Wastewater Forum


Meeting 18th July 2013

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This was the Forum’s 50th meeting. It was held in CIWEM’s Boardroom in London and chaired by Dr Gordon Jones from FWR because Paul Hickey was unavailable and neither was anybody else from the EA.

Gordon expressed the condolences of FWR and the Forum to the family of Nick Reeves and to CIWEM for Nick’s premature and unexpected death. Nick Reeves, late Chief Executive of CIWEM, died on 7th July, 2 weeks after suffering a severe stroke.

A roundup of members’ research included the following:

Oliver Grievson, Anglian Water

Described work to improve flow monitoring in the company. Radar and laser flow-metering are in side-by-side trials at Letchworth. WwTW are required to record final effluent flow; the EA is suggesting additional requirement to measure flow to full treatment and flow to stormtanks for larger WwTW to catch by-pass. For Anglian Water’s 240 larger works, the capital cost would be 90 million.

David Butler, Exeter University

Described three of the many projects with which the department is involved:

CORFU (Collaborative Research on Flood Resilience in Urban areas) this FP7 project has the overall aim of enabling European and Asian partners to learn from each other through joint investigation, development, implementation and dissemination of short to medium term strategies that will enable more scientifically sound management of the consequences of urban flooding in the future. Building in resilience and living with flooding. CORFU will sponsor an international conference at the University of Exeter September 5-7 2013, to disseminate its findings, and to provide a forum for current academic papers in the field of flood resilience.

SANITAS Sustainable and Integrated Urban Water System Management is a Marie Curie Initial Training Network funded under FP7 that started 1st November 2011 and will run for 4 years. Exeter’s contribution is “Catchment based and real–time based consenting” considering the potential impacts of variable consents and how they could be designed. The project is modelling a WwTW for the greenhouse gases CO2, CH4 and N2O and the effects that changing operations could have on their emissions.

David has commenced his EPSRC fellowship ‘Safe & SuRe: a New Paradigm for Urban Water Management’, the project is drawing from multi-disciplinary collaboration with leading academics inside and outside the field. He said, “The water sector in the UK … is increasingly under threat as a result of climate change, increasing population, urbanisation, demographic shifts and tighter regulation. The current way of working looks increasingly out of date and out of step with emerging thinking and best practice in some leading nations.

Chris Chubb

Publication of the Water Quality [China] Handbook in association with FWR is progressing. It will be “internationalised” and published mainly as an e-book. There could be an option for hard copies for presentation to Ministers, etc. There are numerous ‘print on demand’ book producers.

Nick Orman

WRc new methods of assessing the condition of rising [sewer] mains. The traditional method has been to excavate down to the sewer at points only its length and examine the main, but this is expensive, disruptive and says little about conditions between excavations. The aim is practicable continuous assessment. For plastics mains “Short arrested fractures” appear to be a precursor to a failing main, they are cracks that have become blocked by rags. Electrical conductivity/resistivity between a sensor inside the pipe and others in the soil outside the pipe proved an effective method of identifying these features and repair clamps from earlier repairs for non-electrically-conducting pipes. Other useful techniques have been gross metal loss, a magnetic technique, which is at an earlier stage of development, and acoustic surveying [to identify air pockets where corrosion from gaseous products of septicity is a risk]. It is a WRc Portfolio project.

CEN/TC 165 “Wastewater Engineering” and CEN/TC 308 “Characterization of sludges” has completed a glossary of terms in three languages, English, French and German. ISO/TC 224 “Water and sewerage” is considering adopting it. Common use of terms might help progress.

Richard Williams

CEH, with Surry University and Earthwatch has a NERC project Changing Water Cycles – using Bracknell and Swindon it will model how urbanisation affects water quality, initially hindcasting and then forecasting.

CEH is also contributing to EU-China environmental sustainability programme [on water quality], and the water sanitation technology platform.

Recommended reading and source of data on domestic use At Home With Water published the Energy Saving Trust.

Pete Vail

Severn Trent Water’s research with Cranfield on greenhouse gas emissions is yielding results, which will be published1. Results from monitoring gaseous and dissolved N2O have shown the importance of stable operating conditions, which can be achieved by tighter control, which could be DO or NH4+/NH3. Measurements on the BNR at Minworth have found N2O comes mainly from nitrification not from denitrification.

AnMBR, which can be followed by ion exchange to remove/recover nutrients, is proving interesting. There were papers at AD13 in Santiago. When the reclaimed water is used for irrigation, nutrient removal is unnecessary, it becomes fertigation – the membrane excludes pathogens from the recovered water.

STW is researching technologies to achieve 0.1 mgP/L (algae, doped magnetite, biostruvite and captive absorbent beads) in anticipation of new consents that might demand such low concentrations. Members of the Forum doubted there is any necessity for such low consents and feared that climate change costs would be disproportionate.

The EA has imposed a 30 ppb Cu total limit at some works but is looking at bioavailable limits because in the presence of organic matter 30 ppb Cu total has no ecological effect.
1Aboobakar, A.; Cartmell, E.; Stephenson, T.; Jones, M.; Vale, P. and Dotro, G. (2013) Nitrous oxide emissions and dissolved oxygen profiling in a full-scale nitrifying activated sludge treatment plant. Water Research Volume 47, Issue 2, Pages 463-956 (1 February 2013)Pages 524-534

Technical Presentations with members of CIWEM’s Wastewater Management Panel

Water Industry Process Automation & Control
Oliver Grievson, Anglian Water

The Water Industry Process Automation & Control Group started on 16th May 2011 as a discussion group on LinkedIn with “Question of the fortnight” to discuss the issues surrounding instrumentation, process automation & control. There are now more than 3,090 members. has been developed to share the knowledge that has been gained. It is a knowledge centre to share good practises or pitfalls in a collaborative environment for the good of the water industry in general, including:-

Water, we use it but we don't use it up
Mark Tonkin, Design Technology + Innovation

DTI produced a very innovative subsurface gravity-fed irrigation system that can use seawater or other saline water because water vapour dissolves into the pipe wall and exsolves into the soil. DTI has gone on to work with NASA on water management in space.

Steps towards a connected, autonomous world of intelligent water Things.
Laurie Reynolds, Aquamatix

WaterWorX from AquamatiX is a connected platform for an Internet of (water) Things; it is built on ThingWorX. It is cloud-based and encompasses a library of standard data models, which can be readily cloned and connected to represent water and wastewater networks, and support real-time monitoring. WaterWorX apps are used by owners and also by suppliers of equipment. It integrates with legacy telemetry, SCADA and enterprise business applications to provide a new capability in operational control and asset management.

The next meeting of the Forum will be 30th October 2013