Severn Trent Water awards further contracts for Nereda technology

Severn Trent Water has awarded contracts to install Nereda® technology at two more of its key wastewater treatment works, making the company the biggest supporter of the cutting edge water purification system in the UK to date.

Walsall Wood Sewage Treatment Works in West Midlands and Radcliffe-on-Trent Sewage Treatment Works in Nottinghamshire are both undergoing significant upgrades and are due to be commissioned in 2018. The contractor for Radcliffe is North Midlands Construction, while Mott MacDonald Bentley has been awarded the contract for Walsall Wood.

For both sites, Nereda was found to be the cheapest solution on CAPEX as well as on OPEX. Nereda is now seen as the first choice solution for any site where complete asset replacement is required. The upgrades to the works mean that Radcliffe and Walsall Wood will meet the stringent new standards for phosphorus and ammonia levels.

Image: Severn Trent visiting the Nereda® Wastewater Treatment Plant of Carrigtwohill, Ireland.

Severn Trent visiting the Nereda plant in CarrigtwohillSevern Trent is one of the earliest adopters of Nereda technology in the UK. Last year the water company awarded the contract for installing it at its Barston Sewage Treatment Works near Birmingham.

Nereda has been tried and tested around the world in a variety of countries throughout Europe,  as well as South America, South Africa and Australia.

Developed by Royal HaskoningDHV in the Netherlands, Nereda is the first process to successfully harness the benefits of aerobic granular sludge technology.

Nereda naturally selects fast settling granules, allowing higher concentrations of active biomass to be accumulated. The compact plants achieve very high levels of nutrient removal, without chemical dosing. Applications can be new-build or retrofit. The compactness of the site – which typically requires a quarter of the land area that is needed for an equivalent conventional activated sludge – is an important plus factor in its competitiveness, in addition to its relatively low installation and running costs.

Manjit Chadha, from Severn Trent, commented:

“Installing Nereda will significantly improve the quality of effluent we put back into the water courses in both areas. In addition to the system’s efficiency and environmental credentials, which are extremely impressive, its relatively low capital expenditure requirement made it a very straightforward choice for us.”

Andrew Thompson, Technical Manager, Royal HaskoningDHV, said:

“Once you look at the whole life cost of a wastewater treatment works, choosing Nereda makes perfect economic sense – not only due to its low capital expenditure requirements but also because the operational costs are low in comparison to other treatment solutions.”

Highways England confirm maintenance works on A12 and A120

Commuters across Essex could face delays this coming week as planned maintenance works are undertaken on the A12 and A120.

Highways England have provided an update as to when and where the roads will be closed in Essex from today (May 30).

The government agency has been carrying out a series of maintenance work across the roads over the past few weeks, and says it is currently working on several sites for improvements including waterproofing, resurfacing, barrier replacement and lighting renewal.

Due to the Bank Holiday, Highways England did not undertake any work between Friday (May 26) and Monday (May 29).

A12 Kelvedon bypass – Ewell Hall Chase bridge major repairs

Ewell Hall Chase bridge was successfully reinstated on May 21.

The bridge itself remains closed while additional concrete and joint works take place.

Pedestrians who use the bridge should continue to use the alternative route via Highfields Lane, Maldon Road, Ewell Hall Chase and vice versa.

A120 Marks Farm Roundabout (Braintree) to Marks Tey Roundabout (A12 junction 25) – resurfacing and lighting renewal

Work to deliver resurfacing and street lighting renewals is progressing well, despite ongoing challenges with statutory apparatus in the area. More information will be issued in coming weeks which will explain what work is left to complete along the A120.

From today, the A120 between Marks Farm Roundabout and West Street, Coggeshall, will be closed until the end of the week (overnight only).

A120 Wix bypass – drainage work

Work to repair the drainage in this area continues.

Temporary traffic signals and a temporary 40mph speed limit will be in place overnight, between 8pm and 5am, from today for four nights.

Work is due to be completed soon.

A12 Porters Park bridge, Boreham – waterproofing and resurfacing

The Porters Park bridge (Waltham Road) which runs over the A12 near junction 19 (Boreham) will be closed overnight on Wednesday (May 31) and Thursday (June 1) to enable minor resurfacing work to take place.

A120 Blackwater bridge, Bradwell – parapet and joint maintenance

Work to repair the bridge parapets has now been removed from the scope of this scheme, to avoid disrupting nesting swallows in the area.

Highways England will look to re-programme this work for later on in the year.

Bridge joint maintenance has yet to be programmed. Details will be published when available.

Access to properties

During road closures, drivers will only be allowed access to their properties if they are located within the closure extents, and there are no alternative routes available.

All other road users must use an alternative route.

Gatemen will not permit access to people who want to travel through the closure area and out the other side.

Drivers may be asked to wait for a crew member to escort them safely through the road closure – do not proceed alone.

Where possible, works will be carried out under using temporary traffic signals.

Greenpeace: leaked docs show UK lobbying to weaken EU climate rules

Greenpeace is reporting that leaked documents show the UK government lobbied Brussels to water down key EU climate and energy rules on the day Theresa May triggered Article 50.

The environmental organisation said that draft legislation it had obtained shows the Ministers attempted to weaken crucial EU goals to slash energy waste and boost renewable power despite the rules not coming into force until after Britain has left the EU.

The intervention, which took place on 29 March, was led by a British delegation that is formally part of the Department for Exiting the EU, headed by secretary of state David Davis.

According to Greenpeace, the timing of the move will add to concerns that the UK government could weaken European climate and environment safeguards once they are transposed into British law.

Commenting on the documents, Greenpeace UK’s Head of energy Hannah Martin said:

“The government is trying to lock the rest of the EU into weaker energy policies, just as we are leaving. The message ministers seem to be sending is that Brexit could trigger a race to the bottom and be used as cover for getting rid of key environmental safeguards.”

“Cutting energy waste and boosting some of the cheapest power sources like wind and solar is crucial to keep bills under control and slash carbon emissions. Theresa May should resist any attempts to hamper Britain’s progress towards a clean, affordable energy future and its promise of lasting jobs and economic growth.”

The leaked documents carry comments from UK government officials to the effect that key renewable and energy efficiency targets proposed by the European Commission should be reduced, made non-binding, or even scrapped altogether.

One of the laws the UK was lobbying to weaken is the revised Energy Efficiency Directive, a key component of the EU’s plan to tackle climate change by reducing fossil fuel use. The European Commission’s proposal would set a binding target of 30% increased energy efficiency by 2030 (compared to the ‘business as usual’ scenario), but the UK recommended it be reduced to 27% and made non-binding.

Tarmac wins £120m M25 surfacing deal

Tarmac has bagged a contract worth up to £120m to carry out pavement resurfacing across the M25.

The contract with M25 operator and maintainer Connect Plus will be worth around £10m a year and it is understood it could last for up to 12 years.

It will see the firm deliver pavement resurfacing across 440 km of M25 motorway and its arterial roads.

Tarmac has been working for Connect Plus for the last five years and the new deal is understood to be for six years, with an option to extend it for another six.

Made up of Balfour Beatty, Edge Orbital Holdings and Egis Projects, the Connect Plus consortium has a 30-year design, build and finance contract to operate and maintain the M25 network for Highways England.

The work will also include resurfacing of the roads, fine milling and joint sealing across the M25 with the aim of reducing whole-life costs and minimising maintenance demands on the network.

Tarmac Contracting managing director Paul Fleetham said: “This major award reflects our strong working relationship with Connect Plus and our proven track record of close collaboration with network operators to improve network capacity, minimise disruption and prioritise the safety of road users.

“As well as providing skilled delivery and technical expertise, we will draw on our extensive asphalt plant network in the South-east to provide on-demand access to high-quality materials.”

United Utilities announces additional £100m of new investment to improve resilience

United Utilities is making a further £100 million available to invest in resilience, according to its full year results for the year ended 31 March 2017 published this morning.

The company’s underlying operating profit rose 3% to £622.9 million. Total capital expenditure during the year, including £148 million of infrastructure renewals expenditure, was £804 million, in line with the company’s plans to accelerate the AMP6 investment programme.

The additional £100 million for resilience will take United Utilities’ total AMP6 investment 2015-20 to around £3.2 billion. The company also expects to invest over £100 million in non- regulated projects. This relates primarily to solar power, with £45 million invested in the first two years of AMP6.

United Utilities said it is progressively moving greater capability into its Integrated Control Centre to deliver a more proactive and predictive approach to monitoring its assets and networks.

The firm’s asset optimisation programme is continuing to deliver the benefits of increased and more effective use of operational site management to optimise power and chemical use.

In addition to the energy the firm already generates from bioresources, United Utilities is also developing other renewable energy facilities. The utility is working with a single engineering partner and four design and construction partners during AMP6.

The water company said it is involving partners much earlier in project definition and packaging them by type, geography and timing in order to deliver efficiencies. The projects are allocated on an incentive or competitive basis, leading partners to present a range of solutions, innovation and pricing.

The £804 million investment during the period has taken total AMP6 investment to £1.6 billion over the first two years. Accelerated investment had also delivered further operational and customer benefits and contributing to a net ODI reward of £6.7 million.

Commenting on its retail market joint venture Water Plus with Severn Trent, the utility said it had benefitted from first mover advantage. The Jv achieved a net gain through early switches in the market, demonstrating it is “well placed to compete” as the market evolves.

Steve Mogford, Chief Executive Officer, said:

“We have delivered a strong performance for our customers, shareholders and the environment in this second year of the 2015-20 regulatory period. This performance combined with our confidence in delivering a net outperformance over the regulatory period has enabled us to commit to a further £100m of additional investment in the region. This will support our resilience projects bringing additional customer benefits over the next three years.”

“We have achieved our best ever customer satisfaction scores under Ofwat’s Service Incentive Mechanism (SIM) ending the year in an upper quartile position amongst our peers. We introduced a number of innovations enhancing our customer service offering. One of the most successful, Priority Services, provides dedicated support to customers experiencing personal or financial difficulties.”

“The acceleration of our investment programme continued delivering the early benefit of operational efficiencies and means we have de-risked a number of our Outcome Delivery Incentive (ODI) measures. This contributed to another net ODI reward and improves our likely cumulative outcome over the five-year period. Our Systems Thinking approach is unparalleled in the sector and is delivering a radically different way of managing our business.”

“Our performance in the early part of this regulatory period puts us in an industry leading position and demonstrates that we are well placed to deliver further value for customers, shareholders and the environment. This is supported by a robust capital structure and good credit ratings.”

Could third runway approval mean years of misery for drivers?

Today is the final day of Government consultation on a third Heathrow runway but the airport’s biggest user has opposed the plan.

IAG, who own British Airways, say plans to build the new runway over the M25 will add up to £3 billion to the cost and could “de-rail” the entire scheme.

They say it would mean years of misery for drivers on the M25 and M4 while the work takes place.

It says a shorter runway option is the way forward. The existing plans would mean BA’s HQ also being demolished.

IAG say the current £17 billion scheme is “over inflated” and a shorter runway, that didn’t mean going over the M25, would be more affordable.

The Government is consulting on a third runway ahead of a vote by MP’s early next year.

Under the scheme backed by officials the new runway would be over the M25 and run parallel to the M4.

In its submission to the Government’s consultation on its Airports National Policy Statement, which closes today IAG says there’s no detailed risk and cost analysis of Heathrow’s plans to build over one of Europe’s busiest motorways.

IAG estimates bridging the M25, close to the M4 junction, would cost £2-3 billion on top of Heathrow’s already over-inflated £17 billion bill for the third runway. All costs will be paid for by airlines’ customers.

In its submission, IAG says that Heathrow is the best option for expansion. However, the airport needs to focus on a shorter runway (3200m rather than 3500m) that doesn’t breach the M25 and is delivered to a business case that keeps current charges the same or lower than today’s.

It also welcomes credible schemes from promoters other than Heathrow. IAG says this would ensure customers get the very best scheme, built at an affordable price, which delivers a competitive new Heathrow for the UK economy post-Brexit.”


Airlines were never consulted on the runway length and they can operate perfectly well from a slightly shorter runway that doesn’t cross the M25. Bridging the M25 means years of disruption on a motorway already plagued by delays and congestion. As well as increased costs, this will have a huge impact not only on motorists but on local communities around Heathrow.

The airport has yet to produce a business plan that assesses the financial implications and risks of bridging the M25. We will not pay for a runway that threatens both costs and delays spiralling out of control and where critical elements of the project could be undeliverable.

Britain needs cost-effective airport infrastructure that benefits the country rather than Heathrow’s shareholders. It is already the world’s most expensive hub airport and customer charges must not increase to pay for the new runway. We urge the Government to benchmark Heathrow’s costs against other similar global schemes.”

New technology boosts Yorkshire Water’s response to major incidents

Yorkshire Water has invested in new technology and equipment to help support its response to incidents to ensure that it continue to provide essential services whatever the circumstance.

A new incident room located at the water company’s Head Office in Bradford was officially opened last week.

Yorkshire Water holds incident meetings during emergencies such as the flooding at Christmas 2015 -the new high tech room will support its response to such events.

To support the new strategic incident room, the utility has also invested in a new incident vehicle that can be deployed across the region at a moment’s notice. The vehicle is fitted with state of the art technology so it is capable of linking up with the Incident Room in Bradford to provide real time updates.

Yorkshire Water has also invested in other key pieces of equipment needed in an emergency, including drinking water tanks, pumps and temporary flood barriers that are stored across the region so they can be quickly deployed.

Under legislation known as the Security and Emergency Measures Direction (SEMD), the water company needs to be prepared for every eventuality. The firm is a secondary responder to emergency incidents and works closely with the Local Resilience Forum, which includes blue light services and the Environment Agency. It is hoped the new room will help support Local Resilience Forums across the region during major emergency incidents.

Steve Roper, Service Delivery Centre Manager said:

“Supplying Yorkshire with clean water and taking it away to treat is a big job and we take our responsibility very seriously. Our control room is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and we have a number of colleagues who keep the water flowing around the region from our base here in Bradford. Our new incident room will help us to continue to provide this service even when circumstances and events make it difficult to do so. This will ultimately allow us to become more resilient.”

“By having an incident room of the future we can respond to incidents better and have a base for making important strategic decisions.”

Roadworker delivers lifesaving skills on the carriageway

On 7th April 2017 John McGowan went off to work for a ‘routine night’ on the roads, unaware of the heroics he was about to perform. On that night, an accident on the M62 Eastbound carriageway involving a minibus, its driver and its passengers would test John’s first aid & health and safety training to the max.

Video footage from the Dashcam of the Chevron Vehicle captures the intense moments when the mini bus veers into the central reservation and flips over. John pulls over as other drivers pass to help on the scene.

Having witnessed the minibus veer into the central reserve and flip onto its side, John pulled over onto the hard shoulder and contacted the emergency services, before using his TM training to safely cross the carriageway.

On attending the scene, he found that the driver was partially lying in lane 3 of the opposing carriageway. He managed to carefully move his legs out of the carriageway before performing lifesaving first aid in order to resuscitate the driver.

John, Business Improvement Assessor at Chevron Traffic Management gave us his account of how the event unfolded:

“I was witness to a road traffic accident at around 00:20. As first on the scene I completed a personal risk assessment and deemed it necessary to cross.

“Before I crossed I contacted the emergency services and requested HETO (Highways England Traffic Officer), Ambulance and Fire assistance as I could see there was a major incident involving a minibus. I noticed the elderly driver had been ejected from the vehicle involved to then later discover a total of 7 people on board.

“On first examination, I noticed that the driver wasn’t breathing, but I couldn’t perform CPR due to his position on the ground. I continued with chest compressions until he gasped a breath and he then began to breath unassisted.

“I then checked the van for further casualties but there were none to the same degree of urgent care or attention required- all of the passengers in the minibus could talk, so at that point I moved away from the passengers knowing that the gentleman who had been unconscious was my priority in terms of safety. I returned to the driver, held his hand, reassured and talked to him until the fire brigade came.

“I left the incident around 1:05am, with all of the passengers out of the minibus and able to walk. The gentleman who was the driver of the vehicle was still on the floor, but stable and in the hands of the emergency services.”

Tim Cockayne, Chevron’s Managing Director commented:

“John’s calmness and skills under pressure to save this gentleman’s life should be commended not just by Chevron, but by the entire highways industry as a whole.

Our staff, as well as all other staff and operatives across the industry are routinely put through training courses to gain the knowledge and skills to handle these situations in the manner in which John has shown.

In my opinion- albeit in a terribly unfortunate situation- it’s a big tick for our industry that the effectiveness of our training practices is there for all to see. Without the proper training, what is a horrific situation for the driver and passengers in that minibus could have been a whole lot worse.”

Major resurfacing work to start on the Cromarty Bridge

Motorists are being urged to prepare for a major resurfacing project is due to get under way on a key A9 bridge.

The £300,000 scheme will see almost the entire length of the Cromarty Bridge resurfaced over a four week period.

Work is due to start tomorrow evening and will be carried out by Bear Scotland.

The bridge carries the A9 Inverness to Thurso road across the Cromarty Firth.

The roads agency say that the improvements will involve laying a high performance road surface, designed to make the bridge smoother for motorists and more resilient to harsh conditions experienced on the exposed crossing.

Resurfacing will take place from 7pm until 7am each night, working on Sunday nights to Friday mornings.

No works will take place on the busier Friday or Saturday nights.

Temporary traffic lights will be in place overnight on the bridge during working hours only.

These will be removed during the daytime and at weekends to limit the impact to traffic.

The £300,000 surfacing improvements are taking place ahead of future refurbishments planned for four of the bridge spans on the bridge, set to get underway later this year.

The major structural project was due to begin in April but was pushed back.

It is expected to take around six months once it has begun.

The remaining section of the bridge will be resurfaced once this work has been carried out, meaning the almost entire mile long span of the bridge will have been upgraded.

Eddie Ross, Bear Scotland’s north-west representative, said: “The investment of £300,000 will allow us to keep the A9 Cromarty Bridge operating safely for motorists for years to come while the future refurbishment works are completed.

“We have taken steps to avoid impacting motorists by completing the works at night and avoiding working on Friday and Saturday nights. We thank motorists in advance for their patience while the resurfacing improvements are completed.”

Southern Water tenders £multi-million AMP6 Thanet Sewers main works contract

Southern Water has gone out to tender with a multi-million pound contract for the Thanet Sewers rehabilitation phase 2 main works contract – the water company is seeking a contractor to complete the construction works.

The Thanet Sewers scheme is a groundwater protection programme of works to rehabilitate the existing sewers which is being delivered in three phases over AMPs 5, 6 and 7. The tender covers the AMP 6 phase – the 2nd phase of the scheme will address potential defects in the sewer system, principally in the Ramsgate and Broadstairs catchments.

The 160km sewer system is unusual in that there are an estimated 17km of sewers laid within purpose dug, unsupported underground tunnels within the chalk strata, to achieve the depths required for a gravity flow system in the local topography.

Southern Water estimates that 35km to 55km of the network will require rehabilitation works and the addition of flood storage / attenuation works.

The works are subject to change  – outline design solutions are currently being developed.

An estimated 35km to 55km of the network will require rehabilitation works and flood storage/attenuation works, including:

  • Sewer pipe rehabilitation (patch repairs and relining) or replacement sewers.
  • Enabling access works, condition survey, structural repair of tunnels and preparation works within tunnels for lining works
  • Repairs to broken sewer and lateral pipes within tunnels
  • Lining tunnels (structural CIPP or other methods) and tunnel sealing at manhole entrances.
  • Construction of flood storage tanks /tank sewers/upsizing existing sewers or other attenuation and storage measures
  • Construction of new sewers, manholes and access shafts
  • Detail design of all construction solutions

Time limit for receipt of tenders or requests to participate is 16th June 2017 – click here to access the tender documentation.