter the water at the kitchen tap. Traditionally this was done with filter cartridge housings under the cupboard, which required a lot of maintenance.

Here at Whywait Plumbing, we have the solution as we have partnered with Taqua, a Japanese company, to bring you the best built-in filtration sink mixer on the market. This innovative product allows you to have filtered water directly from your kitchen sink mixer tap.

The Taqua sink mixer is a pull-out spray that has a water filter built into it, eliminating the need for a separate water filter. This convenient design provides your family with the healthiest and safest drinking water at the touch of a tap daily.

The Taqua sink mixer is made in Japan from lead-free materials, ensuring that your filtered water that you drink is free from harmful lead leaching. The water filter removes free chlorine, soluble lead, small dirt particles and other impurities from your tap water. The unique filtration channel and automatic cleaning system work to filter a massive 4 litres of water every minute. The sterilizing ceramic materials also keep bacteria out of the filter tap, ensuring the highest standard of cleanliness possible.

Taqua’s filter tap also preserves the minerals that are necessary for your body while removing chlorine, making the water taste better and safer to consume. Additionally, it is an alternative to buying bottled water, which is the same as tap water in terms of mineral content and hardness. Taqua’s built-in filtration sink mixer removes the chlorine from tap water while retaining the minerals. This provides you with fresh, delicious water in your home every day.

Suppose you are wondering which solution is best for your home’s drinking water filtration needs, it’s important to consult with a professional plumber such as Whywait Plumbing as we are a specialist who can determine the best solution for your specific situation. They can help you evaluate your water source, usage and infrastructure to find the best solution for your needs.

Taqua Product Enquiry

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Plumbing protects your health day in day out

Plumbing protects your health day in day out

World Plumbing Day is celebrated worldwide every year on 11 March

World Plumbing Day is an initiative by the World Plumbing Council created in 2009. The first-ever World Plumbing Day was held in 2010 on March 11.

World Plumbing Day is celebrated around the world every year on March 11. The day aims to spread awareness of the importance of plumbing and plumbers in protecting public health and improving access to clean water and sanitation facilities.

The World Plumbing Council’s hoped to create a day in World Plumbing Day where worldwide the community could reflect on the vital role plumbing has played and continues to play in:

  • Protecting public health

  • Share knowledge and collaboration

  • Improve the quality and access to fresh potable water

  • Improve the quality and access to safe sanitation

 

Plumbing saves lives by improving the world we all live in

Even though we all use our plumbing infrastructure daily, no matter where we are, it is invariably taken for granted as it’s just part of everyday life. World Plumbing Day is the day you need to realise that life without plumbing would be unimaginable.

From the moment we rise from bed in the morning, we are use plumbing. Using the toilet, taking a shower, drinking a coffee, drinking a glass of water, washing our clothes and watering our gardens. All of these tasks are only possible thanks to trained and qualified plumbers.

There are still millions of people worldwide who lack access to basic plumbing amenities. Life without basic plumbing leads to lowered living standards and severe health consequences.

Adequate, functional and effective plumbing is also essential to helping the environment. With increased water shortages and droughts worldwide, sustainable and energy-efficient plumbing are paramount to helping the planet.

Facts about world plumbing

whywait plumbing services

Plumbing advancements help the environment

Plumbing improves the world

World Plumbing Day is a call to action for people across the industry to show pride in what they do and the part they play in protecting the community’s health.

The key aim is to promote the link between good plumbing with sanitation and human and environmental health.

Water Damage Insurance Claims Are Still Increasing

Water Damage Insurance Claims Are Still Increasing

Water damage insurance claims are an issue we deal with every week. We are continually called upon to deal with insurance companies or assessors on behalf of clients when they have sustained water damage to their homes.

With COVID-19 lockdowns keeping a large proportion of Australians at home, research from QBE Insurance indicates water damage insurance claims remain at high levels.

New research from QBE Insurance revealed that 77% of people who experienced water damage were home at the time of the incident, unravelling misconceptions that flooding mainly occurs when the house is unoccupied.

The QBE Insurance research statistics reveal that:

  • 77% of claimants impacted by water damage were at home for the water damage incident.
  • Burst pipes, blocked pipes, damaged roofs and old plumbing are the main water damage culprits.

According to the research, internal water damage is typical, with 58% of survey respondents having experienced internal water damage themselves or know someone who has, or both.

This coincides with QBE claims data, which found water damage incidents account for almost a quarter (24%) of all home insurance claims. Water damage insurance claims are one of QBE’s most regular home insurance claims. An average claim is $5,000, and more severe water damage claims commonly reaching over half a million dollars.

“Preparedness and prevention are key to limiting the potential damage caused by internal water damage,” says Arron Mann, General Manager, Short Tail Claims at QBE.

“Water damage can happen whether a household member is at home or not being home more often, as many of us are right now, can increase the pressure on our plumbing and risk to our homes. However, this kind of damage can also be sudden and severe regardless of whether you’re home or not, which is why prevention and knowing what to do when something goes awry are so valuable.”

Despite 53% of research respondents saying their first response to water damage would be turning off the water main, 1 in 5 Australians (21%) don’t know where their water main is, and worryingly, 1 in 5 (18%) also don’t know how to turn it off.

The QBE research also revealed that almost 30% of Australians don’t know what home maintenance tasks can prevent water damage in their homes, with 16% not knowing that home maintenance can prevent it in the first place. Cost is also a factor, with 21% not undertaking any home maintenance because it’s too expensive, while 8% say they don’t have the time.

“Sometimes, the difference between no damage and severe damage can be in how quickly a householder responds. Yet concerningly, many people are unaware that much of this damage – and the stress and cost that comes with it – is often preventable,” says Arron Mann.

The best way to avoid water damage insurance claims is by regular maintenance from Whywait Plumbing. Now this will not prevent every possible water leak scenario from happening, but it will demonstrate to the insurance company that you have been undertaking regular maintenance if claim difficulties occur.

At Whywait Plumbing, we see instances every day of water damage that has occurred through the failure to maintain your home regularly. That is why we recommend all our clients to become a Service Partner and enjoy the VIP benefits of having a Service Partner Plan to maintain your most valuable asset, your home, proactively.

Detecting COVID-19 in Your Wastewater Drain

Detecting COVID-19 in Your Wastewater Drain

Your wastewater is one of the key sources used to identify the presence of the COVID-19 virus in your local community because plumbing is public health

COVID-19 has been a wake-up call for every level of government in Australia. The pandemic has reiterated that plumbing is all about public health. With vaccination rates being hailed as our pathway back to the new normality, we need politicians and bureaucrats to embrace that plumbing protects the entire community and individually plumbers preserve the nation’s health.

A pivotal component in managing COVID-19 is establishing where transmission of the virus occurs. Since the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020, the identification of exposure sites by health authorities and the requirement for people who were at the same areas during the same time to monitor for symptoms or get tested themselves have been a ceaseless part of the public health response.

Wastewater testing has been crucial for health departments to identify where COVID-19 may be present in the community to help to stop the spread.

Wastewater or the used water from toilets, sinks, showers, baths, basins and dishwashers are analysed and tested for fragments of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Fragments of the virus potentially enter the wastewater system through people who have or have recently had COVID-19. People shed the virus fragments through toilet paper, used tissues, off their hands and skin or in faeces. This shedding can continue for weeks after a person is infectious.

“The COVID-19 virus, SARS-Cov-2, can enter wastewater infrastructure through any of those means. However, it is likely to enter wastewater principally from faecal and respiratory shedding. Shed virus is then detected by analysing the wastewater using analytical methods that are specific for SARS-CoV-2,” says Dr Nick Crosbie, Recycled Water and IWM Research Manager at Melbourne Water.

“Wastewater monitoring is equivalent to obtaining and analysing a large community-based composite sample of faeces, saliva, vomit, sputum, urine, shed skin and other material shed during personal cleansing, washing, bathing, and excreting.”

Throughout Australia, wastewater samples are taken from wastewater treatment plants, regional wastewater treatment plants and multiple locations throughout any metropolitan sewerage system.

Dr Crosbie describes surveillance as dynamic, adjusting it to meet changing needs such as surge testing during outbreaks.

“Samples are obtained by ‘grab sampling’, auto-sampling, and by the deployment of so-called ‘passive samplers’ which accumulate the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the period of their deployment. Between a few 100 to more than 1,000 samples are collected and processed in a seven-day period. The samples are analysed of the passive samplers with presumptive detections confirmed by third-party analysis.”

Wastewater testing has come to public prominence during the pandemic, although it has been regularly undertaken worldwide to monitor poliovirus, norovirus and adenovirus for close to twenty years.

Dr Crosbie says the public identification of locations in which viral fragments are identified in wastewater – announced by the Department of Health regularly, including sending text messages to people in affected postcodes – allows health authorities to target their responses.

“Information can be used by health departments to focus their investigations further and to encourage an increase in local clinical testing rates,” he says.

The role of plumbers in effective wastewater testing is critical. The provision of safe and effective plumbing and sanitation illustrates how plumbers contribute to strengthening public health. Master Plumbers CEO Peter Daly is unequivocal in stating that “Plumbers play a vital role in developing, maintaining and promoting public health among the community. Plumbers prevent against disease and illness stemming from poor plumbing and sanitation and against the dangers of unsafe gas appliances, some of which can be deadly. Our day to day work in plumbing and sanitation also supports the overall wastewater testing process to play a big role in the COVID-19 response.”

Dr Crosbie agrees, “the COVID-19 wastewater surveillance program is a huge team effort between people working in the plumbing industry, water industry, and the laboratory and health sectors,” he says.

Dr Crosbie understands that plumbing is public health, “More generally, the safe operation of our water and wastewater infrastructure ensures that the community do not suffer from significant health effects from water and wastewater-borne diseases.”

The World Health Organisation and leading doctors state that the world’s most significant medical milestone since 1840 was sanitation. Despite the tremendous medical breakthroughs and scientific advances, the seemingly mundane advance of reliable sewage and reliable, clean water supply is the most significant medical advance over the last 200 years.

How much does a burst pipe add to your Gold Coast water bill?

How much does a burst pipe add to your Gold Coast water bill?

Your Gold Coast water bill issued by the City of Gold Coast as a Water and Sewerage Rate Notice arrives every three months. Currently, every water meter is manually read every three months, with your Gold Coast water bill coming soon after. The cost of Gold Coast water is set every year as part of the budget process with the detailed current water pricing for 2021-22 available from Gold Coast Water.

What are the costs of your Gold Coast water bill?

For most homeowners who use around the average daily water usage of 451 litres, the highest costs in the quarterly Gold Coast water bill are their sewerage and water access service charges. If you look closely at your water bill, you can see that you have the following access charges:

Residential Charges Cost
Sewerage access charge per quarter

$181.03

Water access charge per quarter

$53.02

Total Access Charges per Quarter

$234.05

The usage charges per kilolitre as measured by your water meter are made up of council charges and Queensland Government charges as below:

Residential Charges Cost

City of Gold Coast water per kilolitre

$1.117

Queensland Government water per kilolitre

$3.231

Total Cost of Water per Kilolitre

$4.348

In reality, even if you did not use one drop of water, you would still pay for water and sewerage access service charges of $234.05 every quarter or $936.20 every year.

Our experience is that the average water use of 451 litres or 0.451kL per property shown on Gold Coast water bills is not an accurate guide to your water use.

Most homes with more than one occupant will use 1-2 kL every day. However, remember your water usage will vary every day based on the number of occupants at home each day and their water use behaviours. That is why we recommend you read your water meter weekly, as that will give you a better guide about your average consumption and alert you to a potential water leak.

The actual cost of water dripping from a tap

What will cause your water usage charges to blow out is having leaking water that you are unaware of. Leaking taps and toilets are frequently overlooked and put off to another day. A dripping tap that drips one drop every second will use 40 litres of water a day. The reality is that it becomes 280 litres a week and then 1214 litres a month, and then 14560 litres a year. This is all water charged for on your Gold Coast water bill that you never utilised for any practical purpose.

If we translate the litres wasted to the cost of water, then the numbers become real very quickly.

Cost of a Dripping Tap at 1 drip per second Residential Cost at $4.348 per kL or 1000 litres Business Cost at $8.909 per kL or 1000 litres

1.66 litres per hour

$0.007

$0.015

40 litres per day

$0.174

$0.356

280 litres per week

$1.217

$2.495

1214 litres per month

$5.278

$10.816

14560 litres per year

$63.307

$129.715

The actual cost of a leaking underground water main

You can visually see a dripping tap or running toilet, but the real killer to your Gold Coast water bill is your underground water main pipe leaking. For residential users, these are usually leaking polypipe water mains that were never installed correctly when the house was built. Only occasionally is a water leak apparent and bubbling to the ground. Most of the time, they are a silent Gold Coast water bill killer leaking 24/7 undetected.

There is no accurate average for any leaking water main supply pipe because it depends on the type of break in the pipe, what the pipe size is and what the incoming water pressure is.

Recently we had a client with a small leak where we have 24/7 electronic water monitoring installed that is leaking on average of 45 litres per hour, so we use that as a basis for what leaking water main will cost on a Gold Coast water bill.

Cost of a leaking underground water main at 45 litres per hour Residential Cost at $4.348 per kL or 1000 litres Business Cost at $8.909 per kL or 1000 litres
45 litres per hour

$0.196

$0.401

1080 litres per day

$4.696

$9.622

7560 litres per week

$32.87

$67.352

33480 litres per month

$145.57

$298.731

401760 litres per year

$1746.85

$3579.280

A water leak at 45 litres per minute is only a relatively small leak in larger pipes. It is unlikely to show up as bubbling at the ground unless it is directly under the grass in a shallow trench. Even looking at your water meter, it will not be evident unless you are testing your water use at the meter by checking for a water leak.

How much does a leak cost per litre?

We have always recommended that you test your water usage through your water meter every month. By having comparable figures, you will soon ascertain whether you have a leaking pipe.

We have always recommended that you install an AquaTrip water leak detection system after your water meter. An AquaTrip Water Leak detection system with an integrated automatic shutoff valve supplied and installed by Whywait Plumbing is a permanently installed leak detection protection system that quietly protects against leaks 24/7. It is a one time only insurance payment.

With our modern leak detection methods, it’s an easier task to locate a leak. However, unless you have an AquaTrip installed or use our 24/7 water monitoring service, you will still pay for a large amount of lost water before you become aware of the water leak.

If you think you have a water leak contact us because every litre that you lose is costing you $0.004348 for residential properties or $0.008909 for businesses on your Gold Coast water bill. If you naively feel that is inconsequential, we have just rectified a leak for a commercial business client in a 50mm underground polypipe water main that was leaking 106 kL every day, which is 106000 litres every 24 hours. This leak cost $944.354 every day.

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