CoSHH Awareness and Skin Protection

As specialists in the refurbishment of water retaining structures, our teams use CoSHH materials on a daily basis. These products are DWI Regulation 31 approved products and are known to contain skin sensitizers. In some cases, contact with these sensitisers can cause an allergic response to an individual, with severe consequences. We have recently implemented a number of safety alerts, training exercises and VTBT’s across the company to ensure operatives working with these products have a full understanding of the risks to both themselves and others. A key part of the training has been to ensure our teams understand the risk of onset or increased sensitisation through repeated and prolonged exposure to certain materials. We also focused on demonstrating the importance of following the correct PPE removal procedures. A practical task was set for all operatives working with CoSHH substances, where coveralls and gloves coated in jam, were to be removed without the jam touching any area of skin, the jam was a representation of the uncured materials used on site. The exercise was a complete success and gave our QSE team the chance to remind and reinforce the working procedures around skin protection. This was followed up with a video toolbox talk on the prevention of skin sensitisation and dermatitis. As DWI Regulation 31 products develop, we will ensure the importance of skin protection, washing procedures and effective aftercare is reinforced throughout the company. You can view our ‘Skin Protection VTBT’ here.

DWI Regulation 31

Creating an environment where all water companies buy into a single code of practice to create unity and encourage best practice. The water industry is highly-regulated, most particularly to ensure that drinking water is safeguarded and fit for human consumption. The Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI), formed in 1990, holds responsibility for regulation in England and Wales. The DWI inspects the laboratories where water companies rigorously test their drinking water and ensure that water operations are of a high standard. These standards are set down in national regulations for England and Wales and comply with laws set down by the European Union. It is in the DWI’s role to issue and assess approval for the use of products that fall under Regulation 31. Regulation 31 of the Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations 2016 implements Article 10 of the Council of the European Union Drinking Water Directive (DWD) in England and Wales for all chemicals and construction products used by water undertakers, from the source of the water, up to the point of delivery to the consumer’s building. It defines which construction products and materials may be used safely, having been found not to prejudice water quality and consumer safety. Read the full article here, published by UK Water Projects. 

Sample Tap Training

As part of many of our contracts with water companies across the UK, we complete the installation and refurbishment of regulatory sample taps. Over the last 3-4 years we have refurbished and installed approximately 75 separate points for Yorkshire Water, this includes both walk-in cabinets and roadside kiosks, along with sunken sample pits to ensure gravity flow and new connection to mains where required. Prior to a new batch of sample tap works starting in early 2019 and to improve our continual quality standard for these installations, our workforce on this contract have undertaken the BPEC Plumbing Training in relation to Water Regulations compliance and fittings, delivered by Yorkshire Water. As a nationally recognised course, we are delighted to soon hold accreditation in this area, along with a planned extension course for groundwork pipework. The information learnt will be put into practice, as we resolve more challenging sample points across the Yorkshire Water area.

Macmillan Coffee Morning

This year we held our 2nd annual Macmillan Coffee morning at our Head Office in Chawston. Cakes and biscuits were lovingly made and brought in by staff for all to enjoy and support the charity. A fantastic £395 was made in sweet treat sales, generously matched by the company, raising an incredible £790 in total for Macmillan Cancer. More on Macmillan Cancer Support

Whittle Dene Clarifier Refurbishment

Whittle Dene Water Treatment Works is Northumbrian Water’s fourth largest treatment works with a deployable output of 118Ml/d, supplying 228,000 properties. Located in Northumberland, 13 miles west of Newcastle, it is a strategically important works to Newcastle, Gateshead, North Tyneside, South Northumberland and Tyne Valley regions. Raw water at the site comes from adjacent reservoirs supplied by a number of impounding reservoirs in Northumberland and is further supplemented by the River Tyne. The treatment process at the works comprises; (i) clarification, (ii) filtration, (iii) GAC filters and (iv) disinfection and emergency disinfection. An asset need has been identified to address the very poor condition of the internal walls and floors of the clarifier units which have been subject to excessive concrete degradation in the 24 years since their construction in 1992. Project need The clarifiers comprise a large hexagonal footprint containing six separate chambers in an above-ground reinforced concrete structure. A structural survey identified the deterioration had resulted in an estimated 5 to 10 years residual asset life with only 5 years for the structural columns. Beyond this the structure would have a high risk of being irreparable and would require a full replacement at a high capital cost. The scope proposed by this project comprises refurbishment of the tanks to prolong their asset life and safeguard the treatment process into the future. The agreed scope identified in the Asset Need also includes for replacement of the launder channels which are in very poor condition and contribute to increased algal growth, causing problems in the downstream process. Undertakings Following agreement of a price of £2.5m NWG commissioned Stonbury to deliver the defined solution through an NEC 3 Option B re-measurable three-year contract. This commenced in January 2017 with the release of the first of the 6 (No.) compartments by reducing the works deployable output to 97MLD. Stonbury then commenced the initial clean down of the residual sludge in the compartment before building a scaffold platform with two working levels for the full height of the 6m high walls. The work required close coordination with Operations due to the connectivity between each compartment to prevent any overtopping of the common outlet channel discharging into the isolated chamber. Mortar repair In order to comply with the specification to meet the requirements of the Secretary of State for the Environment under Regulation 31(4) (a) for products used in contact with potable water Stonbury proposed the use of MasterSeal products. The chosen products were MasterEmaco S420 which is a rapid setting, high strength repair mortar in conjunction with MasterSeal 586 which is a smooth finish waterproof render. This was applied to the floors and walls of the clarifier in climatically controlled conditions to ensure adequate curing conditions were achieved. Launder channels In addition to the concrete repair work the existing launder channels were to be replaced due to their inoperability caused by their design which results in algal growth blocking the outlet holes. A new ‘V’ notch design was agreed which would provide a more even distribution of the clarified water for a more even and consistent discharge of the settled water. Phased refurbishment Following completion of Clarifier No. 6, Stonbury was handed No.1 to commence the second phase of the contract. Through a lessons-learned review Stonbury was able to improve their working methods and hence shorten the programme for the next phase. Whittle Dene WTW Clarifer RefurbishmentDesigners, contractors & suppliers Client Northumbrian Water Main Contractor Stonbury Limited Designer Wood Group LLP Main Supplier MasterSeal Wind bracing assessment The Fluid Group Climate control for the curing Polygon   Wind assessment and bracing Finally following feedback from Operations on the performance of the clarifiers due to their exposure to prevailing winds The Fluid Group was commissioned to carry out an assessment of the existing wind bracing. Following their assessment, it was established that the existing mesh panel arrangements were set at the optimum height and they were then replaced like for like due to their deteriorating condition. Progress to date At the time of writing (May 2018) the work on the Clarifier No.1 is substantially complete but due to operational constraints work has been suspended since January to allow the works to increase its deployable output to meet network resilience demands. It is envisaged that work will recommence in June 2018 to complete No.1 and move on to the next compartment in due course. During the outage of each compartment the opportunity was taken to carry out further refurbishment work to the outlet valves and rotorks as they were also at the end of their asset life. In addition, non-compliant handrailing is being replaced to allow future public access visits to recommence on site.

Spark Testing

Spark testing detects minute pinholes on membranes, where visual inspection cannot detect. Electricity is swept over the membrane to identify any areas of damage or where the membrane thickness does not meet the stated requirements. Defects on the membrane or breaches of moisture found sends a signal to the handler, making defects known immediately.   Watch our Stonbury Snippet on spark testing    

Water Industry Asset and Quality Conference 2018

150 delegates, including representatives from 15 UK water utilities, took part in Stonbury’s seventh annual Water Industry Asset & Quality Conference on 20 November 2018. The event took a deep dive into water quality issues as they relate to maintenance of drinking water structures. Water companies have many challenges in AMP7 (the asset management period which runs from 2020-25) and Ofwat is putting ever more pressure on water companies to drive up customer satisfaction. Customers were very much in the minds of the speakers at the Stonbury event, which took place at the Hilton St George’s Park, training ground of the England football teams. Speakers from Anglian Water and Northumbrian Water opened up about two incidents that had attracted customer complaints about taste and odour in drinking water. In both cases the cause was contractors’ failure to follow instructions for use (IFUs) – on a filler and a lining product. The companies have collaborated with Stonbury to develop a code of practice (CoP) for the application of specialist materials to drinking water structures, which will be rolled out following the approval from Water UK.  Anglian Water’s head of water quality, Clair Dunn urged people to get a copy of the CoP and give feedback. Alan Brown, scientific support officer at Northumbrian Water said, “This isn’t just about the contractor, it’s about the water undertaker as well. We need to have the right information and the confidence that the process we’re working within works for us as well.” Delegates were struck by the opportunities presented by the use of flow cytometry to measure water quality in distribution service reservoirs. Aidan Marsh, flow cytometry project leader, Northumbrian Water said, “What we’re hoping to do is produce a more biologically consistent water which will be more robust to pathogens by a lower chlorine dose. It’s that consistency that’s going to lead to customer satisfaction.” Zoe Kellock, Severn Trent Water’s lead on distribution service reservoirs and tank coordination, described the multiple challenges the utility faces as it moves to a more proactive clean-inspect programme. “We’re still investing a lot of money in our reservoirs, we’ve still got a lot of reservoirs we need to take out an inspect,” she said. “One of the most common failures we find is ingress around the hatch, so we are investing in a hatch improvement programme – it’s a simple thing, but it really boils down to better planning.” James Stonor, CEO of Stonbury said, “I’m thrilled with the day’s event and the interaction we’ve had from everybody  - the speakers on the platform and the questions from the floor." “We’ve heard a lot of concern about sustainability of assets and a lot of honesty about the challenges utilities are facing. There doesn’t seem to be a common approach to resolving that, so going forward I think the key issue is water company strategy - the strategies they’re going along with at the moment might not be fit for the future." “I was particularly pleased to hear Aidan’s presentation on flow cytometry – that is the start of something really game-changing in terms of being proactive and predicting events, learning from that and building in machine-learning. I noticed there was a lot of note-taking during that session.” Summing up Stonor said, “This is the seventh year for our Water Industry Asset & Quality Conference and I think we’ve seen some great initiatives today and some really interesting shares. The attitude of the water companies here - where they’re actually giving out their information, their data, is to be welcomed and I think it’s the next step-up – a big credit to them.” Video Summary