Graduate engineer Sheheryar talks safety in the water industry

Sheheryar moved to Australia after completing his BEng Mechanical Engineering from Queen Mary University of London. “I was attracted to the work/life balance and settled on moving to Melbourne.” Shortly after arriving in Melbourne 2017, Shery began working with Programmed Facility Management.

As a young graduate at Programmed Shery is gaining exposure to senior leaders who help foster professional growth and on-the-job experience and training. We caught up with Sheheryar, one of our current graduate engineers who is working on our City West Water maintenance contract.

How did you hear about the graduate program at Programmed?

I was initially hired as a graduate engineer at Programmed Facility Management in May 2017. After my contract ended, my manager encouraged me to apply for the company’s two-year Graduate Programme.

What projects are you working on?

I am working on a few maintenance and facility projects at the moment with the main ones including the Horizontal Screw Conveyor, Snake Fencing and the Actuator Replacement.

  • Horizontal Screw Conveyor

Dewatered digested sludge is transported through horizontal screw conveyor to a holding unit or a hopper. Since the drive end of the horizontal screw conveyor was away from the inlet, it meant that it was susceptible to corrosion from hydrogen sulphide gas. I am working on a proposal to prevent any potential equipment failure due to this corrosion. The proposal includes moving the motor, spiral and the trough towards the inlet to limit exposure to hydrogen sulphide and minimise corrosion.

  • Snake Fencing

Altona Treatment Plant shares a 600m long boundary with the residents of Altona. Recently, Altona Treatment Plant was notified of snakes sneaking through the fencing. With our focus on zero harm, we are proposing the installation of 600 metres of long hot dip galvanised stainless steel mesh to provide a robust barrier against the snakes.

  • Actuator Replacement

I am working on the replacement of an actuator and a butterfly valve. The actuator on one of the detox tanks has shown signs of wear, and on one occasion the butterfly valve did not open at the right time and had to be manually operated. Both the actuator and the valve are at the end of their life and the replacement will prevent process downtime and improve process optimisation.

Can you talk about the work you have done on the safety system and operation procedures?

With help from the Plant Assessor, I have minimised the risk on various machines at the Altona Treatment Plant and the West Werribee Treatment Plant. The process involved updating and documenting their safety and operating procedures and pre-operational checklist, and improving the safety equipment on the machines to minimise risk. For example, organising appropriate safety guards and labels for relevant machines.

Have you found anything surprising about the water industry?

I found it surprising that the design drawings of the pipe network were almost 100 years old. These drawings pinpointed the location of various pumps, valves and pipes located underground and while most of the drawings have a digital database in computers some of them are still used to conduct successful site inspections.

What are some other highlights so far?

Some of the highlights so far include successful commencement of snake fencing work after pre-commencement checks, successful delivery of the project scope for tank ladders, horizontal, inclined and hopper conveyors and snake fencing project.

Do you have any advice for other graduates?

Being proactive can enhance the learning curve exponentially, and when this learning is combined with hard work, success is almost guaranteed in any area.


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Programmed is a leading provider of operations and maintenance services across Australia and New Zealand. Our business model is built around our ability to recruit, deploy, manage and maintain a large, directly employed workforce of professional, skilled and semi-skilled staff with a wide range of capabilities. We are proud to efficiently serve more than 10,000 customers every day.

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