for the oil, chemical and sewage industries
The Innovation Farm
Nr Bishop's Stortford
All enquiries to:
+44(0)1279 600 440
Order Fax Line
Fax: +44(0)1279 600 766
The key staff behind Environmental Innovations have decades of experience in the design and delivery of solutions in and around the water industry. This experience is wide and diverse and because we own the intellectual property and patents behind our technology we are able deliver bespoke affordable solutions based upon sound technology that works!
Pollution - The design and manufacture of low cost retro-fit pollution and flow control valves
Flood Alarms – Design of both Cabled and Wireless Systems for local assets such as sub-stations and pump houses, plus community wide automated flood warning.
Sensors – Bespoke sensors designed including to the ATEX standard.
Wireless Communications Systems – Both above ground and Below Ground Systems.
CSO – Monitoring, Transducers and Containment Valves.
Security and Asset Protection – Design of wide area wireless security systems for small asset monitoring and protection
Counter Terror – The design and supply of covert monitoring systems to detect intrusion through the drainage systems and the supply network.
Vehicle Management – The control and monitoring of delivery / collection traffic using wide area RFID technology – with automated valve closure and go/no-go traffic lights.
Remote Condition Monitoring – Non-evasively monitoring fixed plant and assets and reporting exceptions.
Automatic Meter Reading – The design of wide area AMR technology with integrated leakage detection.
RFID Tagging of Assets – For maintenance scheduling and asset control.
The UK Water Industry is faced with the constant battle of meeting performance and financial targets set by OFWAT, the UK Water Industry Regulator which includes keeping on the right side of environmental legislation.
From the environmental perspective, two of the biggest challenges/threats faced by the water industry are pollution caused by sewage (CSO discharges and blocked sewer spills) and to it by industry/farming which constantly threatens to contaminate precious water supplies with nitrates, chemicals, spills and firewater. A third and deliberately less publicised challenges is security.
The threat from terror attack, blackmail and vandalism is constant and real. The way the water utilities prepare themselves to deal with the inevitable crank caller or the real thing can have a massive impact in terms of public relations, costs and consequential damages.
PSYWAR (psychological Warfare) is probably number one fear of most water supply companies as it is only too easy for a “group” claim they have tampered with the supply, leaving the supply company the daunting task to prove beyond reasonable doubt otherwise. Failure to do so leaves them exposed to criticism from the press and the utility is faced with the awkward choice of cutting off the supply and/or to trying to inform the public about the scale of the risk, which because of dilution may in reality be zero. However, whichever way it decided to deal with the issue, there is always a negative cost impact because of the placebo effect leading to potentially hundreds of calls and claims from the public attributing every ailment to the water supply.
Recognising this threat, we have developed a range of low cost, self powered security transmitters that can be fitted non-evasively to assets such as reservoir access hatches and valve handles etc to warn real-time of intrusion or tampering. The systems can be designed to either utilise the existing water companies telemetry infrastructure via a gateway or to operate totally independently reporting back using our AlertComms system that offers a choice of SMS text, e-mail and PSTN dial.
The vast majority of the UK’s sewerage network was built and/or planned in Victorian times. In the absence of electrical pumps, gravity was the only means to transport the sewerage, hence a degree of additional water was required to assist the flow plus to dilute the outflow which usually went untreated into rivers and the sea. For this reason plus the fact that in urban areas surface permeability was poor, the majority of the of the sewers constructed in Victorian and Edwardian times became “combined” carrying a mixture sewerage and surface water.
The construction of the network also coincided with the peak of the Industrial Revolution adding further connections rich in pollutants and bi-products from processes and contaminated rainwater from their vast catchment areas.
As we now know, mixing sewage with surface water is not such a good idea. Not only are you dramatically increasing the volume of the flow that the STW has to process which wastes energy, but you also have to build a STW to cope with massive extremes in variation between peak and normal flow.
Simplistically a STW is a series connected network of tanks and filters with a finite maximum throughput. At many works any excess flow had to go somewhere – the storm bypass – which as its name implies lets the sewerage/storm water cocktail pass straight to the output.
Aside from some lagoons built to hold back the sewerage along the cost for tide synchronisation, there was little in the Victorian networks to impede the flow or cope with the peaks introduced by the combined sewer, other than to let it spill/discharge un-treated into the environment via the CSOs or storm bypasses.
What is often forgotten is that capacity was originally scaled match the estimated peak demand of the day, based upon an initial population in 1851 of 16.8 million which rose to 30.5 million by 1901, the end of the Victorian era.
However, the UK population now stands at 61 million and is still growing. Technology has moved on and so has personal hygiene. In Victorian times – few were fortunate to have a access to a bath and showers were extremely rare. A daily bowel of water or a shared tin bath once a fortnight was the average consumption per capita. Nowadays, we have washing machines, flushing toilets, dish washers and we on average shower of bath daily. Further, industry consumes millions of litres of water daily for processing, cooling, cleaning and washing, the vast majority of which ends up back round the loop into the sewerage network simply because nobody has taken the initiative to do anything else with it.
No wonder the networks struggle to cope!
To cope with excess demand / peak flows that occur during storms the sewerage networks CSOs (Combined Sewer Overflows) were introduced. These overflows are designed such that under excessive flow conditions the hopefully “diluted” raw sewage is allowed to spill out of the sewer in an controlled fashion into rivers, streams and the sea. These discharge is often referred to as a Wet Spill or a Consented Discharge, however it still is pollution!
No wonder why many beaches and rivers around the World carry warning signs stating that bathing should be avoided after heavy rainfall or storms. Not a good advertisement for the local tourist industry and similarly not a for the water companies public relations when bathers go home with memories of tummy upsets and much worse when little Johnny asks his mother what is this I have caught in my fishing net – holding a condom!
With hindsight the design of the sewerage networks could have been better in particular with respect to the amount of rainwater allowed to enter during storms. By having the ability to regulate this level in theory wet CSO spills could be totally eliminated and as a consequence river flooding could have been reduced.
Wet CSO spills generally have a tendency to occur and then re-occur in certain locations. Although some locations are random due to localised exceptional rainfall, many can characterised by a wide variety of mechanical, construction (bends, low spots, intercepts), state of repair (partial collapse) and hydraulic flow patterns. In addition the vicinity of FOG (fat, oil and grease) producing businesses such as restaurants and food producing plant have a major impact as the build-up of fat and infiltration of tree roots also restricts peak flow capacity leading to spills and discharges.
At Environmental Innovations we would argue that a good proportion of the thousands of the CSO spills that occur each year could be mitigated by using modern technology such as wireless blocked drain detectors, CSO spill alarms, network attenuators, CSO discharge containment valves, controlled industrial “ponding” and the removal of industrial surface water from the network. To this end we have developed, and continue to develop and adapt our technology to offer water utilities cost effective a practical array of tools to make an impact on the problem. Our offers include:
Network Control and Dynamic Catchment Area Reduction for Wet CSO Discharge Reduction.
CSO Spill Reduction by Reducing Consented Surface Water Intake Volumes from Industrial Sites.
Dry Spill Proactive Containment.
Blocked Drain / Sewer Detection
Aside from CSO spills occurring as a result of storms – many discharges occur as a consequence of sewer blockages and/or equipment failure – these are often referred to as “dry spills”. These spills/discharges are actually far more polluting that those that occur during storms as there is little or no dilution of the sewage. Hence the occurrence of this type of spill is treated as a reportable pollution incident by the Environment Agency and are called “out of consent”. As a consequence they can result in fines and will always lead to remediation costs associated with de-contamination and restoration of environment.
Although some CSO discharge locations are random, many can characterised by a wide variety of mechanical, construction (bends, low spots, intercepts), state of repair (partial collapse) and hydraulic flow parameters. In addition the vicinity of FOG (fat, oil and grease) producing businesses such as restaurants and food producing plant have a major impact as these can leave deposits in the network that eventually create restrictions or blockages. Similarly trees are another issue, where tree root infiltration can encourage blockages.
Maps of blockage and CSO spill hotspots are maintained by all Water Utilities. These maps can be used to formulate traditional mitigation programmes which will often include:
Regular inspection and the early removal of root and fat deposits
Re-lining of damaged sewers to smooth the path of flow and to prevent collapse.
Enforcing the fitting of FOG traps on industrial / commercial businesses.
However, we believe that this doesn’t go far enough and in a number of locations a lot more can be done to either prevent dry CSO discharges /sewer spills altogether and/or to at least give early warning of their pending occurrence enabling mitigation action to be taken: