Laboratory Capabilities
(Double click here for a one page summary of Lab capability - Acrobat format)

The laboratory participates in regular proficiency testing programs with Australasian Soil and Plant Analysis Council (ASPAC) and National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) as well as performing its own internal auditing procedures.

The laboratory has the following major analytical instruments installed:

IRIS Intrepid II XDL Dual View Inductively Coupled Plasma
Graphite Furnace Atomic Absorption Spectrometer
Metrohm Ion Chromatograph for Anionic analysis
UV/VIS Spectrophotometer

Director's Profile
Dr Robert A. Patterson
(double click here for a one-page CV in Acrobat format)

Current Position
Certified Professional Soil Scientist Stage 3 (CPSS-3)
Certified Practising Agriculturalist (CPAg)
Environmental Engineer

Professional Affiliations
Fellow, Institution of Engineers Australia  (FIEAust)
Member Australian Soil Science Society Inc.
Corporate Member Australasian Soil and Plant Analysis Council
Member Australian Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology

Bachelor of Natural Resources First Class Honours (Uni. of New England)   major - soil and water resources
Postgraduate Certificate of Engineering (Deakin University)    major - water engineering
Doctor of Philosophy (University of New England)    jointly resource engineering and soil science
Postgraduate Diploma of Engineering (Deakin University)         major - environmental engineering
Master of Engineering (Deakin University)

2012  - Engineers Australia Medal

Major Academic Theses
B. Nat. Res. Honours thesis examined surface water, groundwater and rain water collection and use by rural residential developments in the Armidale area.
Doctoral thesis "On-site treatment and disposal of septic tank effluent" examined wastewater chemical properties and the effects of effluent disposal on the hydraulic conductivity of soils.
Master of Engineering project on "Environmental Indicators of Effective Sewage Effluent Re-use" examining re-use at the Armidale Sewage Treatment Works.

Key Responsibilities and Achievements
Specific Expertise
Certified Professional Soil Scientist (Leading Professional Stage 3) with specific expertise in landscape analysis, soil description, soil physical and chemical analysis, salinity and sodicity issues and soil phosphorus cycling.  Key achievements include technical advice to local government and private developers in soil science and landscape issues.

Certified Practising Agriculturalist with specific expertise in soil management in agricultural land use planning, salinity and sodicity issues and fertiliser requirements.  Key achievements include recognition by agriculturalists of technical competence in measuring soil chemical properties and recommending ameliorating strategies.

Environmental Engineer with practical and technical expertise in water and wastewater management, soil resource management and environmental issues related to environmental assessments, effluent reuse projects and biosolids management.  Key achievements in recent projects with Armidale Dumaresq Council in relation to effluent and biosolids reuse, providing ongoing assessment for Guyra Shire Council for conformance to licence conditions and numerous reuse projects for small packaged treatment works for coastal developments.

Prepare environmental investigations, air and water quality monitoring and assessments, storm water runoff effects on groundwater and surface waters, surface water quality relationships and potable water supply investigations. Key achievement is recognition of expertise in irrigation projects in relation to salinity, sodicity and nutrient relationships.  Provide technical advice to Councils and developers in relation to irrigation of effluent onto large scale developments, including dairy wastewater, piggery wastewater and municipal effluent.

Prepare on-site wastewater management plans to meet environmental constraints and comply with state and national guidelines for traditional septic tank systems, aerated wastewater treatment systems, composting toilets, sand filters, evaporation beds and other treatment systems.  Key achievement is recognition by local government and peers of specific expertise in on-site systems, these include preparing plans for individual dwellings as well as large subdivisions. Provide expert evidence to Land & Environment Court hearings related to on-site wastewater management for small and medium scale developments.

Provide training to professionals in on-site wastewater management in courses with others (1995 to present) and those run under the Lanfax Labs banner. Developed and offer a course on "Practical Implementation of AS/NZS 1547: on-site domestic wastewater management".

Monitor groundwater projects including assessments in relation to irrigation projects, protection of groundwater resources, nutrient monitoring programs and hydrogeological planning issues.

Provide advice to Local Government and industry in relation to soil nutrient balances.  Key achievements have been projects on-going consulting to Armidale Dumaresq Council with respect to effluent re-use.

Laboratory Management
Responsible for the management of the analytical services, proficiency testing participation, quality control programs of all aspects of the research and commercial operations.  Key achievement has been the development of the laboratory, its technical procedures manual and its competitive role as provider of quality analytical services to Universities, Government and the private sector.

Responsible for the interpretation of all analytical results, liaison with the clients and development of strategies to meet their requirements. 

Completed acid sulphate soils proficiency testing under the coordination of ASSMAC Technical Committee's. Completed Acid Sulphate soil course with Southern Cross University, 2012

Maintain technical competence through proficiency testing programs with Australasian Soil and Plant Analysis Council and National Association of Testing Authorities.  Key achievement is maintaining high level of proficiency and competence in soil and water analysis.

Research activities
Undertake commercial research for university, government and private sector in areas of soil, water and wastewater research.  Responsibilities in project design and implementation, including assessment of the results.  Key achievements have been the development of peat applications for treatment of domestic and industrial wastewater through laboratory trials and commercial full-scale trials.

Research interests in chemical interactions in domestic wastewater generation and treatment.   Key achievement has been recognition as a leader in understanding wastewater chemistry in relation to household chemical use, presented papers internationally on this field and provide unique website for dissemination of the information freely to the public.

Research project under the NSW Department of Local Government's Septic Safe Research Program to investigate the changes to wastewater chemistry as a function of daily water use and in-house chemical use.  Key achievement has been recognition by Government of expertise in salinity and sodicity issues and preparing technical papers for the NSW Department of Local Government.

Responsible for numerous research projects related to drinking water quality across northern NSW, surface and groundwater quality monitoring.  Key achievements have been publication of specific data demonstrating the variable quality of drinking water and effects of natural and induced chemicals on the environmental quality of these waters.

Public Representation
Committee member of Soil Science Australia's CPSS Board (2012-2014)

Provide technical expertise and representation as part of  a team at public meetings, commissions of enquiry, for individuals, business organisations, community and resident action groups.  Key achievements have been in areas where pressure has brought about reviews to planning issues for major highway diversions, flooding issues, wetlands, land acquisition, land use zoning and mining.

Member of Armidale Dumaresq Council's Floodplain Management Committee (1999-2001), Member of Armidale Dumaresq Council's Landfill Community Consultative Committee for the life of that committee (2003/04), member of Armidale Dumaresq Council's Waste Management Committee (2004-2010 )

Chair of the Northern Group of the Newcastle Division of Engineers Australia (2005 -2006).  Representative Engineers Australia Newcastle Division Committee (2013-2016); Representative Engineers Australia Regional Special Interest Group (2015-2016)

Professional Publications
Prepared numerous professional papers on water, water quality, effects of effluent disposal by land application, presented paper on On-site disposal in New Orleans, USA in January 1997,  on liquid trade waste and septage treatment at conference in Indonesia, Chemical effects of wastewater in Sydney 1998, septic tank effluent disposal 1999, Peat bed treatment systems in 1999 and 2001, Paris in July 2001, phosphorus isotherms 2001, nitrate research 2004 presented at Sacramento March 2004, effluent research (Poland 2013), soil carbon cycling (Germany (2013).  All recent publication are freely available on web site.

Prepared technical publications on sodicity, salinity and evapotranspiration systems for NSW Department of Local Government.

Author of "Soil Capability for On-site Wastewater Management", a training manual for on-site wastewater management professionals.

Organisational Skills
Responsible for the financial and professional operation of Lanfax Laboratories as a private consultancy working in the environmental field, with particular emphasis on water and soil resource projects for Government, industry and the private sector.  Key achievement has been the development of a successful laboratory and consulting business.

Conference Coordinator for On-site '99 (July 1999) and On-site '01 (Sept 2001), On-site '03, On-site '05 and On-site '07 - responsible for all facets of the five international conferences which attracted over 200 delegates to Armidale on each occasion. Senior technical editor of the technical sessions and editor of the published proceedings of the conferences.  Key achievement has been the Australian and international standing of the conferences and the technical publication of papers for access by the on-site wastewater sector.

Technical editor for three Engineers Australia Regional Conventions - 2007, 2009 and 2011 - published by Engineers Australia (see Publications List).

Administration capabilities
Responsible for the administration of Lanfax Laboratories in all its endeavours, including financial controls, taxation reporting requirements and personnel management.  Key achievement has been the building of a successful and respected consulting business.

Training Experiences
A qualified school teacher with experience in NSW Schools including four years in teacher-in-charge positions. As a Specialist Local Government Adviser (PNG) responsible for all facets of administration and practical training in local government and field administration roles.  Key achievement was the training of administration and field staff in all facets of local government practice.

Four years as Principal Staff Development Officer for PNG administrative field officers responsible for training in practical skills and in-service training.  Key achievement was the development of a staff training centre in Madang, training of national training officers and production of a "Handbook for Field Officers".

Temporary and casual lecturing positions with University of New England (1982-1999) in disciplines of Geography, Hydrology, Soil Science, Natural Resource Management, Environmental Engineering and Ecosystem Management.

Casual lecturer for NSW Agriculture's Farm Management Course (1983-1997)with responsibility for teaching in practical soil assessment, aspects.  Key achievement was the writing of "Soils and Their Management" a training manual published by NSW Agriculture.

Presented "Train the trainer" courses for industry in Armidale Region.  Key achievement was the training of industry personnel in best management on-the-job training methods.

Team member teaching On-site wastewater management - involved since 1994 to present - responsible for soil component.

Web Site Development
Developed and manage web site for the Northern Group of the Newcastle Division of the Institution of Engineers Australia 2001-2012.  Developed and manage the Lanfax Labs web site.

Computer Literacy
Competent with word processing, financial management packages, spreadsheets, web site development and management, statistical packages, CAD and other drawing packages and the use of these tools for modelling and statistical analysis.

Retired from Australian Army Reserve with the rank of Major having reached the position of company commander.  Commanded troops in peace time exercises in Australia and New Zealand.  Took part in major training exercises including a Divisional exercise in Katherine (NT) and a Brigade exercise in Broome (WA).

Reached position of District Officer (Clerk Class 9) with PNG Administration, responsible for management of Provincial Training Centre Madang as Officer-in-Charge

Photography, welding and metal fabrication, family history