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Congratulations to the 2018 Water New Zealand Conference Awards winners


2018 Water New Zealand Award winners 

Best Exhibition Stand

Single - The Plant People 
Multi - Schneider


5S YWP conference attendance prize – Marcia Ho, Aurecon Group & Caroline Hope, Beca

This year the 5S YWP conference attendance prize was awarded to two recepients; Marcia Ho, Aurecon Group & Caroline Hope, Beca. Marcia and Caroline will both be attending conference's in 2019. 


Ronald Hicks Memorial Award- Nick Marquez, Beca (Sydney)

The Ronald Hicks Memorial Trust Fund was established in 1984 to recognise the contribution that Ron Hicks made to water and wastewater management in New Zealand from the mid-1950s until his death in 1983.

Ron joined the Auckland Metropolitan Drainage Board from the UK as Chief Chemist at the time when the Manukau Sewerage Purification Works was under development.  He became widely respected as an international authority on domestic and industrial wastewater treatment practices, and it was through his efforts from 1957 to 1959 that the NZ Sewage and Industrial Wastes Association was formed-- the forerunner of today’s Water New Zealand.

Ron’s legacy is remembered annually through the Ronald Hicks Memorial Award made to the author(s) of an article or paper considered significant in solving or clarifying sewage treatment or water pollution problems in New Zealand .

The Trustees of the Ronald Hicks Memorial Trust Fund are pleased to announce that the 2018 Award recipient is Nick Marquez of Beca (Sydney) for the paper, presented at the 2017 Annual Conference, entitled:

Challenges in developing a treatment solution for Poly-fluorinated Alkyl Substances—an emerging contaminant

PFAS have very low limits for human and eco-toxicity and have also been hard to reliably sample and analyse.  Only recently has New Zealand discovered the large scope of its own PFAS concerns.

This paper summarises an Australian example of managing and treating water polluted with PFAS, in the context of standards and guidelines that apply in both New Zealand and Australia.  It is comprehensive with a strong analysis of the problems and also a thorough evaluation of treatment trials.  The paper deals directly with the efficacy of treatment options and advances a solution to a water pollution problem in a significant way.  The paper is timely and will be of wide and long-lasting interest in New Zealand.


Water New Zealand Trainee of the Year – Shaun Devlin, Network Operator, Veolia Water

This award goes to Shaun Devlin. Shaun is a Network Operator for Veolia Water where he has been employed for nearly three years.

Last year Shaun was offered the chance to complete the level 4 Retic qualification.  He jumped at the opportunity and has now completed all the block courses and finished 90 percent of his books.

Shaun has been described by his supervisor as a valuable team member and a natural leader. He is a person who can work with anyone in the team without conflict and who always makes sure jobs are completed to a high standard. 


Pipeline & Civil Project Award – CH2M Beca – Watercare Mangere WWTP BNR Upgrade
(Sven Harlos, Watercare, Rob Burchell, CH2M Beca, Greg Wichman, McConnell Dowell, Peter Hodgson, HEB Construction)

The award goes to CH2M Beca for the design and building of the $144 million Biological Nutrient Removal facility at the Māngere Wastewater Treatment Plant.  This is a clear example of a cost-effective and well-executed project.

The new facility provides capacity for the treatment plant to service an additional 250,000 people and its advanced processes treat the wastewater more effectively than standard processes by removing greater amounts of nitrogen, phosphorous and carbon. The facility also contributes to the on-going programme to rehabilitate the Manukau Harbour and foreshore.

This was a major, complex and multi-faceted international project that tapped into the best talent in New Zealand as well as significant global technical input.  The design phase involved more than 40,000 hours of effort across four countries and the construction phase engaged more than 2,500 staff and incorporated more than one million hours of work on the site.


Veolia Health & Safety – Watercare, Maintenance Services Networks team
(Richie Rameka – Operations Manager (Reactive), Tony Higgins – Technical Trainer, Mike Grindlay – Field Supervisor – Reactive Water)

This award goes to Watercare for its new technical training centre.  The purpose built centre provides a safe and consistent facility for training its Maintenance Services Networks team which looks after Auckland’s 17,000 kilometres of water and waste water pipes.

The new technical training centre gives employees a place to learn and master the best practices for daily operations without impacting on customers.

The facility includes a training ground set up to closely replicate what field crew would find when working in the streets such as a two-lane road, berms and footpaths, and a residential façade.  It means that staff can receive comprehensive training in a consistent and safe environment.


IXOM Operations Prize- Sharon Danks and the Triangle Road Pumpstation Commissioning Team from Watercare Services – for Triangle Road Pumpstation Commissioning

This award goes to Sharon Danks and the Triangle Road Pumpstation Commissioning Team at Watercare.

The commission of the Triangle Road pumpstation is an important part of Watercare’s ongoing asset improvement programme to meet forecast growth in the north of Auckland.

The commission project of this was extremely successful due to the detailed and rigorous planning undertaken by Sharon Danks and the team involved.

More than 55 staff and Watercare contractors were involved in the preparation and delivery of this work and since commissioning, the Triangle Road Pumpstation has been operating reliably to achieve its design and system support objectives.


Hynds Presentation of the Year - Octavio Perez Garcia (Watercare Services), A Utilities’ Guide to Starting up Anammox

This engaging presentation described the work being undertaken by Watercare to identify, cultivate and develop “home grown” anammox bacteria as part of the wider journey towards energy neutrality. Octavio presented highly technical information in a way that easy to understand. They confirmed the presence of native anammox bacteria, a New Zealand first. This presentation clearly described the process undertaken, the analytical methods, the results and set out path for Watercare moving forward.


Hynds Paper of the Year - Innovative Energy Opportunities for Water Utilities, Lupe Suniula and Laurence Jenner (Watercare Services Limited)

This paper provided an excellent description of the drivers behind energy saving for a large utility. It describes the operation challenges faced by Watercare and looked beyond just plant and equipment into partnership with government and the energy suppliers.

The paper describes how lowering reliance on the electricity grid improves resilience and reliability as well as reducing energy costs.

Technologies for reducing energy use are also identified making this paper a complete and thorough pathway for energy self-sufficiency for larger water utilities.


TRILITY Young Author of the Year Award - Olivia Philpott, (Watercare Services Limited)Responding to Climate Change Challenges facing the Water and Wastewater Industry

A very well written paper on a very topical subject. The paper gives a good description of the issues facing Watercare and how they plan to respond to it. The approach is clearly one which can be used by other utilities who are facing the same issues, albeit in a different geography.


Water New Zealand Poster of the Year - The Real Deal - IoT, Hugh Blake-Manson and L Stephens

This poster gives excellent examples of how the “internet of things” can be applied to improve information that can be used in asset management. The examples provided, although simple, demonstrated how cost savings and timely decisions could be made. The poster give insight and inspiration as to how other uses of technology could be implemented.


Beca Young Water Professional – Troy Brockbank, Stormwater 360

The Beca Young Water Professional of the Year award acknowledges and rewards a young water professional who has made a significant contribution to the water industry and the general community, and who has demonstrated exceptional achievement in the early stages of their career.

The award this year goes to a professional who has shown leadership and passion about combining and applying te ao Māori – or Māori worldview -  to Water Sensitive Urban Design challenges and opportunities.

Troy Brockbank has more than 10 years professional experience in the stormwater industry across engineering consultancies, civil contractors & suppliers. His work is focused around sustainable solutions such as using water sensitive design to promote waterway protection and restoration.

He is currently  design manager at Stormwater 360 and is well known to many of us through his active involvement in the Water New Zealand Stormwater Group.

As well as this, Troy is environment and 3-waters Technical Advisor for Te Rarawa Iwi  where he is involved in the Tāngonge wetland restoration project in Kaitāia.  This is a long term  vision for the Te Rarawa iwi, manawhenua and the local community to restore the wetland.

Troy has been described by colleagues as a professional with passion, acumen, thought leadership and the  ability to put words into action.


Association Medal – Garry Macdonald

The Association Medal this year goes to a member who has made a huge contribution to the water sector and this organisation for more than 40 years. 

Garry MacDonald has had a stellar career and has been a tireless and highly successful promoter of Water New Zealand and New Zealand’s water sector capability as well as promoting Water Sanitation and Health and wellbeing in the Pacific Region.

His achievements are far too numerous to recall here but he is a very worthy recipient of this award. 

Garry is a Past President of Water New Zealand and of Engineering New Zealand (formally IPENZ).  He is an Honorary Life Member of Water New Zealand and a leading member of the NZ 5S Chapter.  He has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Water Environment Federation including representing the  Asia-Pacific Region and a period of Chair of the Board’s Global Committee.  He is currently Co Chair of Oxfam.

Garry has been a Principal and Business Director of Beca since 1989 and has led many of New Zealand’s major wastewater projects and scores of smaller projects throughout New Zealand and Australia.

He has written or co-authored in excess of 50 technical papers and presented these papers  to conferences in New Zealand, Australia and the USA.   He has regularly presented papers at the annual WEFTEC Conference.

Many of his papers have been published in prestigious international technical publications and have been recognised for their excellence through a range of professional awards.

It is clear that Garry’s contribution to the Association and to the water sector has been immense – covering technical, governance, leadership, international representation and advocacy.