TALKING about faeces while eating dinner is not something someone usually raises as a good point about a function, but for Yeppoon man Adam Rose, it had a sweet smell.
The CQUniversity researcher was in Brisbane on Friday night surrounded by people from similar fields - a rare treat - for the 2017 Queensland Water Awards.
The awards are run by the Australian Water Association (AWA) which is primarily concerned with the day-to-day management of drinking water and sewerage operations.
Mr Rose said there were over 500 people at the awards dinner where "talking about poo while eating dinner didn't seem unusual”.
The spotlight ended up shining on Mr Rose, whose PhD research lead to winning the Student Prize Award.
"It was a fabulous surprise,” he said. "A lot of these results usually go to the south-east corner so it's nice us regional guys got up.”
AWA Chief Executive Jonathan McKeown said the awards recognise the outstanding contribution of individuals and organisations in the water industry across innovation, research, infrastructure and delivery of water projects.
"This year saw a record number of award submissions across all categories from a range of water utilities, universities, research institutes and local councils,” he said. "This is testament to the great work being carried out across all areas of the water sector in Queensland.”
The winners of the QLD Water Awards will automatically be entered into the equivalent National Australian Water Awards category, which will be presented at Ozwater'18 in Brisbane next year.
Mr Rose won the award for his work collecting data, collaborating it and creating models useful for industry in forecasting the impacts of natural changes in water quality in the Baffle Creek catchment.
Part of the research was for Gladstone Regional Council ahead of upgrading a water treatment plant in the area.
The environmental scientist said he started collaborating data for what the council wanted to know with regards to a particular bacteria in the water supply and expanded it to include minerals and nutrients.
Mr Rose spent 28 months collecting water samples from the Baffle Creek Basin Catchment - a water source that has not been changed by man in the form of damming or weirs - over two dry seasons, two wet seasons and two flooding events.
One of Mr Rose's PhD supervisors, Associate Professor Larelle Fabbro said the project was very practical.
"It's an excellent example of how you use a significant amount of data you get from the field and then add to it,” she said.
Prof Fabbro said one of the benefits to council was to know when they do and don't need do extra treatments to the drinking water which is costly to the community.
Prof Fabbro has been a PhD supervisor since 2003 and this is the first time she has witnessed a student win a state award like this.