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Stuart Moore - Southport Golf Club, QLD

2007 AGCSA Claude Crockford Environmental Award winner Stuart MooreSouthport Golf Club superintendent Stuart Moore capped off a fine six months by winning the prestigious Syngenta-sponsored AGCSA Claude Crockford Environmental Award at the 2007 Australian Turfgrass Conference in Cairns. The honour came on top of Moore receiving the Superintendent Environmental Award at the Queensland PGA conference earlier in the year.

In recent times Moore has overseen some dramatic environmental improvements to the club’s maintenance facility, including the installation of a dedicated water treatment system, machinery washdown bay and chemical storage and mixing area. It took three years of convincing the club to commit to the improvements but Moore persevered and now has a facility which is the envy of many other clubs.

Southport Golf Club is situated on Queensland’s Gold Coast.  Its boundaries are adjacent to main thoroughfares, one of which is directly behind Chevron Island, located immediately west of Surfers Paradise beach less than two kilometres away.
As a result of the location it is linked to the Nerang River via tidal creeks running in and around the golf course. Due to this location any works, whether redevelopment on course or, as in this case, a washdown bay, come under some very stringent screening by local authorities.

The objective of the project was a focus on installation of a functional, practical and reliable washdown bay to eliminate the use of town water (potable water) at the then existing washdown site, as well as control contaminants and waste. In addition it had to be approved by the relevant authorities but at the same time offer another service to members. Work began in September 2005 and by year’s end the club had not only accomplished its objective, but also gained positive – if unexpected – bonuses along the way.

Moore had been pushing for almost three years for the project to start, but cost was always the major factor confronting the club board. However, with the Warringah incident and a letter to the board from a concerned member who was aware of the inadequacies of the then current facility, the club soon realised its environmental obligations and gave the $100,000 project the go-ahead.

Design and hardware
Priorities that had to be addressed included:
•    Use of the existing washdown bay site;
•    Removal of town water from site;
•    Contamination from machinery (residues etc.), waste clippings, spray units including tanks and backpacks to be prevented from making its way into environmentally sensitive ponds and waterways through the course;
•    All waste material to be collected and re-used on course (e.g.; as mulch in gardens and waste hazard areas);
•    Provision of space for two or three pieces of machinery to be washed down at the same time without standing in water, thus avoiding staggered return times for washing down and allowing machinery to stay on course for as long as allocated;
•    Provision of a set-down point for all hazardous goods, including emergency bunding in case of incidents (no incidents recorded thus far);
•    Provision of a platform for a fuel filling station for bulk deliveries and daily refuelling of machinery;
•    Inclusion of a storage facility for used chemical containers and readily accessible for collection;
•    Use of machinery shed roof for rainwater harvesting to combine with the treated recycled water.

Treatment system
The set up of the old washdown area was not dissimilar to that of many clubs with a similar background to Southport. It had a typically open, flat area of asphalt, concrete and roadbase located next to a spoon drain that took all waste water directly into an adjacent pond linked to water hazards which eventually made its way to the Nerang River and Gold Coast Broadwater. This was unacceptable.

The treatment system devised for the new washdown bay had to firstly convert the Class B water received from the Gold Coast City Council to irrigate the course to Class A recycled water which was then transferred to storage tanks. In the tanks the Class A water is diluted with stormwater collected from the maintenance shed roof.

Achieving Class A standard was the only way of legally using recycled water, and necessitated installation of a primary treatment plant on the washdown bay to take irrigation water from the adjacent 12th fairway and deliver it to the system.

At that time the system capable of this process was the PASS (particulate air separation system) process water treatment system designed to treat approximately 5500 litres/hour.  This means the water treatment process would always be drawing water from the Class B irrigation line.  This water is directed to a break tank post treatment, and then pumped into two rainwater tanks.  An automatic valve opens and closes depending on water requirements.

Within this process, water is pumped via a recirculating pump through a chlorine mixing and contact column, then through a foam fractionator where a foaming agent and air/ozone mixture is introduced. The end result is Class A water which is constantly recirculated within the break tank allowing monitoring and reliable results.

The second part of the treatment system processes the waste recycled water once machinery has been cleaned. The waste water runs into a specifically built ‘beach pit’ below the washdown area where a separation screen captures almost all clippings and debris.  The water passes through this screen and into a sump.
From here the WaterStax system takes over, pumping the waste water from the sump into separate tanks to be treated with bioremediation to reduce hydrocarbons. A manifold in the catch basin controls the flow of water over a grass catcher screen and at the same time recirculates a portion of the water back into the sump. This keeps most of the solids suspended and reduces the need to shovel sludge from the bottom of the sump.

Sand and grit separate from the water in chamber one.  Bioremediation occurs in chamber two as the water flows through a biofilter, then through a manifold which draws off the bottom of chamber two and into chamber three, which is the final holding tank.  After the microbes have had time to degrade the hydrocarbon contaminants and the water is discharged to waste.  Each chamber is aerated to control odour.

The bioprocess is simply a specially designed layer of biological media that create an ideal breeding ground for aerobic bacteria to quickly multiply and consume hydrocarbon-based contaminants, converting them to harmless H2O and CO2.
Fit for purpose
As well as having a fit for purpose water resource, the club has made significant savings in its town water usage (up to 8M per annum) which is invaluable considering the region is currently experiencing Level 5 water restrictions.

Also, as a direct result of extensive waste water treatment the lower waterways and ponds on the course have cleaned up, resulting in an increase in frog numbers and more prevalent turtle and birdlife activity. Members are also happier, as the once pungent odours that prevailed in this area have disappeared.

Aside from winning a state and national award for the project, the groundstaff at Southport now enjoy a facility that allows them to become more efficient when cleaning hazardous equipment through being able to perform such work in a safe and contained environment. All groundstaff have attended recycled water management training through which all have become recycled water accredited users.

In wining the award, Moore becomes the fifth Queensland superintendent to collect the Claude Crockford since 2000 and joins the likes of Scott McKay, Ben Marshall, Andrew Baker and Ben Tilley.

As an unexpected benefit, Syngenta’s Sam Hole announced at the awards ceremony that his company would fund the set up and installation cost of the e-par environmental management system for Southport Golf Club in recognition of Moore’s efforts in improving the environmental management of his facility