Switch to Tea, and Reap the Benefits!

There’s nothing like a hot cup of tea to soothe your senses especially on a cold winter’s morning. This warm, tasty, caffeine-free pick-me-up also has a lot of wonderful benefits for your health and wellness. Teas and the herbs in herbal varieties have a number of great healing powers, from soothing a troubled stomach to easing insomnia and providing relief from anxiety.

Drinking a well-steeped herbal tea regularly is also a great source of vitamins and minerals as we get all the benefits from the plants in a form that is easily digestible.

a cup of herbal teaThere’s also an element of aromatherapy in drinking herbal tea and you can drink it with other people. This way you can be social while at the same time also getting a great health boost. Keep in mind however that the tea should always be steeped in an enclosed container so you can maximize the medicinal properties that the drink has to offer.

When choosing the perfect tea for its health benefits, it’s important to avoid purchasing those that have additives such as artificial flavouring, so you can really maximize the full benefits of the plant. There are so many kinds of tea for you to try. Here are a few of the most common and most delicious ones:

Chamomile Tea

Soothe your senses with this calming and therapeutic tea made from flowers. Chamomile tea can be helpful for those experiencing insomnia or restlessness. It’s a good to drink after a meal for smooth digestion and is also recommended for cases of cough and bronchitis, or colds and fever. Another benefit is you can also use it for gargling to relieve inflammation in your throat. Don’t forget to steep it thoroughly to get all its medicinal benefits.

Peppermint Tea

Peppermint tea is the easiest herb to grow. You can make a fresh cup straight from your garden. It’s great for relieving abdominal pains and bloating. It can also relieve muscle spasms and is good for nausea without the vomiting. It also helps heat up the body to release sweat. But if you have indigestion or heartburn problems, doctors recommend avoiding peppermint in general.

Ginger Tea

Ginger tea is another great aid for digestion, and can be used to prevent nausea and vomiting due to motion sickness. You can make fresh ginger tea by simmering a small piece of ginger root on the stove for about 10 to 15 minutes. If you have a cold, you can add fresh lemon juice and honey to add a zest of protection for your immune system. Powdered ginger is also good for making tea to ward off a potential cold.

Rosehip Tea

Rosehips are the fruit of the rose plant and are one of the best sources of Vitamin C from plants. Vitamin C is very essential to the immune system, skin and tissue health, and for adrenal function. Be sure to try rosehip tea whenever you need a health boost.

Milk Thistle and Dandelion Tea

Milk thistle and dandelion, when made into tea, can be gentle liver cleansers because they can help the liver to regenerate and function at a higher capacity. It can also help with our digestive process.

While these above teas all have their own benefits, there are thousands of teas, both herbal and non-herbal that all offer different benefits. Look online for a range of organic teas, and try a few to find out which ones you like the best.

How to Prevent Home Drainage Clogs

It’s easier to prevent blocked drains rather than to clear them. In addition, prevention of clogs is less demanding and does not consume a lot of time. Here are some expert plumbing repair tips from the professionals at Drain Cleaning Brisbane to help you prevent drainage issues in your home.

Clean After Use

Immediately after you finish washing your dinner or lunch dishes, pour hot water down the kitchen sink. Do this every day to prevent buildup of gunk that might cause a blockage. The hot water prevents grease, hard water and other oily substances from solidifying in the drain. You can also pour some baking soda or vinegar down with the hot water to help remove any stuck debris.

debris in a drain pipeRegular Maintenance

Regular maintenance is always a good preventative measure. Make a consultation with a plumbing contractors to regularly inspect your drains. Frequent inspections may uncover drainage problems before they cause further damage. You can also check your home sewer line yourself using a snake drain, however, for major home drains you will need to hire a plumber to conduct a thorough inspection.

Avoid Disposing Materials down the Sink

Keep in mind how you manage your waste disposals. Products like grease, butter, cooking oil and margarine should not find their way into your drains in any way whatsoever. Avoid pouring these materials down the sink because they are a primary causes of clogged up drains. Instead, allow the fatty substances to cool and then dispose of them in the trash. Clogged drains that result from fat buildups are some of the most difficult materials to clear.

Install Filters

Another common drain nuisance is the building up of hair, food particles, soap pieces or other materials. To prevent this, install filters to catch and keep such materials from entering the drains. Since the filters collect particles of substances and hair, remember to clean them regularly to avoid buildup of dirt and grime.

Use the Right Chemicals

In some cases, chemical are used to clean drains. Before putting them to use, read carefully the instructions on how to use them. Be on the lookout for harsh chemicals that may corrode pipes and avoid using them. The corrosion may cause further blocking up of drains later in the future. Ensure you run ample water down your drain to wash away the chemical after use, as per the instructions on the bottle.

Follow these simple, basic tips to reduce your plumbing repair expenses. In the event of a major blockage be sure to consult a professional plumber immediately. A blocked drain can end up costing you a lot of money if it is left clogged and water backs up and overflows from all the surrounding drains.

Installing Your Grease Trap to Comply with Local Laws

While it’s not the most interesting topic, grease trap installation is necessary for many new business owners. If you are considering starting a restaurant or a business that prepares or serves food, and has any form of oily discharge that leaves from the kitchen or dishwasher etc. you must have a correctly installed grease trap to comply with local laws.

Grease traps, often also called grease interceptors or misspelled as a single word to be greasetraps, are necessary to stop the flow of oils, fats and other greases into the sewer collection lines where they can cause blockages. If these systems were not put in place there would be constant problems with clogged up wastewater piping which would end up being extremely costly and problematic over the long run.

Many people believe that warm or hot grease can be poured down a drain without any issues, however once the fats or oils cool they harden which can cause major blockage issues. Large, solid clumps of oil or fat can also cause problems at treatment plants when wastewater is being treated.

Depending on the amount of fat, oil and other grease you expect to be discharged through your system will depend on the size of the trap you need installed. A licensed, local grease trap installer will be able to give you more information specific to the size of your establishment and the laws in your area. We recommend speaking with several installers to get quotes before going ahead with any work, to make sure not only you have been given the right information, but also that you are getting the best price for the job.

Grease trap complianceFor smaller commercial establishments with minimal wastewater runoff, an under the counter trap may suffice, but larger restaurants will require an outdoor interceptor. Take a look at the image above to see the preferable drainage layout for a grease trap in compliance with the Plumbing Code of Australia, 2012.

While there are many plumbing companies that install grease interceptors, it is always best to use one that specializes in their particular area to make sure your trap is set up and installed properly the first time. Should your grease trap be improperly installed it may cost you a fine from your local council, or even worse, you may need to pay to completely redo the job, which can be extremely expensive for a new business.

If you are in Brisbane and are looking for more information on grease traps, take a look at Grease Trap Sales, for a quick run down on what is involved with a new install, or speak with a few local installers to get more information and a quote on setting up your new trap.

 

Could Outsourcing to Remote Offshore Staff Help Your Business?

Staff in the Philippines

Outsourcing, offshoring or remote staffing; call it what you will but up until recently is has had a shaky reputation. You don’t know who you’re working with, how reliable they are or if they’re actually capable of doing the work assigned to them. Stories of unsatisfied customers or staff that have disappeared half way through jobs are quite easy to find.

New companies outsourcing to the Philippines aim to change all of that, by putting the ‘service’ part back into remote staffing services. The service provided by outsourcing company Stafflister isn’t just the service of the offshore staff you hire, but also comes from Stafflister itself.

“Companies that hire through outsourcing firms are often just left on their own with their new staff” says Toby Gospodarczyk, founder of the offshoring company. “We don’t really agree with that method. A lot of Australian business hire these outsourced staff without any training or knowledge on how to remotely manage them. It’s a different skill to managing onshore staff. We’ve decided to help mediate the process a lot more than other companies and always have a constant daily presence to make sure things are running smoothly”.

Toby says they are able to achieve this due to the fact that Stafflister has been built from the ground up with efficiency in mind. Many processes that would normally need manual action are streamlined, and the latest in online technology has been used as an integral part of their business structure. “This leaves us with a lot more time for customer service and really taking care of client needs”, says Toby.

designapprovalsThis constant mediation process is possible because Stafflister provides easy to use online collaboration tools for client and their Filipino staff to work together on. “It looks a bit like Facebook, so people will already be familiar with how to use it. But it’s actually also very versatile and able to adapt to different types of work being done. For example if we have a graphic designer working with a client, we’re able to add a design approval application that allows staff to drag and drop a design for the client to see and the client will then approve or disapprove of the design, with comments and reasons as to why”.

Stafflister is also a little different in the fact that it also provides Project based staff, along with part time and full time staff. Traditionally, outsourcing companies will only offer full time or part time staff.

Where do these staff come from?

Stafflister head hunts its Filipino staff individually, one by one. “This takes time, and negotiation. The truly skilled workers rarely apply for jobs and are not found on the boards that many outsourcing companies use. They also expect to be compensated accordingly” says Toby. “We’re able to compensate our staff in the Philippines well, because we take less overhead and as previously mentioned, a lot of manual process have been streamlined so we can afford to do so. We feel there’s no point in saying ‘we have 10,000 staff on hand’ as in this industry we think the quality of staff is hugely important. We have staff that have worked with SEGA, EA, DISNEY and other big name companies. That is the level of quality we’re offering.”

Some of the most popular outsourced skills are reportedly graphic design, payroll, accounting, article writing, and data entry. This is a change from past years where most skills outsourced were of a more technical nature such as C++ programming, python, java development and so forth.
This change has been brought about as more companies and in particular the smaller ones realize that almost all skills can be outsourced, even your typical data entry services.

With this realization, these companies are able to outsource these skills to the Philippines at around $8 and hour as opposed to the $25 or so an hour they would be paying onshore staff. This frees up their budget for further advertising, marketing, or hiring onshore staff within a different area.

“It’s all about balance, and what you want to do with your budget. I love having the opportunity to help up and coming companies grow, and often have discussions with them about their experiences within their business. I learn a lot from it.” adds Toby.

Is Stafflister’s pricing any different to its competitors?

Despite all of the apparent benefits to working with Stafflister, its pricing remains on the lower end of the industry scale. We might see more of these types of business models in the future that rely the latest technology to deliver something special and cost effective, but for now it’s a slow shift. Invoicing and payment is also easy, along with being able to view the amount of hours your staff have worked at any time.

stafflisterdemo

A more human approach, and a different philosophy on outsourcing

Toby maintains that his staff are treated exceptionally well, and sticks with the theory that “happy staff are productive staff”.
“With the amount of initial negotiating, collaborating with them in work, and daily chat, we get to know our staff very well. We make sure that everything is great on the staff end too, not just on the client side. That’s important.” Says Toby, when asked about his take on staff management.

I then asked what stops clients from working directly with clients and cutting Stafflister out of the equation. He responded “I’m very familiar with the struggles that gaming, music, and movie companies have with piracy and have followed the industry news in regards to this for a long time. It was at the forefront of my mind when creating this business, and decided to follow the model that online gaming company Steam uses. Steam’s founder says ‘Piracy is almost always a service problem and not a pricing problem.’ I love this way of thinking and I’ve applied this to outsourcing. We provide a service that’s worth paying for and once you experience it, you wouldn’t really think about doing things the old way. The amount you would save by going direct is minimal and the benefits of working with us are huge.”
This really seems to challenge the model of other freelancer sites that offer purely direct to staff services.

Stafflister has an interesting business model and may very well be the solution you’ve been looking for if you’ve been a bit cautious in trying outsourcing in the past. They look forward to further growth throughout 2015 and helping Australian business grow.

Australia is currently one of the largest users of outsourcing, with per capita spent almost double that of the USA.

If you’d like to know more about Stafflister, take a look at their Facebook page or give them a call on 02 8091 3131.

Solar Roof Vents – Smart Roof Ventilation for Australia

Whirlybird-vs-Solar-roof-ventThe Solar Ark solar roof vents are Australia’s highest performing solar roof vents and can give you the equivalent performance of up to 20 whirlybirds. The solar roof vent works by a solar panel providing the required power to operate the extraction fan. The extraction fan then sucks the hot air out of the roof cavity, reducing the room temperature of your home and making it a much more comfortable living area.

Summer roof temperatures often exceed 700c (especially if your roof is black!) and greatly increase the room temperatures inside your home. Solar roof vents can reduce roof temperatures by up to 300c and room temperatures by up to 60c. This can save you big $$$ off your electricity bill as it helps your air conditioner run much more efficiently and in some cases eliminates the need for an air conditioner all together. Thanks to the solar panel the solar roof vent has no running costs ever and a built in thermostat, that shuts down operation when temperatures drop below 240c, ensures that you are not extracting valuable heat during Winter.

Solar roof vents also fight mould and condensation build-up in your roof space, reducing the likelihood of mould spores in the roof that can affect the health and air quality inside your home. A typical whirly bird has a flow rate of 90-100m3/h and the Solar Ark SAV-20 has a flow rate of 2718m3/h, however this is not the only advantage. With whisper quiet operation and a much more attractive appearance the solar roof vent is a superior ventilation system than a whirly bird.

There are 3 different models of the Solar Ark roof vents available – the SAV-20, SAV-20T and the SAV-30.  Solar roof vents require the solar panel to be facing North to operate efficiently. The SAV-20T is the exact same as the SAV-20, but with an adjustable tilt for the solar panel. This makes it very effective for installations where it is not possible to install the vent on a North facing roof. Both the SAV-20 and the SAV-20T use a 20w PV solar panel to operate the motor. The SAV-30 is the big performer for high extraction requirements with a flow rate of 3150m3/h. This means a larger 30w PV solar panel is required to operate its larger motor. These roof vents are not restricted to home use as they are very effective and often used in sheds and warehouses and have even been used in horse stables.

Not only are Solar Ark roof vents Australia’s highest performers, but they are also made to the highest quality standards. They use a polycarbonate fan blade and stainless steel fan cover, along with a brushless (super quiet) DC motor. Their quality is backed up by a 10 year warranty on the solar panel, body and fan and a 3 year warranty on the motor.

Tips on Picking the Right Tenants for your Rental Property

We’ve all heard horror stories about the tenants from hell. A Current Affair would have been culled from the Nine Network’s lineup years ago were it not for these stories of trash-filled, squalid homes and tenants who refuse to leave.

While these epic battles between landlords and their tenants might be extreme cases, disputes like these but on a smaller scale are a regular occurrence all around the country. Spending a bit of extra time selecting the right tenant for your property from the get-go is the best way to ensure you don’t end up in one of these sticky situations further down the track.

Generally speaking the majority of tenants are well behaved and clean people, however there are a small percentage of people who increase the risk of renting out your investment property. We spoke with Andrew a Brisbane property management expert about how you can ensure you don’t get stuck with a tenant from hell. Here is what he has to say:

Meet the Potential Tenant in Person

meeting with property managerYou can usually get a vibe about a person from meeting them in person. They might seem shifty, or you might just not feel comfortable around them, which is a good enough reason to not let them move onto your property. As a property manager I meet a lot of renters and I can usually tell which ones are clean and well-behaved and which ones are going to be a hassle to deal with.

Ensure you meet any potential tenant in person before signing anything. That way you’ll have a better idea of what they are like and how you expect they will behave.

Check their History

Generally prospective tenants will give you references. Make sure you get in contact with all of them to see what they have to say. People won’t usually add people to their reference list unless they expect a positive review, but you may be able to “read-between-the-lines” or even get some stories out of the referee that may give you a better idea about the personalities of the prospective tenants.

Also make sure you do a background check on them the make sure they do not have any serious criminal history. This could save you from some major hassles in the long run.

Ask for the Maximum Bond Allowed

There are legal restrictions on how much bond is allowed to be, but why ask for any less than the maximum. In Queensland the landlords and property managers are restricted to taking a maximum of 4 times the weekly rent as bond. Why take any less? If your tenants are responsible they will get it all back when they move out again anyway.

Take these steps and you are much more likely to get a responsible, decent tenant in your rental property. If you are not a good judge of character, get someone you trust; a friend or someone from your local property management agency to speak with the applicants on your behalf. A little bit of extra effort when choosing a tenant can save you a lot of money, time and stress in the long run, so don’t be lazy!

If you’d like more tips like these, check out the Rental Guardians blog at http://www.rentalguardians.com.au/blog/ or click these links to follow Andrew on Facebook, Google Plus, or Twitter.

 

DIY Pest Control in Your Home

As summer approaches us, bugs, insects, and pests once again prepare to come out in full force. Warmer weather means more food and this, combines with perfect breeding conditions means there will soon be a lot more ants, mosquitoes, cockroaches, and other bugs to contend with around your home and garden. We spoke with Michael from Pest Control North Brisbane on some simple yet effective ways to keeps the oncoming onslaught at bay.

“While most people think cans of toxic bug sprays or hiring professional pest controllers are the only options, there are a number of homemade products that are effective against insects and even rodents.” He said. “You can purchase the ingredients cheaply, or often even find them around your home, and make safe repellants and deterrents for a fraction of the cost of store bought chemicals.”

Common household products that can be used to ward off unwanted nasties include:

  • Vinegar
  • Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda)
  • Borax
  • Alcohol
  • Coffee
  • Beer and
  • Many common plants and herbs

For more information on what to do for specific pests that are bothering you take a look at this great infographic below.

If you need more specific information on how to create a natural, cheap and effective pest control solution for your particular problem, take a look online for more information. You’ll find a wealth of information on sustainable control methods which are effective for both residential and commercial applications. Simple do a search for “Natural Pest Control for Cockroaches”, or whatever bug it is that is currently bothering you. Not only does using home-made sprays and deterrents save you in the back pocket, they’re also better for the environment and safer for you, your family and your pets to be around.

If you’re still having trouble with the pests even after you’ve tried the home-made methods, it might be worth considering getting in touch with a professional in the field. Look for a pest controller who uses organic or natural methods whenever possible to ensure your family, and the environment, is protected as much as possible. If you’re in the Brisbane ares, give Michael and his team a call or get in touch with them via the interactive contact form on their website.

Remember, it’s always best if you can learn to live in harmony with nature, so please don’t injure or kill bugs or insects if they are not troubling you. We only advocate using extermination methods when absolutely necessary. Now get out there and enjoy this beautiful Australian spring weather!

Prevention: Better Than a Ton of Cure

We’re all about preventative medicine here at Ideas for Good. Making small changes to your life now can save you big-time in the long run. Preventative health maintenance can not only save you from severe pain and reduce deterioration of your senses as you age, but they can also save you a lot of money. Sure some of the following tips may cost you a little bit now, but it’s just a little short term pain for a lot of long term gain.

You may have read our recent article on the steps you can take to save your back from aches and pains, as you get older. Following are a few other tips on preventative health care for other areas that will also benefit you greatly in the long run.

Vision

It is inevitable that your vision will deteriorate as you age, but there are steps you can take to keep your eyesight in peak shape for as long as possible. In today’s society where everybody constantly has their head in their smartphone when they’re not

staring at their computer monitor at work or television at home, it makes sense to give your eyes a break. If you stare at a screen for long hours, try and take a break for a few minutes every hour or two and try and focus on things in the distance. Yes, you might have to go outside to do it but you’ll be happy you did when you can still read without wearing spectacles in your older years.

officeworker

Another benefit of stepping outdoors is that you give your eyes the chance to get some sunshine! A 2008 study comparing the vision of children in different countries, found that children who spent more time outdoors and therefore whose eyes were exposed to more sunshine, has much better vision than those who spent most of their time indoors. So why not take a break from reading this article and take a step outside for 5 minutes? We’ll still be right here when you get back!

Teeth

Nobody likes a visit to the dentist, but staying away for too long between visits will almost certainly cost you in the long run. If you maintain perfect dental practices and have a healthy diets with limited sugar intake then you might not have any dental issues, however for the majority of us who aren’t angels when it comes to eating junk food and brushing softly in a swirling motion twice a day then there are almost certainly some dental concerns on the horizon.

Here the best preventative health advice is to stop eating sweets and processed foods, but for those of us who can’t stand up to the sugar monster there are still steps you can take to ensure your teeth outlast your taste-buds’ cravings. One dentist in Boronia, near Ferntree Gully in Melbourne suggests that people get a check up at the absolute bare minimum once every two years. While more regularly is better and every 6 months is optimal, if you’re an avid dodger of dental visits once every few years is still better than nothing.

Many of us forget about our dental health once we finish schooling with compulsory dental visits. However, oral healthcare is one of the largest medical costs for Australian’s in their later years, so it’s highly beneficial to keep your teeth in good condition. Regular dental visits can help you notice problems before they escalate, and can save you thousands of dollars in dental bills. If you don’t want to have dentures by the time you turn 50, perhaps it’s time you booked for a checkup?

Hair

Nobody wants to lose his or her hair or go grey, but it’s another one of life’s inevitabilities. Many people just accept that it’s the way things have to be, but there is a way to maintain your youthful locks for longer. We spoke with our hairdresser friends at Unsurpassable about how they help their salon clients maintain their colourful and volumous hair. Ashlea has plenty to say on the topic.

“Most people don’t realize that hair is an extension of your body, so your hair reflects your bodies overall level of health. Is your hair going grey or thinning out at a young age? While genetics does have something to do with it, there’s a pretty good chance your lacking certain nutrients in your diet or your body is not healthy in some way.” Ashlea recommends to all her clients that they ensure they are getting enough nutrients through eating plenty of raw fruits and vegetables, and taking it easy on the booze. “I’ve noticed huge differences in my clients hair when they’ve changed their diets. Getting the proper vitamins and minerals through dietary changes can really make an impact!”

So there you have it. If you’re starting to thin or go grey early, perhaps your diet is to blame. Why not try a few weeks of eating less meats, carbs and fats and dining on more raw produce and see if it makes you feel different. Not only will it be good for your hair but it will also be good for your waistline.

That’s all from us today on preventative health, we’ll be sure to bring you more tips on the topic in the future though, so stay tuned to Ideas for Good for all the best advice and guidance on health, community and life.

Managing Stress When Organizing Your Next Corporate Event

With winter on its way out and the weather starting to heat up again, the people of Australia turn their thoughts towards Christmas.  While this time of year can be joyful for the majority of us, it can also be stressful for some. Santa probably has it the worst, but the poor employees who get stuck with the task of organizing the end of year corporate Christmas party for the entire office suffer greatly too.

While most of us working folk take events such as work Christmas parties for granted, a lot is involved in setting them up. Often the people behind the scenes have to do a great deal of organizing to make things run smoothly and they are rarely thanked for their efforts. Here at Ideas for Good, we love to have staff Christmas parties, but we like to share the workload of preparing and organizing so everyone gets a taste of how much work is really involved.

Generally speaking, the numerous things that need to be planned before any catered corporate function include:

  • Finding a suitable venue and organizing to hire it for the event
  • Ensuring that everyone in the company or companies (depending on what sort of event you are organizing) is told about the event in advance.
  • Finding a corporate caterer that has the capacity to feed all of the guests at the event.
  • Ensuring the food served is suitable for all of the patrons attending the event. Often people have special requirements i.e. vegan, halal, etc.
  • Making sure any speakers at the event are aware of what they need to say and when.
  • Ensuring there is enough seating and table space for all attendees.
  • The list goes on..

CateringplatterApart from finding the perfect venue with capacity to hold the correct number of guests, one thing we found was integral to the successful running of our events was to organize competent caterers. We spoke with the finger food catering service from last years party in Brisbane, the corporate catering specialists Art of Catering. They have a strong reputation in Brisbane and throughout Australia for their high standards in cuisine and customer service. Philip one of their party catering managers gave us the run down on what makes a good catering service and how that can make your job of organizing a function or event that much easier.

He gave us a list of things you should do before booking a corporate caterer. Here is what he recommended you do to make sure things run smoothly:

  1. Before you look for a company, work out what sort of food you want at your event. Different companies have different specialties, for example you don’t want to hire a catering team for your corporate function if they specialize in roast pork if there will be a large number of Jewish people or vegetarians at the event. Find out what demographic of people will be attending and select your shortlist of caterers accordingly.
  2. Speak with others who have organized similar events to your own, and find out their experiences with various companies.
  3. Look online and read reviews about others experiences. Often you might find a company who seem like they really know their stuff and will be perfect for your party, but online reviews may say otherwise. Do your research before booking anything; you’ll be glad you did.
  4. Call all of the caterers on your shortlist and see how well they can work with the specific requirements for your party. Often you can get a good feel for a company and their food, by speaking with one of their representatives.
  5. Once you have chosen the company you think you would like to have cater at your event, ask to taste test some of their food before the event to ensure it meats your expectations of quality and taste.

By following these steps you can ensure that you have a much greater chance of things running smoothly at your next event. There are so many things involved in setting up any party, but getting the finger food and meals done right is one of, if not the, most important. Do yourself a favour and do your research before booking anyone. Your fellow staff members may not thank you for it later, but they’ll be sure to remind you about it if things go wrong!

Olympic Park setting the Trend for Australian Water Reclamation Projects

“Did you know that Sydney Olympic Park has been reclaiming water since 2000?”

Built to showcase Australia on the global stage for the 2000 Olympic Games, Sydney Olympic Park was built to impress. In the days before “Global Warming” turned to “Climate Change”, water management was almost as much of an issue as it is today. The highly developed design of the Park’s infrastructure and its advanced capabilities has been awarded for it’s excellence and emulated around the globe.

Sydney Olympic Park’s water system has been managed under the Water Reclamation and Management Scheme (WRAMS). The scheme was started in 2000 and was Australia’s first large-scale urban water treatment scheme. The system was following the integrated water model issued by Sydney Olympic Park Management (pictured below). It covers not only the sport facilities but also the surrounding supporting elements including: settlements, hotels, and apartments. WRAMS recycles water from sewage and storm-water for irrigation, ornamental water fountains and toilet flushing applications across all the connected facilities in the park and in the bordering suburb of Newington. This water is supplied to customers through separate meters and at a considerably lower cost than regular water.

Integrated Water Cycle

Sydney Olympic Park Integrated Water System (from: Sydney Olympic Park Authority)

Statistically, WRAMS saves more than 850 million litres of potable water each year by avoiding its use for non-drinking purposes. The sewer-mining function of WRAMS treats an additional 550 million litres of sewage annually, saving a huge amount of discharged flowing out into the open waters.

So What Exactly is Water Reclamation?

It al begins with the word reclaim. According to the online dictionary, it means to retrieve or recover something “previously” or “potentially” lost. In this case that something lost would be the water. So water reclamation is a process by which wastewater from a facility or a communal of facilities (residential, commercial or industrial) is cleaned using biological and chemical treatment so that the water can be returned to the environment safely. This process aims to maintain the sustainability of our water networks.

While the piping, infrastructure and design of Sydney Olympic Park was groundbreaking, it was neither the first nor the most impressive reclamation project of its kind. This first reclamation system ever was introduced in 1932 in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, while the first Australian water recycling initiative was started in 1977. Since then it evolved from just settling pond technology, to advanced chemical additives, and now to high-tech selective membranes.

So How Does This Apply to Us?

The catchment management, stormwater harvesting and wastewater reprocessing at Olympic Park can all be emulated on a smaller scale but local councils or even in your own home. Ensuring that you don’t leave contaminants outside when rain can wash them into your own local water catchments is a start. This is a very common issue in Australia with car cleaning chemicals that are disposed of after cars have been washed.

On a smaller scale, installing a water tank for storm-water harvesting is a great idea that will benefit your local water system and your back pocket (For more information on saving water around your home see out article Tips on Saving Water From a Brisbane Plumber). Lastly, installing a greywater system is just like having your own wastewater-reprocessing unit and will allow you to reclaim some of your very own pre-loved water.

If you do decide to petition your local council to improve their water management or even install some water management utilities around you own home, ensure that you speak with a qualified plumber or water management expert for their opinion before proceeding with any project. The correct plumbing system is integral to hassle-free performance of any water reclamation system. Here, the Plumbing Code of Australia (PCA) and the 2008 Plumbing Regulations regulate water reclamation. A state of the art water reclamation system will not work effectively with badly designed plumbing system, as this may compromise the level of quality of the treated water.