incorporating Changing Times
news for thames water people
inside this issue 3 Supporters assemble for Thames Tunnel 4 New approach to event response 6 Improvements take hold at Long Reach 10 What a Beauty: stage success in Swindon 30 Daveâ€™s 42-year career at Riverside
Measuring the benefits: How weâ€™re leading the way with metering p16-17
2 | february/march 2012
incorporating Changing Times
news for thames water people
inside this issue 3
Supporters assemble for Thames Tunnel New approach to event response 6 Improvements take hold at Long Reach 10 What a Beauty: stage success in Swindon 30 Dave’s 42-year career at Riverside
Photo courtesy of MVB
Measuring the benefits: How we’re leading the way with metering p16-17
Louis Quartly (right) watches a contractor from Vennsys fit a new meter in Reading
Have you got news or views you’d like to share in The Source? Are there issues you’d like to see more, or less, of in the magazine? Whatever your views, please let us know. Please write to the Editor at Andrew.Boyd@ thameswater.co.uk, or drop him a line at 2nd Floor East, Clearwater Court, Vastern Road, Reading, RG1 8DB
Where’s Wenlock? Well done to all those readers who spotted the three Olympic mascots hiding in December’s issue (on pages 3, 7, 23 and 27). Look out for more Wenlocks lurking somewhere in this issue. If you told us the correct answer last time, then let us know again how many Wenlocks there are in this issue, and which pages they’re hiding on, to have a chance of winning a pair of London 2012 tickets. Just email Internalcommuincations@ thameswater.co.uk or Andrew Boyd - the names of everyone who answers correctly for this and the last issue, plus the next issues before July 2012, will be put in a hat next summer and the first name out will be the winner. The SOURCE | www.thameswater.co.uk
Capital Delivery projects shortlisted for awards Two projects are in the running for an award from the Institution of Civil Engineers. Work to construct the walls of the 80-metre shaft from which we will soon start drilling the route of the Lee Tunnel has been shortlisted for a top award.
is not only that they are big and deep, but that it has been possible to install them with remarkable precision, accurate within 300mm. This ensures the shafts are watertight.”
The diaphragm walls of the shaft are among the finalists in the Institution of Civil Engineers’ 2012 London Civil Engineering Excellence Awards. Held on 5 March, the event celebrates outstanding achievements, innovation and ingenuity in the field.
New techniques were developed to achieve this, including a system which takes electronic readings during excavation to form a 3D image of the constructed panel. This made it possible for the team to check the position of a panel, improving accuracy.
When opened in 2015, the Lee Tunnel will eliminate 40 per cent of the total annual sewage discharges to the River Thames.
The team also improved safety, through a new system of working platforms to protect workers near the shafts. These were designed to be easy to walk and work on, as well as sealing the underlying ground from contamination arising from any spills. This method, developed by contractors MVB, has already been recognised by the European Federation of Foundation Contractors as a safe system of work to be shared around the world.
Traditionally, pre-cast segments or rings are used to support the earth as shafts are dug along the route. Roger Mitchell, Project Manager, said: “In this case, pre-cast walls weren’t an option because of the considerable depth of the shafts. We also face challenging ground conditions with high groundwater pressure. The only realistic and safe option was to use diaphragm walls to support the earth as we dug the shafts.”
Roger added: “It’s great to see the team shortlisted. This has been a challenging part of the project and I’m really pleased that they’re being recognised for their work.”
A diaphragm wall is built by lowering cages into deep trenches created using a large drilling machine. Concrete is then poured into the cages and the shaft dug from within the enclosed concrete area, with the walls providing vital support as earth is removed.
Also shortlisted at the awards is our newlyopened Old Ford plant, which will recycle wastewater at the Olympic Park in east London. This will take water from the Northern Outfall Sewer and produce enough recycled water to flush the equivalent of 80,000 toilets per day.
Roger added, “The real success of these walls
For more on the Lee Tunnel, see page 24-25.
february/march 2012 | 3
Environmental coalition backs plans for Thames Tunnel High-profile names have added their voices to calls for a sewer that would tackle the worst overflows into the River Thames.
Supporters needed for Sport Relief Could you be a good sport to help raise much-needed charity funds? That’s the appeal from our Walnut and Kemble Court call centres, who will be helping staff the phones for Sport Relief on Friday 23 March. The number of phone lines at each venue has been increased from 50 to 70 for this national event, which once again encourages people to get active and raise money for good causes. The money raised is spent by Comic Relief to help people living tough lives both in the UK and in the world’s poorest countries. The BBC is planning a weekend of coverage, and our staff will be helping take calls from across the country between 6.30pm and midnight on the first night of the three-day event. Change Consultant Paul Aust said: “We’re hoping as many people as possible will volunteer and give as much time as they can on the evening.
Roz Savage chats to Thames Tunnel Head of Delivery Phil Stride (right) with young rower Conor Newman Whalley, who also spoke at the meeting. Inset: Zac Goldsmith
A coalition of 18 environmental groups has thrown its weight behind plans for the Thames Tunnel and staged a high-level reception in the House of Commons. The Thames Tunnel Now (TTN) group is backing plans for the 14-mile sewer, which will prevent 39 million tones of sewage entering the River Thames in London each year. The reception was hosted by MP and environmentalist Zac Goldsmith, with speakers including world record-breaking ocean rower Roz Savage. Roz, the first woman to row across the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans, has rowed under Putney Bridge to see for herself the detritus that spews from the combined sewer overflow there.
Debbie Leach, chief executive of environmental charity Thames21, lead agency in the TTN coalition, said: “The River Thames is the greatest open space running across London, but we are failing completely to protect it. “The Thames is being ruined for the people of London as well as for the amazing wildlife that depends on it. We need to change things. The Thames Tunnel project is vital. It needs to be delivered now.”
Roz said: “I’ve rowed through some pretty grim stuff on my travels but nothing comes close to the River Thames, which, heart-breakingly, is fast returning to the open sewer it used to be 200 years ago.
Phil Burston, of TTN member the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, added: “The Thames Tunnel is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to leave a sewage-free Thames as our legacy for the 21st century. The Thames Tunnel Now coalition believes it is the only viable and cost-effective way to deliver that legacy.”
“I hate to think what visitors to the Olympics this year will think of our polluted river. The Thames Tunnel cannot come soon enough.”
A ten-week public consultation on the Tunnel ended on 10 February. A planning application is set to be submitted in 2013.
“They’re welcome to bring along family and friends, although you need to be 18 or over to take calls and to bear in mind that there will be no childcare facilities. We’ll be training people before they man the phones. “It’s sure to be a fun night, and as ever we’re planning a few competitions, with prizes on offer, to keep everyone going through the evening.” Anyone interested should contact Paul if they’d like to help in Swindon or Maria Rivers if they want to volunteer for Reading.
www.thameswater.co.uk | The SOURCE
4 | february/march 2012
New event training and customer team set to transform emergency response Two new initiatives aim to improve the help we give customers when things go wrong. As a result, bottled water was left at the roadside with no one to control its distribution or tell residents where to find it.
Changes in event management and the formation of a new Customer Response team are set to transform the way we deal with events like burst mains and sewer flooding. The overhaul was announced at our latest Quarterly Business Review in Reading, where managers watched a film showing our response to recent examples of service disruption. Business Resilience and Security Manager Chris Fitzgerald said: “We are reviewing our processes and relaunching our written strategies and event management training. “We will inevitably have events, but we can be better prepared for them. It’s especially important, because a big event – the Olympics – is coming up in the summer and we will have some operational challenges.” Chris showed a film illustrating how we had struggled to cope with two separate events in Reading – sewer flooding and a burst main – plus a third in which hundreds of fish died after sewage entered a rural pond in Arford, Surrey. The video also showed us dealing well with a burst in London’s Oxford Street. Chris said: “We deal with events like this far too frequently. There’s a gap between what we’re doing and what we think we’re doing. In the
She said: “We’re not making it easy for customers – for example, there’s no one to help them carry. We’re missing a massive opportunity. Huw Thomas distributes water at a recent event
past, we’ve been driven by tough regulatory outputs, so became very focused on the technical details. “While this remains crucial, the recent introduction of the Service Incentive Mechanism means we have got to change our processes and focus on managing our customer experience. We have to concentrate on how our customers feel and how we tell them what we’re doing at every step of the way.” Chris said there would be a new three-level training programme from March, plus specialist training for staff involved with the Olympics. Senior Press Officer Becky Johnson told the session there was currently no dedicated team to help at operational events, and people were assembled at short notice with little structure.
“I was part of a team at a recent event in Edgware Road and there was an amazing response. People were happy to have bottled water with which to make their tea. Our not providing that service makes a massive difference to people’s lives. “The new Customer Response team will be prepared to leave behind their day job because they see the importance of getting out there in a timely manner to help our customers. It may mean members of the team giving up the odd evening or weekend. “Their role will involve informing people and helping distribute bottled water. Key to all this is showing we really care. We’ve already had a fantastic response and want as many people to get involved as possible.” Supporting the initiative, Chief Executive Martin Baggs added: “This will help set us apart from other businesses.”
Property Searches team prove they’re a cut above Warburg Nature Reserve in Oxfordshire benefited from the hard work of our Property Searches team when they spent a day there doing voluntary work. Colleagues from the Marketing and Sales team spent time at the site, which is in the village of Bix, near Henley.
with saws, gloves and hardhats.
hard, but rewarding, work.”
Marketing Manager Jess Wooler said: “The weather was a little cold but as soon as we started working on cutting the trees down, we were taking off our layers of clothing. It was
For more details on a range of volunteering opportunities, contact Liz Banks or Tracy Sacks, our Community Investment and Education Managers.
The reserve is run by the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust, a voluntary organisation which manages over 80 nature reserves and encourages all sectors of the community to care for local wildlife. The eight-strong team, who are based at Reading’s Clearwater Court, volunteered to help with coppicing, which involves cutting down smaller trees to allow new growth from the stump or roots. Team members came prepared with waterproofs and wellies and were provided The SOURCE | www.thameswater.co.uk
Pictured are, from left (back row) Melanie Jones, Jess Wooler, Liz Cooper and (front row) Emma Fuller, Stella Wells, Alpa Patel, Adrian Awcock and Oliver Arthurs.
february/march 2012 | 5
Martin and team are Bangladesh-bound A second visit to Bangladesh will see how money we’ve raised is helping local communities. A five-strong Thames team, led by Chief Executive Martin Baggs, are travelling to Bangladesh in March to see how WaterAid are spending some of the £465,000 we’ve already raised for the charity. The cash has been collected from a variety of events, including our annual Raft Race and clay pigeon shoot events, plus last year’s London 5-20 Challenge. It’s all part of our four-year Thames 4 Bangladesh initiative, in which we aim to raise £2m to help four small towns in Bangladesh. Four staff visited the communities last year, and now we’re returning to see how things are changing and the challenges people there still face. Martin will be joined by HR Director Janet Burr, Head of Communications and Brand Jayne Farrin, Head of Process Duncan Smith and Adam Fuller, Commercial Development Coordinator. They will be visiting the three communities of Paikgacha, Fulbaria and Shakhipur, which our first team went to last year. A fourth town is yet to be added. Duncan said: “After nine injections, I’m feeling physically ready, but WaterAid’s briefing made me realise I’m nowhere near emotionally prepared. I have two children under six, so it really hit home when we learnt that a child in Bangladesh is ten times more likely to die before their fifth birthday than a little boy or girl in this country. “I’ve done a fair bit of travelling in my life, but
Harjeet Singh (in blue top on left) and Lawrence Gosden (right) discuss plans on our last visit.
never to such a underdeveloped country, so I’m feeling both excited and apprehensive in equal measure. “It’s also a fantastic opportunity to link my part in the Thames London Marathon team and the four towns in Bangladesh that we’re supporting - what better motivation to get me out of bed in the morning to face the cold, dark streets of Reading?” Adam’s name was put forward by colleagues for his efforts in organising and taking part in a three-man sponsored cycle ride using two static bikes at the Customer Centre. He joined Bally Khaira and Mark Manley for a 24-hour marathon, raising around £900 for WaterAid.
Adam said: “In their preparatory meeting, WaterAid warned us that, while we might be confident about how we deal with what we see, anyone can feel an emotional impact. “All of us have children, so there is bound to be an element that hits home when we see the conditions in which young people live. “Although it will be the first time four of us have visited Bangladesh, we will want to make sure there are identifiable improvements made since the last visit.” Capital Delivery Director Lawrence Gosden, who went on last year’s trip, unveiled the total raised so far at our last Quarterly Business Review. He told managers: “This is simply about people like you and me who are living in a very different environment and who really value that essential and precious commodity – water – and being able to go to the loo. “It’s been a fantastic, really brilliant response from you and your teams. And it’s not over – coming up soon to get us over the £500,000 figure is our Big Fat Cheesy Quiz final on 22 March.”
Jayne Farrin chats to villagers in Paikgachia. Inset: Adam Fuller during the sponsored bike ride.
Thames teams in the final include Control Freaks, representing ‘the Suits’, Les Vaches Qui Rit (from Ops and Asset Management West) and We’ll do Feta Next Year (from Ops and Asset Management East). As The Source went to press, a Customer Service finalist had yet to be decided. www.thameswater.co.uk | The SOURCE
6 | february/march 2012
All eyes on site-wide SCADA as Long Reach nears completion Benefits are within our grasp at Long Reach, where wide-ranging upgrade work is due to be completed this summer, writes Andrew Boyd. Sustainability, a new SCADA system and sorting out site deliveries have been among the challenges of a multi-faceted upgrade at Long Reach Sewage Treatment Works in Dartford. The £40m improvements, due for completion this summer, are part of our wider £675m programme to modernise and extend London’s five major sewage works. This will increase the amount they can treat and the quality of effluent they discharge to the River Thames, as a fundamental part of our wider Tideway Improvement Programme. Lead Design Assurance Engineer Ian Christie says: “Long Reach is one of the smaller projects of the five Tideway upgrades, but is spread across the entire site. “One of the major differences from the other projects is that we are installing a new site-wide SCADA system to monitor all the new and existing plant.”
This will be the first time the new technology has been fitted across an entire Thames site, as part of our ongoing installation of similar equipment across our networks and treatment works. Although it is currently a standalone system, the Long Reach SCADA will be integrated into the company-wide system. The site’s performance will then be visible from other Thames Water locations. Challenging Benefits will include improved reliability through new technology and better data to support maintenance and replacement processes. The main civil and structural work has now been done, with only roadworks and landscaping remaining to be completed by the July deadline. Work is now focusing more on the mechanical, electrical and SCADA elements, along with the commissioning of independent
plant, such as new odour control units. Russell Waller, Complex Project Delivery Manager, says: “Historically, odour has been an issue for local residents. That’s partly because Long Reach used to receive limed sludge from other sites, which hasn’t happened for the last two years. Nevertheless, we have been covering same tanks and providing odour control units, so local people should be pleased. “Things have been going very well on the project. We have a fantastic health and safety record, which has been held up as an exemplar site within the Tideway programme. “We are pretty much on timetable, despite the marshy ground in this area, which means we have had to do extensive piling work in order to reach the solid ground underneath. That has entailed long and extensive civil engineering work.
From left: Contract Manager Ken Faux with Russell Waller and Dave Auty. Opposite page, clockwise from left: Electrical installation work at one of the new odour control units: Site Manager Adam Crysell with Long Reach operators and engineers beside the air pipework and actuated valves; Adam Crysell studies readings from the new SCADA equipment with Contract Quantity Surveyor Kazeem Omokanye
The SOURCE | www.thameswater.co.uk
february/march 2012 | 7
Optimise improve opex safety Contractors Optimise have turned around their record safety performance to record a full 12 months of opex activity without a single accident under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR). The joint venture, made up of J Murphy and Sons, Clancy Docwra, Barhale Construction and MWH, had recorded eight RIDDOR incidents between July 2010 and January last year, but reduced this to zero in the year to 23 January this year. In the same month, they recorded a total of 1 million site working hours without a RIDDOR incident.
“On a personal note, it’s a sewage treatment works process site, and I have come from a network sewerage background. So it’s been challenging because it has been new to me, and I’ve learnt a lot.”
“Air conditioning is expensive to run and needs a lot of maintenance. Our eco coolers will use evaporation to cool the air entering the building by about three degrees and use a fraction of the electricity.”
The site upgrade is needed to meet tighter treatment standards set by the Environment Agency, at a time of growing population in the catchment served by the works.
Environmental concerns were also at the forefront early in the project, when we protected abut 100 common lizards discovered during preparatory work. The creatures were captured by a specialist and given a winter home made of logs and soil while the work began.
Construction Assurance Engineer Dave Auty explains: “The Thames Gateway area of south-east London is destined for quite a lot of development, which means we can expect more flow to Long Reach as time goes on. At the same time, there is a requirement to increase the quality of treated effluent.” Ventilate As part of this, the scheme has involved installing two new underground power cable feeds, providing more energy and an additional and more reliable power source for the works. The distance involved is small, as there is a power station just next to the site. Despite the increasing need for power, Long Reach will be doing its bit for sustainability thanks to its new eco coolers, thought to be the first of their type to be fitted at a Thames site. Dave says: “The blowers we’ve installed are very powerful machines, using 2 to 3 million watts per hour, which is quite phenomenal. The heat produced by the lost energy can be a problem for the electronics, so we have to keep things ventilated. “Added to that, Gravesend, which is just up the road, regularly sees the hottest temperatures in the UK during the summer. We can ventilate the building most of the time with fans, but on the hottest days we needed something else.
The upgrade’s green credentials have also been underlined by retaining all excavated material on site and re-using it as art of landscaping work. Ian says this has been one of the project’s major challenges, as has been the need to carry out such major engineering work on an operational site. He says: “We’ve had to interface with existing equipment without detriment to the process, and ensure discharges remain compliant. Many shutdowns have been carried out overnight to eliminate customer and operational impact. “Long Reach is also located next to the Dartford Crossing, so planning critical deliveries such as concrete has been a major problem, due to the snarled-up traffic.”
Optimise’s opex business is run by more than 300 site operatives and supervisors plus 120 ‘back office’ staff, who between them carry out 40,000 jobs per year across our region, such as tackling burst mains. An improvement plan, monitored weekly, included briefings from senior managers and cards to remind staff of key issues, plus the encouragement of ‘near miss’ reporting. John Buttz, on behalf of the Optimise board, said: “This has truly been a team effort, which needs to continue, to see that everyone gets home safely.” Neil Murray (pictured), our Head of Health, Safety and Environment, said: “It was important that Optimise took steps to turn around their safety record and encourage people to think about how good safety can be a part of their daily work. “It is important that people on every level take a few minutes every day to think about how they can contribute to sending everybody home safe and well at the end of each working day.”
Despite these issues, however, relations on site have been good. Dave says: “We get on with our Operations colleagues and have worked well as a team. “As engineers, if we turn up on site we can be quite a nuisance. For Operations, it must be like wanting an extension done on your house – you need to get builders in, but you’re glad when they’re gone!” www.thameswater.co.uk | The SOURCE
8 | february/march 2012
New tools will help build best case for business plan A vital project is progressing to make sure we have the right facts and figures to put to Ofwat in 2014. our investment decisions – for example, so we can compare the relative cost of running our treatment works.
Work that will make it easier to find the facts and figures to back up our business plan at the next Price Review is reaching a climax.
This should allow us to identify the sites that are more expensive to run due to energy, chemical or maintenance costs, and help us understand which assets we need to invest in to reduce those costs.
Improvements to the way we gather data about the equipment we run will bolster our case when we ask regulator Ofwat for the investment we believe is needed from 2015 to 2020. And Martin Dangerfield, Head of Asset Strategy, Standards and Information, says the changes will also support our day-today planning, helping us better understand how our assets are performing. The project is called the Data Improvement and Decision Support Tools Programme. The team behind it aim to complete their work by May, in order to help with our planning for PR14 and to aid in improving business performance in 2012/13. Martin (pictured) said: “Feedback from Ofwat after the last Price Review suggested our plans were too reliant on expert opinion and we needed hard facts as evidence to support our case. Industry-leading “The bottom line is that if we improve the way we gather and report information about the assets we run, we will have more convincing arguments when we say we need to invest in them. And that, in turn, will mean better service for customers.”
need local authority permission, we don’t formally know about it. This tool will give us aerial photos that we can compare with previous images to show where there has been concreting over. “This increases the amount of rain runoff into our sewers, and could help us present a case for up to 20 per cent more investment on our waste network at the next Price Review.” New financial reports and data for treatment works and network assets will help us understand the budget impacts of
We are also setting out a consistent approach to the whole-life costing of assets, and training staff how to do this, to support our case to Ofwat. Enhancements In addition, we are making asset data improvements within our GIS, SAP asset inventory and other systems focused on tackling data issues from the last Price Review. This will again improve our case for the need to invest from 2015. Examples include work to link odour complaints to specific sites and pieces of equipment, so that we can invest in those that customers comment on the most. Martin added: “We’ll continue to make improvements beyond March 2012, but these enhancements will be a real step forward. We aim to ensure these new tools are not just used for the Price Review process but are used more frequently – for example, as part of every budget round.”
Among the improvements the team will be making are a range of ‘Decision Support Tools’ to help our asset planning activities and make our investment cases more robust. These include a ‘distribution burst risks model’, showing where bursts take place and the effect that varying levels of investment in our supply network could have on customers. Another example is an industry-leading ‘urban creep’ model, which looks at the effect on our waste network of building work that does not require planning permission, such as certain building extensions or paving over of gardens. Martin said: “As this work often doesn’t The SOURCE | www.thameswater.co.uk
One of the new tools will help show where ground has been paved over, increasing run-off to our sewers.
february/march 2012 | 9
Underground invention will ensure in-sewer safety Survey work for the Thames Tunnel can now proceed safely, thanks to an ingenious new invention. A unique invention is set to provide access to a previously inaccessible section of a major London sewer.
Staff from Unitspark demonstrate the new device.
The stainless steel ‘lock gate’ valve has been fitted in the Low Level 1 sewer near the Boudica Monument at Westminster Bridge. It will allow surveyors to carry out vital measurements needed for planning the design of the proposed Thames Tunnel – a huge sewer that will run from west to east London, intercepting 34 of the most polluting sewer overflows along the River Thames. Two crucial survey sites require access into the sewer on Victoria Embankment, which would be impossible without the newly-fitted device.
“As far as I’m aware, this is a totally unique device. It will hold flow back for a maximum of six to eight hours during the period of lowest dry-weather flows at night.” Mike McLoughlin, West London Team Leader for Trunk Sewers, said: “Reconnaissance visits to these locations have shown that existing flow diversions and pump-downs are insufficient, and the water would still be too high and fastrunning for the surveyors to work in. “However, the surveys are needed to confirm the location, size and condition of our existing sewers.” The hydraulically-operated device, built by contractors Unitspark, took about a year to design, with input also coming from Mike’s colleagues Alan Lenander and Rob Smith. Mike (pictured above) said: “As far as I’m aware, this is a totally unique device. It will hold flow back for a maximum of six to eight hours during the period of lowest dry-weather flows at night. It will be capable of being closed off quickly and safely by Operations, to maximise the time available for the surveyors. “We also envisage using the device when we make the connections into the Low Level 1 sewer during the construction of the Thames Tunnel.
The new lock gate in action
“We will also use it very regularly for surveys, maintenance work and fat flushing from the sewers that connect into the Low Level 1 sewer.” Alan Lenander, Operational Liaison Specialist, said: “This device will enable longer working shifts in the sewer, due to the reduction in time for waiting for flow to reduce from Western Pumping Station when diversions are normally put in place. “It could halve the time for the surveys
planned, as well as allowing access to the sewers, thereby saving substantial money. “If this proves successful, we are likely to install other such devices in parts of the catchment where access has proved difficult over the years due to increasing flows. “This project is an excellent example of Operations working in partnership with contractors and Capital Delivery to deliver a practical and innovative solution to a longterm problem.” www.thameswater.co.uk | The SOURCE
10 | february/march 2012
Panto performers in seventeenth success Beauty and the Beast raised the roof at Swindon’s Wyvern Theatre, in our latest annual pantomime. Our seventeenth Customer Service pantomime could be the best yet, according to satisfied audience members.
“We had a Michael Jackson impersonator, Darren Hughes from the Ops Call Centre, who wowed everyone with his moonwalk.
One of the show’s stars – despite not appearing on stage – was Customer Service Director Natalie Beckerman.
Beauty and the Beast was performed at Swindon’s Wyvern Theatre, raising money for WaterAid, Blue Cross and Cancer Research UK.
“Outsource Manager Will Brown also made a guest appearance, doing the rap for Price Tag. He was extremely nervous and had to be pushed on stage the first night, but then dragged off on the second night.”
Paul said: “Natalie recorded a ‘Sorry I can’t be there’ film, which played on her being American and was full of product placements, including Marc Selby baring his torso in a Diet Coke break. There was also a health and safety advert which had the crowd roaring with laughter.
Among the stars were Caroline Lewis, from the Large Debts team, who played Belle, and Revenue Complaints Manager Justin Hulbert, in the role of the Beast. Change Consultant Paul Aust, who wrote the script and directed the show with wife Lisa, said: “The two ugly sisters – played by Melissa Blake and Emma Sarginson – went down a storm. They got the biggest cheer of the night, and expertly got some volunteers to help with the search for their father, much to the amusement of the rest of the audience.
The evening featured plenty of Eighties references, thanks to an appearance by singing duo Wham!, who were the love rivals for Belle. Paul himself played George Michael, with Internal Communications Advisor Kate Northcott taking the role of Andrew Ridgeley. Paul said: “Julie Baynham played the Witch, who the crowd booed and hissed with much vigour. We even managed to pull off our own version of the Bruno Mars video for Lazy, with lots of monkeys prancing around the stage.”
“A few things went wrong. The General, played by Lee Davey, forgot to bring his prop rose on stage with him on the first night, went off looking for it and then missed his cue for his next line. “Belle transformed into the Beast in the last scene and came on with the mask on backwards. The audience only noticed because the whole cast were crying with laughter.
Ugly sisters Melissa Blake and Emma Sarginson with Caroline
Kate Northcott and Paul Aust as Wham!
Ian Boyd performs some athletic dancing
The cast take their curtain call The SOURCE | www.thameswater.co.uk
february/march 2012 | 11 Caroline Lewis and Justin Hulbert played the main roles.
Flipping good fun Fanatical flippers will be competing in Clearwater Court in a pancake race to raise money for WaterAid. The event, on Shrove Tuesday (21 February), has been devised by HR Business Partner Margriet Drew, as part of a personal fundraising target. She will be one of a 12-strong Thames team running the London Marathon on 22 April, and each aims to collect at least £1,000, with a joint target of over £20,000.
Photo courtesy of Ben Wood. Photos on page 10 by Doug and Jo Kirkland
The Pancake Dash for Cash was set up as a competition between teams in Finance and Business Services plus HR, but Margriet (pictured) hopes that, if space allows, other teams can take part too.
“We sold over 800 tickets and most people have told us they thought this was the best show yet, which is always nice to hear.” Kate said: “The original plan was to have characters who would play Wham’s backing singers, Pepsi and Shirlie, and I was going to play Pepsi. Unfortunately, the people playing two of the parts couldn’t do it, so I took the role of Andrew.” Kate kept secret from family and friends that she’d be performing a rap, and that, towards the end of the show, Andrew has a row with George and decides he wants to instead be the Prince of Pop. Her character then turns into Michael Jackson, who was played by moonwalking Darren Hughes, from Kemble Court. She said: “I hadn’t rapped on stage before – but I’ve performed in pantos since the age of five and
She said: “We’re planning knockout heats, with teams of six competing against each other as they run around the fountain in the courtyard. We’re still planning it, but successful competitors will need to show both speed and skill. We also have a fantastic trophy for the winners.” Caterers Charlton House will be providing the pancakes, which will be on sale for a minimum donation of £1, while team members will each pay £5 to enter. The race starts at 4pm, with pancakes on sale from an hour earlier. Online donations can be made at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ margrietdrew Are you planning a fundraising event? Let us know – see contact details on page 2.
once I know a part I’m comfortable with it and kind of lose myself in it. It was just fun to do a comedy character, particularly in the Friday show when there were a lot of people from work. We got a fantastic audience reaction. “In rehearsals, we had a long scene in which there was a lot going on. Right up to the last minute, it was a bit of a mish-mash and we weren’t sure it would come together – but as soon as we got on stage everyone realised it was going to be fine. “My favourite characters were the ugly sisters, played by Melissa and Emma. Both of them individually are fantastic on stage anyway, and their characters lent themselves to audience participation. They were brilliant at ad-libbing and reacting to people’s comments.” www.thameswater.co.uk | The SOURCE
12 | february/march 2012
Event Team will ensure we’re out of blocks early for Olympics response
Risk management, streetworks issues and the strong likelihood of a drought are some of the issues we are tackling in the run-up to this summer’s Olympic Games. The formation of a 24-hour response team is among the latest plans for how we help make London 2012 a success this summer. Dozens of staff are being approached to play a part, in one of a range of high-level initiatives to ensure we maintain a top-quality level of service throughout the Games, which will run from 27 July until 12 August.
Image courtesy London 2012
For the duration of the Games, the dedicated Olympic Event Team will be based at strategic hubs across London, to provide a fast and efficient response service around the clock. The team, expected to consist of over 180 staff at peak, will mainly feature staff responsible for the day-to-day continuity of our services, from Field Operations and Asset Management. It is also likely to include a small number from the Operational Call centre and External Affairs. Managers have been asked to consider this when responding to annual leave requests, as well as those from staff who could potentially perform the vital role of filling in for Event Team members in their day jobs. Danny Leamon, Principal Project Manager for the Olympics, said work was also progressing to replace a total of 4km of mains at key sites, and logging devices were being fitted at around 70 locations to monitor for leaks on mains close to Games venues. He said: “The key thing is making sure we know how to operate our business when the Games are on, fully understanding all the related activities that are happening and how
they will impact on us. “It’s crucial we maintain the current level of service while the biggest show on earth is in town, and understand all the commercial risks that go with it – for example, it would be a major issue if we stopped our contractors from working for three months. “The looming drought is also becoming a major issue, and we are working with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games to understand the implications.” An additional issue involves access to key roads in the capital. Transport for London has also
Update on WAMI
some challenges to get all the data right.”
Hard work on the implementation of our wideranging WAMI initiative is starting to pay off, say some of those involved in the roll-out.
“We’re still working on some challenges which stem from how we’ve managed data in the past, but are largely through the early issues we had with connectivity of the new hand-held devices.
WAMI – Work, Asset Management and Information – is changing how we plan and complete work through new systems and processes. Senior Workstream Lead Jon Regan said: “The solution is pretty much working as it should. However, in some areas, there’s a significant amount of change being implemented and teams are taking longer to fully implement and understand the new ways of working. We are also experiencing The SOURCE | www.thameswater.co.uk
“A lot of above-ground work flows through our three Planning and Resource Centres in Wraysbury, Crossness and Witney, so we’re providing a lot of support there to help with the implementation.” Marc Garcia, of the WAMI Scheduling Team, added: “I’ve been supporting the roll-out since day one and have spent time with both Clean Water Networks and the repair and maintenance contractors. It’s been a steep learning curve, but
identified a number as Designated Olympic Routes, where all utility works will be restricted. These roads will be key for transporting athletes, officials and media to Games venues, and some will have dedicated Games lanes with restricted access. Danny (pictured) added: “If they haven’t done so already, managers should consider every activity they carry out in London and the impact the restrictions will have on their normal operations. “They need to be planning around them and considering what they need to do differently.” we’re beginning to see real improvement in how it’s working from a scheduling perspective. “The biggest challenge has been getting used to brand new systems at the same time as trying to identify where existing processes need to be tweaked. “With the scheduling improving every week, we’ll see long-term benefits starting to kick in, with less duplication of work, less travel and better communication. “From what I’ve seen, I’m very confident that as everyone gets more familiar with the new devices, systems and processes, WAMI will deliver a massive improvement.”
february/march 2012 | 13
“What you get out is what you put in”: Sarah’s FLP journey The Source asked a recent graduate of the Foundation Leadership Programme to give a glimpse of how she went about achieving her Licence to Lead. Field Operations Manager Sarah Frame was one of 63 managers to receive their Licence to Lead from Chief Executive Martin Baggs at our latest presentation evening in Reading.
Sarah at work and (inset) receiving her Licence to Lead from Chief Executive Martin Baggs
The event was a chance for staff who had successfully completed the Foundation and Advanced Leadership Programmes to reflect on their success and receive some deserved congratulations. For Sarah, the FLP course made her reassess her role and how she went about it. Sarah, who is based at Cricklewood, said: “I learnt a great deal about myself as a person and how other people view me – and how my perception of myself and other people’s perception of me can differ. This was the most valuable learning point for me. “All my immediate team had been on the FLP course before me, so we were easily able to create a culture where constructive feedback was given to help me develop. “It wasn’t always a pleasant process, and was quite painful at times. I was surprised by how accurate the feedback was from Dove Nest [who run the FLP and ALP], considering the short amount of time they had to get to know me. It was a bit spooky at times and also hit a few raw nerves!
“I expect to be using what I have learnt for the rest of my career.” “However, I have got so much out of it that I would recommend it to anyone. My favourite part was Cumbria, which showed me how you need to push yourself to achieve things. My cohort was great – I made some good friends and everyone was very supportive. I couldn’t have done it without them!” Sarah said the best aspect of the FLP was gaining new tools and skills to help here future development. She said: “FLP is by no means a finite process. I expect to be using what I have learnt for the rest of my career. The Personal Development Plan is integral and helps you track your development along the way − your successes and failures.
“I’m really grateful that Thames Water invested in me through the FLP process. I don’t know of many companies that have such a vast programme of employee development. It has also helped me with getting to know other people in different parts of the business. Since my graduation I have been seconded into an L6 role and am now working closely with two other people from my cohort, which is really beneficial. “The most challenging part is ensuring you get as much out of the process as possible. This is totally within your own control. I sometimes found it difficult to find the time to do things around my normal daily duties. However, what you get out of FLP is what you put in. “In the end I made sure I dedicated
time to FLP and forced myself to make the time as productive as possible. I had spoken to other colleagues in different departments and a common theme with people who were deferred was that they wdidn’t put as much into it as they should have and ended up really regretting it. I obviously didn’t want this to be the case with me. “Unfortunately, I didn’t get my Licence to Lead at module five. At the time this was a crushing blow, but I actually got more out of the deferral period as a whole than the rest of the programme. This was because I had been given the tools and skills and simply had to apply them and make the necessary changes to prove I was worthy of my Licence to Lead.” www.thameswater.co.uk | The SOURCE
14 | february/march 2012
National security scares highlight need for us to safeguard data National news stories from recent months show why information security is more important than ever, say our IS team. High-profile cases involving the loss of data held by large organisations shows the importance of protecting our own information, says a Thames Water Security Analyst. Wyn Moseley says several news stories from 2011 highlighted the crucial importance of vigilance. Our IS team will be underlining this with a new online course on security awareness, to be launched in March. He said: “Last year, information security hit the national headlines again and again. “Although we weren’t directly affected by these incidents, Thames Water must learn from them, to keep our valuable data secure. Staff awareness of information security is vital both for our customers and to protect their own sensitive data.” Early in the year, security firm RSA was itself a victim of cyber-crime, when the technology supporting its two-factor authentication tokens was compromised. Wyn said: “Coincidentally, we had begun to move away from using tokens by this point, but the attack clearly illustrated that no one is immune from determined and skilled hackers.” Last year’s biggest information security story was the attack on the Sony PlayStation network, which was shut down in April after the company discovered the theft of data about 100 million accounts. It gave attackers access to login names, passwords and other personal details. Sony said it could not rule out the possibility that attackers had got hold of gamers’ credit card details. Wyn said: “We made a conscious decision several years ago not to store the credit card details of Thames Water customers. However, this doesn’t mean we can be complacent. We store a great deal of personal data about staff and customers and we must be vigilant in protecting this.” ‘Malware’ − malicious software − directed at smart phone users rocketed in 2011, with Android being the main focus. Google had to remove one application from its Android platform after it was downloaded 14,000 times. Some of these applications, often The SOURCE | www.thameswater.co.uk
disguised as free versions of popular games, were designed to send SMS messages to premium-rate numbers. Wyn said: “The lesson here for all staff with a smart phone, especially Android, is to be very careful what apps you download, and invest in a mobile anti-malware application from a reputable vendor.” In December, the Information Commissioner’s Office fined Powys County Council £130,000 for breaching the Data Protection Act, after details of a child protection case were sent to the wrong recipient.
“No one is immune from determined and skilled hackers.” Wyn said: “We obviously don’t hold data this sensitive, but we do hold the personal details of millions of customers. The case is a reminder of the importance of keeping this secure, as well as the pitfalls of not doing so. “In addition to this, online and telephone scams continue to be reported. As well as email ‘phishing’ scams, we have begun to see more malware and scams appearing on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook. It has been estimated that one in six links posted on Facebook pages are connected to malicious software.” The IS Security portal pages contain a range of useful guidance on social networking,
dealing with scams available, which are updated regularly. Chief Information Officer Aiden Heke (pictured) said: “If we needed any reminder, these cases show that we can’t overestimate the importance of properly safeguarding the data we hold. “The consumerisation of IT, blurring of the work-life balance and proliferation of mobile devices like smart phones means information has never been more accessible. It continues to be vital that we take careful steps to protect it.”
february/march 2012 | 15
Potential partners get overview of challenges ahead at Deephams Contractors have met with us to find out more about the tender process for one of our biggest-ever Capital Delivery projects, writes Heather Lewis-Jones.
More than 60 representatives from 40 companies attended a special event at Reading’s Madejski Stadium to hear more about our proposals for a major upgrade at Deephams Sewage Treatment Works. The project, which will be one of our biggest ever, is needed to meet new Environment Agency discharge consents which come into effect in 2017, as well as addressing the growing population in the area the works serves. We are seeking an innovative and creative contractor who will provide improved treatment technologies and efficient construction methods for the north-east London works. The event was an opportunity to share information about the project and outline the procurement process to contractors. Our preferred contractor will be appointed in January 2013. The improvements will require constructing
a branding new treatment process, which could involve either building on the existing site or on a new one nearby. Once approved, this will be one of the biggest projects in our capital programme. There are several options under consideration, and engaging potential contractors early will allow innovative construction methods to be built into our plans from the start. Because of the short timescales involved, the team will also be working closely with contractors to develop a procurement process that will deliver the best outcome.
“We want to make sure we leave them a legacy we can be proud of.” Taking this approach will help the team find the option which offers the best value for money and deliver the project as efficiently as possible. It also means that new construction methods can be explored to improve safety and reduce disruption to the local community. Whatever option is chosen, the project will have many challenges, not least its location in a builtup urban environment, bringing with it scrutiny from local residents. During the upgrade, the team will also need to ensure that the existing works remain operational.
Addressing the delegates, Capital Delivery Director Lawrence Gosden said: “While this project presents huge challenges, the benefits of bringing in industry expertise right at the outset will give us the best chance of delivery. “The four key elements to achieving this are, first and foremost, safety, then innovation, collaborative working and delivering value for money to our customers.” Lawrence (pictured) stressed the importance of putting customers first – both those living in the area and our internal customers: He told the event: “This project is not just about engineering. We will be creating assets that our Operations teams will be using long after the project has finished. We want to make sure we leave them a legacy we can be proud of, one that showcases the best in innovation and safety.” “We have a challenging task ahead of us but this is a real opportunity to show what engineering can do for our customers. “We are looking for a partner that we can work closely with from the start, one who shares our vision and above all our commitment to safety. We want collaboration all the way through the process.” www.thameswater.co.uk | The SOURCE
16 | february/march 2012
Industry-leading meter methods
We’re leading the industry by installing new metering technology that will soon be showing every 15 minutes. Two new types of meter reading technology will soon be showing us the water usage patterns of 6,000 properties every 15 minutes, 365 days a year.
The equipment is being installed for a twoyear trial in two areas of Reading, two districts in Haringey and one area each in Swindon and Hackney.
State-of-the-art meters and ‘fixed network’ transmitters are being installed in four parts of our region in a trial which will allow us to take remote meter readings, without the need to physically visit the meter or even leave the office.
Metering Strategy Manager Louis Quartly said: “The data we gather will help us to identify customer usage patterns, account for water distribution and show us when and where leaks or wastage occurs on customers’ supply pipes − and our mains − to enable us to respond more quickly.
In each area, our metering contractors Vennsys are fitting new customer meters with one of two types of radio transmitter. One type of technology sends data to devices attached to lampposts, which is then beamed to a central ‘concentrator’ on a local high point such as a roof, or church spire. The other devices feature higher-powered radio units that transmit data direct to an existing telecommunications mast. The SOURCE | www.thameswater.co.uk
“This information will enable us to plan future work more effectively and provide the customer with greater confidence around any potential damaging leaks they may have. It’s a win-win situation, providing the opportunity for us to improve our customers’ experience with usage trends and water efficiency advice. “Getting data every 15 minutes will allow us to
understand how much water enters a District Metered Area and exactly where it goes, with absolute certainty, for the first time ever. “We’ll also be comparing the two types of technology for ease of installation, robustness, accuracy, reliability, social acceptability and cost benefit. “Both systems send the data to a secure central collection point run by our Innovation team in Reading.” The remote meter readings will give us valuable data about the areas where we have fitted them. For example, we have chosen a semirural area in Swindon where suitable high points to site our equipment are less common, also enabling us to test the performance on privately-laid plastic pipes. In other places, they will shed light on unusual usage patterns or help us better target future
february/march 2012 | 17
will help us get wise to water use A pioneering planning tool is helping us identify which households could see their bills rise or fall if they have a meter installed. A new customer analysis database that predicts the likely impact on households of switching to a water meter is reaping major rewards. The tool has significantly increased the proportion of customers deciding to have a meter fitted, and is also providing benefits for other areas of the business. The new database, designed in conjunction with contractors Black & Veatch, is known as CustARD – short for Customer Analysis, Rollout and Design. It was originally created to help with the compulsory selective metering programme included in our original Water Resources Plan (WRP). This has been delayed following the public inquiry into the WRP, but CustARD is now helping with our ‘optant’ programme, aimed at customers who choose to have a meter fitted.
Louis Quartly (right) looks on as Vennsys install a new water meter in Tilehurst, west Reading.
g us customer usage patterns mains replacement work. Louis said: “A few other water companies are doing this, but we are leading the way. We’re talking to them all regularly in industry-wide advisory groups, as we’re all on a learning curve, but they are definitely listening to how we are setting the scene for future operating models.” We are also talking to the power industry, in the hope that we can share similar technology that is being fitted to capture data on power and gas usage. Louis said that if we can demonstrate that the new fixed network technology is cost-beneficial, we plan to use it as part of our planned work to fit 86,000 new meters by 2015 and a further 1.2m between then and 2025, by which stage over 80 per cent of our customers will be billed via a metered charge.
It collates information from sources like CIS and Netbase to make it more accessible. This includes 3.3m customer records, billing information, metering and property data, plus socio-economic and demographic details. As a result, the tool helps us confidently predict which households would see higher or lower bills as a result of having a meter. We can then see which would be adversely affected, either due to affordability issues or because they use a lot of water. A colourcoded map shows by how much different areas could see their bills rise or fall. The model has allowed us to target our mailshots, increasing the number of people who take up our offer of a free meter. Metering Strategy Analyst John White, who helped develop it, said: “We had fallen behind the ambitious targets in our Business Plan, but are now ahead of the curve thanks to the new model. “From the model, we understand a customer’s consumption based on where they live, the type of house they live in and their cultural diversity. “We have a million metered customers, so we know that if you are of particular culture and live in a particular house type
in a particular area you are likely to use ‘x’ amount of water. “As a decision support tool, it’s excellent. We’ve also shown it to Ofwat and the Consumer Council for Water, who were impressed.” Metering Strategy Manager Louis Quartly added: “This should have a very positive impact on our plan to install 1.2 m meters by 2025, which we aim to start next year. “It will help us deploy a huge programme whilst managing the revenue impact and protecting customers.” The model is already being used by other teams – for example, to help target water efficiency activity and lead pipe replacement.
“We may be able to contribute to reducing hardship.” John said: “CustARD will also potentially help us manage our increasing debt profile and show that we are a caring business. “It will help us identify customers who are struggling to pay their water bills. We may be able to contribute to reducing hardship and help our revenue streams at the same time. “It’s also a key part of a pilot project we’re running with Water Efficiency and the Customer Centre to help customers in debt in the Haringey area by helping with water conservation and, through the Greater London Authority, to promote energy efficiency. We’re still agreeing the final details, and it will complement our existing Customer Assistance Fund.” There are hopes that we will be able to interest other companies in purchasing the tool. John said: “Other water companies use some of this information to a greater or lesser extent, but none does it in this level of detail. Debt is also an issue for gas and electricity companies, so if we can use CustARD to help address this, its commercial viability is massive.” www.thameswater.co.uk | The SOURCE
18 | february/march 2012
Volunteers want help to make Kew Bridge new museum of water The people behind Kew Bridge Steam Museum are asking our staff to help with on ambitious plans for the site.
The volunteers who run Kew Bridge Steam Museum are hoping Thames Water staff will provide invaluable help with their proposals to turn the attraction into London’s new museum of water. Earlier this month they unveiled their plans for a £2.2m family-friendly redevelopment of the museum, which aims to expand its facilities to tell the 2,000-year story of the capital’s water supply. The volunteers also gathered public feedback, to ensure their proposals benefit the wider community as much as possible. The museum, in Green Dragon Lane, Brentford, is one of the community initiatives we are supporting through our £10m Ten for Ten fund. It has also submitted a bid to the Lottery Heritage Fund, from which it expects
to hear by the end of March. Among the proposals, called Project Aquarius, the volunteers aim to: • Rename the museum to reflect its new theme • Provide new educational displays brining the history of the site and its engines to life • Establish a new gallery exhibition on London’s water supply • Create a café, visitor shop and interactive working models The plans were put together after a public consultation on the museum’s future last year. Volunteer Richard Albanese, who is one of the project’s co-ordinators, said: “Our collections are diverse and are internationally recognised, but we are mainly known for our wonderful working collection of large water pumping
engines and machinery, which we have restored over the last 40 years. “We have had good relations with Thames Water staff, who have rescued and donated items of interest with the company’s blessing. For example, we have items from Barn Elms, Brixton, Hampton, Walton, Kempton Park and Ashford Common, among others. “Now we are changing the museum’s focus away from the public perception of a ‘steam engine museum’ to one which deals with the history of London’s water supply, covering all aspects and time frames, using a range of historical exhibits, objects, artefacts and new displays. “As part of this, we are rebranding and renaming the museum, and will be highlighting our partnership with Thames Water. This link is long-established, as the Metropolitan Water Board designated the Kew Bridge Works a ‘museum station’ from 1944 onwards.” The volunteers hope Thames staff will eventually be able to help the museum with its plans. Richard said: “They are potentially an untapped source of historical reminiscences and personal anecdotes, which will really help bring alive some of our new displays and archive material for our visitors.”
Artist’s impression showing how Kew’s new ‘Water for Life’ exhibition could look. Above: three of the historic engines on display at the museum. The SOURCE | www.thameswater.co.uk
Our Visitor Experience Manager, Kirsty Jones, said: “The event was an ideal opportunity for staff to engage with our heritage and see what we have been helping fund.” For more details, see www.kbsm.org/project-aquarius.
february/march 2012 | 19
Where there’s a Will there’s a way at Walthamstow Reservoirs Access and Recreation Manager Roo Newby introduces a new member of the Community Investment team and tells us more about the site where he’ll be working. It’s been a while since I managed to give an update on my activities, and the main reason has been the sheer amount of things our department gets up to and the speed with which projects seem to develop and progress. The last couple of months have been no different. For example, we’ve seen the arrival of a new member of staff – Will Barnard, who we’ve brought in to run the new facility we’re developing down at Walthamstow Reservoirs. We’ve decided to turn the stock pond situated in front of the ranger station into an angling school. The Thames Water angling school has been created to engage our local communities and provide angling that’s accessible to all. There will be a strong focus on helping young people at risk of offending or antisocial behaviour to find alternative ways of spending their time. We’ll also be helping young people to develop their personal skills, self-esteem and community awareness by utilising nationally-accredited qualifications and education initiatives. Knowledge Recent research suggests that angling can raise environmental awareness, pride and respect for others as well as confidence and self-belief for participants. Will (pictured in bottom left shot, on left), who has a wealth of knowledge on this issue, will be running the school, which is set to open around Easter. In other developments, ongoing work is restocking Walthamstow’s Lower Maynard reservoir, improving the angling by increasing the stock and introducing small numbers of quality fish on a yearly basis. We’ve bought in some cracking fish from VS Fisheries in the form of 20 mid double figure mirror carp. It represents a great introduction of quality British-reared carp that will provide improved sport and diversity of stock. Continuing the Walthamstow theme, our planning application for the proposed wetlands project at the site has just been voted best conceptual project at the London Planning Awards.
Helen Newman, Head of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, accepted the award on our behalf alongside Waltham Forest Council, who have been working very hard with us to get the project to this stage in its development. Practical Mayor of London Boris Johnson said we won “for revealing long-hidden delights and the potential for far-reaching community benefit”. He has promised to visit the site to see it for himself. We’re continuing with stock management at reservoirs 1, 2 and 3, and have been welcoming visitors from Sparsholt College.
Eager young fisheries students (some of whom are pictured above) are undertaking some electro fishing and netting to help us get our stock concentrations in these reservoirs under control and move some fish from one reservoir to another. This vital job is really important at this time of year. We have a great deal of water to manage, so any help is gratefully received. Sparsholt use these practical work days to give their students real experience while providing us with vital assistance in managing our fish stocks. www.thameswater.co.uk | The SOURCE
20 | february/march 2012 Complex Delivery Manager Tim Hockney with Brett George, of Tamesis, in front of some of the pre-cast columns constructed off-site as part of the major upgrade of Crossness Sewage Treatment Works.
Bright ideas show the way ahead as we plan innovative future Heather Lewis-Jones looks at the activities of two teams who are focusing on new ways of working. The focus on innovation in Thames has never been stronger. New ways of working are affecting us all, and the approach of the next Price Review in 2014 is putting increasing emphasis on improving the way we work.
Rupert Kruger, Head of Innovation, explains: “Our ultimate goal is to help the business meet capital and operational efficiency targets. The innovation could be a novel treatment process that we demonstrate at lab and pilot-scale.
Being truly innovative means changing not just how we do things, but also how we think, challenging the very basis of how we approach our work to deliver what we need to in simpler, smarter and safer ways. Two teams – from Innovation and Capital Delivery – are doing just that.
“Working with Asset Management and Operations, we can understand the opportunities and challenges associated with introducing a new technology and reduce the risk associated with full-scale implementation.” Steering The team use their wealth of operational data and expertise to answer ‘what if’ questions by modelling potential solutions, which makes it possible to test whether new designs will work before building starts.
Our Innovation team comes up with bright ideas that solve operational problems, helping colleagues in Water and Waste to make the most of our existing assets and prepare for problems that might face us in the future. The SOURCE | www.thameswater.co.uk
Research like this helps us to understand
how much investment is needed, and where. Gathering scientific data also supports our case for funding from Ofwat. Rupert says: “Our Victorian mains replacement work is a good example. Because they haven’t been seen since the Victorians built them, we know very little about what causes trunk mains to fail. We needed to gather hard data about the state of the mains to understand which areas needed replacing first. Having evidence to support our plans was key to securing funding for our VMR programme from the regulator.” The team also contribute to industrywide research through membership of UK Water Industry Research (UKWIR), which co-ordinates research between UK water companies by pooling resources to solve common problems.
february/march 2012 | 21
“Sometimes the most difficult thing about innovation is getting the right people involved at the right time. Our job is to make sure this happens. Being innovative is as much about changing mindsets as it is about technology and engineering.”
Rupert added: “Through working with our partners across the industry, we can really make a difference by steering research and helping to set industry standards.” Elsewhere in Thames, the Capital Delivery Innovation team (CDi) is bringing fresh ideas to our capital programme which includes using standard products built in factories.
The team are racking up the successes already. One of CDi’s target areas in the last year has been with off-site construction, which is a little like the concept of assembling flat pack furniture. Peter (pictured above) explains: “Building parts in the controlled environment of a factory before transporting them to site gives greater control over quality and safety. Reducing the number of hours needed on site to get a job done means reducing exposure to risk.”
Fewer man-hours also means lower costs, and Capital Delivery has made considerable savings this way already. For example, final settlement tanks needed as part of the sewage works upgrades at Crossness and Beckton were manufactured off-site using concrete segments, giving an estimated £2.5m of programme and cost savings in 2011. Whilst no effort is being spared to bring innovative ideas to life now, the focus is shifting to the 2014 Price Review and the period 2015 to 2020. Peter added: “The building industry in general is claiming savings of up to 30 per cent using ideas like these, and we want a share of that.”
Peter Taylor, Special Projects Manager for CDi, says: “This will transform the way we deliver construction projects. By creating a catalogue of these standard products and reference designs, we can share best practice across our projects, saving time and money. Mindsets “Achieving this means challenging our traditional construction methods and taking a new approach to how we deliver these projects.” The team recognise that for an innovative culture to grow, they need to create an environment where introducing new ideas is easy. “A big part of our work is supporting our staff and contractors to make their good ideas a reality,” says Peter.
Rupert Kruger (left) and Leo Kiernan discussed our latest innovations when Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman visited Beckton recently
Three current examples of innovation in action renewable electricity. This will reduce our carbon emissions by more than 500 tonnes a year, with potential annual operational savings of £300,000.
Capital Delivery Innovation Hub To make it easier for everyone to share ideas and designs that can help construction on our capital programme, the CDi team is preparing to launch the Capital Delivery Innovation Hub by early March. These web pages will be the ‘hub’ where all great ideas for innovation in our capital programme can be collected in one place and shared. It will host a library of the standard products and designs we and our partners have developed so that they can be re-used, saving time and money. Located on TWEXnet, Capital Delivery’s collaborative document management system, it will also be available externally to those with a username and password. To find out more, or for non-TWEXnet users to request login details, please email Richard.Smith@ thameswater.co.uk.
Health and safety benefits
A manhole built off-site is assembled in Reading
Slough sludge dryer cuts carbon emissions Last year we hit the headlines when our new £1.5m sustainable sewage sludge dryer at Slough became the first in the UK with vision to create marketable renewable fuel. The sludge flakes will be used to displace natural gas support fuel in the Sludge Powered Generator at Crossness sewage works, creating heat to generate
Clever ideas like the proposed use of the ‘Perfect Manhole System’ can bring significant health and safety benefits. These manholes have a pre-cast concrete base and channel that directs the flow out of the manhole, as well as water-tight joints and a sealed cover slab. Made in a factory, they are then transported to site and installed. Using pre-fabricated manholes like these is safer, as it reduces exposure to wet concrete and removes the need to work in a confined space during construction. And, by reducing time spent on site, it also lessens exposure to health and safety risks. www.thameswater.co.uk | The SOURCE
22 | february/march 2012
Stranded passengers rescued after site delivery standstill A busy road got blocked on the weekend before Christmas – but contractors GBM lent a helping hand for families caught in the chaos. “We dropped them off in Biggin Hill after some festive chat and carol singing and some grateful hugs from all the family including the kids.
A team from contractors GBM rescued stranded bus passengers when a lorry delivering new equipment to one of our sites in Croydon got stuck across a busy road on the coldest night of the year.
“We were thanked massively for our response. I was even offered a few cases of beer for the boys back on site, but obviously declined politely.”
The huge lorry blocked the entire carriageway in both directions (shown right) during the delivery of a second new contact tank to West Wickham Water Treatment Works. But the efforts of GBM staff resulted in a grateful email from local mum Dawn Owen, who was stuck on a bus with three distressed children. GBM had carefully planned the delivery, contacting traffic management teams at the councils covering Croydon and Bromley, as the site spans both boroughs. They agreed buses would be diverted off the busy Addington Road, where the deliveries would be made – but a car crash at Biggin Hill scuppered the plan. Disaster then struck as the back steering unit
on the delivery lorry failed and the system automatically shut down for 30 minutes – stranding the huge tank across the road. GBM Construction Manager Tony Davies said: “A few passengers travelling home on buses after Christmas shopping and an evening meal were starting to get angry, and kids were starting to cry and were upset that they might not get home. “We escorted two families around the lorry, organised onward transport and accompanied them home.
In her email, Dawn said: “Our bus driver didn’t know what was going on and his depot didn’t give him any information as to any contingency plans. “We had three children with us and it was extremely late at night. Our 11-year-old was getting very upset, and seeing our situation you very generously decided to help out. “I feel it only right that you are all commended on your attitude towards the whole situation that night. I personally cannot thank you enough for helping my daughter as she was very upset at the time, and for bringing us all home safely.”
Tree-riffic work sets the scene for 2012 Staff from Reading sewage works planted a tree for 2012 in a project organised by the local council. Technicians Barry Slade and Dean White joined Huw Thomas, who manages the town’s local and regional government liaison, to plant the tree beside the A33, close to the works. It was one of nearly 50 new tress planted along the busy route during National Tree Week, as part of a joint initiative between Reading Borough Council, Thames Water and Reading’s Hilton Hotel. The move was part of the council’s Tree Strategy, which encourages local businesses, community groups and residents to plant trees to mark 2012 as a year to remember. This year will see the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in June, the Olympic Torch passing through Reading in July, followed later that month by the opening of the Games itself. Clare Sandels, our Sustainability Strategy Manager, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Reading Borough Council and the Hilton Hotel on this initiative, which fits with our commitment to improving the local environment. Not only will this benefit wildlife but also make it a more attractive stretch of road for the local community.” The SOURCE | www.thameswater.co.uk
From left: Barry Slade and Dean White join Councillor Tony Page and Huw Thomas at the planting. Photo used courtesy of Reading Post.
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Could you be a volunteer nature reserve warden at Hogsmill? A new nature reserve we are setting up in west London needs volunteers to help run it and organise visits by staff. Volunteer wardens are being sought for a new nature reserve we are creating at Hogsmill Sewage Treatment Works, in Kingston.
David Wilson, a Town Planner in our Property team, said: “The nature reserve will create a rural oasis in an urban area. “Parts of the site are already designated as a Site of Strategic Nature Conservation Importance and have valuable wildlife habitats such as the Surbiton Lagoon, a disused sludge lagoon, which is important for wildfowl and other birds. “One of the key aims of the environmental enhancements is to increase the range and quality of habitats at the site. This should help restore a number of key species, including water voles and wading birds, and provide improved habitats for species like the kingfisher and sandmartin.”
Work progresses on Hogsmill’s new sand martin wall and (below left) elsewhere on the site. Below right: the new bird hide.
This and bottom left photo courtesy of GBM
The reserve is part of a £1m package of measures we are completing at the site, which will also include the first designated educational trail around one of our operational sewage works.
The project, which has been designed in consultation with the Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames Council and other stakeholders, will: • Reconfigure the Surbiton Lagoon to provide mudflats for wading birds, a sand martin wall and tern rafts • Create a bird hide overlooking the lagoon, and a new Western Lagoon and pond dipping area • Lay out a new woodland scrub area and a newly landscaped hill providing views over the works and surrounding area • Enhance a stretch of the Hogsmill River, which flows through the works, including the creation of two backwaters.
also maximize the use of the facility for staff. This is part of his Foundation Leadership Programme Business Challenge, in which he is looking to maximize the use and potential of the new facility. David (pictured top right) said: “There are plans to appoint a part-time warden for the reserve, and there will be plenty that volunteers can do to help them manage the site.
The project will also create the Hogsmill Trail, a path around the works and nature areas with interpretation boards to describe the treatment process and wildlife habitats and a room doubling as an educational resource and reception area within the main administration building.
“A key role for them could be to lead volunteering sessions and team builds for other Thames staff. However, the role could potentially be widened in consultation with the main warden to undertake further functions, such as recording and monitoring of species.
A legal agreement with the council requires us to host at least six guided school trips per year, and David is looking at ways we can
“I’m also looking to gauge how many other employees might be interested in visiting Hogsmill for volunteering or team building
sessions, including a tour around the Hogsmill Trail. The site is within easy walking distance of Berrylands Station. “It’s an ideal opportunity to use one of your Time to Give days to carry out voluntary work in the nature conservation areas, such as weed pulling and fence maintenance. “You get a real sense of achievement by enhancing wildlife habitats for the benefit of the local community, but you can also get to see a working sewage treatment works and learn about one of the essential services we provide first hand.” Anyone interested in either becoming a volunteer warden at Hogsmill or one-off volunteering work as a team should email David or call him on 0118 373 8056 to register your interest and get further details. www.thameswater.co.uk | The SOURCE
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Milestone event means we’re all set for start of Lee Tunnel journey Staff and stakeholders gathered at Beckton to see the huge machine that will drill the Lee Tunnel lowered into place. A giant tunnelling machine has been lowered into an 80-metre-shaft, deeper than anything else in London, ready to start work digging the four-mile Lee Tunnel.
The machine was named ‘Busy Lizzie’ by local school boy Ryan Waters, aged ten, who won a competition involving hundreds of pupils from schools across the London borough of Newham.
It was lowered in pieces, ready to be fully reassembled at the bottom of the shaft. The 800-tonne cutter head was the first ‘piece’ of the drill to make the journey.
The £635m Lee Tunnel will prevent 16 million tonnes of sewage entering the River Lee each year – a result of the capital’s Victorian sewers not being big enough to cope with heavy rainfall.
Ryan, of Maryland Primary School, was among the guests who visited the construction site at Beckton Sewage Treatment Works just before Christmas to witness the huge machine disappear below ground.
Busy Lizzie is eight metres in diameter – wider than three double-decker buses side-by-side – and 120 metres long. Constructing the Lee Tunnel will be a huge engineering challenge, involving tunnelling through high groundwater pressures and passing through some abrasive ground conditions.
“This is a major milestone on our way to creating a cleaner, healthier River Thames and River Lee.” Work to drill the tunnel was due to start this month (February), with the route running from Beckton to Abbey Mills in Stratford, site of the biggest combined sewer overflow into the River Lee. Chief Executive Martin Baggs said: “This is a major milestone on our way to creating a cleaner, healthier River Thames and River Lee, by dealing with the unacceptable problem of sewer discharges into the river during heavy rainfall. “The Lee Tunnel is the first of two tunnels, which will collectively capture an average of 39 million tonnes a year of sewage from London’s 35 most polluting combined sewer overflows. “The Lee Tunnel will tackle discharges from the largest overflow at Abbey Mills, which accounts for 40 per cent of the total discharge. That’s why we’re dealing with this, the worst one, first.” Roger Mitchell, Lee Tunnel Project Manager, said: “Lowering the cutter head was a four-hour operation, requiring a lot of precision. To lift it we used one of the biggest cranes in Europe, which was so large it had to be transported in 60 lorry loads. “We will drive the tunnelling machine through chalk for most of its length. Chalk is a weak rock, and easy to excavate by machine, but the The SOURCE | www.thameswater.co.uk
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Chief Executive Martin Baggs (centre) with the guests who watched ‘Busy Lizzie’ lowered into place and (top right) chatting to Ryan Waters and his friends
biggest challenge is that the chalk contains many flints. This is a very hard and abrasive rock, lumps of which can vary in size from that of a melon to a car, and we could encounter them anywhere.”
MVB, made up of three of the world’s leading civil engineering contractors − Morgan Sindall, VINCI Construction Grands Projets and Bachy Soletanche − is working with us to build the Lee Tunnel.
Busy Lizzie has been custom-designed to suit London’s ground conditions. It will blend more than 100 tonnes of excavated chalk with water for every one metre of tunnel, forming a white slurry − a similar consistency to single cream − before transporting it through a pipe the length of the tunnel, so it can be processed above ground.
As a number of stakeholders were unable to attend the event, ten places were also offered to staff from around the company.
Work began in September 2010 to build the entry shaft, from where the tunnelling work will start. Once under way, work is likely to progress at a rate of 17 metres a day, and is expected to finish in late 2013. In addition to the Lee Tunnel and proposed Thames Tunnel, we are also upgrading London’s five major sewage works so they can treat more waste. The work should prevent them becoming overloaded in rainfall and will improve the quality to which sewage is treated, to further improve river water quality.
One of those who attended was Cost Controller Craig Beccan. He said: “I’m part of the Tideway Project team and have spent time over the past 20 months visiting our other sites at Crossness, Mogden, Riverside, Deephams and Long Reach. “Despite that, I must say that visiting the Lee Tunnel project and watching ‘Busy Lizzie’ being lifted was by far one of the most exciting and extraordinary events I’ve witnessed on site. “I think it’s a fascinating piece of kit and I take pleasure in telling family members and friends about the 120m-long tunnel boring machine!” Maria Antoniou, Assistant Project Manager for the Deephams Sewage Works Upgrade, was another who came along for the event. She said: “What a fantastic day! I had a wonderful time and it was an excellent experience.” www.thameswater.co.uk | The SOURCE
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College campus gets water-wise thanks to regulations check-up Queen Mary’s University in east London is the latest Key Account customer to ensure its site is fully signed-up to the latest guidance on water usage. Staff at one of the biggest colleges at the University of London are now saving water and ensuring they comply with the latest usage regulations, thanks to training from Thames Water.
and passed, our Water Regulations training course. This has raised awareness among all the plumbers who work on site, and has enabled them to undertake and self-certify their own plumbing jobs in the future.
We have inspected nine buildings at Queen Mary University’s Mile End campus in east London to ensure they comply with Water Regulations, and they are also taking up our water efficiency recommendations.
“Some of their facilities staff, who have worked there for up to 20 years, had never heard of the Water Regulations, so weren’t aware how things had changed.”
The college is one of the UK’s leading research-focused higher education institutions, with around 16,900 students and 3,000 staff. The college’s Key Account Manager, Geoff Beale, said: “Queen Mary’s are keen to gain regulations compliance for the buildings, and then the rest of their site through planned further inspections. “They recognise the importance of being Water Regulations-compliant, and
are taking on board our water-saving recommendations. “They’ve really grasped this with both hands. For example, they are fitting flow restrictors in taps, urinal flushing controls and Save-a-Flush devices in their larger toilet cisterns. “The university’s estates staff have taken,
Geoff (pictured) said the Regulations were important for Key Account customers, as they prevented misuse, wastage, leakage and potential contamination from their pipework to ours – for example, from chemicals used in the university’s laboratories. He added: “We held a presentation at the campus, attended by Commercial Director Piers Clark, who gave a speech on how important Queen Mary’s is as a customer to us, and how committed we are as a company to work with them to bring their entire site up to Water Regulations standard.”
Tributes to NST who “would do anything for anyone” Tributes have been paid to a big-hearted Network Services Technician who had an unconventional approach to finding leaks – by using divining rods.
was kind and was always willing to help out. If you ever went out to meet him on site, there would be a cup of tea waiting for you.
Tony Hicks sadly lost his battle with liver cancer on 1 January. He had spent 16 years in the water industry, the last four working directly for Thames Water.
“He knew all the contractors by name and always liked a chat, and took a keen interest in the job in hand.
Tony began as a leakage engineer in 1996 with Morgan Collis Group, then moved to Total Pipeline Solutions, Subterra, FlowControl, RPS and Morrison. During 2005 he worked with area leakage technicians based at our Raynes Park and Brixton offices, helping with boundary valve proving, flow testing and district meters. He was based in Deptford and operated mainly in the south London area. VMR Co-ordinator and Office Administrator Sue Jacobs knew Tony for several years. She said: “Tony was very well liked – he had a big heart, The SOURCE | www.thameswater.co.uk
“Tony had great faith in his divining rods, stating that they were better than a correlator any day, and always managed to find the leaks! “To start with, I think other people were a bit cynical about them but over time he managed to convince them that the rods really worked, and quite a few of us got some!” VMR Co-ordinator Arthur Hancock said: “Tony was a nice bloke to work with, always helpful and would do anything for anyone. “I worked with him for four or five years. At work, you have colleagues and friends, and he was one of the friends.”
Tony at work with his divining rods.
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Good newts story as Wild About Thames initiative returns Perusing pondlife in Bracknell will be just one the activities offered by our Biodiveristy team later this year. Great crested newts will be among the species that staff can view at first-hand on our sites when our Wild About Thames initiative returns this spring.
Ecology & Heritage Advisor Becky Dale with a great crested newt
The scheme aims to show employees and their families the wealth of wildlife that can be found in and around our many sites across the Thames Valley.
April or May will see a visit to Bracknell, where preparatory work for an upgrade of the sewage works last year found that the area is a prime location for great crested newts.
“Surveys prior to the Bracknell work identified a large population on site. We had to apply to Natural England for a special licence to set traps for the newts outside of their breeding season. “As part of this licence, we’re now committed to surveying the site for the next three years to monitor for any increase or decrease in the population. The surveys this spring will be the first of these.
And, with plans being made for this year’s series of events, our Biodiversity team want to hear from anyone who reckons their site would be a suitable venue for a visit. Bat and reptiles, which also featured last year, are likely to be among the attractions in 2012, along with bird of prey demonstrations.
Biodiversity Engagement Manager Cahty Purse said: “These creatures can only really be surveyed for while in they are in their breeding pond, which is between mid-March and midMay. This constraint means they can delay a project if people don’t take this into account when planning.
“Visitors will be able to see how we do this and can learn more about the other pondlife on site, which includes palmate and smooth newts, frogs, toads, snails and beetles.” Cathy added: “People can get in touch with me if they’d like to come along or put forward a site for Wild About Thames. We’d also like to hear what sort of wildlife colleagues would like to know more about.”
Maple Lodge staff get fox out of a fix A whip-round to buy some chicken resulted in the rescue of this fox from a tank at Maple Lodge Sewage Treatment Works. Technician Danny Dean first spotted the animal and alerted Process Controller Dave Soper. He in turn involved his son Terry and colleague Dave Jones, both Technicians at the site, as well as calling the RSPCA.
“The guys were concerned that it would slip down to the bottom of the tank into the water, so pumped it out to lessen the chances of it drowning. “The RSPCA set up a trap and the team pooled their cash to buy some chicken to act as bait. However, when they came back later the fox had somehow eaten the chicken but managed not to get caught in the trap! “Dave Jones then lowered some chain link fencing into the tank and, with the help of some more chicken, the fox was persuaded to make its way out by clambering up the fencing.”
Photos used courtesy of Dave Soper
Process Manager Paul Norman said: “They thought the fox had been there for over 24 hours. It looked cold, wet and really hungry.
www.thameswater.co.uk | The SOURCE
28 | february/march 2012
He’s got it covered: Mel’s the man behind our ‘best kept secret’ We are the only water company with a specialist workshop that can apply an invaluable polymer coating, extending the life of equipment by years, writes Martin Anderson Many damaged pipes, pumps and other equipment could easily be restored to top condition, saving time and money, thanks to Thames Water’s ‘best kept secret’. We are the only water company that has its own facilities for applying ARC – ‘abrasionresistant coating’ – a process devised by US firm Chesterton. Our workshop at Crossness Sewage Treatment Works is one of just four licensed locations in the country.
“The auger casings are showing very little sign of wear even after two years, saving time and labour, plus the cost of additional spares.” “The Crossness workshop facilities mean we can complete jobs in-house that no other water company can,“ says Maintenance Technician Mel Cole, a 34-year veteran of Thames.
He and fellow technician Tony Jarrett were trained in the ARC process in 1999, then completed advanced training at Crossness the year after. Colleague Malcolm Dunn has also since been trained. Pipes, pumps and other equipment subject to aggressive corrosion or abrasion – such as from the hydrogen sulphide used in sewage treatment or the grit brought up during abstraction – can fail after just six months. “But when protected with ARC, they are still in perfect condition after four years in service,” says Mel proudly. “In recent years, I’ve refurbished pumps and other equipment for water treatment works at Datchet, Orpington, Ashford, Hampton, Coppermills and Kempton, as well as for Lockwood Reservoir. “Pumps and impellers come here in a terrible state sometimes. They might have been damaged by grit or by the acid dosing process, or gradually just worn away through natural
wear and tear. They’re sometimes cracked or have holes in the casing.” The ARC process has six stages: • Strip and inspect the equipment for signs of wear. • Steam clean and solvent wash it to remove dirt and debris. • Shot blast it get rid of rust and loose material. • ‘Sweat out’ any corrosion still present, by spraying the metal with water, then heating it till the liquid evaporates. • Apply the specialist polymer coating. • Paint and reassemble the equipment, ready to transport back to site. Mel is the main engineer who applies the coating, but he can assemble a team of suitably-trained colleagues if and when required. Most work is for the Wastewater side of the business, but Mel and his colleagues have carried out some work for Clean, as ARC is approved by the Water Regulations Advisoery Scheme. In 2009, Mel refurbished the auger casings used on the sludge-powered generators at Crossness and Beckton, which used to suffer from a high degree of wear. Regional Maintenance Manager David Fenech says: “Auger casings are supposed to last at least a year, but we’d regularly see them fail after six months, well before scheduled maintenance. To extend their life, we looked at various options, eventually settling on ARC. “The auger casings are showing very little sign of wear even after two years, saving time and labour, plus the cost of additional spares.”
Photos courtesy of Karen Sutton
Workshop Manager Ross Clark says another good example is the overhaul of the dry weather flow pumps from Deephams Sewage Treatment Works.
From left: Mike Howlett, Ross Clark and Mel Cole. The SOURCE | www.thameswater.co.uk
He says: “The impellers for these pumps cost in the region of £50,000 brand new, and have delivery times of four months. We’ve reclaimed some of these impellers using ARC for about £7,000, with a delivery time of around a week. “ARC is the best kep secret in Thames Water. I’m sure there are many pump bowls and impellers that have gone to scrap which we
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New tankers add capacity and will improve service Customers are set to benefit thanks to new tankers, which will improve the way we respond to major bursts and work that disrupts supplies. Part of our tanker fleet has been replaced with new vehicles, which are easier to use and have twice the capacity.
Before: An infusion taking place with one of the old tankers
Four tankers which had reached the end of their useful lives have been renewed. They will improve the service we can provide when supplies fail or extra water is needed for customers affected by planned work. The new models can carry 19,500 litres, compared to 9,000 previously, and have new variable speed pumps. Although they are eight feet longer, they also have rear-wheel steerage, to help access at remote sites. Field Services Manager Rob Plumridge said: “The tankers are effectively mobile reservoirs and are mainly used as an alternative water source. We either pump from them directly into service reservoirs or a water tower to ensure the local supply network remains in operation.
Mel Cole, and (above) at work using the ARC process
could have relined and coated, putting them back into service at a fraction of the cost of new equipment. “What makes this facility unique is that all the work is carried out under one roof, from shot blasting through to coating, which cuts down any chance of contamination under perfect environmental control.”
“We can also deploy them when we need to make a repair and shut valves to block off the area where we’re working. In that case, we can infuse water into the local mains from a fire hydrant, to make sure we keep customers supplied. “The guys who use them say they are beautiful to drive.” Field Operations Specialist Kevin Moore said: “The four tankers we’ve replaced were over 20 years old and were looking their age. They were often off the road due to maintenance issues.
“They will give a longer continuous flow of supply and will minimise interruptions for customers, as well as reducing points we could otherwise incur under Ofwat’s Service Incentive Mechanism. “We’ll keep each vehicle at one of four locations in the Western region – Reading, Newbury, Oxford and High Wycombe – but they will be available for use across the whole Thames Water area.” Because they are larger, the new eightwheel tankers will need to make fewer journeys to and fro when a burst means we have to provide water for a local reservoir. They also comply with London exhaust emission requirements. Our seven-strong tanker fleet is completed by three vehicles stationed in London. They are also supported by our event support vehicle, which can act either as a mess room for staff or as a mobile office where we can talk to customers.
Mile Howlett, Project Manager for Special Engineering Services, adds: “Equipment refurbished using ARC not only resists wear, corrosion and erosion better, lowering our ongoing maintenance costs, but also runs more efficiently, using less electricity, and lowering our operational costs. “Our specialist knowledge means that we can remanufacture components at a fraction of the cost of new ones, and repair components that are now obsolete, removing the need for investment in new capital equipment.” For further information on ARC, please contact Ross or Mike.
After: one of the new tankers with, from left, Sean Mills, Lee Steptoe, Kevin Moore, Shaun Taylor, Keith Field and Fred Cross www.thameswater.co.uk | The SOURCE
30 | february/march 2012
Dave’s gardening role blossoms into 42-year career at Riverside Technician Dave Bowen could be our longest-serving member of staff at one site, after working at Riverside for more than four decades. A six-month stint as site gardener turned into what has so far been a 42-year career at Riverside Sewage Treatment Works for Dave Bowen. The Shift Technician, who could be our longestserving member of staff at one site, used to work there alongside his father and even rented a nearby house from Thames. Dave’s first job was as a landscape gardener, but he began work at Riverside after hearing the works, near Rainham in Essex, needed a new member of staff. He said: “My Dad was an operator there and told me Riverside was coming to the end of a big plant upgrade so would need a gardener. I applied for the job and started on 2 June 1969. “I only held that position for a few months, as shift work started to appeal to me. Speaking to my Dad and other shift workers, it seemed looking after a process plant would be more interesting than cutting grass, and I’d earn more money. “I got the new role, which gave me the opportunity to learn all process operators’ jobs, including operating the digester gas plant. After holding the shift relief position for about five years, a full-time operator’s vacancy became available, looking after the primary treatment aeration process, and final sedimentation plant. I spent 17 years in that role, which also had some responsibility for other operators on shift. “Next came the opportunity to work in the power house, looking after six dual-fuel Allen engines. This led to me progressing to the top job of Process Control Engineer.”
Dave currently heads a team of six Shift Technicians who are in the process of being made up to Process Controllers, ready to operate the site’s new plant. Riverside’s current £85m upgrade should be completed in June and will make it the first
“I’ve seen a lot of process upgrades, but the current one is the biggest to date.” of our five Thames Tideway sewage works upgrades to be finished. This will make Riverside the first in a new generation of sewage works to treat sludge using a thermal hydrolysis plant, which is
expected to produce enough gas to generate around 4MW of power a day. Dave said: “I’ve taken a bit of a back seat on this project and given more responsibility to Technician Dennis Gray, who is a lot younger than me, as he will be running this plant for the next 20 years and will need to gain as much knowledge as possible.” It’s easy for Dave to make sure he’s on hand to offer advice, as he lives just three miles away in Elm Park, Hornchurch. He said: “I used to live even closer, in a company house about 200 yards away from site. My wife Carol and I raised three children at Creekside, as the site is known locally. We lived there till December 1983, before buying our own house. “Over the last 42 years, I’ve seen a lot of process upgrades but the current one is the biggest to date. There were originally a total of 23 personnel, but we now have a lone working system, with one person per shift.” Dave said his happiest Riverside memories were of when he was part of a committee organising social events for the site. “We acquired some old contractor huts from the mid-Sixties upgrade and turned them into a sports and social club. I volunteered to redesign the interior of the building and turned it from
The SOURCE | www.thameswater.co.uk
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just four plain walls into an old-world pub-style interior with a stock brick bar I built myself. We had a lot of social events including live bands, discos, and big sit-down meals for families and friends. “The clubhouse ran from 1977 to 1982, but unfortunately burnt down due to an electrical fire fault. Ironically, the only thing left standing was the bar I had built.” On the work front, Dave has helped tackle some serious situations at Riverside down the years. He recalls one in October 2000, when the storm flow arriving at the works was so high that the inlet pumping station could not cope. He said: “Even though I had all 17 pumps running continually, with so much flow coming through to the inlet screens they were under water.
“We managed as a team – something Riverside is renowned for.” “All nine storm tanks were overflowing. I’m sure this was the biggest flow on record, but we managed as a team – something Riverside is renowned for. “I also remember when a digester bottom drain valve failed in the open position, and drained the tank almost completely empty. It almost caused a vacuum that could have drawn the roof in, resulting in a very dangerous situation. “This happened during a night shift, which I was relieving the next morning. Thanks to my experience, I knew all the required valves to isolate. By the end of my day shift, all four digesters were nearly back to normal operation again, thus averting a major incident.” Dave will be 65 in 2014 and, as he approaches his retirement, is forming plans to move to Spain – helping top up what Team Manager Garry Neicho calls his “David Dickinson-style perma-tan”. Dave said: “I’m very much looking forward to my retirement and will find it odd not going to Riverside after such a long career.
“Carol and I are looking forward to travelling Europe in a motor home. We have three grown-up children and six grandchildren, so when we come home to see the family and friends, I’m sure I will look in at Riverside to meet the team, as it has been a very big part of my life.” His colleagues will be glad to see him if tributes from his workmates are anything to go by. Leigh Hughes, Site Manager at Riverside, said: “I started in this role in December 2010, and have found Dave a great guy to work with. “He has helped me throughout the year with his knowledge and experience of Riverside, and no matter how trivial the question he always has time to answer. “I couldn’t believe how long one person had been at one site and the changes that he has seen. He always has a story to tell about times past and present and it is a standing joke that if I get my way he will be with us to see his 50 years in!” Fellow Technician Roy Clifford said: “’The Captain’ is also very reliable, as the last time Dave was off work sick was in the early 1990s. “Dave also likes his golf, and enjoys puns and playing on words, so we hear plenty of dry humour from him.” Dave added: “I’m very surprised to have been here so long, as I only intended to stay for six months or so, and move on, as in those days you could go from one job to another. “I’m certainly the only person to have achieved this length of service at Riverside, so I’m wondering if there are any other long-service personnel at Thames who have completed more than 45 years at their site.” Do you know someone who’s devoted lengthy service to one site? Why not let us know by contacting The Source – see page 2 for details.
News in Brief Lottery winners for January and December Congratulations to N Bridgford, who won the £800 first prize in January’s WaterAid lottery. The runners-up, who each won £25, were E Snell, John Harris, Ian Prior, JEE Ekin, Paul Sykes, Matthew Angell, Mike Allen, Paul Church, Chris Shipway, Tom Churnside, Louise Bancroft, Trevor Smith, PI Smith and Kevin Kelleher. Aaron Marks won first prize in the December’s lottery. The runners-up were Mary Alford, Peter Beaton, Tino Capaldi, BL Davis, Mandy Dickinson, Scott Grist, Simon Whitcher, J Barry, Robin Lee, Andrea Poole, CD King, J Hay, AR Burton and Fiona Bartlett-White. The lottery is open to Thames staff and pensioners, with shares costing £1 each. The draw takes place in the last week of every month.
Work on mains uncovers prison wall Work to replace Victorian water mains in Islington has unearthed part of a Victorian prison. The work, in Rosebery Avenue, uncovered part of the walls of Coldbath Fields Prison, a tough jail which was used for London criminals on short sentences. Originally known as the Middlesex House of Correction, it was founded in the 17th century and closed in 1885. Heritage Advisor Claire Hallybone said: “It’s a really beautifully designed building and to find these remaining walls shows the level of detail builders and designers used during this period. We very rarely see this kind of workmanship today, as people just don’t get paid to be ornate! “The archaeologists will be given time to record the exposed features, by photographing and drawing them, and then the water main will be moved very slightly so that the exposed remains are not directly affected. “We’ll take measures to protect any remains left in the trench from damage during backfilling or future maintenance work.”
www.thameswater.co.uk | The SOURCE
Chris sets himself endurance marathon Hampton-based Chris Pearce is half way through a series of daunting challenges to raise money for two charities close to his heart. One Capital Delivery dad has been clocking up the miles for a good cause in a series of gruelling physical challenges.
In the Spartan Race Chris crawled under barbed wire while ice was poured on him
Chris Pearce, a Quantity Surveyor in the London Process team, aims to complete 13 endurance events in a bid to raise £3,000 for two charities which helped his family. Chris’s daughter Poppy was born last May with a cleft palate caused by Pierre Robin Sequence, a congenital condition which affects the face and jaw. Babies with this condition often have breathing and feeding difficulties, requiring surgery and lengthy medical care. Two charities have given Chris and his family much-needed help and support. The Cleft Lip and Palate Association and Born Too Soon, which assists families with premature babies, will receive all the funds Chris raises. He said: “Most of the kids who suffer from these problems go through a lot in their lives. For example, my daughter will have an operation in March to repair her cleft palate and, depending on the results, may need another when she’s aged two or three and maybe a further operation late in her teens to correct her jaw. “Some premature babies are literally fighting to conserve energy just to eat, sleep and breathe. I didn’t want to do just one event and say ‘That’s it’ because for them and their families every day is a struggle, and I guess I wanted to reflect that struggle.’” Chris is about half way through the series of events, which began last August with Race the Train, a 14-mile race across Welsh hills against a steam train. Since then, his experiences have included a triathlon, an event called ‘Hell Runner’ and another called the ‘Spartan Race’, just part of which involved crawling under barbed wire while spectators poured ice on him (pictured). Some have involved taking part with friends – including Planning and Control Manager Peter Fawkes, a colleague from Hampton, with whom he competed in an event called Survival of the Fittest in Nottinghamshire. Chris’s most recent event, in late January, was Tough Guy event in Wolverhampton, in which many participants never cross the finish line. Chris said: “We were in and out of ice cold The SOURCE | www.thameswater.co.uk
water, climbing up mud hills for the next eight miles. It was hell – I’ve never been so cold in my life. People were pulling up with cramp and being sent away in ambulances because of hypothermia.
Chris recovers after ‘Tough Guy’
“The guy who dreamed this event up is a very sick man. If ice cold water and 20foot obstacles aren’t enough, you have to crawl through a pitch black room on get electrocuted by wires that hang above the logs you have to crawl over. All you can hear is people shouting in pain as they get hit with an electric shock. “You also have to jump over fire and under barbed wire. I completed the event in three hard, long, gruelling hours.
“I had to dive straight in and couldn’t actually breathe because it was so cold.” “Would I do it again? Probably not – but if you like being frozen, burnt, bruised, scratched, slashed, electrocuted and caked in mud from head to toe, I suggest you sign up for next year’s event.” Chris’s final challenges will be in June, when he stages his own event involving a 26-mile walk around London local landmarks. To make it more difficult, he’ll be competing threelegged, tied to a friend. Between the events, Chris is keeping up a tough training regime. He arrives at the gym
at 6.30am each weekday, goes for a run in the evenings and then steps up the distance for a longer run at the weekend. He cheerfully admits that he’s been through a few low points during some of the challenges. He said: “I was late arriving at the triathlon, where other competitors had had time to acclimatise in the water before swimming across a lake. I had to dive straight in and couldn’t actually breathe because it was so cold. “Later, during the cycling, I was pretty much last. I heard one three-year-old girl who was watching say to her mum: ‘Look how slow that man is’ – and I still had another circuit to go!” Chris is inviting colleagues to make a donation by visiting his Virgin Money Giving page or even by joining him to take part in an event.
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32 | february/march 2012