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Water and wastewater monitoring

Water & Wastewater Monitoring & Analysis | Improving Customer Experience | Wastewater Treatment & Technology Utility Security & Incident Management | Sustainable Urban Drainage | Sludge Management


Looking backwards to step forward Welcome to our latest issue of the Water Industry Journal, in which we take a look at the steps being taken to meet the challenges we face. Find out how the industry is learning from the past to inform environmental best practice today and help deliver more robust water supplies.

Editor Ellen Rossiter

In an industry in which competition is opening up, it’s all the more important to get customer service right.

As I am typing this, the sky’s clouded over, I’m overlooking a grey city skyline and a drenched street. It feels as though it’s been raining constantly for a few days now and thoughts of flooding aren’t far from my mind.

So in this issue, we examine what can be done to improve the customer experience. Read our interview with Guy Letts to find out how harnessing customer feedback can drive business success.

So in this issue, we take a look at what’s being done to support sustainable urban drainage.

Discover how simplifying your processes and making it easy for customers to give feedback is the key to targeting investment where it’s needed most - benefitting you and benefitting your customers too.

Northumbrian Water’s ‘Rainwise’ Initiative, aims to deal effectively with heavy rainfall whilst meeting contemporary and future needs. We hear about the proactive and reactive steps being taken – and which we can take – to slow down the run of rainwater into our sewer system and help reduce the flood risk. Each water butt and planter makes a difference in combatting urban creep, and if ever I needed an excuse to spend more time in my garden – well, now I have it. Safeguarding our ecosystems is a priority, so read on to find out how South West Water is testing plant-based alternatives to metal ion coagulants at wastewater sites. Learn how seeds of the Moringa oleifera tree have been used as a coagulant throughout history and find out which tree is playing a part in the process today.

The water industry is going through a time of immense change – already 1.2 million businesses, charities and public sector organisations are no longer restricted to their regional water supplier.

Whilst over at Wessex Water, Sue Lindsay, talks about the company’s commitment to delivering the best customer experience and explains how they are providing an inclusive and accessible service. Few issues of the Water Industry Journal go by without a mention of ‘sludge’ – it’s one of our favourite topics and in this edition, David Helicon of South West Water explains the solution he’s developed for de-watering activated sludge. Elsewhere, United Utilities provides us with an overview of a step-changing wastewater treatment technology which they are installing at four treatment plants in the North West of England.

Wessex Water provides us with the inside track on their £228m water supply grid project – the largest scheme they’ve ever undertaken encompassing 50 individual projects delivered over eight years.

Delivering more resilient, secure water supplies is a priority for the industry, so read about the transformation underway at Southern Water. Meet the two new recruits who are galvanising operational and cultural change at the water company.

Providing sustainable, resilient water supplies, the grid is an adaptable system with the ability to move surplus water where it is most needed.

The water industry is not short of challenges, turn the pages to find out about the progress being made to address our most pressing concerns.



12 14

39 Every Customer for all Matters Anserviceinclusive


8 11


46 4


Contents 62





20-37 Water & Wastewater Monitoring & Analysis 40-45 Improving Customer Experience 46-53 Wastewater Treatment & Technology 54-60 Utility Security & Incident Management


62-68 Sustainable Urban Drainage 70-73 Sludge Management

52 66



Ellen Rossiter


Distinctive Publishing, 3rd Floor, Tru Knit House, 9-11 Carliol Square, Newcastle, NE1 6UF


David Lancaster Business Development Manager Tel: 0191 580 5476


Distinctive Publishing or Water Industry Journal cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies that may occur, individual products or services advertised or late entries. No part of this publication may be reproduced or scanned without prior written permission of the publishers and Water Industry Journal.



Can American smart bugs help Thames Water tackle population growth? Smart bugs grown in America could help Thames Water tackle population growth by allowing it to treat more wastewater at its existing works. Billions of the non-genetically modified microorganisms have crossed the Atlantic with a super-sized appetite for ammonia, eating the toxic pollutant as it passes through the sewage treatment process as part of an innovative trial in Sherfield-on-Loddon, Hampshire. If successful, the new method of removing the noxious compound from the waste water process could be rolled-out wider across the Thames Valley and London, where population growth is twice the average for the rest of the country. As part of its future business plan, Thames Water has dedicated an additional £1.1 billion for activities to protect and enhance the environment, including an 18 per cent reduction in pollutions and a commitment to generate enough renewable energy to power 115,000 homes. Eve Germain-Cripps, wastewater research, development and innovation manager, said: “We need to innovate and invest ahead of time to ensure we have capacity for more people in the future. These hungry smart bugs feed on ammonia and are speeding up an essential process for us. They were literally made to do this job. “We’re always looking for new ways to be more efficient and resilient in the way we


JUNE 2018


Traditional use of bacteria to remove ammonia from the wastewater treatment process is less effective in colder months. The highlyconcentrated US-smart bugs, grown by Microvi Biotech, are expected to be more resilient and not drop the pace, potentially consuming double the amount as the current treatment. The trial started in June and results so far have been positive, meaning the company could



care for the precious environment in which we operate, while managing the impacts of climate change and population growth, and I’m excited to find out if the bugs still have the same appetite when the temperature drops over the winter.”





JUNE 2018

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soon be able to treat more wastewater within its existing infrastructure. Housed in a capsule made advanced polymers, they currently eat the ammonia as it flows through a research and development miniature plant in Sherfield-on-Loddon. In total, Thames Water safely removes 4.4 billion litres of wastewater from 15 million people – every day, 365 days a year. As part of its draft £11.7 billion business plan for 2020-25, the company proposes to invest record amounts on improving resilience, service and efficiency, as well as providing more support for customers in vulnerable circumstances.

If you would like to participate in the March edition of Water Industry Journal we shall be featuring: n Leak Detection & Repair

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Northumbrian Water promises to invest billions into region’s economy as part of ambitious plan Northumbrian Water is set to invest billions of pounds into the regional economy as part of its proposed new business plan.

Northumbrian Water Group Commercial Director Graham Southall said: “This is a really vital part of our plan because it’s all about working with, and supporting, our local communities and our local people.

More than £3 billion will be spent by the company providing water and wastewater services in the coming years, with a substantial proportion of the investment to be to be spent in the local areas that the company serves.

as a company with a strong track record as a responsible business they feel it is important that they demonstrate leadership and make a wider contribution to life within the region. As well the big financial investment the company is making they have also promised to offer tailored help and support for local suppliers on how to contract with the business.

Northumbrian Water own assets worth many billions of pounds, employ more than 3,000 people, and have a network of more than 2,000 supply chain partners, many of whom are based in the north east.

They are also continuing their commitment to donate at least 1% of pre-tax profits to charitable causes in the regions where they operate and also supporting at least half of the company’s employees to volunteer their time through the ‘Just an hour scheme’ donating time and expertise to support local communities.

The huge announcement comes as part of the water company’s 2020 – 2025 business plan submission that industry regulator OFWAT is currently busy assessing. A big part of this plan is around helping to build a stronger economy in the north east and

“We’re a big company and we know that our activities have a ‘ripple effect’, going far beyond our direct investment through trade with local suppliers to benefit our regional economies. “Through supporting our customers and our communities and helping facilitate their success, we can strengthen our relationships with them, which in turn supports their participation in shaping our activities. “Our goal is to become the most socially responsible water company in the industry and to continue to support our region to grow and thrive.” To find out more about ‘Our Plan’ visit and follow us on social media @Northumbrianh2O / @northumbrianwater #NWOurPlan

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£7 million investment in Ballycastle Wastewater Treatment Works complete! A new state-of-the-art £7 million Wastewater Treatment Works at Ballycastle has been officially opened. The project involved the construction of a new treatment works on the existing expanded site, which will now meet the needs of the growing local population and economy. Ballycastle is growing in terms of its population, tourism industry and infrastructure and the new plant is essential to accommodate this development, as well as improving the local river water quality and bathing water standards. Sara Venning CEO NI Water said: “NI Water is delighted to announce the completion of the new £7 million Wastewater Treatment Works here at Ballycastle. This new Works provides a major piece in the infrastructural jigsaw that is so essential to allow our communities to develop, grow and thrive. “Every aspect of life in Northern Ireland relies on the water and wastewater services we provide, and this plant is an excellent example of what can be achieved with adequate funding in place. This is a state of the art plant, which will serve the local community for many years to come. “We in NI Water are immensely proud of what we have achieved here, but are equally


frustrated that ongoing financial restraints are preventing us from providing the same levels of infrastructure in many other areas throughout the province. “Tourism is of course one of the main elements of the local economy here – from the world famous Auld Lammas Fair right up to modern times with the internationally renowned Game of Thrones series. Although we have tried to ensure this new works is as unobtrusive as possible, we should not underestimate its importance to the continued prosperity of this beautiful part of Northern Ireland. “Continued investment in the water and wastewater services throughout Northern Ireland is essential to improve the infrastructure and to help us to ensure the protection of public health and the environment; support the growing economy and enable us to meet increasingly challenging European standards.” Recognising the importance and sensitivity of the area, the construction team successfully overcame many obstacles along the way, as

the new coastal Wastewater Treatment Works was built on an extremely confined site, and careful consideration needed to be made to the sensitive ecology of the surrounding environment when planning the works. The new plant, which includes additional stormwater storage to help protect water quality will treat wastewater to the required standards until 2035. Welcoming the project’s completion, the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens - Councillor Brenda Chivers added: “The council are delighted that this plant has been completed, and this will bring benefits to the local area such as improving local bathing water quality and accommodating future development in the area. This significant investment will undoubtedly help us to boost tourism and accommodate the growing number of visitors to the area.” “Overall, the completion of the scheme will bring significant benefits to the growing local economy in this busy tourist town, as well as key environmental improvements.”



Innovate Tees Valley helps company find new markets A company which offers innovative and environmentally-friendly water treatment solutions is being helped to find new markets thanks to the support of Teesside University. Billingham-based Biochemica Water received support from the Innovate Tees Valley programme when it wanted to update the way in which it marketed itself online and digitally. Through the programme, Teesside University marketing graduate Kane Elgey was brought into the company on a Knowledge Exchange Internship (KEI). Kane’s salary was part-funded by Innovate Tees Valley and he also received advice and support from professionals at marketing and PR company Scarab4 based in Prestwick Park, Newcastle upon Tyne. Biochemica Water provides innovative wastewater treatment products and technical services to clients across the UK. It offers bespoke and comprehensive solutions to tackle all manner of water-related challenges to multiple industries. John Fraser, managing director, said:

“Before Kane joined us, we didn’t really have a joined-up strategy in relation to our marketing. “We had a little bit of social media and we took part in some events, but it wasn’t really linked to what we’re doing in terms of sales. “One of the things that Kane has been able to do is establish a link between our marketing and social media and our sales. “As an organisation, we’ve got quite a high profile within our industry, particularly regionally. However, since he came in we’ve seen significant improvement in our recognition further afield.” Katherine Rowell, an account director at Scarab4, who supervised Kane throughout the KEI, added: “It has been great to work with a company that recognises the value in upskilling its recently graduated employees with on the job training and the KEI programme is an excellent platform allowing businesses to do this. “We have provided SEO and PPC training to Kane that will significantly help the company in terms of increasing its search engine rankings.

“We have also worked closely with Kane to understand Biochemica’s customers, their needs and motivations and how to most effectively appeal to diverse target markets. This has resulted in Biochemica having a much tighter marketing strategy moving forward that will generate significant results.” Innovate Tees Valley is a Teesside Universityled programme which helps SMEs do new things in their business and create and improve services, products and processes. It is formed from a partnership of Teesside University, DigitalCity, Nepic and MPI with funding from the European Regional Development Fund. Innovate Tees Valley project manager Suhail Aslam said: “Accessing new markets is a key way in which SMEs can innovate. “Biochemica Water offers extremely innovative water-related services to industries so we are delighted that Innovate Tees Valley able to help them widen their appeal and access new markets.” For more information on Innovate Tees Valley visit

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SDS develops groundbreaking SuDS material to tackle highway metals pollution A groundbreaking new sustainable drainage material is offering a simple and versatile solution to removing toxic heavy metals pollution from highways. Developed by the leading water infrastructure systems provider SDS Limited, SDS AquaXchangeTM is a flexible and highly-efficient granular material that captures copper and zinc in surface water runoff from motorways, trunk roads and other high-traffic areas. SDS Aqua-XchangeTM is an engineered treatment media that can be used in regulatory-compliant Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS). It has been proven in independent testing to achieve 99% removal of dissolved copper and zinc, toxic metals identified by Highways England as ‘priority pollutants’ and subject to strict regulatory controls. Delivered to site in lightweight, one cubic metre bags, SDS Aqua-XchangeTM is now available for consulting engineers and infrastructure contractors to deploy as stormwater treatment in highways drainage, as well as on other higher risk locations such as retail car parks, freight and logistics hubs. SDS worked with scientists at the University of Chester to perfect SDS Aqua-XchangeTM. A unique combination of naturally-occurring materials, it uses the processes of adsorption and ionic exchange to form unbreakable bonds with the heavy metals, including copper and zinc, capturing and retaining them even in heavy storms. “We are excited to have created an affordable and truly versatile new SuDS material that can be used in both existing and new drainage schemes and requires minimal maintenance,” said SDS Market Development Manager Jo Bradley, who led the development project. “When a risk assessment, conducted according to Highways England’s Design Manual for Roads & Bridges, identifies unacceptably high levels of soluble copper and zinc, then action must be taken to treat the pollution. In a

“We are excited to have created an affordable and truly versatile new SuDS material that can be used in both existing and new drainage schemes and requires minimal maintenance.” 10

situation like this, SDS Aqua-XchangeTM comes into its own, because it gives designers unprecedented flexibility to add the material to a range of SuDS components and boost their treatment performance. “Because of its granular composition, SDS Aqua-XchangeTM has a large active surface area, enabling high-performance pollutant removal in a small space. As a result, it can be used to deliver pre-treatment as part of a vegetative SuDS scheme, enabling smaller SuDS ponds or wetlands to be designed where otherwise there would have been no room for them.” In a typical application, a layer of SDS AquaXchangeTM can be added as an additional component to a linear filter drain. Installed at a shallow depth, contractors avoid costly excavation or use of heavy cranes. SDS Aqua-XchangeTM can also be combined effectively with other proprietary SuDS devices. As it can filter out finer silts and sediments, it can be deployed downstream of a hydrodynamic vortex separator such as SDS Aqua-SwirlTM that targets larger particles. It can also be combined with geocellular storage, such as SDS GEOlight®, when additional attenuation is needed as part of the roadside treatment system. Compliant with guidelines in CIRIA C753 The SuDS Manual, SDS Aqua-XchangeTM can be included as a component in vegetative SuDS devices such as dry swales, raingardens or bio-remediation zones, so that robust retention of copper and zinc is completely assured while

plants can continue to thrive as part of the landscaped design. Jo Bradley continues: “Toxic metals carried in surface water runoff from roads and other heavy-traffic locations threaten the health of our rivers and streams through persistent and bio-accumulative pollution. Incapable of being broken down biologically, they become attached to silts and sediments and dissolve in the runoff washed off hard surfaces during heavy rain. “This pollution is the result of tyre erosion, dust from brake and clutch pads, fuel and lubricants from engine wear and exhaust emissions. The pollutants attach to silts and sediments in surface water when it rains, and some are dissolved in the water. As a result, persistent, toxic and bio-accumulative pollutants are carried into rivers, streams and groundwater. Copper and zinc are directly toxic, so can affect aquatic species as soon as they enter the watercourse. “Not only has SDS Aqua-XchangeTM been proven to remove and capture 99% of the copper and zinc, but also to retain these metals even when applications of road salt were simulated. Aqua-XchangeTM was tested to reflect a range of rainfall conditions under the observation of an independent representative from a UKASaccredited laboratory in accordance with the British Water protocol. For more information about SDS AquaXchangeTM contact Joanna.Bradley@ or visit



Anglian Water’s Great Dunmow Project wins carbon reduction award

Anglian Water’s Water Recycling Centre (WRC) at Great Dunmow was installed 20 years ago and at the time of development the plant was well equipped to deal with the flow from the neighbourhoods it served at that time. Since then significant growth in the area has put extra pressure on the site to treat the increased the volume of waste. This challenge provided the opportunity for Anglian Water, and its supply chain partner, the @one Alliance, to consider a better, more efficient way of increasing treatment capacity at the plant. Project Delivery Manager Richard Screaton: “It’s our first WRC which uses this new activated granular sludge technology which is exciting enough, to then be awarded ‘Best Use of Technology for Carbon Reduction’ at New Civil Engineer’s Tech Fest last month is the icing on the cake!” “We considered various options for Great Dunmow and in the end we opted for a non-chemical process called Nereda, partnering with engineering specialists EPS Water and Royal HaskoningDHV to design, build and install the new system. As well as being a chemical free process, important for both on site safety and the environment, the Nereda process also occupies a smaller physical footprint and uses less energy and so it has much smaller carbon usage- in the Great Dunmow Project reducing the carbon footprint by a significant 25%. The award from New Civil Engineer recognises the reduction of whole life carbon in the design, delivery, operation and maintenance of Infrastructure assets. The speed and actual construction method, along with the rigorous PAS2080 Carbon reduction method that Anglian Water applies were also cited as reasons behind the award.

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The previous system involved waste passing through primary and final settlement tanks and the use of Kaldnes biological filters where the air and bacteria removes the ammonia from the waste before it reaches the reed beds. Nereda treats both the ammonia and phosphorous in the water. The waste is treated in batches, rather than continuously, giving more time for the bacteria to do its work so that no chemicals are needed. Richard comments: “We’re really pleased to have received this award particular in the carbon reduction category as it recognises Anglian Water’s commitment to improving sustainability throughout our operations.”



Richard Waggitt at Lancaster floating solar farm

Floating solar farm gets under way at Lancaster A Lancaster reservoir will soon be sporting an unusual new feature. United Utilities is building a floating solar farm on the surface of Langthwaite Reservoir, off Little Fell Lane. Once complete, it will generate enough electricity to meet all the power needs of neighbouring Lancaster water treatment works which produces water for 152,000 people across Lancaster, Morecambe and Heysham. In a part of the UK renowned for its rainfall it might seem bizarre to turn to the power of the sun, but the company says it’s a match made in heaven, and it will help reduce water bills for customers. Richard Waggitt, Head of Renewable Energy at United Utilities, explained: “In this case water and electricity really do mix. Solar panels are more efficient than they used to be; there is a misconception that you need high levels of sunlight, when in fact daylight is sufficient. “What you do need is unshaded space for the arrays, and that’s where the surface area of our reservoirs is a real advantage.” The new floating array at Lancaster will be around 7,200 square metres in size with some 3,520 solar panels. The installation will cover an area the size of a football pitch and will provide 1MW of power – the equivalent of the needs of 200 homes.


United Utilities started the eight week installation process at the beginning of October. The project is being delivered for United Utilities by Forrest and local suppliers will play a key role in the construction, including Carnforth firm Northern Pontoons.

solar panels are less visually intrusive than people expect. They don’t reflect dazzling sunlight because they absorb light as part of the conversion to electricity. We do our best to ensure that, within reason, they blend in with the environment.”

Barry Tayburn, head of energy, at Forrest said: “Installing this floating PV scheme for our long-term partner United Utilities is a great showcase of innovation. We have commissioned a brand new float system for Lancaster, working with local businesses Northern Pontoons and Aqua-Dock, producing the floats off-site. Once transported to the reservoir, tables of 20 panels are floated out via a launch platform and then connected to anchors in-situ. This system really is a viable option for producers of large amounts of energy as a serious alternative to groundmounted arrays.”

It’s also thought that floating solar panels can help reduce the growth of algae in the water by blocking out the light. Less algae means the treatment process can run with fewer chemicals and less energy, a win-win situation.

This will be United Utilities’ second floating solar installation. The company installed Europe’s first commercial floating solar array at its Godley reservoir near Manchester in February 2016. That array is three times the size of the one proposed at Lancaster and can generate 3GWh of electricity per year.

Floating solar is one part of United Utilities’ strategy to embrace renewable energy. The company already has over 40 land-based renewable systems across the North West region. The majority are solar arrays on roofs and open ground at its treatment sites across the North West, with a capacity of 45MW of power a year. It plans to install another 22 solar sites over the next two years.

A floating solar installation consists of “rafts” of floats with the solar panels mounted on top. The rafts are bolted together and anchored, to allow for fluctuations in water level, using specially designed mooring and anchoring systems. Richard added that the company had learnt a lot from the installation at Godley: “The

The new floating array at Lancaster provides an exciting opportunity for scientists to study the effect of this kind of installation can have on water quality, and a research team from the University of Lancaster will be doing just that. United Utilities aims to use all the solar power it generates in-house rather than export it to the National Grid.

While solar is the biggest renewable growth area for United Utilities, wind turbines and combined heat and power from wastewater sludge digestion form the main additional elements of the company’s renewable energy strategy.


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Wessex Water’s new water supply grid The water supply grid is the largest scheme ever undertaken by Wessex Water. The supply grid provides important new infrastructure for the South West region with resilience connections to Bournemouth Water, Bristol Water and South West Water via Wimbleball reservoir. It is effectively a South West area regional grid.. It has improved interconnectivity within the water supply system. It enables water to be moved from areas of surplus to areas of need and hence and provide our customers with a secure supply of water. The eight year £228m programme of works, spanned two AMP periods between 2010 – 2018 and comprised more than 50 individual projects. It has also benefitted the South West region’s economy from jobs created in the design and construction stages. The water supply grid allows Wessex Water to: Improve the security of supply for 1.3 million customers – even in the event of a catastrophic failure; Meet reductions in abstraction licenses required by the Environment Agency to improve flows in some rivers and protect their ecology; Deal with seasonal or occasional deteriorating raw water quality – particularly increasing concentrations of nitrates at some groundwater sources; Achieve the statutory duty to balance the supply of and demand for water up to the year 2035, as set out in the Water Resources Management Plan approved by Defra in 2010.


Wessex Water’s Engineering and Construction Services ( E&C ) managed the overall delivery programme, with both WECS, Atkins and Sweco providing engineering design, planning and environmental services. WECS established an external project workstream in 2010, dedicated to the delivery of the programme of work. The team had a co-located office in the centre of the Wessex Water region at Yeovil, where staff of all disciplines have worked alongside each other for part of a typical week. Design Although the majority of the design work was completed by Atkins, E&C engaged a range of designers to carry out the optioneering studies, complete outline and detailed designs and


Typical storage tank and pumping station provide construction support services to the in-house and external contractors. The detailed design of more than 100km of new pipelines has been undertaken by E&C’s own in-house pipeline design team. New capability was developed inhouse for the design of pipelines, reservoirs and pumping stations. Aecom and Sweco have also designed specific water treatment plant refurbishment projects. Contractors E&C undertook, inhouse, the construction of over 50% of the new storage tanks and pumping stations and treatment plant refurbishments. E&C also contracted with external partners such as Trant Engineering Ltd, Bartlett Contractors Ltd, Lewis Civil Engineering and Clancy Docwra Ltd to construct the new pipelines, pumping stations and storage tanks required.

Innovation New Optimiser Technology One of the key innovations of the supply grid project has been the development of a new “Optimiser” flow control system that will manage and optimise the transfer of water along the new 74km trunkmain. It has been developed with Servelec Technologies

and is an automatic, real time, closed loop optimisation system. It will centrally control and monitor the bulk transfers in the trunkmain in the most efficient way, whilst still operating within the constraints built into the system, to ensure security of supply, minimise any risk of water quality issues and minimise energy costs by for example, avoiding expensive triad periods. Storage tank volumes The volumes of the new storage tanks along the transfer main have been minimised by dedicating them as transfer storage allowing the full volume to be used without compromising the existing distribution storage for local customers which are located at the same sites. Nitrate blending The water supply grid has been designed to allow the existing nitrate removal water treatment works and low nitrate water supply sources to be fully utilised, by the targeted blending of the available low nitrate water with sources at risk of exceeding the nitrate standard. Bi-directional trunkmains In order to maximise flexibility, most links within the scheme have been designed to be bi-directional. To utilise this surplus pressure, energy recovery turbines have been installed at some pumping stations.




The water supply grid has been implemented in stages, over the 8 year project duration. Work initially targeted individual links to eliminate stand alone sources where the solution was clear cut. The build included pipelines, pump stations and reservoirs targeted to provide greater resilience to allow major upgrades at key treatment works to progress and to reduce operational risk in the network. With the new infrastructure operational, far greater flexibility has been possible in taking key water treatment works out of supply for major improvements, including those not directly associated with the Grid, due to the distribution system now being fully integrated. In introducing the water supply grid it was recognised that a major review was required in how to manage the water distribution system. The introduction of the Optimiser has changed the business culture from ‘Remote Control, Central monitoring to Central control, Central monitoring. This has significantly improved intelligence of the network transferring knowledge from the individual in the field to a fully managed 24/7 centralised team. The Optimiser as a tool has allowed the team to look proactively at improving the system

200km+ of trunkmains security whilst the day to day operation is automatically scheduled within the constraints set. The flexibility of the water supply grid in combination with the Optimiser has significantly improved the security of supply

and system resilience, with significant built in adaptability, to meet changes for the foreseeable future. The water supply grid will ensure that Wessex Water meets public water supply demand for the next 25 years. By Drummond Modley FICE FIW BDS





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Better together – making decision analytics available to the masses With a global focus on aging infrastructure and systems, and investment battles being fought from the boardroom down to ground level, isn’t it time we started working together? We already share best practice in asset investment planning at conferences, but what if organisations came together to work as a community – making best of use of data, enabling better and more transparent decisions, and balancing risk vs cost to improve our infrastructure? Tom Rowson, SEAMS’ Product Manager, explains the concept of Community Decision Analytics. For small- to medium-sized asset rich organisations, getting started with decision analytics for asset investment planning can seem like an impossibly hard task. The data requirements are hard to meet when you can’t throw money at the problem, and the analytics process requires skills your organisation often doesn’t possess. Now, SEAMS are knocking down the biggest barriers to entry into decision analytics with a collaborative working programme called ‘Community Decision Analytics’. It aims to address three of the most frequently identified concerns:

“I can’t afford to pay for decision analytics…”

Large, asset-rich utilities have big budgets for asset investment planning. They can afford dedicated teams of data scientists and planners, and can run special projects for gathering data, modelling performance, and optimising their investment strategy. But what if your overall investment budget is too small to justify that kind of expense? How can you take advantage of the benefits of analytics?

“I don’t have enough data…”

Complex statistical analysis methods can give powerful insights into asset performance and deterioration. Models derived from big data mash-ups can show hidden trends which humans don’t even consider. But what if you don’t have enough data to support a rigorous statistical analysis of the performance of your system? What if you don’t come close to meeting the minimum standards for ‘big data’?

“I don’t have analytical capability in my organisation…”

The smaller you are, the less likely it is you’ll have someone working in your planning department who has a strong analytical background. Large organisations have large talent pools, and the ability to attract new staff. But what if there are only a handful of you, and you’re overstretched already? What if you can’t employ anyone who can build statistical models of your system?

Three big problems, one simple answer... Working collaboratively.

For over 15 years, SEAMS has been supplying gold-standard decision analytics software to


large utilities at an enterprise level. Time and time again, we’ve spoken to organisations who could benefit from our technology and services, but haven’t been able to take advantage. Often, the perception is that they cannot afford to commit the time and effort to engage with decision analytics software and processes. Their needs are immediate and, relative to the cost of entry into decision analytics, also small. However, this shouldn’t mean companies on the smaller end of the scale can’t reap the benefits of advanced asset investment planning. If you can make the initial investment, the benefits are huge. That’s why SEAMS is launching Community Decision Analytics. A completely new and collaborative way of working. To break down the three main barriers to entry into decision analytics, SEAMS are encouraging smaller companies in the same industry verticals to join forces and form a community. By pooling data and resources you can finally join the party.

How does it work?

Community Decision Analytics (CDA) requires subscribers to upload their data into a group data store. The data is anonymised on the way into the collective database, but you can continue to access your own individual organisation’s data in its original form. This overcomes the issue of

having insufficient data to perform analytics, and also reduces costs, as you no longer have a need to increase data collection efforts. The collected data is used to inform statistical analysis on the performance of asset types common to the community members, using methodologies developed by SEAMS’ data analysts. This means that all members of the community can benefit from years of analytics experience without requiring their own inhouse analytic capability. These generalised algorithms are then combined with each member’s own asset data to create a prediction model. This model can be combined with standard options for interventions to allow optimisation of investment strategy, with each member organisation having control over their own optimisation parameters (e.g budget limits). We aim to develop several communities over time; these will be defined by service type (for instance, water or rail) and along geographical lines. For more information on Community Decision Analytics, or a chat about how it can help you, call us on +44 (0) 114 280 9000 or email us on


MAKING SURE EVERYTHING FLOWS SMOOTHLY Wolseley UK Infrastructure is a leading provider of Civils and Utilities solutions. We supply the essential products and services that enable our communities and businesses to function. And keep the country connected. For superior technical expertise, unrivalled range and availability and friendly and responsive service, speak to us today.

Our utilities products include: • Gas pipe • Water pipe • Valves

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• Fabrication • Chambers and sections • Consumables

Tel: 0344 2511 999

Fluoride-free water to East African communities A researcher from the University of Bath is leading the way in developing a safe and affordable way of removing harmful excessive fluoride in the water supply used by communities in East Africa. Dr Junjie Shen from the University of Bath’s Department of Chemical Engineering has been awarded a five-year Engineering for Development Research Fellowship from the Royal Academy of Engineering to develop Capacitive Deionization technology as a way of providing poor and vulnerable communities in East Africa with fluoride-free water.

Capacitive Deionization (CDI) is an emerging technology used to de-ionize – the process of removing fluoride from water by applying a low DC voltage (about 1.2 V) to a water source, over two electrodes. Water passes between the electrodes and the charged ions are adsorbed by the oppositely charged electrodes, resulting in pure water free from fluorides.

scalable, making it suitable to be carried considerable distances to the nearest water source. It is envisaged it will cost £10,000 for a community-scale system capable of supplying clean water for around 200 people. This equates to an estimated water price of less than £3 per cubic meter, 20 times cheaper than the cost of bottled water in a local market.

Dr Shen is one of just two recipients to be awarded this prestigious Fellowship in the current round. His project ‘Safe Drinking Water using Capacitive Deionization for East Africa’ will work on developing technology capable of removing fluoride from water with minimal energy consumption.

Dr Shen is intending for this technology to be used as a Point-of-Use (POU) water treatment solution in developing countries, treating water directly from natural sources such as rivers, wells and boreholes.

CDI is also a sustainable and environmentallyfriendly solution for water treatment due to its very low energy consumption, no use of chemicals and its ability to regenerate its electrodes by reversing or removing the voltage. This means such technology should provide a long term solution to treating water in the developing world.

This CDI technology is highly modular and

Drinking water decontamination in the developing countries has always been a scientific challenge due to the complexity of water chemistry and various drawbacks of current technologies. My research will look for a new approach to produce safe drinking water in a cost-effective and environmentalfriendly manner. This will advance our current knowledge and create ground for future studies.



Fluorine is abundant in the Earth’s crust as a result of volcanic activity and fumarolic gases. Fluoride is naturally released into water by the dissolution of fluoride-containing rocks and soils.

technology has the potential to directly benefit a large population of people living in rural and remote areas in East Africa. Access to safe water means opportunity for improved health and the ability to prevent disease. Access to safe water also gives families more time to pursue education and work opportunities that will help break the cycle of poverty in these areas. He is a core member of CASE and we are very proud of his work.”

The East African Rift, as an active volcanic zone, is a typically high-fluoride area and excessive fluoride in drinking water causes large-scale health problems in East Africa such as crippling bone disease, skeletal fluorosis. In Tanzania, a study found that in communities where fluoride-rich groundwater is used as drinking water, more than 90 per cent of children had dental fluorosis and over 25 per cent of children had skeletal deformities.

Head of the University of Bath’s Department of Chemical Engineering, Professor Tim Mays, added: “Dr Shen’s RAEng Fellowship is a perfect fit to the Department’s research profile especially in CASE and WIRC, and to our international ambitions. Dr Shen’s work will have lifeenhancing impact in East Africa, and beyond, via improved water quality. We are very proud to host his Fellowship in the Department.”

In many parts of East Africa, urban water infrastructures are either not available or unreliable in remote villages. Current defluoridation technologies applied in East Africa - including adsorption and membrane separation - are largely ineffective due to their insufficient capacity to remove fluorides as well as the associated costs preventing greater use of these technologies. Research Fellow in the University of Bath’s Department of Chemical Engineering, in particular in the Centre for Advanced Separations Engineering (CASE) and Water Innovation and Research Centre (WIRC@Bath), Dr Junjie Shen, said: “I am extremely excited about this amazing opportunity, and am thankful to the Royal Academy of Engineering, the University of Bath, and my collaborators in Tanzania for their support. This fellowship will allow me to develop my academic career and to also contribute towards the sustainable social development of East African communities.

“Drinking water decontamination in the developing countries has always been a scientific challenge due to the complexity of water chemistry and various drawbacks of current technologies. My research will look for a new approach to produce safe drinking water in a cost-effective and environmentalfriendly manner. This will advance our current knowledge and create ground for future studies.” Director in the Centre for Advanced Separations Engineering (CASE), Professor Semali Perera, commented: “This new

We can help you reimagine your water R&D

As part of this project, Dr Shen hopes to conduct a pilot study in Tanzania whereby he will be able to test the technology in the field, working in collaboration with colleagues from University of Dar es Salaam. He will also assess the sustainability of the technology including its environmental impact and the socio-economic acceptance by the communities in Tanzania. Funded through the government’s Global Challenges Research Fund, the Engineering for Development Research Fellowship is awarded to research projects that directly tackle the challenges faced by developing countries and highlight the vital role of engineering in achieving sustainable global development.

Water Innovation & Research Centre

Through the Water Innovation and Research Centre at the University of Bath our experts work with industry, academia, and other stakeholders to tackle the fundamental issues surrounding sustainable water. Through WISE, our Centre for Doctoral Training in Water Informatics: Science and Engineering, we work with collaborative partners to train the next generation of skilled water scientists and engineers. To explore a partnership with water research experts and students at the University of Bath for your organisation, contact


Water & Wastewater Monitoring & Analysis

Wastewater Instrumentation – challenges and opportunities By Dr Leo Carswell

Principal Consultant. WRc plc Data from on-line instrumentation is increasingly being used for process optimisation and control, monitoring critical operations and asset performance monitoring. Such instrumentation is therefore becoming fundamental for managing risk, maximising efficiency and providing the wider business with reliable information. Appropriate technology selection, installation and ongoing maintenance is therefore essential to delivering these desired outcomes. Although the quality and reliability of instrumentation has improved significantly over recent decades so have the performance expectations within water companies. At the same time water companies have lost knowledge and experience with an aging workforce reaching retirement age. This article looks at the challenges and opportunities associated with wastewater instrumentation, drawing on the experiences of UK water companies.

Instrument selection

Wastewater instrumentation is commonly selected through large-scale procurement exercises and framework agreements. These are required due to the total value of the technology being procured over an asset management period (AMP). It is easy to criticise procurement processes for delivering standard solutions, selected primarily on price. Previous AMPs have seen many water companies using big frameworks and arguably this has not promoted innovation from either the supply chain or user. However, more innovative approaches to procurement of complex technology such as instrumentation are being adopted with new technologies solving some of the most challenging water industry problems.

Poor access and unnecessary health and safety risks are big barriers to the successful operation on instrumentation


Getting instrumentation apprentices exposed to a wider range of technologies and recognising their skills and abilities is essential to building expertise within the water industry Typically procurement processes do not include testing and evaluation of instrumentation. Suppliers will present claims, which are often very similar between suppliers and are not easy to challenge. In some specific areas there are product certification schemes, such as the Environment Agencies MCERTS scheme. Such schemes provide confidence that a technology meets the performance requirements but these schemes do not cover all aspects of wastewater instrumentation. An example of where significant investment in wastewater instrumentation is planned is the use of on-line phosphorus monitors for sites with strict wastewater phosphorus consents. Selection of the most appropriate phosphorus monitoring technology is about establishing what is fit for purpose. The limitations of on-line ortho-phosphate monitors need to be balanced against the increased complexity, cost and maintenance of total phosphorus monitors. Conversation with UK water companies involve questions such as: Are there orthophosphate monitors, offering lower whole life costs, which can meet the demanding accuracy requirement of very low total phosphorus consents? Alternatively are there total phosphorus monitors, which can meet the demanding accuracy requirement while offering an acceptable whole life cost? These questions demonstrate the need for robust scientific evaluation. Not least because the performance, cost of ownership and potential savings associated with the use of these different monitoring options is not fully understood. WRc has calculated the whole life costs for different measurement technologies for

ortho-phosphate and total phosphorus, these range from less than £20,000 to over £60,000 per instrument. With such a large variation a company decision on which technology to roll out could represent a difference in spend of £4,000,000 in AMP7 for 100 instruments. Such large potential savings are both very attractive but also highlight the potential issue of instrument selection based primarily on cost. Decisions must take into consideration performance and suitability of the technology and this is best gathered through independent comparative evaluation where the performance and whole life costs are assessed and direct comparisons made. In 2019, WRc is planning to run the largest trial of on-line phosphorus monitors seen in the UK for well over a decade. This work will fully understand and define the performance of a range of current ortho-phosphate and total phosphorus monitors for final effluent monitoring and upstream (settled/ crude sewage) monitoring for dose control/ optimisation. This collaborative approach will deliver benefits to both end users and suppliers.

Correct installation fundamental

The quality and performance of on-line monitoring instrumentation has improved hugely over the past two decades to the extent where poor installation is a bigger cause of problems than the sensor itself not being up to the job. The big challenge with wastewater instrument installation is that it is often undertaken not by the water company instrumentation expert or by the manufacturer or supplier, who know their instrument inside out, but by a third party


Water & Wastewater Monitoring & Analysis

contractor who may not have an appreciation of the importance correct installation has on instrument performance. Solutions to this problem have been demonstrated through good guidance, communication, training and contractor handovers, where both operational status and alignment to the company standards is reviewed and signed off.

No such thing as zero maintenance

As explained above, maintenance is closely linked to instrument selection and installation. Anyone who says that a monitoring instrument used in wastewater environment doesn’t require maintenance is completely unrealistic in what they believe or want the user to believe. Instrument maintenance is an additional operational cost, often held within a separate budget that is commonly subject to many conflicting priorities. This, alongside a much reduced number of instrumentation technicians, presents a real challenge to the industry. Discussions around optimisation of maintenance activities, moving from fixed interval or failure-triggered maintenance, to sensor validation, self-assessment and proactive approaches are all well and good as aspirations but much of the current equipment and the system in place within UK water companies rely on frequent planned basic maintenance such as cleaning and reagent replenishment. The industry is recognising the need for increased and different skills, and training, within the business to operate instrumentation well. Events such as the instrumentation apprentice competition, run at the Water, Wastewater and Environmental Monitoring (WWEM) conference are an example of recognising the next generation of technicians who are fundamental to how the industry adopts and embraces new technology. In the short term, outsourcing instrumentation maintenance is a solution which some have adopted for critical operations such as process control instruments and also more complex final effluent monitors, the long term use of an outsourced model is a lively topic of discussion in the industry.

The enablers to change

Addressing the points made in this article is as much about improved understanding, processes and procedures as it is about the application of new technologies. For this reason there is often a frustration from those closely involved in the application of instrumentation in the water industry that change is very difficult to achieve. A lack of understanding of the risk and cost consequences of poor instrument performance is often cited as a barrier to greater recognition and therefore funding of basic activities such as maintenance. Better demonstrating a clear return on the investment from the successful operation of technology is something that is pivotal to the industry meeting future challenges.

Comparative trials of on-line technology provide information on the performance and whole life costs of the different technologies thereby de-risking selection


Water & Wastewater Monitoring & Analysis

The Future of water supply in the UK and worldwide

The water industry is facing immense pressure to maintain a complex infrastructure, whilst improving supply resilience, water quality and cutting costs. The industry challenge is how to deliver a better service without passing additional cost onto the customer? Traditionally, the water network has employed boundary valves in district metered areas (DMA) and monitor water pressure at a single critical point, this solution isn’t always as effective as it needs to be, with incidents going undetected. In order to address the limitations in traditional monitoring methods, water network operators are looking to initiate more accurate monitoring at multiple points; provide analytical data and pro-actively manage network behaviours.

triggering an immediate alarm, allowing problems to be addressed swiftly, thereby preventing the problem and the costs from spiralling, ultimately benefitting the operator and their customers. As a consequence of highly accurate and precisely time stamped pressure measurement, maintenance and repair programmes can be targeted more effectively, enabling interventions to be prioritised, assisting operators in delivering a safer, more efficient, resilient service, for less.

Cross-disciplinary expertise

Easy deployment

One company assisting the industry in delivering their goals is Inflowmatix, a spin-out company from Imperial College, which draws on the University’s research and development expertise to support their value proposition. Since launching in 2015, Inflowmatix has been committed to keeping customers supplied with resilient, safe, cost effective water. They’ve developed a range of patented technology that, by mapping where the customer’s network is most at risk and exposing dynamic pressure variability, can provide a narrative on network behaviour including events such as pressure surge, unusual usage patterns, negative pressures and asset misbehaviours. Drawing on their cross-disciplinary expertise encompassing sensing, advanced modelling and optimisation, Inflowmatix can use its unique technology to distil an accurate but simplified representation of the network. This can then be used to inform and pro-actively implement pressure control strategies across the network.

Understanding what customers want

Taking a collaborative approach, Inflowmatix works closely with their customers, applying their technology to meet the specific needs of each individual project. Their patented technology has been utilised by clients in the UK, US, Europe and South America. Each project undertaken has delivered significant learnings enabling customers to identify the extent of the challenges they face.

Accurate data with meaning

Dynamic pressure data is based on readings of 128 samples per second with precision time stamping, providing more reliable analytics, on which water operators can make evidence-


InflowSense™ device being connected based decisions unlike many traditional DMA systems, where events can be overlooked.

Delivering deeper insights

The InflowSys™ solution offered by Inflowmatix combines hardware to monitor activity with software for data management, visualisation and advanced analytics. Where some systems leave operators ‘data rich, but information poor,’ Inflowmatix goes further by delivering deep insights beyond the sensors alone extending into behaviour and action layers of the network. A narrative is provided on network behaviour including events such as pressure surges, unusual usage patterns, negative pressures and asset misbehaviours. Giving meaning to the data, enables it to be analysed in context and usefully applied to improve network control. In collaboration with Cla-Val and to achieve an ‘action’ based implementation, Inflowmatix has launched an advanced control solution for managing the steady and unsteady state pressure in complex water distribution networks. This novel control solution enables the operation of resilient and hydraulically calm water distribution networks.

Driving improvements cost-effectively

Operational insights gleaned from the data provided is essential to assist operators meet their objectives. Information is shared directly with the client, with anomalous events

Straightforward to deploy, Inflowmatix technology is typically installed in under five minutes and operates almost instantaneously, making it user-friendly and eminently suitable for field technicians visiting locations off the beaten track. Given their systems are low power, operating costs are reduced and the environment benefits too.

Tried and tested technology

Already, Inflowmatix systems have been deployed by a number of operators including Severn Trent, Anglian Water, Bristol Water and Suez. Severn Trent trialled their InflowSys™ pressure monitoring system in an area that had suffered a series of high-pressure burst incidents within a densely populated area. Significant transient pressure variations were captured, allowing for improvement works that eliminated these variations, resulting in a 70% reduction in the burst rate.

Significant savings

This initial trial led to OPEX repair savings of £60k/€70k per annum, a return on investment in just three months, and subsequent widescale deployment of the technology. “Working with Inflowmatix we have always found them responsive to our needs. Their market leading, high frequency pressure based analytical solutions have identified unwanted transient events providing us with clear actionable insights.” Severn Trent Inflowmatix is enabling water operators to create more resilient networks, which are managed more effectively, so customers can enjoy a steady supply of water now and in the future.


Solutions That Keep Customers Supplied

Inflowmatix is committed to helping water network operators manage and optimise their network to reduce leakage, improve resilience and provide a safe, cost-effective supply. Contact Inflowmatix Ltd to discuss ‘Keeping Customers Supplied’. Tel: 02381 55 00 41 Email: web:

Water & Wastewater Monitoring & Analysis

Bringing Power into smart and real time monitoring

Referring to the world economic forum, water crises are one of the TOP 5 global risks for the next decade. Therefore, two entrepreneurs founded the company Pydro in 2016, to make an impact in creating a resource efficient distribution system. Their Hamburg based Startup develops modular and powerful water turbines, to provide a self-sufficient energy source for sensors and components in smart water networks. We are living on a planet with limited resources, but one of the most utilised resource around the world is still among the least respected. An efficient water management is one of the key challenges to limit worldwide water scarcity, but 30% of the worldwide distributed water is currently lost through leakages and inefficiencies. In Pydro‘s homecountry Germany, 1,5 billion liters of water are lost every day. In addition, every cubicmeter of this „non revenue water“ requires 2 Kwh of energy for processing and distribution. The frequency of leakages is, amongst others, negatively affected by an inefficient pressure management, often related to non-automised components. „We recognize the intention at many utilities for a higher degree of automation and to get real time about the network condition, to achieve resource efficiency in water distribution“ (Michael Hoette, Co-Founder of Pydro). Smart water networks are a solution for above mentioned challenges. With a dense sensor network, real time monitoring and automised components it would be possible to avoid leakages initially and if they happen, there would be a quick reaction time. One critical limitation, that prevents the implementation of smart networks in a large scale, is the access to energy. „Some of our partners confirm that 80% of their water system is not economically connectable to the grid and the value of data analysis is very limited, if only a small percentage of the network is covered“ (Michael Hoette, Pydro). A common transitional solution are battery packs, which come along with a limitation, as they are not

So what‘s special about Pydro’s turbine? They focus on a modular design to achieve standardization in the manufacturing process and to simplify the installation process. In addition, their solution follows a turnkey approach by implementing sensors into the turbine, as well as holding a data transmitter to continuously send the generated data. One of Pydro‘s current development challenges is the objective to substitute a flowmeter by implementing an algorithm, considering the rotation speed of the turbine blade.

strong enough to power real time networks or centralised multi-sensor systems. What‘s needed is a powerful, sustainable and self-sufficient energy source. Pydro wants to serve this market-driven demand. Their water turbines utilize the natural flow and pressure excess in the water pipe, to power sensors and other intelligent IoT devices in smart networks. Pydro’s technology enables utilities to install energy-demanding devices wherever they are needed. Their self-sufficient turbine solution brings flexibility in building a dense sensor network and is powerful enough to send data in real time with an integrated data transmitter.

Some weeks ago Pydro finalized a third prototype version and they are planning field installations in Germany during the next months, amongst others at their partner company Gelsenwasser. As the UK is targeted to be one of the main smart water markets, Pydro wants to reach out at an early stage. “We are actively searching for contacts to validate our assumptions, to adopt our solution to the UK requirements and to start a cooperative development approach with the final target to do test installations in the UK market as well.” (Michael Hoette, Pydro).

Contact Details:

Michael Hoette (Co-Founder) Pydro Gmbh +491607063215

We are actively searching for contacts to validate our assumptions, to adopt our solution to the UK requirements and to start a cooperative development approach with the final target to do test installations in the UK market as well. 24


Wastewater and Monitoring Analysis


Water & Wastewater Monitoring & Analysis

Rapid E. coli quantification with field portable devices around UK bathing sites The UK Environment Agency takes advantage of the latest E. coli field quantification technology to isolate pollution sources in coastal beach areas. Authors Trevor Cronin, Environment Agency, Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Area Matthew Loewenthal, Environment Agency, National Laboratory Service Vaizanne Huynh, Dan E. Angelescu, Andreas Hausot, Fluidion SAS, Paris, France Regulations for the management of bathing water differ around the world but are consistently built around the same criteria: measuring levels of the two key indicator bacteria for detecting faecal contamination: Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Intestinal Enterococci1. The presence of these low-resistance faecal indicator organisms (FIOs) confirms that the water has come into recent contact with faecal matter, and thus, could potentially carry additional dangerous pathogens. Many countries regularly monitor bathing waters for these organisms to ensure that levels of faecal contamination are not high enough to pose an excess risk to bather health, as recommended by the World Health Organization. However, the costs involved in monitoring constrain the agencies responsible to base their quality assessment on few samples collected from a limited number of points during periods of high use. Traditionally, measuring bacterial concentration requires manual spot sampling, followed by laboratory culture-based methods such as membrane filtration and plating, or most-probable-number (MPN) techniques. Such approved methods involve significant investment with respect to time and resources, and generally take 24 to 72 hours from sampling to result, which is too late for any preventive action such as pro-active beach closures. Very recently, a new generation of ultraportable instruments has become available from Fluidion, a French instrumentation manufacturer. The Fluidion ALERT analysers use a novel quantification method that can be applied to both fresh water and seawater samples to provide full quantification results in less than 12 hours2,3. The measurement

method is highly specific to viable and culturable E. coli bacteria, providing accurate results that correlate well (r=0.90) over multiple orders of magnitude with laboratory MPN measurements. Rugged weather-proof construction and wireless data transmission are among the features that make ALERT analysers well-suited for actual field work. They are available in two configurations: a portable version (ALERT LAB – a handheld instrument) and an in-situ version (ALERT System – integrating an automatic sampling module). These instruments have been previously used by the UK Environment Agency for tracking microbial pollution at various sites, such as the Scarborough Harbour4. The UK Environment Agency’s Analysis and Reporting (A&R) team (Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly region) are currently working in collaboration with the Parish Council of Combe Martin and a newly-formed campaign group for water quality investigations of the local bathing site. In conjunction with standard investigation techniques and tools, the Devon Team are utilising Fluidion’s ALERT technology to further understand the bacterial dynamics in the Combe Martin bathing area. Combe Martin beach has been classified as having poor water quality, meaning that during the 2018 season, the parish council was required to install signage advising against bathing. Understanding the reason for the high pollution content at this beach area was of utmost importance to the parish council and the community at large as a matter of public health concern, thus, a study of the area was undertaken.

Combe Martin is predominantly an agricultural catchment with an element of urban runoff, where the water from this land drains into the river Umber, which further drains straight over the beach. Seawater samples collected at this site often contain significant amounts of freshwater, despite being acquired at points measuring 1 metre depth. Given that the area recorded 101 rainy days during the 2017 summer season, with rainwater washing both agricultural farmland and urban streets, the effects of rain on water quality were quite profound. Deployment of a pumped water quality monitor, supplied by the UK Environment Agency National Laboratory Service team (NLS), recorded unusual patterns of ammonia, triggering further investigation. The Fluidion ALERT LAB field portable devices were then used to provide rapid bacterial measurements for point source identification directly on site. Combe Martin is situated on the north coast of Devon and microbiological lab analysis is normally carried out in the south of the county, where the logistics for sample delivery and long time to results can make it difficult to trace ephemeral pollution incidents. Recently, by using a handheld ammonia monitor supplied by NLS, the A&R team were able to trace one source of the ammonia to a wildlife park situated on a tributary of the river Umber. Samples of the stream analysed with the ALERT LAB showed E. coli levels between 11,000 and 12,600 bacteria/100ml (roughly 100 times greater than baseline), at times when the stream appears to be flowing clean. As the investigations proceeded, the rapid measurements provided by the ALERT

The Fluidion ALERT technology allows the A&R team to react quickly during rain events and effectively trace sources and pathways of contamination.



Water & Wastewater Monitoring & Analysis

LAB helped the team gain a clearer understanding of discharge regimes from this particular site, with significantly higher bacterial levels expected during wet periods. After positively isolating this pollution source, the Combe Martin investigation by the A&R team will continue by quantifying the effects of septic tank discharges and of dog fouling, both of which are believed to have significant impact on the water quality in the catchment. A side benefit for Combe Martin is the ability to use equipment like this as part of collaborative work with local groups. This allows them first-hand experience of investigative techniques, helping them understand the complex issues involved in protecting bathing waters from multiple intermittent sources and to take ownership of some of these issues. The A&R team also works in conjunction with the Land and Water teams who are responsible for enforcement actions. An example of this work arose when there was concern from the public about a foul-smelling pipe that was discharging runoff water into a bathing water area. The general consensus had been that the offending smell was the result of rotting seaweed; however, direct analysis with the field portable ALERT LAB showed that in fact the pipe was transporting untreated sewage runoff that would eventually end up directly in the sea. These results prompted a rapid response from the water company working closely with the Land and Water team to investigate the cause and bring a speedy resolution to the incident. By using these newly available measurement techniques, the Environment Agency has been

able to rapidly test sites and clearly identify point sources where FIOs are of public concern. The Fluidion ALERT technology allows the A&R team to react quickly during rain events and effectively trace sources and pathways of contamination. The ability to complete detailed investigations before sources of contamination disappear greatly enhances the chances of isolating and removing sources from the environment. The Environment Agency is also looking at the possibility that such rapid quantification devices could enable faster reopening of bathing waters after closure due to abnormal situations. Currently, when a beach area is closed due to high bacterial levels, it can only be officially reopened after confirmation that the

contamination is gone, which requires hand grab samples to be sent to a laboratory for analysis and can take 3-4 days. Confirmation of low FIO levels in bathing water with the ALERT device can be performed directly on site in under 10 hours, providing the necessary data to open up the beach to the public, days earlier. 1. EU Bathing Water Directive 2006/7/EC; US EPA Docket identification No. EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0466 2. Angelescu, D.E. et al. (2018) Autonomous system for rapid field quantification of E. coli in surface waters, J. Appl. Microbiology. doi: 10.1111/jam.14066. 3. Huynh, V. et al. (2016) An autonomous field sensor for Total Coliform and E. coli monitoring at remote sites. IEEE Oceans Conference Proceedings. 4. Loewenthal, M. et al. (2018) Rapid microbiology field instrumentation: source tracking in sensitive areas, Institute of Water magazine, Q3, 86-87

RAPID E. COLI FIELD MEASUREMENTS FLUIDION ALERT TECHNOLOGY Automatic Microbiology Analysers v Scientifically validated v Remote analysis and data transmission v Rugged field instruments

United Kingdom and Ireland sales: Ph.: +44 (0)845 108 1457


Water & Wastewater Monitoring & Analysis

Introducing Sitebox! Introducing SiteBox, the industry’s first full monitoring and control system, in a box.

Eliminates costly, time consuming and complex design process associated with installation panels Sensor diagnostics and calibration timer alerts give increased confidence measurements

SiteBox is ATi’s brand-new approach to water quality monitoring systems. This smart alternative to traditional instrumentation panels is a complete water quality monitoring and control system that can be used in a variety of applications, from drinking water treatment (raw, treated and final) to process water in the food industry, all housed in a carry-on luggagesized box.

SiteBox Bespoke Options

Its modular nature enables users to order a bespoke monitoring system that fits individual site requirements. This is in stark contrast to the size and complexity of traditional panel mounted solutions. SiteBox can be used on its own as the input to a control system, or alternatively as an independent monitoring system that polices existing water quality monitors.

SiteBox M-Node sensors are available for over 20 water quality parameters. Users simply select the parameters required for a specific location and ATi assemble them into a bespoke, integrated, modular system. All Nodes communicate on a common RS-485 sensor bus using Modbus protocol. Each M-Node has an IP-67 M8 water-tight connector for external communication. Power for the M-Node system is also supplied via the RS-485 bus. M-Nodes may even be used independently by system integrators who wish to communicate directly with the nodes using their own PLC system.

Delivery to start up in minutes

SiteBox is quick to install, with delivery to start up in minutes, and typically generates live data (eg SCADA) within 30 minutes, dramatically reducing the overall cost of the instrumentation package. SiteBox also has a small footprint, along with low water usage, and can be configured for dual or triple validation, multistream (1- 3), up to eight sensors and over 20 parameters.

The modular approach of SiteBox allows users to order a bespoke system specifically designed for their needs. SiteBox has the option of three difference power sources, five communication channels, up to 8 sensors from over 20 parameters to choose from, up to three streams, plus a flow switch option.


Power Options

Power consumption requirements of traditional water quality monitors prevent their use in locations where AC power is not available. The low power design of the SiteBox system allows these monitors to operate on 12-24 VDC power, as well as battery power, without sacrificing reliability. To further improve power consumption, the system allows users to operate in either continuous or cycle modes. In full continuous mode, power is constantly applied to M-Nodes and measurements are continuously taken. When operating in cycle mode, the measurement nodes are placed in “sleep mode” for much of the time. Every 15 minutes, the Nodes are switched to “full power” for about 15 seconds in order to take a reading and store data. Operation in cycle mode extends battery life considerably.

SiteBox benefits

At the heart of SiteBox are ATi’s new smart digital sensors, the industry-leading, ultra low-powered, M-Nodes - a complete full-featured sensor and transmitter housed in a miniaturized body. Years of run-time on batteries 12-24 VDC mains power option Integrated flow, pressure control and monitoring RS485 modbus output of parameters and diagnostics Small footprint means it can be used almost anywhere Under 30 minutes to install and data delivery, reducing costly onsite time Bespoke system designed to meet your individual site needs



Water & Wastewater Monitoring & Analysis

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Water & Wastewater Monitoring & Analysis

Meeting water quality standards – the role of turbidimeters In the UK, all drinking water must be safe and have the trust of consumers. An integral part of this is to ensure tap water meets strict standards laid out in the EU drinking water directive and prescribed in our local legislation, both of which follow World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines. Reduced maintenance All in all, the unique non-contact design and components that endure, mean maintenance costs, downtime and disruption are vastly reduced, operations run more smoothly, and operation costs are kept to a minimum.

Improved water quality is being demanded by regulators with the public and utilities facing an increasingly challenging and changing climate. The challenge is to mitigate these emerging risks, continue to improve drinking water without the cost being passed onto consumers. Accurate and rigorous assessments of quality have a huge role to play in meeting this challenge and one of the key measures of water quality is turbidity. If water looks turbid, it may not only look unpalatable, but may also contain other harmful material. Low turbidity following pre-treatment is a prerequisite to effective disinfection and essential to ensure consumer confidence is maintained. As well as meeting parametric standards, water suppliers must ensure tap water is ‘wholesome’, i.e. it looks good, tastes good and doesn’t do you any harm.

Measuring turbidity

Turbidity has traditionally been measured using contact turbidimeters, nephelometrybased instruments, which measure how light is scattered by the particles at an angle of 90° to the incident beam. The reliability of some instruments has proven problematic, with contamination a repeated issue, increasing maintenance costs and downtime. Typically, the optics require cleaning, the light sources, and other components, would need to be replaced, and the instruments recalibrated at regular intervals.

Turbidimeters – a new approach

A turbidimeter new to the UK market is addressing these concerns. SWAN’s AMI Turbiwell is a single beam turbidimeter, distinct from others, as it is a non-contact system, meaning it avoids the shortcomings of more traditional instruments.

Benefits of SWAN’s non-contact turbidimeter

SWAN’s AMI Turbiwell is easy to install, comprising of a complete, panel mounted system; tested, calibrated and ready for operation, minimising downtime and disruption during installation.


SWAN’s AMI Turbiwell A resilient design A number of features underpin the instrument’s reliability, including the unique sample chamber design. Extremely durable; at no point are the optics in direct contact with the water, so the likelihood of contamination is significantly lower. Condensation is prevented due to the naturally heated optics, therefore reducing maintenance and negating the need for drying agents. Whilst the drain ensures the measurement chamber is cleared of settled particles when checking and/or verifying the unit. Robust Electronics Incorporating long-lasting components, like the LED, with a lifetime of over 100,000 operating hours and a photodiode that monitors the LED’s performance, thus the need for replacement is unnecessary and recalibration negated. As the instrument incorporates no moving parts, the Turbiwell is particularly robust. Quality Assurance The fully integrated flow monitoring system ensures quality assurance of the sample flow is maintained at all times. Optionally, a degassing unit ensures the samples are uniform and non-gaseous, so measurements are accurate, and false positive readings avoided. Off the beaten track? Remote, unstaffed sites particularly benefit from this tough, easy to install, low maintenance, low-flow system, as it minimises the time and frequency with which staff have to be onsite.

In short, SWAN’s AMI Turbiwell is a noncontact turbidimeter for the automatic and continuous measurement of turbidity in drinking water, as well as, surface and waste water, meeting the requirements of ISO 7027.

Put through its paces

SWAN’s AMI Turbiwell is now the turbidimeter of choice for South West Water and their suppliers, after undergoing rigorous testing, alongside their competitors, over an 18-month period. To date, over 120 units have been installed for the water and wastewater service provider supplier, benefiting their circa 1.7million customers South West Water’s Head of Water Quality, Chris Rockey said: “In recent years we have been focussed on finding a reliable low maintenance, low level turbidity meter to verify disinfection conditions and assure optimised pre-treatment. Our goals also included the need for an accurate and easily verifiable measurement. Following extensive trials, we determined the Turbiwell best suited our needs in this situation and we have recently extended its use into other lowlevel applications such as monitoring trunk main conditioning schemes. We have worked closely with SWAN and appreciate their approach to developing their instrumentation to meet our local needs. The provision of a pre-assembled, pre-tested instrument and the approach to instrument quality control are two examples of how we have benefitted from the collaboration; the latter is increasingly important as we now rely on these measurements so heavily to ensure our consumers can trust their tap water.” For a turbidimeter that is straightforward to use, provides reliable data and needs minimal maintenance install SWAN’s AMI Turbiwell.

Contact SWAN Analytical.

To discuss your requirements and to find out more about SWAN’s AMI Turbiwell call 01780 755 500 or email




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Water & Wastewater Monitoring & Analysis

A better, faster method for monitoring organic carbon concentration and composition in drinking water The primary role of a drinking water treatment plant is to provide clean, safe drinking water for consumers. Dissolved organic carbon levels are monitored and disinfectant chemicals are routinely added in order to remove organic matter. Not only are these chemicals a major source of expenditure for the water treatment plant, they also create the need to further measurement of disinfectant biproducts (DBPs), such as Trihalomethanes (THMs) which can be harmful. So, optimising the levels of use of these disinfectants is highly desirable. The Aqualog provides a simple, robust and reliable method which can be deployed throughout the water treatment process enabling levels of organic carbon levels (and composition) and DBP to be rapidly monitored. It has already provided huge costs savings at installations throughout The United States. The task is not trivial though as the levels of organic carbon in a supply can fluctuate greatly, even within a single, twenty-four hour period, depending on rainfall, snowmelt, waste water discharge, etc. To be able to minimise disinfectant dosing levels, scientists need rapid, reliable analyses which can be deployed throughout the water treatment process.

Better Technology

HORIBA Scientific’s Aqualog spectrofluorometer, which measures absorbance spectra and fluorescence Excitation-Emission Matrices simultaneously, gives the plant operators an instantaneous reading of this dissolved organic carbon concentration, and more importantly, its composition.

Aqualog Method v Conventional Methods Speed

The Aqualog, which incorporates a CCD fluorescence emission detector, has another important advantage. Most water treatment organic laboratories make daily measurements of dissolved organic carbons to keep track of their online monitoring systems, which use generally much simpler types of detectors. These detectors lack the depth of information needed to monitor their system. The Aqualog has a speed advantage in that you can make organic carbon or formation readings in just two or three minutes per sample. Other systems take 20 to 30 minutes to make these measurements and require a separate absorption measurement to get some idea of the composition. The Aqualog measures both absorption and excitation at the same time. “The Aqualog is the fastest scanning florescence system available,” says Dr Adam Gilmore , Aqualog Product Manager at HORIBA.


“We have customers who take hundreds of samples a day and they’re always measuring the absorbance and the fluorescence at the same time. The issue is they are primarily limited by their sample preparation. So, the biggest complaint about the Aqualog is that it measures faster than they can generate the samples.” An accessory “sipper” attachment is available for the Aqualog to take multiple sample measurements more efficiently. The clear, rapid reporting provided by the Aqualog enables optimised chemical usage.


annual chemical budget of a typical drinking water treatment plant. Chemical dosing needs to be applied only when the monitored levels are predicted to rise above pre-determined thresholds to ensure spending remains within the chemical budget for a given water treatment plant. “You can save up more than a quarter of a million dollars, or $300,000 a year of their $3,000,000 annual chemical budget,” Gilmore said. “It means that the Aqualog typically pays for itself in just a few months.“ For further information please contact

The Dissolved Organic Carbon (DOC) and enhanced Trihalomethanes (THM) formation predictive features of Aqualog have been documented to save on average 5-10% of the


A better, faster method for monitoring organic carbon concentration and composition in drinking water treatment plants

One stop analysis: Dissolved organic carbon / natural organic carbon Specific ultraviolet absorbance (SUVA) & A254 Disinfection by-products - Trihalomethane etc “We have been using Aqualog instrument on a daily basis to monitor our treatment process performance, disinfection by-product formation potential and chlorophyll and phycocyanin signature intensities. The ability to obtain multiple measures from a single instrument is convenient and effective.� Lori Silburt, Plant Manager Wheeling Water Treatment, West Virginia USA

Water & Wastewater Monitoring & Analysis

Real-time monitoring Launched last May at IFAT 2018 in Munich, Germany, the patent-pending Proteus BOD real-time biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) monitoring platform enables treatment works to measure the quantity of reactive organic matter in real time. Michael Oswell of Proteus Instruments explains how the monitor works and gives an overview of its significance in achieving operational efficiencies in water resource recovery facilities. Advanced monitoring improves understanding of organic matter dynamics

The organic load of wastewater treatment works varies markedly in concentration and composition across both space and time as it responds to different treatment processes or stages, such as raw water to final effluent, and population demand. A laboratory bioassay dating back to 1912, biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) is still the industry standard for measuring the quantity of reactive organic matter. The BOD test, also known as BOD5, is used to accurately measure dissolved oxygen at the beginning and end of a 5-day period in which the sample is held in dark, incubated conditions. BOD is currently used to assess the efficiency of wastewater treatment works to ensure that processes are optimized for cost and energy consumption. It also measures whether or not final effluents are below regulatory thresholds or below levels that would cause environmental damage. However, this testing method has a major drawback: the time lag that exists between sample collection and results. This delay prohibits real-time alerts and control that could provide substantial cost savings to the industry and valuable environmental protection. Having accepted that traditional BOD measurements are, by default, simply a snapshot of what happened 5 days ago and that environmental protection and damage may or may not have happened, it is worth considering some of the other issues of the BOD5 sampling test. Toxic substances, such as metals, can inhibit microbial respiration, and laboratory conditions fail to recreate natural processes. The results are therefore not always simple to interpret, as a low value can be due to high organic content that is not readily degraded or whose degradation is inhibited by toxins.


Figure 1: Excitation Emission Matrix (EEM) with tryptophan-like fluorescence peak highlighted by the red box.

Even in certified laboratories, accuracy can be as low as 30 percent uncertainty—and that figure only applies to the analytical component, which does not involve all of the potential issues involved with the sampling and transportation process. As BOD5 is inherently imprecise and has a high minimum detection limit, it cannot be used reliably to monitor clean or uncontaminated river water. Additionally, there is the risk of operator exposure to biohazards during sample collection and the potential for accidents around open water during the sampling process. Finally, in an age in which compliance, risk mitigation, and optimization are key, the BOD5 test is clearly not fit for purpose, even when real-time monitoring and process control is not required.

Solutions beyond BOD5

While BOD5 testing comes with several limitations, other options exist for monitoring the reactive organic load in real time via technologies including via SCADA, RS-232, SDI-12, and Modbus, among others. These technologies provide numerous advantages in a variety of applications including:

Wastewater treatment aeration optimization River pollution monitoring Pollution source tracing surveys Bathing water monitoring Borehole monitoring Industrial effluent discharge Combined sewage overflow (CSO) event detection Monitoring clean water systems for coliform ingress Agricultural runoff. Additionally, fluorescence spectroscopy provides the ability to monitor in real time using a selective and sensitive optical technique enabling in situ, real-time measurement of dissolved organic matter. Molecules absorb light of a specific wavelength, and orbiting electrons are excited to a higher energy state. The electrons then emit light of a specific wavelength to return to the base state.

A laboratory bioassay dating back to 1912, biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) is still the industry standard for measuring the quantity of reactive organic matter. The BOD test, also known as BOD5, is used to accurately measure dissolved oxygen at the beginning and end of a 5-day period in which the sample is held in dark, incubated conditions. 34


Water & Wastewater Monitoring & Analysis

The use of fluorescence spectroscopy as a technique for the rapid assessment of organic matter quality and quantity in wastewater is an effective tool for monitoring treatment processes and assessing efficiency. Studies have highlighted that tryptophan-like fluorescence (TLF), a fluorescence signal associated with amino acids, proteins, and phenols, is strongly related to BOD concentration across the treatment process. The TLF peak is generally associated with excitation at approximately 280 nanometers (nm) and emission at approximately 350 nm, as shown by the red box in Figure 1 on the Excitation Emission Matrix (EEM). However, analysis of TLF has, until recently, required sample collection and transport to a laboratory for analysis on spectrofluorometers, which are expensive, large and power-hungry.

The Proteus BOD monitoring platform

Since 2013, Proteus Instruments and Birmingham University have developed and rigorously tested the Proteus BOD, a fluorescence-based, real-time platform that monitors BOD and chemical oxygen demand (COD). By combining a miniaturized LED-based TLF sensor, thermistor, and turbidity sensor, the Proteus BOD is able to provide users with

highly accurate and reliable real-time BOD/ COD measurements and when fitted with a second, optional, fluorometer the Proteus BOD can be configured to measure Dissolved Oxygen Demand (DOC) and Total Organic Carbon (TOC). The sensor is embedded with robust correction algorithms to account for signal interference associated with temperature and turbidity variability. The Proteus BOD comes equipped with a standard factory BOD/COD and/or DOC/TOC calibration derived from installations across a diverse range of applications that can be customized for specific monitoring sites to optimize accuracy. The sensor platform also has an integrated wiper for cleaning all optical windows to eradicate fouling in demanding environments, thus reducing the need for user intervention and ensuring a stable baseline for long-term deployments. The Proteus BOD is “low drift” allowing accuracy to be maintained for long periods only requiring calibration every 6-12 months. It is deployable into a wide range of environments including inlets, effluents, reservoirs, and boreholes. Its modular design enables a wide range of additional parameters to be recorded concurrently, (e.g. temperature, turbidity, pH, conductivity, optical DO, TOC, DOC, chlorophyll a, ORP, ammonia and many others) and it is highly sensitive to detect very

low concentrations for use in clean water and wastewater systems. In addition to industrial applications, research organizations are using the sensor package to improve their understanding of reactive organic matter dynamics. Researchers at the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFOR) in the United Kingdom, for example, purchased two units for a long-term monitoring project and are pleased with the sensor stability and accuracy. BIFOR Research Fellow Dr. Phillip Blaen says, “The low maintenance requirements due to the integrated wiper and infrequent calibration requirements make the Proteus ideal for longterm monitoring of organic matter.” The patent-pending Proteus BOD is a versatile sensing unit that can provide real-time BOD data alongside traditional parameters, thus incorporating environmental sensing needs into a single, easily deployable, lowmaintenance monitoring platform. The comprehensive savings associated with the Proteus BOD include reduced laboratory costs, reduced likelihood of fines and reputational damage, energy savings through process optimization, and additional BOD sampling cost savings. The Proteus BOD has the potential to change the way reactive organic matter loads are monitored globally while improving reliability, accuracy and resolution.


Water & Wastewater Monitoring & Analysis


Meeting contemporary industry challenges Water companies are under immense pressure to do more with less, improving the quality and quantity of the water they supply – without passing the cost onto their customers. In fact, the expectation is that water companies will reduce costs wherever possible. Equipment that is fit for purpose, reliable and accurate is a necessity if water companies are to meet this challenge and deliver good quality drinking water to their customers. The ideal is to find a system that enables them to meet the exacting standards expected by customers and regulators - whilst reducing costs at the same time.

Limitations of existing equipment

Shortcomings exist with much of the equipment available, as no single sensor is able to measure every single water quality parameter. Given the parameters change from time to time, the situation is even more complex, which frequently results in an expanding wall of measuring instrumentation incorporating a diverse range of sensors. Typically, each sensor demands a different setup, operation and maintenance, and has a separate menu to negotiate - a scenario which is far from user-friendly and can lead to an ungainly system that is neither efficient or cost-effective.


One manufacturer, however, is treading a different path, allowing a wide variety of parameters to be measured in a single system.

Decades of experience

For over 70 years, Bürkert has focused their attention on manufacturing measurement and control systems for liquids and gases, their experience in a wide range of industries means the insights they’ve gleaned can be deployed in other applications and sectors. Today, their specialist automated equipment is utilised in the food and beverage, gas, microfluidics and water treatment sectors. Bürkert Fluid Control Systems are employed around the world, making hygienic water supplies available to numerous households and businesses. Despite being over 2500 personnel strong, they are a family-owned business, and their independence is central to their operations. Driven by a continual desire for improvement, the Bürkert team are always developing new

solutions for applications - addressing some of the water industry’s most pressing concerns.

State-of-the-art instrumentation

Bürkert specialises in instrumentation that assists in the measuring, dosing, mixing, filtration, controlling, setting and regulating the processing of fluids, including water - providing analytics that drive business improvements. Located in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, their 35 strong UK team are well placed to advise and support businesses across the UK. Their Type 8905 – Online Analysis System for drinking water has just launched in the UK. As the name suggests, this online measuring instrument has the capability to analyse a wide range of water quality parameters providing accurate information in real time. Applications of the Type 8905 system include drinking water monitoring and control, filtration processes, process water treatment for industrial applications, horticulture/ irrigation and fish farming, amongst others.


Water & Wastewater Monitoring & Analysis


2 An adaptable, accurate system

Put simply, the system is made up of a series of cubes, each one measuring a different parameter and each one being its own transmitter – meaning it is a particularly versatile and robust platform. The modular design can be adapted depending on the specific water quality parameters laid out in the water authority’s framework or application needs. Due to its modular design Bürkert can customise the Type 8905 to meet the needs of each customer, as they have done at WW Öhringen, where a tailored version was supplied enabling all measurements to fit within one cabinet. Encompassing seven sample water lines, two turbidity sensors with automated cleaning systems for each channel and ClO2 sensors for disinfectant measurement of incoming water, the unit proved a practical solution in space saving and cost reduction.

Easy integration

The Type 8905 Online Analysis System utilises CANopen communication protocol and device profile specifications – for easy integration with the client’s existing systems, including data management. A common menu format is utilised, making the system easy to navigate and where extra sensor cubes are added, these are connected to a single display unit, with the high resolution 7" touch screen facilitating operation and visualisation. The straightforward design and user interface makes it particularly easy to utilise. PH, turbidity, ORP, conductivity, and chlorine are just some of the parameters that can be measured by the Type 8905 Online Analysis System. More sensors are in development, with a view to extending the range to include iron and water hardness, amongst others.

3 but it is also future-proofed – allowing for additional modules to be added to over time.


8905 Panel Öhringen site – 7 sample lines, 14 sensors

One system, three solutions


Grand Poitiers Water Works Compact 8905 – 1 sample line, 3 sensors


Field unit – dual validation of 1 sample line, 2 sensors with capactiy for a third


Turbidity cube transmitter – calibrated without formazin

Available in a number of different formats, the Type 8905 Online Analysis System includes a Cabinet Solution, a Compact System and a Field Unit - all of which provide stable sensor technology, necessitating less intervention and maintenance. The Type 8905 Cabinet Solution is extremely flexible in terms of size or configuration, with the number of sample lines limited only by the size of the panel. The cleaning system is also located within the panel wherever space permits. The 8905 Compact Solution accommodates up to six sensors, configured as one line fitted with all six sensors or two lines each fitted with three sensors. The display, power supply, outputs and modules are located in the upper housing, whilst the MZ20 cleaning system is located on the exterior of the compact housing.

Put to the test

A good case in point is the 8905 installation at WW Niedernhall. Here the Compact System was installed with a single integrated display for intuitive and full operation of all the measurements. No wiring or pipes were needed between the single measurements and it was found that the compact design could replace a 3.5 metre wall of varied measuring equipment.

Field Unit comes to the fore for dual validation applications

The Type 8905 Field Unit comprises of a device stripped away from any housing and mounted directly on a rail, minimising downtime and disruption as it is quick and easy to install, with little additional wiring or pipework.

Moreover, the stability, accuracy and repeatability of the system has been proven at sites around the world.

The Sensors are commissioned using a CANopen access point and complimentary software, which reduces the cost of commissioning and maintaining the device still further. The direct interface means the Field Unit integrates with a personal or laptop computer, for the initial set up, so a display unit is not a necessity. However, the versatile design also allows for optional, extra displays and outputs which can be fed directly to a PLC and to be added where desired.

Whilst the modular system is not only versatile, integrating well with other systems,

Easily deployed, especially for dual or triple validation applications, the Field Unit proves

Environmental benefits

The optimal design means that a good velocity of water is created by a smaller water sample – meaning less water is taken out of the supply and sent to drain than with other systems – which has environmental benefits.

much easier and lower cost than more traditional systems. Particularly well suited to locations off the beaten track – the Field Unit minimises installation and maintenance time, thereby allowing operations to continue smoothly and cost-effectively.

Benefits of Bürkert solutions

Bürkert’s online analysis system for drinking water has many benefits, firstly, from a practical point of view, the small footprint makes it practical and straightforward to integrate into existing water treatment facilities. Moreover, the modular design means it is futureproofed and can be added to when required. Compared with traditional sample boards, a reduced capital investment is necessitated, due to the minimal pipework and wiring required. Whilst installation costs and time are reduced due to the simple plug and play design. Commissioning costs too, are kept to an absolute minimum as most of the software commissioning is completed off-site. Over time, operator costs are also reduced, as calibration is simple with on-screen support. Lower maintenance costs are also achieved, as the sensor technology is both stable and reliable, whilst cleaning is automatic – requiring less operator intervention. In addition, the smaller water samples utilised and sent to drain require less re-processing and lower energy consumption, which is good for the operator and good for the environment too. Feedback received from across the globe, suggests that this modular cube-based system is unlike anything else on the market – providing reliable and stable sensors which work repeatedly, effectively and costefficiently.


A new collaboration adds to the company portfolio Eliquo Hydrok have agreed an exclusive distribution association with Biogest AG from Germany to bring together their combined expertise from national and international markets for storm water solutions to the UK and Eire.

Keeping our customers protected and compliant

The Adler & Allan Group offers an holistic service to the water utilities industry to provide compliance and protection. Our services include: • 24-7/365 Emergency Response and Advice • Asset Protection including flood mitigation • Ecology and environmental monitoring • Planned Preventative Maintenance • Land remediation • Tank Services including testing, cleaning, coatings and installations • Pollution Control – interceptor cleaning and installation, alarms and gauge testing

Speaking on behalf of Biogest, Thorsten Neuerer, Sales Director said, “The combining of the expertise of the two companies, with their strong product portfolios, brings a single point contact for UK and Eire clients to a comprehensive range of internationally acclaimed storm water solutions from both companies”. To discuss the available wastewater management solutions that Eliquo Hydrok now offer then visit the website or email to set up an initial discussion, or call 01326 861900.

Get in touch with us today on 0800 592 827 or email or visit to find out more

Advert Dec 2018.indd 1

David Armstrong, MD of Eliquo Hydrok said “with our expansion and ongoing development within the storm water market, there has been requirement for our company to strategically seek to expand and advance our product solutions portfolio. To this end, we are delighted to have formed a new agreement with Biogest AG from Taunistein in Germany. This new partnership enables Eliquo Hydrok to offer a technically advanced range of storm water solutions including flow control units, storm tank cleansing systems and associated hardware. These technologies, coupled with Eliquo Hydrok’s “in house” storm water management portfolio, will enable the delivery of complete solutions to existing and new clients. We now look forward to a strong future with Biogest and to a relationship of ongoing product developments”.

21/11/2018 09:18:42

Type 8905 - Online Analysis System Type 8905 Online Analysis System is a compact and modular system for monitoring all important water parameters on one platform. The Type 8905 is a multichannel multifunction unit for the Bürkert sensor cubes and electronic modules from the CANopen based EDIP (Efficient Device Integration Platform) platform. This allows the high flexibility by using modularity in the hardware as well as in the software of the system. The 8905 is the device for continuous analysis of the most important water parameters: - pH - chlorine/chlorine dioxide - conductivity - ORP - turbidity - temperature. This modularity allows the measuring system to be assembled according to customer requirements and enables simple installation/configuration, operation and maintenance. For analysis applications for drinking water and fresh water in industrial processes MEMS technologies allows minimal footprint and minimum sample water demand Contact Sales e:

Prepared for fieldbus connectivity, remote operation and remote maintenance Modular sensor and electronic system: - up to 6 measurements in one compact housing - up to 30 analysis sensor cubes in one büS system

t: +44 (0) 1285 648 720

A versatile & modular design, offering proven repeatable and accurate drinking water analysis




Ofwat calls for fairer, faster, more hassle free compensation for water customers Water regulator Ofwat has recommended an overhaul of compensation arrangements for water customers who are left off supply.

Ofwat has today also written to four water companies (Thames Water, Severn Trent, Southern Water and South East Water) which were asked to provide a detailed, externally audited, action plan setting out how they are addressing the issues identified in Ofwat’s review. As temperatures continue to fall, Ofwat has warned all water companies of the need to be better prepared to deal with all weather conditions, including thinking more carefully about identifying and supporting those in vulnerable circumstances like the elderly and people with serious medical conditions.

The proposed changes, which come on the back of the regulator’s review into water companies’ handling of the ‘Beast from the East’ earlier this year, would see compensation payments for household customers increase to £30 for every 12 hour period they are left off supply. At present, the Guaranteed Standards Scheme (GSS) entitles household customers to £20 after 12 hours without supply and a further £10 for every additional 24 hours they do not have water. In addition to increased levels of compensation, further reforms proposed by Ofwat include: Requiring compensation payments to be automatic, cutting out the need for

Ofwat Chief Executive, Rachel Fletcher said: “Being left without a crucial public service like running water causes disruption and hardship and compensation arrangements should reflect the impact on people’s lives. customers to go through the process of applying once their water has been restored; and, Removing a provision that delays payments to customers where supply interruptions have been caused by a burst or leak involving a ‘strategic main’.

“The reforms we are proposing today will aim to ensure that compensation for future supply interruptions is fair, fast and free from hassle. “As the mercury begins to fall once again, we expect all water companies to have learned serious lessons from this year’s ‘Beast from the East’ and to be better prepared to look after their customers, whatever the weather brings.”

Transparent Yorkshire Water releases water quality data Yorkshire Water has released its first set of data under its Openness Charter as it looks to make more information about its operations easily accessible to customers. The firm announced earlier this year that it would be a completely open data company by 2020 and after consulting with customers created an Openness Charter Report. Yorkshire Water worked with its customers on the report to ensure that the data which will be released will be of relevance to them. The principles of the Openness Charter received backing from customers consulted, with 85% supportive of Yorkshire Water being more open and transparent. The report showed that customers thought that the most important data set to be released was the quality of drinking, so the company made that a priority. Yorkshire Water collects and treats 1.3 billion litres of water a day. To report data to the Drinking Water Inspectorate, the company

split the region into 65 water supply zones, with samples routinely taken from customers’ taps within each zone. Yorkshire Water has published up to date data summary which can now be viewed on its website opennesscharter while customers can use its Water Quality Lookup Tool to find out what the water quality from their tap is like Richard Emmott, director of communication at Yorkshire Water, said: “As a provider of essential public services, our customers have a right to know how we are performing and what could be more important that for them than to be able to check the quality of drinking water which they use and enjoy every day.

“Our customers have clearly told us that they support this initiative and we will progressively publish more and more information for them to be able to scrutinise our performance. A well as the quality data, we have also just published five years of pollution incident reports on https:// so customers can see how we manage escapes from the waste water network and attempt to mitigate their impact on the environment.” The company is also soon due to publish its ethnic pay gap and workforce diversity data and will publish details of microplastics in the supply system shortly. For more on the Openness Charter please go to opennesscharter


Improving Customer Experience

Harness customer feedback for business success The water industry is under immense pressure to change, so in this issue, we speak to Guy Letts, Founder and MD of CustomerSure, about how customer feedback can drive business success.

Are we winning market share or is it declining? Are customers trusting us more and increasing their spend on additional services?

Welcome feedback

“Welcoming and responding effectively to customer feedback was by far the most effective initiative I found in many years of being accountable for customer service, in terms of the impact it had on the company’s performance. But what I also found is that although customers love to give feedback, the bad news is that they hate the way most companies collect it.

Guy is well placed to offer us insights into how and why the water industry needs to embrace customer feedback, for he’s spent much of his career helping businesses to improve their customer relations, including a spell as Head of Services at FTSE 100 company, Sage. “The pressures of competition and compliance are the driving forces propelling the water industry today. Different companies are responding to these pressures in different ways and this is very much down to their company culture,” explains Guy. “How a company serves their customers and responds to feedback is an opportunity to create a strong competitive advantage – and in an industry where competition is being introduced and margins are slim, it’s important to get it right.”

Put customers first

“Doing the best job for your customers is seen as the route to commercial success in some organisations – but in many others service isn’t the strongest influence. “Back in the 1980’s when I first began working, I was fortunate to start work at a fabulous British technology company that was a leader in their field, known for the quality of its technical work and its great service. Yet we never used the term ‘customer service’ – we simply put the customer first and on the odd occasions that something went wrong, we fixed it at no cost to the customer. “This customer-focused ethos was one of the company’s greatest assets and it gave me a good grounding. Since then, I’ve specialised in helping companies to be more successful by embracing customer feedback .”

The role of company culture

“Customer service is largely determined by company culture and changing that can be difficult – it has to be led from the top. A company’s leaders set the pace. Their own behaviours, and what they choose to measure


Guy Letts and reward people for, drive the culture. “In an aggressively sales-focused environment, it’s very difficult to champion service from a mid-level role as you are going against the grain. There is little hope of change unless the leadership wants to change. “Conversely, where there is an ethos of customer service set from the top, your team will be empowered to take initiatives that deliver excellent service, knowing that if anything is challenged, their motives will be understood and they’ll receive support.”

Choose targets with care

“Targets are crucial, but people often choose the wrong ones. Perhaps surprisingly, targets tied to service are particularly ill-conceived because they are a poor proxy for genuine customer satisfaction. When people are incentivised to reach a target, they’ll find a way to make the numbers look good, regardless of what’s really happening. “As Goodhart’s law suggests, when a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure. “So of course you should be measuring customer satisfaction, but better targets for water companies to set in the new era of competition are ones which directly relate to financial performance, such as: Are we retaining customers? At what rate are we acquiring new customers?

“Providing feedback must be easy for customers. Busy service professionals frequently fear that if they make the process easy, they’ll have more work to do – but this is far from being the case – making the feedback process difficult is a huge mistake. “The reason making feedback easy is so effective is that it takes away the guesswork. If you are successfully measuring and acting on customer feedback quickly, by definition you are doing what your customers want and you are providing investment where it’s needed most.”

Annual survey shortcomings

“Companies frequently run annual customer surveys and collate the findings but don’t act on individual problems. We often find that companies have received cries for help that have been ignored, so issues that could have been resolved at an early stage escalate into far more significant and time-consuming problems. “Annual surveys can have a place, but they don’t allow you to act on feedback when it matters most to your customers. Instead of running an annual survey, ask yourself, when do customers want to give feedback? “You’ll find there are key moments that this is the case – for example when a customer has opened a new account, received a bill, has had a meter installed or in the event of an emergency. Enable customers to give feedback when they want to and make doing so a great experience. “Have the confidence to abandon the traditional ways of doing things and simplify your processes – it is dramatically effective. You don’t need masses of data: Provide your customers with three or four scored questions about the factors that are most important to


Improving Customer Experience

them and a comments box – it’s as simple as that and you’ll know whether they are happy or not, and why.”

Act on feedback

“The reason that responding to customer feedback often isn’t done well is that it is typically led by market researchers – who are skilled at market research – but don’t hold the keys to improving service. Measuring satisfaction is less than half the job – what you do next is the magic ingredient – if you get it right. “When you receive feedback, think through what customers would reasonably expect you to do – avoid giving customers the standard reply about their feedback being important to you, instead act quickly and decisively to address their concerns. “Avoid further calls on the same issue. If something has gone wrong on that day – resolve it on that day. By acting quickly, you’ll find that much of your work falls away and you’ll make savings in terms of the time and resources taken up resolving ongoing issues. People fear that making customer feedback easy will increase the workload, but in fact, the opposite is true. “Fixing the problems about which you receive feedback is the most effective way of improving customer satisfaction. Conversely, collating feedback but not acting on it defeats the purpose of collecting that data – you don’t fatten a pig by weighing it.”

“How a company serves their customers and responds to feedback is an opportunity to create a strong competitive advantage - and in an industry where competition is being introduced and margins are slim, it’s important to get it right.”

Looking forward

“Commercially and compliance-wise, the water industry is changing. Companies are compelled to improve their customer service and to achieve this, they need to listen to customer feedback and act on it swiftly. “Giving feedback should be a good experience for your customers. Make it easy, make it pleasant and your customers will thank you – and you’ll reap the benefits of improved customer satisfaction and retention. The key to high quality insights and high response rates is to make giving feedback a great experience for your customers. That’s the principle that inspired our product. “We have a 100% track record of our feedback software working for all of our customers – they find it liberating, that it reduces their workload, allowing their efforts to be focused on what their customers need. That’s why we’ve been voted the best customer feedback solution by 3,700 customer service professionals – the largest impartial survey of its kind. “If you think there is something in what I am saying, trial our software in a small way – it doesn’t have to be all or nothing – just dip your toe in the water and see the benefits. We are here to support you and we are not like every other software company you know.”


Improving Customer Experience

Every customer matters Sue Lindsay, Wessex Water’s director of customer policy and engagement, outlines the company’s commitment to improving the customer experience for all. I have been working in the water industry for nearly 30 years and it’s great to see just how much desire there is within water and other sectors to make sure we provide a service that’s inclusive and accessible for everyone. In September we published Every Customer Matters – An Inclusive Service for All. This is Wessex Water’s strategy for customers in vulnerable circumstances through to 2025. Every Customer Matters isn’t new for us. We have always focussed on delivering the best customer experience, but we’ve recently reviewed and revamped our strategy in partnership with our customers, stakeholders, partners and advisers. These partnerships are crucial and longstanding, nurtured over time to ensure we’re listening to everyone and delivering a strategy that works for all. It’s vital our partners play an active role in the creation and delivery of our services.

The Partner Hub

We have more than 200 partners, both local and national, working with us in in one way or another. As the number grows, we need to be able to serve them in different ways. A first for the industry, our new digital Partner Hub is part of our drive to improve two-way engagement with our partners and give them more opportunities to self-serve. Co-created with our partners, this online platform provides them with the ability to order a range of free standard or bespoke resources to raise awareness of our support schemes, information on all our support schemes with links to online application forms, news bulletins, information on our


funded community projects and online applications for funding, updates and details for community events and a booking service for Wessex Water staff attendance at events and free training. Feedback from users is helping us develop additional content and functionality due to launch early next year.

An inclusive service

We know people don’t like to think of themselves as vulnerable, and most of us probably think the term could never apply to us. The reality is that anyone can become vulnerable at any time for a short or long period of time. It may be due to age, physical or mental illness, literacy, unemployment, digital exclusion or just a sudden change in circumstances like a bereavement or divorce. That’s why the starting point for our strategy is not to define or categorise vulnerability but to build our service on the basis that every customer matters, always. We’re proud to have staff who are caring and sensitive, who can show compassion and think beyond the situation in hand. They are trained and empowered to identify signs of vulnerability and always go the extra mile. We give them the right ‘tools’, confidence and awareness to deal with complex situations they may come across on the phone or when face to face with customers.

Reaching our customers

People can find it very hard to admit they need our help, so we must be able to recognise when they do and make sure customers are aware of the support on offer to them. At Wessex Water we are better equipped than ever to reach and support people in vulnerable circumstances. And that number is growing. The latest research from StepChange shows that two in five of their clients were behind on at least one of their essential household bills in 2017. They estimate that more than three million people fell behind on their essential household bills in the last 12 months. They also highlight that certain groups are particularly at risk of falling into arrears, including young people who are more likely to see a squeeze on incomes as a result of rising living costs and insecure work. A staggering 9.3 million people used credit to cover household need in 2017, up from 8.8 million in 2016. Within our strategy we’ve listed more than 50 initiatives, under four workstreams, that will help us raise awareness and increase take up of our support over the next few years. Many of these build on our successes and learning so far. We’ve made a series of commitments to increase the numbers on our support schemes and retain external endorsements for our approach. By using data wisely, layering multiple internal and external data sets together to identify hot spots in our region, we’ve been able to target

For example, we’ve worked with Wiltshire Mind to develop an engaging and bespoke mental health training package that is delivered to all customer-facing staff. A version of our mental health training video appeared on our website and social media channels to raise awareness further. Other specialist training has included spotting the signs of financial difficulty and Dementia Friends, which ensures we properly understand some of the challenges faced by people living with dementia.



Improving Customer Experience

promotional work effectively. Through community engagement and funding local community projects with our partners we have been able to break down barriers and reach those who otherwise might not have been heard. By working with energy companies who operate in our geographical region, we are sharing information so that customers only need to tell us once that they need support. As an industry we’re moving towards full national data sharing with energy by 2020 which is a huge step forward.

Tailored support

At Wessex we go beyond what might be expected of a water company. For example, we’ve been working with foodbanks across our region to support some of our poorest families.

Every Customer An in clu siv e Matters service for all

We train their volunteers so they know about our affordability schemes and Priority Services and encourage people to apply, and we include promotional flyers for these schemes inside food bags. Our staff have enjoyed going along to help pack and distribute food parcels themselves. For financially vulnerable customers, we have a wide range of schemes and low-rate tariffs to help people afford their ongoing water charges and repay any debts – along with practical help to reduce water and energy use. Our main social tariff, Assist, offers customers a reduction of up to 90% off their water bills. We wrap all this support up as Tap (tailored assistance programme) to signal that our affordability assistance is tailored to meet customers’ individual circumstances and their ability to pay. Following further consultation with our customers and stakeholders, we introduced our Pension Credit Discount in April 2016. This offers low-income pensioners, the ‘just about managing’, up to 20% off their bills. In April of this year we introduced ‘Assist for Organisations’, having been approached by a charity that houses younger adults moving out of the care system. Assist is now available to those not-for-profit organisations so they can pass bill discounts on to those vulnerable young adults who are on very low incomes. In addition, we offer customers help to repay their debt and get back on track through our Restart programme. Restart rewards the customer for paying their bill and, importantly, leads to a sustainable change in payment behaviour. More broadly, customers with additional needs can join our Priority Services register and we will take account of their needs in our dealings with them – be it billing worries, communication difficulties or extra support

requirements if there is an interruption to the water supply.

memory loss, sight loss and other challenging conditions.

All our support for customers in vulnerable circumstances is set out as a series of service promises and, again, collaboration is key. Over the past year 23 organisations have reviewed the service we promise to offer now and into the future and allowed us to use their logos as a stamp of approval.

There are also around seven million carers in the UK – that’s one in 10 people – and that number is rising. Three in five people will be carers at some point in their lives in the UK.

The future

By 2030, the number of people over the age of 60 is expected to rise to 20 million. This will inevitably lead to huge increases in the number of people with dementia,

For all of the advances in healthcare, these numbers illustrate the scale of the issues that we face in the years to come and the importance of making sure our service is inclusive to all. For more information:


ITS Stonbury’s digital technologies strengthen client and customer communication and engagement.

If you manage several projects for a large

works within both the clean water and wastewater sectors.

infrastructure provider, every day you probably

They currently hold multiple framework contracts with 15

face complex issues around the attendance of

works for all other UK water companies and their civil

of the UK’s leading water companies and carries out similar

site visits and keeping on top of the progress

engineering partners.

of the works. There really is just never enough

A solution was required that would provide clients with the ability

time in the day and the logistics of a site visit

to monitor multiple sites from their desk, tablet or mobile. In

can be costly, as well as time-consuming, before you even reach the busy motorways.

2004, Stonbury launched a brand new software system to do this, Client Portal. The results were profound. Clients are able to login to individual projects and access live updates of works on their sites. A commenting feature allows site staff and project management to communicate throughout the job. Other features

Industry first

allow the users to view and store audit, testing, quotation, safety

Stonbury’s CEO James Stonor observed the challenge of keeping

and any other documents that may be important in creating a

clients updated on the progress of their projects and how site

complete online project archive.

visits were an inefficient use of time and resource. He also understood the impacts on loss of close client engagement and

Water industry clients found that communication cycles were

its effects on the high standard of customer service Stonbury

shortened, and project costs were reduced considerably. Soon

prides itself in.

companies were calling for additional innovative tools to manage projects and assets; they were also asking how they could

As a specialist contractor striving for continuous

acquire the portal for use with their own clients.

improvement, Stonbury has worked hard to transform the legacy of project management and communications. The

Stonbury did not stop there and it is believed that they were

challenges that Stonbury have developed technologies for, have

the very first water industry company to use and store site files

created an unparalleled complementary digital technology

electronically. No more messy paperwork and time consuming

stream to the business.

data entry. This software saw Stonbury reporting substantial cost savings and production efficiencies.

The strength of Stonbury’s tech solutions for engaging utility clients and local communities during project works,

Following the success of Client Portal, Stonbury were set the

is underpinned by decades of experience operating as a

task of creating another version of the portal, designed to

specialist contractor to the water industry. Stonbury has

communicate directly to Northumbrian Waters Customers, as a

undertaken new build, refurbishment, repair and maintenance

public facing portal. The success of this project ultimately




“The introduction of ‘intouch’ takes our in-house engineering and digital technology expertise to the interface with utility customers, which will be of critical importance for water companies in hitting their regulatory targets in AMP7” James Stonor CEO

around leakage targets. In collaboration with Northumbrian Water, a new feature within Community Portal was launched and their customers are now able to report leaks online. Customers can also follow the progress of the repair works related to any leaks that have been reported. Linzie Pentleton, Asset Investment Programme Manager - NWG said, “The community portal is an excellent way to communicate with customers ensuring they all get the same message at the same time, the portals ease of use makes communicating with the project team and customers more efficient in delivering excellent customer service getting it right first time every time.”

led to the creation of ITS Stonbury, a small company with a team

Making a digital d ifference

of experienced developers, dedicated to creating solutions for

Digital technology is a fast-moving world and ITS Stonbury is

companies within the water and construction industry.

certainly not standing still. Another development in the pipeline

Community portal The development of the customer facing portal ‘intouch’ for

is Stonbury World, an internal management system that brings together all business areas to increase project management across the company.

NWG became known as ‘Community Portal’, which is featured on the Essex & Suffolk and Northumbrian Water website.

The bespoke software will include functions for the management

Developed in collaboration with Northumbrian Water and

of all aspects of the business including records for human

another first for the water industry, ‘intouch’ enables water

resources, clients, projects, sites, assets and equipment. It

companies to share project information and progress with

will also include the Stonbury World App which replaces their

their customers and local communities.

electronic site files system – eSite. This will be a cloud service

Affected residents, business owners and commuters all have easy access to the project information along with real-time diary updates for the progress of the works and a schedule of expected completion dates. Water companies are also able to notify customers of any potential disruptions. Customer contact

that stores details, including health and safety records ready for download as required. As with all ITS Stonbury software, security is of the utmost importance and the usual security processes for encrypted data in cloud software are in place, with additional access control and permissions, where required.

centres and social media managers can quickly divert enquiries

James Stonor said, “Through the commercialisation of

to the portal, where any questions or concerns can be posted

‘inprogress’ and eSite we are using over a decade of experience in

using the comments function. For those who may be affected

digital site management to benefit utilities and other engineering

by site works, the portal allows customers to follow and engage

companies. Modern cloud-based systems make firms still using

in project progress. Many other benefits can be seen from the use of Community Portal, including substantial cost savings for

only paper-based site files old fashioned in the digital era.”

the water company. It also allows utilities to be proactive, which

“The introduction of ‘intouch’ takes our in-house engineering and

consequently drives up customer satisfaction, whilst rapidly

digital technology expertise to the interface with utility customers,

reducing both the time spent on each enquiry and the multiple

which will be of critical importance for water companies in hitting

contacts that expose utilities to regulatory penalties.

their regulatory targets in AMP7. These are exciting developments,

With PR19 being next in line to create challenges within the industry, ITS and Northumbrian Water Group are continually

not only for ITS Stonbury, but for the whole water industry.” If you think your company would benefit from these technologies,

developing solutions within the Community Portal, to not only

you can contact the ITS Team on or visit

improve customer experience, but to also address the issue

their website on

Wastewater Treatment & Technology

Alternative coagulants: swapping metals for plant-based alternatives Becci Bragg, from the Science and Optimisation team at South West Water, demonstrates how using more environmentally friendly plant-based alternatives to metal ion coagulants are being introduced and tested at wastewater sites. Over the last 10 years, the use of metal ion coagulants has been increasing within wastewater treatment. This has partly been driven by tightening regulations surrounding phosphorus, which if present in rivers and streams, can lead to serious ecological problems through the excessive growth of algae. Within the South West Water catchment area, the use of metal based coagulants also help with extreme variations in loading associated with the local tourism industry, where the population can nearly double in certain locations during the summer months. While the use of metals in wastewater is strictly regulated and monitored through operator self-monitoring (OSM) methods, there are several environmental and local concerns associated with its use. The use of metal is non-renewable, often travelling long distances. Aluminium is also toxic to fish when present in certain quantities and pH conditions. Drinking water within the South West Water catchment is largely sourced from moorland rivers and reservoirs and is therefore typically soft, with low pHs and very little buffering. As a result, the use of aluminium based coagulants typically depresses the pH outside of the optimal range for sewage treatment and additional buffering (carbonate or bicarbonate ions) is therefore required. Added to that, wastewater treatment sites are often widely dispersed and discharge into small inland watercourses, meaning discharge permits can have tight limits. Organic materials have long been used to clarify drinking water for centuries, dating back as early as 2000BC. One of the most effective and well documented organic coagulants is the seeds from the Moringa oleifera tree, a fast growing, drought resistant tree native to tropical regions like India.


Studies dating back from the early 70s demonstrate that the seed kernels are highly effective in reducing suspended solids in turbid waters. The plant is widely cultivated for its seeds, which are pressed to extract a type of oil known as Ben oil. These seeds from the Moringa oleifera tree work well as a coagulant due to the positively charged, water soluble proteins, which bind to negatively charged particles, in the same way that the metal coagulants work. However, these Moringa seeds are not readily available here in the UK, and the long transport route defeated the teams aim for a truly sustainable alterative. The science and optimisation team set out on a mission to find seeds readily available here in the UK that might work similarly to Moringa. Seeds used in commercial oil production, were selected for initial laboratory tests, including hemp, pumpkin, linseed and sunflower seeds. Using these seeds against a commonly used control metal coagulant, polyaluminium chloride (PACL), a lab trial began in the search for a viable plant based alterative coagulant. Initial trials quickly ruled out the dried ground hemp, linseed and sunflower seeds, as they proved too oily to produce a useful coagulant and removal of these oils would prove costly. Although there was little evidence pointing towards their effectiveness in wastewater, soybeans were introduced to the trial as they too presented some similarities to Moringa. Soy and pumpkin seeds were compared to our most frequently used PACL coagulant to treat effluent from a plastic media biological percolating filter. Trials indicated that soybeans were the most effective coagulant at removing solids from the turbid waters and surprisingly, they were

found to be even more effective than the control metal coagulant, PACL. Pumpkin seeds were also effective, and in some doses, found to be more effective than the control PACL. This development was highly encouraging, given that soy growth in the UK has been on the increase, making it a highly viable and sustainable source. Even more encouragingly, the trial suggests that the sludge formed using the seeds (particularly the soy) was far denser and has the potential to form a much more stable sludge blanket than that created with PACL. Turbidity (Palin*) at varying dose rates 5 mg/l

10 mg/l

15 mg/l

20 mg/l
















Table 1 – Summary of the Trial Results (* Palin turbidity tubes provide a subjective form of turbidity measurement.) This could provide far greater process stability when the wastewater treatment works experiences rapid changes in flow. In turn, this means less metals entering the environment and a more digester friendly sludge, which could potentially increase gas yields.


Wastewater Treatment & Technology

Becci Bragg with the results of the QP33 organic coagulant at Callington Wastewater Treatment Works, Cornwall

South West Water spends approximately £1.5million annually on metal coagulants and this study provided an influential starting point for further investigation. While these early results are highly promising, converting what has been found in the lab to a viable large-scale operation is a challenging one. In collaboration with coagulant provider Taytech Environmental Limited, a different organic product (tannin based) sustainably sourced from the tree known as Acacia mearnsii, was found commercially available for use as a coagulant, and named QP33. Acacia mearnsii is a fast growing but shortlived tree, found in many warm countries across the globe. While the tannin is not native to the UK, the ability to source this product on a large scale readily from Taytech Environmental Limited presented an ideal opportunity to test the product outside of the laboratory and at wastewater treatment site. The jar tests for this product gave impressive results, performing at least as well as the aluminium coagulants they were tested against. The QP33 was put through a full-scale trial at South West Water’s Callington Wastewater Treatment Works (WWTW), located in East Cornwall, an area with an extensive mining history, with both banks of the river Tamar having supplied much of the worlds copper and tin, at times, over the last 4,000 years.

The laboratory test: polyaluminium chloride (PACL; left) versus soybeans (right) The site has periodically suffered with denitrification in the single final settlement tank (FST), resulting in marginal suspended solid failures. A trial of dosing Poly Aluminium Chloride into the FST feed sump showed that this could improve performance, however the pH of the effluent was depressed and the Environment Agency require a tight aluminium permit to be applied. Metals in the receiving watercourse have the potential to be elevated, due to the previous mining activity in the area. Performance between the alterative (QP33) and metal based coagulants when used on the site show comparable results, but with some added advantages for the organically derived QP33. For instance, when using the organic

Taytech QP33 dosing installation coagulant, the use of sodium carbonate reduced, as QP33 does not depress the pH. South West Water is now in the process of trialling QP33 on a larger scale at Hayle WWTW. The site has an anaerobic sludge digester and the plan is to see if gas yields can be increased from using this organic coagulant. The success of the trials has been hugely encouraging. There is potential that as the trial progresses, that metal coagulant use can be greatly reduced across the South West Water wastewater network, improving sustainability, safeguarding ecosystems, reducing chemical additions and potentially increasing gas yields.


Wastewater Treatment & Technology

Winter home for migrating birds protected by environmentally sensitive solution delivered by Selwood pumping experts Selwood’s pumping solutions specialists rose to an environmental challenge when they were tasked with installing more than 2km of pipework at a protected site that is the winter home for migrating birds.

The S160Eco, housed in Selwood’s renowned Super Silent canopies, is the quietest pump on the market as tested against EU directive 2000/14/EC and is designed to meet stringent EU Stage IIIB emissions regulations.

The 13-mile Swale Estuary in Kent is a key RPSB reserve for birds for overwintering birds, and protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest – meaning any infrastructure work can only be carried out between July and October.

The S160Eco complements other Selwood units that are known across the sector for their quality and environmental compliance, including the S150 Electric. Available with an environmentally-friendly 30KW IE3 electric motor, the unit has been developed for large infrastructure schemes and major water providers are now renting the pump.

This presented a challenge when work was needed to re-line a length of outfall main piping at a wastewater treatment works at Eastchurch, on the estuary. While this work was carried out, wastewater that would normally go through the main needed to be overpumped a distance of more than 2,000 metres. There was a need to find a solution that was as efficient as possible, to keep running costs and environmental impact as low as possible. Following a full on-site assessment and calculation of the flows and pipeline efficiency, Selwood’s team sourced 2.3km 500mm flanged steel pipework which reduced friction loss, resulting in lower running costs for the client and therefore improving the whole life cost of the scheme. Two pumping systems were required to manage the site as flows varied dramatically, from 160 litres per second in normal flow, to 410 litres per second in storm flow. A set of 30kw pumps was installed for the dry weather flow, while a generator set-up was configured to start and run only in the event of storm flows to power 70 KW submersible pumps. This intelligent approach was supported by Selwood specialists who managed flows via ultrasonic-level controls and variable speed drives. James Sinnock, Strategic Account Manager for Selwood, said: “Minimising environmental impact was key to the success of this


demanding application. Our expertise came to the fore in designing a variable pumping setup which resulted in a significant reduction in both the running costs and carbon footprint of the scheme. “This project demonstrates Selwood’s commitment to environmental excellence and was also an example of collaborative working between partners.” Selwood is the number one pump rental solutions provider in the UK , offering outstanding service from a national network of branches. Selwood offers site visits, installation and maintenance services backed by a 24/7, 365 days-a-year emergency callout system. Selwood’s status as both a rental provider and a renowned manufacturer of pumps gives it a unique position in the water industry market. A global leader in pump innovation, this year saw the company expands its marketleading S range of solids handling pumps with the introduction of the new S160Eco solids handling pump, which delivers increased performance and near-silent operation from an environmentally-friendly engine.

Super Silent electric drive configurations of Selwood’s S100 and S200 pumps are also available. Specialists are also developing an electric model of the company’s industryleading Drainer “D” range, which are renowned for their versatility and are ideally suited to dewatering across a wide range of applications. Chris Garrett, CEO of Selwood, said: “Customers in the water and wastewater sector are increasingly seeking to reduce emissions, and ever more stringent regulations make it paramount that Selwood remains at the forefront of environmentally-friendly technology. “Our customers expect quality, performance and innovation, and we are very proud of our new additions which offer more choice from Selwood’s market-leading solids handling range. “As a long-standing and trusted provider of quality pumps to the water industry, we have already seen significant demand for our newest units across both rental and sale.” For more information about Selwood pumps, visit


Wastewater Treatment & Technology

Solutions for the Wastewater Treatment Industry Anaerobic digestion is one of the principal methods used by the water industry to treat primary sewage sludge. It is a preferred process in that it produces methane as a usable byproduct, reduces sludge volumes, and creates a digested sludge that is both readily dewaterable and relatively inoffensive in nature. Efficient breakdown of sludge relies on different groups of bacteria, all of which operate in conjunction, but within a defined range of parameters, e.g. pH, temperature, feed rate, nutrients and trace elements. Periodically however digestion failures occur. This can be due to the presence of inhibitory substances such as high metals concentrations, organic solvents or detergents, or simply from overloading. The result is a failure in part by some of the anaerobic bacteria and a drop in pH. Digester failure may require the digester to be reseeded and more importantly for the pH to be adjusted. Traditionally lime or sodium carbonate is used for this purpose, but they are powders and can be difficult to apply. Overdosing can often result in the pH increasing to above 12, which will inhibit digester recovery. A recent water treatment plant had similar issues and for health and safety reasons and due to handling difficulties lime

was not the preferred alkali for this application. So OMEX Environmental Ltd was contacted for specialist advice on the use of Magmex. Magmex is a stable suspension which can be easily pumped into a system. More importantly for a biological system Magmex naturally buffers out so that the maximum pH achievable is around 9.5; consequently there is no danger of overdosing. In this case OMEX were able to deliver the product in a pump off bulk tanker which was then applied straight into the digester. This was achieved with the minimum of disruption, in less than two hours, with only supervisory input from the site. The pH rose to 7.5 within an hour, without the problems associated with lime, and the digester was back online within the day.

As well as Magmex, OMEX provide a wide range of nutrients and neutralisers for biological wastewater treatment and biogas plants. As well as pH control, the company’s range of products are designed to overcome potential problems that can occur with modern effluent and septicity treatment, including odour control, filamentous bulking, and COD removal. Contact us for further information Tel: +44 (0)1553 770092

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Wastewater Treatment & Technology


United Utilities installs revolutionary wastewater treatment technology

United Utilities is installing revolutionary wastewater treatment technology from Holland in four of its treatment plants in North West England over the next five years. The company was the first in the UK to trial the aerobic granular sludge technology, known as Nereda. Early next year it will launch the new treatment process at Kendal wastewater treatment works in Cumbria, which will be the largest operational example of the Nereda technology in the UK. This will be closely followed by Nereda installations at three more treatment plants in Morecambe, Failsworth and Blackburn. United Utilities is building the Nereda plant at its Blackburn wastewater treatment in conjunction with its construction partner LiMA. When complete, Blackburn will be Europe’s largest purpose-built Nereda process plant. Kieran Brocklebank, United Utilities’ head of innovation, said: “We were the first in the UK to invest in a pilot plant for Nereda and we’ve been hard at work testing the process in a number of applications since then.


“Moving away from a conventional process over 100 years old is difficult so we took our time to test Nereda across a broad range of criteria. Nereda also fits well with our long term ambitions on Systems Thinking.”

needed. Nereda granules are dense so settle much faster, and can do so in the same tank in which the treatment process takes place, leading to a significant reduction in the size of the plant footprint.

What is Nereda?

The compact nature of the granules also leads to the formation of different zones, aerobic, anoxic and anaerobic, which allow the simultaneous removal of organic pollutants from the wastewater, including ammonia, as well as biological phosphorus removal. The ability to remove phosphorus biologically, rather than chemically, is appealing to the UK water industry as not only does it reduce reliance on chemicals, it reduces health and safety risks as well as the amount of sludge produced. It also enables the recovery of phosphorus from the sludge to create a product which can have value as a fertiliser.

The Nereda technology was developed by Delft University in the Netherlands and engineering consultancy Royal HaskoningDHV. It is a development of the conventional activated sludge process which was discovered in 1914 at Davyhulme wastewater treatment works in Manchester by two engineers, Edward Ardern and W.T. Lockett. Nereda offers a number of advantages over conventional activated sludge due to the nature of the granules. In a conventional activated sludge treatment process, flocs of sludge are suspended in water and take time to settle in the treated wastewater so a secondary settling tank is


Wastewater Treatment & Technology

Research and development

United Utilities began reviewing the benefits of aerobic granular sludge in 2013 before initiating a research and development project. In 2014, members of the company’s engineering team travelled to Holland to carry out due diligence visits to a number of full scale operational plants, a central control room and to have detailed technical discussions at the supplier’s head office. The company could see that the technology would help it meet a number of new discharge consent limits as well as upgrading some works that were still using old technology such as trickling filters.


The company conducted a structured assessment of the technology to see if it was technically viable, then for each individual project it investigated whether it was financially viable. The trials were also necessary to ensure the new technology could meet more stringent UK permit requirements for treated wastewater as the technology had at that stage only been used in other countries. The first trials were conducted at Crewe wastewater treatment works and Davyhulme - 100 years on from the discovery there of the original activated sludge process. It allowed United Utilities to test the technology across a wide range of different parameters including the ability to form granules with conventional activated sludge and to test the process performance in challenging conditions. The robust evaluation process led to the company being able to technically approve the solution for use in its current five year investment programme, and award four construction contracts for Kendal, Morecambe, Failsworth and Blackburn wastewater treatment works. Additionally, at Macclesfield wastewater treatment works, during 2016 and 2017, a trial was carried out under the Chemical Investigations Programme Phase 2 (CIP2) Innovation Fund to evaluate the potential of the technology to achieve low phosphorus permits and the outcome of the testing was shared with all UK water companies.

Putting it into practice

Kendal wastewater treatment works was identified as an ideal first site for Nereda. The Cumbrian works had suffered significant flood damage following the storms in December 2015. To repair the damage and upgrade the site, a programme of works began in March 2017 and will be complete in early 2019. Alongside this work the Nereda technology is being installed due to a reduction in the ammonia permit at the site from 8mg/l to 5mg/l which could not be delivered using the existing assets. A low footprint solution was also sought due to space restrictions at Kendal. It is estimated that the technology will provide £1m capital expenditure savings compared to conventional solutions and operational efficiencies of £300,000 a year. United Utilities is also keen to see if the development of the process at Kendal may go a significant

2 1

Nereda plant in construction at Kendal wastewater treatment works


United Utilities’ chief operating officer, Steve Fraser, opening construction of the Nereda plant at Blackburn


Reviewing the commissioning progress of the Nereda process at Kendal wastewater treatment works

way towards meeting a tighter phosphorus requirement in the future without the need for further process units or chemical dosing.


At Blackburn wastewater treatment works, the installation of Nereda technology provides the lowest whole life cost solution through efficient energy usage and the biological removal of phosphorus significantly reduces chemical dosing costs. It’s part of a £100m infrastructure upgrade of the site, aimed at improving local watercourses. Installing this technology is estimated to save around £7m of capital expenditure and provide £1.3m of operational expenditure savings a year, compared to a conventional solution. The plant will be fully operational in 2021. In addition to Kendal and Blackburn, United Utilities is also currently delivering two upgrade projects at Morecambe and Failsworth wastewater treatment works, which will also use the Nereda technology. Nereda will be installed at Morecambe as part of a £70m upgrade of the site aimed at improving local bathing waters and will be delivered by United Utilities’ construction partner C2V+. At Failsworth, the Nereda solution, being delivered by LiMA, also provides lowest whole life cost, future operational savings of £240,000 a year and will futureproof the site for phosphorus removal and product recovery. Royal HaskoningDHV has collaborated with United Utilities’ construction partners, LiMA and C2V+ to ensure consistency across all four

3 installations. The result is that innovation from C2V+ developed at Morecambe was incorporated into the Failsworth plant design by LiMA, and lessons from the LiMA team at Kendal were incorporated into the design for Blackburn.


To date, Nereda has saved United Utilities £15m of capital expenditure and will save £1.9m of operational expenditure a year. The company has long term ambitions on Systems Thinking, exploiting the advantages of more centralised control and automated decision making. The Nereda technology features an intelligent automated control system, the Nereda Controller, which allows United Utilities to accelerate these ambitions by taking full advantage of this novel technology when it completes commissioning at Kendal. The learnings from Kendal are being applied to the other Nereda sites at Morecambe, Failsworth and Blackburn with a view to seeing how far United Utilities can push the model of greater centralisation. The company will then look beyond the Nereda plants to see how it can introduce the centralised model of monitoring and control to a greater proportion of its asset base. United Utilities’ wastewater asset manager, Pippa Smith, said: “Using this technology means we can provide the optimum effluent quality with minimal energy/chemical inputs. “The new plants also provide a great opportunity for us to accelerate our ambitions for greater centralised monitoring and control.”


Wastewater Treatment & Technology

Erskine waste water treatment works goes green

Green energy is helping to power Scottish Water’s waste water treatment facility in Erskine. A £500,000 investment made by the utility’s commercial subsidiary Scottish Water Horizons has seen 1,720 solar PV panels installed at the works which serves around 114,600 people living in Erskine, Bishopton, Bridge of Weir, Elderslie, Houston, Howwood, Inchinnan, Johnstone, Kilbarchan, Kilmacolm and Linwood. The carbon reducing technology will offset 15 percent of the electricity required to operate the facility, with the new solar PV system generating 0.36GWh of energy on an annual basis – that’s the same amount of energy needed to power one hundred homes for a year. Ian Piggott, Project Manager at Scottish Water Horizons, headed up the initiative which is the third largest solar PV installation by Scottish Water Horizons to date. Speaking about the project, he said: “This investment at Erskine Waste Water Treatment Works clearly demonstrates Scottish Water’s commitment to tackling climate change.

More than 70 of Scottish Water’s water and waste water treatment works are either selfsufficient or partly sufficient in their power requirements, leading to lower operating costs and a more sustainable business. A major energy milestone was achieved in May of this year after it was confirmed that the amount of renewable energy the company generates and facilitates is now more than double its electricity consumption.

Erskine waste water treatment works Introducing sustainable solutions to reduce the utility’s carbon footprint is great news for the environment and also for our customers. “The waste water treatment process is very energy intensive and so the solar technology that’s been installed here will benefit Scottish Water’s customers by driving down the operating costs of the works, thereby helping to keep bills low.”

Through a combination of Scottish Water’s own investment in renewable energy and hosting private investment on its estate, the company now generates and hosts around 923 Gigawatt hour (GWh) per annum of renewable energy. This new installation at the facility in Erskine contributes to the Scottish Government’s targets for renewable sources to generate the equivalent of 100 percent of Scotland’s gross annual electricity consumption by 2020. Renewable energy experts Absolute Solar and Wind Ltd delivered the project on behalf of Scottish Water Horizons.

The waste water treatment process is very energy intensive and so the solar technology that’s been installed here will benefit Scottish Water’s customers by driving down the operating costs of the works, thereby helping to keep bills low.



Utility Security & Incident Management

Security and incident handling undergoing a huge change

With a territory stretching from Thanet in the North East of Kent down to the Isle of Wight, Southern Water serves 4.6 million customers through its 13,500 kilometres of water mains and almost 40,000 kilometres of waste water pipes. By Simon Fluendy

met the standards required by the 2012 London Olympics’ organising group.

And with assets ranging from huge cityserving wastewater treatment works to tiny rural pumping stations, the challenges for maintaining health & safety, security and managing the incidents that inevitably arise are massive.

Coming from such massive and high profile projects, Murphy is clearly up for a challenge and has found that although the scale might be different, his problem solving skills are still going to be tested.

Southern Water is in the midst of a huge operational and cultural change. The transformation is affecting every area of business - security and incident handling are certainly not exceptions. While protecting the company’s people and facilities and managing incidents are part and parcel of many employees’ jobs, two recent recruits to the company have especially important roles to play. The first is Joe Murphy, who prior to joining Southern Water as head of health & safety and security, worked for the London end of the £56 billion HS2 rail project ,and before that worked with contractors and suppliers to ensure they


“On HS2 and 2012, the projects and budgets were huge - the London section of HS2 was £6.9 billion. But although the project was complex and busy, it was highly contained. At Southern Water, we’ve got 10,500km2 to cover, thousands of sites and lots of lone workers,” he explains. With a huge region and a long and complex history dating back to council-owned water boards and waste treatment works operated by the old National Rivers Authority, different ways of working have grown organically. Now, Murphy must help the company to change its health & safety, security and wellbeing regime to a single properly understood culture. “The solution does not lie in hiring

loads of new staff or throwing money at security issues but by empowering every worker and helping them to be the best possible,” he says. Across the region the almost 3000 direct employees and 25,000 contractors employed by Southern Water all have to be part of “building a process of robust assurance,” Murphy says. Just five months into the job, Murphy has wasted no time. “We needed to lift the carpets and really understand all of what we need to do.” The challenges run the gamut of commonplace to the very unlikely, but potentially catastrophic. The every day issues could include something a simple as how many trees there are on Southern Water sites. It may sound simple but the impact is not to be underestimated. “We need to know how many have branches which overhang the boundaries, because that’s both a health & safety and a security issue,” he explains.


Utility Security & Incident Management

More worryingly, water & wastewater companies across the UK are facing an unusual new organised crime threat. “Criminals are using drones to drop cannabis seeds into old wastewater filter beds. The drones return to check on the crop or reseed. If the planting is not noticed, a break in will be arranged to harvest. At the top end of the threat spectrum, Murphy must also worry about state-sponsored acts of sabotage. Damage to critical infrastructure would seriously jeopardise water companies’ ability to guarantee drinking water meets the stringent standards of the Drinking Water Inspectorate, causing serious disruption to people’s daily lives. The consequences of undetected interference are unthinkable. On a more mundane level, petty crime such as theft of diesel, is a common issue affecting water companies across the country. Aside from the monetary value of the diesel, there is also the damage done by intruders to the site and the knock-on consequences of missing fuel. “Fuel tanks on our sites are generally there for back up generators in case of power failure and if generators can’t run when they are needed then the risk of pollution incidents rises,” Murphy explains. Meanwhile he must also keep an eye open for another perennial criminal favourite - the theft of metals such as lead from roofs and copper from cabling. “If metal prices rise, we will see a resurgence” Murphy predicts, “and with increasing amounts of telemetry and automation on sites, there is likely to be more reliance on cabling than historically.” Clare Rixon, Operational Resilience and Response Manager at Southern Water, is also transforming part of the company’s culture. Rixon started her emergency planning career at the Environment Agency (EA) after seeing the EA’s team in action during a university vacation job. She’s spent a decade building her skills in emergency and crisis management including international experience working for the British Government’s Department

“We needed to lift the carpets and really understand all of what we need to do.”

“The most important thing is never to have to learn the same lesson twice. Plan - test - review - rinse and repeat.”

Joe Murphy, Head of Health and Safety, Southern Water

Clare Rixon, Operational Resilience and Response Manager, Southern Water

for International Development. She joined Southern Water in December 2017 attracted by the idea of implementing a new incident response framework. She received a baptism of fire - or rather frost. Water companies - even those in the traditionally warmer and drier South East region where Southern Water operates - are no strangers to the effects of cold weather. But the extremes of weather experienced at the end of February 2018 were remarkable not just for the low temperatures which fell to as low as -9 degrees centigrade on the night of Saturday 28 February in parts of Kent, but also for the suddenness of thaw. By midday on Sunday 1 March, the temperature had sprung back to +6 degrees centigrade not far from where the biggest chills were recorded. And a dramatic sudden thaw hit the entire region. The impact was heavy - Southern Water’s network experienced numerous bursts and customers also suffered ruptures to their own

pipes. The result was a massive increase in demand as water poured out of the network. The apparent demand was equivalent to the hottest days of summer. “We could have done better in our response,” Rixon admits. But the difficulties that were faced in responding were not unexpected. “When I arrived, I found there was a core group of responders who were highly competent and very hard-working. But the wider framework - identifying an incident, escalating rapidly enough, distributing duties and roles, ensuring that tasks were cascaded and tracked was not really in place,” she says. That exceptional crisis did have a silver lining - it underscored not just to the company’s leadership but across the company just how important the new processes were. And when Rixon led a full day exercise pulling in around 50 staff members- including senior managers - there was no reluctance to allow employees away from their day jobs. Plans are now firmly in place to make ongoing exercising a core part of the development of the incident structure and the people in those roles. The roll out of the new Incident Management process has had its challenges, but as it now transitions to being a fully integrated way of working, she says “the difference in Southern Water’s response to incidents has been noticed not just inside the company but by stakeholders across the region including regulators.” But Rixon says this is no time to be complacent. “The most important thing is never to have to learn the same lesson twice. Plan - test - review - rinse and repeat.” Transformation at Southern Water is clearly underway. Murphy and Rixon’s colleagues can expect the rate of change to continue - to the benefit of everyone in the region whether customer, employee or regulator.


Utility Security & Incident Management

Pollution Performance – The AMP 7 Challenge Through previous AMP cycles water companies have delivered significant improvements which have seen pollution numbers trending downwards to the lowest on record in AMP 6. This is no small feat on the back drop of the well documented challenges of the ageing infrastructure, climate change and population growth. Especially when you consider it has been achieved alongside innovation in technologies and communication meaning the level of detection and reporting of incidents has risen, the true achievement is therefore under reported. Companies are now seeing the significant reductions seen in 2012 – 2015 flatten out over the past 3 years and yet the targets for reduction detailed in the PR 19 business plans for 2020-25 are considerable, in some cases companies targeting up to a further 80% reduction in pollution numbers. Can water companies have real confidence in achieving the pollution numbers they forecast and how will they meet this challenge? To drive down pollution numbers on this scale in addition to investment into improving asset performance then marginal gains will be required across a number of disciplines. Looking at the direction of travel and the records, parallels can be drawn with Health & Safety incidents performance. Over the years we have seen a huge and continuous drive to reduce the likelihood of health & safety incidents occurring. In modern times we enjoy much improved working conditions than previous generations and an impressive decrease in incident occurrence. The risk to human health and safety, has and will continue to be placed ahead of environmental harm, so can we therefore learn lessons to achieve similar significant results for environmental performance: Staff culture – zero incidents is the target, incidents are not business as usual Near misses – Respond to, investigate and record all near miss incidents Performance Data – record and report all aspects to then drive continuous improvement Training and expertise – train and educate staff Raise Awareness – regularly communicate the record on pollution incidents to the whole workforce Therefore, whilst PR19 business plans point to record levels of financial investment into infrastructure improvements and operational


systems we should learn that the workforce should not be neglected. Continuous improvement in H&S to the levels we see today has been achieved in large part through emphasis on work force behaviour and environmental managers can learn from this example. But in practice what changes could be made to deliver marginal gain? If we were to focus on the discipline of pollution incident response, in practice, do we prioritise this with real action rather than words. The key to effective response is readiness, so would it be of benefit to have field technicians whose main role is responding to incidents? Ensuring they are available and suitably located to respond to incidents when they arise, rather than field technicians who may be available to respond to pollution incidents but response may be compromised because they are engaged fulfilling duties within a wider planned programme of field-based activity. A subtle change in priority and switching focus can improve technician response times and effectiveness of their data gathering. Resilience during erratic weather episodes leads to asset inundation and multiple pollution incident events, do company response services have the capacity to respond in these events and perform environmental assessments across multiple and simultaneous incidents. Could we also dispatch a field technician alongside the engineering staff to every potential incident at point of notification? This would mean the environmental data is gathered at the earliest opportunity to then

inform remediation actions and evidence the environmental impact or absence of impact, this data can then inform correct incident impact categorisation at the assessment stage. Surely this is a best practice approach which prevents delaying an environmental assessment until an engineer has arrived at site and then reported back the need for an environmental assessment. Should there be a perceivable difference in the level of water company response service between Monday – Friday, 9-5 office hours and weekends and summer evenings? Or should a response service be equally effective 365 days of the year across daylight hours. Do we record and report performance data for incident response to a significant degree? for example, the response time or the time spent on site, this information can expose practices or weaknesses in response at a local level in a business that can then be addressed to increase resilience and prevent response failures. AMP 7 business plans have the ambition and potential to drive pollution numbers to an alltime industry low, if this downward trajectory is to be achieved and maintained then prioritisation and investment is required to create a workforce attitude to environmental incidents that is akin to a Health & Safety incident culture or a pro-cycling team performance culture.


Utility Security & Incident Management

Maximising the role of physical security within asset resilience planning Resilience is the very clear watchword for the UK water industry as we prepare for PR19 and AMP 7.

OFWAT is expecting water companies to develop a systematic approach to identifying all risk factors to service continuity, and mitigate if not eliminate these threats through robust resilience planning. Marking 25 years of ‘innovation and reliability’ in 2018, Technocover’s continued success is based on its value-adding, Total Service approach to the engineering and installation of physical security solutions - high security access covers, doors, kiosks, mesh enclosures and associated equipment. This not only ensures lowest ‘whole life’ cost in line with TOTEX, it provides intelligent design focused on structural integrity, operational efficiency and zero downtime installation, wherever possible, to underpin network resilience. Water companies should ensure they take the following four steps in maximising the contribution of physical security to asset resilience. Step 1: Hardened assets are resilient assets – but total integrity must be assured to avoid weak links The UK water industry is a long-established adopter of third party approved physical security products, predominantly LPCB certified, to protect water and wastewater assets against assessed risks of unauthorised entry, physical attack and other forms of disruptive infiltration such as contamination of supply. But the expected performance of an LPCB system can be compromised through inadequate, non-compliant installation or the use of incompatible locking systems, door furniture, vent louvres, or other accessories. An uncertified and inexperienced installer may also make modifications onsite, for example, to the system fixing frame or formwork to adjust to site dimensions, which could undermine structural integrity and LPCB criteria. It is critical that the installation of LPCB

security equipment is undertaken by LPCB approved fitters to ensure the correct fittings, fastenings and procedures are used to maintain system certification level.

keeping assets live, clients and contractors want ‘plug and play’ solutions which are built and kitted offsite, then craned in and hooked up to services the same day, if possible.

As one of the longest serving specialists in LPCB physical security to water clients, Technocover has unmatched experience in surveying sites to ensure equipment is accurately manufactured and installed by LPCB approved installers.

Technocover is adding value to the delivery of physical security solutions by offering offsite construction and crane-in solutions. Where site access is constrained and/or possession is limited, these can be assembled and fully fitted with M&E services offsite for quick and simple lifting into position, minimising if not fully avoiding asset downtime.

Step 2: Use early consultation to develop functionally sophisticated assemblies that add value to resilience planning Early collaboration by the client and project team allows the screening of every aspect of the product solution to identify opportunities for efficiency gains and cost savings, and to achieve on-time, on-budget construction. It allows delivery partners to work proactively and be innovative, combining their individual expertise to anticipate issues and problem-solve, from design to installation and on-going service. Operational issues can typically be identified and resolved in the design that might otherwise lead to delays or difficulties in completing routine inspection and maintenance tasks, or even emergency procedures. As well as avoiding specification errors, early collaboration helps to ‘design out’ risks associated with health and safety and asset failure. There is also scope to ‘build in’ maximum functionality and necessary contingencies so that reactive maintenance, unplanned interventions and service disruption are minimised. After 25 years, Technocover offers leading capability in harnessing value engineering and operational efficiency in the increasingly innovative security solutions demanded by the industry while maintaining LPCB compliance. Step 3: Plan installation to minimise asset downtime and service disruption The refurbishment project especially calls for unusual shapes, such as hexagonal access systems, in hard-to-reach places - the top of reservoir towers or hemmed in between existing structures. With the emphasis on

Step 4: System durability is essential to resilience by reducing maintenance and prolonging asset life When it comes to resilient access designed to safeguard lives and critical resources, the longevity and integrity of materials is paramount. Specifiers must ask: what’s protecting the protection? A defensive and potentially life-critical piece of engineering warrants a high quality finish, which means a galvanised zinc coating to properly corrosion-proof steel. Clients must scrutinise this aspect of a security product as the system finish may not meet service life expectations, or could possibly be compromised in order to lower price. The outcome can be a product that may meet the security specification but needs replacing after, say, as little as three or five years. Technocover uses high quality steel, galvanising and paint processes to provide 25 years minimum service life of products. This extra margin of engineering resilience becomes ever more important as utility structures bear the brunt of aggravated weathering from storm events and regional peaks in atmospheric corrosivity. While Technocover also offers the option of a paint finish for aesthetic purposes, galvanised steel is the crucial element to assuring long service life. This underpins a maintenance-free product and extends the time to replacement for reliable cost forecasting, minimal if not zero maintenance intervention, and enhancing outcomes within resilience planning.


Utility Security & Incident Management

Managing incidents with the ‘digital twin’ Written by, Chris Jones, Northumbrian Water Group, Professor Chris Kilsby, Newcastle University and Brett Cherry, Newcastle University When responding to an incident that has potential to adversely affect people and their homes or businesses, it is essential to have a plan that sets out roles and responsibilities, standard procedures and lines of communication. Every incident is unique. As the incident evolves, the nature and extent of its impact as well as options available to responders, depend on the location, time of day, antecedent conditions and a host of other dynamic factors. It is possible to develop detailed plans for a few scenarios with potentially damaging consequences, although good practice would dictate that the potential impact is reduced through mitigating actions as far as possible. Even so, planning around a few scenarios that might take place in the future, at least helps design mitigation and highlights the possibilities of unexpected consequences. A much better option would be to use real-time modelling and simulation to produce bespoke response plans and dynamic decision support for any incident, taking into account the location and conditions at the time, and updating as the incident evolves. This idea of combining real-time data with digital modelling and visualisation to create actionable insight is what lies at the heart of the digital twin. At first glance this may sound like something out of a science fiction novel: an accurate, intelligent real-time simulation that has oversight over multiple systems and could communicate through an AI interface. But as with other technologies of the digital age that have surpassed expectations, the digital twin is very much science fact. Digital twin has been used for many different kinds of systems, the automotive and aircraft industries use digital twin for car and jet engines. NASA has used digital twin since the 1970s and has developed a digital twin for the Langley Research Center. Digital twin has potential applications for almost any process for business and industry in any sector. It can be used for redesigning, adapting and improving systems, and systems of systems: digital twins could be applied to a single pump, a pumping station (with multiple pumps), a system of underground pipes, or potentially the entire water network, creating opportunities for innovation and customer engagement never before possible. The ultimate goal of the digital twin is to enhance the ways we currently manage the water network and to improve outcomes for customers and the environment. Water infrastructure is extensive and complex; its many parts and operations make possible


Image from the City Catchment Analysis Tool (CityCAT) showing surface water depths, velocities, flow into gullies and water depths at manholes essential water and sanitation services to millions of customers, both residential and commercial. But there are many things about the water network, the surrounding built and natural environment and the communities served, that may not be possible to know in advance or at least not within enough time to make a decision to act. To make more confident decisions for responding to incidents requires tools that provide insights based on all the available and up to date information, which is what makes the digital twin of particular interest to the water industry. A project between Newcastle University and Northumbrian Water Group is developing a digital twin called ‘Twincident’ which responds to incidents in the water network, such as a burst pipe or a heavy rainfall event. These incidents cause significant disruption to customers and communities, and can affect the finances, health and wellbeing of those affected. Incidents also risk causing environmental damage and potentially come at large financial cost to the infrastructure company. The idea for Twincident came about at the 2018 NWG Innovation Festival this summer. The aim of this digital twin is to run simulations of an area during an incident to show what could happen over a 24 hour period, in just 30 seconds. This is potentially a powerful tool for the water industry creating a new way forward for how it responds to events, specifically to enable employees in the

field to respond faster and more effectively to emerging issues. Newcastle University is already developing many of the building blocks for the Twincident digital twin, such as novel hydraulic modelling tools, spatial analysis tools and approaches for enabling simulation and decision support using different models working in concert. They also work on interfaces to allow nonexpert users to use the tools, and for the city of Newcastle. Data from LIDAR maps, land cover maps, and buildings, are integrated with water company infrastructure information and dynamic weather, traffic and air quality data from the Urban Observatory (a digital urban sensing network with over 2,700 metrics freely available online). Models provide insights into elements of the water and wastewater system, for example to identify leakage from the water network, blockages in sewers and drainage areas likely to lack capacity under more extreme rainfall. Typically models are only as good as the data available. They require considerable time and effort to accurately represent the real world, and considerable computing power to deliver results in reasonable timeframes. Monitoring sewers and pipes is important to understand (both directly and through modelling) what quality of service is provided but the extent of monitoring is limited by access, power and communication – new sensors are needed for both physical, biological and chemical


Utility Security & Incident Management

measurements to fully reflect network conditions. Also, individual models do not reflect the potential interdependencies of infrastructure systems: for example, a burst water pipe might lead to wastewater surcharge and pollution; surface water flooding could lead to traffic congestion, preventing operatives reaching the location and dealing with the problem. To provide real-time insight across the water system as a whole requires something considerably more advanced than what is within the industry’s reach at the moment. Where the digital twin is especially powerful is when it comes to testing future scenarios. If you want to test the resilience of water infrastructure against a major flood event it could be simulated in the digital twin, providing an excellent tool for management and planning. Other possibilities include joining together rural catchment models, with land use and ground water models to anticipate and mange threats to resources, or wastewater and the sewer network. Some models are yet to be developed: the role of green infrastructure in flood mitigation currently needs to be parameterised, especially in response to rainfall; and the influence of customer behaviour on demand in the short and long term. Newcastle University works on a similar model for electricity that could be adapted for water and wastewater services. As with any disruptive innovation, implementing the digital twin is not without

challenges. Water companies are generally quite good at installing individual systems in the water network, and monitoring equipment, but they’re not often connected together in a common framework. For the digital twin to work properly these would need to be integrated in future. Digital twin clearly provides numerous opportunities for the water sector and may revolutionise how the sector responds to incidents in future. It makes it possible. While a digital twin of an entire city may be some

ways off, we now have at our disposal the modelling and data monitoring capabilities to identify many problems before they occur, and make better decisions about how to respond to incidents that impact people, communities and businesses. The integration of cloud computing, data science, urban sensing and internet-of-things makes digital twin an incredible planning and response tool for addressing the growing complexity of the water network, and the uncertainties surrounding environmental change.

World-leading water research Our areas of expertise: • Advanced biology for water engineering • Green infrastructure testing facilities • Adapting cities and infrastructure to climate change • Sustainable wastewater treatment at scale • Advanced city-scale flood modelling • Remote sensing, geospatial data and digital innovation We partner with industry to accelerate innovation and tackle the big challenges facing the water sector.

Find out more about our work and join us in creating a sustainable future for water:

Working towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS).


TECHNOCOVER One Focus ‌ Preventing Unauthorised Access

Physical Security Access Solutions for Water and Wastewater Asset Protection

Technocover are specialist designers, manufacturers and installers of high quality galvanised steel physical security products for above ground, below ground and building hardening. In 2018 we are proudly celebrating 25 years of providing reliability and innovation.

Consultancy, Site Surveying, Risk Assessment, Design, Manufacturing, Finishing, Supply, Installation and Maintenance.

Who we are Technocover have been designing and manufacturing innovative steel access products since September 1993. In that time, we have gained a reputation as the UK’s leading supplier of third party accredited physical security galvanised steel access solutions for asset protection.

What we do Technocover engineer a unique range of security products to meet the latest asset security standards, the adaptability of steel products ensuring even the most complex design criteria can be met.

For further information visit our website UltraSecure DV Access Products Certified to LPS 1175 Security Ratings 2, 3, 4 & 5


Technocover Ltd. Henfaes Lane, Welshpool, Powys, SY21 7BE.

Telephone: 01938 555511

Innovation brings environmental benefits and drives down costs Top of Form

Innovation can be projected as a means by which new products and services are produced through R&D and then through marketing and commercial awareness brought to the market place. Innovation is vital to the growth of any company, both those companies that are buying and especially those that are selling. Innovation has to be encouraged by the leading companies within a market sector and embraced when you deliver. Good practice has to be identified and knowledge shared within all sectors of the water industry and thus here lies the real challenge.

Bottom of Form

Since expanding into the water treatment sector in 2016, FT Pipeline Systems (FTPS) has quickly established itself as the National Technical and Distribution Centre for Dual Containment. FTPS offers solutions for chemical dosing and chemical transportation in both rigid and flexible pipework, with the benefit of the innovative leak detection solution – a unique product brought to the market in 2017. We are all familiar with traditional dual contained hose systems where there is one hose inside another hose with a visible gap. These hoses are cumbersome, heavy, costly, difficult to install and not efficient at notification of a leak. Draw chambers underground, low point pits for catch-pots and all the additional costs for power, switches, pumps, cables and ensuring that there will be a flow if there is a leak. All this on top of costly groundworks. There is now a new way with the Colex PFDetect, the first all-in-one dual contained hose with built in leak detection, offering almost

immediate notification in the event of a hose failure. No pits, no low points, lighter, easier to install reducing your environmental risk and lowering the carbon footprint, all for a 25% cost reduction on the equivalent Colex hose-in-hose system. How? The Colex PF-Detect range commences with three options of dosing hose which will ensure almost every chemical application can be covered. This dosing hose is then covered with a close-fitting Polyurethane containment jacket and between these two are two copper wires for the detection system. These wires are set apart so that in the unlikely event of a leak any escaping liquid only has to travel 3540mm to trigger the detection system, or if the chemical is aggressive and burns through the copper wire this will also trigger the system. The leak detection system is designed to be wired directly from the optional alarm box into the dosing system and hence giving an immediate shutdown of the line. With there being minimal liquid required to trigger the alarm and this liquid being contained in the sealed hose, removal and environmental risk during replacement is at a minimum. This also gives additional protection to your workforce. The Colex PF-Detect system brings many advantages to the chemical dosing market reducing costs throughout the process. Key points are: n

The Polyurethane containment jacket is UV stabilised.


The Polyurethane material is a UK potable water approved raw material, (WRAS).


PF-Detect is up to 50% lighter than the equivalent hose-in-hose system.


With a smaller outside diameter insulation

and protection costs are reduced. n

Easier to trace heat.


With the “single” hose appearance it is easier to handle and quicker to install.


Expensive bespoke engineered fittings not required in the majority of applications.


On one case study in the UK the use of PF-Detect drove savings of 53% on the total project cost.

Colex PF-Detect has been in the UK for two years and is now approved and specified by eight of the twelve water companies with several installations in place. The product has been specifically developed to further reduce the risk of environmental leakage and reduce dramatically health & safety concerns of direct contact with chemicals; it is approved and in use within major water and wastewater treatment companies. The fear of aggressive chemicals spilling out into the environment due to undetected leaks is eliminated. The product is also enjoying export success with projects in the Australia, Brazil and the USA so it is also good to see UK innovation making an impact in solving chemical transportation issues in the global water market.

For further details please contact:

Roger Attisha – FT Pipeline Systems T: 01543 416024 Email:


Sustainable Urban Drainage

Northumbrian Water and the Environment Agency at Brunton Park

‘Rainwise’ initiative aims to tackle urban creep and climate change Northumbrian Water, which supplies 2.7 million customers in the North East with both water and sewerage services, places communities and the environment at its heart. It aims to provide a sewerage service that deals effectively with heavy rainfall, as well as meeting the needs of the current and future generations in a changing world. Global threats, such as climate change, touch us all as we go about our daily lives and risks are becoming increasingly unpredictable and unknown. Lesser considered, is the impact that a warming atmosphere can have on the increasing amounts of rainfall, yet the Climate Change Risk Assessment predicts an increase in property flooding of 40% by 2080 if action is not taken to mitigate it. These pressures were brought to light on 28 June 2012, when “Thunder Thursday” caused £8 million worth of damage to homes, roads and businesses, with three inches - over a month’s worth – of rain falling on Tyneside in just over an hour. The images of the flood-swept streets of Newcastle that day, highlighted that flooding isn’t merely an issue of inconvenience or property damage, but can be a direct threat to human life. Resilience has formed a major part of Northumbrian Water’s Business Plan 2020-


2025 and one of the ambitions to increase resilience is by proactively reducing flood risk to customers who may not have previously flooded, but may be at risk of flooding in future. Managing surface water before it enters the sewer network is one of the key ways to help reduce sewer flood risk and free up capacity in the drainage network. The company’s ‘Rainwise’ initiative aims to tackle the challenges of urban creep and climate change, where the risk of flooding is heightened in urban areas with impermeable surfaces forcing water to quickly run off into sewer systems. Sustainable drainage solutions (or SuDS) are used to slow down surface water run-off but Rainwise aims to build awareness of surface water management, ensuring the public understand how they can impact flood risk in their own communities too. It includes the simple steps customers

can take to manage rainfall around their homes and in their community, such as the installation of water butts, planters and rain gardens, and places a big emphasis on schools which often have great potential to be home to SuDS projects. Steena Nasapen-Watson, Sustainable Sewerage Manager at Northumbrian Water Group, said: “Rainwise is both a proactive and reactive initiative to reduce flood risk and influence customer behavioural change, aimed at increasing the resilience of our communities, reducing flooding through alleviating the pressure on our network. “Thinking about the resilience of our services over the long term is not new to us and already in AMP6 our Rainwise approach has reduced flood risk to more than 4,000 properties. It brings together all of our drainage flood risk reduction initiatives, including our industryleading and award-winning partnership


Sustainable Urban Drainage

Brunton Park projects. By creating the Rainwise brand, it provides an identity to customers, building awareness of surface water management and the steps they can take to manage water around their homes and communities more effectively.” Incorporated in Rainwise is the awardwinning Northumbria Integrated Drainage Partnership (NIDP). Northumbrian Water led the development of the NIDP, a regional partnership consisting of 13 Lead Local Flood Authorities in the North East and the Environment Agency. This multi-agency approach has provided a framework for integrated studies, which progress into reactive and proactive flood risk reduction schemes, looking for the best and most sustainable solutions to help address flood risk from all sources. It includes a robust scoring system so that costs and benefits are better understood and prioritised on a like-for-like basis.

Putting theory into practice

Northumbrian Water’s partnership approach has shown that joining forces with other agencies to tackle flooding can help deliver multiple social, economic and environmental benefits, including unlocking investment for projects that might not otherwise be feasible. The organisation, which won a Judge’s Commendation by the British Quality Foundation for Innovation in Sustainability and Society earlier this year, has been

“Rainwise is both a proactive and reactive initiative to reduce flood risk and influence customer behavioural change, aimed at increasing the resilience of our communities, reducing flooding through alleviating the pressure on our network.” Steena Nasapen-Watson, Sustainable Sewerage Manager at Northumbrian Water Group

recognised as leading in this area by stakeholders such as DEFRA and UKWIR, with example schemes including Brunton Park in Newcastle, and at Killingworth and Longbenton. At Brunton Park, traditional capacity upgrades were complemented by innovative and sustainable work, including the unique diversion of part of the River Ouseburn in partnership with the Environment Agency and Newcastle City Council. As a result, the scheme has reduced the risk of property flooding to more than 100 homes from multiple sources, providing up to 200 year protection from fluvial flooding and 40 year protection from the surface water and foul systems. It has additional environmental benefits including the management of surface water in the natural environment and the creation of additional water-dependent habitat. The scheme has provided lasting improvements to the amenity of the golf course it is located on, with the incorporation of the new channel and other features creating two key feature holes, something that the club were exceptionally pleased with. Brunton Park has also been included in the Blue Green Cities consortium research, with the findings leading to Newcastle City Council, the Environment Agency and Northumbrian Water along with other partners to come together and be the first organisations in the country to explicitly commit to installing SuDS wherever possible. At Killingworth and Longbenton, the aim of the £5 million three-phased project, led by Northumbrian Water in partnership with North Tyneside Council and the Environment Agency, is to manage surface water and increase the capacity of the combined sewer, thereby reducing the risk of flooding during heavy rainfall. The project, which is now in its final phase and due to be complete in April 2019, has involved removing a river from the combined sewerage system by diverting the flows to an adjacent river, creating 11,000m2 of surface water storage to ensure the transferred flows do not increase flood risk, and creating a new lake overflow area to manage flood risk while providing green space for people and wildlife.

SuDS garden Once it is finished, the project will reduce flood risk from very significant/significant, to moderate/low at 136 properties, and reduce discharges from the sewer network by 81,797m3 per year. There are other benefits related to these SuDS but they can be hard to consider and quantify. Some of these include carbon reduction, reduced energy consumption, improved health and wellbeing, education opportunities and less transport disruption as a result of flooding. Steena Nasapen-Watson, added: “Increasing sustainability creates a hugely positive impact on the environment, as well as raising awareness of environmental issues, but not all of these outputs are easy to quantify. We have worked with academics through the Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CiRIA) to try and address this, putting the Killingworth and Longbenton project forward to be used as a case study in a research project which resulted in the CiRIA BeST tool. BeST promotes best practice and allows our partners to quantify and evaluate a wide range of benefits.” Using the BeST tool, the estimated net present value of the benefits arising from the Killingworth and Longbenton project is £31.8m, giving a benefit cost ratio in the order of 8:1. Rainwise projects share common characteristics and themes, all addressing catchment-wide flooding and flow management, valuing SuDS and natural systems. They each had a scenario which no single agency could have addressed on their own, or not without causing detriment to others, and have been delivered with capital efficiency to the parties, primarily through jointly sourcing engineering consultants and contractors. The Rainwise principles are a fundamental building block of Northumbrian Water’s Business Plan, as the organisation aspires to create a pipeline of partnership projects of all scales which, as well as improving customers’ participation in engaging sustainability themselves. What the organisation is implementing in terms of proactivity has the potential to solve issues that haven’t actually become problems yet, and that’s true innovation in building resilience.


Sustainable Urban Drainage

SuDS: Turning Grey to Blue and Green

Underground geocellular storage, such as GEOlight®, builds resilience while enabling above-ground biodiversity and amenity

By Mark Manning

Business Development Manager, SDS Limited If only, with the stroke of a paintbrush, we could transform the grey infrastructure of our urban landscapes to blue and green, bringing nature to the very heart of our towns and cities. This is the vision of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS). At the heart of the transformation is a principle that changes surface water from a waste product to be hidden and spirited away into something useful; we can bring it to the surface and redeploy it to benefit the health and wellbeing of our communities. It’s a vision that has engaged supporters of SuDS for decades and now the magic really is At Luton Airport, SDS Aqua-SwirlTM hydrodynamic separators were installed in the medium stay car park to remove pollutants from suface water

beginning to happen, at least in patches, across our land. SuDS are finally in the mainstream, backed by new regulations, guidance and a growing body of best practice.

Water Companies and SuDS

As the ultimate custodians of water infrastructure, surely Water Companies should have been in the vanguard of this movement? After all, Water Companies have a huge stake in how surface water is managed, and their sewer networks are the last line of defence against surface water flooding. In practice, it has been difficult for Water Companies to take full advantage of the opportunities that SuDS present to protect their assets. Water Companies in their very establishment, culture, and organisation are focused on water supply and wastewater collection and treatment. Equally, regulation and resources have been insufficient to encourage them to build or adopt SuDS as surface water assets.

Climate Change

We’ve heard increasingly stark warnings recently about the relentless advance of climate change. Our infrastructure must become more resilient to extreme weather, and the dual effects of long droughts interspersed with intense periods of rainfall. These are the very conditions that make our towns and cities vulnerable to surface water flooding. Surface water currently threatens more people and properties than any other form of flood risk, with more than 3 million properties at risk in England alone.


There isn’t the money or the space to keep building bigger sewers to accommodate more heavy and prolonged storms. So, keeping more surface water out of the sewerage system is critical. That’s why building infrastructure resilience and protecting against sewer flooding will be key performance commitments for Water Companies in PR19. Water Companies will inevitably need to do more to exploit the opportunities that SuDS present to control surface water. It will mean working in close partnership with architects, local authorities and developers from the earliest stages of planning, to ensure good design and construction. It will also mean that Water Companies take on the job of building, owning and maintaining more SuDS themselves.

SuDS Uptake

There are already encouraging signs that more SuDS are being built across the country. In August, the Government published its review of how effective including SuDS in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) has been in promoting greater uptake in England for major developments. It found that almost 87% of all approved planning applications reviewed included explicit mention of SuDS. Revisions to the NPPF have added a requirement for SuDS to provide, where possible, ‘multifunctional’ benefits. Instead of just being a means of getting rid of excess water, drainage becomes an opportunity to reuse or recycle it, and to work with nature to create biodiversity or public amenity.


Sustainable Urban Drainage

Considering the multifunctional benefits of blue/green infrastructure enables drainage designers to select from a broad SuDS toolbox of natural and engineered features. For example, at SDS, we are increasingly being requested to build underground storage that is combined with above-ground public amenities or landscaped areas. Using below-ground attenuation can actually enable a drainage design to incorporate above-ground features like a pond or swale, while still achieving the required hydraulic capacity and performance in the space available. SDS’s below-ground modular geocellular storage, GEOlight® has, for many years, been a standard means of attenuating and infiltrating excess surface water to prevent surface flooding. We are finding increasingly that GEOlight® is used in multifunctional designs. So, for example, by including storage underneath a dry pond or detention basin, an amenity can be used for most of the time, let’s say as a playing field, and designed to flood only infrequently during severe storm events. Alternatively, the underground tank can provide an overflow ensuring that a pond or wetland continues to operate efficiently, and the resident wildlife is protected.

Sewers for Adoption 8

Earlier this year, Water UK published the eighth edition of Sewers for Adoption (SfA8), which contains revised guidance aiming to clarify the conditions under which Water Companies can own and adopt SuDS as surface water assets. The guidance is due to come into force in 2019, following ratification by Ofwat. It has raised hopes that Water Companies will be encouraged to increase their use of SuDS and be more innovative and imaginative in their application.

Best Practice Guidance

A well-designed SuDS scheme avoids surface water flooding by capturing rainwater as close as possible to the point where it first falls. SuDS use a sequence of devices and techniques to mimic natural drainage processes and can use a broad toolbox of devices, both above- and below-ground features and components, to achieve the most effective and sustainable outcomes. The SuDS Manual (C753), published by the Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA), defines the “four pillars” of SuDS as: water quantity, water quality, amenity and biodiversity. These principles put the control At the Stortford Fields Housing Development, the UK’s largest SDS GEOlight® installation is located underneath two football pitches

Above and below-ground sustainable drainage systems are a vital tool for Water Companies to control surface water flooding and treatment of surface water on an equal footing, so, where necessary, SuDS devices remove pollutants by filtering or separating out silt and sediment, debris and hydrocarbons. For some developments, vegetative SuDS features, such as swales or wetlands, can be used successfully to treat surface water as plants help to degrade pollutants, but care must be taken not to pollute the very features intended to protect the environment. Especially for higher risk infrastructure, manufactured devices may be the most reliable and maintainable way of separating out the sediment and filtering the water before it is discharged to the environment. Manufactured devices may be used to protect and ensure the effective operation of vegetative features, for example a hydrodynamic separator like the SDS AquaTM Swirl can be deployed upstream of a pond or swale to prevent it from silting up.


SuDS are not just a drainage solution for new development. Retrofit SuDS provide small, incremental improvements that achieve blue green infrastructure in urban environments. By working with highways agencies, local authorities and other stakeholders, Water Companies have an opportunity to target surface flooding hotspots with imaginative green infrastructure, from pocket parks to tree pits and traffic islands.

Recycling and Re-use

There have been encouraging developments from several Water Companies offering financial incentives and discounts to encourage householders or commercial property owners to incorporate water

efficiency measures that reduce their load on the surface water sewer. When surface water is held back in some way, whether it be an underground storage tank measuring 1000s of cubic metres, or a household water butt, it makes sense to look for sustainable ways to recycle and reuse it. Rainwater re-use systems range from simple and attractive garden planters right through to digitally-controlled technologies that combine flood protection with rainwater collection by use of smart sensing and real time controls. As a result, flood storage systems can be used to provide capacity for excess surface water during heavy rainfall, as well as harvesting rainwater for non-potable purposes like toilet flushing or garden watering.


Water Companies understand the principles of precision engineering for water infrastructure management and it is technology that may prove to be the final piece in the jigsaw that helps them achieve a more sustainable surface water infrastructure in future. In one of the latest developments, Anglian Water is reported to be using Artificial Intelligence systems for ‘digital twin’ modelling of the impact of proposed housing developments on drainage networks, for example. The incentives for Water Companies to use SuDS as surface water assets are clear. The capital costs of expanding sewer capacity and treatment are avoided, and customers can be offered rewards for saving water and even for diverting downpipes. It’s time for all Water Companies to examine the opportunities that SuDS present and to engage in greater dialogue across the industry to encourage and support innovation.


Sustainable Urban Drainage

Greener Grangetown project completion marked by Welsh Environment Minister The completion of the award winning Greener Grangetown project was marked by Welsh Government Minister for Environment, Hannah Blythyn. Greener Grangetown is an innovative £2 million partnership project between Cardiff Council, Dwr Cymru Welsh Water and Natural Resources Wales, supported by the Landfill Communities Fund.

of rainwater in the area and also realise massive energy savings – that alone is pretty impressive, but it’s the way the project has delivered additional benefits for the community that marks it out as special.”

The project uses the latest sustainable drainage (SuDS) techniques to catch, clean and divert rainwater directly into the River Taff instead of collecting and pumping it eight miles to a treatment works in the Vale of Glamorgan and then discharging it out to sea. This is the first time that these techniques have been retrofitted into an urban environment at this scale.

“It’s been a long road to get here, and thanks must go to residents for their patience, but I think most people can see that Greener Grangetown has transformed this part of Cardiff and made it a cleaner, greener place to live.”

Cabinet Member for Clean Streets, Recycling and Environment, Councillor Michael Michael said: “The way the SuDS technology at the heart of Greener Grangetown mimics natural drainage and allows rainwater to be released directly into the river means we can simultaneously improve the management

The scheme has resulted in: 42,480m2 of surface water being removed from the combined waste water network (the equivalent of 10 football pitches). An additional 1,600m2 of green space (the equivalent of 4 basketball courts). The creation of Wales’ first ever ‘bicycle street’ along one of the busiest sections of

the Taff Trail Active Travel route, slowing traffic by design and improving conditions for pedestrians and cyclists. Increased biodiversity - 135 new trees and thousands of shrubs and grasses planted. Creation of a community orchard. 26 new cycle stands. 12 new litter bins. 9 new seats and benches. Increased resident-only parking spaces. Minister for Environment Hannah Blythyn AM said: “The Greener Grangetown scheme brings multiple benefits to the local community – from the new rain gardens and kerbside planters, which will improve biodiversity in the area, to the dedicated ‘bicycle street’ that provides a safer route for cyclists and pedestrians and improving air quality. “What’s great about this scheme is how it has involved the Grangetown community at every stage, with input into the original proposals, right through to the final designs.”



Sustainable Urban Drainage

Greener Grangetown Group including Minister for Environment, Hannah Blythyn “Greener Grangetown is an example of what is possible in a retrofit sustainable drainage system. I hope this scheme will be a catalyst for others across Wales, both in terms of sustainable drainage and partnership working.” Dwr Cymru’s Managing Director of Wastewater Services, Steve Wilson, said: “We are delighted to have been part of this exciting and innovative project in the heart of the capital city. We are already delivering a number of sustainable drainage projects

ourselves to tackle urban flooding so it made perfect sense for us to join with Cardiff Council and Natural Resources Wales on this project. “The Greener Grangetown project will help improve the way our network operates during heavy rain which in turn will bring clear environmental benefits for decades to come.” Senior Policy Advisor for Natural Resources Wales, Martyn Evans, said: “Our aim from the very beginning was to ensure that Greener Grangetown could help to create a healthy

and resilient local environment that supported economic and social prosperity for generations to come. We can now see how the scheme is helping to enhance local biodiversity and wildlife, deliver water quality improvements in the River Taff and open up new opportunities for people to enjoy walking, cycling and other recreation close to where they live and work. It’s a brilliant example of how organisations and the public can work together to create so many positive outcomes, and we hope this innovative scheme can inspire many more exciting projects across Wales.

The Greener Grangetown scheme brings multiple benefits to the local community – from the new rain gardens and kerbside planters, which will improve biodiversity in the area, to the dedicated ‘bicycle street’ that provides a safer route for cyclists and pedestrians and improving air quality. What’s great about this scheme is how it has involved the Grangetown community at every stage, with input into the original proposals, right through to the final designs.


Sustainable Urban Drainage


Forge Factory Industrial Estate

By Andrew Power

Technical Manager, WSP Welsh Water has developed an innovative and sustainable approach to solving problems of overloaded sewers. Called RainScape, it aims to reduce or slow down the surface water entering combined sewers using a range of techniques. They include: Basins and planters: Shallow landscaped basins that capture the surface water runoff from roofs and road and store and treat the surface water. The water filters through the plants within the basin, removing contaminants before being released into the soil or the sewer network. These can be small, and fitted to individual downpipes, or they can be larger, and used within road schemes. Porous paving: Paving that is designed to allow surface water to pass through it, rather than over it into nearby drains. Porous paving comes in a variety of appealing designs. Grass channels: Strips of grass that can be installed in side streets and back alleys to provide a permeable surface for water to soak through. Filter strips: Strips of ground where water running off a site can pass through it, allowing some or all of it to soak away. The rest is often directed into a swale or another RainScape system. Swales: Long, shallow, landscaped channels that reduce the speed of surface


water - cleaning it and where possible allowing it to gradually infiltrate into the soil. Where it is not possible for the water to infiltrate the water into the ground, the swales gradually return the water into the sewer network at a slower rate. Geo-cellular storage: Geo-cellular systems can be either as a soakaway or as a storage tank. They can be installed beneath roads and kerbs and help to reduce the speed at which surface water enters the sewer network. WSP has worked with Welsh Water and local communities to implement RainScape solutions in a range of catchments with a variety of sewerage problems. Four examples of the many schemes that we have been involved with are described below. All have different problems, but the RainScape approach adapts to each of the issues. The removal of surface water is aimed at reducing the frequency at which downstream combined sewer overflows spill to the local river. The removal also provides capacity in the sewers for the foul flows from a large area further downstream that has been identified for future development Disconnecting the surface water from the Forge Factory Industrial Estate has the potential to remove nearly 80,000 m2 of impermeable area from the combined system; which removes as much as 630 l/s from a rainfall event that could potentially cause unacceptable flood risk. Old Caerau Colliery site has inflow and infiltration of surface water runoff into the

combined sewer network. Removal of the inflow will potentially reduce peak sewer flows past two properties in the downstream catchment that suffer from flooding. Surface water removal may also reduce spill frequency at combined sewer overflows that discharge to the local river which has suffered from pollution incidents.


In Hendy a RainScape solution was proposed to reduce the flood risk to properties. The RainScape solution is more expensive than a traditional option of an underground storage tank; but it is better for the long term resilience of the system to future increases in paved area and climate change.


A proposed RainScape scheme in Llannant is being used as part of the solution to an overloaded pumping station. The pumping station could not be upgraded as it would cause flooding further downstream. The solution is to change the road drainage in the upstream and downstream area so that it no longer drains to the combined sewer but instead makes use of RainScape features. This allows the pumping station capacity to be increased so reducing the risk of flooding and also providing capacity for a future development of 61 houses.


RainScape is providing effective sustainable solutions to a wide range of sewerage problems and often offers additional benefits to solving the problem that was initially identified.


Yorkshire Water to invest £30m in Saltend treatment works Yorkshire Water is to invest £30m in its waste water treatment works in Saltend, Hull to improve the site’s operation.

The work, which will begin in December, with completion late Autumn 2020, will help the firm produce more sludge. Sludge is a bi-product of waste water treatment and the anaerobic digestion process produces bio-gas which is used to fuel a Combined Heat and Power engine which heats water for the process and generates electricity. This electricity will be used to power the site and any surplus electricity will be transferred to the electricity grid. Yorkshire Water is also looking at alternative uses of the bio-gas such as, after cleaning, injecting in to the gas grid to provide renewable energy to homes and businesses.

Yorkshire Water Senior Project Manager, Mike Smith, said: “We are delighted to announce this investment which will make a huge improvement to the performance of the site. “This investment shows our commitment to invest in renewable energy and benefit the environment as we look at ways of becoming

more efficient and self-sufficient and help keep customers’ bills low.” The site will also have a new inlet works, which will make the site more resilient by giving the firm greater ability to remove unwanted items from the incoming waste water.


Sludge Management

De-watering activated sludge David Helicon, Principal Waste Water Scientist at South West Water, has developed an industry leading solution to de-watering activated sludge. The result is a more desirable agricultural fertiliser and improved efficiency at the treatment works. Activated sludge is a real problem for the wastewater industry. Unlike primary sludge, activated sludge is difficult to de-water. This makes activated sludge less stable than primary sludge for use as an agricultural fertiliser, meaning it doesn’t store well before spreading. What this means is that activated sludge cake, while waiting to be spread, can run down the farmer’s field towards a watercourse. This can potentially have a disastrous impact on the wildlife in and around the watercourse. This presents the industry with a problem. Normally water companies mix activated and primary sludge together, using specific ratios, so that stable sludge cake can be produced. Activated sludge cake is an ideal soil conditioner containing essential nutrients for crop growth, especially phosphorous. Phosphorous can also be derived from non-


renewable sources, so recycling sludge cake in agriculture is highly sustainable. To summarise, producing stable sludge cake for use as a fertiliser is the most sustainable method of disposal. At Cornborough Waste Water Treatment Works (WWTW) in North Devon, a site which serves 41,000 people, the importing of primary sludge is prohibited by planning restrictions. This means that the normal industry practice of mixing primary and activated sludge isn’t possible at Cornborough WWTW, presenting the site with a problem for how to make use of the activated sludge. In 2013, a centrifuge was installed to reduce sludge cake loads from the site, but because of the inconsistent quality of cake, this was never achieved. To help form the sludge cake, a very high concentration of de-watering polymer is dosed into the centrifuge.

The new industry leading idea, to increase dry solids achievable for activated sludge, was developed in 2017. The idea is simple: activated sludge is a soup of micro-organisms, which makes it difficult to de-water. Micro-organisms contain a high concentration of water and by disrupting the cell structure, the water can be removed from the cell; meaning a higher rate of de-watering can be achieved.

Final product dry solids

31 29

% d.s.

27 25 23




19 17 15



The results: activated before and after the use of the destructor


The breakthrough

Based on this idea, a crown destructor unit, which disrupts the cells through rapid pressure changes, was installed at Cornborough WWTW. This unit was plumbed into the centrifuge feed tank and sludge pumped from the base of the tank through the destructor and returned to the top of the centrifuge feed tank. This configuration means that the centrifuge operation does not rely on the destructor being on-line. The destructor is situated in a shipping container and sits next to the sludge tank, feeding the centrifuge. In the trial, the destructor ran continuously from April 2018 to July 2018. The results speak for themselves and exceeded expectations. Before and after microscopic


Sludge Management

Water treatment plant

sulphate-reducing bacteria to form hydrogen sulphide. This is a significant benefit, as this gas can adversely affect de-watering and reduces the health and safety risk associated with the accumulation of the gas.

Viscosity before disintegration

imagery shows how the sludge structure is fundamentally changed, transforming the random bacterial floc particles into an even liquid that can easily be pumped into the centrifuge. The changes are also visible to the naked eye, with a strong change in viscosity and smoothness. According to literature, the dry solids achievable for activated sludge is in the region of 18-20%. However, with the use of the destructor unit, the dry solids in the activated sludge improved to 24%, which is on par with primary sludge cake. This means the end product is much more stable and so the sludge cake is more readily accepted for agricultural use.

Viscosity after disintegration

This idea has had major operational benefits too. The sludge cake volumes reduced from 7 bins to 5 bins a week due to the reduction in water, reducing the need for operator involvement over the weekend. This reduced volume also makes transportation easier. The polymer dose was also reduced by over 20% - this reduction alone means the project cost will repay itself within just one year. A surprising benefit has also been that prior to installation of the destructor, the centrifuge was affected by varying saline infiltration which required a varying polymer dose throughout the day. By bursting the cellular structure, this has limited the ability of

The process also resulted in a net energy decrease. Although the destructor unit consumes electricity, this energy use is offset by running the activated sludge process at the correct control set-points.


The use of the destructor to break cell walls has produced an industry leading de-watering process, so activated sludge cake can be just as desirable as an agricultural fertiliser as primary sludge cake. This means there is now a way for the nutrients in the cake to be recycled sustainably and ensures the poor sludge cake doesn’t end up being reprocessed. More than this, it has reduced site costs in the long term, while decreasing the need for operator intervention. The destructor unit is now a permanent part of site operations and shows how important it is for the water industry to de-water sludge effectively.





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Sludge Management

New €15.3 million investment in sludge treatment process at Ballymore Eustace Water Treatment Plant Project marks completion of one of the most strategically significant projects in public water supply in Ireland Irish Water, working in partnership with Dublin City Council, is delighted to announce that works to provide a new sludge treatment process at Ballymore Eustace Water Treatment Plant (WTP), which supplies drinking water to over 1,000,000 people across Dublin City, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, South Dublin County and Kildare has been completed. This project completes the expansion of the largest water treatment plant in the country to a treatment capacity of up to 318,000 cubic metres of drinking water per day. The project represents a €15.3 million investment in Ballymore Eustace WTP. Ballymore Eustace WTP is located on the shore of Blessington Reservoir on the Wicklow/ Kildare border. The construction of the 166 million cubic meter impounding reservoir on

the River Liffey commenced in 1937 and was completed in 1947 which created a catchment of 312 sq. kms, with the dual purposes of water supply and hydro-electric power generation for a rapidly growing Dublin City & County population. To date there have been a number of developments at the plant, bringing its capacity from an initial 50,000 cubic metres in the 1940s, through to 136,000 cubic metres in the mid-seventies and on to 250,000 cubic metres in 1986. The recent expansion has seen the plant reach its ultimate capacity of 318,000 cubic metres per day. This project involved the construction of a new sludge treatment process to meet the WTP’s ultimate capacity. The project employed a

combination of centrifuge and thermal drying of the WTP’s sludge which has been successful in achieving a 87% reduction in the volume of sludge that required disposal to landfill. This also equates to a 169,000 km reduction in truck movements per year between the WTP and disposal route. Veolia Water Ireland Ltd. and Clonmel Enterprises Ltd. completed the Works on IW behalf, under the supervision of RPS Group. Commenting on the investment, William McKnight, Irish Water, said: “This substantial investment has enabled Irish Water complete the most recent expansion of the WTP whilst meeting the main priorities of National Waste Management Policy to minimise waste quantities destined for disposal.”



The packaging challenge in chemical supply: focus on sustainability By Shaun Myers

Director of Supply Chain and Service, Brenntag UK & Ireland Plastic is light, cheap, effective and attractive so there is no wonder we use so much in every aspect of our day. However, as David Attenborough’s documentary, Blue Plant II so visually demonstrated, the amount of plastic in the seas (considered by some to be circa 12 million tonnes) is causing considerable harm to birds and sea life. Potentially harmful chemicals are also linked to plastic, and have been found in species from plankton to dolphins. The full consequences to us all is yet to be fully understood. In the chemical industry plastic packaging not only performs the role of convenience and ease of application, it provides safety. Packaging design offers protection to operators and the public as it reduces the risk of environmental damage through spillage. The chemical industry has sought to fulfil its custodian role in packaging by delivering and collecting packs. Using the very best in design and quality and protecting these assets by an administrative process of deposits and credits( a method developed to speed up turnaround and minimise the size of the packaging fleet). Such a process developed in the 1970’s has been challenged over recent years by competition in the sector and the desire in the market to seek a low unit cost. Consequently, over time the value of the chemical and pack have become merged. Higher specification, heavy duty containers, designed to last many years, lost ground to lower cost packaging often included in the chemical price. Such a market move provided short term cost gains for some, but is it the most effective way to managing packaging? There must be many a chemical user site holding empty and partly empty packs in a flawed believe in their usefulness, or due to issues in proper and efficient return for effective reuse, disposal or recycling. Packs stored or used for temporary bulk storage for any length of time degrade, their age and history soon


forgotten and the risk to the environment or injury only increases. It cannot be a coincidence that over time diesel fuel made its way into the water supply in packs designed for disinfection. Perhaps, in the light of the issues mentioned, the chemical and the pack used to carry it should be considered separately and their individual values fully understood. The supply chain should seek to take a bigger responsibility by selecting the right pack and manage it throughout its life cycle to reduce risk and arguably, in the long term, cost. Brenntag do have an option for non-returnable packaging which is an area we are conscious does not promote the best use of a container. To that extent, we make every effort to ensure that all our customers are aware we offer a returnable packaging option. Indeed, Brenntag probably owns and manages the largest fleet of chemical returnable packaging within the UK & Ireland and takes responsibility for the environment extremely seriously by seeking ways to reduce any impact. The UK Government has made it very clear that it is their intention to reduce the amount of plastic and the associated waste in circulation. Many companies, including household names, have signed up to the UK Plastics Pact to cut plastic pollution over the coming years. Brenntag’s commitment to returnable packaging options includes the management and maintenance of the packaging, applicable certification, testing and tracking through the course of their life-span - from the point of first use through to the end of its use. We work with our customers to find the best solution. Clearly there is the potential to positively impact sustainability credentials by using returnable packaging, plus of course the added benefit of eliminating costly charges for the collection and disposal of empty chemical packaging. It is important to foster a collaborative approach across the supply chain and to this end Brenntag have two notable schemes. The first is to ensure packaging supplied to the food industry is returned and recycled effectively. This ensures that the food manufacturer has

the brand new packs they seek to reduce the risk of cross contamination, and that costs are mitigated when the packs are refurbished and supplied into less critical applications in other industries. The second is not in plastic but it is a closed loop system for solvent drums that circulates drums from our customers, back to our supplier be reconditioned to the agreed standard, and then refilled before being resold again into the same market sector. Brenntag have worked closely with the North American business Valpak, a leading provider on environmental compliance, who have been providing support to companies since 1997 when the first producer responsibility legislation was introduced. Under The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations, Brenntag must ensure that a proportion of all waste is recycled. There are different limits for each material and for plastic the current figure is 51%. Whilst Brenntag cannot recycle containers that have been chemically contaminated, they ensure that the appropriate weight equivalent to 51% of our plastic is recycled, Valpak ensure that the correct amount is recycled in the appropriate manner. As a member of the UN Global Compact since 2014, and one of the top performers for EcoVadis, where Brenntag hold the Gold Recognition Level, we are dedicated to delivering in the area of responsible care. For many years now, we have taken part in the Responsible Care/Responsible Distribution programme and are committed to the eight guiding principles laid down in this global programme. The recent awareness of the impact of packaging and plastic on our world brings the matter very much to the forefront for all, and can only reinforce the policy Brenntag has taken on returnable packaging for some decades.


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Water Industry Journal 9  

The magazine connecting all those who work in the UK Water Industry

Water Industry Journal 9  

The magazine connecting all those who work in the UK Water Industry