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august 2012 | thameswater.co.uk

Torchbearers’

‘incredible experience’ Whistleblower line diverted to

Crimestoppers River cruise

to honour long service

TEAM THAMES Olympics news

from the front line


contents

6 7 10 12 18 22

Busy Lizze set for take-off

New partnership with Crimestoppers Thames Tideway Tunnel’s big signings Long service river cruise

MP backs recreational haven

Clive meets the Dutch hockey stars

Editor’s column I visited the Olympic hub at Abbey Mills just before London 2012 took over. Chatting to the team based there in the shadow of the stadium, it is clear they are completely focused on making the Olympics a success. We have 50 Olympics staff on duty at all times and everything has been done to make sure each of them know what to do should something happen at one of the venues. I also bumped into Clive Dickens, who you will read on page 9 has taken a vow of chastity to focus on the job. As well being in charge of improving resilience of the mains and sewers on the park, Clive has taken on the lead role of distributing Thames Water pin badges and keeping up foreign affairs – captured here in this snapshot with two Dutch hockey players… And thanks to Stewart Turkington this month for some great pictures, including the cover shot of Danny Leamon and Team Thames at Abbey Mills. Stuart stuart.white@thameswater.co.uk 2 | august 2012 www.thameswater.co.uk

the stadium

Elite athletes

re-flushed with success BY SIMON EVANS

Year three of SCADA upgrade

In the shadow of

Ruari Maybank of LOCOG, Thames commercial director Piers Clark, Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman and Thames sustainability director Richard Aylard

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thletes at London’s Olympic Park are today flushing their loos with water sent to the capital’s sewers hours earlier by local residents. Thames Water’s Old Ford water recycling plant, on the Olympic Park in Stratford, uses state-of-the-art treatment processes to turn north Londoners’ sewage into non-drinking standard water for irrigating greenery and flushing toilets at the home of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Its daily output of 574,000 litres – enough for 80,000 loo flushes every day – goes into a pipe network separate from the tap water supply, helping reduce the park’s reliance on premium-quality drinking-grade water by up to 58 Almost as quick per cent. Water Minister Richard as Usain Bolt Benyon said: “It is our goal to create a safe and sustainable water supply in the future and projects such as this have a crucial role to play. By using ‘black water’, which is safely recycled, the Old Ford plant will stop fresh water being used

where it isn’t needed, helping to make this the greenest games ever.” Rupert Kruger, Thames Water’s head of innovation, added: “It’s amazing to think the world’s elite athletes are using recycled sewage, sent down U-bends at homes in north London just a day or so earlier, to flush loos at the greatest sporting event on earth. “Despite us lifting our hosepipe ban in June, water is still an increasingly precious resource so it is crucial we use it wisely. Old Ford is helping London 2012 do that. Dual-purpose water supply networks are the sustainable way forward.” It takes 36 hours on average for householders’ “flushings” to go from homes in north London to the non-drinking water network on the Olympic Park, after undergoing thorough treatment and cleaning at Old Ford, the UK’s largest ‘black water’ recycling plant. Between 5 April and 17 July Old Ford had put 24.1m litres – enough to fill nearly 10 Olympic swimming pools – into the Olympic Park’s nondrinking water network. Sewage arrives at the recycling plant via the historic Northern Outfall Sewer, built in the 1800s, which lies beneath the Greenway walk and cycle way running beside the Olympic Park. It takes wastewater from north London to Beckton sewage works to the east of the capital. Thames Water built Old Ford as part of a joint project with the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA).

Rapier missiles at Thames reservoir BY CRAIG RANCE William Girling Reservoir has become the best protected Thames Water site there is. In readiness for the Olympics, the MOD has placed missiles at the Enfield reservoir as part of security measures around the Games. The ground-based air defence system – or missile launcher – is a very visible deterrent and is only a few hundred metres away from the houses that back onto the Lee Valley reservoir. Ten soldiers will be monitoring the skies 24/7 throughout the Olympic period, and Bombardier Scott said it is one of the more

picturesque deployments he’s had. The rapier missile equipment was inactive when I visited, but I did get a strange buzz when ‘Scotty’ let me press the red FIRE! button.


OLYMPIC SPECIAL

Olympic torchbearers ‘It was absolutely incredible’ Lead cost and planning controller GORDON RALPHS has worked for Thames Water for 19 years, but was diagnosed with incurable prostate cancer in 2009 at the age of 47. He hopes his taking part in the torch relay will help to save lives by raising awareness. Technical scheduling and support manager ANT TYLER, 45, has raised more than £40,000 for WaterAid by running 12 marathons in the last five years. The Reading pair tell Stuart White what it was like to be an Olympic torchbearer in their hometown… Gordon Ralphs It’s been absolutely crazy, incredible – a wonderful madness. The anticipation grew during the day and I got to Madejski Stadium for the briefing an hour before I was supposed to. It was here we got to hold the torch for the first time. Then on the torchbearers bus to the drop-off point on London Road there wasn’t a dry eye as we all told our stories. Outside the crowds were building up. People were taking pictures and you become like Royalty waving to people you have never met. It began to sink in. The crowds were enormous and when I got out it was real rabbit in the headlights stuff. I have played good level hockey and been centre stage at Crufts in front of thousands but I have never experienced anything like that. I couldn’t take it all in. The procession moves towards you and all of a sudden you are on. You think ‘what an earth am I going to do now?’ I was waving, and just concentrating on not falling over! I managed to run about 200 metres to where my 10-year-old niece, Alex, who had just had a brain tumour removed, was watching so I asked to stop with her for pictures. I walked the rest, and then it was over before it started. You are focussed on everything and nothing – it’s just a sea of people. You cannot believe how much of feel-good thing it is though – I have never known

Ant Tyler What a day. I am still on a high and the memories of being an Olympic torchbearer will live on with me forever. I wanted it all to be a surprise so didn’t watch much of the relay coverage on television beforehand. And it certainly was a surprise. The experience was absolutely incredible. I ran the penultimate leg of the day leading up to Madejski Stadium in front of all my friends and family, some of which had travelled down from Leicester. It was lovely seeing them all and I really appreciated the support. A friend of mine watching it back on TV said he couldn’t believe how quickly I ran it. The policeman kept shouting at me to slow down, and they had to hold up the next runner for three or four minutes because I went so quickly. I guess it was all the nervous energy – I just set off at my normal running pace. I could hear the roar of the crowd inside the stadium before handing over, and the whole experience was just incredible. I was having pictures taken for ages afterwards and it was important for me to have some taken with Humphrey the Camel – it was all for WaterAid after all.

I HAVE NEVER EXPERIENCED ANYTHING LIKE IT – A WONDERFUL MADNESS an atmosphere like it in Reading. So much good-will. The torch has since been an absolute picture magnet. I’ve taken it into work, four primary schools and the Royal Berks Hospital. The nurses there are brilliant.

I’ve been fighting cancer for nearly three years now and I’m going to keep fighting it. The prognosis was ‘one, three, five, 10 years – we don’t know how long, some people amaze us’. I want to amaze people.

WHAT A DAY, I’M STILL ON A HIGH www.thameswater.co.uk august 2012 | 3


OLYMPIC SPECIAL

Prepared to succeed There will be a minimum of three Thames Water network service technicians on the Olympic Park 24 hours a day BY SIMON EVANS Thames Water engineers are ready to respond to any leaks or bursts on the water and sewerage networks serving the Olympic Park within LOCOG’s challenging 30-minute deadline. Their down-time will be spent checking every inch of pipe for potential problems. If the need arises, spare parts are less than a mile away, at the Abbey Mills operations ‘hub’, home to Thames Water and contractor engineers until mid-September, after the Paralympics. “Being as prepared as possible is our aim,” said father-of-one John Frangou, 28, a regional performance manager turned Abbey Mills hub shift manager. Scrub has been cleared at the site to make way for a neat collection of temporary cabins, each boasting an en-suite bedroom, for off-shift engineers to get some much-needed shut-eye. Nearby is a vast array of spare parts: every conceivable width of main, including a 42 inch-wide section, hydrants, valves, covers,

couplings, bends, clay sewer sections, concrete sewer sections, Tarmac, backfilling material, and so on, not to mention diggers, lifting trucks, blockage-removing machinery. You get the picture. “We’ve done trial emergency responses for the morning shift guys, and for the evening shift guys, to iron out any potential hiccups. We were well inside the 30-minute deadline every time,” said John, who cycles to the hub from his home in Edmonton, north London. Lloyd Butter, 44, a hub-based engineer from Guildford, Surrey, added: “My days are spent on the Olympic Park scouring every valve, every inch of pipe, making sure it’s all tip-top.” Leaning in, as though not to tempt fate by being overheard by his colleagues in the mess room, he whispered: “We’re prepared for this. I think we’re – you know – gonna be OK.” As he looked admiringly up at the spire of the iconic main building then across the neat rows of pipes and tubes and fittings, your correspondent couldn’t help thinking that Abbey Mills would work well if kept as a strategic spares base after the Olympics packs up and moves on. Shift manager John, enjoying the same pleasing view, agreed. “It makes sense. It takes four hours for Burdens, our supplier, to deliver spare parts to central London from their base at Gatwick. We’re a company wanting to improve our customer service. Why wouldn’t we?” Shift manager John Frangou leaning on a section of 42 inch-wide water main

NST Lloyd Butler refuels before his shift on the Olympic Park

4 | august 2012 www.thameswater.co.uk

TEAM THAM STARTERS’

The Thames Water Olympic team is on 24-hour response now the Games are in full flow. Stuart White spoke to STEPHANIE BAKER, one of its key players, at the perfectly placed Abbey Mills hub

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eam Thames has prepared for London 2012 like an Olympic athlete. But unlike the world’s elite who are all in town for the summer’s main event, this team hopes to remain anonymous throughout August. A successful Olympics for Team Thames would not be gold, silver or bronze, but for the watching millions to not even know they were there. Field operations work stream lead Stephanie Baker, 26, who lives in Stoke Newington, said there has been months and years gone into incident prevention work, and “now it is all about response”. Like all good team sport players, “it is making sure we are in the right place at the right time”. Team Thames launched on 15 July and is live until the finish of the Paralympics in September. Now the Games has started the teams at Abbey Mills and Battersea are braced 24 hours a day to respond within 30 minutes to anything having an impact in a 600 metre radius of each of the venues. “We have everything we need ready to go and are prepared for

the worst,” said Stephanie, who unsuccessfully applied for £1,800 of Olympics tickets but has an athletics seat won in the Thames Water Big Fat Cheesy Quiz. “The strategy has really proved its value already. We’ve had people out on jobs in the Olympic Park, and we have also picked up little things we wouldn’t necessarily have spotted, like replacing drain covers on the torch routes. “Transport for London let us know about a leak on one of their major Olympic lanes and we were there straight away because we were around the corner


OLYMPIC SPECIAL

Pictures by Stewart Turkington

‘Hub atmosphere is great’

MES UNDER ORDERS From left, NST Kevin Flowers, wast e supervisor Suki Uppal and hub manager Angus Kelly

and did the repair in a day, on a Sunday. This was much quicker and more efficient than normal.” Like the best Olympic teams, camaraderie and spirit is key to success. This is something Team Thames has in bucket loads, according to Stephanie. She said: “Everyone volunteered and is doing a great job – they are so committed and willing.

We have already asked people to stay on after their shifts if things are going on and they just get on with it, because they know why they are here. “It really is a great team spirit and they are doing Thames Water proud. They look great in their new uniform and feel good to be part of what has become a pretty special team.” And what about her role on the world stage? Along with principal project manager Danny Leamon, who she calls “my hero, he always stays so calm,” she hopes it will stay quiet over the Games period because “it has all been about the set-up”. “Credit to the guys in the hub, they know Stephanie Baker says the whole team is what they are doing.” doing Thames Water proud

NIGEL FULLER is one of the 200-strong Team Thames working at the Olympics. Here he explains what it is like to live at the Abbey Mills hub BY NATALIE SLATER Sat in the kitchen of his new temporary home at Abbey Mills, Nigel Fuller, a waste supervisor, smiles as he describes his commute to work these days. “I’m in cabin 17, it’s about 10 yards that way. It’s a home away from home.” He has been living in the hub since the week before the opening ceremony – a far cry from his normal journey of 22 years from King’s Lynn. He said: “I’m normally up at 5am for the 90 minute drive but I love living up there and I love the job so I just make it work. But for the eightweek period over the Olympics I’m living here.” Nigel gestures out to the sunny backdrop behind him with the impressive set-up of living quarters for 22 people, 24 hours a day, putting them within 10 minutes of the Olympic Park. “The atmosphere is great. The lads are all getting on and having a laugh so even when we’re not on duty, we’re around chatting and

helping out. We all get together in the evenings and some of the boys are doing a cooking club –they made some kind of chicken with garlic and thyme with roast potatoes the other night.” The hub at Abbey Mills is one of the bases for the team, there’s also one at Battersea of about the same size and then a smaller base for five people on the Olympic Park. Throughout the Games, the team will be working 12-hour shifts starting at 6am or 6pm, but Nigel says he’s not worried about the hours. “I’m more concerned about getting bored, because if nothing happens then there’s going to be very little work, although we’re doing a lot of monitoring. “There’s enough of us to keep things exciting and although I didn’t expect to be impressed by the Olympics, I am. What they’ve done over there is incredible.” Just a short walk over a newly built bridge from the Greenway at the back of Abbey Mills is the park itself. The 58-year-old father of one said: “This is part of history and I’m part of the team behind that, I guess that’s pretty special. “If you’d have told me 22 years ago when I started commuting to London that I’d be doing this I’d have laughed. But I love my job. I love finding solutions to problems and where better to do that than here, where you’ve got the world watching and the pressure is really on.” Nigel Fuller takes a break in the kitchen at the Abbey Mills hub

www.thameswater.co.uk august 2012 | 5


Picture by Andras Nemeth (MVB)

Busy Lizzie set for take-off Busy Lizzie is on its way to Abbey Mills. Following the launch back in February, the remainder of the tunnel boring machine is being constructed before embarking on its four-mile journey to the iconic pumping station. The cutter head has been busy tunnelling since February to create the space needed to house the rest of the huge machine. Once fully-constructed, with the tunnelling process support machinery in place, all four gantries connected and at it’s full 120m length, Busy Lizzie is expected to travel 17 metres per day underneath east London constructing the Lee Tunnel. She will need crew of 12 people to operate her and will excavate more than 100 tonnes of chalk per metre.

Industry changing faster than ever Graduates asked to develop the solutions to a growing number of challenges BY ANDREW BOYD

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oday’s new starters at Thames Water have the chance to shape the future of the industry at a time of unprecedented change. That was one of the major messages when eight directors and senior managers shared their views with graduates from around the business at a workshop on 16 July. The event, at Reading Town Hall, highlighted the increasing focus on customers plus other key challenges such as population growth and climate change.

“WATER TRADING CAN WORK, BUT SOME OF THE BARRIERS NEED TO BE REMOVED” Chief executive Martin Baggs said: “There is more change going on than I have ever seen in the water industry. Some of the regulatory changes we have seen, and worked to, in the last 25 years have already been thrown to one side.” As an example, Martin said customers sending messages via email, Facebook and Twitter would expect a much quicker reply than the deadline of 10 working days which applies to letters. Discussing how to reduce the likelihood of future droughts, Martin said: “It has always 6 | august 2012 www.thameswater.co.uk

been my view that we need more resilience in the system. “The first large-scale transfer scheme was built 400 years ago by Sir Hugh Myddelton, in the shape of the New River. There are already 80 cross-connections between ourselves and the companies around us. Water trading can work, but some of the barriers need to be removed.” Among other challenges, he talked about sustainability, new environmental regulations and the need to retain our customer base in the face of increasing competition. Martin added: “I’ve not really given you any of the answers, just some of the issues – it’s going to be down to you to develop the solutions.” He also discussed the growing emphasis on customers’ requirements. The theme was picked up by market strategy manager Mark Hollloway, who said we should learn a lesson from his previous employers, the Central Electricity Generating Board. He said: “The services still exist, but companies like that don’t – because they didn’t listen to their customers.” Commercial director Piers Clark said that, as of last December, business customers using upwards of five million litres per year could change supplier. He warned: “In a few years time, this will be open to any commercial user – maybe it will be an option for everyone in the future. We need to be a totally different organisation by then.” Market operations manager Erin Matthews, who organised the event, said: “There was a lot of food for thought. We really appreciated leaders from across Thames taking time out to share their views.”

Deephams consultation The first phase of the public consultation for the proposed major upgrade at Deephams sewage works, which serves around 900,000 people in north east London, started last month. The work is needed to comply with new regulations set by the Environment Agency, as well as meet the demands of the growing population in the area. The consultation, which will run until 24 October, will give the public a chance to have their say on Thames Water’s proposals. The project is set to be one of the biggest in the firm’s capital programme and is likely to take up to seven years to complete. Find out more on the capital delivery portal.

New HR Helpline is live The new HR Helpline is here to answer all problems – just dial 0845 026 2497. SAP HR will still be used to raise HR requests for processing, but the phone line will help ask questions directly to the appropriate person in the department.

Fantasy football league Sign up to the Thames Water fantasy football league before the Premier League season kicks off on 18 August. The game will follow the official competition run by the Daily Telegraph with the winner receiving a trophy and replica shirt of their choice from www.toffs.com. To enter a team contact planning analyst Adrian Hurford.

WaterWatcher eyes prize Beckton’s Stephen Barry has £250 worth of shopping vouchers to splash after winning the quarterly WaterWatchers prize draw. WaterWatchers is a team based in Swindon who work with field staff to identify missing properties and supplies.


WHISTLEBLOWER LINE DIVERTED TO CRIMESTOPPERS Thames Water’s new link with charity Crimestoppers reinforces the firm’s zero tolerance approach to dishonesty BY STUART WHITE

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new 100 per cent anonymous Crimestoppers line has been opened for staff to report anything they are uncomfortable with in total confidence. Anybody suspecting or aware of any misconduct across the business is now able to speak to the charity’s operatives by calling 0800 9176936 safe in the knowledge their identity can never be traced. The initiative has been masterminded by forensic services manager Steve Dryland, a former National Investigation Service officer for Customs & Excise, to reduce fraud, theft and dishonesty – with site thefts alone costing an estimated £1.2 million last year. The phone line, and email service, will be exclusively for Thames Water and manned 24-hours a day by Crimestoppers operatives. Steve said: “Like any organisation, we’re at risk from fraud and unethical practices being committed by employees, suppliers and professional criminals. “We want to give people the confidence to come forward and Crimestoppers is a

well-known brand name. It is completely anonymous. We will never be told where the information has come from, or have the opportunity to find out.” The previous ‘Speak-Up’ reporting service run by Thames Water’s commercial audit department was channelled through Steve, but he accepted there were concerns people using the line might not feel they were completely anonymous and that a new approach was needed. As part of the move, Steve’s team will also be taking a more proactive approach to dishonesty and will be looking at issues that might be going under the radar. “There are things going on we don’t know about,” Steve added. “The crime steering group is going to start logging and recording crime in a much more intelligent way. We were reactive – somebody called me and I investigated. Now we will be analysing data to proactively identify issues.” Last year Steve had 34 whistleblowing incidents but he knows there are people in the business who have more information, and he wants them to communicate in confidence. He said: “We will always investigate intelligently, sensitively and covertly without compromising fellow staff members who could be placed in the spotlight by process of elimination. “Regardless of the complexity and difficulty to resolve issues, we do pursue it, we do unravel it and we do something about it. And we fully support police prosecutions.”

From left, Crimestoppers commercial manager Kate Johnston and chief executive Michael Laurie with Thames Water chief executive Martin Baggs and forensic services manager Steve Dryland at the launch event on 24 July

NEWS

A central point of contact for all wrongdoing Thames Water’s STEVE DRYLAND talks us through more of the changes Crimestoppers is the ‘one stop shop’ for all crime reports, suspicions or concerns and we now want to embed that name into Thames Water employees’ minds. We’re going to place signage around the exterior of sites so we can also capture concerns from the public and our contractors. If the public pass one of our unstaffed sites and see it is insecure at 10pm, they call Crimestoppers. If it’s simply an open gate, Crimestoppers are linked into our operational control room. If it is someone up to no good, they are linked to the police. This joint approach will mean the reporting line becomes the central point of contact for all wrongdoing. We’re now working closer with other departments including business resilience and IS and have formed a crime steering group – one of the recommendations made by an accelerated leadership programme cohort. Our first priority is to record crime in a much more intelligent way so we can data mine trends and profiles. We’ve also set up crime cost centres that sit alongside operational cost codes. When the business experiences a crime, the costs can be transferred to the crime code – subject to them having submitted an accurate report of the incident. This will allow us to accurately collect the true values of crime incidents and influence investment and resourcing requirements. It means the business has a clearer picture of its running costs. www.thameswater.co.uk august 2012 | 7


PRICE REVIEW 2014

Staff views on consultation Following the launch of the consultation document Making the most of the essential service, ANDREW BOYD asked Thames Water staff their views on the important challenges the company faces to 2040 and beyond

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ustomer expectations and the growing pressures of environmental legislation will be among the key challenges Thames Water face in the next 25 years. Those were among the conclusions of a range of employees who gave their views in a Source straw poll to coincide with an ongoing consultation on the company strategy. More than 1,300 customers and staff completed an online questionnaire in the first three weeks of the 12-week consultation, which runs until 21 September. The exercise is part of preparations for the 2014 Price Review, when the firm will present to Ofwat the five-year Business Plan setting out work to be completed between 2015 and 2020.

Mogden-based communications advisor EMILY GOREN Security of potable water supplies will be a major issue. With an everincreasing population in the south-east, and moves afoot in government to review river abstraction, this will become more challenging in the future. Customer satisfaction is the other big issue. People have busy lives and are less willing to put up with any nuisance we may cause them. I suspect this trend will continue and it is going become harder to meet expectations.

BRIAN MCGINLEY, area team

Field services manager MIKE GUNN, who heads the team responsible for maintaining our trunk sewers in London Creating and nurturing a loyal customer base is a major challenge. It’s in the nature of our business that when something goes wrong, it has a life-affecting impact – having your home flooded with sewage or no water to flush the loo. These are issues that impact people on a very personal level and the service they receive needs to be on an equally personal level. We need to be more than an efficient operation – our customers need to see we share their distress.

NATASHA HULBERT

Senior research scientist TIM EVANS, from the Reading-based innovation team

We need to build better relationships and trust with our customers. If we say we’ll do something, we must do it. We need to show we learn from our mistakes and are deeply committed to getting things right. We should be more engaging and provide more ‘touch points’ so customers don’t feel the need to contact us unless they have to – not just interact with them when we send a bill or dig outside their house.

As well as providing critical services, I see us as custodians of a ‘public’ entity comprising not only our works and pipes, but also our skills and knowledge. These all degrade with time if we don’t look after them. We need to recognise the importance of this foundation whatever else we do to improve our performance and meet future challenges. It may sound trite, but we’ve taken the baton from our predecessors and have a duty to hand it on to our successors in at least as good a state.

Customer experience advisor

manager at Banbury sewage treatment works (above) A lot will be greatly aligned to the single banner of ‘environmental change’. Will we have enough water? Can we cope with floods? Another issue will be river quality versus the tightening of discharge consents from sewage works. We will face increasing energy costs as fossil fuels dry up and our assets are more power-thirsty. We need to increase production of renewable energy as increasing environmental legislation will put growing pressure on our assets.

Customer communications consultant PAULA GRUNDY, based at Walnut Court in Swindon Competition is a biggie. We have to demonstrate to customers that they will want to choose Thames Water when they have a choice. Our stakeholder, sustainability and environmental programmes will be key. But we also need to market ourselves right, so customers believe we’re going to do what we say, no matter what the size of the promise. Climate change, population growth and meeting the expectations of current and potential customers is going to take a bit of work, and delivering the Thames tunnel will be huge.

WHAT OUR CUSTOMERS ARE TELLING US In earlier research, customers have told us they think their current bills are reasonable compared to other utilities, and they are broadly satisfied with current levels of service. Their priorities for investment have included improving river water quality, boosting the quality of tap water, minimising the liklihood of sewer flooding and reducing leakage. Responses to the current consultation on our long-term priorities 8 | august 2012 www.thameswater.co.uk

will help verify whether or not our earlier findings match customers’ views today. A combination of results from research, responses to consultations, analysis of customer complaints and information from staff on needs for investment will all be weighed up against external pressures, such as likely population growth, when forming Thames Water’s plans for the future.


Twitter – one good, one bad

BOREHOLE

Environment Agen cy: “Excellent to see this in actio n! Recycled Londoners’ sewage keeping Olympic Park gree n”

with media manager Simon Evans

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

Oxford customer: “S o no f***ing water, the day I wa nted a shower can’t have one. f** *ing thames water sort it out, its a hot day and water isn’t wo rking..”

Abbey Mills monk’s vow of chastity

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hen London won its bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games five years ago he was put in charge of improving the resilience of the water mains and sewers serving what is now the Olympic Park. Inside his head is a 3D diagram of the subterranean tubes under the Stratford showpiece. If a valve can’t be found, he gets called. If folks are puzzled about how the pipes are configured, he’s the go-to guy. With the games now under way, project manager Clive Dickens, a twinkle-toed 58, is in the home straight of this assignment. And his devotion remains steadfast. So much so that he has taken a selfimposed vow of chastity. “I took my wife Jeanette out for a birthday lunch on Sunday 15 July but from the following day I’ve been at the Thames Water operations ‘hub’ at Abbey Mills 24/7, and I’ll be staying here until midway through August, after the Olympic Games finishes. I’ll pop home for a night or two before returning to Abbey Mills until

Drought… in Scottish Highlands and Islands While most of the UK endures a seriously soggy summer, the Western Isles of Scotland are so dry that wild fires are breaking out and local supplier, Scottish Water, is preparing to tanker in back-up supplies, reports Scottish Farmer magazine. Back in April armchair experts advised building a Scotland-to-London pipeline to combat shortages down south. Well, if there’s no water north of the border, I suppose a steady stream of single malt will have to do.

after the Paralympics ends on September 9,” Clive tells BH. “Reason being, I’ve taken a vow of chastity to make sure my mind is where it needs to be for the greatest sporting event on earth. Rather like the athletes, I’ve spent fiveand-a-half years in training for this. I want to give it my best shot. Right now I’m at the peak of my powers. I know every valve on the Olympic Park. So if there’s a drama, I’ll be here to help sort it out.” Arise Sir Clive and Lady Jeanette of Dickenshire. A breath-taken BH salutes your Olympian indefatigability.

Olympic ring

Home from home – Olympic ‘monk’ Clive Dickens in his dorm at Abbey Mills

U-bender believe it Athletes at London’s Olympic Park are flushing loos with water sent to the capital’s sewers hours earlier by local residents, the Press Association news wire reported. Our Old Ford water recycling plant turns north Londoners’ sewage into water for irrigating greenery and flushing toilets at the home of the greatest sporting spectacle in the solar system. Sitting on the throne has never felt so sustainable. So patriotic.

River pace scuppers raft race Ginormous volumes of July rain meant the River Thames was flowing up to four times faster than normal. The 19 July annual race had to be postponed for safety reasons. BH will now see you on the water on the new date of 13 September.

Business communications manager Melissa Varcoe is not shirking either. On the day she gets married she will be on duty on the out-ofhours press office back-up rota. Ok, it’s a legal ceremony before the ‘real’ wedding in the south of France the following week. But still, high five to ‘Melon’.

Stars of stage and screen As part of our preparation for London 2012, 30 managers in Thames Water’s Olympic ‘event’ team were put through a Paxman-style mediatraining session in central London. Several stars emerged. Dave Theobald demonstrated Churchillian gravitas on camera. And then there was that man Clive Dickens – again. He did all right too. So, God forbid, if we have a problem that affects an Olympic venue during the games, don’t be alarmed if you see one of these two fine examples of British manhood gracing your tellies. www.thameswater.co.uk august 2012 | 9


Thames Tideway Tunnel’s big signings BY NATALIE SLATER

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arliamentarians from across the political spectrum have pledged their support for the proposed Thames Tideway Tunnel. More than 200 Lords, MPs, Parliamentary workers and visiting members of the public attended an exhibition featuring the project, held in the Upper Waiting Hall within the Palace of Westminster at the end of June. Providing an update on progress with all the ‘London Tideway Improvements’, needed to tackle the growing levels of sewage in the River Thames, the exhibition was supported by ‘Thames Tunnel Now’, a coalition of charities and local groups, including two of its newest members, Richmond Environment Trust and

London Youth Rowing. The first to sign a pledge board confirming their support for the Thames Tideway Tunnel were MPs Nick Raynsford (Greenwich and Woolwich) and Zac Goldsmith (Richmond Park), who both also paid tribute to the quality of Thames Water’s ongoing consultation for the project. Signatories of the board later in the week included Water Minister Richard Benyon MP (Newbury), his Labour opposite number, Gavin Shuker MP (Luton South), the Shadow Defra Secretary Mary Creagh MP (Wakefield), and backbenchers Jane Ellison (Battersea), Siobhain McDonagh (Mitcham and Morden) and Dan Rogerson (North Cornwall). The Thames Tideway Tunnel was designated as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) on 23 June.

This means the project can now make just one single application to the government’s Planning Inspectorate for development consent, early next year, rather than 14 separate applications for planning permission – one for each of the London boroughs the proposed tunnel route passes through. The public now have an opportunity to examine finalised plans for the project, with details being made available online, in libraries and in other public buildings along the newly-rechristened Thames Tideway Tunnel’s proposed route. This so-called ‘Section 48 publicity’ will be advertised in local newspapers and other publications for 12 weeks until 5 October 2012. The updated construction designs reflect the consultation feedback received from thousands of Londoners since September 2010. This includes comments from the 28-day ‘targeted consultation’ on potential, relatively small changes at four sites (Barn Elms, Putney, Vauxhall and Victoria Embankment), which ended on 4 July 2. See the updated plans at www.thamestunnelconsultation.co.uk

Innovative thinking improves safety and speed BY HEATHER LEWIS-JONES A specially designed platform provided a safer alternative to traditional scaffolding for contractors working on the upgrade of Crossness sewage works and helped the project finish 12 weeks ahead of schedule. The new platform was used during a revamp of the works’ aeration lanes, where microorganisms break down sewage sludge as part of the treatment process. This task involved refurbishing the channels which take the sewage flows from the aeration lanes to the final settlement tanks, as well as the gate valves that control flow into the lanes. Tim Hockney, complex delivery manager for the Crossness upgrade, said scaffolding would traditionally have been erected inside the lane but this posed a number of safety risks due to a steeply sloping floor. Project contractor Tamesis worked with their supplier A&J Fabtech to create a pre-fabricated 10 | august 2012 www.thameswater.co.uk

The innovative platform at Crossness

platform, which was constructed off-site and dropped into the aeration lane when required. Tim said: “This innovative approach made things far safer for our people and ensured these modifications were completed 12 weeks ahead of plan. It shows that being safe doesn’t have to slow things down or cost more. “The Crossness upgrade is an excellent example of how innovative thinking is changing the way we deliver our capital programme. By challenging how we approach

our work, we’re finding techniques that are not only safer but also save time and money.” The work was part of the £225m scheme to increase the site’s treatment capacity by 44 per cent to help improve water quality in the tidal River Thames. Crossness is one of five sewage works that discharge to the Thames in London. In total £675m is being spent on improving these sites between 2010 and 2015. Innovative thinking has shaped construction practices at Crossness throughout the project. In the construction of the final settlement tanks, the use of pre-cast concrete sections manufactured off-site saved more than £1m by significantly reducing the number of manhours required on site. There were also fewer lorry movements on the surrounding roads, reducing disruption for local people. Over the next year the team will be installing an 80 metre-highwind turbine, the tallest in the UK, to provide 20 per cent of the power needed to run the works.


Jumping through rings for OlympiAid

The balancing buckets at Kempton Park and, left, volatile valve at Kemble Court

Graduates put the “awesome” Thames Water teams through their paces to raise more than £8,000 for WaterAid BY NAOMI BRYANT

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he graduate class of 2012 took inspiration from the London Olympics for their WaterAid fundraiser. A rally call was made across the business for teams of three to dive into the water-related challenges that tested skill, physical and mental agility, and the team’s ability to bring in the gold.

Five tasks, including the volatile valve, panicked pump and balancing buckets, were completed by over 200 staff and contractors across 13 Thames Water sites in front of their cheering colleagues. Teams battled it out to be the fastest to complete the tasks and raise the most money for WaterAid, with Olympic tickets up for grabs to the winners. Graduate Stephen Pattenden said: “The response we got was superb and we all really enjoyed delivering the event at the sites we visited. It was great to meet so many people from across the company who were so keen to take part. “The competition to set the best time, and raise the most money for WaterAid,

OLYMPIAID

Clear winners at medal ceremony

The Clearwater Court café was crammed with raffle prizes as participants eagerly awaited the results of their efforts at June’s OlympiAid awards ceremony. Head of corporate responsibility and sustainability Helen Newman, who praised the graduates for their efforts, was on hand to announce winners and present medals and prizes. Fundraising winners were The Ladies What Don’t Lunch (Hannah Posner, Harriet White and Amy Powell-Tuck), who competed at Kempton but work at Hogsmill and Epsom. They raised just shy of £400 (£394.00) and scooped tickets to the Olympic Games. In second place TEAM OLYMPIAID was the Thames Stephanie Davidovitz Tunnel team, Sarah Hedden raising £331.41 Jasmine Killen and bagging Stephen Pattenden themselves a Alex Saunders trip on a Ben Searle-Barnes skimmer boat. Amy Seng The fastest Richard Smith team to complete all five OlympiAid tasks were When in Drought (Matthew Jackson, Tim Hockney and Batho Mohwasa), who competed at Crossness and also bagged Olympic tickets for their superb time of 127.7 seconds. The runners up were Team TBC, who completed in 155.33 seconds to win a trip on a skimmer boat. All the raffle prize winners were announced followed by the best news of all – the 2012 OlympiAid raised £5,366with an additional £2,820 from the raffle. A sum of £8,186 can provide 553 people in Bangladesh with clean water and sanitation, 10 blocks for school sanitation or 26 clean water pumps. If you would like to know more about OlympiAid email OlympiAid@ thameswater.co.uk.

“THE RESPONSE WAS SUPERB. IT WAS GREAT TO MEET SO MANY PEOPLE FROM ACROSS THE COMPANY WHO WERE SO KEEN TO TAKE PART” was intense but all in a great spirit. The participants were without exception awesome; they made OlympiAid a huge success.” For those not wanting to take part in the challenges there was a raffle offering Sony gifts, trips on skimmer boats and the top prize of a Champagne weekend break for two in France.

Team Full On show they mean business

Helen Newman with all the winners www.thameswater.co.uk august 2012 | 11


LONG SERVICE RIVER CRUISE Martin Baggs gives Olympic tickets to Nigel Emes, left, and Edward Chilver

Ian Mazzone

Heather Davis has 30 years service

River cruise to reward long service and commitment One of the chief executive’s favourite events of the year, the Long Service River Cruise recognised those who have been with Thames Water for 30 or 40 years – and some even longer…

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wo of Thames Water’s longest-serving members of staff were presented with Olympic tickets on last month’s commemorative cruise. Nigel Emes and Edward Chilver have clocked up almost 100 years service between them and were rewarded for their dedication by

chief executive Martin Baggs on the Thames Water Long Service River Cruise on 14 July. They were joined by 118 guests and partners from all corners of the business who between them have incredibly devoted more than 1,800 years service to Britain’s biggest water company. The chief executive said the River

“PEOPLE LIKE YOU SET A GREAT EXAMPLE TO THE REST OF THE BUSINESS AND YOU SHOULD ALL BE PROUD OF THE ROLE YOU PLAY”

Thames was a fitting place to hold such a celebration with guests enjoying a three-hour luxury trip on the Silver Barracuda, which set sail from the London Eye and cruised up to Beckton and back. Martin said on the boat: “The thing that strikes me about Thames Water is the level of dedication shown by our colleagues. Commitment is one of our core values and we rely on your knowledge and experience to deliver for our customers 24 hours a day. “People like you set a great example to the rest of the business and you should all be proud of the role you play. I would like to thank every one of you for the commitment you have shown to Thames.” Bob and Janet Steptoe

12 | august 2012 www.thameswater.co.uk

Robert Madley with his son Kevin


NEWS

Partners roll on the same track

John Liddard and Malcolm Dunk with their wives

Network Rail welcomed the opportunity to work collaboratively with Thames Water to safeguard delivery of a vital project for the capital BY MAHMOUD HEJABIZADEHA

Michael Chipps and Neil Harris with their wives

Rob Nockolds films the cruise

Nick Harris, David Carrick, Chris Hatton, David Goldswain and Anthony Roberts with partners

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eveloper services were called into action to protect Thames Water’s assets ahead of the major redevelopment of London Bridge station. A section of Thames Water’s 87-year-old Hampton 36 inch-wide water main lies beneath the area Network Rail had planned to close for the entire construction period to use as an access point. Starting in 2013 and due to finish in 2018, this project is a key part of the Thameslink programme – a £6bn Government investment in the rail network infrastructure. The section under St Thomas Street was at high risk of bursting if subjected to undue loading, so developer services’ customer-led team asked Network Rail for an impact assessment. Although the results concluded that ground settlement caused by the construction works were within the acceptable limits, the Thames team advised Network Rail about the risk of a burst due to the unpredictable formation of the ground in the area, highlighted by a number of recent events. The team recommended Network Rail work with Thames Water and partially fund the relining of this section of water main running through the compound area, and adjacent to the Shard skyscraper complex and Guy’s Hospital.

Mahmoud Hejabizadeha at the site

This coincided with approval of Thames Water’s capital delivery team’s project to reline a section of the same main opposite Europe’s tallest building. The customer led team recommended that given the high profile location of the works and importance of the trunk main, it would be beneficial to get the work completed in one project, allowing both Network Rail and Thames Water to take advantage of the cost savings and minimise disruption. Network Rail accepted your correspondent’s recommendations and asked Thames Water to undertake the relining works and agreed to share the cost. This is a great example of working together to provide the business with a cost effective solution that supports asset management’s goals. Network Rail added that it recognised Thames Water as a key stakeholder in the redevelopment of London Bridge station – its largest single infrastructure project.

Royal nod for doctor of poo power Kevin Burnett and Jon Sharp with their wives

Petra and John Eckert with Mick McLoughlin

Nick Mills, of Thames Water’s innovation team, has been awarded a prestigious industrial fellowship following the recent completion of his doctorate on energy from waste at the University of Surrey. The 29-year-old “doctor of poo power” has been awarded the Royal Commission of 1851, established to promote innovation in industry. Nick, from Sevenoaks in Kent, said: “I’m very proud to be given this award and I’m encouraged that an organisation like the Royal

Commission has recognised the value of sewage sludge to the UK. “The additional support from the Royal Commission will enable me to use my research to influence policy makers, to better structure incentives to support renewable energy generation in the water industry. “Renewable generation from sewage sludge could be expanded to make significant and affordable contribution to the UK’s generation and carbon reduction targets if supported appropriately.” www.thameswater.co.uk august 2012 | 13


NEWS

Find Piers: our search for seven-year-old poster artist BY STUART WHITE

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hames Water is hoping to trace a drought-conscious seven-yearold who designed a colourful poster urging everyone to ‘Help Save Water’. The boy, called Piers, sent in his fantastic artwork to Britain’s biggest water company but did not include where he lives, what school he goes to or a phone number. The Help Save Water poster lists four of the “small changes you can easily make” to help the region’s water shortage. The artistic youngster is urging everyone to have a shower instead of a bath. He also gives a big green tick to turning off the tap while brushing your teeth and using water butts instead of hosepipes to wash your car and water the garden He also reminds us to only wash a full load when using a washing machine. Piers wrote an accompanying letter, to chief executive Martin Baggs, explaining how the “easy suggestions could make a big difference”. Also showing his creative streak

“SAVE WATER: EASY SUGGESTIONS COULD MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE”

The posters designed by Piers and, above, Ben

is seven-year-old Ben Avery from Goring-on-Thames. He sent two posters to Thames Water asking people to save water, with one showing a gardener using a watering can instead of a hose pipe and the other urging us to “save bath and shower water now”. His proud mother Ginny said: “We were talking about the drought in the 70s over dinner and asked our two boys to consider designing posters for the house to remind us to be sensible when using water. “Ben sat down straight away and produced these two incredible posters. His imagination was fired up that day – it must have really struck his conscience.” Do you know Piers? Email stuart. white@thameswater.co.uk or call the press office on 07747 647846.

Dances with Wiltshire wolves BY CRAIG RANCE On a cold winter more than 2,000 years ago, an Iron Age villager is putting the finishing touches to a ceremonial sword. Attracted by the warmth and possibility of food, wolves from the nearby woodland wander through the settlement’s wooden huts. Startled by humans, they scatter and in the panic one runs through a small piece of slag, the by-product from the smelting procedure, with its paw print forever immortalised in metal. This is one of the theories imagined by archaeologists digging at a work site in Ashton Keynes, located between Swindon and Cirencester. Thames Water’s very own ‘Time Team’ was called in by contractors after learning of the possibility of finding Iron Age homes in a field where 3km of new water pipes are being laid. Children from the nearby primary school were invited to see the dig and find out more about the history of their village. The school, inspired by Thames water’s work nearby, studied London’s ‘Big Stink’ but with 14 | august 2012 www.thameswater.co.uk

The pawprint

From left, Ashton Keynes pupils Oliver Wootley, Georgina Watkins, Ben Cousins, Abbie Ellison with archaeologist Mike Lang-Hall

history on their doorstep, will be able to get a greater understanding of Iron Age Britain. Archaeologist Mike Lang-Hall, who works for contractors Optimise on behalf of Thames Water, said: “We’ve found evidence of a farming settlement from the Iron Age, showing us life here just before the Roman occupation of Britain 2,000 years ago. There are two circular houses with outlying pits and ditches that were often used to store grain. “We’ve also had some really interesting

finds from the Mesolithic period where we’ve uncovered flint tools that are up to 8,000 years old. This is very exciting as it’s the first time anyone has ever found any evidence of Mesolithic man living in this area.” Teacher Katie Thomas said the children were fascinated to hear about the life in the village 8,000 years ago. The finds will be recorded, studied and then shown at the school, including the mysterious paw print.


FIT TO DRINK!

All the Fit to Drink! finalists at Abbey Mills

Tap water superheroes on the run London’s historic Abbey Mills pumping station provided the perfect stage for primary school children promoting the benefits of tap water BY ADAM BUTT

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udges were faced with superheroes, poetry and even a rap in the grand final of Thames Water’s Fit to Drink! schools competition. Eversley Primary School in Enfield was crowned champions with their imaginative ‘Fresh, Friendly and Free’ design depicting the water cycle from rain clouds to rivers to taps. The group presented their idea with a theatrical show starring three superheroes ‘Fresh’, ‘Friendly’ and ‘Free’ all battling the

Winners Eversley Primary School celebrate

“WE WERE REALLY IMPRESSED WITH THE QUALITY OF THE DESIGNS FROM ALL SCHOOLS, AND THE DIVERSITY OF HOW THEY PRESENTED THEM REALLY BLEW US AWAY” baddy, ‘Wonder Waste,’ and converting him from bottled to tap water. Piers Clark, Thames Water’s commercial director and judge for the day, said: “We were really impressed with the quality of the designs from all schools, and the diversity of how they presented them really blew us away.”

Archivist Matt Woods gives his guided tour

Primary schools from boroughs across London were tasked with creating a new strapline and design to feature on a new Thames Water sports bottle. The winning school from each borough had their design printed on bottles to distribute to their school, and were invited to the grand final at Abbey Mills in June. Taking part in the Dragons’ Den-style event were schools from Croydon, Enfield, Haringey, Islington Lambeth and Tower Hamlets, each vying to win a Hydrachill machine for their school, a tour of a water treatment works and to get their winning design printed on official Thames Water refillable sports bottles. Jenni Wiggle, head of community, schools and youth at Global Action Plan, Thames Water’s partner charity for the competition, said: “It was really interesting to see the thought process

behind each idea and they all completely understood the link to using tap water instead of bottled water.” While the judges were deliberating, the children were given a tour of Abbey Mills by archivist Matt Woods and took in the exterior and interior of the building, including the Dr Who-like ‘dalek’ structures of the pump casings. Liza Storm, deputy-head of Tiverton Primary School in Haringey, said: “We’re an eco-school so this project fits really well into our ‘water’ topic. We’re using our same presentation at the school’s ‘war on waste’ awards, where we’ll be able to spread the word to even more people.”

www.thameswater.co.uk august 2012 | 15


NEWS Team were ‘efficient, courteous and helpful’ The chairman of Twyford and District Angling Club has praised a Thames Water emergency response team for solving a potentially “horrendous” incident close to the River Loddon. Ian Crook called angling development co-ordinator Will Barnard to praise the “efficient, courteous and helpful” team after a fisheries manager discovered what appeared to be a leak of raw sewage into a flood ditch that runs into the Loddon just above its confluence with the Thames. Will said: “Not only did they work quickly to solve the problem, they explained the situation, cause and outcomes clearly to the fisheries team and gave them various tips on spotting potential problems going forward. “As chairman of the biggest angling association in the South of England, Reading and District AA, I was delighted to take this call from Twyford and feel these stories don’t get shouted about enough. “I would like to extend my own gratitude and that of Ian Crook to the team. The implications to the river and the club’s sustainability would have been horrendous.”

Safety helmet policy update As a result of feedback from the Executive Roadshow, Thames Water has updated its minimum personal protective equipment policy to include the use of safety helmets on all sites – but only where appropriate. Every operational site should have an assessment completed which clearly designates those areas where safety helmets or bump caps are required to be worn, and those areas where it is safe to go without. The site managers will be able to advise further on these areas at each individual location.

June WaterAid Lottery winners The big winner for June’s WaterAid Lottery was P Large with a first prize of £800. Runners-up prizes of £25 went to Hazel Addington, Ross Betts, Anna Gray, DM Clark, Peter Mott, S Izzard, Alan Lenander, Jonathan Curry, Zeshan Mahmood, JE Barnett, William Brownlee, Dawn Hennessy, Kim Wheeler, Marie Linscott, D Wathen and LR Sharpless. 16 | august 2012 www.thameswater.co.uk

The Thames Water and GBM teams gather on site at Merstham STW

Merstham upgrade gets teams talking The key to success at Merstham was for everyone involved to have a thorough understanding of the whole upgrade project BY HEATHER LEWIS-JONES

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t’s good to talk. That was the message from the teams involved in the upgrade at Merstham sewage works who claim the secret to a successful project is letting everyone have their say. The £7 million complete upgrade to the Surrey works will increase capacity to accommodate the area’s growing population and required capital delivery, operations and asset management teams to work closely with contractor GBM. Ideas as simple as making room for the teams to share an office or bringing suppliers to site for meetings have yielded considerable benefits.

“THE TEAMS SIMPLE BUT EFFECTIVE APPROACH IS REAPING THE BENEFITS” Will Ransford, capital delivery’s senior contracts manager on the project, said: “The key has been to get people talking to each other from the outset and for everyone to have a thorough understanding and clarity of the scope of the project. “By working together we’ve been able to take on challenges and find the best possible outcomes. This has included an absolutely key input from the asset management specialists and operations staff as well as our own capital delivery and GBM team.” One of these challenges came early on in the project when the team identified risks with the original design. Will added: “GBM brought the teams together to exchange ideas and agreed a new design which was better suited to everyone involved – and not just during the upgrade but, most importantly, for the future operation of the site.” Working together the teams came up with an alternative design which would locate the two new primary settlement tanks, an activated

sludge plant and three final settlement tanks to an alternative part of the site. This meant that the existing treatment process would be largely unaffected during the works. As well as the challenges on site, its rural location and proximity to both a school and housing also brought scrutiny from residents concerned about the potential impact of the work on the local area. Will said: “The team kept the community informed from the start, meeting residents faceto-face to explain the nature of the work and address their concerns.” This open approach has proved so successful that the team are now looking at bringing customers and local school children on site to give them a closer look at the works. Scott Wilkins, head of programme delivery for the London process team, added: “Merstham is typical of the challenges we face in capital delivery. Our responsibility to our customers is an important part of our work. By engaging with our external and internal customers throughout our projects we can make sure we’re taking everyone’s interests into account and delivering the work in the best way possible. “The team at Merstham have developed a simple but effective approach which is reaping the benefits.” The upgrade at Merstham is due to finish in early 2013 with construction works expected to be completed by Christmas.


5-20 challenge is back Graduates issue a rally call for intrepid Thames Water teams to dive into October’s 5-20 challenge

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he challenge is simple: carry 20 litres of water five miles. Think you can do it? Why not sign up for the 5-20 challenge on Friday 5 October and raise some money for WaterAid. Teams of between four and six people are required to take part in the event, which launched last year and is organised by Thames Water graduates. Teams can walk or run but will need to take part in extra tasks along the route which starts at Battersea water treatment works. Organiser Jevan Laxen said: “There will also be new and exclusive physical tasks to the scenic route. Winners will be decided by the outcome of the challenges and the time it

takes them to complete the route. “We also need people to back and sponsor their favourite teams between now and September to raise as much money as possible for WaterAid. We aim to beat last year’s total of £25,000.” Funds from the 5-20 challenge will contribute to Thames Water’s target of raising £2 million for WaterAid in four years. The funds will help provide safe water and sanitation to adults, children and families living in some of the poorest parts of Bangladesh. For more information please contact Jevan Laxen (07747 646707) or Jon Biruls (07747 647805)

NEWS

Oxford burst cuts supply to 2,000

A burst main on Old Road in Headington, Oxford, interrupted water supplies to up to 2,000 nearby residents’ homes. Reports came in from customers from 6am on 24 July, one of the hottest days of the year. The company’s response was decisive and efficient: water was re-routed from other parts of the network at 8am and by 10.30am supplies were restored to all affected properties. Local residents, however, were particularly angry as this was the eighth, and worst, burst on Old Road in the past two years. “No decisions have been taken yet on whether to replace the mains under Old Road but it is clearly a discussion that we will be having in the coming days,” a company spokesman told local media. “We are really sorry to the people inconvenienced by the recent burst, and doubly sorry as this is by no means the first such incident on this street.”

Floods in Kilburn A large water main burst on Kilburn High Road on 25 July, causing flooding to the carriageway and traffic jams along the route. Thames Water engineers arrived at the scene, pictured, at 7am and were working to resolve the problem at the time of going to press.

Fitz for purpose

Last year’s 5-20

Business resilience manager Chris Fitzgerald’s new-look ‘event’ management training has been going down a storm, according to recent attendees. “Our focus is now to base our response on what our customers want, rather than focusing solely on the pipes and valves,” said Chris. One of Chris’s recently-trained students added: “This bodes well for Thames Water as it strives to improve its customer service.”

‘Leave my bee orchids alone!’ Phil Renton will do anything to stop the lawnmowers wiping out his beloved bee orchids at Walton water treatment works. But the senior water quality scientist is not putting his body on the line here and is in fact lying in the meadow as part of a guided tour to staff and residents on the latest Wild about Thames event, organised by biodiversity engagement manager Cathy Purse. “The idea is to raise the profile of the orchids to the people living in the area,” said Phil. “I have been on a bit of a one-man campaign to stop the grass cutters wiping them out and allowing them to establish. They are not rare, but equally not common plants and at Walton we have around four to 500 scattered around the site.” He was joined by Andy Tomczynski to

provide expert advice on the flowers, one of the UK’s most distinctively recognisable orchids, at Walton and others flowering at different Thames Water sites. Also on the calendar this summer was wild about the night at Kempton Nature Reserve. More than 30 attendees were helped by moth experts who brought along various traps so employees could see different types up close. Wild about Thames is back in September for a hedgehog-related event – as always, free to employees and guests, with children welcome. Email Cathy Purse to get involved. More nature news on page 22.

Phil Renton www.thameswater.co.uk august 2012 | 17


SCADA/VOLUNTEERING

SCADA upgrade enters year three SCADA – supervisory control and data acquisition – is the name for the computer systems which monitor and control Thames Water’s operational assets. Richard Starkey caught up with KATHRYN MOORE, SCADA senior workstream lead, as it enters year three of the upgrade programme So Kathryn, what does it all mean, what is the point of it all and, most importantly, who will it affect? Our SCADA systems are in urgent need of an upgrade. At the moment, we have a number of different SCADA systems across our estate, no overall regional view, with site visibility often patchy and communications unreliable. Many of them are unsupported, obsolete or way past their use by date. Our existing SCADA systems wouldn’t last much longer if we didn’t do something about it, hence why the business took the decision, in line with Ofwat, to upgrade our systems. So will the new system give us better information? Yes, the new system will give us a new overall picture of how our assets are performing,

whether it is in drought or deluge, a mixture of what we’ve had over the last few months, to ensure they are operating as efficiently as possible. The current systems often receive data from field assets after the event has happened; the new SCADA system will receive data every 15 minutes. This means that rather than waiting until a customer calls us about an event, such as a burst pipe or sewer flooding, we’ll know pretty much straight away, thanks to the new kit.” Sounds like a big programme. It is the largest capital SCADA programme of its kind in the world. Our SCADA programme will, in some way, affect around 45 per cent of our full time employees. If you work in operations or asset management, it’s likely to have some effect on your day job. We are developing the training packages for the roles which will be affected; the majority will be

SCADA hands over first site The first SCADA upgrade site has successfully been completed and handed over: Rapsgate WTW in the Thames Valley. Pumping station optimisation trials The enhanced pumping station controller optimisation trial has progressed well. Covering 23 pumping stations, there have already been significant benefits in dealing with long term maintenance issues and it has also provided greater visibility of pump performance. Tony’s on board Tony Martinez has joined the SCADA team as workstream lead for regional SCADA from water planning and optimisation. Tony will be responsible for ensuring the new regional system is a good fit for the business, and will also work with stakeholders to integrate the new system while maximising business benefits. computer-based to relieve the pressure on the business. It will also give people the flexibility to complete modules when they want to, within a given timescale. For more on the programme, including a monthly update, visit the SCADA intranet pages under asset management, call the team on 89921 (020 3577 9921) or email ask.SCADA@thameswater.co.uk

Volunteers reap fruits and veg of their labour Eight field-based staff from Thames Water received glowing feedback after digging deep for mental health charity Root & Branch. The west region-based team used one of their annual volunteering days to help re-net the fruit cage and dig some areas for vegetables at the charity’s base in Westmill Farm, Watchfield. Root & Branch offers therapeutic gardening and rural crafts for people in Oxfordshire who experience mental health difficulties, and manager Faith Mitchell said: “A huge thank you to all the guys in the Thames Water team who came to help. They arrived early, full of energy and enthusiasm, and worked really hard and fast. “We were very impressed by their problem solving skills, and they had good ideas of their own on how to tackle our tasks, and got great results. “We’ve now got a nicely repaired and renetted fruit cage, a finely dug cultivation area for more veg growing, and some extra smooth path edges too.” The Thames Water team had never volunteered before and all agreed it was rewarding “knowing others will benefit from our efforts”. They added: “It was great giving support to 18 | august 2012 www.thameswater.co.uk

From left, Robert Dick (Basingstoke), Pat O’Regan (Oxford), Chris Lumb (Basingstoke), Steve Darbon (Witney), Bryan Bleeker (Basingstoke), Ara Balanathan (Little Marlow), Richard Hammond (Oxford) and Tony Clark (Banbury)

a worthwhile cause that has limited resources and having the satisfaction that you are making a difference to people’s lives. We really liked the sense of achievement and there was a noticeable difference when we finished. “It was an ideal opportunity to get together as a team and have some fun while helping a worthwhile cause. It’s a more satisfying way

of giving than simply putting your hand in your pocket.” Thames Water community investment coordinator Karen Rudkin, who organised the day through Involve Swindon, said: “I’m really proud and impressed with this team challenge. It all went to plan, with brilliant feedback from the staff, as well as the charity.”


EMPLOYEE RECOGNITION AWARDS The Oxford Street event team enjoy a drink

Natalie Slater discovers she has won

Hugs for the Team Bray girls

Awards nominations now open to all staff New twist to celebrate this month’s launch of the 2013 employee awards BY RORY BROUGHAL

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ll members of staff can now nominate their workmates for an Employee Recognition Award. Nominations had previously been restricted to managers but for 2013 anyone can nominate employees for role modelling our five values: committed, challenging, supportive, reliable and purposeful, our customer experience statement as well as excelling in two other select disciplines. This year’s ceremony

Capital efficiency team struck gold

in June was hailed the best-ever after an inspirational evening at Shehnai in Reading, and next year now looks set to get even bigger. Chief executive Martin Baggs said: “Every year it is growing, every year the stories get out and every year people want to be recognised. Last year we had 300 nominations but it could be 400 this year, and 500 the year after. Every year we have to get a bigger venue which I think is fantastic.” The recognition scheme is a formal way to say thank you to the people who make a real difference to Thames Water and it is now in its fifth year. To make your nomination for the 2013 awards visit the Portal and complete the form with your reasons which will be considered by a panel before the prize ceremony next summer.

Committed winner Colin Pickersgill

Hands up if you like flowers. Piers Clark does

PRIZE CATEGORIES 2013 Supportive (team/individual) Challenging (team/individual) Committed (team/individual) Reliable (team/individual) Purposeful (team/individual) Delivering our Customer Experience Volunteer of the Year Excellence in Health & Safety Behaviour

The Olympic 42” NST team www.thameswater.co.uk august 2012 | 19


NEWS

From left, Steve Mandeville, Graham Osborn, Carl Leadbeater (sampling performance manager), John Sunderland, Matt Cade, Paul Fewtrell, Daryl Johns, Mark Handcock (head of sampling and laboratory), Ryan Marlow (sampling field services manager – clean), Donna Meacham (sampling field services manager – waste)

From left, Ryan Marlow (sampling field services manager – clean), Dean Haines, Ron Ruggins, Wouter Basson, Donna Meacham (sampling field services manager – waste), Carl Leadbeater (sampling performance manager)

Teams unite for sampling solutions conference

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he sampling solutions conference gave teams from across Thames Water a chance to reflect, look ahead and reward staff for their outstanding contribution over the year. Teams from waste west, waste east, east Thames Valley clean, north west Thames Valley clean, west London clean, north east London clean, south east London clean plus representatives from the laboratories, water quality, transformation and change, water efficiency and the Olympics team were at the event at Yellowfoot in Datchet. The purpose of the conference was to review the previous 12 months and plan for the year ahead, as well as announce the Sampling Solutions Recognition

Donna Meacham with Craig Harry

Donna Meacham with Jim Webb

“THE CONFERENCE WAS A FANTASTIC OPPORTUNITY FOR OUR TEAM TO GET TOGETHER TO CELEBRATE OUR SUCCESSES AND RECOGNISE OUR ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE PAST YEAR” Awards winners. Speakers at the two-day event at the end of May included water quality and compliance manager David Reynolds asking ‘why is water quality important?’ project manager Danny Leamon spoke about the Olympics and water efficiency manager David Grantham discussed his specialist field.

Thames Water has issued a big thank you to all Ealing residents following a ground-breaking initiative in the borough. Over the past 15 months, Thames Water has been working in conjunction with Ealing Borough Council to resolve many long standing issues such as leaks and faulty apparatus. In that time numerous leaks have been fixed and over 90 manhole covers have been replaced. According to Keith Wells, Thames Water’s repair and maintenance manager for the area, this extensive work could not have been achieved 20 | august 2012 www.thameswater.co.uk

Sampling performance manager Carl Leadbeater said: “The conference was a fantastic opportunity for our team to get together to celebrate our successes and recognise our achievements of the past year. “It was great to see so many people receiving recognition awards – this is a real indication of the success and dedication of

Thank you Ealing without co-operation of the council. He said: “Ealing has been magnificent throughout this project, particularly the streetworks and permitting teams. To be perfectly honest, we had a very poor track record in the borough and something had to be done. The co-operation of Ealing Council has allowed us to focus our efforts and sort out a whole range of problems in a relatively short period of time.”

AWARD WINNERS: Values: Paul Fewtrell and Matt Cade Personal performance: Steve Mandeville and Craig Harry Quality standards: Darryl Johns and Wouter Basson Health and safety: John Sunderland and Jim Webb Customer service: Rajan Verma and Dean Haines Overall team performance: Ron Ruggins and Graham Osborn our people.” One of the organisers Ant Tyler, technical scheduling and support manager, added: “It was a good opportunity to get the whole team together and discuss the issues affecting ourselves in a very challenging time. It was also important to recognise those individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the team.”

This coordinated initiative is now being held up as an example of best practice for utilities and Thames Water is planning to roll out similar projects across other areas in the region. It’s not all moonlight and roses though with noise and disruption to traffic testing the patience of local residents, something not lost on Keith. He said: “It’s not only the council we need to thank, the residents have been fantastic with us also. We realise our works cause disruption and again we have to say a big thank you to all local people for their patience.”


Sewage works upgrade boosts Watership Down river £2.8m upgrade improves the quality of water immortalised in best-selling children’s fantasy novel BY SIMON EVANS

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n Richard Adams’s 1972 classic, a group of rabbits from Sandleford use the River Enborne to escape from a dog after Blackberry, a very intelligent bunny, realises that wood floats in water and can be used as a boat. Thames Water’s works at Wash Water, also near Newbury, discharges into the River Enborne, which rises near Inkpen in West Berkshire and feeds into the River Kennet, one of the world’s finest chalk streams, at Aldermaston, Berkshire. The £2.8m upgrade of the works, which started last month and is set to finish in March 2013, is part of Care for the Kennet, Thames Water’s campaign to protect the long-term environmental health of the river, backed by the Angling Trust, WWFUK and Marlborough-based Action for the River Kennet (ARK). Care for the Kennet, one of seven river protection schemes led by the water firm, directly supports Defra’s national Love Your River programme, which urges communities across the UK to value and protect their local rivers. Lawrence Gosden, Thames Water’s capital delivery director, said: “The Wash Water sewage works discharges into a

tributary of the world-renowned River Kennet, and although it operates well we are upgrading it so it performs even better. “During dry spells much of the flow in rivers like the Enborne and the Kennet is treated wastewater from our works, so the better its quality the better the health of these rivers. “Until now our Care for the Kennet campaign has focused on urging people to use tap water wisely – ‘the less we use the more there’ll be in the river’, and all that. The upgrade at Wash Water is just as important in achieving our aim of enhancing and safeguarding the long-term environmental health of the iconic River Kennet, its fish and all the bugs, birds and other wildlife that call it home.” Richard Benyon, the Rivers Minister, added: “We all love our rivers. They are the lifeblood of our country. They’ve shaped our landscape, and our towns and cities have been designed around them. They are vitally important for our everyday lives and our environment, and we’ve all got a role to play in making sure our rivers are as healthy as they can be.” New screens will be installed to remove detritus in wastewater after it arrives at the works, along with a new settlement tank, a stage in the treatment process where solids in the effluent sink down naturally before being removed. And a high-tech new treatment stage will also be added, a nitrifying sand filter, in which bacteria that converts ammonia in sewage into nitrate grows, as well as filtering out any solids.

Mayes the water quality improve A three-year project to improve water quality in the Mayes Brook through pollution tracing and misconnection identification was hailed a great success. Executive director of the Thames River Restoration Trust, Robert Oates, praised the work carried out by Thames Water at a ceremony to open Dagenham’s transformed Mayesbrook Park – dubbed the UK’s first urban climate change adaptation park. Brighid Rowan, environmental protection technical lead, said: “The Environment Agency had undertaken a kick sample in the brook and had it available for all the guests to see and it was very encouraging – it even had a stickleback fish in it. “We really have had very good positive feedback from the council, EA and other partners on the work we have undertaken.” Investigations on the Mayes Brook pipe upstream of Mayesbrook Park – affecting around 10,000 properties – started three years ago as a result of identified water quality issues flagged

by the Environment Agency. The majority of work is now complete across the sub-catchments with only a small amount of property surveys still to be undertaken. Misconnections have been located at over 400 properties, equating to over 850 appliances which have been directly discharging into the Mayes Brook. The most common type of misconnection is that of a washing machine with 251 being identified as misconnected to the surface water system.

NEWS

Spyball helps GBM go safely under cover BY HEATHER LEWIS-JONES An innovative monitoring device known as ‘Spyball’ is boosting safety in capital delivery projects by reducing the need for workers to access confined spaces. This extremely versatile piece of kit consists of a pole-mounted underwater video camera which can be inserted into confined spaces and operated remotely using a console and joystick. The camera’s 360 degree rotating capability, LED illumination and powerful zoom means that assets which might otherwise be difficult to access can now be inspected from a safe distance with little operational disruption. Spyball was recently called into action when contractor GBM had to carry out difficult inspections on assets at Kempton Park water treatment works. Grant Gillingham, GBM’s mechanical engineer on the project, explained: “There was a chlorine dosing anomaly and a report we commissioned suggested it was probably down to damaged pipes in a well. “The problem was that the whole plant flows through the well and we could not close it down. In addition, the well was completely roofed over with minimal access. There was no way we could access it ourselves without partially removing the roof, shutting down the plant and working in a confined space.” But using Spyball meant the team were able to carry out a thorough examination of the well with minimal disruption and risk. The integrated video recorder also made it possible to share the inspection with the site manager afterwards. Spyball helped the team establish that although there was some damage to the pipes, this was not as much as the original survey suggested and they were able to rule this theory out without any invasive actions on site. Spyball is just one of the innovative ideas shared on the Capital Delivery Innovation Hub. To see more or add your own visit the hub or contact richard.smith@thameswater.co.uk. www.thameswater.co.uk august 2012 | 21


NATURE

Reed bed turns sewage works green A bed of reeds is being fitted at a sewage works in rural West Berkshire as part of a project to make it more environmentally friendly. The reed bed will give an additional polish to the treated effluent leaving the Thames Water plant serving 240 people in the village of Wickham, near Newbury. This is part of a £888,000, low-tech upgrade that will also see a septic tank and percolating filter installed to enhance the site’s treatment quality. Richard Lewis, the Thames Water project manager overseeing the upgrade, said: “The aim of this scheme is to improve the natural environment that Wickham sewage works discharges to by fitting a sustainable treatment system that uses natural processes to clean people’s wastewater.” Wickham sewage works discharges its treated effluent to the River Lambourn, a tributary of the River Kennet. Work started on the upgrade in June and is set to be complete by February 2013. This project is part of a £4.9bn programme of work being carried out by Thames Water between 2010 and 2015 to improve and maintain its pipes, sewers and other facilities across London and the Thames Valley.

charity fish Thames Water and Walthamstow Flyfisher’s Club have joined forces to host a charity angling competition to raise money for WaterAid. The amount raised at the event on Saturday 18 August will be matched by Thames Water to benefit the charity which aims to transform lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation in the world’s poorest communities. The competition, which costs £43 (£20 to Walthamstow members) to enter, will be run to a four-fish limit and positions will be decided on weight, with no time bonuses. Fish weighing over 8lbs have been landed at the reservoir this year, and the club’s Wednesday evening competition is regularly producing fish over 4lbs. Prizes include a Farmoor season ticket plus boat day tickets for two at Farmoor. The match will run from 10am to 6pm with a one hour break for a BBQ lunch. Walk-off positions will be drawn before the start of both morning and afternoon sessions. For more information and to enter visit www.walthamstowffc.org.uk or call 020 8808 1527. 22 | august 2012 www.thameswater.co.uk

Wildlife Minister backs recreational haven New angling facility hoping to get youngsters hooked on fishing BY NATALIE SLATER

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hames Water welcomed Wildlife Minister Richard Benyon to Walthamstow reservoirs to show off the brand new facilities for anglers. The centre is going to be used by local schools and social services as well as charitable trusts, including Get Hooked on Fishing. Angling development co-ordinator William Barnard said at last month’s opening: “We were delighted to welcome Mr Benyon to see our new angling facility which is going to be open to youngsters in the area who would like to try their hand at fishing. “The aim is to give access to disadvantaged children while also offering a great facility to keep all youngsters entertained during the summer holidays.”

RICHARD BENYON: “AN INSPIRATIONAL PROJECT THAT DESERVES THE HIGHEST PRAISE” The Walthamstow reservoirs store water prior to treatment and is one of the biggest water treatment plants in London, serving 1.5 million customers with drinking water. But it is also an area of natural beauty hidden away in the urban sprawl of the city. More than 300,000 people live within two miles of the site, minutes walk from Tottenham Hale and Blackhorse Lane stations, enabling access by public transport from across north east London. Richard Benyon said: “I know how angling can change lives for the better and how it can be a wonderful way of connecting people with nature. Thames Water is providing the means Richard Benyon cuts the ribbon, watched by Thames Water’s Will Barnard, Helen Newman and Richard Aylard

for people to get into fishing and thereby opening this extraordinary environment up to the many who live around it. An inspirational project that deserves the highest praise.” Mark Lloyd, chief executive of the Angling Trust, added: “There is no doubt that Thames Water is creating a first rate community facility for youngsters and other newcomers to the sport of angling. It’s great to see a major water company opening the doors of its assets and welcoming the public in rather than locking the public out. “The Angling Trust are proud to be partners in the Thames Water Angling Academy which looks set to be a roaring success.” Martin Esom, chief executive of Waltham Forest Council, added: “We fully support the development of Thames Water’s Angling Academy. We are already working closely together on the Walthamstow Wetlands project, and the Angling Academy is another example of the fabulous opportunities that the area offers. This kind of investment will really benefit the local community and, in particular, our young people.” The Minister for the Environment was also shown the ‘Walthamstow Wetlands’ proposals. These proposals include an education and exhibition facility in a renovated pumping station, a café overlooking the reservoirs, improved habitats and biodiversity, nature trails and a three kilometre cycle route through the site. Walthamstow Wetlands won the 2012 London Planning Awards Best Conceptual Project and has been successful in gaining first phase funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Thames Water has committed £1.5m towards the total cost of £6m.


G-rowing support for new Thames Tunnel The go-faster sock stripes and open shirt collar gave Martin Baggs the edge in a full-throttled rowing race with Jim Otta. Thames Water’s chief executive joined the Thames Tunnel supremo to present medals to the winning teams at the London Youth Games Regatta. Thames Tideway Tunnel and London Youth Rowing had an exhibition stand at the event, sponsored by Thames Water, in order to showcase an indoor rowing community investment scheme and promote the major new sewer. The event, held at the London Regatta Centre in Newham in June, saw over 900 competitors from 30 London boroughs take part in kayaking, sailing and rowing races. Scores of young participants, their friends and families and many VIPs visited the stand to race each other and learn more about the project, designed to tackle the problem of overflows from the capital’s Victorian sewers and protect the Thames from increasing pollution.

Fishing, but with no fish and water Proud angler Steve Brookman is taking his rod and reel to Greece next month to represent England but is not expecting to land a single fish. In fact, he won’t even get a bite. That’s because the Riverside sewage treatment works technician is representing his country in the 2012 International World Casting Championships. “There will be no fish or water in sight,” said the 29-year-old, who has worked for Thames Water for four years and admits his sport “is a bit different”. Tournament casting is like javelin but with a fishing rod. Competitors stand in a field and cast a lead weight of a specific size with a line of a specific diameter with a rod and reel down a court 300 metres in length. The prizes are dished out to those who can metaphorically ‘sling their hook’ the furthest. “I wanted to improve my casting for fishing purposes,” said Steve, who goes to the gym four times a week to build his strength and weighs in at over 16 stones. “This is my third year of casting and I have put a lot of work in and achieved a lot, from novice level and now up to England. It is a real honour to represent your country and I’m looking forwards to competing in Greece, but it does mean I don’t get to go fishing as much these days.” Riverside site manager Leigh Hughes added: “It is great to have a team member to be picked to represent his country. We are all really pleased for him and hope he slings further than the rest.” The competition runs from 1-9 September in Amynteo, northern Greece.

Capital delivery ‘Tough Guy’ raises £5,000 for charity CHRIS PEARCE is looking forward to a well-earned rest after being frozen, burnt, bruised and electrocuted BY HEATHER LEWIS-JONES

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fter 10 months and 14 gruelling physical challenges, Chris Pearce has called time on his fundraising mission with over £5,000 in the bank. The capital delivery quantity surveyor had set-out with the goal of raising £3,000 for Cleft Lip and Palate Association (CLAPA) and Born Too Soon having been inspired by the support his family received for daughter Poppy, who was born with a cleft palate last year. Keen to take on a genuine challenge, Chris signed up for 14 extreme events that included a rather fresh swim through a freezing lake, crawling through ice and jumping over fire. Looking back over his ordeal, he said the worst event “by far” was taking part in Tough Guy in January. “People were being sent away in ambulances,” he said. “After being frozen, burnt, bruised and electrocuted, I can’t put into words how it felt when I crossed the finish line and knew that it was finally over.” However, it was the 72-hour 117-mile Jurassic Coast walk which proved one challenge too far. Chris said: “The walk from Exmouth to Poole turned out to be the most difficult. After everything I’d been through I never thought just walking would be that hard! “But the massive downhills on the first day alone were like doing Ben Nevis’ descent three times

over, and combining that with carrying our 12kg packs on our backs, destroyed my knees. “By the second day, I couldn’t go on. My feet were ripped to pieces, my knees had gone and every muscle in my body was broken. I simply couldn’t continue. Devastated and disappointed didn’t come anywhere near how I felt.” But it wasn’t all pain and torture, there were some good moments too. “My biggest personal achievement was finishing the London Marathon because I didn’t really believe that I could do it, and especially not in four hours and seven minutes. It’s something I’ll always remember.” The final event on June 17 took Chris on a 56mile bike ride from London to Brighton. “The highlight for me was coming in to Brighton Pier on Father’s Day knowing that I’d reached the final straight and done what I’d set out to do. Everyone has been so amazing offering support and donations. I couldn’t have done it without them. It’s been truly out of this world.” Chris’s Virgin Money Giving page is still available for colleagues who would like to make a donation at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/ WistysWinners.

Chris Pearce goes for ‘gold’ www.thameswater.co.uk august 2012 | 23


isn’t just for droughts

Campaigns communications manager BECKY JOHNSON looks back at the drought and the challenges of encouraging our customers to think more water wisely – even when it is raining Back in February, 44 per cent of our customers thought the possibility of a drought in the next three months was very or quite unlikely. Only 26 per cent recognised there had been a lot less rain. We had a significant communications challenge on our hands to protect our reputation and educate our customers. We needed a high impact campaign that would build and retain momentum throughout the year to ensure our customers understood the circumstances leading to the water shortage and knew how they could help. This included running a large advertising campaign across 1,500 billboards and posters at 100 train stations, 80 tube stations and 1,100 bus stops and roadsides. We also placed numerous adverts and advertorials across 74 newspapers, appeared across 891 buses, 2,000 tube car panels, and 12 stations played our radio ads 2,265 times.

The result

Two in three of our customers (65%) said they had seen our advertising, compared to the national average of 54 per cent. Plus a massive 72 per cent of customers surveyed

said they had a good understanding of why there was still a serious water shortage, even though it has rained so much. Half our customers said they were using less water as a result of the campaign, and the majority of those who weren’t said it was because they already use as little water as possible.

Olympic-themed adverts

Just because the hosepipe ban has been lifted, it has not ‘dampened’ our eagerness to spread the water efficiency message. If we’re serious about changing attitudes towards water and behaviour in the long-term, now is the time to build on our drought campaign and reinforce the importance of saving water and how easy it actually is to do so. For four weeks over the Games, our new Olympic-themed water-saving advertising campaign will appear across London Underground and train stations, tube cars and Heathrow Airport. The adverts are simple, fun and promote our free watersaving gadgets. We hope they will also reinforce the fact that saving water isn’t just for droughts!

Designed by: Octagon Design and Marketing Ltd, Britannic Chambers, 8a Carlton Road, Worksop, Notts S80 1PH. Tel: 01909 478822

Saving water

Source August 2012  

Source August 2012