Invertebrate Boat Survey Trial

We have been working with Wessex Water to complete two invertebrate surveys on the River Avon, sampling above and below discharge points, using a Yorkshire Pattern’ airlift pump. Benthic macroinvertebrates are an important group of organisms to study, as many are sensitive to physical and chemical changes in the watercourse. Their relative immobility means they cannot easily escape the impacts of thermal, chemical or organic pollution. Due to the species relative immobility when compared to that of the fisheries community, species can be more directly tied to site-specific habitats, and are therefore more reflective of the health of that specific habitat location. These organisms help us to better understand the health of our river and streams, and the processes that maintain them. This information will help inform the water authorities how the discharge is impacting the habitat and water quality within the sample areas. The benthic macroinvertebrates are recorded to find out what species are present and in what numbers.

Striving for Excellence

At Stonbury we take pride in being the best specialist contractors to the Water Industry. Year on year we maintain this position by investing in our people and training, sharing our knowledge and encouraging best practice throughout the company. How we perform as a company is key to the quality of service that we provide to our clients.  Operating nationwide, it is important that each of our employees understand our company values and how their roles play a key part in achieving our goals.  From our regional Stand Down Days to team social events and specialist training days, we're constantly investing in our people and striving for excellence. 

Outwoods Reservoir

Outwoods Reservoir was originally constructed in 1882 in Burton upon Trent. Following an increase in demand, Outwoods Reservoir No.2 was added in 1962. In 2016 Reservoir No.1 was finally taken out of service after proving increasingly expensive to update and maintain. In 2017 South Staffs Water awarded Stonbury the contract to replace Outwoods Reservoir No.1 The Outwoods supply zone, fed from a number of storage reservoirs at Outwoods in Burton Upon Trent, includes approximately 26,000 properties in Burton upon Trent, Rolleston on Dove, Barton under Needwood, Alrewas, Fradley, and Streethay, with a combined total average daily demand of 23 million litres. The project was challenging with a tight programme and proximity of protected species, but achieving the deadline has ensured the supply network can continue to operate and provide a safe and reliable water supply for current and future generations. Background South Staffs had originally been awarded planning permission for a new reservoir on the footprint of Reservoir No. 1 in 2014. The project was delayed due to unexpected work on other schemes within the South Staffs Water supply network. Whilst the site was still able to function it was important that both storage capacity and resilience of the site were increased. The decision was made to locate the new reservoir on a greenfield area of the site rather than in the footprint of Reservoir 1 to reduce the overall construction programme and meet supply demand. This would not only enable South Staffs to operate two reservoirs at all times, but also opened up the opportunity to build an additional reservoir in the future on the footprint of Reservoir No1. This investment will help to guarantee the quality and reliability of the local water supply for the next 100 years, and play a key part in meeting growing demand from new housing being built in the area. The contract Stonbury has worked closely with South Staffs Water for many years, currently holding a five-year Framework for Reservoir Refurbishment. Although nationally we typically refurbish around 450 reservoirs annually, this is the first time Stonbury have been responsible for a new build reservoir. The tender process involved a high level of optioneering of all possible solutions, including temporary tanks, steel tanks and GRP tanks. The option selected was a hybrid solution for a reinforced concrete structure, which included precast concrete columns and roof structure. This was deemed to be the most cost-effective solution in respect of both whole life costs and design life, as well as one capable of being delivered to the very challenging programme. Stonbury subsequently completed the detailed design stage, which developed the outline design, submitted at tender stage. It was decided to split the reservoir into 2 (No.) 5Ml tanks to speed construction and enable delivery of one of those tanks into service at the earliest opportunity and further increasing long term storage resilience. From the date that Stonbury gained access to the site on the 9 March 2017, there was a 16-week timeline specified by South Staffs before commissioning the first reservoir by 1 July 2017. Ecology evaluation Shortly before work was due to begin, an ecology evaluation highlighted the presence of Great Crested Newts on a housing development adjacent to the site. As a European protected species, these animals, their eggs, breeding sites and resting places are safeguarded by law. Following a full ecological survey an environmental specialist and licensed ecologists were brought to site to work alongside Stonbury to prepare the site for construction in the shortest possible timescale. Whilst no GCN or nests were physically found on site the erection of reptile barrier fencing and hibernaculum ensured the protection of GCN during and beyond construction. Coping with the delay The steps taken to protect the Great Crested Newts did, however, have a severe knock-on effect on the work schedule. A full eight days were lost on the commencement of excavation work. An additional element was also added to the original specification: the construction of a concrete valve chamber to house all the pipework coming into and out of the reservoir. This was to be a 12.8m long by 6.8m wide by 4.85m high structure. These delays, as well as heavy rain severely affecting progress on several days, presented Stonbury with the main challenge of the project. South Staffs Water agreed to adjust the budget to allow for 12-hour day and weekend working by the team, with some personnel then on duty every weekend. The team of people assigned included up to 25 operatives at any one point. Whilst the team were able to work the additional hours to bring the project in on time, accelerating the schedule meant that problems arose with the timely delivery of key materials. Commissioning The original date set for commissioning the reservoir on 1 July 2017 was met, and the first stage was to fill it for its seven-day testing. The final inspection was conducted by the client and the project deemed completed and handed over. The reservoir was then dropped, re-cleaned, filled and sampled for return to service the week commencing 10 July, just 17 weeks from breaking ground. Community engagement Ahead of work beginning on site, Stonbury and South Staffs embarked on a community engagement programme with local residents. The reservoir is close to housing, and concerns had been expressed during the planning process that lorries entering and leaving the site would have a negative impact on local roads which serve a primary school and children’s nursery, and which regularly experience congestion at peak times. South Staffs Water pro-actively engaged with the local residents and the nearby primary school leading up to construction to ensure everyone was informed and given the opportunity to raise concerns. The project delivery team also set up a community portal system, enabling members of the public to follow progress of the scheme and to communicate directly with the delivery team, express concerns and ask questions. Keeping local communities informed through a community portal has proved beneficial; especially larger schemes close to housing. As well as providing a level of transparency that can defuse potentially contentious situations, it gave Stonbury the chance to keep local people informed of changes to schedules, and to take on board constructive suggestions informed by local knowledge that will help us do a better job. Feedback on the portal led directly to changes being made during the works programme. Early in the project, for instance, concerns were expressed about the number of lorries making deliveries to the site at peak times. As a direct consequence, the timings were changed to spread lorry journeys through the day. Stonbury were also able to reassure local residents that the final appearance of the reservoir would enhance rather than detract from the appearance of the site. Half of the reservoir is buried, so no views have been detrimentally affected and Stonbury committed to creating a natural looking, grass-covered mound using all of the top soil excavated. Community engagement in action As well as providing information, the community portal allowed a free flow of questions and answers between the project team and local residents as this exchange shows: Gemma (Local resident) - 20 March 2017: Can you explain how the trial holes are done please? Barry Chapman (Project Manager) - 20 March 2017: Hi Gemma - Thanks for showing an interest and that is a very good question. The location of the mains are known but we don’t know the depth. We have to get an accurate depth of the main to ensure there is no conflict with the new pipework that will be connecting into the new reservoir. It also helps the designer to detail the pipe fittings required to connect the pipework at different levels. We estimate the depth of the main to be 4m. There will be three trial holes excavated at different locations on the site. A 14-tonne excavator will be used to dig the holes. As the holes are so deep, a metal box (called a trench box) will be lowered into the ground as excavation proceeds. Once the main has been located, an engineer will plot its location and depth. The hole will then be filled with the excavated material and compacted. The trench box will be removed as filling proceeds. Once this is complete, the second trial hole will be excavated in the same manner. Let me know if you have any other questions. Conclusion Projects like this always present challenges but the combination of unavoidable delays and tight deadlines always create extra problems. Many of the UK’s service reservoirs are now coming up to their ‘sell-by’ date, and while refurbishment will always be the preferred option where technically feasible, replacement will often offer an economical, long-term solution for clients looking to protect their assets and ensure continuity of supply into the future.

Christmas Jumper Day

On the 15th December Stonbury will be hosting Christmas Jumper Day We're encouraging all our staff and clients to don your daftest and most wonderful woollies to raise money for Save the Children. To get involved simply get 'Christmassy', pop on your pullovers and donate £2 each or text TEAMSTONBURY to 70050 to donate £5. We want all our staff to get involved, from both office and site, so dig out the Christmas knitwear and send us your photos so we can share the Christmas spirit! We would love to see all our clients join in on the fun too, send us your photos from your workplace to @Stonbury on Twitter, or email them to and we'll share the joy and donate £5 to Save the Children on your behalf. All the money raised will go to Save the Children, helping to make sure every child in the world has access to the essentials like healthcare, education, protection, and food & water.

Team Building in the North East

Earlier this month, our Yellow Team serving the North East, enjoyed their annual team day With the team recently experiencing several new recruits, what better time to reunite as one whole team and experience a range of team and competition driven activities. We're confident that our employees now have a better understanding of each other's strengths, weaknesses, and interests. Well done to Richard Helens, the shining star of the go-karting who out paced everyone by a clear 50 seconds!

Water Industry Asset and Quality Conference 2017

Stonbury were delighted to welcome over 120 delegates to the annual Water Industry Asset and Quality Conference in Burton upon Trent. Now in its sixth consecutive year, the annual conference was well attended by representatives from over 14 Water Companies across the UK and several leading Water Industry consultants. Service reservoirs and similar clean water assets play a key and crucial role in the storage and supply of drinking water. Suitably this year’s conference took a focused approach, concentrating on matters particular to service reservoirs, including methods for improving bacteriological compliance and DWI Regulation 31. The conference welcomed excellent speakers from across the industry. Amber Telford, Global Practice Leader for Water Retaining Structures (Mott MacDonald) presented an overview to the New UKWIR Publication on Treated Water Storage Assets, followed by the findings of a collaborative research project by the WRc for Innovative Modelling of Bacteriological Non-Compliance at Service Reservoirs. The introduction of a digital Q&A session, allowed the conference to be both interactive and engaging.  Guests were enabled to ask questions directly to the speaker, from the ease of a smartphone. All questions raised were answered at the end of the presentations, proving a popular method of interaction. James Stonor, Managing Director of Stonbury, addressed Regulation 31, through a presentation, ‘Lessons Learnt from a SR Water Quality Incident’. Opening with a background to the incident, delegates were encouraged to promote an open environment to share and learn from WQ incidents. The presentation was followed with a ‘Water Company Perspective’ by John McGovern, Head of Asset Investment for Northumbrian Water, emphasising the importance of working collaboratively to prevent and overcome such incidents.   In recent years, the event has developed a platform for industry innovators to showcase their latest products or services. This year saw for the first time, Geocurve - UAV Specialists, demonstrate their capabilities for asset inspection, including inspection and surveying facilities for water towers and roof tops.  Other members of the ‘Innovation Lounge’ included; Mason Clark, Polygon, Sensor UK, Gurney Environmental, and BASF. The water companies concluded the conference, providing an insight into their procedures and innovations surrounding service reservoirs. From Anglian Water, Dr Clair Dunn, Water Quality and Optimisation Manager shared an overview of using a risk based approach to improve bacteriological compliance in SRs. Finishing with an update on the progress of the Welsh Water ‘Bacti Predictor’, first introduced over two years ago by Kevin Parry, Principle Statistician, at the previous ‘Bacti Conference’. The 6th annual Water Industry Asset and Quality Conference has proven a great opportunity for networking and meeting other like-minded individuals, who face similar challenges from across the country. Martin Vickers – Head of Capital Investment Delivery, South Staffs Water “Another excellent, well organised, conference attended by a wide spectrum of professionals from across the water industry and country. The presentations were excellent with some very thought-provoking content, which will enable the whole industry to take forward some best practice common themes. To get so many industry professionals in the same room, many with the same issues and problems to address, is a fantastic achievement and testimony to the year on year growth and improvement of this event. It serves to promote and demonstrate continual development of strategies for innovation and everything that’s great about this area of solution delivery.” As always, guests were invited to finish the conference at an evening dinner, with many opportunities for networking in a less formal environment. For information or to keep up to date with details of the Water Industry Asset & Quality Conference 2018 please contact