Our Plant Operators in Action: Paul Burgess




In 2014, our client contracted Simmonds and Bristow to provide a complete turn-key plant operate and maintain service for their Pollution Plant in northern Queensland. Paul was brought on to manage this plant.

Operator Profile

Paul has been in the water industry since 1999 and spent the previous twenty years working in power generation and is a competent and experienced operator with an eye for detail and a passion for safety. Since taking over the operation of the Pollution Plant Paul has been commended by all stakeholders for his efficient, clean and economical operation. He has established strong and positive working relationships with the client and all stakeholders, maintaining excellent communication with all site staff.

A Success Story from Day One:

Paul began his tenure at the plant by engaging in a regime of cleaning and brightening, to bring the facility up to his high standards. He receives frequent comments and commendation for the improvement in cleanliness and appearance. Paul is also actively engaged in managing the on-site installation of repairs and refurbishments to the plant, working with all contractors and ensuring that the end result meets expectations.

Even more important than these surface improvements, Paul, who replaced a rotating force of five operators, was able to leverage his experience and skill to deliver improvements in water quality while reducing the chemicals used. Paul began his tenure the last week of January 2014. The first week of February, E. coli levels tested at 680 cfu/100ml for one tank and 350 cfu/100ml in another. By the 21st of March Paul had reduced those levels to <10 cfu/ 100ml in both tanks. By the 11th of July, the levels had dropped to <1 cfu/100 ml. Quality and cost improvements are difficult to obtain together, but Paul was able to make it happen. Value Added Improvements:

Paul has also lead substantial improvements in the management side of plant operation. He has instituted a full regime of record keeping and analysis, a system that was not in place prior to his arrival. This will allow the plant to be maintained with increased efficiency and will also help to ensure that all regulatory and safety standards are being met.

When Paul began his work at the Pollution Plant for the client he needed to begin establishing relationships from the ground up. This was the first instance of an external, third-party contractor being engaged for complete plant operate and maintain services and it was up to Paul to demonstrate how the benefits of this relationship would pay off for the client.

Paul has managed to build excellent relationships with all stakeholders, during a period in which the plant underwent extensive change and despite initiating many new processes and procedures.

Paul’s specific achievements in this area include:

  • Improvement in water quality
  • Substantial reduction in chemical use
  • Instituted new record keeping and monitoring processes.
  • Instituted new OH&S improvements
  • Elimination of E. coli bacteria in reuse water to levels undetectable by the standard test
  • Zero environmental spills
  • Zero regulatory issues
  • Zero injuries

A Focus On More Than Test Results:

Since assuming operation of the Pollution Plant, Paul has focused on instituting occupation health & safety and regulatory procedures and making sure that these meet or exceed industry standards. His achievements include

  • Adding line marking throughout the plant to guide visitors safely through
  • Installing stairway access safety bunting
  • Eliminating unnecessary vehicle and pedestrian traffic through the plant area
  • Completing Safe Work forms for every job (new procedure)
  • Tracking and monitoring all processes used including type and amount of chemicals
  • Putting disinfection regimes in place for re-use water which successfully reduced  E. coli levels to undetectable levels after treatment
  • Zero regulatory problems with wastewater entering Townsville sewage
  • Zero environmental spills
  • Zero injuries
  • Mandatory use of industry standard personal protective equipment

Reasons We’re Proud Of Paul:

This pollution plant represented the first turn-key operate and maintain service that Simmonds and Bristow has provided for this client. Since that time, that relationship has expanded to include additional plants. Paul deserves substantial credit for this result as his day to day hard work and determination act as exemplar for the kind of service that Simmonds and Bristow seeks to provide all of our clients.