Articles & Case Studies

Severn Trent Water Up-Skills with Hydro Training Initiative

Posted: Wednesday 30th October 2013

SQUEEZING the best-possible performance out of wastewater assets is becoming increasingly important to water utilities as they start to consider the challenges of AMP 6. Undertaking more preventative maintenance to optimize through-life efficiency of equipment is a growing priority.

With ‘prevention’ better than ‘cure’, training operating staff to ensure plant is maintained correctly and operated with minimal power consumption is essential. Severn Trent Water is just one water company taking a more pro-active approach to training its wastewater treatment plant operators. Hydro International’s training specialist Lorne Martin explains:

“Training may not be the most original idea, or the latest innovation –but we know it works. A thorough review of operators’ knowledge of a particular piece of equipment can reap dividends. It could even avoid a plant failure, or, worse still, a breach of discharge consents.

“If plant is operating well, availability will improve and power consumption could be reduced. There will be less time and cost wasted in equipment downtime. Severn Trent Water has taken a forward-thinking approach to ensuring all its staff have the skills needed to make the most of installed plant.”

Hydro developed a bespoke training package for Severn Trent Water and trained 98 operators over a three month period to build their knowledge of DynaSand® filters. After the training the operator feedback suggested those with a ‘good’ level of knowledge had increased from 22% to 74%.

Severn Trent Water has in excess of 100 DynaSand® filters from Hydro International operating across 31 sites in the West Midlands. Some have been in operation for more than 25 years. Ensuring that Severn Trent Water maintains water quality within consent limits is critical and in every case the Hydro-installed DynaSand® filters are a key element of the tertiary treatment process, providing a final polish before discharge to the river system.

Severn Trent Water has operated a Service Contract with Hydro International for its DynaSand® units for 9 years and approached Hydro to conduct the training as part of requirements for major reorganisation of their WWT site operations according to catchment.

“As part of the reorganisation, we have undertaken a major project to upskill all our operators and to ensure staff being redeployed to new sites are fully trained in the sand filtration equipment,” explains Andrew Seed, assistant contracts manager with Severn Trent Water.

“At the same time we identified that sometimes a lack of knowledge was resulting in inefficient operation of the equipment. In particular, saving costs by reducing power consumption was another important objective. By increasing the operators’ skill levels, we were able to identify better ways to run the plant.”

“Feedback from all those that completed the course was extremely positive. There was a good mix of classroom sessions and site-based demonstrations. Operators are a now a lot more confident about their knowledge of the equipment and that gives confidence to us, too, that our sites are operating effectively.”

Severn Trent Water first contracted Hydro International to maintain the DynaSand® assets in 2004, in a series of renewable annual contracts. In the past five years, the servicing costs per DynaSand® unit have reduced by 19.3%. The average cost per remedial visit has also reduced by about 25%.

“Severn Trent Water very much favours a preventative maintenance approach to plant operation,” adds Andrew. “Over time, the effectiveness of the approach can be seen to pay dividends and Hydro has demonstrated a significant reduction in overall maintenance costs.”

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