Wastewater Treatment & Technology • pipeline rehabilitation Wastewater Monitoring and Analysis • Improving Asset Health
We celebrate the achievements of our industry as it steps up to the plate If I had to identify the main strength of the water industry, it would be the unerring ability to respond to the drivers of change.
Editor Helen Compson
Come flood, drought, leakage control and the overarching tenet of customer experience, the industry is certainly not backwards in coming forwards. From asset health improvement to the ever growing expertise in data management to the strengthening of customer engagement, the ethos at its heart is one to be proud of. In one article, this edition, we take a look at a United Utilities project in which a crack team of 180 specialists pulled off the biggest plumbing job in the North West, despite the worst Mother Nature could throw at them. Storms and the fall-out of Covid-19 did not put them off their stride. We also celebrate the success of Thames Water at two prestigious IT award ceremonies and the clutch of wins that mark it out as one of Britain’s leading digital companies. Thames
Water earned plaudits at the inaugural Roadworks Charter Awards too, this time for its ‘smart’ approach to a project in London that is estimated to have saved more than 400 days of additional disruption to residents and road users. And we hear from Esri and SUEZ, two global players focused on building resilience and thereby future proofing. While the former is driving efficiency in the ether with geographic information systems second to none, the latter is driving efficiency on the ground with ultrafiltration systems capable of meeting the toughest water and wastewater processing challenges. For all of the companies we feature in this edition – and, actually, pretty much every edition - innovation is key.
16 WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL DECEMBER 2020
28-31 Wastewater Treatment & Technology 36-39 Pipeline Rehabilitation 42-47 Wastewater Monitoring and Analysis 50-53 Improving Asset Health
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ELIQUO Hydrok strengthens Executive team in preparation for further growth Leading water engineering solutions company, ELIQUO Hydrok, welcome Peter Wroe as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) as of October 2020; with his remit to further develop the future growth strategy of the company and build upon the reputation for quality and service in partnership with all UK water utility companies. Peter is an experienced board Director and leader of finance, procurement, contract management, tendering and governance teams. Previously he was Finance Director at the Eden Project, Cornwall, for 5 years, held several leadership roles at BT Plc for 10 years and held other finance-based roles prior to that. He is a Chartered Management Accountant, a member of the Institute of Directors and an experienced Non-Executive Director and Trustee. Commenting on the appointment Gauke Reitsma, CEO of ELIQUO Water Group GmbH, said “ELIQUO Hydrok has achieved remarkable success under the leadership of Dave Armstrong as Managing Director and Lewis O’Brien as Technical Director, together with an experienced and passionate team of over 130 water professionals with a heritage of quality and delivery. We are very pleased to have Peter on board at ELIQUO Hydrok to further strengthen the Executive leadership team.” Joining at the start of AMP7, Peter said, “It is a great time to be joining the company which is geared up to partner with UK water companies with an exciting portfolio of environmentally considerate technologies and products to meet the forthcoming AMP7 requirements. These include new and improved Mecana cloth filtration systems, a partnership with Royal HaskoningDHV for their NEREDA® treatment technology plus a range of products for Biosolids Treatment
Peter Wroe which will help in the challenges we are all facing regards climate change and reduction of damaging greenhouse gases. I am already enjoying working with our respected and experienced team to help our customers to deliver cost effective and sustainable water treatment solutions.”
for not only our business but for our industry in general. We are well into our preparation for this next 5 years with plans being formed in readiness; Peter’s appointment is key to our continued strategic growth and future abilities to provide the innovation and solutions to our Clients”
In a joint comment Dave Armstrong and Lewis O’Brien said, “We are both delighted to welcome Peter to the Board of ELIQUO Hydrok. AMP7 is destined to present many challenges
For more information on the Eliquo Hydrok range of Wastewater and Water solutions visit the website: www.eliquohydrok.co.uk or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to participate in the March edition of Water Industry Journal we shall be featuring: Trenchless Technology Drinking Water Treatment & Supply Water & Wastewater Monitoring & Analysis
Improving Customer Experience Wastewater Treatment & Technology Leak Detection & Repair
Trenchless Technolog y • Wastewater Treatmen t & Technology • Leak flood defence • Drinking Detection & Repair Water Treatment • chemuk2020 preview
& recycling & incident management • Biosolids & analysis • Utility security Delivering resilience Water & wastewater monitoring • Catchment management • Wastewater treatment & technology
Contact David Lancaster on 0191 580 5476 or email email@example.com for more information.
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL DECEMBER 2020
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A Thames Water project saved commuters in London more than a year of disruption after smart sharing of its work site with other companies. The water company had to close a busy road in the City of London to complete a three-month project to connect Bishopsgate properties to a new water main. In order to get it open again quickly and reduce the need for further closures, Thames Water worked with other utilities providers, local government and developers to carry out simultaneous work. This included broadband connections, gas main works and transport improvements. By cooperating with the companies, such as Cadent, Virgin Media and Reach Active, the scheme is estimated to have saved more than 400 days of additional disruption to residents and road users. The success of the project has now been recognised after it was named the best collaborative work site at the inaugural Roadworks Charter Awards.
Inside the previously completed flume pipe at the Thames Tideway Tunnel Victoria Embankment Foreshore site
Barhale secures second Tideway flume award Civil engineering and infrastructure specialist Barhale has secured a second high profile flume construction commission on the Thames Tideway Tunnel. The Ferrovial Construction and Laing O’Rourke (FLO) joint venture, the principal contractor for the 12.7km central section of the 25km Thames Tideway Tunnel, has appointed Barhale to carry out the works at the Blackfriars Bridge Foreshore site. It follows on from the successful delivery of a similar contract at Tideway Central’s Victoria Embankment Foreshore site further west and entails the installation of a flume inside the existing Victorian Low-Level Sewer within the Thames River Wall. Fabricated by Barhale subsidiary BCS Group, the pipe will be made up of 41 rings of 10 individual steel segments. It will carry the flow of the sewer during construction works and will allow future breakthrough to connect the sewer to the Thames Tideway tunnel. Filipe Mello, Barhale’s contracts manager at Blackfriars Bridge Foreshore, believes that the award recognises the delivery of the earlier
flume installation which saw construction completed ahead of schedule. “While we undoubtedly took a lot of expertise and experience to the Victoria Embankment site, we also gained a great deal of insight which we will take to Blackfriars,” he said. “This is a challenging project that requires us to work inside the harsh and restrictive live environment of the existing Victorian sewer. It also presents severe logistical considerations. We will have to work at night and with access to the sewer often limited to tight three-hour periods. “The flume will be an important step in the continued progress at the Blackfriars Bridge Foreshore site and will help to bring the completion of the wider project to clean up the Thames for future generations a little closer.” Completion is scheduled for May 2021
Thames Water’s Harry Mistry said: “It was a significant challenge to co-ordinate and manage so many organisations and contractors while maintaining a safe site at one of the network’s busiest locations, so it’s a credit that we did it all successfully. “It’s in everyone’s interests to ensure our projects are efficient and reduce disruption to residents and the public as much as possible. It’s a no-brainer to work with other industries on these kinds of projects, which benefits not only us, but customers too.” The Roadworks Charter was launched a year ago to make roadworks safer, more sustainable and less disruptive. To mark its first anniversary, Transport for London hosted member organisations in a virtual event earlier this month and handed out awards in categories including safety, sustainability and innovation. A Thames Water project in Stoke Newington was also nominated for the collaboration award, while schemes in Camden and Westminster were shortlisted in the sustainable travel category. Over the last 18 months Thames Water has worked with utility companies including SSE, Cadent and UK Power Networks on collaborative projects, saving hundreds of days of additional works and up to £10 million in costs such as road closures.
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL DECEMBER 2020
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Safeguarding water quality with WRAS approved technology Drinking water quality is of key importance to public health and the provision of safe drinking water has been recognised as one of the greatest technological and public health advances of the last century. Due to the strict standards set by the DWI, the quality of the UK’s drinking water is now among the best in the world. The current system of delivering safe water to consumers in the UK is based upon significant investment in infrastructure and performs at an excellent standard at a very low cost. However, the challenge of taking water quality monitoring into the digital transformation of smart water has created new barriers for the UK water industry, which need to be overcome. Creating smaller smart sensors and flow cells, whilst maintaining high standards and reliability, is a prerequisite to meet the needs and demands of water utilities. Historically, the industry has relied on compliance to the DWI regulations due to fast flowing samples, cool temperatures and small area contact. Monitoring water in distribution networks often means that water is being monitored in applications of lower flow, prolonged residence times and higher water temperatures. Compounding this, water in networks is very valuable to any water company, therefore allowing samples to simply run to waste is not the favoured option.
Water Quality Compliance
Regulation standards for potable water necessitates that sensors and flow cells meet a gold-standard of material compliance to ensure the materials used in the sensors do not contaminate the water. WRAS approval is the European hallmark of material quality required by the water sector to ensure this compliance. All potable water sensors need an audit trail to demonstrate that the materials used do not jeopardise water quality by polluting it with the residue left behind. Unlike WRAS approved analytical sensor technology, lower-cost sensors will plasticise the water, leaking chemicals into the source, which inevitably breaches standards by contaminating the water. This means that all water samples taken from the bypass to be tested are put to waste due to contamination from the sensor. However, with WRAS approved, smart technology, like ATi’s MetriNet, the sample can be immediately returned back to the network, resulting in zero wastage, on average saving approximately 288 litres per day per system, which is 102,528 litres per year. There is no cumulative leakage as the sampled water re-joins mains flow, meaning WRAS compliant technology is a reliable and environmentally
sustainable method for gathering data, capturing events and understanding why they occurred.
The fast emergence of smart water raises major challenges for both water companies and supply chain alike. How can we drive the cost of vital sensors down, making it commercially viable to deploy sufficient numbers to gain the levels of data necessary to deliver the granularity of insight required for gains to be made? If not checked, this traditional procurement paradigm could lead to poor material standards, as manufacturers are forced to turn to lower cost-based manufacturing, with minimal material standards. ATi UK’s Executive Director, Garry Tabor, believes that as the industry drives the future of smart water forward, we all have a responsibility to ensure that water quality standards are maintained. “As the global leaders in water quality sensors for smart water and pioneers of innovative solutions, ATi UK is committed to upholding and delivering the highest standards for our customers. All of ATi’s water quality sensors and flow cells meet
WRAS’s required high standards, enabling them to be deployed for use as monitors within the water treatment process, right though-out the distribution journey, source to tap. ATi does not compromise on the standard of materials, instead we innovate through research and partnership with our customers to develop better technology at lower cost, enabling us to meet the high standards that WRAS sets. “Whether our customers are using our water treatment works-based Q Series range or network deployed MetriNets, we provide continued confidence that our engineered solutions deliver the most advanced water quality technology available, manufactured to the best working practice and made with fully compliant, sustainable materials. “By pioneering the development and deployment of innovative, industry-leading, customer focused solutions, we strive to set the standards of the water we drink and the air we breathe, allowing our customers to ensure a safe, efficient and healthy environment, whilst delivering first-class customer support.” atiuk.com
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL DECEMBER 2020
Zero water wastage in distribution networks with MetriNet. Intelligent water quality solutions for smarter water networks. MetriNet is a pioneering breakthrough in water quality monitoring. Its smart sensor technology offers a sustainable solution with zero water wastage, helping utilities meet environmental targets, drive down complaints, increase C-MeX scores and result in proactive network management to safeguard water quality. Often water samples taken from the bypass to be tested are put to waste due to contamination from the sensor. However, with WRAS approved, smart technology from ATiâ€™s MetriNet, the sample can be immediately returned back to the network, resulting in zero wastage. There is no cumulative leakage as the sampled water re-joins the mains flow. MetriNet will predict events, loss of disinfection, taste, odour, discoloration, bursts or leaks, providing a network that measures, thinks, predicts and takes actions. Timely warnings and analysis of network anomalies then allows operational staff to react before visible and costly failures develop. The low-power sensors can be installed anywhere in a network and working alongside acoustic and transient systems, our monitors are also a vital tool in helping detect and prioritise leaks in a distribution network, enabling flexible, pro-active and strategic network management.
firstname.lastname@example.org / +44 (0) 1457 873 318 / atiuk.com ATi UK is a leading provider and innovator of engineered, analytical sensor monitoring solutions for water and gas applications. We also deliver accurate water quality data insights to support evidence based investment in networks. Our pioneering and industry leading range of smart network monitors, water quality monitors and gas detectors are trusted to deliver outstanding results and provide strategic solutions for the most demanding of applications.
Solutions for a Smarter Future
Environment Team goes green with move to electric vehicles South East Water’s Environment Team has joined a company-wide trial by investing in four new electric vans. This initiative is part of the company’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2025 and follows the purchase of an electric van and two electric cars earlier this year to join a number of hybrid cars already in the fleet. The Environment Team’s new Nissan e-NV200s will be used to maintain and enhance the flora and fauna of companyowned sites, as well as by scientists taking water quality samples from rivers, streams and boreholes. With a range of up to 187 miles, charging will be made easy thanks to electric vehicle charging points available at 10 South East Water sites in addition to public charging points situated across its supply area in parts of Kent, Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire and Berkshire. Although the upfront purchase price is higher than traditional diesel cars, the low running costs and reliability of electric vehicles makes them an economical choice long-term, said Michael Moores, Head of Procurement at South East Water. “Switching to hybrid and electrical vehicles is becoming more and more popular in the UK so we are keen to understand how we can use
these environmentally-friendly options across our varied business”, said Michael. “For the 2020 to 2025 period we are trialling a number of different electrical vehicles in different job roles to understand their constraints and requirements. “Although the main driver for the trial is to reduce our carbon footprint, we are confident that the lower running costs and longer usable lifespan compared to diesel vans makes financial sense too.
“As guardians of the environment, we take our responsibilities seriously and I know that our employees are as excited as I am to be part of the move to electric.” Forming an important part of South East Water’s current business plan, the slashing of carbon emissions is just one of six new environmental performance commitments for the 2020 to 2025 period. Read the full plan at corporate.southeastwater.co.uk/businessplan
Water Innovation Network celebrates 10 years of open innovation
The Water Innovation Network (WIN), a collaborative platform connecting Anglian Water with the most entrepreneurial thinkers and organisations across different sectors, celebrates its 10th birthday this month. The free network is a partnership between Anglian Water and Allia Future Business Centre, a not-for-profit organisation that helps businesses to grow. Over the last decade, it has facilitated over £15m of value for the water company, by bringing fresh thinking and a range of new solutions that are now considered business as usual. Laura Underhill, WIN Manager at Anglian Water, said: “WIN is a key part of our strategy to attract and encourage the most innovative ideas, individuals and organisations to work with us. It’s evolved over the last 10 years to create a streamlined experience that benefits both suppliers and our business.
“Exposing ourselves to new perspectives and approaches is absolutely vital, we know we can’t solve our challenges in isolation. We’re proud to have a thriving network of suppliers who we have strong relationships with to deliver value for our business.” WIN is based on the concept of open innovation, meaning it encourages ideas from different sectors. It has received over 800 submissions since 2010 which have passed through Anglian Water’s internal review group to understand their value. Detailed feedback is given to suppliers to enable them to adapt and shape their products and ideas to give them the best chance of success. Thirty-five of these are
now integrated into the company’s daily processes. Laura continued: “It’s important to remember that WIN isn’t just about technology. It’s about finding new ideas and concepts too. It’s a tool for all of our business to use and we encourage anyone who is interested in unearthing great ideas to speak to us about how we can help connect them with these.” Anglian continues to encourage organisations, supply chain, innovators and forward-thinkers to sign up to the WIN, helping to provide solutions for the water industry at: www.waterinnovation.net
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL DECEMBER 2020
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UK-India MoU opens doors for UK suppliers A new trading relationship between the UK and India will open many doors for the water and wastewater supplier community, writes British Water chief executive Lila Thompson. As the Indian government pushes forward with vast programmes to deliver drinking water and sanitation to every household and to restore and rejuvenate the nation’s rivers, transformational times lie ahead for the country’s 1.3 billion population. Thanks to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreed between British Water and the Centre for Ganga River Basin Management & Studies (cGanga), along with the National Mission for Clean Ganga, the UK supply chain has the opportunity to be part of that transformation. With some US$200 billion of investment planned for the Indian water market, the MoU has been formalised to make it easier for the UK water industry to participate in the opportunities and for Indian companies to access global markets. British Water has a long history of organising business development visits to India, several of which I have led myself. We have also
welcomed senior delegations from India looking to partner with UK companies. While British consultancies have generally done well in India, contractors and some technology companies have lagged behind. There are a number of historical reasons for this including the commercial structure of the Indian market, a reliance of UK companies on markets closer to home and difficulties in finding suitable collaborative partners in India. India’s Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) process is a particularly useful channel for technology companies seeking to enter the Indian market. cGanga is managing the scheme and the purpose is to streamline and accelerate the introduction of innovative new technologies. A number of companies, including British Water members, have already been selected for work on the Clean Ganges Programme and are already in the process of rolling out their pilots
and demonstration projects. Having a partner like cGanga is critical for British Water and the water and wastewater supplier community. Through collaboration, the depth of experience and expertise in the UK technology and engineering sector can be brought to bear on major environmental issues. It is anticipated that this collaboration model will bring integrated water resource management techniques to the fore and identify comprehensive solutions. During the India-UK Water Partnership Forum, a virtual event I joined on 22 September, India’s secretary of state for water, Upendra Prasad Singh, said that his country “cannot fail” on its ambitious programmes. He added that India has an important leadership role for other countries facing similar challenges. The coronavirus global pandemic too has only highlighted the importance of water as we are all asked to pay closer attention to personal
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL DECEMBER 2020
Ganga River - a number of companies have already been selected for work on the Clean Ganges Programme Lila Thompson (below), British Water Chief Executive
hygiene. This is much easier to achieve when every household has a piped water supply and access to safe sanitation. Indiaâ€™s vision and intent to secure this critical infrastructure and enhance its environmental stewardship should be supported by the global water community. It should also galvanise other countries to move at pace towards the UNâ€™s Sustainable Development Goals on water and sanitation. Often it takes a crisis to create the momentum for change, and we are certainly facing multiple crises, but in this instance, it also takes wholehearted collaboration from a global community to deliver transformation on the ground. UK-based companies and organisations wishing to find out more about the upcoming opportunities available, should email British Waterâ€™s international manager Karolina Peret firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scale-up data technology, water companies urged There has been significant growth in the use of data by the UK water sector but technology now needs to be rolled out at scale if optimum benefits are to be felt over the next five years. That was the message from Paul Dickenson, chair of the British Water Data & Analytics Focus Group, when he spoke at British Water’s recent Data Conference. The theme of the virtual conference, Implementing Change Now, was “very much a call to action” in response to regulatory expectations in the 2020-2025 AMP7 period, he said. “It is no longer about doing small-scale projects. It is about how we can take the technologies and processes that have already been proven quite regularly, and now apply them at a meaningful scale. “Ofwat has been very clear that it wants to see transformational outcomes from innovation in AMP7 and is driving that through its £200m innovation fund and competition. “This is the direction we must go in to move forward.” The 2020 Data Conference was British Water’s fourth. In the time that had elapsed since the first one, data science in the water industry had noticeably moved in and moved on, he said. Now, he felt, the focus should be shifting towards fully integrating data science into
business as usual operations, enabling decision makers to use data on a daily basis. He added: “When moving towards greater implementation, the key for utilities is understanding what the needs are of the customer - what do they want? “Then, what are the regulatory and political drivers and how do they filter through? As data professionals, understanding those can help us implement the right activities and the right outputs.” This was a time of unprecedented environmental and economic challenges for the water sector, while it is also strived to meet stretching AMP7 targets. Adding to the pressure was the Environment Agency’s challenge to water companies in England to address areas in which they were not meeting expectations. The scale of the challenge was made clear in the Environmental Performance Report 2019, published in October, which stated the performance of some companies had been unacceptable. Dickenson said: “This AMP will put the water companies under considerable constraint and the industry needs to make savings while
also improving performance. You can’t square that circle by throwing more people, more resources or more concrete at the problem. “More intelligent and widespread use of the right data is one of the only ways to meet that dual demand and adapt to the lower cost, higher performance environment being driven by public demand, political pressure and regulatory constraints.” The level of collaboration needed to help meet UK regulatory targets was discussed at the conference, along with the importance of open data sharing and what it would take to transform a traditional asset management business. Dickenson said: “In water, where we are attempting to do new things and balance the need to be cautious with the need to innovate, collaborative events can really help steer a way forward and ensure that best practice gets to where it is needed. “It is British Water’s aim to not only reach the community of data professionals but also reach decision makers and give a collective voice to how important data can be to the industry.”
Wessex Water offers support to Covid-hit communities Wessex Water is providing more financial help for community groups in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The Wessex Water Recovery Fund aims to strengthen communities following the Covid-19 outbreak, with an emphasis on local rather than national projects. The fund is part of the new Wessex Water Foundation, a multi-million pound initiative which was launched in June and provides a dedicated funding stream for charitable and community projects across the Wessex Water region.
It is run in partnership with the Somerset, Wiltshire, Dorset and Quartet Community Foundations and has already been prioritising those worst affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Particular priority will be given to those groups that are working to: support people in financially difficult circumstances help build stronger communities support the green recovery with new initiatives restore and protect nature and wildlife for community health and wellbeing.
by local communities, the Wessex Water Recovery Fund has been set up to provide support that will both address priority needs and help build resilience for the future.”
Kirsty Scarlett, Wessex Water’s Head of Community Engagement, said: “For this year only, as a response to the challenges faced
Its local community panels will announce in January which applications for funds have been successful.
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL DECEMBER 2020
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Thames Water’s digital intelligence recognised Thames Water has been recognised as one of the country’s leading digital companies after winning four titles at two prestigious IT industry awards. Britain’s biggest water company was named IT Team of the Year for its response to the Covid crisis and won the award for Best Use of Cloud Services as it continues to develop and embrace new technology to support customers and the environment. It was also highly commended in three other categories. And at the UK App Awards, Thames Water won the Productivity or Utility App of the Year award for an e-logbook which helps waste treatment technicians capture critical site data, and the IoT App of the Year for its Where? app which uses artificial intelligence to help technicians detect leaks. Mike Potter, Thames Water’s chief technology officer, said: “I’m hugely proud that Thames
Water has been so widely recognised, especially for the incredible work done by all our teams to support our customers and staff during the Covid crisis. “While we’ve come a long way there’s still a lot of work to do to continue improving our customer experience, as well as continuing to create the apps and digital tools we need to ensure our network is working efficiently.” The UK IT Industry Awards is the largest and best-known event in the technology industry calendar, setting the performance in IT, recognising exceptional people, projects and technology innovation. The IT Team of the Year was awarded to
Thames Water after it quickly introduced remote working for thousands of customer service, IT and field staff during the pandemic. Thames Water also came away with the Best Use of Cloud Services Award for its Fieldworks mobile apps platform. The judges said it was “a truly innovative use of cloud technology” that has had a “significant business impact and benefit to the environment”. Receiving highly commended nods were Thames Water’s asset, digital and transformation director John Beaumont in the Inspirational Leader category, the Where? app in the Machine Learning and AI Project category, and for the e-logbook in the User Engagement Project category.
Water documentary goes mainstream
A powerful documentary that aims to drive positive change in water is set to reach a global audience of millions. Brave Blue World, narrated by Liam Neeson and featuring actors and activists Matt Damon and Jaden Smith, has been released on Netflix to an audience of 193 million subscribers worldwide. Filmed across five continents, Brave Blue World paints an optimistic picture of how humanity is adopting new technologies and innovations to re-think how water is managed. The documentary makers went on an incredible journey to meet with pioneers and innovators who are addressing global water and sanitation challenges. Executive producer and founder of Brave Blue World Foundation Paul O’Callaghan said: “Raising awareness of the global water crisis to help fast-track potential solutions was our ambition when we set out on this journey two years ago.
It is thanks to the support of the global water community, including those who have already hosted grassroots screenings, that we have reached this extraordinary milestone and are able to finally give water the profile it deserves.”
Liam Neeson said: “It’s a great film. We all need to see it. Every school and every college needs to see it. Every kid has heard of climate change; the film deeply connects with this. It makes water local – something so many of us take for granted.”
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL DECEMBER 2020
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Crowdsourcing app speeds up ‘void’ property surveys Esri builds the world’s most powerful mapping and spatial analytics software. In the process, this global market leader in geographic information systems harnesses the concept of location, location, location to drive both efficiency and digital transformation for its clients. Martin Mydliar
Customer Success Manager, Esri UK The problem of void properties skewing leakage figures might be common knowledge, but the means of tackling it have been less than straightforward. Until now. For Esri’s ArcGIS Online and Collector App came into its own during the first lockdown when, suddenly, the ultra-time consuming demands of void property surveys were solved at a stroke, thanks to the additional innovation of Severn Trent Water. Come the pandemic and the advent of home-working, the water company turned the ArcGIS Online app into a crowdsourcing app for mobile phones and duly set staff a challenge that was as much about maintaining connectivity and morale as tackling the perennial problem of voids. Martin Mydliar, Esri’s Customer Success Manager for Severn Trent Water, said the ingenuity of the latter had added indeed another dimension to the app. “We have had an ongoing relationship with Severn Trent since 2007 and they were already using the ArcGIS platform for a variety of business scenarios,” he said. “So when they approached us and told us about this new tool
ArcGIS has given us a better understanding of what is genuine leakage and what is not. That enables us to focus our resources in the right places to detect leaks more quickly. 20
they envisaged at the start of lockdown, we were glad to help. “We provided access to the necessary licenses through our COVID-19 response programme to enable the rather novel plan they had in mind.” In one of the many previous programmes Severn Trent had undertaken to achieve leakage reduction targets, staff equipped with paper maps and spreadsheets had checked the occupancy status of properties listed as void near where they lived or worked.
With the data being uploaded in real time to an Esri dashboard, managers were able to assess the results quickly and efficiently. During the following three months, 8255 properties were surveyed – a 550% increase on the previous programme. It was found that more than a third of the properties listed as empty were in fact occupied.
But progress was slow and in the course of three months, only around 1500 properties were surveyed.
Severn Trent was thereby able to improve the accuracy of its leakage data, acknowledging usage of water that was otherwise being recorded as ‘lost’.
However, when the first lockdown forced the majority of employees to begin working from home, the company realised how it could make good use of their time, while - equally importantly - creating a focus that would help maintain team spirit.
Richard Powell, Asset Information and Insights Management Lead at Severn Trent Water, said that in challenging business conditions, the company had made the most of its Esri software to deliver an app that had proved tremendously valuable.
So it was that, using their permitted daily level of outdoor exercise, 200 or so members of staff headed out with their mobile phones to do more surveying – a lot more surveying! Using a quick and easy edit function on ArcGIS app, they recorded whether the properties marked on their digital maps were a) clearly occupied, b) clearly unoccupied or c) the occupancy status was unclear.
“ArcGIS has given us a better understanding of what is genuine leakage and what is not,” he said. “That enables us to focus our resources in the right places to detect leaks more quickly and to play our part in helping the industry at large to reduce water wastage.” www.esriuk.com/water
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL SEPTEMBER 2020
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Improving control and yield in gravity thickeners Gravity thickener machines are widely installed and used in waste water treatment plants, water treatment plants as well as in a wide range of industries with waste or solids separation requirements like; food and dairy, pulp and paper, abattoirs and special aggregates industries, for example. Gravity belt thickeners are primarily used for water-volume reduction prior to digestion, further dewatering/drying, transportation for incineration or disposal. They are continuously operating machines which thicken sludge by gravity using a revolving porous filter belt or conveyor. They generally produce a still pumpable, but much thickened sludge. Gravity Thickeners
They employ the natural tendency of higher-density solids to settle out of liquid to concentrate them, combined with mechanical assistance to augment the process. Think of the example in a kitchen of passing a stock through a sieve, using a spoon to stir and agitate the process to encourage more liquid to pass over a wider area/cleaner parts of the sieve. The technique is used in the same way in both industrial and municipal settings. A gravity belt thickener employs ‘gravity drainage’, i.e. dilute sludge (typically 0.5% to 1.0%), which is introduced at the feed-end of a horizontal filter belt. As the slurry makes its way down the moving belt, any free water drains through the porous belt. The solids are continuously turned, encouraging the drainage of more water through a filter belt to thicken. A drum thickener works on a similar principle of conveying treated sludge (a.k.a. flocculated sludge) through a slowly rotating drum filter. The sludge remains in the drum, while the water phase passes out through the filter. Some ‘dynamic’ systems also employ a partial vacuum or pressure to assist with the filtering to accelerate or optimise the process. There are also presses and centrifuges which also carry out similar tasks, all with similar process challenges and varying control techniques. In most cases, the final sludge is discharged into an outlet hopper as a pumpable thickened sludge. The sludge to be thickened may be polymerconditioned prior to digestion, being prepared for a further process of mechanical dewatering in a press or centrifuge, or water-reduced before transporting for land application or sludge disposal site.
Controlling the thickening process
Control of these mechanised processes is key to producing a consistent throughput and
Radar level sensors, low-cost, affordable and extremely tolerant of the sort of build-up levels on the sensor face that would compromise other technologies output. Too fast and the filter systems can be overwhelmed, too little wastes energy, capacity and can have a detrimental effect on the quality of the final sludge. To do this, among other devices, the machines employ a variety of level and pressure sensors for control and feedback of how the process
is running. That can be pressure in lines and pumps, differential pressure on filters or across pumps, level in feed and receiving hoppers and even on the belts themselves, as well as density of incoming and outgoing media. All of these measurements help the machine manufacturers, and in turn the plant operators, optimise performance, control and
WATER WATER INDUSTRY INDUSTRY JOURNAL JOURNAL DECEMBER MARCH 2020
energy inputs. Really good automated control equals less power consumption, and a better quality output - every gram of water extracted means less energy in transport, further processing or drying. When that gets scaled up to a large waste water network, or large scale industrial process in food, paper, steel or aggregates, these grams of water can quickly turn into significant amounts of savings across a fleet of machines and sites. The issues of getting reliable control are many-fold. If we look at the instrumentation that provides the data - accurate measurements are once again amplified through the cost and processing chain of this continuous, automated process.
Challenges of pressure control
One critical area are the pressure sensors used to monitor performance in delivery systems, pumps, recirculation or outfeed circuits. The big issue is pressure monitoring sensors are required to be sensitive in design to make the measurement, (and kept away from direct contact with the arduous process conditions) yet ideally they need to be flush mounted in pipe lines and vessels (in direct contact) to avoid blockages from the sludge they are monitoring. Both of these situations can cause errors: Recessed protected sensors become prone to blockages or air pockets – it can be worked around with air or water flushing, but this just adds cost and complexity and maybe unwanted water into the process. However, by flush mounting them, it exposes the sensitive thin metal pressure diaphragms which can be prone to abrasion damage from particles in sludge. The result of this? Drift in the accuracy of readings, which, when trying to extract every gram of water or solids, can negate all that optimising work. So care in their mounting and positioning needs to be taken, air pockets and blockages in small recesses can play havoc with readings, and in turn; extra servicing, recalibration and repairs, which can introduce costly downtime and interruptions. Unfortunately, the outcome can be overflowing or over-running machines, often reported as a big problem due to lack of accurate, proper control, so machines are often switched to “run in manual”, to counter this. However there is a solution for these pressure measurements.
Flush with solutions
Using something as simple as ceramic pressure sensors that can be fully flush mounted, (with a fully concealed elastomer O-ring to reduce exposure to wear) means the problems of blocking, flushing, cleaning, wear and damage can thus be avoided. This ceramic diaphragm technology is already proven in slurry pipes in the mining and recycled paper industries with their respective bombardments of sand/grit or ‘paperclips’, both of which are fatal to metal diaphragm devices. “Flush mounting without fear” using ceramic pressure transmitters also means no mis-reads from blockages or air pockets due to syphon/vacuum effects from flows across recessed pipes/fittings. Another benefit of ceramic cells is they also have much better resistance to pressure shock overload and
A typical gravity belt thickener out feed, shows level controls over the outfeed hopper that regulate the pump speed/operation and the feed into the gravity belt thickener behind ‘water hammer’, once again providing better long term accuracy and stability. Some ‘dynamic’ thickener systems, using pressure or vacuum, also require a differential pressure measurement across the filters or pumping systems to detect any drop in performance. This information is invaluable, as again it can directly control speeds of filter mesh or flow rate, to avoid overflows and flooding. This can also be best achieved in the same way, by using two ceramic-faced sensors, in a remote electronic differential pressure configuration, which again provides a direct flush-mounted measurement.
Density measurement is another parameter monitored during processing, this is normally done using sophisticated and sensitive in-line density sensors, but again, they are vulnerable to build up and wear. Instead, or as a back-up,
there is an option for a flush mounted or top mounted ceramic-cell differential pressure system (or level/volume versus hydrostatic head) that can be used for a continuous density measurement in vessels at certain process points. These simple innovative pressure solutions can be employed to ensure the correct feed rates and quality of output are being maintained, to help maintain reliability and automation of the processes.
Keeping level control
Finally, but just as importantly, we come to level controls in the sludge handling and feed. Conductivity based point level switches and ultrasonic level sensors are the incumbent technologies - particularly in the water industry - most often used in these processes. The big issue for the sensors is the nature of the process and often confined operational space with a close proximity to splashing, sticky sludge. This causes issues for ultrasonic
sensors with echo loss or ‘blocking distances or dead zones’ in the near-range, similarly on conductivity point level switch probes causing locked-up switch signals. These situations often result in machine reliability issues, nearly always caused by build-up and sensor fouling, consequently these operational problems end up with automated processes malfunctioning. When blocked by build-up, conductivity probes will often remain in a switched state until someone is called out to site and the probes are cleaned. Maintenance call outs for such an avoidable ‘nuisance false high level’ are costly and provide additional strain on maintenance teams. The machines can often over flow or flood, with loss of production, time-consuming, unpleasant clean ups and even damage to equipment. This is because the sensors are working on the limits of capability, there are often unsuccessful attempted ‘work-arounds’ and the upshot is a loss of confidence in automated control systems by operators. The thickeners are run in manual or semi-manual mode, and what should be virtually continuous and automated, becomes a batch-operation and personnel are losing time constantly supervising the thickeners, where they could be spending it elsewhere on plant. It has been shown by using radar-based sensors in these applications, these issues in level monitoring and control can be overcome. They can work in more confined spaces, they have no ‘dead zone’ or ‘blocking distance’, and operate comfortably with build-up and water deposits on the sensor face to still maintain accurate readings and control. In conjunction with a controller they can also be used as ‘non-contact point level control’, to replace probes. Until now, they were perceived as expensive, but new compact 80 GHz devices are both highly affordable and competitive with ultrasonic and even the point level switches. Extra benefits like Bluetooth for remote adjustment and operational information, means they can be monitored real-time, from a
Admittance based probes for an ultimate high level, resistant design and self-adjusting for ignoring build up safe position, to ensure they are delivering the performance needed. If a separate, discrete back-up point level device is needed, another alternative is an admittance-based level probe solution, perhaps a little more money than an ‘inexpensive’ conductivity switch, but could deliver much better reliability with its selfadjusting technology to negate build up.
will differ in one way or another. That said, whatever your role, as machine or system supplier, or end user with existing equipment, the challenges in these applications are the same. However, consult with a good level and pressure supplier, be prepared to collaborate and innovate with them, even do some trials and tests at problem sites, you could be surprised at the cost effective improvements to yield, quality and efficiency.
This article covers gravity thickener machines and processes in general and each application
First WRAS ‘certified’ submersible level sensor VEGA Controls is proud to announce another innovative first for the water sector. They have achieved the first ever WRAS approval of a submersible pressure sensor as a whole device. This means a full product certificate number registration and listing on the WRAS approved product list. The VEGAWELL submersible pressure sensor is the first and only transmitter of this type to be fully WRAS certified and meets the requirements of Regulation 31 (4)(b). The WRAS certification means it will not contaminate or harbour microbial growth when used in potable or drinking water. This enables it to be deployed anywhere on the water supply chain: from the heart of a water treatment facility, to monitoring in the network or measurement of drinking water on a business premises.
Uniquely for this type of sensor, it has been fully laboratory tested and assessed as a compete device/assembly. This was on top of the materials of the individual components, which included testing and scrutiny of their composition, design and surface finishes. A newly certified material has also been added, the 99.9% pure CERTEC® Sapphire ceramic that makes up the sensor diaphragm of the sensor. This is what makes the measurement of these devices so highly accurate and repeatable with almost zerodrift, yet extremely robust, pressure-shock and overload resistant. The VEGAWELL WRAS certified transmitter is now capable of cost effective, safe level and pressure measurement of drinking water throughout
the supply chain. With ranges from 0.1 Bar to 60 Bar, it is extremely versatile, and suitable applications include clean water reservoirs, pump control, storage or small header tanks and associated pipework, found either in the water company supply or end users onsite storage or ‘towns water’ buffer tanks. Additionally, it features integrated lightning protection as standard, PE cable lengths up to 1000m, as well as an optional PT100 output for water temperature measurement. For further information or a demonstration about the product, certification and its capabilities, contact VEGA Controls Ltd. email@example.com www.vega.com
WATER WATER INDUSTRY INDUSTRY JOURNAL JOURNAL DECEMBER MARCH 2020
RADAR IS THE BETTER
ULTRASONIC 80 GHz level sensor with fixed cable connection (IP68)
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All advantages of the radar technology:
Ultrafiltration membranes come of age SUEZ’s Water Technologies & Solutions team can solve customers’ toughest water and wastewater process challenges wherever they occur. With more than 50,000 customers and 10,000 employees around the world, the company’s global footprint and scale allows it to provide the right solutions every time. Innovation is key to SUEZ’s support for water companies driving to meet the increasing demands imposed by both regulation and population growth. With the industry now very well aware of the prediction that by 2050 there will be three billion more people on this planet and a global demand for water that is 55% higher than today, the need for accessible chemical and equipment solutions that enable the delivery of clean, potable water has never been more acute. SUEZ’s municipal water treatment solutions facilitate the discharge of safe, treated water, while opening up the possibility of new reuse opportunities too. But as Derek Senior and Sean Johnstone, global product managers for SUEZ’s submerged and pressurised portfolios of ultrafiltration membranes, will tell you, customers are often surprised by the choices available. “Take the reuse applications of membranes in water filtration, for example,” said Derek, “there are a lot of exciting possibilities there – we are constantly innovating. “We don’t just look at a membrane in isolation either. It is one tool in a whole toolbox and the question we ask ourselves is, how can we use all of the tools at our disposal to create a robust operation?”
Once upon a time, membranes were considered a relatively expensive technology. However, the economies of scale and the significant reduction in production costs over the past decade have made them so much more affordable. Sean said, “In the 30plus years SUEZ has been making ultrafiltration membranes, the technology and the applications have continued to evolve.
There is still quite a large consumer base of conventional treatment technology and I think a lot of people, particularly those who are only really familiar with sand filtration, are surprised to find out that this membrane technology is more mature than they thought.
“There is still quite a large consumer base of conventional treatment technology and I think a lot of people, particularly those who are only really familiar with sand filtration, are surprised to find out that this membrane technology is more mature than they thought.”
The efficiency of membranes is a tremendous boon in an era when water is becoming harder to treat, due in no small measure to the algaeblooms fuelled by climate change, and yet needs to go so much further. Working towards ever broader means of application, SUEZ has worked hard to simplify not only the means of installation, but of integration too. Three years ago, SUEZ launched the Ultrafiltration Rackless Membrane System, which requires neither steel rack nor feed, permeate nor reject pipes. Designed for industrial and municipal markets, both the footprint and installation costs have been halved.
Whether they are looking at the treatment of drinking water or municipal effluent, they are often surprised by the quality levels achieved too. The mechanism is unaffected by any changes in incoming water – the membrane filters out the finest of particles.
Whereas in the past, a customer would have had to buy the membrane and the support system separately, the Rackless System turned SUEZ is a one-stop shop.
Another huge benefit is that the technology can be retro-fitted. “It can be installed to augment conventional treatment processes in an existing plant,” said Sean. “You don’t have to roll out a whole new infrastructure.” Membrane systems can be designed to replace conventional media filtration directly in the existing basins or as add-on to an existing system. In both cases resulting in vast improvements in water quality.
SUEZ strives to include customers in its journey of innovation and development. It is currently hosting a global customer survey and would like the input of our readers. You can fill in the survey on your PC or mobile by following the link below: https:// suezwater.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/ SV_aUUfaRGDlnbJazH?Q_CHL=wwtUK
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL DECEMBER 2020
Water Technologies & Solutions
ZeeWeed* solutions are comprehensive and included on the DWI UK list of approved products We offer service and support that compliment a broad portfolio of ultrafiltration membrane products for all potable water applications: • River, lake and ground water membrane filtration • Wastewater reuse (Direct & Indirect) • Desalination For new infrastructure and upgrading aging facilities, we have a product for every application: • ZeeWeed 700B – pressurized UF, robust SevenBore* PES membranes • ZeeWeed 1500 – pressurized UF, ready for highly variable raw water quality • ZeeWeed 1000 – submerged UF, easily upgrade media filters to membranes • ZeeWeed 500 – submerged UF, able to treat the world’s most challenging feed waters
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Wastewater Treatment & Technology
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL DECEMBER 2020
Wastewater Treatment & Technology
Circular economy technologies highlighted at virtual event Three innovations bringing circular economy thinking closer to water utilitiesâ€™ daily operations were the focus of the latest Water Action Platform webinar.
Wastewater Treatment & Technology
The event, which took place on 12 November 2020 and was hosted by Isle chairman Piers Clark, featured technologies from Europe and North America which facilitate recovery of cellulose from toilet paper, phosphorous removal and energy storage. They were used to demonstrate how resource reuse brings combined environmental, regulatory and financial benefits.
Technology 1: Cellulose recovery
Coos Wessels, technical director of CirTec, explained how the Netherlands is quite literally paving the way in creating infrastructure from recycled toilet paper. The recycled toilet paper pellets have already been used successfully as road-building material in the province of Friesland, to reinforce a dyke and pave the parking lot of a children’s petting zoo. With sludge being so expensive to deal with, attendees were interested to hear about costreduction initiative Cellvation, which extracts cellulose from wastewater. Here, the recovered cellulose fibres are sterilised, dried and made into pelleted products known as Recell – which can be used in industries such as construction, pulp and paper, coatings and sustainable chemicals.
Technology 2: Phosphorous removal
“If you ask a water manager or regulator about phosphorous, they will describe it as pollution and as a result spend a significant amount of money every year preventing its discharge into water,” said Matt Kuzma, the vice president Ostara, a nutrient recovery solutions company based in Vancouver, Canada. The company has created a sustainable closedloop solution for phosphorus management
using Pearl, a process technology which recovers valuable nutrients from wastewater, transforming them into high-performing, slow-release fertilisers that increase yields and reduce pollution runoff.
Technology 3: Biogas enrichment
Based in the US and Germany, Electrochaea has a solution for one of the most pressing challenges facing energy systems - the integration of fluctuating renewables into the electricity grid. The company’s proprietary BioCat powerto-gas energy storage concept converts renewable electrical energy into chemical energy, in form of methane. By converting water into hydrogen and oxygen through electrolysis they can enrich raw biogas. The company’s managing director Dr Doris Hafenbradl said: “What’s unique is our biocatalyst is a patented strain which is optimised to generate a lot more methane and do it more efficiently.” In addition, the oxygen generated during the first electrolysis step can be used to enhance the secondary wastewater treatment stage and the bio-methanation process is exothermic, meaning that it generates heat – which can be used to heat the sludge before digestion.
What goes around
Water management is fundamentally a circular business. Every drop is endlessly used and reused, and this circularity is already evident in the sector in initiatives such a recycling wastewater for reuse and capturing biosolids for agriculture. During the webinar, Rich Walwyn, head of asset intelligence and innovation at Severn
Trent, made an impassioned call to other utilities to collaborate on further circular economy opportunities. “We believe it is an essential ingredient in meeting the supply and demand challenges that we’re going to face over the next 20 to 30 years and maximising value for our customers through the recovery of some of the by-products of our processes,” he told attendees. “Forming effective collaborative partnerships is key to maximising the opportunities that a transition to a circular economy brings. “We’re really keen to explore opportunities to work with like-minded organisations on identifying cross-sector solutions and accelerating our plans.” With the UK water sector launching a worldfirst Net Zero Routemap in November, there is clearly a drive for utilities to play a key role in protecting and enhancing the environment. The newly published Routemap sets out a broad range of opportunities, initiatives and projects that will help the sector cut millions of tonnes of carbon emissions by 2030 – many of which focus on resource reuse, including: Making even more use of renewable energy by generating enough solar and wind power to meet 80% of the water sector’s electricity demands Producing more biogas from sewerage waste, which can be injected into the grid to heat homes or used as an alternative fuel for transport Using advanced anaerobic digestion for sewage treatment to reduce process emissions. www.wateractionplatform.com
Forming effective collaborative partnerships is key to maximising the opportunities that a transition to a circular economy brings. We’re really keen to explore opportunities to work with like-minded organisations on identifying cross-sector solutions and accelerating our plans. Rich Walwyn, head of asset intelligence and innovation at Severn Trent
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL DECEMBER 2020
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Don’t let water be the ‘log jam’ in housing developments
Modern Methods of Construction have been highlighted by Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State as the way forward to help resolve the housing crisis and urged Housing Associations and Local Councils to embrace new technology and methods of working. However, the log jam to completion of new build projects can be connection of the water supply, causing project delays and poor customer satisfaction, which in turn will impact on the new DMex figures. Surface mounted meters allowing ‘plug and play’ style installation can be the solution. The recent change is lifestyle forced upon us by the COVID 19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of home and local community environment. In the Secretary of State’s speech to the Chartered Institute of Housing this autumn, Robert Jenrick, highlighted the impact the period of lockdown had on those with poor housing and the homeless. The slow-down in new home build that resulted from the COVID 19 restrictions needs to be reversed and Jenrick has made MMC ‘central to the delivery of the new Affordable Homes Programme’ and set a minimum target for the use of MMC1. His aim is for ‘…the UK to be a leader in MMC, driving new jobs, better skills, as well as faster delivery of homes, and those homes, in turn, being better quality and more energy efficient, with all of the benefits of society and social justice that comes with that.’1 Jenrick urged rapid progress on Social and Affordable Housing. However, utility connections can often be the weak link in the improved efficiency the MMC provides. Water supply is perhaps the most important item within the critical path of construction and is probably the most difficult to achieve. Imagine a situation where services can be fully installed prior to moving on site, the interior plumbing is pre-approved and certificated off site, with surface mounted meters allowing ‘plug and play’ style installation. With Groundbreaker water management system, you have that ‘plug and play’ option. The only system of its type, it is designed to be installed at any time during the construction period. Fully compliant with Water Regulations, it provides an accessible, safe and secure location for the water meter and controls to a specific property. The concept is simple. Water services are connected to an externally mounted, preinstalled water service controls. The preinstallation and certification of plumbing can facilitate early approval of water services to a plot. This allows flexibility in the management and scheduling of connection to the mains supply. The key benefit to the water company is that connection of the water supply is no longer a key element in the critical path of
Development by Urban Splash in Salford utilising Groundbreaker water management system the project, so less likely to cause customer dissatisfaction and negative scores in DMex customer satisfaction surveys. There is no need for boundary boxes or meter housings in the footpath, and this simplification of the connection allows for improved efficiency and reduces the time required for highway closures. An added benefit of removing meter housing from the footpath is that there is no disruption to the footpath, so no reinstatement costs.
Using Technology to Future Proof Housing stock
It is good to see that Jenrick has recognised the need to embrace new technology, to future proof housing stock. Utility companies have not been slow in recognising the benefits of a ‘Smart Home’. The ability to interrogate and manage energy usage at any given time of day or night has been recognised as an effective way for householders to reduce usage and manage costs Gas and electricity meters located on external building walls has enabled easy upgrades and introduction of countrywide ‘Smart Meter’
programme. However, the traditional location of a water meter in a metal-covered hole in the public highway is not conducive to this new way of thinking. A ‘Smart Water Meter’ located in such a situation is exceedingly poor in transmitting a signal even to a local pick up. With Groundbreaker water management system, ‘Smart Water Meter’ technology can be easily installed, as it is introduced across the UK. Recent field trials of Groundbreaker have proven that the range of such meters can be over 3Km (2 miles). For futher information on the Groundbreaker water management system visit www.groundbreaker.co.uk 1. https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/robert-jenricksspeech-to-chartered-institute-of-housing-cih-2020
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL DECEMBER 2020
Water Industry welcomes UK’s first Higher-Level Qualification in Developer Services Management Following accreditation from Ofqual, training provider Learning & Development Associates (L&DA) has announced the launch of the Level 5 Certificate and Award in Developer Services Management. The new programme, which will represent the UK’s first foundation degree level qualification in Developer Services Management, offers companies in the water and environmental industries with the opportunity to advance managerial knowledge and understanding of the design and construction of water and waste water network infrastructure assets and services. Learning & Development Associates was commissioned to develop the new Level 5 framework following the success of their wider suite of higher-level qualifications, including those in the management of risk and resilience and leading innovation in the water and environmental industries. Commenting on the launch, Glenn Jackson, Managing Director of L&DA, said: “In comparison with the only other alternative qualification in this function, the Level 5 Certificate and Award is not only more in line with current Developer Services Management (DSM) practices and regulations, it is also more appropriate in terms of education level for
the roles in Developer Services - particularly as many personnel in these roles are/were engineering graduates.” L&DA highlighted that new qualification will address the technical needs of managers and others working in the water and environmental industries and will provide learners with a thorough understanding of the rationale for water and waste water planning, design, construction and asset installation. The Level 5 Certificate and Award in Developer Services Management will also address the important impact that commercial sustainable development has on the broader water and environmental infrastructure and will assess the ability of the industries to renew, extend, repair and replace water and waste water network assets. A representative of L&DA’s delivery team further added: “The launch of the new qualification provides a clear education pathway for managers and builds upon our company mission at L&DA to advance the
competence of the water and environmental industries. Addressing key themes such as water quality standards of water networks, environmental regulation requirements for sewerage systems, safe and hygienic installation of water assets, and best practice in the design of new water assets, the qualification presents an opportunity enhance the knowledge and understanding of managers and counter any skills gaps in the DSM function.” The new qualification is expected to result in a short 5-day course that will be available for delivery from February 2021. For more information about Learning & Development Associates, visit www.learninganddevelopment.associates or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL DECEMBER 2020
Selwood builds on solutions capability with investment in technology, fleet, and facilities Selwood is building upon its position as the leading UK pump rental solutions company with an ongoing programme of investment. The company, which has Solutions teams operating from rental branches around the UK, has made significant additions to its team, product fleet, facilities and use of innovative technology. These developments enhance its ability to deliver solutions for large-scale and complex water industry projects.
Computer Aided Design
Selwood’s engineers, led by a new full-time specialist in REVIT Autodesk, are using CAD design on all major projects. This enables the team to visualise installations off-site, identify potential obstacles and ensure the ideal solution is reached. CAD also enables the team to engineer out any delays before the job begins, analyse safety risks and minimise issues. Pump formations and site layouts can be examined from every angle in advance, which enables faster installation times and limits unplanned stops due to problems being found on-site.
New strategic appointment
To support the delivery of large-scale and complex solutions, Selwood has appointed a dedicated Director of Special Projects and Solutions. Dallas Churcher, who has 23 years’ experience in the management and delivery of large projects with Selwood, will provide senior leadership, support and management to the business’s solutions and installation teams, working with other senior managers and directors to ensure a collaborative approach in delivering customer-centric solutions. Dallas is supported by a team of Pumping Solutions Managers, which has been increased with four new appointments in the past six months.
A £1m investment in submersible pumps
Submersibles offer increased versatility over traditional pumps, particularly in areas where space is tight or access is limited. Selwood has invested in 18 giant submersible pumps with motor sizes from 100kw to 250kw and flow capacities of up to 1,300 litres per second. The units can be configured with self-priming capability using Selwood’s unique SelPrime system and can be vertically or horizontally mounted. The units will be available across Selwood’s branch network, with dedicated hubs in Southampton and Middlesbrough. The submersibles are part of a wider investment in Selwood’s pump fleet, which
Dallas Churcher, Director of Special Projects and Solutions, right recently hit a milestone with 5,000 units available for rental.
A new London Pumping Solutions Centre
Selwood has opened a new multi-millionpound solutions centre in London as part of ongoing investment in its premises and fleet. The facility at Crayford brings more capacity, a bigger team and an expanded offering to customers across London and the South East. It replaces and significantly expands upon Selwood’s previous branch at Charlton, which has now closed. The expansion will allow Selwood’s London team to offer faster response times and store a hugely-increased stock of pumps – including those with more environmentally-friendly Tier 5 engines – along with pipework, stoppers and accessories.
Selwood has made SelWatch – its cloudbased telemetry tool – available for most of its pump range. SelWatch provides users with round-the-clock updates including GPS pump location, fuel levels and fuel consumption, engine efficiencies, site water levels and servicing status.
Use of SelWatch can significantly reduce downtime, save money and help efficiently schedule events such as refuelling and maintenance.
Innovation in flowmeters
Being able to rely on the accurate measurement of pumped flows is highly important to customers who rent Selwood’s packaged pumping systems. All Selwood’s packaged solutions are carefully tested between hires. These tests include the verification of each flowmeter to ensure that it is within its original calibrated specification, so the customer can have confidence that flows are being accurately measured. Selwood engineers worked closely with ABB to help develop a new ABB Ability™ digital platform which greatly reduces the verification testing time for WaterMaster flowmeters to just a few minutes. Better measurement means better performance, higher efficiency and reduced costs. Selwood is the UK’s number one pump rental solutions provider, a global leader in pump manufacture and sales and a regional supplier of plant and construction equipment for hire. For more information see www.selwood.co.uk
challenging times and tales from the riverbank When challenges come in the water industry, they rarely come alone. We faced a unique set of circumstances in the ancient Kent town of Sandwich this year. By Jean-Paul Collet
the pumping station, where the buried main rises up from the river bed.
For reasons lost in history, our predecessors had taken the unusual decision to fill the bottom of the shaft, used to lay the pipe, with concrete. Below water, cased in concrete – a repair was going to be extremely challenging.
Sewer Network Manager, and Rising Main HIT Lead The key wastewater rising main, taking waste from the towns pumping station to our wastewater treatment works, suffered from a failure on the section which passes under the river Stour and on the section which runs under the A256 bypass. The bursts, which occurred within days of each other, had a series of consequences – starting around 5 November 2019, the issues were first identified as flow, normally being pumped at around 130 l/s, was visible at ground level and causing flooding to the bypass and into the river Stour itself. In the immediate aftermath, we deployed tankers to control the flow directly from the pumping station – as many as 20, weighing around 40 tonnes when fully loaded, were used to ensure that customers facilities were still available and that our impact to the environment was stopped. Working closely with the local highways authority, a carefully managed plan was instigated to ensure that the tanker movement did not cause undue damage or disruption to the ancient town of Sandwich. We also put in measures around liaison with the local community to ensure they were kept up to date and informed on progress regarding the repair work. Investigations as to the exact location of where the burst was instantly initiated and run as part of our incident management system. When the burst was found, the real challenges began. The damage on the section nearest to the river Stour was found to be under the opposite bank from
Different ideas around repairs or replacement were designed, including the construction of a temporary pipe bridge over the river to convey flow was one option considered. However, with commercial river traffic using the river on a daily basis, the design of the bridge would have meant heights around 20m to ensure access was maintained to the river. Due to the forward flow capabilities of the pumps at the WPS, this was not going to be something that were able to progress. Protected trees, alongside the river, a cycle path and children’s playground splitting the working area and the pumping station, the design solutions quickly moved into permanent replacement options. Sinking a new pipe into the river bed was suggested and which would mirror the existing arrangement. Archaeologists were
brought in to monitor core ground samples being taken and, as well as the problem of the trees and of disruption to economically important river traffic, an ancient boat was found in the area where we needed to install shafts for the new pipe to be laid. As such this option also became a non-starter. The clear path to success lay in directional drilling a new line from the WPS side of the river, underneath and making connections to the WPS and an undamaged section on the opposite side of the river. Such engineering methods are well understood by our teams from Engineering and Construction and are increasingly the technique of choice – minimising street digging or disruption to sensitive habitats. If this was a manageable if not significant engineering challenge, there were other issues. We were forced to accept that tankers would be needed for a considerable period of time. The only viable route for the tankers would be through the heart of the town – much of which was constructed before the discovery of the Americas.
For reasons lost in history, our predecessors had taken the unusual decision to fill the bottom of the shaft, used to lay the pipe, with concrete. Below water, cased in concrete – a repair was going to be extremely challenging. WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL DECEMBER 2020
The old houses had rudimentary foundations if they had them at all. Constant tanker traffic literally shook them. Extremely careful customer, stakeholder and media management was going to be as crucial as best engineering practice. With an elderly population, social media channels wouldn’t be an ideal communications tool. In addition to letter drops and customer visits, we used our relationship with the town council to institute a pen and ink web page – a large poster in the council offices in the historic town centre updated with news on a weekly and occasionally daily basis. We were also lucky to have a very engaged local media with a reporter following the story closely and keen to really understand what was going on. While this was happening, we worked to identify the correct drilling site to place the boreholes. We engaged with Historic England who
unsurprisingly had ruled out the area for our drill where the ancient boat was found. While local theories about the boat raged – Viking long ship? Roman galley? Old Kent smuggler?, we concentrated on finding a new site. To avoid any risk to an ancient monument we were forced to move the drill site some 60 metres, but swiftly gained agreement from local allotment holders and a tennis court to use that area with a sole dissenting voice expressing concern for the impact of our work on worms. The new site did not lengthen the actual drilling beyond the 120 metres initially scoped. But moving the site to the other side of our pumping station made the hydraulic calculations far more complex. The pipeline would effectively have to loop back round the station before diving beneath the river. This would put additional pressure into the system and careful note had to be taken to ensure we remained within permit by adding air release valves for instance.
The next challenge could have been predicted by no one; the Covid pandemic hit and the first lockdown began. We were in truly in unchartered waters now. There was nothing in the manual about pandemic ways of working but after taking advice from experts and through a Water UK working group we found a way through. The team from our excellent, long-standing delivery partners Cappagh Brown, their drilling arm Cappagh London and MTS providing the tankering activities, were most affected by the new rules. The drilling itself was in the end the least of the challenge. It took four weeks to complete, with utter professionalism from the teams. We were finally able to close the project in July 2020, leaving us feeling incredibly proud of how teams from multiple partners performed – not just MTS, whose teams spent 7 months away from home providing the 24/7 tankering of flow during the entire project, or Cappagh Browne but our own Southern Water internal colleagues.
Long lasting solution for rebuilding sewer systems Specialist UK-based engineering firm Greenbank Group is set to lead a revolution in the repair and restoration of the nation’s sewer systems, incorporating the unique properties of cast basalt. The technique is new to the UK but Greenbank’s Czech partner company Eutit has been successfully deploying basalt in the sewer system serving capital city Prague since 1996, when a catastrophic sewer collapse was repaired using cast basalt produced from the locally-sourced volcanic rock. Greenbank Managing Director Charles Conroy explained: “Cast basalt provides a revolutionary lining with unrivalled resistance to wear, degradation from water jet cleaning and corrosive attack from chemicals.” Basalt also has other advantages over more traditional brick and concrete, said Mr Conroy: “This unique material guarantees increased flow rates and reduced maintenance costs and provides additional protection on locations prone to wear, blockage or failure. “What’s more, the effective life expectancy of basalt sewer lining systems is between 100 and 200 years, depending on the application, thanks to their resistance to abrasion and chemicals commonly used in the industry.” Thanks to its partnership with Eutit, Greenbank can now provide a wide range of basalt products for implementation in all sewage disposal systems and drainage projects in the UK. Products available through Greenbank include bottom gutters, branch pipes and tubes, and slip-resistant flooring for walkways. The company can even supply bespoke shaped tiles
to meet the unique requirements of individual clients. Parts of Prague’s sewage system date back to 1907 but cast-basalt first began to provide the ideal solution to its dated technology in 1996, when a whole section of the sewer suffered a catastrophic failure as large sink holes had created a 10-metre-long cavern. Along with a completely new header structure, cast basalt gutter segments were deployed at the bottom and sides of the sewer and cast basalt interlocking side panels were tied to surrounding rock with anchor bolts. Cast basalt was also used in the areas where damage was mainly confined to the bottom part of the header, where existing masonry was underpinned alongside the installation of an entirely new bottom section. In the 1996 works, the section of the header with the 100/175cm flow profile and the highest gradient between 5 and 9.8 per cent was renovated using the sewer-in-sewer technology. This consists of lining the existing sewer with cast basalt gutters and segments that are interlocked across the entire flow profile. The space between the basalt liners and the existing sewer construction was designed to be back-filled with concrete, whilst the roof was filled with shotcrete. Although this technology decreased the flow profile, it was selected due to its hydraulic conveying benefits.
Then in 2002, devastating floods forced the adoption of a dynamic solution to renewing Prague’s outdated sewer system, allowing the city to meet the needs of a vibrant 21st-century European capital. With cast basalt having already proved its worth, the material was seen to have all the qualities needed to provide longterm reliability in these extreme environments. Mr Conroy said: “In Prague and other Central European cities, basalt tiles are already being used to line existing brickwork, a more cost-effective solution than full replacement, and their reduced drag co-efficient means improved flow. In effect, a smaller-diameter pipe or tunnel lined with basalt can carry a higher volume of water than a larger one with traditional brick or concrete pipes and sluiceways surfaces. “Nearly 25 years after the 1996 collapse, the benefits of using basalt in the repair and refurbishment of sewer systems are becoming increasingly clear, and the material has already been tried and tested in some of the most demanding heavy industries. “Prague’s residents now have the benefit of one of the world’s most reliable sewer systems thanks to the unique qualities of its revolutionary basalt lining. Now Greenbank Group can deliver the same benefits to UK towns and cities.” www.greenbankgroup.com
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL DECEMBER 2020
Greenbank brings Czech sewer revolution to the UK The basalt solution that’s good for 100 years or more… Following devastating floods in 2002, the historic city of Prague saw its Edwardian era sewer system completely refurbished to meet the requirements of a vibrant, 21st Century European capital. To meet the growing demands of urban growth and climate change the city turned to the most ancient of materials to ensure its waste water management system is fit for the future. Thanks to its unrivalled abrasion-resistant properties, volcanic basalt has proved the perfect replacement lining for flood-damaged sewers.
Since the ‘Velvet Revolution’ in the former Eastern bloc country, Greenbank and its Czech partner Eutit have been leading a basalt ‘revolution’ in the waste water industry. Their basalt lining systems offer: Increased flow rates Reduced maintenance costs Full and partial lining Ultimate protection from areas prone to abrasion and chemical attack
To find out more about our basalt products, water companies, contractors and pipe manufacturers should contact the Greenbank Group on
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Gmac Project in Clane, County Kildare Gmac Utilities Ltd were engaged on an Irish Water project to install a new pumping sewer main from the town of Clane in County Kildare, Ireland. The project is part of the Upper Liffy Valley Sewerage scheme and sees improvements to the Clane wastewater infrastructure. The â‚Ź38 million project is to replace the wastewater systems throughout the area as they are no longer fit for purpose. This will prevent flooding and overflows during storms and improve the quality of the water in the River Liffy and its tributaries, in compliance with national and EU legislation, in turn this will also be a massive benefit to the flora and fauna that depend on the Liffy habitat. Part of this upgrade requires the installation of a new pumping sewer main from Clane to Sallins, along the R407 and this is where Gmac came in. Always ready to undertake a challenge, the task had been declined by other operators due to the complexity of the operation. Not only did the project require the drilling under the delicate ecosystem of the River Liffy in two locations, 6-8m below the riverâ€™s bed, but also had the added hazards of drilling between a number of utilities, asbestos water mains, fibre-optics and gas, running along the R407. With telecoms fibre-optics and a gas main, along with a 300 asbestos water main on one
side, and then another 300 asbestos main on the other, the tasks required the greatest care and attention. Due to the age of the existing mains, accurate plans of their paths were unavailable and the new 355 main being drilled needed to cross the asbestos hazards five times. It was with great care and attention that the shot for the 355 SDR 11 new main was drilled by utilising a skilled crew with accurate drilling techniques. Using one of their ever faithful Ditch Witch JT40s and the aforementioned skilled team, Gmac drilled in shots of 120-130m to cover the entire 3.5km task, with shots of 135m under the Liffy to ensure the safe depth. As part of the installation, 6 air valves are also place along the pipe along with 2 scour valves.
The pipe was drilled as a consistent level, almost the same as a gravity main, and terminated in the upgraded pumping station in Clane. The Gmac team ensured the work was undertaken with minimal environmental disruption and no spills into the sensitive Liffy. To get a competitive quote for your project, contact GMAC at either firstname.lastname@example.org or any of the contacts below: Conor McCloskey: 07967 445556 (UK) Gerald McCloskey: 07823 526240 (ROI and NI) Wayne Cartwright: 07378 505006 (Bid Manager)
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL DECEMBER 2020
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Always going from strength to strength, Gmac Utilities Ltd take their decades of experience in horizontal directional drilling and working with utilities, to offer bespoke and turnkey services. With vast experience with water companies nationwide, we have the knowledge and skillset to complete your project. Facing any challenge, from rail crossings and sea outfalls, long shots to short hops, 1m in diameter and greater, we have the cost effective, environmentally sensitive solution. Dealing with all project aspects, from highways to full reinstatement, we have your requirements covered. With a range of HDD rigs from 12 to 200 tonne and crews to support, you can trust in our experience.
Call for a chat: Conor McCloskey: 07967 445556 (UK) Gerald McCloskey: 07823 526240 (ROI and NI) Wayne Cartwright: 07378 505006 (Sales)
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Wastewater Monitoring and Analysis
Fuzzy logic clear up blockage prediction for Yorkshire Water Wastewater monitoring has proved a difficult nut to crack for water companies in the face of increased pressure from regulators, government and customers to reduce pollution incidents across the UK. Yorkshire Water, in collaboration with Siemens and The University of Sheffield have developed and trialled an innovative new solution combining artificial intelligence (AI) and internet of things (IoT) to reduce wastewater network blockages and reduce pollution with a data driven approach. Monitoring waste water is not a new problem and water companies all over the UK have invested millions in a variety of methods for gathering real-time data in a bid to better understand the way the sewer network operates under times of pressure such as heavy rainfall and storms.
Thousands of sensors operate across the wastewater network, providing mountains of data, but the challenge for water companies has been how to interpret that information when what is a ‘normal’ reading differs for each sensor location. Is the sensor in an urban or rural location? Is the topography flat or hilly? Is the sensor providing data from the start or the end of a network? Each of these factors can create situations where sensors are providing data that appears to indicate a problem to the untrained eye, but it is just the unique conditions for that particular section. For operators the daily impact is an overwhelming number of false
alarms in high rain fall that mask real issues and waste time. In a bid to make better use of its data, Yorkshire Water teamed up with Siemens and the University of Sheffield to develop an innovative new blockage prediction tool - SIWA Blockage Predictor. A trial of 70 sites across Yorkshire has been positive, with the tool finding nine in 10 potential issues – which is three times more successful than the existing Yorkshire Water pollution prediction processes that relied on statistical methods. The AI also reduced the number of false positive alerts by 50%.
How it works
No one data set of measurement can effectively predict potential problems within the sewer network, but by combining AI with real-time rainfall and sensor data the SIWA Blockage Predictor evaluates the characteristics and performance of the sewer network in real time and predicts problems
Reducing Pollution in Yor 1. The Challenge
Improving and using real-time data from Yorkshire's sm sewer network to help prevent waterway pollution. Intense rainfall can overwhelm sewer networks, causing blockages and flooding that can affect homes and businesses. Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) are essential relief valves which help manage Yorkshire's 55,000 km of sewers. Thousands of sensors are deployed in this network to monitor the level and send an alert if it looks like a CSO spill is expected. The challenge is interpreting this data to pick up blockages and problems that could cause a CSO to spill when it shouldn’t, resulting in pollution incidents. No single measurement can do this effectively.
Blockages in CSOs need to be cleared to avoid pollution, but are hard to identify when there are such natural variations in the data when it rains.
3. The Impact
88% Confirmed issues found by the AI system. 3-4 times more effective than Yorkshire Water's current methods.
3% False alarm rate; half the rate of the current system. Making finding issues more efficient.
like a network blockage before they happen, enabling Yorkshire Water to fast-track engineers to inspect and resolve issues. The tool relies on an AI system to monitor every asset and learn the ‘normal’ behaviour of the network before the artificial neural network learns the way levels change based on the rainfall and the time of day. This can provide a prediction a short time ahead of any problem. At this point a second part of the AI, a tool
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL DECEMBER 2020
D th to th
Wastewater Monitoring and Analysis
rkshire’s Rivers 2. The Solution
Combine Artificial Intelligence with real-time rainfall and sensor data to give early warning of any building issues.
Train an AI system that uses sensor data to learn the ‘normal’ behaviour for every CSO when it rains.
Artificial Neural Network
Every CSO is unique in the way that it responds to rainfall. How quickly the level rises and falls depends on its environment e.g. hilly or flat; urban or rural.
OGIC SYS Y L T
Use data from sensors in the CSO with innovative 'Fuzzy Logic' technology to assess if any differences are significant.
PREDICTED WATER LEVEL FROM THE ANN
ACTUAL WATER LEVEL
T Y L OGIC SYS
When an issue is found, a notification alerts Yorkshire Water to visit the asset and remove any blockages.
During intense rainfall, CSOs release excess waste and rain water into rivers to prevent flooding in public areas.
There are over 2,000 CSOs and similar assets in Yorkshire with level sensors.
Judges if the difference between predicted and actual level is significant.
Response Team Activated
4. The Team
The University of Sheffield, Yorkshire Water and Siemens Digital Industries joined forces to reduce wastewater network blockages which cause river pollution.
Days of data analysed by he University of Sheffield o validate the impact of he 70 site pilot.
Innovative early stage research into the potential of AI.
Cleaner Yorkshire rivers and healthier environment
Yorkshire Water-experts in how to manage risk and operate wastewater networks.
Global leaders in building digital solutions and analytics for the water industry.
To find out more detailed information visit: siemens.co.uk/siwa-blockage-predictor
called fuzzy logic, compares the prediction with the actual level and considers if this difference is significant for that asset given the amount of rainfall. Up to two weeks of early warning can be given for building issues as well as identifying sites that require urgent action. Notifications alert Yorkshire Water staff and people can be sent to the location for additional checks to be carried out and any maintenance or repairs can be conducted quickly. The analytics are embedded within a secure
web application, enabling remote access on mobile devices or PCs and notifying users in advance of any issues.
Ultimately, the aim of the project is to reduce the number of pollution incidents from the sewer network and it is just one part of Yorkshire Water’s Pollution Incident Reduction Plan 2020-2025, which aims to reduce pollution incidents by 50% by focusing on early intervention.
The pilot has proven that the AI and fuzzy logic can find the needle in the haystack of a building or actual blockage amongst thousands of threshold-based false alarms. During a trial period the University of Sheffield evaluated 38 measuring points over 21,300 days and the AI found 88% of the confirmed issues. As well as identifying potential problems, the AI was able to reduce the number of false positives to 3%, meaning Yorkshire Water was able to attend and fix issues efficiently, without technicians visiting false alarms.
Wastewater Monitoring and Analysis
Flood prevention through waste water network monitoring This year in the UK, November 9th-15th was the Environment Agency’s annual Flood Action Week, which aims to encourage the public to better understand their property’s individual flood risk, especially as the climate is changing and weather patterns are becoming more severe. According to the Environment Agency, in England alone, over 5 million homes are at risk of flooding and the average cost of flooding to a single home is over £30,000. This is a significant problem, which is why the UK government recently announced a £5.2bn investment to strengthen flood defences in vulnerable areas. While this record investment is welcomed, and will help greatly to protect against the more predictable types of flooding, specifically tidal and fluvial (river), the more unpredictable flooding, usually caused by rainfall, such as pluvial (surface water) and flash flooding still poses significant risk. This risk is enhanced as the climate warms up, because in simple terms, a warmer climate holds more moisture. In fact, for each degree of warming, the air’s capacity for water vapour goes up by about 7% according to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. And the world is getting warmer. According to a report in 2018 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), human activities are estimated to have caused approximately 1oC of global warming above pre-industrial levels. The report also claims that global warming is likely to reach 1.5oC between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate. In the UK, increased rainfall is already apparent. The 2018 UK State of the Climate report, completed by the Royal Meteorological Society, evidenced that the UK’s climate is becoming wetter. According to the report, the most recent decade (2009-2018) has been on average 1% wetter than 1981-2010 and 5% wetter than 1691-1990 for the UK overall. Furthermore, the amount of rain from extremely wet days has increased by 17% when comparing the same time period. The dangers of extremely wet days were laid bare in February 2020, in the form of both Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis. Storm Ciara hit large parts of the UK in early February, bringing consistent high winds and heavy rain, with over 250 separate flood warning generated as a result. Yorkshire, Cumbria, Lancashire and other areas experienced severe flooding, with experts at
PwC estimating insurance claims costing over £200m as a result. Less than a week later, Storm Dennis hit. The UK was already saturated following Storm Ciara and, as such, the rainfall Dennis delivered brought more flooding and misery. Both the Rivers Wye and Severn reached their highest ever recorded levels and flooding saw major incidents declared in South Wales, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire. Fixing the damage caused by Storm Dennis is estimated to cost £225m, bringing the bill for both Storms Ciara and Dennis to well over £400m.
Coping with flooding
With the threat of heavy rainfall and flooding growing rapidly, for water companies, taking effective steps to mitigate the risk is essential. The demands on the UK’s existing waste water networks are already great. Population growth is rapidly forcing the expansion of urban areas in order to meet the demand for new housing, impacting the quantity of water entering sewer networks and reducing the capacity of a sewer to cope with flood events. Water companies also face various problems associated with pipe blockages. When
undetected, blockages have the potential to cause untreated sewage to back up and potentially flood drains and streets. As well as causing physical damage to the pipe network, blockages can be expensive and timeconsuming to remove and can lead to financial penalties from regulators. When pairing together the challenges of maintaining a Victorian-era sewer network with climate change and urbanisation, UK water companies are finding themselves under increasing pressure to find smart, costeffective solutions. Waste water network monitoring is an excellent way of ensuring the efficient performance of a sewer system. Level sensors and flow monitors can act as an early warning indicator for problems such as blockages and flooding, providing the accurate data used to identify issues before they escalate. With climate change significantly altering weather systems, waste water networks will be expected to cope with greater intensities of rainfall more frequently. While Flood Action Week is encouraging the public to take precautions, behind the scenes, water companies continue to invest heavily to do the same. www.hwmglobal.com
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL DECEMBER 2020
SpillSens ATEX-Certified Digital Float Sensor
Using digital positioning technology, SpillSens monitors rising levels in waste water networks, acting as an early warning system for blockages and sewer overflows. www.hwmglobal.com
Wastewater Monitoring and Analysis
Bath academics help to track coronavirus in schools by monitoring wastewater Bath researchers to take part in TERM project to monitor wastewater in 70 UK schools for evidence of coronavirus Working with other UK universities, they aim to create an early-warning system to prevent outbreaks Project could be expanded to more schools and locations such as care homes or at a community level if successful “The TERM project is another step forward in our commitment to defeating this invisible killer.” - John Hatwell, Director of NHS Test and Trace Surveillance Testing (Pillar 4) Scientists and engineers from the University of Bath are set to investigate how monitoring wastewater at schools in England could provide an early warning system for coronavirus outbreaks. As part of the new TERM* project led by Middlesex University, they will help monitor sewer-bound water at schools to look for microscopic evidence of coronavirus and advise on how the data collected could be turned into an early warning system. It’s hoped that wastewater monitoring could provide an effective, fast, inexpensive and
anonymous way of detecting outbreaks of viruses such as the SARS-Cov-2 virus that causes COVID-19. The study will provide new evidence on the safety of schools reopening and additional insights on transmission of coronavirus from children-to-children and children-to-adults. The £2.4 million project is funded by the NHS Test and Trace Surveillance Testing Team. Middlesex University is leading the study in collaboration with Test and Trace’s Joint Biosecurity Centre and researchers from Bath, as well as Cranfield University, the UK Centre
for Ecology & Hydrology, Imperial College London, and University College London. The London Assembly Health Committee, Brent Council, and The London Drainage Engineers Group are members of the stakeholder group. The TERM project has four key objectives:
Collate new evidence on the incidence and prevalence of COVID-19 in schools and how this associates with local cases Determine whether a wastewater surveillance system can work at school level, i.e. establish the effectiveness of
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL DECEMBER 2020
Wastewater Monitoring and Analysis
extracting non-infectious SARS-CoV-2 RNA fragments (the virus that results in COVID-19) from in-school wastewater systems Evaluate the costs of undertaking a wastewater surveillance system at a large scale Explore the feasibility of implementing an early-warning system based on wastewater surveillance data at a community level
Professor Jan Hofman, Director of Bath’s Water Innovation and Research Centre (WIRC@Bath), said: “Sewer surveillance has an important role as an early warning system for SARSCoV-2 infections. The virus can be detected in wastewater in the early stages of an infection, ahead of the outbreak. With this project we can further increase our understanding of how the virus spreads and get it under control. It can hopefully give us a clear view on effective protection measures for pupils, their parents and teachers. “Within WIRC@Bath we have strong experience and expertise in wastewater monitoring and our links with our institutions, ranging from our UK partners on the TERM project, to the KWR Water Research Institute in the Netherlands which has led on global monitoring of SARS-CoV-2, to other partners in Africa and around the world, allow us to work very effectively and share our findings quickly.”
Dr Andrew Singer of the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH) said: “Near-source detection of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater is an emerging field that can potentially offer rapid insights into the health of a particular population, in a manner that is inexpensive, anonymous, and non-invasive for the people surveyed. TERM is piloting what might be the future of population health surveillance.” Commenting on the study, John Hatwell, Director of NHS Test and Trace Surveillance Testing (Pillar 4) said: “The TERM project is another step forward in our commitment to defeating this invisible killer. We are excited to have Middlesex University lead this study and the potential it offers to identify COVID-19 outbreaks in schools and inform response measures. Not only will the results help us better understand transmission amongst children, but they will enable us to support the safe reopening of schools.” Researchers are currently working with schools and setting up laboratories. The aim is to monitor 70 schools throughout England. The work expands on the existing wastewater monitoring work at the University of Bath, including the N-WESP partnership project to estimate COVID-19 cases from UK wastewater and a similar effort in partnership with Universities in Nigeria and South Africa. www.bath.ac.uk
We can help you reimagine your water R&D
Sewer surveillance has an important role as an early warning system for SARS-CoV-2 infections. The virus can be detected in wastewater in the early stages of an infection, ahead of the outbreak. With this project we can further increase our understanding of how the virus spreads and get it under control. Professor Jan Hofman, Director of Bath’s Water Innovation and Research Centre (WIRC@Bath)
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 email@example.com.
A Spotlight on Resilience in the Water Industry
Water resilience has hit the headlines in recent months, with water companies facing increased pressure from regulatory bodies. Now, Neil Davies, Director of Watertrain, shares insight into the challenges ahead. Globally, the impact of climate change, combined with environmental challenges including a growing population and health threats such as the recent COVID-19 outbreak, is placing unprecedented pressure on the water industry to ensure smooth, sustainable operations. Despite widespread media coverage, many of us remain unaware of the true, ever-evolving impact of climate change â€“ particularly when it comes to water. It is reported that by 2050, more than half of UK summers are expected to be hotter than temperatures seen during the 2003 heatwave, and at the same time our population is set to exceed 75 million. The Committee on Climate Change also predict Englandâ€™s water supply demand to be between 1.1 and 3.1 billion litres a day by the 2050s. As these challenges turn from future speculation to reality, it is more important now than ever before for water companies to implement robust resilience plans.
One area at the core of resilience is the knowledge and skillset of employees in both management and technical roles. Since the development of the Level 4 Diploma in Water Industry Operations and Management - approved by Ofqual and accredited by CABWI Awarding Body - Watertrain has seen first-hand the benefits of durable, industry specific training for both new and experienced water managers. Water managers play an important role in leading resilience throughout their organisation, and a new, in-depth understanding of responsibilities including financial resources, water quality and water industry structure, can help to support resilience planning.
While we are seeing increased utilisation of new technology to support leakage reduction, reliance on these technologies alone can be both risky and, in event of failure, costly. Durable training is essential for water companies to ensure parity of skills throughout their workforce and at Watertrain, we are continuing to see an increased intake of learners on our apprenticeship and Level 3 programmes. Watertrain is the predominant provider of high-quality technical training and qualification programmes to the water sector. For more information on their available programmes, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 03330 431 431.
For technical staff, countering existing skill gaps is crucial for resilience and to minimise the current 20% of total water supply widely estimated to be lost every day in England through leakage from pipes.
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL DECEMBER 2020
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Improving Asset Health
Region’s biggest plumbing job done on time, in a storm, despite COVID A crack team of 180 specialist engineers have pulled off the biggest plumbing job in the North West near Kendal despite severe storms and the effects of the COVID pandemic. United Utilities connected four new 1.6m diameter pipes into the Haweswater Aqueduct – the huge underground structure supplying a third of the North West’s water - in under eight days. Connecting the brand new section near Hallbank meant shutting down the aqueduct for the shortest period possible and marked its first major repair in the 65 years since it was built. Project Director John Hilton said every hour of every day had been planned in meticulous detail to make sure it went smoothly. “This is only the third time in its life that the aqueduct has ever been drained and I’ve been there every time. You’d think it would get easier but it doesn’t. This time we were working during a pandemic and we had biblical rain like you wouldn’t believe. When you’re planning something on this scale it’s right to be sensibly paranoid,” he said. After nearly two years constructing the new 2.5km section of pipe, United Utilities handed the entire site to framework contractor Mott Macdonald Bentley to complete the connections. At its peak 90 engineers on round-the-clock sociallydistanced shifts were working at either end.
The site was handed back to United Utilities early, after just seven days 22 hours and 46 minutes. In the final hours, storms were so fierce that large steel huts erected to shelter welding activities were left in place to provide weather protection for the remaining work. “The other big issue we faced was COVID. As well as rigorous round-the-clock cleaning, team distancing and testing, almost 100 extra trained staff had to be put on stand-by in case an entire work team had to self-isolate. We had hot and cold food brought in and we took over two hotels- one for the night shift, one for the day shift, to reduce the risk of contamination,” said John. A dedicated team of cleaners worked 24 hours at each end of the pipe constantly disinfecting equipment and work areas earning them the nickname ‘COVID cops’ by site staff. Project sponsor Martin Padley said it was hats off to everyone working on site for a job well done. “Despite the weather, this is the best time of year because there’s plenty of water available from other sources,” he explained. “The main thing is that we have safeguarded a major essential piece of our regional water
network for future generations and none of our customers were any the wiser. It takes careful planning, and round the clock vigilance by our teams across the region, to keep everyone’s taps flowing. “United Utilities has a world class reputation for this kind of high intensity work. We shut the entire pipeline for two weeks in 2013 for its first ever complete inspection. After detailed analysis, and a further inspection in 2016, engineers identified several places where they needed to do some maintenance. This section at Hallbank is the first one.” No time was wasted. While the pipeline was out of operation, another team of engineers took the opportunity to enter the Haweswater Aqueduct further south to carry out more inspection work. The impressive feat of engineering completed at Hallbank is the first milestone in a much bigger project which will see the replacement of six more tunnel sections along the 109km Haweswater Aqueduct which supplies drinking water to 2.5 million customers in Cumbria, Lancashire and Greater Manchester. Plans for the Haweswater Aqueduct Resilience Programme are still in development with work on this mammoth £1bn pipe refurbishment project proposed to begin in 2023.
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL DECEMBER 2020
Improving Asset Health
North connection 4 pipes
North connection complete: An aerial view of the four new pipes showing the old section of Haweswater Aqueduct which has been replaced
Project director John Hilton with some of the new blue pipes
This is only the third time in its life that the aqueduct has ever been drained and I’ve been there every time. You’d think it would get easier but it doesn’t. This time we were working during a pandemic and we had biblical rain like you wouldn’t believe. When you’re planning something on this scale it’s right to be sensibly paranoid. John Hilton, Project Director
Improving Asset Health
United Utilities maintenance staff at work
Experts on NASA programme help put ‘rocket science’ into running the region’s water works North West water engineers are in talks with experts working on behalf of NASA to help inject a bit of ‘rocket science’ into the way they maintain the region’s treatment works. The fact that mankind has sent so many people safely into orbit proves that the space agency is out of this world when it comes to maintaining its equipment. Now United Utilities is hoping some of the same star dust will give them the edge when it comes to looking after the vast array of mechanical and electrical kit it uses to supply the North West. Seven million people from Carlisle to Crewe rely on United Utilities for drinking water and sewage disposal every day. It’s a job which involves more than 670 treatment works and literally hundreds of thousands of vital assets which need regular inspection and maintenance. It’s all part of a new project the water company is carrying out to make sure its maintenance regime is best in class. As well as experts working on behalf of NASA’s Langley programme, United Utilities specialists are interviewing other worldbeating companies, plus celebrated specialists like Ramesh Gulati who wrote the ‘bible’ of maintenance & reliability best practices. “We are really good at keeping our equipment running but we want to be up there with the
best. We owe it to our customers,” said United Utilities head of work management Tony Denny. “Langley is NASA’s original field centre and has overseen the development of some of the most game-changing breakthroughs in mankind’s modern history. That’s why the award-winning NASA Langley team was one of the organisations that we wanted to speak to. For them, failure is not an option. “The team went through some similar challenges a number of years ago on their journey towards maintenance excellence, which saw them win UPTIME magazine Best Reliability Program of the Year award in 2017. We got to talk to a programme manager for NASA’s services provider Jacobs, who helped the Langley site win the award.” Head of Maintenance Phil White said the large transformation programme would eventually involve ten areas of maintenance best practice and 600 engineers and would incorporate the use of innovative digital technologies to monitor and analyse asset health. “Becoming one of the best organisations in the UK for maintenance and reliability means finding out how the world’s most successful organisations can predict breakdowns and take steps to prevent them from happening. It
might mean we do more regular non-invasive inspections or we get generally smarter about how we use equipment, running it more efficiently, or in a different way, so that we don’t look after each asset in isolation but consider everything as a whole so we can reduce the strain and improve our asset health,” he said. For Tony, talking to the biggest names in the field was unlike any other day at the office. “It is quite an experience. When you get the opportunity to speak to people working at NASA and experts like Ramesh, ultimately you are going right up there to the pinnacle of achievement to pick their brains and put our services in a much better position so there are fewer breakdowns and less time when things are out of service,” he said. United Utilities’ maintenance excellence programme has been developed in collaboration with Jacobs in the United States, who are experts in assessing maintenance regimes. The company’s first foray into new ideas will be piloted in Manchester and the Pennines, where colleagues are being re-equipped and re-trained in new proactive maintenance processes starting in December.
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL DECEMBER 2020
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Water customers have new champion Water companies collaborate on tackling climate change Three water companies are embarking on a year of collaborative events in the run-up to COP26, the United Nations’ climate change conference scheduled for next November. Following the success of Anglian and Essex and Suffolk’s Innovate East event last year, this time round they will be joined by Yorkshire Water for Innovate East 2021, comprising a series of events designed to foster means of carbon reduction and tackling climate change. The organisations are joint sponsors of the Public Interest Commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions for the sector by 2030. They have already published an industry route-map to success. Innovate East 2021 will build on the routemap and work to fast track progress towards this goal by using the knowledge and insight of stakeholders both inside and outside the sector. Stakeholders from different organisations and industries will be invited to join together through a series of virtual events that build on the successful format and outcomes of last
year’s event which attracted over 2,000 people from almost 300 organisations. Some of last year’s ideas embraced leakage reduction, natural capital, digital twins and social purpose. Funding was subsequently allocated to take 10 of the ideas forward and they are currently evolving into ‘real life’ trials and solutions. Shaunna Berendsen, Head of Innovation Engagement at Anglian Water, said: “We can only meet our carbon and climate change targets by working together – collaboration is key! “2021 is going to be a big year, the year of change. We must keep efforts focused during these challenging times and not neglect our carbon and climate change goals. “It has never been more important to collaborate.”
Record sign-up for priority services register Over 100,000 customers across the Anglian Water region are now being supported through the water company’s Priority Services Register, which offers additional services to those who need support.
also provides support to customers with long or short-term medical needs should there be any interruption to their water supply.
Since the beginning of lockdown in March, there has been a 35% rise in the number of people signing up to its register.
Service head Samantha said: “ We offer a wide range of support, from helping to read your water meter to sending out bills in other formats, as well as bottled water deliveries for our most vulnerable customers.
The company’s priority service offers help to a wide range of people - from those with sight, hearing, or mobility difficulties, to parents with babies under 12 months old. The service
“Our customers are our number one priority and our Priority Services Register enables us to provide that support tailored to meet their needs.”
Lord Matthew Taylor of Goss Moor has been appointed as the independent chair of a panel which will champion the voice of South West Water customers, giving them a greater say in the company. Lord Taylor, who was MP for Truro and St Austell for more than 20 years, was selected as Chair of the advisory WaterShare+ Panel following a competitive and publicly advertised appointment process. A graduate of Oxford University, he has a detailed knowledge of the South West and a strong understanding of the water industry, having been a non-executive director of South West Water. His appointment follows the launch of South West Water’s unique WaterShare+ scheme, which shares the company’s success with customers and gives them more control in the company. South West Water is currently inviting customers to choose how they would like to receive £20 from a pot of £20 million earned from its outperformance over the past five years – either as a credit on their bill or as shares in its parent company, Pennon Group plc. Lord Taylor will chair quarterly meetings of the WaterShare+ Panel at which customers can question South West Water directors on progress against plans. The first meeting in public will be in January 2021. Meetings will be held virtually at first, due to Covid-19 restrictions, but as circumstances allow they will be held in locations in Cornwall, Devon and Dorset. There will also be a South West Water Annual General Meeting for customers from 2021. Lord Taylor said: “The main purpose of the panel will be to hold South West Water to delivering its plan to improve services and cut bills - and allow customers to quiz the executive team to tackle any issues that arise with the delivery of those commitments. “I am determined the panel works as an effective champion for customers in holding the business to account, enabling a water sector-leading involvement of customers in the business.”
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL DECEMBER 2020
Securing National Infrastructure
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