Mott MacDonald to provide surface and groundwater quality modelling for Anglian Water, UK

Posted: Tuesday 28th February 2012

Mott MacDonald has been appointed by Anglian Water Services in Cambridge to provide surface and groundwater quality modelling to help improve drinking water quality. The modelling is part of Anglian Water’s strategy to improve drinking water quality through catchment management, being implemented between 2010 and 2015. Mott MacDonald’s appointment follows on from a pilot study which the consultancy undertook for Anglian Water in 2010-11.

Catchment management is a method of influencing raw water quality at its source by managing land use practices on a catchment scale. This project involves modelling the behaviour of pesticides, particularly metaldehyde, at 13 water treatment works which are supplied from surface water sources such as rivers and reservoirs. It also involves modelling concentrations of nitrates and pesticides at seven groundwater sources, which is water located beneath the ground surface in pore spaces and in fractures of soil and rocks.

The consultancy will use the SWAT¹ model for surface water catchments and the WAVE², Modflow³ and MT3D4 models for groundwater areas. The objectives of the modelling are to produce a simulation of pesticide and nitrate concentrations at the treatment works for past, current and potential future conditions. The modelling will demonstrate the effects of no change to current conditions or alternatively large scale changes in land use and/or application of pesticides and fertilisers.

Project director Jane Dottridge said: “Mott MacDonald has significant expertise in both catchment management and diffuse pollution, which are very topical as regulators and water companies have to comply with the Water Framework Directive5. Diffuse pollution is the most difficult aspect of compliance as it refers to pollution covering a large area without one single defined source and is often associated with land use practices. Catchment management could be a sustainable, environmentally friendly and low carbon impact solution to improving water quality as opposed to building new water treatment plants. This may have a significant impact both in construction and operation through use of chemicals and energy.”

Mott MacDonald’s commission is due to be completed early 2015.

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