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march 2013 | thameswater.co.uk

WE’VE GOT THE

POWER

Mogden upgrade charging towards the finish line The Olympic Park

TEAM THAMES six months later


contents

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Mogden power upgrade hits deadline

50 Shades of Grey Matter

7 8 11 15 19

Megatron: the wastewater monster Chopper flight over Crossness Team Thames still going strong at the Olympic Park Get up to speed with Crossrail Star bakers feel the love

Editor’s column Whatever happened to the Olympic Park? That went through my mind as I arrived in Stratford to meet the last remaining members of Team Thames. John Hernon showed me round the giant, high-security building site and managed to get me into the aquatics centre and velodrome – how steep are those corners? Last time I was at the Olympic Park, Usain Bolt had just won the 200 metres and it was carnival-time inside immaculate, London 2012-branded grounds. Now it has been ripped apart and is buzzing with construction workers. Cones, not rings. John said it has gone back two years. Read the full feature to find out why Team Thames is still running from page 11. And please take the time to look at the Megatron on page 8. Amazing. This month’s Source will be available to Apple users via the portal for the first time so if you prefer reading electronically please check it out. I know this has not worked well in the past, but I’m told we now have a solution. And, as always, if you have a story or want to contribute please let me know. Stuart stuart.white@thameswater.co.uk 2 | march 2013 www.thameswater.co.uk

Let’s Roquefort and roll All set for a Big Fat Cheesy Quiz meltdown

Four Thames Water teams have been swotting up ahead of this month’s Big Fat Cheesy Quiz final. They will battle it out with around 40 contractor teams on March 7 at Shehnai in Reading – all raising money for WaterAid. The Thames Water finalists are: 50 Shades of Grey Matter, from Clearwater Court (Mark Willcocks, Dina Gillespie, Angela Tanner, Deborah Brzakalik, Darrell Lansdell and Gerard Lyden) Riverside Rascals, from Riverside STW ( Leigh Hughes, Garry Neicho, Andrew Lyons, Paul Garner and Travis Van Moorsel) Quick Change, from Walnut Court (Paul Aust, Tom Burridge, Andy Willis, Stacey McKay, Kate Lloyd and Laura Sharp) Planet of the Apes, from Spencer House (Ant Tyler, Andrew Watson, Jackie Brooklin, Daniel Evans and Phil Luker) See next month’s Source for pictures from the grand final.

Riverside Rascals

Quick Change

Water bills to remain less than a pound a day BY SIMON EVANS

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hames Water confirmed the cost of water and sewerage services for the average household will remain under £1 a day and the second-lowest in the industry for 2013/14. The company, which is currently carrying out a record £1 billion a year of upgrades to its water and sewage networks, said its bills were set to rise 5.5%, including 3% inflation, raising the annual average bill by £18 to £354. Martin Baggs, the chief executive, said: “We are very aware of how tight household budgets are at the moment, so we understand that keeping bills as low as possible is important. “We are providing an essential service at an average cost of just under £1 a day for

each household – and with each of these households using on average more than 400 litres a day that is exceptional value. “For this price, we’re also investing more than £1 billion per year on improvements to our water pipes, sewers and other facilities. That’s around £1,000 per property between 2010 and 2015. “Since privatisation in 1989 we have invested £17bn improving our networks. As a result of this work the quality of our customers’ tap water and the environmental compliance of our 350 sewage works are better than ever, and leakage from our 20,000-mile network of water mains also remains close its lowest-ever level.” Project manager Leigh Ingman talks annual billing – see page 16.


news

The four-mile Lee Tunnel will run beneath the London Borough of Newham from Abbey Mills to Beckton when complete later this year

Thames Tideway Tunnel

plans delivered Thames Water has submitted 50,000 page Development Consent application to Planning Inspectorate BY NICK TENNANT

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etailed plans for the construction of London’s proposed ‘Supersewer’, developed by Thames Water, were delivered to the Planning Inspectorate on February 28. Within 28 days the Inspectorate will decide whether the application is a valid one, including for example whether the consultation undertaken was adequate. If accepted, all the application documents will appear in their own section of the Planning Inspectorate’s National Infrastructure website. Thames Water will also make them available for scrutiny at six public locations, to be announced later this month, along the tunnel’s proposed route – three either side of the river. Phil Stride, head of Thames Tideway Tunnel at Thames Water, said: “Following a thorough process of public consultation, which started back in September 2010, we have now finalised a highly detailed document, explaining how the project’s delivery will be managed. “It’s the result of many months of work by the team to ensure the application addresses all the relevant legal and technical issues.” If the Inspectorate accepts the application is a valid one, it will appoint an Examining Authority

of up to five inspectors to consider any matters arising. As part of this process, interested parties will be able to make representations. A preliminary meeting, open to those who have registered an interest, is expected to take place in early September 2013. Chaired by the Inspectorate, this will determine how the examination will be carried out and include

“TUNNEL URGENTLY REQUIRED TO HELP TACKLE DISCHARGES OF UNTREATED SEWAGE TO THE TIDAL RIVER THAMES” consideration of more detailed hearings on site specific matters, as well as project-wide issues. Once the Planning Inspectorate has concluded its examination of the application, a recommendation on whether or not to grant approval (by issuing a Development Consent Order) will be submitted to Government ministers to make the final decision. This is expected in Autumn 2014. If consent is granted, preparatory construction work on the project is scheduled to start in 2015, with main tunnelling due to begin in 2016. The target completion date is 2023. The Thames Tideway Tunnel proposals require a number of construction sites, from Acton in

Martin Baggs signs the application

the west to Abbey Mills pumping station in Stratford in the east. There the 15-mile tunnel, the deepest and longest ever constructed in the capital, would join up with the Lee Tunnel, already under construction. Along with separate work also under way to expand the capacity of the five sewage treatment works on the tidal River Thames, the tunnels’ purpose is to tackle the 39 million tonnes of untreated sewage that currently overflows into tidal stretches of the river in a typical year, when the capital’s Victorian sewerage network fills to capacity, sometimes after just 2mm of rainfall. The tunnels will convey the excess sewage for processing to stringent standards at Beckton sewage treatment works, with green energy being generated from the resulting sludge, before the treated water is returned to the River Thames. All three schemes are needed to ensure the UK meets the requirements of the EU Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive. www.thameswater.co.uk march 2013 | 3


Last call for volunteers to man the Red Nose Day phones at two Thames Water offices BY STUART WHITE

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eams of staff will be answering thousands of pounds worth of telephone calls as the whole country tunes into Red Nose Day this month. Thames Water volunteers will be at Kemble Court in Reading and Walnut Court, Swindon, between 6pm and midnight on Friday, March 15, processing donations for the life-changing charity which always grips the nation. Kemble office manager Maria Rivers has been organising the Thames call centres for the last three years, and she said there is still time for more people to get involved in this year’s big night. “I like to create a party atmosphere,” she said. “We decorate the buildings, play games and dish out on the spot prizes to keep everyone up-beat and motivated. I make sure we have enough food and drink, and get people to bake cakes. I love it. It’s hard work, but so rewarding.”

“I LIKE TO CREATE A PARTY ATMOSPHERE – WE DECORATE THE BUILDINGS, PLAY GAMES AND DISH OUT ON THE SPOT PRIZES” Each centre has 50 lines and around 90 to 100 volunteers. Roles range from answering the phones and taking donations to team leaders, runners keeping everyone topped up with treats and coffee, and back office staff adding up paper donations when the webbased Red Nose system crashes. Maria, who has worked for Thames Water

One Direction are in tune with Red Nose Day

Maria Rivers

Email maria.rivers@thameswater.co.uk if you want to experience Red Nose Day 2013 at either location. for 22 years, explained: “If someone like One Direction come on and ask people to donate we get a massive surge of calls, and this can make the system slow down or crash. Things then get pretty hectic as we have to revert to writing donations out on paper. “Overall though it is a great night. We have the show on the big screens and everybody has a good time while bringing in thousands of pounds for the charity.” 4 | march 2013 www.thameswater.co.uk

RED NOSE DAY Red Nose Day first burst onto our screens 25 years ago and, once again, the nation is gearing up to put on their noses, pull out all the stops, and get fundraising. Whether it’s at work or at home, the money raised is used to transform the lives of countless people. In the UK the money is used to help give shelter to young people living on the streets and protection to those living with domestic abuse. In Africa, donations save thousands from malaria and provide whole communities with fresh water and life-saving vaccines. Visit www.rednoseday.com for more information.

Picture by johnwrightphoto.com

DO SOMETHING FUNNY FOR MONEY


news

Powering to the

finish line Mogden now has enough capacity to power a small town following upgrade ahead of the big switch on

BY CHARLIE MONGER

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he team delivering Mogden’s £140 million upgrade had to work around the clock to generate the additional power supply needed to accommodate its 50 per cent increase in sewage treatment capacity. This involved switching to electricity supplier UK Power Networks (UKPN) in just five weeks and was further complicated by the fact that turning the whole site’s power off would pollute the River Thames within 45 minutes.

“THIS £16 MILLION POWER UPGRADE MAKES IT POSSIBLE FOR THE SEWAGE WORKS TO MEET ITS MARCH DEADLINE” Steve Proctor, commissioning manager, explained: “Shutting down the power was simply not an option, so we worked closely with both UKPN and the old provider to switch over in controlled stages.” The team installed two 33,000 volt power cables from the UKPN electrical substation 4km away in Twickenham – crossing under a railway line, river and trunk road. And to avoid

disruption they had to time this around a number of rugby matches and the Olympics, and get the job finished in time for switching on the new works by March 31. Steve added: “These supply cables were linked up to the site’s new primary substation, equipped with two massive 40 tonne transformers, ready for the final change over.” The project also added four new stand-by generators, meaning Mogden now has enough capacity to power a small town. At the same time, the site’s power management system was being upgraded which meant there was no automatic back-up against power failure. This added additional pressures to the team who had to monitor the situation around the clock to keep the site running. Maria Antoniou, project lead, added: “Delivering this £16 million power upgrade over the last 18 months makes it possible for the sewage works upgrade to meet its March deadline. “The team have overcome huge challenges with significant support from UKPN and contractor Black & Veatch – many thanks for all their hard work.”

The wooden main found in Arlington Road

Wooden trunk main and leather sole An Optimise gang delivering Victorian mains replacement for the London network team in Camden’s Arlington Road discovered three sections of timber water-pipe which are believed to date back to the 1700s. Although the upper parts of the pipe are quite decayed, much has remained intact. The team also retrieved some interesting finds from inside including pottery and the leather sole of a shoe at the start of February.

Steve Proctor, who has worked for Thames Water for 34 years, and Maria Antoniou have the power

Pottery was also discovered in the compact grey clay that covered the timber pipes which archaeologists say may also date back to the 18th century. It is believed the clay was used as a way of making the pipes water-tight. The discovery is made even more remarkable by the fact that it is the second found by an Optimise team in the last year after a gang working near Euston Station in March discovered a three metre trunk main with a seven inch diameter dating back to the 1600’s. Timber pipes were part of the water management system which brought fresh water into central London and were still in use well into the 18th century. The main was dug out of here

www.thameswater.co.uk march 2013 | 5


news NEWS Owls about it A pair of barn owls were parading along the bank at Farmoor reservoir most days in February. They could be seen between Thames Water’s Farmoor 1 reservoir and Pinkhill nature reserve. The reservoir’s Matt Prior said: “They are very active because of the bad weather preventing them from hunting when they normally would overnight, and also because their prey have been flooded out and will be sheltering on high ground.” Meet the conservation team – page 22. Farmoor’s barn owl

Apprentices

make the grade Years of enthusiasm pay off for Thames Water’s most outstanding apprentice of 2012 BY NAOMI BRYANT

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rossness technician Jonathan Higgins was left speechless after walking away with the top honour at the Apprentice Graduation event in London. Twenty one Thames Water apprentices were invited to the Institution of Engineering and Technology with their line manager and two guests, many being proud parents, to celebrate on January 31. The apprentices work right across the business from Beckton to Witney as tech ones, ICA technicians, single and dual skilled technicians and shift operators.

“THIS IS A FANTASTIC COMPANY WITH GOOD OPPORTUNITIES”

Health kiosk moves to Maple Lodge After a successful two-month trial at Rose Kiln Court in Reading, the Wellpoint kiosk has moved to capital delivery’s office at Maple Lodge sewage works. This state-of-the-art touch screen kiosk takes just a few minutes to measure your weight, body mass index, body fat content, blood pressure and heart rate, helping you to keep track of your basic health statistics. Jason Aldred, capital delivery’s member of the health and safety leadership team (HSLT), said: “The kiosk was tried out by more than 250 people at Rose Kiln Court, with many using it regularly to check their progress. “The machine has been so popular that we wanted to give as many employees as possible a chance to try it out. The feedback has been extremely positive so it’s really good news that we’re able to offer another trial at Maple Lodge.” This new trial is being sponsored by locally-based contractor MGJV and forms part of the HSLT’s drive to get staff thinking about health and wellbeing matters. The kiosk will be in the London network office at Maple Lodge throughout April so if you’re on site drop in and try it out. Health and Safety Awards round-up in next month’s Source. 6 | march 2013 www.thameswater.co.uk

After a three course dinner, overlooking the Thames, each apprentice was presented with their certificate by chief executive Martin Baggs, who praised them for their achievements. The evening was rounded off by naming Jonathan, 24, who lives in Cliffe, Kent, as this year’s most outstanding apprentice.

Jonathan, who won an Android tablet, said: “I am speechless. It really wasn’t something I was expecting. I have had a few ups and downs with training in the past, but my experience with Thames Water is really positive. “What I have achieved is great. This is a fantastic company with good opportunities and, although it is the tools that I love working with, I do hope that I’ll progress on to management one day.” Jonathan started his apprenticeship in 2008 and his manager Gareth Davies described him as “the most enthusiastic apprentice I have ever had the pleasure of working with”.

The apprentices

Mark Beacher, Joseph Cooper, Michael Delastie, Graham Doggett, Thomas Firth, Jonathan Higgins, Liam James, ns, Peter Symes, Ben Vincent, Emily Aski y Jimm ing, Cum es Jam er, Bart her Christop e, Joyc er Fras Gregory, Adam Hutchings, Smith, Daniel Parker, Gerard Shinkwin, Ben tby. Whi Jack ck, Tilco r Roge res, Gary Squi

Jonathan Higgins, back, and the apprentices celebrate their graduation


Megatron is four times more powerful than your average combination tanker

The wastewater monster Wet weather is no match for this tanker – it’s just a shame there is only one after February’s rainfall BY CRAIG RANCE

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hen it comes to sewage removal, there are tankers, there are super-tankers and then there’s Megatron. The wastewater monster, operated by drainage specialists Hydro Cleansing, is the largest super-sucker tanker in the UK. It’s capable of pumping away sewage at over 6,000 cubic feet per minute, making it

four times more powerful than your average combination tanker. The vacuum pump can operate vertically at depths of over 100 metres and on a horizontal range of over half a kilometre. However, it’s the eye-catching design that first grabs the attention of onlookers.

“THE IMPRESSIVE CAPABILITIES OF THE MACHINE HAS MADE IT INVALUABLE TO THAMES WATER IN EMERGENCIES” The tanker is emblazoned with characters from the Transformers movies. With the size and scale of this machine, it isn’t hard to imagine the vehicle featuring in the next instalment of the Hollywood franchise.

Megatron hasn’t just wowed with its appearance, the impressive capabilities of the machine has made it invaluable to Thames Water in emergencies. In August last year a fire at Beddington sewage works affected the operation of the site, but Megatron was instrumental in preventing pollution during the event and the clean-up afterwards. Iver water treatment works in Buckinghamshire also benefited from the machine’s power. Normal super tankers weren’t powerful enough to keep levels low enough in a valve chamber for essential maintenance, but Megatron had the muscle to clear the water enabling engineers to make their repairs. You may not have seen this machine before, but once you have, you won’t ever forget.

www.thameswater.co.uk march 2013 | 7


Above Crossness

Nature reserve manager Karen Sutton got a birdseye view of Crossness after being taken up for a spin by Tamesis. This amazing shot, which also shows the neighbouring sewage treatment works, was snapped from a helicopter chartered by the Thames Water contractor on January 30. Crossness sewage treatment works currently serves two million Londoners and is in the middle of a £220 million upgrade to increase capacity by 44 per cent. After over three years of construction involving nearly two hundred workers, the new treatment tanks are now built and fitted with most of the equipment required to make them work. In May, sewage flows will enter these tanks for the first time, when the team are set to start switching on the new works – a gradual and complex operation which will continue into the year.

Karen Sutton couldn’t believe how wet the wetlands actually was

Business continuity planning

– are you ready? Service to colleagues, customers and stakeholders could be severely compromised without a plan BY REBECCA IMISSON

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ave you ever wondered what would happen to Thames Water’s service levels if there was a fire in one of the contact centres? What is the plan if telephone systems go offline and cause a total blackout in communications across the business? How did your team manage in January’s heavy snowfall? The business resilience and security team 8 | march 2013 www.thameswater.co.uk

have revised the whole process and have been carrying out workshops with the managers of our key back office business activities to ensure plans are in place to tackle emergency events. The workshops cover those activities (outside water and wastewater operations) that carry the most risk, such as control, IT and customer service (contact centre).

“WE’RE KEEN TO MAKE SURE THAT EVERYONE IS AWARE OF WHAT IS HAPPENING” The plans cover what to do if Thames Water suffered loss of building (through damage and destruction or loss of access), loss of supply chain (including services, goods or utilities), loss of data, systems or

communication links and/or loss of people. Suzanna Smart, business continuity specialist, said: “It’s all about mitigating risk. If we didn’t have these plans in place and an event occurred, the service we provide to our colleagues, customers and stakeholders would be severely compromised, potentially impacting on our external relationships, brand, regulatory obligations and finances. “We’re keen to make sure that everyone is aware of what is happening and would encourage you to speak with your manager to find out more about the plans in place in your area.” Everyone needs to consider business continuity planning. Over the next few months managers across the company will be contacted by the BR&S team with further information and support.


Twitter – one good, one bad

BOREHOLE with media manager Simon Evans

Each month BH drills down on the news and issues affecting Britain’s biggest water firm

Michaela’s a Budd-ing singer

Remarkable Rob – beautiful outside and in

Rob Smith with S4C presenter Lisa Angharad in the bowels of London

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is magnificent, sun-kissed form can be seen emerging from beneath the streets of London on the Department of Work and Pensions’ TV ad (see page 10) for opt-in pensions. Indeed, with his multiple media appearances over the years, BH must confess to having the tiniest of man-crushes on Thames Water’s chief flusher Rob Smith. But unlike a lot of A-listers, who present well in the

Chile water woes Thames Water has spent an additional £4.5 million this winter removing excess flows from overloaded sewers following the wettest year in England on record. But it isn’t the only water firm facing weather-related problems. Spare a thought for our colleagues at Aguas Andinas, which supplies the Chilean capital Santiago. More than two million of their customers had supplies cut off after heavy rain led to mudslides which contaminated the River Maipo, forcing closure of water treatment plants. A spokesman told BBC News: “We had an emergency event owing to circumstances beyond our control that forced us to cut water to 15 neighbourhoods.” And you thought we had it bad.

I said what?

limelight but in reality are vicious divas, big Rob is as lovely on the inside as he is on the outside. For after a recent trip down the sewers to film the great man in his subterranean manor, a Welsh film crew was so grateful that he offered Rob and his team £100 worth of beer as a thank-you gift. Rob’s response? “Thanks but no, we’d much rather you gave the 100 quid to WaterAid.” So if you see a few thirsty flushers knocking about the Wick Lane depot, that’s why.

Buzz builds for Thames Water ‘Oscars’ While showbiz reporters around the world speculated feverishly about who would collect an Oscar at this year’s awards, hacks from trade magazines were just as desperate to work out which contractor organisations had been shortlisted for Thames Water’s 2015-to-2020 (AMP6) investment programme alliance. Lawrence Gosden, the firm’s capital delivery director, told BH: “It is no exaggeration to say our announcement in April of ‘early involvement’ contracts is like the Oscars and the Baftas rolled into one.”

BH reacted with horror when he read an entirely fictitious quote in his name in a piece about water meters in a

national paper. A furious call was made. The hack’s response: “Er, yes, I did make the quote up. Really sorry.”

Happy customer : Fair play to @thameswater. Round in 2 hours (estimated within 4 hours), sorted quick ly and good customer service Unhappy custom er: If you didn’t leak 3 billion litres a year from your shoddy pipes you wouldn’t have to RIP OFF yo ur customers!

The drudge of endless numbercrunching and impenetrable jargon has led one member of the Thames Water business planning team to seek solace in song. Michaela Budd, a document analyst in the team preparing our business plan for the 2014 review of prices, has posted on YouTube covers of Heaven by Brian Adams and Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time. Let’s hope the price review team can sing a tune of equal sweetness to the regulator next year.

Michaela has the X Factor

BH’s fondness for Thames Water’s business planning team, currently compiling the company’s plan for the 2014 review of prices, is rivalled only by his love for chief flusher Rob Smith. But sometimes BH finds it hard to know if they share the same feelings for him – because he can’t understand what they’re saying. For example:

NO JARGON

Segmentation validation: sharing an orange equitably among one’s friends? Strangely, no. This means checking that our customer research is correct. Sure it does. Promiscuous utility shopping behaviour: decency prevents BH sharing his thoughts on this one. In fact, it describes people shopping around for a new gas or electricity provider. Of course. Qualitative deep dive: the working title for Tom Daley’s live Saturday night diving show? No. In fact, this one is total baloney for which no adequate explanation has been offered. Nil points. www.thameswater.co.uk march 2013 | 9


pensions

ARE YOU IN? Or will you be after May 2013, asks head of pensions ANDREW LYNN

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any of you will have seen the recent TV ads featuring Karren Brady and Theo Paphitis, plus our own sewerman Rob Smith, where they all declare “I’m in”. These adverts are publicising a key part of the Government’s latest plan for workplace pensions, called ‘auto-enrolment’. Autoenrolment is aimed at increasing the proportion of the UK’s working population saving for a pension. It is being rolled out to all employers on a timetable linked to their number of employees. So the companies with over 120,000 employees had to start in October 2012 and Thames Water’s date is May 2013.

Who’s affected? If you’re already paying into one of Thames Water’s pension schemes, this won’t affect you directly and there is nothing you have to do. But not everyone is currently a member of a ‘qualifying pension scheme’ (we have about 750 non-members) and most of those people will have a decision to make when autoenrolment hits us in May. The people who have to be auto-enrolled are those who are: • Over 22 years old • Under state retirement age • Earning over £9,440 pa So most Thames Water employees who are not already pension scheme members will be subject to the ‘auto-enrolment’ rules.

What will happen? When we run payroll in May, we will assess who needs to be auto-enrolled into the Thames Water Stakeholder Pension Plan, and will immediately notify all those who meet the criteria. Details of the contribution levels are being finalised. Once in the pension scheme, members can then opt to increase their contribution (and the company will generally double theirs up to a maximum company contribution of 12%).

What if I don’t want a pension? Everyone who is notified that they are being auto-enrolled will have the opportunity to ‘opt 10 | march 2013 www.thameswater.co.uk

How did our man Rob Smith manage to get his face on the TV advert?

out’. We will be carrying out our assessment of who is to be auto-enrolled when we run payroll in May (at the middle of the month) and will then write to the eligible employees saying that they are being enrolled on the last day of the current month. Standard Life will at the end of the month issue a ‘welcome letter’ to all those enrolled, telling them that they have been enrolled in a scheme and advising them of the process to follow if they wish to opt out.

“MOST THAMES WATER EMPLOYEES WHO ARE NOT ALREADY PENSION SCHEME MEMBERS WILL BE SUBJECT TO THE ‘AUTO-ENROLMENT’ RULES” Because we are carrying out our assessment in mid-May and then enrolling eligible employees at the end of May, the first deductions won’t actually be taken until June payroll, giving those employees who want to opt out of the scheme as much time as possible to do so.

Is that the end of auto-enrolment? That will be the only initial impact for existing non-members. But in three years’ time we are required to go through the same process, identifying who is an eligible worker and enrolling them. So anyone who opts out in May 2013 is likely to go through it again in 2016, and then in 2019 and so on. Also anyone who becomes an eligible employee after May

Computer upgrades By now you will have heard about the companywide Upgrading Your Computer project – the final piece of the Smart IT programme that will bring us more up to date and make it easier to do our jobs. Even though 80% said their overall upgrade experience was positive, the team learned the most from the 4.1% of respondents whose experiences were less than perfect. Many of these issues have now been built into improved processes, training and technical fixes. For more, check out the tools and documents on the portal pages IS > Smart IT > Upgrading Your Computer > UYC e-learning and support. 2013 (by reaching age 22 or the relevant earnings threshold) will be auto-enrolled at that stage.

How will I hear more? We are required to communicate with all employees, including current members, and we plan to start doing that in April. But in addition to these formally required communications, we will be using our normal internal methods, such as Team Talk and e-brief, to make sure everyone is in the picture.

Head of pensions Andrew Lynn


Olympic Park? Whatever happened to the

Six months after the greatest show on Earth, Source editor STUART WHITE returned to Stratford to catch up with the last remaining members of TEAM THAMES

The Olympic Park site in February 2013 www.thameswater.co.uk march 2013 | 11


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he Gamesmaker welcome is no more. The colour and cheer of the Olympic party left town a long time ago. The spotlight has gone and the Park is grey, damp and dirty. Thousands of traffic cones line the roads, and ugly perimeter fences protect each of the iconic venues. There is no burning torch or rings in sight. This part of east London is once again the biggest building site in the country and the pressure is back on to get the north part of what will be the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park open on July 27. And so Team Thames keeps running. The company has retained a core team of seven, all lead by John Hernon – a 35-year-old Manchester United fan who lives in Kingston and has worked for the company 12 years. His team remains inside this heavily restricted area of east London to assist with its transformation at the special request of new landlords, the London Legacy Development Corporation.

“THE PACE HAS PICKED UP. THERE IS SO MUCH WORK GOING ON AND THINGS ARE DEVELOPING QUICKLY ALL AROUND US” Like Games-time, they are on site to provide a rapid emergency response and, crucially, work with the Legacy Corporation and on-site contractors to ensure Thames Water’s property does not get damaged or compromised during the reincarnation. John, one of four Olympic Park hub managers in the summer, said: “It was incredible to be part of the development of the Olympic Park and Team Thames during the Games, and the first few months after were quite strange – with Locog exiting and the Legacy Corporation taking control. “However, the pace has really picked up again now and there is a huge drive to make sure the Park is ready to be reopened in July. We have a critical role to play and our input will help deliver this project on time. It has to be ready.”

‘Valuable part of team’

nis Legacy Corporation chief executive Den able valu a is es Tham m “Tea : Hone said part of our onsite team. There is a vast Queen amount of work to do before we get g sprin in open fully Park pic Elizabeth Olym to ss acce have to t grea it’s and 4 201 ing people who know the site and are work day and in day us with ting and co-opera out towards that deadline. “The new Park and venues will be a benchmark for sustainable water management. The parklands will be irrigated using harvested rainwater and non-potable water, and we will continue to work with Thames Water to optimise the use of the Old Ford Water Recycling for Plant and non-potable water network ing.” flush t toile irrigation and

12 | march 2013 www.thameswater.co.uk

John Hernon was left holding the Olympic baby

John said the team has built an excellent relationship with the Legacy Corporation and, following the gold medal performance during London 2012, want to make sure they continue to enhance the company’s image. “I always hoped I would be taking the legacy role on and so it was always in the back of my mind,” John said. “After the glamour, I guess I am the one left holding the baby. “The same rules apply though – if the Legacy Corporation are working on our land or around our assets we must be consulted.” The Riverside Hockey Arena is gone and is being replaced by new landscaping while the temporary stands are being removed from the Aquatics Centre – which poses its own deconstruction challenges. “There is so much work going on and things are developing quickly all around us,” John added. “We have a much smaller team but the same resilience work has to be done. We are still as busy. We have to stay on top of things and if there is anything we see we are not happy about we make sure we investigate.” John has been on the Park for 18 months, but site supervisor Shaun Dixon has seen it all. The 42-year-old from Chelmsford in Essex has spent the last six years watching the landscape evolve and his knowledge often proves invaluable. “I’ve seen it as barren land with two gypsy camps and a cafe, a building site, then an Olympic venue and now it’s back to being a building site again,” he said. “Contractors have been known to work over and around our assets without permission while we are on site – so you can image what

could happen if we were not here!.” He admits it is often Thames Water slamming on the brakes, but there is usually a sensible solution to enable the capital masterpiece to move forward and everybody is working well together to ensure the project is finished on time. “Things often need to happen tomorrow,” he said, “but we might have to say hold-up and help redesign plans. It’s what we have to do to protect the company and our customers.”

Key projects A number of new bridges will span Thames Water land containing the 42inch main pipe track. During construction the team needs to make sure upmost care is taken, operational permits are in place and leases agreed. The multimedia conference room was due to be taken down post Games as it over-spans a 600mm potable main. The team enhanced the resilience of the network in this area so it can stay – saving the legacy project a lot of money. Thousands of new trees are being planted on the Park and the team need to ensure roots don’t affect Thames Water assets and that they can still gain access to them once they mature. The Athletes’ Village, now called East Village, will become 2,800 flats and kitchens are now being retrospectively installed. Ted Reeves is making sure they all meet water regulations.


Warning signs to remind construct

ion workers Site supervisor Shaun Dixon inside the Aquatics Centre

Swim in the Olympic pool This building site will start to be unveiled as Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on July 27. When completed, it will offer state of the art venues, new places to work and live, and a year-round programme of events and activities. The £292 million project includes clearing away temporary venues and Olympic facilities – the Riverside Hockey Arena has already gone and the Basketball Arena and Waterpolo Arena are in the process of being removed. The Copper Box is being refitted with a new gym and sports courts for hire, and along with the Aquatics Centre, Velodrome and scaled down version of the BMX track will all be open for public use. Thousands of trees, bushes and flowers are being planted and new walkways will take you from Newham to Hackney, or Waltham Forest to Tower Hamlets. Thames Water’s Greenway, which connects Hackney Wick to Pudding Mill Lane in Stratford and runs along the Olympic Park, was recently opened. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is fully open in spring 2014. Visit www.noordinarypark.co.uk for more information.

NST Jason Lawther, left, and site supervisor Ian O’Malley

The blue stake marks Thames Wat er’s 42-inch main pipe track

www.thameswater.co.uk march 2013 | 13


in memory

‘A larger than London is cha life character’ Sue and Alan Farthing, John Cunningham, Peter Hemmings, David Stichbury, Robin Bryant, Peter Jaques and Arnold Coe, all close former colleagues, remember DAVE LOTT

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t was with great sadness, but with fond memories, that we attended Enfield crematorium on February 8 to pay our last respects to Dave Lott, who sadly died on January 24. Born in 1938, Dave was a larger than life character who joined the former Metropolitan Water Board in 1956. He worked initially in the New Works drawing office, but as part of his training was seconded to the soil mechanics laboratory at Ashford Common where he was engaged in testing materials, borehole site investigation and the routine measurement of strain gauges in the Thames/Lee raw water tunnel and other locations. He studied engineering at Westminster Technical College and became a chartered civil engineer, and obtained membership of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management and The British Institute of Management.

“HE LED BY EXAMPLE, AND DID MUCH TO HELP IMPROVE THE PERFORMANCE OF LONDON’S WATER AND WASTEWATER OPERATIONS DURING A DIFFICULT PERIOD” After qualifying, he transferred to the supply section at Lee Bridge Works and his first management position was as senior resident engineer at Coppermills. He was responsible for storage reservoirs, including the New River, water treatment, building maintenance and security (at the height of the IRA mainland attacks). He rose through the ranks to become water treatment engineer for the Metropolitan Water Division and then assistant divisional manager (operations) for North London Division and water operations manager for the Central Division, before taking early retirement in 1989. 14 | march 2013 www.thameswater.co.uk

Dave Lott

He had a reputation for being a hard but fair manager, and was very well respected by the large workforce he led. He led by example, and did much to help improve the performance of London’s water and wastewater operations during a difficult period that included the 1976 drought, the 1983 water industry strike, and the introduction of the water industry productivity payments scheme (WIPPS). His success was undoubtedly due to a strong commitment to customer service, a belief in continuous improvement, an ability to see many sides of an issue, and to convince others to agree solutions that were fair to all parties. Dave was also a leading member of the working group that designed the current Thames Water pension scheme as a replacement for the old water industry scheme used at the time. The acceptance rates it achieved were much improved by Dave’s involvement and the influence he commanded. So in this sense Dave leaves a continuing legacy we all continue to benefit from, as indeed do customers in the London area for the service modernisation he achieved. Dave is survived by his daughter Sue and son Gary.

underg Senior project manager STEVE WILKINSON brings us up to speed with the largest construction project in Europe


hanging fast

ground

crossrail If nothing changed, developer services wouldn’t exist. Fortunately for us, it does. In London right now it’s changing fast, especially underground, and the Thames Water team working directly with Crossrail has never been busier. After three years of this enormous construction project, there is still more than half of the construction works to be completed by Crossrail on our assets. This despite 5,040 metres of water main and 2,880m of sewer already moved or strengthened. So when, six months ago, Crossrail asked us to go the extra mile to help with a particularly difficult challenge, we launched a major exercise to find alternative, unusual solutions which both protected our clean water network, and therefore our customers, but at the same time allowed Crossrail’s tunnelling programme to remain on schedule.

“WE’VE BEEN SHORTLISTED FOR A WATER INDUSTRY ACHIEVEMENT AWARD THIS MONTH” Thirty trunk mains across London were identified as at risk of failure due to ground settlement arising from Crossrail’s tunnelling, and at first glance it seemed time and circumstances would prevent satisfactory protection in time. However, by bringing together extensive water network modelling, network re-zoning, the strengthening of two or three key assets, and also the very latest leakage monitoring technology, not to mention the support of key field personnel, we have found interim solutions that fit the bill. Crossrail have played their part to make these solutions possible too. And, of course, staff right across Thames have pulled together to make it happen. Nowhere is the reward for such work more obvious than at Sussex Gardens, west of Paddington. Two tunnels have

The tunnel boring machine passing under Westbourne Park

now been dug already here, passing under nine trunk mains, without incident. This has avoided a massive nine-month tunnelling delay, and our efforts have already been recognised at Crossrail’s annual awards ceremony in December and also shortlisted for a Water Industry Achievement Award this month. Other locations where we are working closely with Crossrail teams to avoid delays include Whitechapel, Liverpool St and Victoria Dock Road. These interim solutions have to be followed up by permanent ones of course, and we are working hard on those. If we can work in the same spirit of collaboration with Crossrail to deliver these as we have so far for the interim solutions, we should succeed in good time. It is all good experience for dealing with the likes of High Speed 2 and our very own Thames Tideway Tunnel.

Benefits of Crossrail Crossrail will not only provide London and the South East with a world-class, high capacity affordable railway, it will ease congestion on London’s public transport system, provide better access to the capital and generate significant employment opportunities.

The Crossrail tracks pass below a number of Thames Water assets www.thameswater.co.uk march 2013 | 15


gardening

Slug pellets: bad news for water quality Gardeners urged to do their bit this spring to help protect water supplies from metaldehyde

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s the weather improves many of us will start to get more active in the garden. One of the priorities for greenfingered folk is protecting young plants from leaf-munching slugs and snails by using pellets, some of which contain metaldehyde. But if used carelessly this pesticide could end up polluting the region’s rivers. Two Thames Water catchment advisors, Daryl Henehan and Sarah Cowie, are currently working with farmers on an AMP5-funded project that is trying to find ways to reduce the amount of metaldehyde polluting rivers.

“WE ARE WORKING WITH FARMERS TO REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF METALDEHYDE THAT RUNS OFF THE FIELDS AND INTO RIVERS” Catchment control manager Dr Dinah Hillier said “A lot of metaldehyde is used by farmers in the autumn to protect newly sown crops from slug attack. But unfortunately, this is often a time of high rainfall and the pesticide is washed out of the pellets into rivers and on to our treatment works.” Metaldehyde is very difficult to remove using existing water treatment processes and can therefore be present in treated water at concentrations greater than the drinking water standard for pesticides (0.1 microgrammes per litre). Fortunately the metaldehyde concentrations measured in tap water are not a risk to health. However, the 0.1 level is a legal requirement and has to be complied within every treated water sample tested. 16 | march 2013 www.thameswater.co.uk

Dinah added: “The advisors are raising awareness of the issue among farmers in the area and working with them to find ways to reduce the amount of metaldehyde that runs off the fields and into rivers.” But farmers are not the only users of metaldehyde and there is evidence that use in the garden contributes to the problem. “If it contains metaldehyde I would ask you to consider whether you really need to use this product,” said Dinah. “Please think about swapping to an alternative method of control. Help us protect our valuable water courses and set a good example for others.” Dinah’s team is part of water quality and compliance, based out of Kemble Court, and work to protect public health and the environment through regulatory compliance and customer education.

Catchment advisors Daryl Henehan and Sarah Cowie sampling for metaldehyde in the River Cherwell at Enslow, Oxfordshire

Try these instead BRAN: slugs will eat the bran which dries them up from the inside STALE BEER: in empty plastic lidded tubs with slots cut into the sides and then sunk into the ground. Slugs will find the smell irresistible, crawl in and die happy SAND OR EGGSHELLS: when sprinkled around the base the gritty surface will deter them COFFEE GROUNDS: sprinkled around each plant HEDGEHOGS: are nature’s way of controlling garden pests which are all part of the wildlife food chain. Make them welcome in your garden RESISTANT PLANTS: Consider replacing very vulnerable plants such as hostas with slug resistant plants like ferns and learn to appreciate the beauty of slugs and snails …and if you really must use a chemical, look for products containing ferric phosphate (such as Doff, Slugrid, Sluggo and Wilko). They are a bit more expensive but much less harmful.


panto

Snow White and the

D.W.A.R.V.E.S More than £9,000 raised from Thames Water’s White-hot pantomime BY PAULA GROOM

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ustomer service director Natalie Beckerman made her acting debut with a guest appearance in this year’s super-cool pantomime. More than 1,100 people were entertained by Snow White and the D.W.A.R.V.E.S over two nights of mirth, mayhem and music at the Wyvern Theatre in Swindon at the end of January. “This was my first ever panto and I thought it was truly brilliant,” said Natalie. “I was very proud of Paul Aust (writer and director) and the cast as they were all amazing. I thank them for their hard work and for doing something very special for Thames Water and their chosen charities.” Thames Water’s 18th annual panto, put together

by the customer service team based in Walnut Court, raised more than £9,000 for charities and was very loosely based on the Disney classic. A small group of miners, better known as the D.W.A.R.V.E.S (Jill Latham, Jo Kirkland, Jess Elay, Daniel John and Mark Harper), were under threat from the evil queen aka Justin Hulbert. As in keeping with the original story the evil queen had a talking mirror (Melissa Blake) who only ever spoke the truth. So not only did she want to threaten the livelihoods of the miners she also needed to destroy Snow White.

“TWO NIGHTS OF MIRTH, MAYHEM AND MUSIC AT THE WYVERN THEATRE IN SWINDON” Elsewhere, Prince Seymour (Paul Aust) was searching for the fairest maid in all the land, Snow White (Lisa Aust), with the help of his trusted and faithful servant Dandeedan

(Kate Northcott), so he could become king and rid the kingdom of the evil queen, save the mine and get married. With the help of a wood cutter (Paul Blonden), two useless guards (Emma Sarginson and Julie Baynham), Snow White’s best friend Red Rose (Emma McLachlan) and a band of disgruntled woodland animals, the two nights were hailed a resounding success. As always the Boyd School of Irish Dance entertained the audience during the break with their amazing routines and the Swindon team were helped by generous sponsors.

Opening night gaff Adam Fuller, who was helping backstage, placed the talking mirror the wrong way round on stage. Instead of on a wall, the mirror was on a tree in the middle of the castle. But like all good actors, the cast made a joke of it and made it seem as if it as was all part of the show.

www.thameswater.co.uk march 2013 | 17


annual billing

More than just a bill Customer service project manager LEIGH INGMAN found leading his annual billing charges both “exciting and daunting” BY PAULA GROOM

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The team who tested the new annual bill

nnual billing is an important part of the Thames Water calendar as it generates virtually half the company’s turnover and has a huge impact on cash flow. It is imperative to get it right first time. With all of the changes to this year’s rebranded annual bill (see February’s Source) the project only grew in magnitude and involved a large workforce across the business. Customer service began its preparations months in advance under the lead of project manager Leigh Ingman. He said: “My past involvement has purely been from an individual perspective where I have only been responsible for my own task so to be asked to do this was both exciting and daunting. “But I was being supported by an excellent team. Each area was assigned a project lead to act as a single point of contact for their department, ensuring everyone was represented and creating a clear path of communication.” He added: “Managing the process was a real eye opener. Until you’re responsible for co-ordinating all aspects of annual billing, you don’t fully appreciate the amount of effort and individual components that come together to achieve it.”

Alliance attracting industry leaders Thames Water’s new AMP6 alliance will unite the industry’s best of the best BY HEATHER LEWIS-JONES

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lans to get Thames Water’s AMP6 alliance partner organisations in place this spring are on track. The alliance aims to bring together the very best that the industry has to offer to share responsibility for a multi-billion pound programme of works and services during AMP6 and beyond. Tim Coles, head of capital procurement, said: “This is a completely new approach. We have the option to offer the longest contract term that Thames Water has ever awarded, up to 12 years of work, so getting the right organisations and people on board is absolutely critical.” Joining the alliance will be a programme manager, design and build entities and, in 18 | march 2013 www.thameswater.co.uk

a UK water industry first, a technology and innovation provider. “Rather than taking a purely commercial approach as we have done in the past, we’re using a more rounded approach with a key focus on behavioural measures like their performance, safety records, culture and leaders,” said Tim.

us to build confidence of delivery and opportunities for innovation and efficiency into our plans. This makes getting our alliance in place by spring extremely important.”

“GETTING THE RIGHT ORGANISATIONS AND PEOPLE ON BOARD IS ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL” “We’re being very clear from the outset what we’re looking for and they need to meet our criteria at each stage of the process to stay in the game.” This approach has made it possible to reduce what took 18 months for the AMP5 procurement process into just four, with the team aiming to award the contracts this spring – two years before the start of AMP6. Tim added: “This early contractor involvement will mean the alliance can work with us to develop our five-year business plan, helping

Tim Coles has the option to award the longest contract term in Tham es Water history – up to 12 years


Katie’s famous cupcakes and, right, Matt Pook. Below, clockwise from top left, John Redmond, Alison Osborne, Steve Smith, Rosemary and Michelle, Mofolake Eitokpah, and Rachael Turner and Melissa Aitkens

Feed the L ve Star bakers raise loads of dough for WaterAid in Great Thames Bake Off

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illy Wonka and Mr Kipling would have been proud. There were so many cakes it was almost impossible to know which piece

to eat next. Lemon drizzle, carrot, chocolate, red velvet, cheese and then hundreds of cup cakes were all in the mix. How could you just try one? The calorie count among Thames Water staff rocketed on Valentine’s Day as they dressed in red or pink and munched through £1,500

Kelly Titmus was named star baker for this Champagne flavoured teddy bear and roses cake

of sweet treats to raise money for the company’s four adopted towns in Bangladesh. Organiser Becky Johnson, campaigns manager, said: “Thanks to everyone who put their heart into baking and eating all the delicious cakes, especially those who arranged the cake sale and competitions at their sites.” Co-organiser Alex Betteridge added: “It was a great team effort and the money raised will help provide clean water and sanitation in some of the

poorest communities in the world.” Clearwater Court lead the way by raising £873, while Beckton banked £118, and Aquis House £110. Special mentions should go to Steve Smith, who works in insurance, for his first ever attempt at baking a cake – looks tasty – and to Rosemary Tobutt of governance for raffling off her heart-shaped sweet to Michelle Farrington for £70. Visit www.flickr.com/photos/ thameswater for more pictures www.thameswater.co.uk march 2013 | 19


community

PR14 ambassadors unite ahead of roadshows BY FRANCIS EGLETON

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lans for the 2014 price review received a boost as a team of ambassadors were officially inducted in London on March 1. People were attracted from across the business to learn about the price review and how they can help others understand it. The event had been due to take place in February but had to be postponed at the last minute because of heavy snow.

“IT’S CRUCIAL PEOPLE ARE AWARE OF WHAT IS HAPPENING AND THE AMBASSADORS WILL PLAY A BIG ROLE IN HELPING US REACH OUT TO PEOPLE” Sarah McMath, head of strategic business planning, said: “It’s great to see so many people wanting to learn more about the price review and how it affects the business. “It’s crucial people are aware of what is happening and the ambassadors will play a big role in helping us reach out to people. We want to make business planning part of the everyday at Thames Water with people constantly feeding back their ideas and helping us to improve the way we do things.” PR14 ambassadors were given an introduction to the price review, looking at the framework set out by water industry regulator Ofwat and getting an update

on how Thames Water’s plans for the future are shaping up. There was also a chance for ambassadors to sharpen their presentation skills. A total of 57 people, from Walnut Court to Beckton, have signed up as ambassadors and will be helping answer any questions at PR14 roadshows. The roadshows kick off at Kemble Court on March 12 and finish at Hogsmill on April 18. A full list of the roadshows will be published shortly so keep an eye on the portal for more information. Email AskPR14@ThamesWater or contact Francis Egleton on 07747 647 625 for more information.

WaterAid Lottery The winner of January’s WaterAid Lottery jackpot of £800 is AJ Dearden. Runners-up in the monthly draw, each receiving £25, were: Melvin Calder, Deborah Roberts, M Gray, VW Allen, G Warren, G Smith, Anna Hodson, Alan Yorston, Anne Hickey, LEC Element, Christopher Longhurst, Anthony Simons, Peter Loft, Simon Tyacke, Liz Banks, Rob Hales, RT Elwood, RS Pople, V Jones, Donna Meacham, HB Austin, MC Cottrell, Jamie Riches, RL Harris and SH Schwenk. Each entry share costs only £1, and you can buy as many as you like. All the profit goes to WaterAid. To take part contact Ginika Okoye.

Wii can all be healthier Teams from across capital delivery have been spreading the wellbeing word by hosting Wii contests and encouraging everyone to think about their own health. Andy Popple, head of programme delivery for Thames Valley process and network, said: “We wanted to come up with a way to grab our team’s attention and who doesn’t love a game of Wii? By getting people together it gave everyone a chance to step away from the day job to think about their own personal heath.” Working with health and safety, teams were given gender specific health and lifestyle advice packs at all the different sessions.

20 | february 2013 www.thameswater.co.uk

Jill Cottrell, Thames Water health and wellbeing manager, added: “We’re committed to creating a healthy workplace. This was a great and fun way to spread the message around personal wellbeing – we all need to make more time to think about our own personal health.”

Andy Popple and Mat Auger boxing it out on the Wii

Mogden

learns to love Third biggest sewage treatment works in the country adopts class of 10-year-olds BY CHARLIE MONGER

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he team at Mogden are showing neighbouring schoolchildren that the sewage treatment works is actually ‘different class’. A group of 29 10-year-olds from Ivy Bridge Primary School – the closest to the Thames Water site – are involved in a fun-packed and educational programme of events. Most of the children live on a neighbouring housing estate and currently associate Mogden with odour and mosquitoes.

“THIS PROJECT WILL GIVE MY CLASS A GREATER UNDERSTANDING OF OUR SEWAGE SYSTEM AND ITS HISTORY” But Ivy Bridge teacher Lelaine Higgins hopes the partnership will help the children recognise the positive impact Mogden has on the area. “This project will give my class not only a greater understanding of our sewage system and its history, but also invaluable access to positive local role models,” she said. “The children have limited out-of-school experiences, so the visits we’ve planned will really help to improve their confidence. We can’t wait to come onto site and see the sewage works for ourselves.” A trip to see the impressive steam engines at Kew Bridge Steam Museum, where the class got messy


‘Making the science of sewage fun’ Thumbs up from the Ivy Bridge class

n school

e neighbour in a hands-on water filtration exercise and learned about the clean and waste water processes, kicked off the programme. They were also entertained by a gruesome ‘Victorians and the toilet’ talk, delivered by the Thames Explorer Trust. A site visit is planned later this month, where they will tour the treatment works, have a creative session about habitats and make their mark on the future landscape by planting on the embankment. The embankment planting draws to a close Mogden’s £140 million sewage works upgrade, increasing treatment capacity by 50 per cent.

New children’s education centre at sewage treatment works is part of a £1.5 million project BY CRAIG RANCE

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idcot school children discovered the science behind sewage when they visited their local wastewater treatment works last month. Pupils from Willowcroft School were at the new Thames Water education centre at Didcot sewage works, which was specially built to teach children about water. The key-stage 2 class saw how wastewater is treated from start to finish and then tried to recreate what they saw by building their own ‘mini sewage works’. The classroom was completed at the end of January and supports the national curriculum by teaching schools about waste, water, energy and the environment. Paul Hampton, Thames Water’s education

centres manager, said: “Children love talking about poo and this new classroom helps make the science of sewage fun. “They get to build their own mini sewage works, using different household materials like cotton wool and sand to filter out coco pops from water. It might sound a bit crazy, but it’s a great way to recreate in a classroom exactly what is happening outside.

“CHILDREN GET TO BUILD THEIR OWN MINI SEWAGE WORKS” “We also teach them what should and shouldn’t go into sewers, how flushing away wet wipes and pouring cooking fat down the sink can cause horrible blockages. A sewage works is a great place to learn the ‘Bin it don’t block it’ message.” The Didcot classroom is free for schools to use and teaching is carried out by local charity, the Earth Trust. This project is part of a £1.5 million project to build five education centres across the Thames Water region.

Willowcroft School pupils on the grand tour of Didcot sewage works, and in the new classroom, above

www.thameswater.co.uk february 2013 | 21


conservation

‘We’re your ecology, biodiversity and heritage one stop shop’ Ecology and heritage advisor KATIE DELANEY introduces the conservation team Last year the ecology and heritage skills from environmental compliance were brought into the corporate responsibility and sustainability department to form the conservation team. We provide a one-stop-shop for all queries regarding ecology, biodiversity or heritage on our sites and during projects. A huge number of sites within our catchments are designated for their wildlife or heritage value. If we don’t take this into consideration before undertaking works we are at risk of breaking the law and causing serious damage to these important areas.

A number of wildlife species and biodiversity features are also legally protected. These range from important hedgerows, trees and plant species to creatures such as reptiles and bats. We are able to support your project in a number of ways. This may include screening the project on our in house GIS to check for protected sites, undertaking protected species

“IF YOU THINK YOU’VE GOT SOMETHING TO SHOUT ABOUT ON YOUR SITE GIVE US A CALL” surveys, providing advice regarding ecology and heritage mitigation, and undertaking consultations with English Heritage, Natural England and local authorities. The conservation team are also on hand to ensure wildlife and heritage is valued and championed throughout the business and on our sites. So if you think you’ve got

something to shout about on your site or wish to improve your site for biodiversity give us a call. To give you a flavour of the sort of things we are involved in across the business here are a few of our recent activities: bat surveys at Kempton Engine House to ensure maintenance works to the roof don’t impact legally protected bats; providing ecology and heritage support on a developer services project to install a 3km pipeline near Aylesbury in which a Roman Villa was uncovered; undertaking great crested newt monitoring surveys at Bracknell STW and engaging with TW employees and stakeholders through projects such as ‘Wild about Thames’ and ‘10 for 10’. To get in touch with the conservation team about your site or project please email conservation@thameswater.co.uk.

Really Wild abou

Families flock to Kempton nature reserve for WO BY RORY BROUGHAL Almost 100 people passed through the gates at Kempton nature reserve for World Wetlands Day last month. The annual event drew in crowds of employees and members of the public to explore the internationally significant nature reserve, take part in activities and enjoy a BBQ on site – all thanks to the Wild about Thames programme. Parents and kids were treated to guided tours around the site before getting stuck into making bird feeders out of apples and pine cones as well as getting up close to the day’s special guests – cute little wood mice and a bullfinch, a rare bird on urban sites. Event organiser Cathy Purse, biodiversity engagement manager, said: “So many people turned up and the atmosphere was great. Lots of employees bought along family and friends and the local community were there in force. We even had a special visit from Hounslow Councillor Corinna Smart.” The 50-acre Hanworth site is a designated protected area for ducks and premier location for wetland birds. Lydia Blake, reserve manager, added: “The main thing was to show it’s a nice place to go for a walk. I want to introduce 22 | march 2013 www.thameswater.co.uk

There was a great atmosphere for the event at Kempton

people to the site and show them the layout, what goes on here and encourage them to become a member.” The Kempton open day was just the first in a calendar of activities aimed at getting people to appreciate the biodiversity on each of Thames Water’s sites. In the coming months there is a bee


LETTEitRoSr to the ed

Picture by Daily Telegraph

Amazing tunnel pic

Katie Delaney, left, with Cathy Purse

ut Thames

ORLD WETLANDS DAY

identification workshop in Reading (March 14) and Walthamstow (April 20-21). Later in the year is fishing in east London, bat walks in Hogsmill and guided tours around Rye Meads nature reserve. Events are all free and open to all. Contact Cathy on 077476 44507 for more information.

Dear Stuart, Could you run a feature explaining what is depicted in the picture on the top right of page 13 (February Source). Is it the Lee Tunnel? If so, what is all the pipework on the walls, and how full of sewage will it be in full use? Never has a picture so filled me with desire to know more about it. Yours, Geoff Longlands (Formerly part of London main drainage management in Broadway Buildings) Thanks for your email Geoff. Indeed, the photograph is of the Lee Tunnel under construction. All the items visible are part of the support services which supply the tunnel boring machine (TBM) – currently 1km from the outfall shaft in Beckton STW, and on its way to Abbey Mills. The two pipes on the right of the photo are the slurry supply and return lines which remove all excavated material from the TBM to the surface, where the earth (chalk at the moment) is separated from the liquid by a purpose-built factory before loading onto boats for its final resting place capping a landfill in Essex. The yellow pipe at the top supplies fresh air to the TBM, while the pipes on the left supply water, compressed air, sump pumping, power and comms systems. That leaves the walkway and the railway track which we use for getting the concrete segments, and men, to the TBM. When operational, Lee Tunnel will serve as a storage and transfer tunnel, intercepting combined sewage and stormwater from the pump stations at Abbey Mills, and then holding it until the storm has subsided and Beckton has the capacity to treat. It is then pumped into the works for full treatment before discharging to the River Thames. We expect that it will operate 50 or so times a year, being full maybe for half of those times. After each storm

event, the tunnel will be pumped dry. More information can be found on the website, and we will continue to update readers during construction.

Insets are growing Dear Stuart, Congratulations to all concerned on an informative and well-presented Source (February). As a former Thames Water director, I was particularly interested in the article on inset appointments. It seems that this form of service competition, championed by Thames many years ago, is starting to grow. I note that no other water companies have applied for insets within the Thames area. Are they precluded from doing so? If not, have Thames applied for ‘insets’ in any other water company areas? Yours, David Luffrum Thanks for your email David. Other water companies are not precluded from seeking insets in the Thames region and we are not precluded from seeking them in other companies’ regions. Until 2006 TWUL held an inset in Southern Water’s supply area at Tidworth, Wiltshire. However this was sold to Veolia (now Affinity) following our acquisition by the Kemble Group. The new suppliers appear to offer either a very different water/waste service model, like Albion Water which offers innovative waste treatment approaches, or are seeking to strengthen relationships with developers in core gas and electricity connection markets with a view to multiutility cost savings. Our focus is primarily on serving developers in the Thames region but we keep the wider market under review and have not ruled out greater market activity should a beneficial opportunity present itself. www.thameswater.co.uk march 2013 | 23


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Source March 2013