Showcasing the latest technologies and innovations in energy efficiency, energy recovery, water and waste water management
March 28th 2014
Sustainability Live will take place next week at the NEC in Birmingham. Held over three days, from Tuesday the 1st to Thursday the 3rd of April, the event is actually three events which all take place under one roof, showcasing the latest technologies and innovations in energy efficiency, energy recovery, water and waste water management.
The event features over 200 exhibitors and a full timetable of keynote speakers and presentations, including a joint presentation by hydrogeologist Steve Buss from the environmental consultancy ESI Ltd and Jodie Whitehead from Severn Trent Water. The title of their presentation: Is catchment management feasible for securing good quality public water supply from groundwater?
Summary: a catchment management approach to reducing nitrate concentrations
Severn Trent Water has investigated 36 groundwater sources in its AMP5 phase of the National Environment Programme. The purpose of this investigation was to assess whether catchment management could be used to significantly improve raw water quality. Of the 36 sources, 33 were investigated for nitrate, three for pesticides and one each for solvents and Cryptosporidium. This presentation will focus on the work undertaken on the sources at risk of rising nitrate concentrations.
The work looked at information on historical loading of nitrate in the groundwater source catchments. Using this information, models were developed to trend historical concentration data. The models were then used to forecast future concentration trends. In most cases, it was confidently shown that concentrations will either level out or start to decline within the next ten to twenty years. Some others will be taken out of public supply because of sustainability reductions. This allowed the focus of the investigation to shift on the remainder.
A combination of ‘light touch’ measures was identified that would not compromise farm profitability; but these measures are expected to result in less than a 10% reduction in nitrate loading at the catchment scale. Greater loading reductions could only be achieved by significant changes in agricultural practice, but these are considered unfeasible given the timescales that are involved in subsurface nitrate movement. Consequently, operational management of the sources, or an upgrade of existing treatment works, has been proposed. However, more confident predictions of future concentrations show that peak concentrations will be achieved later, and at lower levels, than originally expected.
Consultation work has shown that Severn Trent customers and stakeholders strongly support greater catchment management and partnership working to protect raw water sources and to avoid the need for expensive treatment. To ensure that this is the case, cost benefit assessments have also been undertaken alongside catchment investigations. The overall conclusion was that catchment management has a lower whole life cost compared to traditional treatment solutions and has the potential to be cost effective for Severn Trent Water.
Notes to Editors
Sustainability Live consists of three events which all take place under one roof. One event, organised by NEMEX, showcases energy efficiency, carbon management, building energy management systems, and renewable energy. The second, organised by Energy Recovery, showcases the latest technology for minimising waste and converting waste to energy. The third, organised by IWEX, showcases water and wastewater management. For further information, see Sustainability Live.
The Environment Agency’s National Environment Programme sets out the environmental improvement schemes which will ensure that water companies deliver on their commitments, including those set by EU Directives, such as the Water Framework Directive and Habitats Directive and national targets.
AMP: Asset Management Programme.