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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.

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Filtered Water Can Ease Hay Fever

Filtered Water Can Ease Hay Fever

Hay Fever Season

taqua water filter taps installed by Whywait Plumbing ease hay fever

Once the footy finals are over, we know it’s spring, as the weather warms and evening barbecues become the norm. But for many people, spring is a time to be dreaded. That’s because the advent of spring means its hay fever season for one in five Australians.

Hay fever season comes in stages over the spring and summer. The first stage will be in October/November when windborne pollens of plants and grasses cause allergens. When the pollens become trapped in your nose or eyes, they release their allergens. Fortunately, the pollen allergens are benign, but for one in five of us, our body misreads them as being harmful and fights back. This results in our body producing mucus to expel the pollen allergens.

As the body fights the pollen allergens watery, itchy bloodshot eyes along with a runny nose and sneezing are the most common symptoms of what we refer to as hay fever.

Filtered Water & Hay Fever

As proactive prevention should always be the #1 action, you should start with installing a Taqua built-in filtration tap. The filter built into the Taqua tap will remove chlorine and impurities from your tap water. Best of all for hay fever sufferers a Taqua tap is guaranteed to retain the minerals your body needs in your tap water.

Your #2 action in hay fever season should be to drink 800 ml of hot water every day from your Taqua tap. Drinking hot water at 50 ºC assists in easing common hay fever symptoms such as sneezing and a runny nose.

This simple action of drinking hot filtered water will make your life more comfortable if you suffer from hay fever plus will assist your general health due to its detoxing effects on the body.

Your #3 action in the hay fever season is to rinse your eyes regularly with cold water to flush out the pollens. Using the filtered cold water from your Taqua tap will ensure that you are not washing chemicals such as chlorine directly into your body.

Filtered Water & Vegetables

We all know that eating fresh fruit and vegetables assists in our overall health, particularly in the hay fever season.

Did you know washing your fresh fruit and vegetables with ordinary tap water loses many of their valuable minerals?

The reason for this mineral loss is due to the free chlorine in ordinary tap water that reacts with the minerals in fruit and vegetables, causing the minerals to break down. In fact, 10% – 30% of all minerals are lost due to washing fruit and vegetables in tap water.

Using a Taqua built-in filtration tap with its veggie spray function is the perfect solution to wash fruit and vegetables to ensure they retain all their vitamins.

Cooking with filtered water from a Taqua built-in filtration tap is a simple way to improve the taste, smell and colour of your food.

Gold Coast Council Water Rates to Increase

Gold Coast Council Water Rates to Increase

Gold Coast council water rates are about to increase again. For both homeowners and business owners, this could be a double whammy when you couple this with the increases in power bills in recent years.

The Increases are likely to continue in coming years even though the City of Gold Coast has not increased its portion of your water bill at all for three years. Bulk water charges for the City of Gold Coast are recommended to increase by the Queensland Competition Authority a further $12 a year for the next two years.

The City of Gold Coast has now finalised the 2018-19 budget. Your Gold Coast council water rates charges will not increase on the retail and distribution component of the water and sewerage charges from the last financial year.

However, the significant portion of your water cost which is Queensland Government’s bulk water price will increase in line with the recommendations by the Queensland Competition Authority. The bulk water price will increase by 2.5% from $2.74 per kilolitre to $2.91 per kilolitre.

Contrary to some urban myths City of Gold Coast no longer owns Hinze Dam and the desalination plant. Gold Coast Water buys the water that you use through your meter from Seqwater owned by the Queensland Government. The price paid for the bulk water is itemised in your water bill.

Essentially the bulk water charges levied by the Queensland Government makes up the bulk of your water bill.

These charges are still reflecting the poor planning from 20 years ago that resulted in the multi-billion dollar water grid construction in 2007-08 which resulted in supply pipes connecting all of South-East Queensland being built. To a large extent, the pipe grid was constructed without dams being built and to lesser extent dams constructed without pipes which also resulted in the construction of the seldom-used Tugun desalination plant.

For 2018-19 your Gold Coast council water rates will increase on 1 July for your water and sewerage which will comprise of the following charges:

  • Queensland Government bulk water charge $2.91 per k/L
  • City of Gold Coast distribution           $1.09 per k/L
  • Total water consumption charge    $4.00 per k/L 

The water and sewerage access charges will remain the same as in previous years being:

  • water access charge of $212.08 per year
  • sewerage access charge of $724.12 per year.

Currently, water charges are relatively stable, but significant problems are looming. Long term planning is required to address the issues of aging infrastructure and their maintenance costs which will impact Gold Coast council water rates.

Infrastructure Australia in a major report has predicted water bills will go the way of power bills increasing by at least $50 every year. They predict today’s average annual water bill of $1200 will increase to $2500 within 20 years.

The report correctly says we need to start planning now as our dams are relatively full which gives us the rare opportunity of “….clear thinking and long-term planning to meet our future needs.”

As we all know from the water management supply crisis of 2007-09 South East Queensland can be adversely effected quickly with a combination of natural disasters, poor planning and below average rainfall.

Very simply if we don’t start long-term planning now for planning our future water needs the drastic increases in water bills will cripple family and business budgets in the same way power bills are now.

Drinking Water Keeps You Smarter, Slimmer & Younger

Drinking water keeps you smarter, slimmer & younger and best of all its virtually free from your tap.   Critically water keeps your body hydrated because every single cell in your body needs water to absorb nutrients and remove waste products.

If you like the way your water tastes then whole of house water filtration from Whywait Plumbing is the solution you should explore to ensure you drink more water. Once you understand drinking more water is critical to your body functioning there are additional benefits such as:

  • Drinking Water Makes You Smarter: water can increase your cognitive function as your brain needs plenty of oxygen and drinking plenty of water ensures your brain gets all the oxygen it needs. In fact 8 glasses of water a day improves your cognitive performance by as much as 30%.
  • Drinking Water Helps You Loose Weight: water suppresses your appetite plus helps your body burn stored fat. When you drink plenty of water your liver is able to metabolise stored fat efficiently plus flushing toxins from your body and preventing constipation.
  • Drinking Water Keeps You Young: water is great for your skin keeping your skin moisturised plus reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Not drinking enough water makes your body retain what it has and this retention makes your skin puffy.

whole house water filtration gold coast (1)

To get the advantages of drinking water and enhance your family’s wellbeing you need to remove the chemicals in your home’s water. In fact if you knew the dangers that lurk in your water you would already have Whywait Plumbing installing a whole of house water filtration system that ensures clean, odour free, delicious water throughout the whole house guaranteeing a constant supply of delicious water throughout the whole house. Whole of house filters are a convenient, cost efficient way to effectively remove or reduce many of the undesirable chemicals, disinfectant by-products and volatile organic compounds commonly found in your water supply.

By Gary Mays

Help! Just Received a $27,000 Water Bill!

Imagine opening your mail to find a water bill for $27154.83.

We all know water is the basis of all life and an absolute necessity of life, but I’m sure we all agree a $27154.83 water bill is not what anyone would want.

This property is a commercial property where the normal water bill for 6 months is around $4000 and as the exasperated owner said, “why has water got so bloody expensive?”  The very simple answer to that question is that water costs are a direct reflection of appalling state government planning between 1990 and 2007.

Many of us remember when water was essentially free and the only time you got charged for it was if you used excess water over and above the very generous allowance that was paid for as part of your council rates.

However, cheap water is the past. The reality of today is that water is expensive if you use vast quantities for irrigation or have a concealed water leak as in the situation above. We all have to be vigilant in ensuring that the integrity of our household water pipes is maintained at all times. The only guarantee anyone can give you on the cost of water is that it will continually increase every year.

If you live on the Gold Coast or in Logan then water costs are comparable. Have a look at annual costs below:

Water Service Charge $205.74
Sewerage Service Charge $703.34
Water Consumption Charge $3.5167 per k/L
Annual Cost to use 250 k/L of water   $879.18
Annual Service Charges   $909.08
Total Annual Cost $1788.26
Water Service Charge $279.00
Sewerage Service Charge $661.60
Water Consumption Charge $3.5813 per k/L
Annual Cost to use 250 k/L of water   $895.33
Annual Service Charges   $940.60
Total Annual Cost $1835.93

As you can see Logan is marginally more expensive and if you used 250 kilolitres of water then you would pay $47.67 more for living in Logan.

However where a concealed leak has occurred and eligibility criteria have been met Logan is definitely more understanding and generous in their relief on payment over a 3 year period.

Logan City Council allows:

  • a claim once every year
  • provide a reduction of 50% of the difference between the consumption for the billing period and the average of the previous consumption history as recorded by council over the preceding four billing periods

City of Gold Coast allows:

  • a claim once every three years
  • provide a reduction of 60% of the estimated water loss attributed to the concealed leak
  • the water loss through a concealed leak must be in excess of 50 kilolitres
  • relief increases to 85% if you receive a pensioner water subsidy.

So for example if you normally used 250 kilolitres but had two concealed leaks resulting in an increase to 900 kilolitres in a 3 year period, which is not an unusual occurrence then you would receive relief from payment of $2327.84 at Logan but only$1377.51 on the Gold Coast.

As a rule of thumb YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE for any water leak after the council meter that is on your property. Therefore I recommend that you at least check your water meter reading every month and seriously consider the installation of an AquaTrip water leak detection and control system.

In reality the convenience of reliable, good quality drinking water from your tap is still inexpensive if you compare it to:

Product Litre Cost Kilolitre Cost
Coca Cola   $2.33   $2330.00
Just Juice   $1.17   $1170.00
Nudie Juice   $2.50   $2500.00
Wolf Blass Yellow Label Shiraz $24.00 $24000.00
Johnie Walker Black Label $71.43 $71430.00
XXXX Gold   $7.35   $7350.00
Woolworths Milk   $1.00   $1000.00
Standard Petrol   $1.52   $1520.00
Mount Franklin Spring Water   $4.65   $4650.00
Logan Water   $0.0036        $3.58
Gold Coast Water   $0.0035        $3.52

When you look at the real cost of water compared to other products you purchase to drink it not only puts it in perspective but makes you appreciate how fortunate we are to be able to turn on a tap and receive drinking water that is free of bacteria and virus’s so we are not forced to purchase bottled water at $4650.00 per kilolitre to drink.

Yours sincerely,
Gary Mays

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