Bligh Tanner’s Water team welcomes new Senior Scientist
Bligh Tanner has appointed Dr Michael Lawrence to the role of Senior Scientist, expanding the firm’s expertise in water quality management. Michael aims to assist councils throughout Queensland to manage drinking water issues and ensure the protection of public health.
What will the role of Senior Scientist at Bligh Tanner entail?
The role will call on my water quality expertise and experience across fresh, estuarine, marine and built environments (including drinking water, sewage and advanced water treatment). I have extensive experience in developing, reviewing and auditing drinking water quality management plans. Initially my main focus will be assisting council providers manage drinking water issues, however, I am also keen to expand into other water quality management areas, such as waterway health and monitoring, and water recycling.
What are the main issues facing drinking water providers throughout Queensland?
Primarily, protecting public health in the face of ageing assets, financial constraints, staffing issues (not enough hours in a day), and in many cases from being remote from expert assistance.
How can Bligh Tanner’s additional service offering/expertise assist drinking water providers?
I can help providers review their Drinking Water Quality Management Plans and provide assistance with integrating and implementing the plans such that they are a useful document rather than a doorstop. This will go a long way in ensuring drinking water providers do well when the time comes to audit their compliance with the plan. In an age of accountability, it is important to demonstrate that you are doing everything to protect public health, especially given the growing requirements to publish information that could otherwise erode public confidence in the water supply.
How important is it for water supply providers to have risk based management plans in place and what do the plans involve?
These management plans are essential to protect public health. There have been too many serious drinking water incidents in Queensland that could and should have been avoided. Without these plans, there is a real risk that people will die.
What do you hope to achieve in this role?
I want to make a difference. If I can use my knowledge and experience to assist providers in Queensland to manage their drinking water supplies to a world best practice standard, lives could be saved. Bligh Tanner is the ideal place for me to be as I add to their vast skill set which spans water, environmental, civil, structural and special structures engineering. I also look forward to fostering links between my clients and Bligh Tanner to provide additional environmental engineering solutions.