An Edinburgh science hub has a new helping hand – a-state-of-the art automated robot which is being used to test water quality.
The benchtop robot has been installed at Scottish Water’s Juniper House laboratory in Currie.
It is used by the utility’s Scientific Services department which carries out a range of vital tests on all of the country’s drinking water. Specialists in its Inorganics team work every day to check the pH, colour, turbidity and conductivity of water.
The tests are carried out on water taken from customer taps, reservoirs, water treatment works, swimming pools and private water supplies.
The work was previously carried out on a machine called a Peerless Auto Analyser, which was coming to the end of its user life. Although effective it took up a large space in the relatively small labs and also needed large volumes of samples (meaning bigger bottles) and chemicals for tests to be carried out.
Anna Figueras Carril of Scottish Water said: “We wanted a more compact and reliable piece of equipment and, ideally one with bigger capacity to sample and test different waters. When we came across the robots we knew they ticked every box.
“Increasing customer demand – in terms of growing and changing populations and tighter water quality regulations – means we are carrying out more tests on drinking water than ever, over 500 tests per day. Drinking water regulations are increasingly more stringent, meaning that Scottish Water has to test samples more often to ensure that the quality of our water is never compromised.
“The robots mean we will have much less wastage in terms of water and chemicals needed for testing and also a reduction in plastic, as we will be able to use smaller sample bottles. This will all help Scottish Water get a step closer to its net zero emissions target by 2040.”
Improvements in robotics have meant that the instrument’s footprint is smaller than the previous auto analyser but with a similar capacity. Having two analysers will almost double our capacity in the Edinburgh site. The company behind the robots has made every effort to make the process as efficient as possible.
The robot works by moving its pH and conductivity probe into each sample and drawing a portion of sample to the turbidity meter and colour spectrophotometer. Despite being slower than the previous auto analyser, the new robot is more robust and reliable and it has enabled us to extend the method ranges and lower the detection levels in line with the tighter water quality regulations. Scotland is famous for its peaty waters, so increasing the range of colour and turbidity saves a lot of analyst time as samples will not need to be diluted prior to analysis.
The previous water analyser used for testing started operating at the Edinburgh site in 2010. It handled around 200 samples a day from all over Scotland, excluding the Highlands and Islands, which are analysed at the utility’s Inverness lab. It was starting to cost a lot of money for repairs as it was nearing the end of its life, which meant spare parts were becoming increasingly hard to find and costly.
The new robotic equipment is so state-of-the art specialist engineers from the Netherlands had to fly over to install the robot. This is where the robots are manufactured, meaning that the installation was carried out by engineers that know the robots inside and out.
The engineers also trained a reduced number of staff in the use of the instrument due to Coronavirus restrictions. Further training will be carried out internally to the rest of the team, ensuring that the knowledge is successfully and thoroughly passed on.
The team plan to install another robot in Edinburgh by the end of the year which will allow Scottish Water to keep up with demand and ensure compliance.
Scottish Water will restart work on its £3.2 million investment to improve the waste water infrastructure in Eyemouth to protect against flooding.
The work was due to start in March but was postponed due to the Covid-19 lockdown. It will start next Monday (27 July) in line with changes to Scottish Government guidance.
The project will increase the capacity of the sewer network to better protect properties and streets from external and internal flooding. It is due to last around eight months.
A small number of properties in the town have experienced internal flooding at times of heavy rainfall, which can overwhelm the sewer network.
One hundred and twenty metres of larger sewer pipes will be installed along Church Street and a new underground storm water storage tank will be built under the public car park.
The project will be delivered by Scottish Water’s alliance partner amey Black& Veatch (aBV).
Scott Fraser, Scottish Water’s Regional Corporate Affairs Manager, said: “In line with Scottish Government guidance we temporarily stopped work on this essential project when lockdown began. Due to changes in the guidance we are now able to restart work next week.
We appreciate this will mean this work will continue well into 2021 and thank the community for their patience and understanding while this work is carried out.”
He added: “Sewer flooding causes a great deal of distress for householders and it also has a detrimental effect on the local environment. This work should significantly reduce the risk of future sewer flooding in Eyemouth.”
Dunfermline Waste Water Treatment Works has turned to green energy to boost Scottish Water’s pledge to reach net zero emissions by 2040.
It is the latest Scottish Water site to have solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels installed. Scottish Water Horizons, our commercial subsidiary, invested £300,000 installing 784 PV panels at the work which serves around 81,000 customers in Dunfermline, Inverkeithing, Dalgety Bay, Crossgates, Rosyth and Kingseat.
The carbon-reducing technology – which works by converting light into electricity using semi conducting materials – will offset almost ten per cent of the electricity required to operate the facility.
The new 231 kW solar PV system will generate 0.2GWHr of energy on an annual basis – equivalent to powering 55 homes for a year.
Renewable energy experts FES Support Services delivered the project on behalf of Scottish Water Horizons. The panels are now in place and operating on an area of previously unused waste ground at the site which is in St Margaret’s Bay, which is just below the Queensferry Crossing on the north shore. The work was completed before the middle of March before lockdown conditions over the Covid-19 pandemic began.
Eddie Johnstone, Senior Project Manager at Scottish Water Horizons, said: “This is the latest solar power scheme which we have delivered to encourage growth and invest in renewable technologies.
“These carbon-reducing solar schemes demonstrate Scottish Water’s drive to tackle climate change and become a zero carbon user of electricity.
“The energy needed to provide customers with essential water and waste water services makes Scottish Water the largest single user of electricity in the country and we are fully committed to finding alternative ways to develop and accelerate green energy schemes to reduce our carbon footprint.
Lewis Deas, Scottish Water’s Waste Water Operations Manager, added: “Customers in the Dunfermline area should be pleased to hear this waste water site is operating in a way which now has a lower impact on the environment than ever before and using technology which will help drive down operating costs at the works too.”
To date 8.2MW of photovoltaic (PV) power has now been installed at over 43 SW sites generating 6.5 GWh of renewable energy annually.
Last year Scottish Water achieved a major energy milestone when it was announced the amount of renewable energy the company generates and facilitates is now more than double its electricity consumption.
Currently 73 of Scottish Water’s water and waste water treatment are now either self-sufficient or partly sufficient in their power requirements.
These projects contribute to the Scottish Government’s ambitious new targets for Scottish Water which sets out that the utility will generate or host three times the energy it uses by 2030.
It is nestled away in a remote part of East Lothian – yet many people have no idea it is there and is one of Scottish Water’s most environmentally friendly sites.
Castle Moffat Water Treatment Works, just south of Garvald, abstracts water from Whiteadder Reservoir and is generating more energy than it uses.
The site provides on average 21 Ml/day of clean, fresh drinking water to approximately 47,000 customers across all of East Lothian.
This self-sufficiency is a result of hydro power which is supplied by a new state of the art generator and control panel which were upgraded in a £200,000 investment last May. The original hydroturbine, which is more than 50 years old, was installed on the site in 1992 and was in need of refurbishment.
Castle Moffat WTW is the only Scottish Water asset where pumped water is used to power a site. The water is pumped from Hungry Snout Pumping Station at Whiteadder Reservoir, over Friar’s Nose Hill and then drops by gravity to the site inlet. It generates 750,000 kWh/annum – enough to power 2,416 homes.
The site uses around 80 per cent of the electricity it generates from the turbine with the remaining 20% exported to National Grid.
Claire Chapman, Renewable Generation Manager at Scottish Water, said: “Castle Moffat is a unique site of ours. It is our only water treatment work where we have a hydroturbine on a pumped water supply. The introduction of the Feed in Tariffs in 2010 have meant that typically, only gravity-fed hydroturbines have been promoted across Scotland, as pumped sites did not attract funding. However, because we offset nearly all the electricity generated at the Treatment Works, it is still a financially viable site for Scottish Water.
“This is a good example of how Scottish Water uses innovative technology to best adapt to Scotland’s topography, to build sites that best serve its customers. And in this case it is not only a very clever technically built site in terms of how it pumps water but how it able to harnesses hydro power and use that energy to operate the site which is great news for the environment.
“At times Castle Moffat also gives electricity to the National Grid, showing it is possible to maximize the economic advantages that can come from Scottish Water assets.”
“Castle Moffat is really important in terms of the direction we’re moving in with our carbon footprint and trying to reduce the amount of electricity we use. Using renewable technology like hydro and getting greater value from our day-to-day practices is helping us play our part in tackling the climate change emergency.”
Treating water is an energy intensive process and with Scottish Water’s carbon footprint dominated by electricity at around 69%, natural resources are being put to good use at Castle Moffat works and off-setting the site’s power consumption.
A range of renewable initiatives like at the one Castle Moffat are helping Scottish Water make a significant contribution to Scotland’s national economic, carbon and renewable energy targets.
More than 70 of the company’s water and wastewater treatment works are either self-sufficient or partly sufficient in their power requirements, leading to lower operating costs and a more sustainable business.
For further information please contact Scottish Water Corporate Affairs team on 0131 445 6882.
Veolia has been recognised for outstanding commitment to workplace training by gaining a Princess Royal Training Award (PRTA) for its recent initiative: Respect at Work.
The awards were presented by HRH Princess Anne, at a ceremony held at St James’s Palace in London last night – 30 October.
This training programme was developed by Veolia to help their operative workforce, who are out working with the general public on a daily basis, better manage the regular abuse they receive from members of the public.
The Princess Royal Training Awards (PRTAs) recognises employers whose training and development programmes have had a direct impact on business performance and show compelling, irrefutable evidence of how training has directly influenced business results.
Veolia had identified the verbal and physical abuse of their employees by members of the public as a significant issue and designed the wide ranging training programme. The programme was implemented by the dedicated People Development team and a training bus that was deployed across the UK in order to maximise reach across operational sites. These were supported by a project team with representatives from HR, QHS and Communications. After around 3,500 employees completed Respect at Work training, the company received an unprecedented positive feedback rate of 99% from those who answered the survey, with 97% saying they had learned a new skill.
Gavin Graveson, Executive Vice-President, Veolia UK & Ireland commented:
“This award is a huge achievement and it shows the commitment Veolia has not only to learning and people development, but for the wellbeing of employees too. With Safety as the first strategic objective of our safety culture , the need for employees to be given the knowledge and training required to protect themselves from incidents of abuse by members of the public is very important.”
Chris Jones, Chief Executive of the City & Guilds Group said:
“The work that HR and L&D teams do to train, upskill and reskill teams is critical; helping individuals to reach their potential and find meaningful employment, while supporting businesses in developing the skills for success, and ultimately producing the productive workforce we so urgently need. The organisations we recognise today all provide compelling evidence that tangibly proves the value that comes from investing in people.”
Now in their fourth year, the Princess Royal Training Awards Commission recognised 48 workplace learning programmes for an award in 2019. Established by global skills development body: City & Guilds Group, the PRTAs recognise employers with outstanding training and development programmes that have had a direct impact on business performance. Organisations that met the standard in 2019 range from global firms such as Veolia, to local businesses with fewer than 50 employees.
For more information visit www.veolia.co.uk
Some of the registration and renewal fees of the Professional Registrations that we administrate will increase from the 1st January 2019.
These fees are decided by the Professional Bodies and not the Institute of Water.
The fees for 2019 are:
Environment Registration Fees by the Society for the Environment
- For Chartered Environmentalists (CEnv), the new registration fee will be £86 and the annual renewal fee will be £43.
- For Registered Environmental Technician (REnvTech), the new registration fee will be £40 and the annual renewal fee will be £20.
Engineering Registration Fees by the Engineering Council
- For Chartered Engineer (CEng), the new registration fee will be £51.90 and the annual renewal fee will be £39.90.
- For Incorporated Engineer (IEng), the new registration fee will be £43.80 and the annual renewal fee will be £33.80.
- For Engineering Technician (EngTech), the new registration fee will be £17.90 and the annual renewal fee will be £19.40.
Registration and renewal fees by the Science Council for all science registrations will remain unchanged for 2019.
You’ll also be pleased to hear that there will be no increase in Institute of Water Membership fees.