Sydney Desalination Plant Operator Training


CWT was engaged to train operators following the 2019 restart of the Sydney Desalination Plant. CWT trained 15+ operators on the control, optimisation and troubleshooting of each major treatment process, both in the classroom and in-field.

Services Offered

Delivery of training modules for the following topics:

  • Reverse osmosis and energy recovery
  • Corrosion control: lime and CO2 dosing
  • Chlorination and contact time (CT)
  • Chloramination: ammonia and chlorine dosing and breakpoint chloramination
  • Shock chlorination and de-chlorination: Sodium hypochlorite and sodium bisulphite dosing
  • Critical control point procedures and risk mitigation
  • Early warning and incident notification


Following the extensive 2018 rebuild of Sydney Desalination Plant, necessitated by major cyclonic damage in 2015, CWT was engaged by Veolia Water to provide commissioning assistance and training of operators for the newly constructed 250 ML/d plant. The plant incorporates the treatment processes of coagulation and flocculation, dual media filtration, reverse osmosis, water stabilisation, chlorine disinfection and chloramination residual control.

Veolia Water procured over 15 operators of varying levels of experience, some of which had transferred from the recently decommissioned Caltex Refinery. CWT (Jess Circosta) was asked to develop and present training material to align the operators’ expertise with best-practice engineering practices in the water industry.


Training modules were developed and delivered under the central tenets:

  • Training is developed from first principles – one should never assume fundamental comprehension on any subject without evidence to the contrary.
  • Teaching shall be delivered empathetically, respecting all levels of understanding and skills.
  • Talking with rather than talking at operators encourages two-way dialogue and promotes transparency, collaboration and the exchange of questions and feedback.
  • Resourcing operators by providing materials such as look up tables, procedures and systems, empowers and fosters self-development.
  • Utilising a variety of media sources (presentations, drawings, videos, procedures, SCADA and in-field exercises) encourages focus, engagement and participation.


At the completion of each training module, operators demonstrated competency through the completion of training exercises.

In the weeks following the training, management and operations staff both expressed that operators had demonstrated increased confidence, insight and ability to independently diagnose, rectify and report on process issues.