The treatment of water

I am really enjoying my new appointment as Chair of the Customer Challenge Group at South East Water [for details, see here]. The issues are complex but fascinating and my new colleagues are very professional and supportive. But you would not believe how much there is to learn.

I’ve now been to the Snodland Head Office of the company on four days for detailed briefings from senior managers and regulatory staff. Currently I’m in the process of two days of site visits to parts of the company’s operations.

On Friday, I was in the Western Region with the Head of Operations for the region Doug Whitfield and the Capital & Programme Manager Tanya Sephton.

We started at the Bray Water Treatment Works which has just been renamed the Keleher works to mark the premature death of a much-admired colleague. This site abstracts up to 30 million litres of water a day from the River Thames and then treats it in five stages with complicated names and impressive results:

  1. pre-ozonation
  2. coagulation, flocculation and settlement
  3. sand filtration
  4. inter ozonation and granulated activated carbon contratcors
  5. disinfection

Here I was first introduced to the vital term turbidity which is the cloudiness of a liquid and a key measure of water quality [more information here].

Then we went to to visit the company’s laboratories at Frimley. You would be amazed at how much testing of water quality is conducted at every stage of the ┬ádelivery process – including the tap in the kitchen – every day of the year. The labs do around 700,000 tests a year looking for anything between one and 60 characteristics.

After a light lunch, we went out to Farnham to look at some pipe laying and repair work. This is subcontracted out to Clancy Docwra. Finally we called into an unmanned Water Treatment Works at Bourne. This takes water from a nearby bore hole.

Inspecting water treatment equipment at Bray

Examining testing facilities at Frimley

Visiting external works in Farnham

One Comment

  • Chris Sutcliffe

    Hi Roger, very interesting H20.
    I was President of the Institute of Sport & Recreation Management – Northern Branch in my past life. (turbidity, flocculation, break-point chlorination, Nitrogen Tri-chloride etc etc)
    Swimming pools are my favourite-ish topic. If I can offer any assistance at all just please let me know.


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