Trenchless Technology • Improving Customer Experience • Water & Wastewater Monitoring & Analysis Drinking Water Treatment & Supply • Wastewater Treatment & Technology • Leak Detection & Repair
Digital wizardry is beginning to transform this forward-thinking industry The chief executive of Water UK, Christine McGourty, predicts the combined effects of climate change and population growth could leave England with a 3.4bn litre daily shortfall of water by 2050. Water companies have long acknowledged that tackling water and energy wastage, much of it attributable to leaks and overconsumption, is key to achieving both NetZero and to averting that nightmare scenario.
Editor Helen Compson
Portsmouth Water, for one, is succinct in its summing up when it says: ‘To achieve the required transformation, we must let go of systems which, although they have been useful in the past, are now holding back long overdue revisions of the water supply network. ‘New applications and technologies need to be developed urgently, allowing for future networks to utilise live, smart metering.’ So, in this edition, we ‘visit’ Portsmouth Water, to hear more about its success in driving down leakage rates and its practice of installing above-ground meter chambers. We also go to Macclesfield, the medieval market town in the heart of Cheshire making history as the UK’s first Smart Water Network Town.
There, digital wizards working with United Utilities have linked together thousands of high tech monitors and sensors on water mains to create an AI brain capable of telling engineers when and where a pipe has sprung a leak. The ultimate aim is that, machine-learning being what it is, the system will soon be able to identify the sources of potential problems, enabling maintenance teams to nip them in the bud before they ever affect customers. And that brings us neatly to the latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index, published twice a year by the Institute of Customer Service. While utility companies have bucked the UK trend somewhat with a marginal rise in customer satisfaction, there is still room for improvement. Andy Mack, product director with Echo Managed Services, tells us about the 10 water companies that have new, robust action plans in place designed to halve the time in which it takes to deal with a complaint. All in all, this issue is a fantastic advert for the water industry’s determination to innovate and advance.
22 WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL MARCH 2021
22-25 Trenchless Technology 28-31 Improving Customer Experience 32-33 Water and Wastewater Monitoring & Analysis
36-37 Drinking Water Treatment & Supply 40-47 Wastewater Treatment & Technology
48-57 Leak Detection & Repair
Helen Compson firstname.lastname@example.org
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Distinctive Publishing or Water Industry Journal cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies that may occur, individual products or services advertised or late entries. No part of this publication may be reproduced or scanned without prior written permission of the publishers and Water Industry Journal.
Tideway Central Section reaches shaft lining milestone Civil engineering and infrastructure specialist Barhale has completed the first shaft secondary lining in the central section of the Thames Tideway Tunnel. Passing this important milestone at the Victoria Embankment Foreshore site clears the way for the internal shaft work to begin. The next steps will include the installation of the baffle/divider wall and vortex surround – the two elements that facilitate the flow transfer from the top to the bottom of the shaft where a 17m tunnel connects to the new super sewer. The secondary lining of the connection tunnel has also just been completed. 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, appointed Barhale to carry out the works at the Victoria Embankment Foreshore. When completed the site will be used to control the existing local CSO, known as the Regent Street CSO, through the connection of the northern Low Level Sewer No.1 to the main tunnel. The lining is a key structural element of the 48m shaft. It will protect against the chemical and physical impact of the sewer discharges and ensure its 120-year design life. Barhale used a custom-specified concrete
The concrete was poured in situ using a 160Te crawler crane. Each pour exceeded 100m3 of volume. Contracts manager Filipe Mello said although approximately 1900m3 of concrete has been used in total the team had been able to maintain good progress throughout. “We employed thermocouplers, maturity curves and the on-site testing of cubes to confirm the in situ concrete strength,” he said. “That allowed us to jump the formwork in the next pour position to maximise progress.”
mix for the lining. Using more than 70% Ground Granulated Blast furnace Slag (GGBS) and admixtures, it generates very low CO2 emissions. GGBS is a by-product of ironmaking so requires no quarrying or mineral extraction and reduces the level of embodied carbon in the concrete by around 900kg compared with one tonne of Portland cement.
Barhale regional director Phil Cull highlighted the importance of reaching the milestone. “Tideway is a huge project which will upgrade London’s infrastructure not only to meet existing demand but also for generations to come,” he said. “At Victoria Embankment we are working on a key site within the Whitehall conservation area and adjacent to one of the capital’s principal arterial routes. It means completing major infrastructure works to a very tight schedule so it is very pleasing to get the shaft lining completed.”
If you would like to participate in the June edition of Water Industry Journal we shall be featuring:
Managing Sewer Networks
Improving Drinking Water Quality
Flow & Level Measurement
Wastewater Treatment & Technology
Trenchless Technology • Wastewater Treatme nt & 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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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Expert independent judging panel announced for £2m Innovation in Water Challenge
Ofwat’s inaugural £2m Innovation in Water Challenge, run in partnership with Nesta Challenges, Arup and Isle Utilities, aims to stimulate innovative responses to tackle key challenges facing the water sector Expert panel of eight independent judges includes leaders from across the water industry and other sectors, including manufacturing and energy, with expertise in issues such as consumer protection and collaboration Competition open to all water companies and their partners with the chance to win up to £250,000 Ofwat and Nesta Challenges revealed the judging panel for the inaugural £2 million Innovation in Water Challenge, which aims to help tackle the biggest challenges facing the water industry. Led by Ofwat, in partnership with Nesta Challenges, Arup and Isle Utilities, the Challenge is looking for collaborative and innovative initiatives that will meet the evolving needs of customers, society and the environment in the years to come. The challenges it seeks to address range from achieving net zero, to protecting natural ecosystems from leakages or pollution and delivering better value for money for water customers in England and Wales. The inaugural Challenge is the first of two launching this year as part of Ofwat’s £200 million Innovation Fund. It aims to support innovative initiatives that the water sector would otherwise be unable to invest in or explore - with each winning entrant
The judges’ breadth of expertise will bring insights from both water and other sectors, as well as a deep understanding of innovation itself and customer concerns.
receiving between £50,000 and £250,000. It is open to water companies and NAVs (new appointments and variations) from England and Wales together with partner organisations (which may be outside of the water sector). Boasting a number of experts and leaders within the industry and other related sectors, the independent eight-person strong judging panel are: Nicole Ballantyne – Knowledge Transfer Manager (Manufacturing), Knowledge Transfer Network Myrtle Dawes – Solution Centre Director, OGTC Chris Newsome – Director, UK Water Partnership Dragan Savic – CEO, KWR Water Research Institute Adam Scorer – Chief Executive, National Energy Action
John Russell, Senior Director at Ofwat commented: “We have a fantastic panel of judges working together with us on this Challenge - drawing expertise from a number of sectors and disciplines that, together, will bring invaluable insight to the judging and assessing process. We believe partnerships and collaboration are at the heart of meeting the challenges facing the water industry - and we are looking forward to receiving new and exciting ideas that will help change the sector for years to come.” Chris Gorst, Director of Challenges at Nesta Challenges commented: “We’re excited about the Innovation in Water Challenge. It has the potential to change the industry and bring about long-term benefits for customers, society and the environment. We anticipate receiving a high calibre of entries that will make the task of judging them exciting but challenging. However, we’re confident that we have the right insights and expertise from across the industry and beyond within our judging panel to help us assess the entries.”
Lila Thompson – Chief Executive, British Water
Rachel Skinner, Executive Director (Transport), WSP Global, and President, Institution of Civil Engineers and Chair of the judging panel, said: “I’m thrilled to be joining the Innovation in Water Challenge judging panel and look forward to seeing some exceptional case studies that are helping society to address the urgent climate challenge.”
Rhodri Williams – Wales Chair, Consumer Council for Water
The winners of the IWC will be announced in April.
Rachel Skinner – Executive Director (Transport), WSP Global, and President, Institution of Civil Engineers (Chair)
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL MARCH 2021
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Continuous, real-time monitoring of sludge blanket levels
ATi UK’s Senior Service Engineer, Mark Holmes, discusses the cutting-edge technologies available for measuring and monitoring sludge blanket, providing optimum efficiency and flexibility through smart, ultrasonic and continuous, real-time measurement. Measuring and managing the depth of sludge blanket is one of the most critical challenges in the production of good-quality effluent from wastewater treatment plants. Aside from lessening the environmental impact of human waste, modern wastewater treatment plants have embraced advances in science and technology that allow significant, positive inputs, such as producing energy from biogases, such as methane, and in some cases generating revenue streams from processed biosolids, including nutrient-rich fertiliser for farming. However, for these advanced systems to work effectively, one of the most crucial parameters for plant operators to monitor is the total solids, or sludge, as it moves through the plant. Although the composition and concentration of sludge varies throughout the treatment pathway, understanding the settling characteristics of sludge is vital to optimise control of the plant and wastewater process. Primary sedimentation, biological stages, secondary treatment, effluent quality, and subsequent sludge handling are all greatly affected by how well the settling has been achieved and, importantly, monitored.
Effective Automation to Improve Process Control
By measuring sludge levels in both primary and secondary sedimentation tanks, operators can ensure sludge extraction pumps are used efficiently and ensure poorly settled sludge does not carry over into effluent paths. By measuring sludge levels, operators can study sedimentation characteristics of suspended solids in the plant, understand sensitivities due to disturbances and manage sludge levels to allow sufficient buffering for incoming hydraulic load variations.
While no two waste-water treatment plants are identical, the push to improve efficiency through automation and improved process control is a common theme. Relying solely on manual sampling means that thorough analysis of plant characteristics and trends is limited to the frequency of sampling, with the addition of labour costs. In a plant with continuous, automatic measurement of critical process variables, there is a wealth of feedback that creates a robustness of system control, capable of rapidly identifying disturbances or operational problems.
Contactless sludge blanket level measurement
For measuring the depth of sludge blanket, two conventional methods are widely used; contact and contactless methods. The contactless method is considered more desirable, as it doesn’t depend on direct measurement by human operation. One leading example of contactless measurement is ATi UK’s EchoSmart, designed for superior sludge level detection in a wide range of water and wastewater applications. The EchoSmart sensor generates an ultrasonic sound wave that propagates through a liquid medium and is reflected back from material that is present in the vessel, which are typically settled solids, suspended solids, or the tank bottom. The sound wave travels at known velocities, providing the ability to convert elapsed time into Range and Level measurements, offering continuous, real-time measurement. The underwater acoustic measurement principle allows the sensor to track well settled blankets, as well as being configured to track dispersed solids, such as ‘fluff’ or ‘rag-layer’. The EchoSmart sensor does more than just produce a raw signal; it is equipped with an advanced programmable microprocessor
and dynamic memory. Through these facilities, the sensor provides all signal control, enhancement and interpretation, and determines the final process measurement. The smart sensor also communicates with an EchoSmart Controller via digital communication, offering greater flexibility in equipment configuration options, enhanced communication capabilities and reduced installation costs.
Flexible, smart networked monitoring EchoSmart can be used for a wide range of applications and industries, such as sludge thickeners in wastewater, primary or final settlement tanks, and also within the clean water treatment process, including clarifiers on water treatment works. It is adaptable and can be programmed to suit various shapes and tank sizes, with the additional option for turbidity measurement, offering further insight into tank and solids activity, which is useful for less dense blankets. There are also options available for a variety of installation requirements, including a remote or local controller, a stand-alone system, or alternatively a network of up to 16 sensors can be added to one controller. Communication can be achieved through hard wired connections or radio-link network, which can eliminate the need for costly installation. The system comes standard with analogue and digital outputs, as well as Modbus, but other digital communications can be attained if required. The EchoSmart sludge blanket level monitor is simple to install and operate, providing an advanced yet user friendly solution, offering cost effective, trouble-free and reliable measurement. atiuk.com
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL MARCH 2021
EchoSmart and FilterSmart. Eliminating the guesswork from sludge blanket and gravity filterbed monitoring. EchoSmart
The ATi UK EchoSmart controller is an underwater, interface level analyser for sludge blanket monitoring. It will eliminate the guesswork from sludge blanket measurements in clarifiers, thickeners and anywhere an underwater interface measurement is needed.
The ATi UK FilterSmart monitor is an interface level analyser incorporating a turbidity sensor and configured to the unique requirements of filter applications. Built on our EchoSmart digital technology platform, FilterSmart outputs results that are specific to gravity filters, namely media level and turbidity.
Built on a digital platform with technology which allows users to locate the analyser in the sensor. Our sensors generate and process the ultrasonic signal for continuous, real-time measurement, resulting in greater flexibility in equipment configuration options, enhanced communication capabilities and reduced installation costs. EchoSmart interface level analysers are unique. Our smart-sensor technology enables users to control up to 16 smart sensors with one EchoSmart controller, with either wired or wireless configurations. These options allow for a field network of sensors to be created, offering support for even the most challenging processes.
The FilterSmart sensor is located in the top of a gravity filter just below the top of the wash trough. During a backwash, the ultrasonic sensor tracks the level of the media and the turbidity sensor measures how clean or dirty the wash water is as it flows into the wash trough. These two simple measurements produce trends that together provide an extremely accurate profile of the backwash, allowing the operator to ‘see’ into the process like never before. Measuring filter bed expansion during a backwash enables the end user to optimise the filter wash sequence and potentially save on water and power. FilterSmart virtually eliminates media loss and mud ball formation and leads to better filter health and efficiency.
email@example.com / +44 (0) 1457 873 318 / atiuk.com ATi UK is a leading provider of engineered, analytical sensor monitoring solutions for water and gas applications and data analytics. Our pioneering and industry leading range of Smart Network Monitors, Water Quality Monitors and Gas Detectors provide innovative solutions for the most demanding of applications.
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Marlowe completes £10m acquisition of WPL Wastewater treatment and compliance services provider WPL has been acquired by specialist services company Marlowe for an enterprise value of £10 million. Marlowe is the UK leader in specialist services that ensure safety and regulatory compliance for its clients. of the decision to acquire WPL and grow our engineering division. Marlowe can now offer clients the complete range of engineered clean water and wastewater solutions – from influent to effluent and including reuse and recycling – under one roof.”
WPL, based in Waterlooville, UK, will join the Environmental Engineering Division that forms part of Marlowe’s grouping of water and air industry companies with collective annual sales in excess of £100 million and over 1,200 employees. The group brings together other well-established and respected companies including WCS Services, Guardian Water, B&V Chemicals, Clearwater and Atana. Alex Dacre, chief executive of Marlowe, said: “The acquisition of WPL marks another significant step in the development of our strategy for water and air compliance services. “Following the acquisitions of Suez Water Conditioning Services in 2018 and Clearwater Technology in 2019, alongside a number of bolt-on acquisitions and strong organic growth, our water and air compliance business now has the broadest service capabilities and coverage in the UK. We look forward to the contribution that WPL will make to our continued growth in this market.”
WPL’s leadership team, Gareth Jones, Andrew Baird and Simon Kimber, will continue to play key roles within the new organisation structure as senior managers, reporting to Tim Gaston, managing director of the Environmental Engineering Division. Gaston said, “WPL’s biological treatment technology and expertise are very much part
Jones said, “Integration into a larger organisation with the resources and skills to promote growth, especially in commercial and industrial markets, promises to be a huge next step. It is a testament to the professionalism of our talented staff and the growth we have achieved to date that we have now attracted this attention and investment from Marlow plc. “Our customers can be assured that we will continue to work closely with them to deliver adaptable wastewater solutions to meet demanding environmental discharge standards in the UK and globally.” www.wplinternational.com
Game-changing sewer tech trial to reduce pollution caused by blockages New intelligent sewer technology is being pioneered by Thames Water in a gamechanging drive to prevent pollution from blockages caused by cooking fat and wet wipes. As a digital leader in the industry, Britain’s biggest water company is trialling the next generation of ‘sewer level monitors’ which send data to help pinpoint emerging problems before they grow into blockages that can cause flooding and pollution. More than 300 smart devices have just rolled off the production line and are being put to the test inreal-world conditions in West Ham and Harlesden in London, and Henleyon-Thames in Oxfordshire. If successful, there’s then the potential for a bigger trial later in the year. The upgraded monitors are fixed under manhole covers and measure the depth of wastewater underneath. Rising water can signal a blockage is forming in the pipe, normally caused by fat poured down the sink or wet wipes flushed down the toilet.
Blockages can also be caused by debris and tree roots. Compared to older monitors, the new devices will help Thames Water build a digital model of the network in the trial zones, giving a much clearer picture of what is happening underground. The older monitors are also much bigger, meaning they don’t fit into all types of pipes. If levels begin to rise, an alert is triggered at Thames Water’s control centre in Reading so engineers can work out the best plan of action, including sending a team to the scene to clear the blockage before it impacts customers or the environment. The monitors are another example of the tech Thames Water is embracing in the fight against leaks and pollution. In November, it was recognised as one of the country’s leading digital companies after winning four titles at two prestigious IT industry awards. Anna Boyles, Thames Water operations manager, said: “We’re industry leaders in
harnessing the latest digital tech to find and fix blockages and leaks before they affect customers or the environment. “These new sewer level monitors are the very latest bits of kit – they’ve only just come onto the market. They have a longer battery life, are smaller and easier to install. The data they provide will give us a much better picture of what’s happening in our sewers and will help us to nip blockages in the bud before they cause problems.” Last year Hounslow had more sewer blockages than any other local authority in the Thames Water region. The West London borough had more than 3,150 blockages between November 2019 and October 2020. In the Thames Valley, Swindon came out worst with 1,332 blockages. On average, Thames Water spends £18 million every year clearing 75,000 blockages from its sewers, unclogging five house blockages and removing 30 tonnes of material from just one of its sewage works every day.
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL MARCH 2021
Level and Pressure specialist VEGA invests in training centre and UK HQ
After a year-long build, VEGA Controls have opened their own purpose-built training and seminar centre and UK head office at ‘Metior House’, Maresfield, in the heart of Sussex. The facility benefits from almost 10,000 square feet of training and meeting facilities for VEGA customers and stakeholders to use. These include: over 15 working, hands-on equipment and application models of level and pressure technologies, sited in their own networked demonstration area; state of the art Av amenities; full sets of operational training equipment and interconnected desks to help train people to the highest standards. It also boasts a spacious cafe/dining room, with access to an outdoor seating and breakout area adjacent to woodland. Managing Director Ray Tregale said “Along with our exciting new product portfolio, this is our vision and investment for the long term. Purchasing the land and carefully designing the building we need, was not just for now, but for decades to come.” He added “It’s a statement of intent and shows our commitment to support product users and engineers across all industries, as well as our staff of course, and to demonstrate our confidence in the future of UK business” The location is around a 40 minute drive
New customer training centre and offices for VEGA UK in Sussex
Just one of the flexible training rooms with state of the art AV available for customers to use
from Gatwick airport and 20 minutes from mainline railway stations connecting to London. Ample parking with EV charging is also available. The carbon-neutral building also houses offices and service workshops to provide staff with generous space to work in, to provide support and service for customers.
encourage visitors for in-person product education and application training, and even for them to use just as a meeting place. It’s available to all our customers and stakeholders with an interest in the UK instrumentation and process automation sectors, as well as others beyond. We can’t wait to see you!”
Ray concluded “When the situation allows, our doors will be open and we will look to
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Pioneering water projects celebrated by inaugural Lighthouse Awards Lighthouse Awards launched by the Brave Blue World Foundation
World, we met several companies that were blazing a trail of innovation, as they strived to become sustainable and circular in their operations.
Corporations including Nike and Apple recognised for progressive water work Water utilities also among inspiring Lighthouse organisations Leading organisations that have embraced innovation to protect and enhance water supplies have been recognised for their pioneering work. Corporations including Apple, Nike and Facebook, along with utilities such as South East Water, Australia, have been named as recipients of the inaugural Lighthouse Awards, launched in December 2020 by the Brave Blue World Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to scientific and educational storytelling. The winning Lighthouse organisations, named so because they are shining a light for others to follow, have developed new ways of utilising technology, finance or partnerships to reduce their impact in water stressed regions or build resilience of their local water systems.
Their groundbreaking achievements were discovered by the Brave Blue World Foundation during the research phase of its powerful documentary, Brave Blue World, which aims to drive positive change in water. Brave Blue World Foundation founder Paul O’Callaghan said: “Every industry has a vanguard; the pioneers we will all come to follow. In water, the work of these Lighthouses is beyond critical if we are to ensure there is enough freshwater for future generations. “When exploring the world for fascinating water stories during the making of Brave Blue
“Wanting to celebrate and amplify their achievements is what led us to launch the Lighthouse Awards. In doing so, we hope to inspire others to take bold steps towards creating a sustainable water future and raise greater awareness of the fascinating work happening in the global water community.” The winners’ selection process, carried out by adjudicators from technology market intelligence company BlueTech Research, was based on a number of criteria and split into project themes. These included blue-green infrastructure, water reuse, smart water, water catchment enhancement, regeneration, innovation in policy, innovation in communications and innovation in partnerships. A list of winners can be found at: www.braveblue.world/lighthouseawards
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Trainees need to show competence carrying out maintenance on small plants to gain British Water’s accreditation
Wastewater technician training continues despite challenging year British Water’s wastewater treatment technicians’ training continued successfully through 2020 despite the Covid-19 crisis, with the accreditation receiving Environment Agency praise. Onsite assessment procedures, carried out by a workplace assessor as part of British Water’s Wastewater Treatment Plant Accreditation Scheme, were rigorously reviewed to ensure they complied with the government’s Covid-19 health and safety guidelines. The certificate covers small packaged sewage plants up to 1,000 population equivalent (PE) and was reviewed in June 2019 to include onsite observation. Environment Agency deputy directory of water quality, groundwater and contaminated land, Helen Wakeham, said: “British Water has worked hard to enhance and modernise this training for service engineers seeking accreditation. It should give confidence to everyone with an interest in package sewage treatment systems.” Package plant manufacturers and installers are feeling the benefit of the accreditation. Premier Tech Water & Environment technical director Evangelos Petropoulos said: “It is
essential that freshwater quality is protected at all times and to achieve this, wastewater treatment plants require precise maintenance, so they are always in good working order. Manufacturers like us need to work with site maintenance teams that are fully aware of the technicalities of our plants and can maintain them in perfect condition. Accreditation by British Water provides this assurance.” British Water technical manager Dr Mar Batista said: “The performance of wastewater treatment plants of all sizes can have significant implications for the natural environment. With increasing concerns from UK regulators about the quality of rivers and streams, it has never been more important to have properly managed plants that provide robust treatment and prevent pollution. “A lot of hard work has gone into developing the new training for wastewater treatment technicians, raising the bar on service and maintenance across the UK. I would like
to thank all those who have delivered this important training in such a challenging year and congratulate the technicians who have gained accreditation and had their skills and expertise recognised.” As part of the accreditation, trainees need to show competence carrying out maintenance on septic tanks, biological filtration plants, rotating biological contactors, activated sludge plants, submerged aerated filters, biological aerated flooded filters and pumping stations. Prerequisites for certification are recognised qualifications in Electrical Safety and Working in Confined Spaces along with completion of EU Skills’ Safety Health & Environmental Awareness (SHEA) Water scheme. Technicians with a certificate that is expiring will need to renew with the new accreditation. To find out more, visit www.britishwater. co.uk/Accreditation-Certification/ accreditation.aspx
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL MARCH 2021
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Maintaining resilient, low carbon UK water infrastructure which is fit for the future A new world of innovation is being directed by Ofwat and the water industry is embracing the opportunities to find better solutions to the challenges in our changing world. John Bryan, water business development director at Costain, comments: “Ofwat is looking for transformative innovation, while at the same time promoting a more collaborative approach between water companies, academia and the supply chain.” “And that is where Costain can add value. We have the consultancy services and both the practical and established digital know-how to enable water companies to respond better to the big industry challenges of ageing assets, increased customer expectations, system resilience and the impact of climate change.”
Collaboration for long term success
There has never been a clearer call for collaboration in the water industry as there is now. The challenges faced by water companies support the need for collaboration to drive higher performance, delivered at a lower cost and through solutions that are sustainable for the environment, the community, and the long term. John: “Innovation is at the heart of Costain and the solutions we deliver for our clients. Helping water companies meet their commitments through innovation projects involves sharing our insights and extensive experience from other sectors including energy, defence and transportation.”
Tapping into cross sector experience
A prime example is the green economy project Costain is currently delivering in collaboration with Welsh Water, Cardiff Council and a group of specialist technology providers. The project ‘Hy-Value’ will convert sewage-derived biogas into hydrogen which can be used to provide clean energy to South Wales, helping to improve air quality and decarbonise transport in the region. “This particular project is assessing the generation of hydrogen from biomethane, to ultimately fuel fleet vehicles and potentially
go further to inject hydrogen into the natural gas grid.” “Effective collaboration was key”, said Costain’s discipline lead for environmental consultancy, Hywel Woolf. “The drivers here are climate change and decarbonisation to support meeting the water industry’s 2030 targets for achieving Net Zero.” Welsh Water is the vanguard of the movement towards sourcing clean fuels for fleet vehicles and as such, Costain’s remit is to help establish the business case and, later, build the first demonstration plant to begin putting theory into practice. John Bryan said: “Three other water companies have now expressed interest in supporting this project with Welsh Water. The Hy-Value project originated in our oil and gas sector and there are many more opportunities for transferring the knowledge and experience we have in other parts of our business to help the water companies meet their biggest challenges.” Another example of cross-sector knowledge transfer is the Network Innovation Competition funded project ‘Resilience as a Service’ where Costain are working with partners in the power industry on a project designed to ensure continuity and resilience of energy supply to remote communities through the innovative use of battery storage and renewables.
John: “Resilience and future proofing infrastructure is another priority for the water industry and we have been exploring parallels with the work our energy team are undertaking.” “Rural communities can be reliant on a single cable for their energy supplies and come bad weather, the service can be inconsistent, potentially impacting on the reliable operation of the local water or wastewater services. By leveraging our work in the electricity industry, we can bring all that experience and knowledge to our water industry clients.” Hywel: “Being able to build resilience in such places is important in the context of delivering a reliable service to customers, whether that is water, power or taking away waste. It is fundamentally about delivering social value to the most remote and isolated communities.” The synergies between energy and water are clear when broken down to the overall aim and outcome. However, the application of innovation to the specific needs of the water industry is where Costain can provide a solution orientated approach combined with deep domain and operational knowledge of water assets and infrastructure. Discover more at: www.costain.com/what-we-do/water/ and to join the conversation on these innovation topics contact email@example.com
Innovation is at the heart of Costain and the solutions we deliver for our clients. Helping water companies meet their commitments through innovation projects involves sharing our insights and extensive experience from other sectors including energy, defence and transportation. John Bryan, water business development director at Costain 18
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL MARCH 2021
It’s time to be bold. It’s time to innovate. It’s time to collaborate.
We deliver integrated smart infrastructure solutions to help the water industry respond better to the challenges in our changing world. • Cross sector experience • Data insight • Building resilience Be an Innovation Partner and join the conversation firstname.lastname@example.org
Adaptability of ArcGIS apps proves a success with staff on the front line at Anglian Water 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. Since Anglian Water launched its Keep It Clear behaviour change programme in 2010, aiming to change the way people dispose of FOG and non-flushable material, they have reduced incidences of sewer blockages by more than 40% in targeted areas. The largest water and wastewater company in England and Wales geographically, with more than six million customers and 5,000 members of staff in a patch covering 27,500 square kilometres, Anglian has a huge region of responsibility that stretches from the Humber estuary to the Thames estuary, and from Buckinghamshire to the East coast. Across the region, the volume of waste it deals with daily is enough to fill more than 300 Olympic-sized swimming pools. The fact that the waste travels through more than 76,000km of sewers on route gave rise to the Keep It Clear behaviour change programme, with its overarching aim of transforming behaviours in a bid to end the 40,000 blockages each year that lead to pollution and flooding. Key weapons in the armoury have been the deployment of the ArcGIS Operations Dashboard and Survey123 Online apps available within the Esri ArcGIS Geographic Information System (GIS) solution provided by ESRI UK. Flexible and userfriendly, the apps form a solution that has made the information gathering process markedly more efficient for Anglian Water staff on the front line and, as a result, enabled a much swifter identification of hotspots. Dave Owen, ESRI UK’s Account Manager for Anglian Water, says: “These particular software solutions have been taken up widely by water companies for use in tackling real problems on the ground. “One of the main attributes is that the software is so flexible and configurable, clients can adapt it themselves to suit their own purposes – they don’t need to come back to use our expertise. ArcGIS is very popular because of that.” In the Keep It Clear behaviour change programme, Anglian Water staff work with
businesses, schools and households in areas exhibiting a higher than normal number of sewer blockages to identify the causes. Ultimately the aim is to educate and to change behaviours. Originally the process involved working with ad-hoc tools and spreadsheets which was time consuming and error prone.. By way of contrast, using Survey123 allows the whole task to be completed within just the one app – an app that also works offline when there is no mobile signal. The Operations Dashboard identifies increases and decreases in the number of blockages and is searchable by sewer type, the tool allows the user to read and interpret the data visually and monitor progress. “In moving away from a largely paper-based process, Anglian Water also wanted a fully location aware solution and to improve the accuracy of the data recorded generally, reducing or eliminating the need to QA captured data before being able to interpret and respond to it”, says Dave Owen.
“One of the main attributes is that the software is so flexible and configurable, clients can adapt it themselves to suit their own purposes – they don’t need to come back to use our expertise. ArcGIS is very popular because of that.” Dave Owen, ESRI UK’s Account Manager for Anglian Water
“The surveys uploaded help to identify factors such as the wrong type of things being disposed of down water pipes, such as fat and grease, but if there are repeated problems, the question will be raised whether a stretch of the infrastructure itself needs attention. “Is something broken or starting to crumble? The information feeds into the company’s overall maintenance programme, giving an indication of work needed that could perhaps prevent a leak.” Because problem areas are tracked in such detail, the resultant profile also offers up another valuable tool – the ability to do a cost and benefits analysis of different ways to solve problems identified. Overall, the solution has enabled a significant improvement in Anglian Water’s ability to identify the causes and therefore reduce the incidence of sewer blockages, which in turn reduces the number of call-outs and the disruption from digging up roads. Ultimately this enables improvement in the service offered to customers. To find out more about flexible and configurable out of the box solutions for digital transformation in the water industry, visit esriuk.com/water or contact Craig Hayes, head of Critical National Infrastructure at Esri UK on 01296 745599 or email@example.com.
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL MARCH 2021
SMART WATER MANAGEMENT BEGINS WITH LOCATION INTELLIGENCE. Where infrastructure, assets, customers and suppliers are, is fundamental to all aspects of managing water - from protecting a sustainable water supply to delivering safe drinking water. The Esri ArcGIS Platform delivers a location intelligence solution for true digital transformation, with advanced field data collection, mapping, analytics, dashboards, collaboration tools and secure sharing on any device. 80% of UK water companies use the Esri ArcGIS Platform – are you leveraging its full potential?
Learn more: esriuk.com/water or contact firstname.lastname@example.org 01296 745599
Severn Trent use cutting-edge technology to protect pipes Severn Trent has a vast network of pipes that supplies water to its four million customers. In fact, if you stretched them out in a line, they’d measure 46,000km long. That’s long enough to reach around the Earth, with a bit leftover. A network on this scale needs continual repair and maintenance, to make sure it can deliver a reliable and high-quality product to customers, as well as minimising leakage. However, this level of maintenance has significant cost, which ultimately is passed on to customer bills. There’s also a direct impact on the customer, via disruption from traffic management and interruptions to supply. Pipe renewal options are currently limited to open cut replacement, pipe bursting or slip lining. They all have an impact on the customer or on the capacity of the network. That’s why the water industry is continually seeking new and innovative ways to reduce the impact of its repair and maintenance activities. Severn Trent and Hafren Dyfrdwy, alongside two other UK water companies, have joined forces to generate innovation in this area. After several years of research and development, a novel structural liner has been developed by Aqualiner, in conjunction with Severn Trent, Yorkshire Water and Anglian Water. The lining material is a glass-reinforced polypropylene; and is the only Reg 31 approved, fully structural lining available. Aqualiner offers significant benefit compared to existing techniques. These include: The system is 40% lower in cost than opencut and is cost competitive with slip lining techniques. Can line any material and does not require the host pipe to be structurally sound
Smaller reduction in pipe volume than slip lining. Aqualiner reduced the capacity of the pipe by ~5% compared to ~25% for slip lining The installation process requires a smaller footprint in the carriageway than slip lining techniques. This results in less traffic disruption. The system does this by avoiding the need the join lengths of pipe before they are inserted into the host pipe Aqualiner has also has a smaller installation footprint and creates less noise and vibration than pipe bursting. It also avoids issues with repair collars that can occur during pipe bursting. Avoidance of the need for heating and extended curing times associated with epoxy lining. The installation process can also be completed within one hour. Aqualiner have just delivered the world’s first installation on a live water supply network in Hafren Dyfrdwy, part of the Severn Trent group. The installation was on a 9” cast iron pipe with significant tuberculation. Prior to the installation the pipe was scrapped and cleaned. However, due the innovative nature of Aqualiner, no further preparation was required. This is a significant advantage over other techniques as the pipe wall did not need
to be dried or cleaned to ensure adhesion of the lining material. In fact, Aqualiner is capable of lining sections where the host pipe is no long structurally sound, or where part of the pipe wall is missing. The Aqualiner process is undertaken by pulling the new liner through the old pipe and heating it to 200oC with an electrical heating element built into a pig. The pig is moved along the pipe at a controlled speed by an inversion bag; which also moulds the new liner against the wall of the host pipe. Because the heating element does not come into contact with the wall of the host pipe, it can line any material including plastic pipes. Jamie Perry, Innovation Trials lead for Severn Trent said: “Aqualiner has the potential to offer us a more efficient, less disruptive way of dealing with our aging network of pipes by structurally lining the inside. Currently, our main option is to renew problematic pipes by digging them up and replacing them. Aqualiner has the potential to fully structural line a pipe with reduced excavations and less time on site. Ultimately, this means our customers experience less disruption. We look forward to our continuing partnership with Aqualiner, as we further develop their system to include a greater range of pipe diameters.”
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL MARCH 2021
Close-fit lining technique Rolldown® a winner in Hindhead, Surrey When an ageing water pipeline reached the end of its service life and needed replacing to prevent further water quality and pressure issues, asset owner South East Water and construction firm The Clancy Group engaged Radius Subterra to explore the feasibility of lining the main to restore its structural integrity and avoid disruption. The cast iron raw water pipeline which links a borehole to a service reservoir was not only heavily encrusted with tuberculation, but also 900m of the 8” and 6” sections located in Tilford Road and Tower Road in Hindhead, ran under a busy carriageway and through private gardens where access was difficult, bringing further challenges to this replacement project. Tony Pipe, Project Manager at Radius Subterra explained: ‘These particular pipeline sections were in fact ideal to replace using a no-dig technique. We initially explored rehabilitation using our fast-setting spray-liner, Subcote® FLP, however, the number of excavations needed would have hampered entry to properties, which was required at all times. The location and the length of the 6” section in particular, was the main focus point. What’s more, it was critical for South East Water that the 6” section of the pipeline retained maximum capacity. That’s why we established that using Rolldown® to install a PE liner would be the best option.’ Working in partnership with
partners White Utilities, Radius Subterra used their Rolldown® close-fit lining technology with 160mm SDR17 polyethylene pipe supplied by Radius Systems to rehabilitate the 6” pipe section.
the 8” section, Radius Subterra inserted the 160mm PE liner using the established sliplining technique. The pipeline was then tested and commissioned successfully, and finally reconnected to the existing network.
A ground-breaking no-dig pipeline replacement technique, Rolldown® is used for the renovation of weakened and damaged steel, ductile iron, cast iron, asbestos cement and other pipelines to restore structural integrity and maintain pipe capacity and pressure requirements. It uses a PE pipe as a liner, which once inserted and pressurised, forms a close-fit inside the existing pipework. Compared to other lining techniques, longer lengths of pipe can be inserted in one pull with Rolldown®, making it the ideal solution for the renovation of pipelines crossing roads, rivers, lakes and designated nature sites or for pipework laid in urban areas or congested ground.
Steve White, District Manager at The Clancy Group commented: “We are really pleased with the outcome of the project, which was undertaken by a team of not only skilled technicians, but also very helpful and hard working.” Jeremy Dufour, Project Manager at South East Water added: “This project has definitely been a success and on behalf of South East Water, I thank the Radius Subterra team for their work. This scheme was essential to ensuring reliability and longevity of this crucial part of our infrastructure that serves our customers.”
Supplied in 12m lengths, Radius Systems PE100 pipe was butt-fused into one long 150m length and inserted in one pull into the host, then reverted to its original diameter. For
The project which started in July with an estimated nine week to carry out, was completed a week ahead of schedule. Radius.Subterra@radius-systems.com www.radius-subterra.com
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL MARCH 2021
PROTECTING AND REHABILITATING PIPELINE INFRASTRUCTURE ...through interactive and structural PE liners using Rolldown® and Subline techniques
+44 (0)1773 582317 Radius.Subterra@radius-systems.com www.radius-subterra.com
After a year in which everything has changed and will probably never be the same again, is it not time to think inside the box? The recent massive changes, from home working and education to ‘Zoom’ pub nights, have proven that new innovation can be rapidly introduced when the need is there. The water industry is no exception and the work of Water UK in producing ‘Net Zero 2030 Routemap’ 1 has highlighted, amongst other objectives, the need for savings in water and energy use. Christine McGourty, CEO, Water UK recently predicted that, with climate change and population growth, England could be short of 3.4 billion litres of water each day by 2050.2 Waste of water and energy, due to leaks and over consumption, will be a significant contribution to the industries carbon footprint and water shortfall. To achieve the required transformation, we must let go systems which, although have been useful in the past, are now holding back long overdue revisions of the water supply network. Before COVID and lockdowns work had begun to achieve the target of providing 300,000 new homes a year and mitigate resource demand in water stressed areas. Even now, every day another 1000 water connections are made, everyone placing pressure on the network. New applications and technologies need to be developed urgently, allowing for future networks to utilise “live” smart metering. However, systems that can providing secure connections for the next 50-100 years, and lay the foundations smart meters are already available
Design out joints on pipes and prepare for smarter meters
For over 15 years Portsmouth Water have applied a no joint policy to water supply pipes coupled with an above ground meter enclosure which probably explains their primary place at the top of the leakage charts and contributes to their high placing in the D-MeX and C-MeX 2019-20 league tables. Bob Taylor, CEO Portsmouth Water explained their philosophy, ‘In the context of the Water
UK Public Interest Commitment on leakage, our recent industry level reviews and our desire to build ‘leak free’ new networks have highlighted further evidence of the need to improve quality standards at the the point of installation of new networks, with poor quality pipe joints often the source of future leakage.’
Flow restriction devices can be used to modulate flows to individual properties especially in water stressed areas. Reducing excessive wastage from running taps and managing network demand at peak times, and wastage resulting from leaking pipes.
‘Portsmouth Water’s policy of having a single joint free service pipe from mains connection right the way through to the wall mounted boundary box has certainly improved confidence around the longer-term quality of these new assets from a leakage perspective. This policy is also helpful in the context of reducing customer side leakage and emerging knowledge in this area is showing that this is a bigger challenge than our previous understanding indicated.’
The potential of backflow causing major network contamination is relatively low, but it does cause issues with ‘smart’ water meters.
Portsmouth’s policies on above ground meter chambers also leave the door open for ultra-smart (5G) two-way metering and ‘internet of things’ (IOT) technologies due to the stronger communications signal strength relative to underground meter installation. Such systems have been proven to be able to be read from over 2 miles away from a single pick-up point and worldwide if linked to the internet.
The use of the Groundbreaker Water Management System has been proved successful in the UK and have a track record of installations over 20 years. The added benefit is that for new build properties, such systems can be installed at the developers’ expense.
Management of Water pressure and flow rates Whilst Water Regulations have always specified minimum flow and pressures for water supplies, there are no defined upper limits. In some areas, due to operational requirements this can result in ‘excessive’ supply which inevitably leads to higher wastage.
Adoption of joint free installation coupled with surface mounted meter housings incorporating fully accredited backflow protection and flow restriction solves all these issue in one. Integrating a simple “plug in” 3 in 1 device, which is located under a water meter, will not only provide whole site protection to back flow up to fluid category 2, but also flow and pressure modulation.
For further details please contact or visit web site www.groundbreaker.co.uk Steve Leigh is founder and managing director of Groundbreaker Systems with over 40 years experience in the industry. 1. Water UK : Net Zero 2030 Routemap Summary https://www. water.org.uk/routemap2030/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/ Water-UK-Net-Zero-2030-Routemap-Summary-1.pdf 2. Water UK : Net Zero 2030 Routemap Summary, p5 https:// www.water.org.uk/routemap2030/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/ Water-UK-Net-Zero-2030-Routemap-Summary-1.pdf
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL MARCH 2021
Improving Customer Experience
How do we improve customer satisfaction in the water sector? Twice a year, we publish the nation’s barometer of service satisfaction – the UK Customer Satisfaction Index. It is the most in-depth cross-sector measurement of customer service in the UK, with 10,000 consumers rating 45,000 service experiences across over 25 different metrics. Satisfaction Trends in the Utilities Sector By Jo Causon CEO, The Institute of Customer Service
Customer satisfaction across all sectors of the UK economy has been declining for the past three years. Whist the utilities sector has bucked this trend in the last two years - rising 0.7 points to 72.7 (out of 100) in our UK Customer Satisfaction Index - it is still 4.1 points below the all-sector average (see fig.1). It also lags behind every other sector apart from Transport. Satisfaction levels remain static year-on-year for water providers, with energy providers slightly behind, but at least showing some positive movement over the past 12 months (see fig.2). The number of customers experiencing a problem has increased in the Water sector from 11.4% to 13.2%. The leading causes of customers’ issues with utility providers are cost (cited in 24% of problems), quality or reliability of goods/services (21.2%) and an organisation failing to keep its promises or commitments (19.8%). Compared to the UK allsector average, more customers experienced problems related to cost, but fewer problems were concerned with the quality and reliability of goods/services.
Fig. 1 – Utilities Sector vs UK all-sector average, UKCSI Utilities Sector Report Jan 2021, The Institute of Customer Service
There is thankfully encouraging news in some quarters. 75.5% of customers rated their experience as right first time, 1.6 percentage points higher than in January 2020 (albeit 5 percentage points below the UK all-sector average).
Water), Severn Trent, Anglian and Yorkshire. Severn Trent Water is the most improved utility provider over the last year, up 4.3 points in our index to 78.3. Water companies also tend to handle complaints far more effectively than energy providers.
Scottish Water is the UK’s highest-rated water company, followed by Dwr Cymru (Welsh
Across the utilities sector, satisfaction levels with customers interacting via website and
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Improving Customer Experience
Satisfaction by type of organisation Utilities Jan 21
Dimensions of customer satisfaction
Utilities Jan 20
Fig. 2 – Energy providers vs Water providers, UKCSI Utilities Sector Report Jan 2021, The Institute of Customer Service
email – both of which have become more popular channels through the crisis - were up. However, 54.3% of complaints take longer to resolve than expected and the effectiveness of over-the-phone support, in particular, has fallen sharply.
Fig. 3 – Dimensions of customer satisfaction, UKCSI Utilities Sector Report Jan 2021, The Institute of Customer Service
Recommendations for organisations
Overall, this paints a disappointing picture. When we look across the five Customer Satisfaction Dimensions we measure (see fig.3), we can see there is no single area in which the utilities sector is anywhere near the all-sector average. It is clear there is much work to be done. So, what practically can water companies do? Many water companies are members of The Institute and we help them focus on their purpose, relevance and impact. We collect and analyse data from our members’ customers and colleagues to identify areas of strength and highlight where best to allocate investment for the best returns.
Fig. 4 – Recommendations for organisations, UKCSI Main Report Jan 2021, The Institute of Customer Service
Our UKCSI research identified nine recommendations and key actions for organisations to improve their customer service and respond to changing customer needs and behaviours. These are listed in (fig. 4), and we expand on each one in our UKCSI main report which you can download for free on our website.
As the UK continues to feel the devastating impact of the coronavirus crisis, maintaining excellent service levels will be vital to helping the nation’ build back better’.
There is no doubt we are navigating one of the most challenging periods in our living history.
The polarising impact of the pandemic is evident. As the gaps in our society grow
ever wider, water companies need to take the time to understand who they serve – and how they serve them. Those that focus on customer service moving forward will be in the strongest position to prosper long into the future.
“There is thankfully encouraging news in some quarters. 75.5% of customers rated their experience as right first time, 1.6 percentage points higher than in January 2020 (albeit 5 percentage points below the UK all-sector average).” www.waterindustryjournal.co.uk
Improving Customer Experience
Could core systems be the key to improving water sector complaints management? Since the Consumer Council for Water (CCW) and Ofwat published a joint report in November on complaints practices within the sector in England and Wales, there has been a real focus on complaints management, and water companies have been asked to submit action plans to improve sector standards on complaints management before the end of March 2021. recommendations set out in the Ofwat and CCW report. So, what are the benefits of more integrated technology and how can it raise standards throughout the sector.
By Andy Mack
Product Director, Echo Managed Services Since then, 10 water companies have pledged to improve complaints response times, many looking to reduce the 10 working day sector standard response time to five, with others being even more ambitious. Since the effectiveness of complaints management teams will be vital in achieving this, perhaps one of the most efficient enablers for this will be having the right systems in place, both to handle any complaints that come through, and to prevent more complaints from occurring in the first place. In the water sector, complaints relate most regularly to either to billing or to operations and supply. With the latter, which may be about appointment issues or quality of work for example, a real disconnect can exist between front and back office teams due to disparate systems slowing down complaints processes and causing customer frustration. Taking the decision to implement an efficient and integrated system could not only minimise response time to complaints, but also help water companies meet other
Harnessing the power of rich, seamless data
Robust case management functionality is vital within software and systems to minimise manual work, time consuming hand-offs and a lack of visibility between customer-facing retail teams and operational teams working across different software solutions, causing hold ups that prolong resolution for the customer. One solution could be a one platform approach, with a single data source for integrated retail operations and operational management. Downstream data is then easily available to customer service agents, who can access all the information they need to support customers effectively when a complaint is raised. With fewer hand-offs, less manual work and more visibility, the complaints procedure could become significantly more streamlined for customers. In addition, customer service teams will be empowered to better handle complaints, as all the information needed will be at their fingertips. By giving customer service agents the right data, they can respond quickly at the first point of contact, or even prevent a complaint all together.
A single platform developer ecosystem such as Salesforce can enable this efficient flow of data between customer service and operations. Various Salesforce-native applications with a single data source can be implemented together, this is one of the key reasons we decided to build Aptumo, our water billing software, on the Salesforce platform, to open up a world of integration-free possibilities for water companies across their entire core system infrastructure.
Powerful reporting, analytics and AI
One key recommendation in the CCW and Ofwat report is for companies to make better use of their data. Through choosing software with powerful and customizable reporting, analytic and artificial intelligence (AI) features, water companies can easily interrogate and make better sense of the plethora of information often locked deep within software systems. This can help companies to reveal trends in the complaints journey and allow them to identify process bottlenecks, or where things are going wrong. From this, root cause analysis can follow to help remove current hold ups
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL MARCH 2021
Improving Customer Experience
and increase customer satisfaction. Trend data can also reveal changes in customer behaviour and sentiment which, when combined with AI, can be used to proactively identify trends so measures can be put in place before complaints are made. The powerful data inherent in the oneplatform approach can help support companies to achieve CCW and Ofwat’s recommendation to improve understanding around the satisfaction of complainants. Water companies who implement Aptumo, can through the wider Salesforce ecosystem, plug customer satisfaction (CSAT) native software for example directly into billing and CRM with no integration. This enables the seamless integration of CSAT technology, augmented across all channels.
Ensuring a broad view on vulnerability
Embedding a range of external data sources into software with powerful reporting capabilities alongside the use of a broad range of vulnerability indicators, can help
water companies identify trends and changes across a broad range of vulnerabilities. Complaints handling may need to be tailored or adjusted to help best support different vulnerable groups, and by using rich system reporting and insight together with vulnerability flags, water companies can better understand the experiences for different groups and look to tailor processes and service to serve different attributes of vulnerability.
Complaints process efficiency
Water companies may question whether an enterprise resource planning (ERP) approach can also achieve better complaints management processes. The answer is yes, it can, but the downside is that it is more costly and lacks the inherent agility and flexibility of a single platform ecosystem. ERP is characterized by long, onerous implementation and integration programmes, coupled with the complexity of making ongoing change as customer expectations and market regulations evolve. The new era of single platform ecosystems offers an alternative to these painful
legacy procedures and empowers water companies to make their own changes quickly and easily, removing the heavy reliance on software provider led change and helping them stay ahead of customer and market needs. Ultimately, for water companies to improve complaint handling, learn from complaints and drive service improvement, they need to focus on capturing as much information as possible within a single system. Better data leads to better insight, which all helps water companies to review current operating procedures and make adjustments to systems, team knowledge, skills and empowerment to drive a new standard of complaints management. Investing in the right technology to optimise performance will not only drive consistency and togetherness between customer service staff and field operations, but also make it much simpler for water companies to perform strongly against CCW and Ofwat’s recommendations. For more information, visit www.echo-ms.com or www.aptumo.com.
Water and Wastewater Monitoring and Analysis
Southern water resilience projects
For the past two years Southern Water has been conducting a far reaching project aimed at delivering Zero Pollutions by 2040. We aim as a business to have achieved our ambition for zero pollution, with predictive analytics and automated control of our sewerage network as standard, with the addition of advanced monitoring of our assets enabling us to proactively pick up potential issues arising.
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL MARCH 2021
Water and Wastewater Monitoring and Analysis
Goddards Green Wastewater Treatment Works
By Kevin Elms Asset Resilience Manager, Southern Water
With 365 wastewater treatment works 40,000 km of sewer network and 3500 pumping stations it is an ambitious goal. And the key to delivering this outcome for customers and the environment lies in understanding the root causes of pollution and taking the right action. The analysis of root causes highlighted a number of areas where ‘easy wins’ could be put in place. But even simple fixes require a coordinated approach and recognition that such measures have to form part of an integrated plan – specifically the execution plan under our five year Asset Management Period which sets out the priorities for investment and replacement. By 2040 we aim as a business to have achieved our ambition for zero pollution, with predictive analytics and automated control of our sewerage network as standard. To enable use to achieve this My role in the company is to reduce pollutions through technical solutions. It’s the upkeep and maintenance of this machinery which require technical solutions which are then applied enabling them to be more resilient in power related issues. Key projects are:
Automatic Pump Resets
One issue that was identified in our root cause analysis was the ‘tripping’ of key electrical equipment at our sites. A simple power
surge in the energy grid cannot knock out a pumping station with potentially serious consequence for the environment. Our wastewater network spans the Isle of Thanet in the north east of Kent to the Isle of Wight in the South. Many sites – especially pumping stations – will obviously remain unmanned. This project aims to provide an improvement in equipment resilience, whilst simultaneously improving operational efficiency. Equipment resilience will be improved by reducing the amount of time the equipment is left in a failed condition (a fail condition consists of Power blip, equipment failure resulting in a manual reset and power spikes), allowing a potential increase in pumping time and a reduction in pollution risk. Automatically resetting the equipment also provides the benefit of reducing nuisance tripping, permitting the Operators to attend jobs that require more skill and time. The current status of this project is that we have completed 400+ site installations across all of our region; the sites have been selected based upon pollution history, environmental risk and short time to spill should the site fail. The project began in 2019 with the goal for completing 550 site installations by August 2021. This project is on track to maintain the set out goal for completion. Through the use of our embedded internal telemetry system, which communicates with our sites and assets, we have been able to gather data on the times and frequency of automatic pump resets. This data has been utilised in the form of a report, which details problematic sites and supports us to pro-actively resolve issues. The report also serves as an instrument to calculate when the automatic resets have directly led to an avoided pollution, which in turn allows us to realise our benefits for the project. We have installed Automatic Pump Reset
systems on 400+ sites to date, which return around 100 resets per week between them. In the last 3 months, we have calculated that we’ve saved 14 CAT 3 pollutions.
Data collection and analysis are key features of management of any network. The water and wastewater industry is inherently conservative in adopting cutting edge technology – anything installed must be time-proven and well understood. But the velocity of technology change means that we might easily lag the curve of what is considered low risk. One key area of data collection is site alarms. With all of the above mentioned sites that Southern Water have within their region, the quantity of alarms received back through our regional control centre are vast and require a large amount of focus to pull out the highest priority to attend via our field staff. The Alarm Transformational project aims to provide combinational logic within our sites telemetry outstations enabling our regional control centre staff to have a much clearer view on the priority alarms they receive. This will then enable them to effectively interrogate and ascertain the correct procedure for sending the required alarms out to our field staff. The current status of this project is that we have completed 80 site installations over the last year with a goal set to complete 318 by August 2021. An internal study, which was carried out after a major storm in October 2020, indicated that across the 28 sites that had been alarm transformed, there was a 34% reduction in alarm traffic. Further analysis is ongoing, however the study has returned extremely positive figures, which when applied to the 318 sites due for completion later this year, will result in a dramatic reduction of alarms that require handling in periods of adverse weather.
Using AI to understudy system experts and optimise plant performance Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) are making a large impact in many fields, and the water sector is no different. With operators facing constant pressure to boost plant efficiency and to deliver maximum value to the consumer with minimal environmental impact, those that view AI as a critical differentiator stand to reap a wide range of business advantages. Through these technologies, operators can transform performance without huge investment in hardware or training. Here, the Ada Mode team discuss the application of human-in-the-loop AI to continuously optimise process performance within the water sector.
Traditional, unoptimised performance
Optimised performance after introduction of AM Scout
Operator monitors plant data manually adjusts parameters based on experience and intuition
Machine learning control finds potential optimal control strategies and makes recommendations to system operators
Optimising performance of industrial plants requires continuous expert tuning of numerous controls and consideration of multiple interacting performance metrics. Machine learning (ML) algorithms can be trained to learn complex behaviours relating to system performance, and then be exploited with optimisation algorithms to automatically suggest control strategies to continuously optimise plant performance. This approach allows plants to improve their efficiency without the need for CAPEX, thereby maximising the value of existing assets. This process is known as machine learning control and can be successfully applied to many cases across the water industry including:
Reducing energy and chemical consumption of various processes
Minimise the energy consumption of pumps, blowers, mixers and compressors Optimise chemical use to achieve compliance and simultaneously reduce OPEX
Process management of water treatment plant
Dynamic management of process to control treatment stage outputs based on varying demand and external environmental factors
Biological process optimisation
Improve odour management accounting for wind speed, direction and ambient temperatures Optimise resource recovery including biogas and water reuse Optimise aeration to reduce OPEX while improving output quality
Minimising environmental emissions
Reduce CH4, CO2, N2O release through biological processes and denitrification optimisation Reduced effluents of pollutants into the receiving waters Reduced costs from nonconformities and limit breaches
Flood and blockage management Dynamic control of assets to minimise flooding and overflow events
To implement such technology, a machine learning model must be trained to predict or forecast industrial process performance based on plant control inputs and relevant contextual information. This model can then be expanded with an optimisation process, creating a digital twin of the system which recommends control adjustments to operators, with the aim of
optimising system performance. When implemented on continuous process systems, this approach can simplify plant control, alleviate pressure on experienced system controllers and identify beneficial system optimisations.
AI Support for Plant Operators
The responsibility that plant controllers carry is significant. They must govern an often vast, non-linear and time-dependent system to ensure that multiple performance targets are met. This may require hitting a manufacturing quality threshold, minimising emissions below a target allowance, limiting waste to within enforced/legal bounds, all while ensuring power usage is tolerable. This cycle of continuous multi-dimensional, multifaceted optimisations must be conducted to a degree that allows the plant to maintain healthy performance across a diverse range of operating modes and external conditions. Applying machine learning control best practices that guide control policy decision making, can lessen this pressure on plant
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL MARCH 2021
A Case Study in Anaerobic Digestion
Figure 3: Original and optimal cost of operation comparison. The digital twin consistently suggests control strategies which result in more efficient operation
controllers and enable long-term plant performance improvements. The suggested policies provide an informed second opinion on control strategy, resulting in reduced operator stress, knowledge requirements and risk. The optimisation step is also likely to find control sweet spots, simultaneously unlocking a transformation in performance, reduced emissions, power draw and chemical consumption within key water treatment processes. Traditionally, system control becomes more challenging during periods of volatile/ uncontrollable environmental conditions. However, machine learning control frameworks can consider such relevant contextual information. This compelling advantage enables the digital twin to be robust and consistent during periods where plant controllers are most unsure. Examples of these uncontrollable factors may include; local agricultural activity, ambient temperature and other weather conditions, fluctuations to government emissions thresholds, or variability in water processing plant influent chemistry. By reviewing relevant contextual information the digital twin can provide robust advice all year round in a variety of scenarios, boosting performance during challenging periods.
Multiple Metrics and many Controls As industrial processes are almost always multi-dimensional and non-linear, machine learning control can handle many parameters within its performance prediction engine, with the only concern being the speed of the optimisation stage.
Balancing trade-offs in performance is a significant challenge for operators. For example, within biogas production, a gas upgrade plant’s performance is a function of gas quality, emissions and power consumption. This process can be optimised by reducing the three parameters to a single cost of operation.
This streamlined approach simplifies multiobjective optimisations to a single-target problem allowing for a broad range of optimisation techniques. Optimisation targets can include costs, emissions, waste, output quality, or a combination of factors. Dynamic refocusing of plant performance objectives is also possible, e.g. in response to changes in energy price. By reducing the performance metric to a univariate form, processes can become applicable across many industrial challenges.
Requirements and Limitations
While AI is capable of many great things, it will never replace real human experts. The performance prediction engine can be trained on huge volumes of operational history, but the possibility of the AI making mistakes still remains - particularly when facing novel conditions. Within dynamic industrial processes the development of novel system behaviour is of high probability. Instances such as faulty input materials in manufacturing, record breaking temperatures or workforce restrictions can have unforeseeable effects on the performance of related systems. Machine learning algorithms cannot be expected to perform when extrapolating to new conditions, whereas human expertise is more transferable. Human-in-the-loop AI systems support experienced operators through continuous, sophisticated and automated plant monitoring, alerting operators to issues which require their attention at an early stage.
A Case Study in Anaerobic Digestion Ada Mode has applied this control strategy to optimise the performance of a gas-upgrade plant for an anaerobic digester. The plant is responsible for refining raw biogas to meet grid standards. Potential savings of the approach in testing reached ~ £100,000 per year and included reductions in ~5,000kg of emitted methane to the atmosphere.
The performance of the process depends on three key variables: CO2 concentration in the processed output gas, CH4 Concentration in emitted gas (methane slip), and the plant’s power draw. System operators adjust the controls in an attempt to minimise the three metrics simultaneously. A number of feedback loops within the system present a major challenge to on-the-fly optimisation by human operators. In our approach, we designed a utility function to attribute financial costs to each of the metrics, returning a single parameter to be the target of optimisation. This utility function involved calculating the market value of the lost methane, the cost of the propane required to upgrade the gas to grid standards due to excess CO2 in the raw output, and the cost of power drawn in operation. The sum of these three calculated values gives the overall process cost to the gas-upgrade plant.
With a combination of expert domain knowledge, performance forecasting AI and optimisation, a digital twin can be developed to support system controllers by suggesting optimal control strategies. The automated controller can enable consistent performance in varying operating modes and environmental conditions. The methodology can reduce costs, improve quality, limit emissions, prevent waste and more. Applications to a single system of a biogas plant suggest significant performance gains and further applications to the wider water sector are numerous. To find out more please visit ada-mode.com or email us at email@example.com.
Drinking Water Treatment and Supply
STATE OF THE ART MAYFLOWER SAILS INTO SERVICE Today, a quarter of a million people in the Plymouth area are drinking water produced by a new, state-of-the-art treatment works. South West Water’s Mayflower Water Treatment Works at Roborough, just north of Plymouth, is the first of its kind in the world. It uses cutting-edge treatment processes, designed to produce impeccable drinking water and to be more sustainable than a traditional water treatment works. Mayflower fully took over from the old treatment works at Crownhill in Plymouth, which has been serving the city since the 1950s, at the end of 2020. The innovative treatment processes at Mayflower were designed and developed by Dutch water technology company PWNT, and tested at a prototype facility at Crownhill from June 2013 until June 2015.
Suspended ion exchange, inline coagulation and ceramic membrane microfiltration are used to produce more water, more efficiently and at a lower cost than traditional technology. It is the first time that these combined technologies have been used to produce high quality drinking water anywhere in the world. Mayflower has been producing treated water since August, which has been blended with water from Crownhill to ensure a smooth transition for customers. The proportion of Mayflower water going into public supply was gradually increased over a period of several months until finally Crownhill was officially retired. Now, 100% of Plymouth’s drinking water is supplied by Mayflower.
On the day the new treatment plant took over, South West Water’s director of operations for drinking water services, James King, said: “It has been years in the making – planning, building and commissioning – but today is a truly significant milestone for South West Water, our customers and the wider water industry. “We already produce some of the highest quality drinking water in the UK, but Mayflower does so extremely consistently and efficiently. “Mayflower will meet the needs of Plymouth’s growing population and provide a secure, high-quality drinking water supply for the wider Plymouth area for generations to come.”
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL MARCH 2021
Drinking Water Treatment and Supply
Companies to assess effects of article 10 of the drinking water directive British Water has been asked to participate in the study commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment that aims to identify the effects of the article 10 of the Drinking Water Directive (DWD) for business. Article 10 refers to the Quality assurance of treatment, equipment and materials. “Member States shall take all measures necessary to ensure that no substances or materials for new installations used in the preparation or distribution of water intended for human consumption or impurities associated with such substances or materials for new installations remain in water intended for human consumption in concentrations higher than is necessary for the purpose of their use and do not, either directly or indirectly, reduce the protection of human health provided for in this Directive”. Article 10 of the DWD requires Member States to prevent negative effects on the drinking water quality caused by materials and chemicals used in the entire drinking water supply chain. The hygienic requirements for products in contact with drinking water are not subject to European harmonization.
It has been years in the making – planning, building and commissioning – but today is a truly significant milestone for South West Water, our customers and the wider water industry James King, South West Water’s director of operations for drinking water services
Fact file Work to build Mayflower started in 2016, with the main construction work complete by the end of 2018 Between 50 and 100 people were employed during the construction phase and 150 people at peak build
At this moment various national requirements and regulations are in place. This lack of European harmonization concerns many organisations. Qualitative assessments until now include: adding up costs by national assessments and national certification, hindrance of free trade, lack of equal economic playing field, uncertain environment for investments and innovations and a weakened trade position relative to imports from outside Europe. The main goal of the study is to obtain data on and verifiable figures about companies in the in Europe that are influenced in their business and in what way and to what extent (both financial and corporate). The study’s objectives are to present: Which and how many companies have to deal with article 10 of the DWD?
The £60million project was the biggest single capital investment in South West Water’s 2015-20 business plan
Which hindrance is encountered by the current implementation with national requirements?
Mayflower is designed to treat up to 90 megalitres of water a day, from sources including Burrator reservoir, the River Tavy and the River Tamar
Who bears the costs for testing, assessment and certification?
The name was suggested by South West Water’s late Managing Director, Dr Stephen Bird, and was the clear winner of a South West Water staff vote A formal celebration of the opening of the new works is being planned for when the current Covid situation eases
What are the potential cost savings and other benefits of (European) harmonization? The results of the consultation will make an important contribution Water Affairs (DGRW) to underpin future policy developments. If you are interested in participating in this study, please get in touch with British Water Technical Manager, Marta Perez at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Water infrastructure project uncovers Iron Age skeletons in Lincolnshire Two ancient human skeletons have been found on sites in Lincolnshire being prepared by Anglian Water for new large-scale water pipelines. Both sets of bones, which were uncovered in separate archaeological sites near Navenby, about eight miles south of Lincoln, are believed to be from the Iron Age.
reminder that our work is much more than that, and we have an important social and environmental role to play.” Archaeological excavations were being carried out on the sites because they are known to be rich in history from different periods, including the Viking and Roman era.
Other items, including parts of small buildings and fragments of pottery, also believed to be from the Iron Age, were found. The work is part of a huge 25-year drive to secure future water supplies across the Anglian Water region. Up to 500 kilometres of new, interconnecting pipelines are being planned by the water company to allow water to be moved from areas where it is more plentiful in north Lincolnshire to areas of scarcity in the south and east of the region. It is the biggest water infrastructure programme for a generation and will greatly reduce the number of homes and businesses relying on a single water source. Construction on the first section, which runs from Lincoln to Grantham, is due to begin this Spring. James Crompton, Direction of the Strategic Pipeline project for Anglian Water, said: “Our work does occasionally mean we discover
Environment and Heritage Assessor for Anglian Water, Jo Everitt said: “We know that Iron Age communities existed in the area around Navenby, and that there is well-defined Roman history there too. historical remains and artefacts, which is both exciting and important.
“The main Roman road running from London to Lincoln and on to York, Ermine Street, now known as High Dyke, runs parallel to the proposed Lincoln to Grantham pipeline.
“We recognise the immense value of finds like this and will always work with experts to handle the discoveries in an appropriate manner. We care about the areas in which we are working and will always be respectful of anything we find.
“Such discoveries tell us a lot about our ancient history and how Iron Age communities experienced day to day life. They can also help enhance our understanding of the development of our regional and national heritage.”
“Our new network of water pipelines will boost resilience for dozens of communities and keep fresh, clean water flowing across our region. But these discoveries serve as a
The skeletons have been sent for further analysis by Trent and Peak Archaeology and Oxford Archaeology East, who carried out the excavations.
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL MARCH 2021
Assessment Candidates must demonstrate the level of knowledge and/ or skills described in the units. Assessment is the process of measuring a candidate’s knowledge and understanding against the standards set in the qualification. Each candidate is required to produce evidence which demonstrates their achievement of all of the learning outcomes and assessment criteria for each unit. Upon successful completion of their qualification, learners are able to progress to further learning within the suite of Water Level 5 Qualifications – i.e. completing an Award or Certificate C
Level 5 Certificate & Award in Developer Services Management in the Water Industry
Overview of the Qualification – Main Themes •
Explain the regulatory framework and requirements pertaining to self-lay activities
Explain the requirements of the Water Industry Registration Scheme for self-lay organisations
Explain the Water Quality standards applicable provision of water networks
Explain the environmental requirements for sewerage systems including SUDS
Explain how Corporate Governance needs to operate to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements for Developer Services activities
Explain the components of water distribution systems
Describe the selection of water pipe materials and the planning of routes for water pipelines explaining best practice requirements
Describe the requirements for the safe and hygienic installation and commissioning of water assets
Explain best practice for the design of new water assets
Describe the hydraulic principals required for the design and modelling of water assets
Explain the components of sewerage systems including sewage pumping stations
Describe the selection of sewer pipe materials and the planning of routes and locations for sewers and sewage pumping stations explaining best practice requirement
Explain best practice for the design of foul and storm water sewerage including pumping stations and the requirements for sustainable urban drainage
Describe the requirements for the safe and hygienic installation and commissioning of sewerage assets
Understand the key principles of the Water Industry function, structure and operation in terms of Water Network and Wastewater Networks
and topping up to Foundation Degree and on to Honours Degree. Learners may also wish to further their ongoing personal and professional development by accessing other qualifications.
Summary - Award Level
Number of Credits
Guided Learning Hours
There are no formal entry
requirements for this qualification. Centres should carry out an initial assessment of candidate skills and knowledge to identify any gaps and help plan the assessment.
Learning & Development Associates Advancing the Competence of the Water Industry For more information on our qualifications
www.learninganddevelopment.associates Tel: +44(0)330 111 3344 Learning & Development Associates Ltd, The Coach House, Hooton Green, Hooton, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire CH66 5ND, UK email: email@example.com
Wastewater Treatment and Technology
Smart new technologies can play a vital role in addressing plastic pollution crisis in our waters – new study 40
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL MARCH 2021
Wastewater Treatment and Technology
From source to sea, our waters are contaminated by a plastics scourge. A new study by the United Nations Environment Programme and the International Water Management Institute offers a number of technological solutions aimed at tackling one of the world’s most pressing issues. Approximately eight million metric tonnes of plastic litter flow to the ocean annually, and only 9% of plastic waste ever produced has been recycled. A large percentage of the rest ends up in landfills, dumps and the environment, often findings its way to rivers, lakes and oceans through runoff, leakage, flushing of disposable wipes and hygiene products. Another major issue relates to microplastics – those plastics that are smaller than 5mm, and that pose increasing environmental, economic and health hazards. Sometimes these are intentionally added to products, for example in cosmetics, for seed coatings, paint, washing powders and other applications. They are also generated from wear and tear, through the production of synthetic textiles and tyre usage. In addition, discarded plastics break down into these smaller particles through natural weathering processes. Microplastics can enter water bodies through different pathways, including atmospheric deposition, run-off from land, roads and through municipal wastewater. Much effort has been made to both identify the scale of the threat of plastics to the health of humans, and ecosystems, along with solutions to tackle it. Water pollution by plastics and microplastics: a review of technical solutions from source to sea explores a set of innovative technical solutions for use in different scenarios. Among these potential technologies include: Introducing debris-cleanup boats, debris sweepers and sea-bins to remove plastics and other wastes carried into water bodies Protecting large bodies of water by introducing wetlands along coastlines Secondary and tertiary wastewater treatment which relies on membrane filtration to prevent microplastics entering rivers and lakes
Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme Advanced coagulation technology to make water contaminated with microplastics drinkable Promoting sustainable waste management practices to reduce plastic leakage. A key principle of this work is preventing untreated wastewater, which is often packed with plastics and microplastics, from entering the environment in the first place. The study details financially sustainable waste recycling that is socially and legally acceptable, and environmentally friendly. Dr Mark Smith, Director General of the International Water Management Institute, said: “Waste management in most cities of developing countries is an expensive, labourintensive and low-margin business, which explains why a large share of the generated waste is inadequately managed. “The wastewater coming from urban residential, industrial and commercial settings is full of contaminants, including plastics, microplastics and other debris. “It is very important to reduce and remove plastic before it enters into wastewater treatment plants or freshwater bodies.”
Dr Mark Smith, Director General of the International Water Management Institute The study, composed of a toolkit and catalogue, analyses the most relevant technologies to improve current waste and wastewater management practices and presents both the pros and cons of applying specific solutions to mitigate levels of plastic pollution from source to sea. Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, said: “To effectively tackle the crisis of plastic pollution in our freshwater and marine ecosystems, we need innovative technologies that will serve us for years to come. “We need to look at how we address waste production, waste management as well as the treatment of wastewater and run-off holistically, at source and across sectors – a key part of building healthier, more sustainable societies. “The technologies highlighted in this study should be supported by legislation, finance and awareness in order to lead to real change on the ground.” Decision makers, experts and relevant stakeholders needed to come together, she added, in order to agree on the desired water quality in their local context and a sustainable combination of solutions.
“We need to look at how we address waste production, waste management as well as the treatment of wastewater and run-off holistically, at source and across sectors – a key part of building healthier, more sustainable societies. Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme
Wastewater Treatment and Technology
Testing in the Tyrol In the extensive area covered by the ‘AIZ’ Wastewater Management Association, a large number of pumps are constantly at work moving wastewater into the right channels and ultimately to the sewage treatment plant. VEGA level sensors deliver reliable measured values that ensure that the pumps switch on and off at the right time and save energy. Achental, Inntal, Zillertal (AIZ) – are Tyrolean valleys on the northern edge of the Alps - extremely popular with tourists in both winter and summer, attracting around 8.5 million visitors every year. Hotels, guest houses, bars and restaurants, as well as their world-renowned alpine dairies and yoghurt producers, make sure the guests have a very enjoyable experience. The local sewage treatment faces a special challenge. There are large variations in the wastewater produced in the area with different tourist (and weather) seasons, and it also has a higher than normal fat content. Technologically, this makes the process conditions quite challenging for level sensors: the high fat content in the wastewater means lots of foam – this makes detection and control of the sewage levels in the various points of the network difficult to control.
At one with nature
The network treats not only the wastewater produced by the visitors, but also that produced by the approx. 53,000 permanent residents of the 32 local communities. connected to the AIZ. “All in all, we treat 10 million cubic meters of wastewater per year,” explains Josef Brandacher, who is responsible for the measurement technology at AIZ. “The local environment is our greatest asset, so it is vital that the collection and handling of wastewater as well as its subsequent treatment is both environmentally compatible and economically viable.” The wastewater feeds into the Strass sewage treatment plant via a 161 km-long sewer network distributed throughout the association’s territory. “Thanks to the stateof-the-art process technology in our facilities, we’ve achieved absolute top performance in the entire pan-European wastewater sector.” adds Brandacher, with great pride. As a
Pump Shaft at Buch in the Tyrol, demands a low sewage level is maintained. The radar is supplied with its own brackets and fixings; it handles the confined space, foaming surfaces and ladders. result, the total energy consumption of the wastewater treatment systems has dropped noticeably since 2003, despite the increasing loads. The specific energy consumption in kWh per inhabitant and year has been reduced from an initial 30 kWh to approximately 20 kWh. This could only be achieved by utilisation of reliable, and above all accurate, measured values and data. For the level and pressure process variables, the association decided decades ago to standardise on sensors from VEGA. “We’ve been working together since 1989 and some of the pressure transmitters we installed back then still function perfectly,” continues Brandacher, “What we especially appreciate about the company is that, if a
problem does occur, we always get help and support straight away.”
On the way to the sewage treatment plant
The wastewater is collected via a sewer network and then directed to the Strass sewage treatment plant. Because of the terrain, there are about 100 pumping stations in the network with level and pressure sensors installed in each one. These monitor the level – which can be from around 50 cm to 1 meter depending on the pumping station – and control the pump sets. “Sometimes the pumps start up only 2 or 3 times a day, but sometimes it is 50 to 60 times,” explains Brandacher. The
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL MARCH 2021
Wastewater Treatment and Technology
Simple set up with Bluetooth and free VEGATOOLS App. A pumping station at Hart in the Tyrol, VEGAPULS C21 compact radar level sensor has provided faultless performance since March 2020. 26GHz VEGAPULS radar WL 61 is installed in many of these shafts. This sensor is considered an all-rounder in the water and wastewater sector, proving its robustness and adaptability to virtually any process and environmental conditions.
New sensor in use
In early 2020, AIZ wanted to test the new range of compact VEGAPULS radar sensors. “We were just plain curious. The new sensors are very interesting in terms of price and performance. In wastewater we increasingly need affordable, reliable level measurements even for the simple applications, to get better data and control.” The new non-contact radar series are designed for the water sector, where a combination of high performance and protection is required. The application spectrum ranges from level measurement in pump shafts and flow measurement in open flumes, to river and lake gauging or event duration monitoring at stormwater overflows, and even bulk solids like lime and sludge cake. It is based on VEGA’s latest
80-GHz FMCW radar technology, which has been revolutionising level measurement for several years now. This is thanks to the extremely narrow beam angle, and high sensor sensitivity, which makes it possible to operate even in cramped, narrow measuring situations, with many internal installations or in extremely dirty environments or foaming surfaces. A great example of this exists in the two pump shafts in Hart and Buch in Zillertal. “All the adversities one can imagine are present in the pump shafts. Aerosols, moisture, cold, dirt, etc. and of course the huge quantities of fatty material,” explains Brandacher further. In Hart, the pump shaft has a cross-section of about 3 x 2.5 metres and a depth of 4 metres. In Buch the shaft is round, with a diameter of 2 metres and a depth of 5.5 metres. The situation here is particularly difficult because of the low level of water level impoundment. This means the pump is effectively in continuous operation, switching on and off up to 100 times a day. An ideal application site for the new VEGAPULS radar sensor series. The sensors work reliably, even with foam, of
which there is plenty in the AIZ network, and with the fatty build-up on the shaft walls. Since March 2020, both sensors have been delivering the required level data continuously without any problems. A development that is entirely in the spirit of Brandacher’s philosophy: “Sensors are there to measure and perform, and nothing else.” Their installation and set-up is very simple and straightforward. The sensors delivered the required measured values right from the start. “The new sensor is of course particularly interesting because of its simplicity and userfriendly App based Bluetooth set up. Since we don’t have to worry about level measurement any more, we can concentrate on other tasks,” says Brandacher in conclusion. “VEGA has always understood this aspect very well and expertly demonstrates it in this measurement technology.” firstname.lastname@example.org
All in all, we treat 10 million cubic meters of wastewater per year. The local environment is our greatest asset, so it is vital that the collection and handling of wastewater as well as its subsequent treatment is both environmentally compatible and economically viable. Josef Brandacher
Wastewater Treatment and Technology
Improved activated sludge plant performance with OMEX Improved coagulation, Lower final effluent COD, Lower suspended solids. Industrial wastewater treatment often involves an activated sludge plant as part of the treatment process. However due to the nature of an industrial production process, the effluent sent to the treatment plant can sometimes vary in quality. Unlike municipal wastewater treatment, an industrial effluent treatment plant can often be deficient in a range of nutrients. The main macronutrients, nitrogen and phosphorus, are usually added to these processes to balance the microbial nutrition. It is often the case however, that the trace element micronutrients and iron, in particular, are often forgotten. This situation is sometimes typical in the paper industry, where although plants often run adequately, they are usually in need of optimisation due to changing effluent quality. Varying flows and COD/BOD loads along with micronutrient deficiencies tend to give rise to periodic problems at the activated sludge plant. Problems such as filamentous bulking, pin flocs, poor floc structure, turbid effluent or just a general “unhealthy” feel to the plant. This is the situation that was occurring at the activated sludge plant discussed below. This paper manufacturer produces a wide range of coated papers and boards for the packaging industry. The effluent plant was continually struggling to give a reasonable final effluent quality. Although within consent, the plant suffered periodic setbacks, which could take up to several weeks to recover. Reseeding with fresh sludge from a nearby plant was an occasional occurrence.
Improvements to the quality of the primary effluent were undertaken but had a limited effect. As a further step in optimizing the process, Ferromex® 621 was applied to the activated sludge plant. Within a few weeks of application there was a significant improvement to the values of the consented parameters, with the focus being on COD and suspended solids. The final effluent suspended solids concentration reduced to well below consented limits and remained there. The COD removal rate dramatically improved, from an average of only 50%, to over 80% and BOD discharge to the river was very low. These improvements in COD removal and the reduction in final effluent suspended solids, due to the addition of Ferromex® 621, can be seen on the graph above. Ferromex® 621 provides a balanced supply of trace elements for the activated sludge enabling
the bacterial biomass to be more resistant to periodic process parameter variations. Recovery, in these cases, has been found to be quicker. In addition to this, the inorganic iron component of the product provides a gentle coagulating action, which assists with the more efficient, natural settlement of the biomass in the final clarification stage. The effluent plant manager noted “Ferromex® 621 has proved far more effective than any previous additives and has greatly improved plant stability.” For further information on the Ferromex® range of products contact OMEX Environmental Ltd Tel: +44(0)1553 770092
Nutrients & Neutralisers For all types of wastewater treatment
Reduce Operational Costs Comply with Trade Effluent Discharge Regulations Improve Overall Plant Performance
01553 770092 www.omex.co.uk Email: email@example.com
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL MARCH 2021
RADAR IS THE BETTER
ULTRASONIC 80 GHz level sensor with fixed cable connection (IP68)
£405 VEGAPULS C 11
All advantages of the radar technology:
Wastewater Treatment and Technology
Chemical dosing in tricky locations Even as the covid-19 pandemic continues to stifle investment, water companies have to meet the more stringent requirements for the removal of phosphorus from wastewater brought in under AMP7. Graham Ward at chemical dosing specialists WES Ltd, outlines how this challenge can be met through the use of compact packaged dosing systems. Coming into force in April 2020, AMP7 has created a variety of challenges for companies operating in the water sector, key among which is the need to do more to remove phosphorous from wastewater. Such companies might need to make significant capital investments in order to meet these obligations, but AMP7 was not the only problem they faced during the first half of last year. The coronavirus (covid-19) pandemic – and the associated lockdowns – led to many operating in the sector to suffer financially, according to a survey published by British Water in October 2020. Significantly, more than a quarter of respondents laid-off employees and around 20% experienced cashflow concerns—with half of these halting new investments in response (1).
How then can companies operating in this sector meet these increasingly stringent requirements for phosphorus removal while keeping their capital expenditure to a minimum? Chemical dosing is an established and proven means for removing phosphorus from wastewater, but the majority of systems for carrying out this process have been developed with larger treatment plants in mind and, as such, are too expensive and unwieldy for use on the smaller sites where they will likely now be needed.
The right dose
Installing a dosing system in a small, difficultto-access location can present significant difficulties. Its capital cost, the accuracy with which it can deliver the necessary chemicals, and the ease and cost of installing and maintaining it all need to be balanced precisely. Careful choices must be made with regards to the components used. The selection of the right pump for the job, for instance, will require extensive consideration, owing at least in part to the wide variety of options available. The chemical storage tank, meanwhile, must not only be resistant to the chemicals it contains, but it might also have to withstand the wide variety of conditions thrown at it by the weather if it is to be installed outdoors. Further, its capacity needs to sufficient to facilitate convenient, cost-effective deliveries that will prevent runouts.
Given this high level of complexity, the water industry is turning to small, standardised chemical dosing systems that are simple to specify and are highly versatile in terms of where they can be deployed. Further, such systems can be built to a repeatable design and manufactured in efficient batches— keeping costs and lead times down.
The DS1500 unit from WES, for instance, is fully enclosed within a weatherproof, rotationally moulded polyethylene casing and is designed specifically to be compact and robust enough for installation in indoor and outdoor sites requiring small-to-medium capacity. The use of digital dosing pumps, which have a user interface that allows for the dosing rate to be entered directly onto the screen, makes the system easy to use. Further, it can have a wide turn-down ratio (the ratio between the maximum and minimum output of the pump) and eliminates the need for complicated stroke rate calculations. Such systems can be fitted with a polyethylene chemical storage tank with a working volume of 1,500 litres, meaning that they can accept 1,000-litre deliveries from commercial chemical suppliers, and it can also be filled by pumping from an on-site intermediate bulk container. Fully constructed and tested in the factory, these integrated systems can be up and running shortly after they are delivered to the site, making them a simple and cost-effective solution to the problem of chemical dosing in small, hard-to-access facilities. For further Information, visit www.wes.ltd.uk (1) https://www.britishwater.co.uk/article/survey-reveals-covid19-impact-on-water-supply-chain-762.aspx
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL MARCH 2021
Forget the rest……fit the BEST…
Mecana Pile Cloth Media Filters
Bespoke oﬀ-site construction in stainless steel tanks or into concrete chambers. • Pile Cloth Media Tertiary Filtration
• Phosphorus and tertiary solids removal - able to deliver to 0.1 mg/l Ptot and Fe typically to 1.0 mg/l
standards. Plus, we keep maintenance records for each site and based on Reliablity Centered Maintenance we can predict and advise on potential failures. As a result, we can replace parts and components at intervals speciﬁc to site conditions, helping to prevent unwanted downtime whilst minimising maintenance expenditure.
• Micro-pollutant / Priority Substance removal
No need for chemical cleaning
• Primary & Primary Eﬄuent Filtration
A chemical clean, of any sort, has never been a requirement, nor a necessity, with Mecana ﬁlters due to the unique Optiﬁber® cloth used, a product of careful research, design, construction and development.
• Complete packages with mixing, ﬂocculation & walkways One of the main attractions is the low operating costs – installed power is low, the drum only rotates and the suction pumps only run when the regular backwash is actually needed. In addition, it is recommended that occasionally the cloths are removed for a clean with a pressure washer, ideally every twelve months. This not only keeps the cloth in tip-top condition and hence delivering excellent eﬄuent, but also maximises their life expectancy, often well beyond the accepted 7½ years working life. The annual cleaning procedure had been specially developed and is unique to Mecana with the ELIQUO HYDROK Service and Maintenance Team - a dedicated group of specialists using a ﬂeet of self-suﬃcient service vans - will undertake this cleaning process for the customer; a bespoke professional service fully compliant with all H&S on-site, environmental and good practice
As Lewis O’Brien, CEO, Joint MD puts it, “"We provide a bespoke professional service, using procedures approved by the customer and recognising all H&S on site and environmental standards. This includes providing appropriate protective clothing for our operators and ensuring that the water used is both safe and does not enter the watercourse. Further, we know that Optiﬁber is the heart of our success and thus it needs to be thoroughly looked after; every segment is therefore carefully removed, inspected, then gently pressure washed from the inside using the bespoke attachment provided with every Mecana contract and carefully replaced.” *Best PCMF in terms of the number of installations worldwide and ultimate levels of performance, arrived on the market to challenge the established opposition e.g. sand ﬁlters
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Leak Detection and Repair
Macclesfield makes history as UK’s first Smart Water Network Town An ancient Cheshire market town is set for a place in the engineering history books by becoming the UK’s first Smart Water Network Town. Digital wizards working with water company United Utilities have linked together thousands of high tech monitors and sensors on Macclesfield’s water mains to create a machine-learning AI ‘brain’ which tells engineers if pipes have sprung a leak.
from them. The data it receives includes the condition of the mains and equipment, the amount of water being used, water quality and the pressure in the pipes, giving it the potential to detect and prevent many other non-leakage problems too.
The system will now be put through its paces until April 2021, when water bosses will evaluate whether to roll it out in other parts of the North West.
United Utilities Leakage Manager Paul Parr said, “Instead of getting data from things like pressure monitors, acoustic loggers and meters separately and having to cross-reference it themselves, analysts would now have a single platform helping them to make more informed decisions.
As well as helping spot leaks, data experts hope Macclesfield’s Smart Water Network could even start alerting United Utilities before incidents happen, so that engineers can fix the problem and customers are not affected.
This is because as well as recording vast amounts of real-time data, the system spots patterns over time and actually learns
“Previously, if we had wanted to do some in-depth analysis we would be looking at a number of separate screens. Now we can see all the logger, pressure and consumption data on one screen and in more detail. We can locate the leaks faster and, just as importantly, we reduce
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL MARCH 2021
Leak Detection and Repair
the number of false positives where we send a repair team out and there’s no leak found.
“Plus, as the platform learns it gets better at predicting things which might be a problem for the customer down the line and sending us an alarm. It will never replace our engineers, but it means their time is much better spent on where it will have most effect.” Ten other leading technology companies are collaborating in the trial, including Stantec, Xylem, Vodafone, Diehl, ATi, Inflowmatix, HWM, Gutermann, Technolog and Ovarro. Head of Smart Networks and Leakage at Stantec, Damian Crawford, who is leading on technical development, said that although not the first Smart Water Network trial in the UK, Macclesfield was the first time the technology had been tested at the scale of a whole town. “Macclesfield was ideal because it has a good mixture of rural, urban and residential communities and high and low terrain, so you get high and low pressure. “The objective of the industry-wide collaboration is to show how technology can improve customer service by monitoring the health of the network using the latest state-ofthe-art digital flow and leak sensors, advanced analytics and telecommunications channels. “It aims to change the traditional way a water network is managed by layering the data from multiple sensors spread out across Macclesfield into a single visualisation display – a smart analytics platform. We will effectively be creating a digital twin of Macclesfield’s water main network which will provide live diagnostics from flow, pressure, acoustic and water quality monitors and aims to improve the service to customers by reducing leakage and bursts levels in the area.” Head of Network Maintenance Services at United Utilities, Steve Hunt said: “The Macclesfield Smart Water Network Trial has the potential to transform the service we provide to our customers by further reducing leaks and bursts which will not only save water but will reduce the disruption to our customers with less road works. “Being able to remotely manage our equipment in real-time, using machine learning, could even mean we can proactively replace pipes and equipment like pumps and motors before they fail. It could revolutionise the way we do maintenance. “We believe by innovating and collaborating with others using the latest technology we can deliver exceptional service and value to our customer.” United Utilities has pledged to cut the North West’s water leakage by 15 per cent over the next five years and will initially focus on the water distribution network. The trial will also help better understand leakage on customers’ pipework and develop appropriate strategies to resolve it.
(L to R): Phil Marsh (Technolog); Katharine Laguitton (Vodafone); Tanya Thorgaard (Stantec); Steve Gilham (Gutermann) and Paul Parr (United Utilities)
Macclesfield is the UK’s first Smart Water Network town. Acoustic loggers are installed on the pipework in the town to “listen” for changes in water flow and help pinpoint leaks quickly
A “digital twin” of Macclesfield’s water network allows engineers at United Utilities to understand what causes leaks and target repairs and maintenance
Previously, if we had wanted to do some in-depth analysis we would be looking at a number of separate screens. Now we can see all the logger, pressure and consumption data on one screen and in more detail. We can locate the leaks faster and, just as importantly, we reduce the number of false positives where we send a repair team out and there’s no leak found. Paul Parr, United Utilities Leakage Manager
Leak Detection and Repair
Using leak detection to plug the UK’s future water deficit As proved in a recent Water UK study, people in the UK are using a lot more water than they realise. The research revealed that almost half (46%) of people believe that their household uses under 20 litres of water a day, when in fact, the average daily use per person is 142 litres. Currently, daily demand for water in England and Wales sits at approximately 14bn litres. However, factors including population growth and climate change are steadily increasing demand to the extent to which, according to the National Audit Office, daily demand by 2050 will exceed 18bn litres.
However, approximately 90% of all leaks never show at ground level, and as such, water companies are investing in the deployment of advanced technological solutions including acoustic noise loggers, correlators and ground microphones to discover them. United Utilities, for example, is committed to installing an acoustic leak noise logger along every quarter mile of its network and is investing in up to 100,000 PermaNET devices to achieve this. It is United Utilities intention to reduce leakage by 20% by 2025, exceeding the Ofwat target, with this mass deployment set to be the catalyst.
An additional concern is that, while the demand for fresh water is increasing, supplies are likely to be impacted by the rise in global temperatures brought on by climate change. Warmer air holds more moisture than colder air (up to 7% per degree of warming according to the Clausius-Clapeyron equation), meaning as temperatures rise, more water is taken from the earth’s surface by evaporation.
Further north, Yorkshire Water has also invested heavily in PermaNET devices in ongoing attempts to save millions of litres of water. Aiming to install around 40,000 devices, Yorkshire Water is using acoustic leak noise monitoring to cover the areas of its network that is most prone to leaks.
Greater evaporation rates would negatively affect water stocks in reservoirs, leading to more incidences like Day Zero in Cape Town, where the city was at real risk of completely running out of water. There is also apprehension that, due to increasing temperatures, less water will be harvested through sustainable abstraction (the process of taking water from the ground or surface water bodies), and with demand growing, not meeting the deficit could cause the risk of drought in South East England, one of the country’s most populated areas. While this all might seem like a long-term problem with plenty of time to solve, the effects of climate change are already being experienced in the UK and worldwide. The reduction of network leakage has been identified as a critical factor in achieving water sustainability and water companies are proactively delivering large-scale network monitoring projects in an effort to reduce leaks, which is a hugely complicated undertaking. In the UK, water companies own over 346,455km of mains water pipes, which is
PermaNET SU enough to cover the equator 8.5 times over! Throughout this vast network, Water UK reports that 2,954 million litres of water is lost each day because of leakage. Leak reduction is considered so critical that Ofwat has set water companies stretching performance commitments which, when achieved, will reduce leakage by 16% by 2025. To their credit, the UK water companies have committed to going further, aiming to deliver a 50% reduction in leakage by 2050.
In Yorkshire, the introduction of PermaNET provides an upgrade to the technology that was previously being used, and as explained by Head of Leakage Operations, Martyn Hattersley: “each acoustic sensor and logger is capable of identifying a leak within a very small target area. PermaNET gives us a much greater understanding and visibility of what it happening in some of the areas most prone to leaks.” With ambitious targets in mind, water companies are continuing to invest heavily in leak detection solutions, such as PermaNET, to proactively monitor their network. Developments in technology has significantly improved the accuracy and efficiency of leak detection, which in turn reduces cost, disruption to customers and most importantly, water loss. www.hwmglobal.com
“Each acoustic sensor and logger is capable of identifying a leak within a very small target area. PermaNET gives us a much greater understanding and visibility of what it happening in some of the areas most prone to leaks.” Martyn Hattersley, Head of Leakage Operations, Yorkshire Water
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL MARCH 2021
PermaNET SU LTE-M & NBIoT-enabled Correlating Noise Logger Our advanced modem is capable of connecting via LTE-M or NBIoT, with a 2G fallback, efficiently delivering consistent and reliable leak noise data. Map-based display and GIS interface through PermaNET Web ‘Tilt alarm’ if device is removed or tampered with Full audio and correlation facilities www.hwmglobal.com www.waterindustryjournal.co.uk
Leak Detection and Repair
Electrical Testing of Geomembrane installations The use of polymer barrier layers for groundwater leachate prevention, and capping has been common since the 1970’s. Most installations are HDPE-based, although other materials are used. The performance of these membranes is generally excellent, but they are sensitive to poor installation and to abuse or accidental damage during their service life. Even a tiny hole can easily exceed the permeation rate of a hectare of membrane, so it is imperative that the membrane integrity is assured at handover. The key risk areas during installation are weld failure and damage which may occur through poor preparation, incorrect settings, contamination, wrinkling, machinery movements, or wind uplift. The key quality control technique recommended by the Environment Agency LFE5 is the use of double welded lap joints, which are proven by conducting an air pressure test on the enclosed volume between the welds. The use of electronic testing is also referred to in this document, particularly ASTM D6365, and “further integrity tests” however, there are few details. Electronic leak detection is not a new technique, but has been applied in industry for at least a century. Testing is only suitable for non-conductive layers, so materials such as EPDM can be problematic, however the majority of the membranes in current use are suitable. The basis of the test methods is that a hole in an insulating membrane will allow an electric current to pass, and this current can be detected directly, or its effect on an electric field can be detected, by purposemade instruments, which alert the user to the presence of even tiny flaws in the membrane. With careful use by skilled operators, holes of well under 1mm can be found and located accurately. Test instruments may use low voltages (generally 32V, though other voltages are used), or voltages sufficiently high to generate a spark in air, typically 1kV (1000V) and above. Buckleys (UVRAL) Ltd., has been the leading British manufacturer of electronic holiday detectors for many years - we will celebrate our centenary in 2026. Our products are designed, developed, and manufactured inhouse, in our facility in Kent, and are used in construction, manufacturing, the oil industry and healthcare around the world.
Buckleys Geo Pro’ arc tester
Illustrating the Geo Pro’ in use
In low voltage testing the current must pass through a conductive medium – water – which is applied to the membrane and the instrument is used to detect the current flowing through the leak. This technique is described in an ASTM specification, D7877 as “low voltage vector mapping”. Whilst the Buckleys Wet Roof Pro’ can be used for testing geomembranes, this technique is generally more appropriate when surveying roofing membranes. Turning to high voltage testing, the ASTM specification, D6365, referred to above is entitled “Standard practice for the nondestructive testing of geomembrane seams using the spark test”. A closely related approach is detailed in ASTM specification, D7953, entitled “Standard practice for electrical leak location on exposed geomembranes using the arc testing method”. The Buckleys Geo Pro’ instrument is appropriate for both. In the first case, the apparatus is connected to a grounding wire embedded within the weld itself, whereas in the second, it is connected to a grounding pin, inserted into the earth outside the membrane border. The instrument generates a user-set voltage to the electrode, which the user then brushes over the area to be tested. If there is a pinhole or flaw in the membrane, the instrument will detect the current between the probe and the ground and raise an alarm if this exceeds the predetermined threshold.
applications. With careful operators, and moderate, easily learned skills, it is possible to pinpoint a leak very quickly using these techniques. Significant areas can be covered too – using a Geo Pro’ with a 450mm brush a single operator can reliably test an area of exceeding 2000m2 per day. If an inadequate voltage is used, then the instrument will simply not “see” the flaw. Buckleys instruments can output 40kV which exceeds the requirements of any of the standards, but which, when testing highly resistant materials, gives the inspection team confidence that nothing has been missed. Buckleys high Voltage instruments are designed with a standard interface, which means that a variety of electrodes and probes can be used, in order to ease the task of the inspector. When testing geomembranes, we recommend a bronze-bristle brush of 450mm width, with appropriate extension rods, a seam probe electrode and “drum brush” to cover the needs. If you would like more information about Buckleys electronic leak detection systems, or a Covid-safe demonstration of their versatility and capability, please contact: email@example.com +44 (0) 1303 278 888
This technique is very commonly applied around the world to geomembrane, roofing membrane and other waterproofing
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL MARCH 2021
How do you test your -
geomembranes? Our Geo Pro’ arc testing kit can identify leaks too small to see with the naked eye
Images courtesy CQA International Ltd
• Suitable for all non-conductive geomembrane materials up to 25mm thickness • Cover large areas rapidly • Conforms to ASTM D6365 and ASTM D7953
Give our sales team a call for more information tel: 01303 278888 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
MANUFACTURERS OF SPECIALIST TEST EQUIPMENT
Leak Detection and Repair
1.2 metre diameter mag meter replacer in chamber
500mm mag meter replacer in chamber
The Mag Meter Replacer!
The final determinations of PR19 stipulate that during AMP7 England and Wales water companies Outcome Delivery Incentives shall on average reduce Leakage by 16% and Supply Interruptions by 41% no later than 2025. However, you can’t effectively manage Leakage if you’re reliant on outdated or unproven network flow models rather than real-time dynamic data. And more often than not, there’s no flow measurement where you need it. Or, you have an electromagnetic flow meter in place, but it’s long since reached endof-life and hasn’t sent valuable flow data in who knows how long. But how to swap it out without a Supply Interruption?
So…The Mag Meter Replacer!
A provocative statement? Of course. But this article does not claim that Ultrasonic ClampOn Flowmeters will be the replacement for all electromagnetic flowmeters across the board. Electromagnetic flowmeters are widely used across the industry and successfully provide thousands of flow measurement points across UK water networks. Furthermore, they can be battery powered and installed in the most remote of locations. So, mag meters have their rightful and valued place in the UK water industry for the foreseeable future.
Replacing Dead Mag Meters
How many “dead” flowmeters are there across the UK water networks? 100’s? More? Frequently meters have been installed on single pipelines with no isolation valves or bypass. Possibly in haste, possibly due to economic or planning permission constraints? Any mag meter that fails on such a pipe proves substantially challenging to replace because of the potential for interrupted water or wastewater production, supply interruption,
inaccessibility, or even the escalating cost of standby wastewater tankers. Operating the site blind, reduces the operator’s capacity for network flow optimisation or even leakage detection, but nonetheless countless sites remain operationally blind due to a mag meter past it’s use-by date.
Technology You Can Trust
Ultrasonic clamp-on can be the answer. Forget those past tales of “clamp-on doesn’t work”, “it’s unreliable”, “it doesn’t work in the presence of solids”, etc. There’s clamp-on, and there’s FLEXIM FLUXUS clamp-on. Reliable, repeatable, MCERTed flow metering from the only clamp-on ultrasonic flow meter company approved for safety critical duties in the UK nuclear sector. The company that provides hydraulic flow leak detection that keeps you safe every time you fly on an Airbus worldwide. FLUXUS clamp-on meters are available in 316ss, with IP68 rating for submerged use in flooded chambers. Also available ATEX rated for hazardous methane environments. And we have solutions for water or wastewater at flowrates from 0.01m/s to 25m/s in pipes from <50mm to 6.5m. Reverse flow detection and monitoring comes as standard, along with class-leading temperature-compensated transducers (meeting the requirements of ASME MFC-5.1–2011). We even provide FOC derived water temperature, a feature that provides potential warning of bacterial growth in unduly warm summers and possible
advance indication of pipe freeze/thaw bursts during harsh winter weather. Installation is a cinch; fit in the smallest of spaces during flowing conditions – due to factory pre-calibration there is no need to isolate or zero the flow. No cost for notifying local households of supply outages, no cost for skilled water company personnel to attend site, operate isolation valves, divert flows, use lifting gear, replace mag meter, etc. No costs for standby tankers, costs to flush the pipe after installation and & no consequential reputational issues for water discolouration.
Network or plant metering restored, visibility and leakage monitoring improved, at lower “installed cost” than replacement mag meter and with zero supply interruption to clients. Not to mention the safety benefits: substantially reduced challenges working in confined space; quicker, simpler, easier and thus safer work, especially during Covid-19 conditions. FLUXUS flowmeters can even be kept on hand as emergency flow replacements in the event of unexpected failure of a system-critical inline flowmeter. For further information on how FLEXIM can deliver metering without supply interruption contact: email@example.com 01606 781 420
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL MARCH 2021
Water & Wastewater Metering Solutions! AMP7: Reduce Leakage 16%
You can’t without metering; install more meters faster & at lower cost
AMP7: 41% decrease in Supply Interruptions Installation without outages
The Mag Meter Replacer
Large Ø Trunk Mains, Reservoirs & Aqueducts
Dead mag? Clamp-on! Zero supply loss!
42”, 60”, no problem! – zero maintenance!
Wastewater & Sewage Pumping
Buried or Flooded Chamber
10% Solids FFT, PFF & MCERTS
IP68, no gels/greases – Zero maintenance!
Contact FLEXIM to discuss solutions to achieve your AMP 7 objectives: FLEXIM Instruments UK Ltd Theatre Court, London Road Northwich, Cheshire, CW9 5HB
Tel: 01606 781 420 firstname.lastname@example.org www.flexim.co.uk
Leak Detection and Repair
One of many leaks found using acoustic leak detection technology
Innovation in the Pipeline Leak detection technology heading in a new and exciting direction. In the UK alone, around three billion litres of water are lost to leaks every day, with Ofwat – the country’s Water Services Regulation Authority – urging national water companies to reduce this figure by 15% before 2025.
UK Sales Manager at Gutermann NB-IoT acoustic loggers are set to plug infrastructure, cost and eco gaps across the global water industry, with the first concerted rollout already seen in the UK. Two industrial waves are set to crash into each other in the coming years as vast amounts of water leakage put a strain on cost and environmental efficiencies at the same time as the world undergoes cellular communication network shifts beyond 2G, 3G and even potentially 4G.
To do so, utilities need to understand the situation, and this requires clear, usable data coming from communication forms other than 2G and 3G – a staple for leakage monitoring and sensing in recent years – which soon will be banished to the doldrums. It’s not just a UK issue, either. In Canada, 2G is set to shut down even sooner – this year in fact. In the US, that ship has already sailed in some states, as is also the case across much of APAC. Over the next decade, the global water industry will be tackling its most severe challenge to date, without much of its familiar armoury.
Low power wide area networks (LPWANs) have long been earmarked as the vessel
to navigate this turbulence. The need for clear data to allow for consistent and accurate monitoring of pipes has led to a more concerted uptake of innovation in this area. As epitomised in Southern England and through utilities body, Southern Water, the greatest potential lies in narrowband internet of things (NB-IoT) communications. Around 700 Gutermann Zonescan NB-IoT acoustic correlating sensors have been fitted in the city of Southampton as part of Southern Water’s 2040 target to reduce water leakage by 40%. Paul Chandler, UK Sales Manager at Gutermann explains: “The devices wake up at 2am each morning, record a sound file and sends it to our cloud-based software, Zonescan.Net via NB IoT. The software then analyses the data, performs daily correlations with neighbouring sensors and then notifies the water utility of any leaks giving a pinpoint location. This way a leak can be caught before it turns into a burst.”
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL MARCH 2021
Leak Detection and Repair
A world first
When launched in December 2019 to coincide with the first World Water Loss Day, the company’s Zonescan NB-IoT leak sensor was also a world first. Its cellular communication standard aligns with the machine-tomachine data trend embedded in smart city development, to usher in the next era of water infrastructure and management. Described as a world first upon its mass rollout, it may be something of a revelation in terms of application, but it represents the culmination
of years of R&D and foresight on behalf of multinational operator, Gutermann.
simultaneously reducing maintenance makes the model as attractive as it is effective.
The solution’s attributes are numerable, and all fit into the bespoke aims of the sector to harness more accurate data to fight the leakage challenge, without succumbing to the impacts of network transitions.
Data and devices
Enabling a wide range of rapidly evolving IoT devices, NB-IoT is entirely suitable for below ground higher-density sensor applications, at a lower cost, and with longer battery lives. Accounting for cost- and eco-efficiency while
The devices wake up at 2am each morning, record a sound file and sends it to our cloud-based software, Zonescan.Net via NB IoT. The software then analyses the data, performs daily correlations with neighbouring sensors and then notifies the water utility of any leaks giving a pinpoint location. This way a leak can be caught before it turns into a burst.
As such, the resultant coverage and penetration levels represent a current solution as the industry looks to stay afloat. But, more significantly, it nods ahead to a future norm driven by device interconnectivity, and a need for sustainability. Mr Chandler adds: “The integration of multiple data and devices will only become more pronounced in the future. For the water industry, acoustic sensors have the potential to work alongside alternative sources of data such as flow, pressure, and water quality. Collaboration of this data using NB IoT, a reliable communication protocol is key to achieving the ultimate goal of zero leakage”. Ultimately, NB-IoT will plug more than just leaks as the world adjusts to digital transformation while juggling environmental responsibility.
The most advanced fixed network leakage monitoring system on the market today • Daily, automatic and full correlation and pinpointing capability • Greater connectivity and deep coverage • Penetrates cast iron chamber lids • Flexible and easy deployment with an Android device • Longer battery life than other cellular technologies • Low total cost of ownership • No additional components • Battery can be replaced in the field • Interacts with zonescan.net / gutermann.cloud
Gutermann Limited, Unit A, Deacons House, Bridge Road Bursledon, Southampton Hampshire, SO31 8AZ Tel +44(0)2380 402789 · www.gutermann-water.com
What can we learn from the Oldsmar water supply hack? Following the recent water supply hack in Florida, Phillip Corner, industrial systems cybersecurity expert at Cougar Automation, stresses the need for business decision makers and technical professionals in safety and security to work closely together to understand risk. On Friday 5th February, a hacker used a common remote access application to take control of an employee’s computer at the municipal water treatment plant in Oldsmar, Florida. During the cyberattack, which required little sophistication, the hacker changed the level of sodium hydroxide in the town’s water supply from 100 parts per million to a dangerous 11,100 parts per million. It is not yet clear what real risk this posed to the safety of the water supply, since welldesigned systems would have multiple levels of checks for potentially dangerous chemical concentrations. Still, this kind of intrusion is a growing concern not just for water plants but all operators of critical infrastructure, many of whom are undergoing digital transformation and may have had to accelerate plans for remote access because of COVID-19. Without effective cybersecurity measures, the same systems that allow engineers and contractors to remotely carry out routine adjustments and maintenance can also be exploited by hackers wishing to inflict harm.
The investment challenge
The municipal utility system in the USA, where each town or city has its own small water and electricity companies, means that providers may not have the resources to implement complex cybersecurity protection, leaving them especially vulnerable to attack. Although we have a different model in the UK, where larger private companies supply utilities regionally, British operators still face investment challenges. Ofwat (The Water Services Regulation Authority) highly regulates what private water and sewerage companies in England and Wales can spend on improving their infrastructure. They are required to set out their budgets for improving quality, replacing outdated assets and implementing security measures as much as five years in advance. This is problematic given the risks of cybercrime are evolving much faster than the investment allocated to mitigate them.
Make do and mend
Moreover, a common factor across industry is that with a limited budget for modernisation, there may be little appetite for going back and investing in improvements to old systems if companies can make do a bit longer until
a new system is installed. Our approach when working with customers on existing systems is to help them understand where the greatest risks are and suggest a package of improvements that will achieve the best costbenefit ratio until it is time for replacement. If remote access is the biggest risk, for example, we can look at securing it with a cost-effective solution to reduce the risk in the meantime.
anyone – authorised or otherwise – to make such a drastic change to the level of a potentially dangerous chemical. Processes have diverse requirements so when designing systems for industrial processes, we work with the customer to identify their unique requirements and set reasonable limits for all eventualities to match the physical sizing of the plant.
If it is not secure, it is not safe
It is also good systems integration practice to have other checks and balances in the background that alert to any anomalies. Lessons learned mean safety monitoring systems are continually improved and in many cases these systems are an ultimate failsafe for cyber incidents. However, we should not get to the stage where we are relying on safety measures to mitigate cybersecurity attacks. Safety and security professionals can work together to minimise vulnerability to targeted attacks as well as accidents.
Of course, cybersecurity should be an integral part of every new tender in the same way that safety is – not a bolt-on solution – and we are seeing this mindset shift across the industry. Nobody would dream of leaving safety risk assessment until the end of a project and the same is true for cybersecurity. The IEC 61511 safety standard for the process industries updated in 2016 essentially says that any system dealing with functional safety must include cybersecurity measures. The guiding principle is that if it is not secure, it is not safe. And since the NIS (Security of Network & Information Systems) regulations came out in 2018, essential service operators, including utilities, are legally bound to consider cybersecurity. If an operator is hacked and someone gets hurt, the operator can be prosecuted under safety legislation.
Secure by design
In the case of the Oldsmar attack, many might wonder why it was possible for
The broader industrial risk
The Oldsmar incident was an intentional malicious action, although it is not yet clear if this was specifically targeted at the operator. However, all operators are at risk of untargeted or collateral disruption from ransomware. If an attacker can gain remote access like this they could also use ransomware for extortion, but ransomware need not be specifically targeted. Vulnerable Internet connected devices, infected portable computers, and USB flash drives can all result in infection.
WATER INDUSTRY JOURNAL MARCH 2021
Securing National Infrastructure
CONTAIN • PROTECT • SECURE
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