All posts by getmanicminer

31Oct/14

The Necessity of Detecting and Repairing Your Commercial Water Leak

water leakIn the everyday bustle of your business, a small water leak may seem like a minor issue. However, where the water surfaces is not usually where the trouble lies. Thankfully, services are set up for commercial water leak detection and commercial water leak repair. Here’s why you should call them at the first sign of a water leak.

The Financial Loss

Water consumption charges are the most obvious way your business will lose money. The cost of this shouldn’t be underestimated, with a moderate leak of 1 litre per second adding approximately £55,000 to your annual water costs. Added to that is the loss of water pressure, plus the cost of buildings, machinery, and other equipment that have been damaged by the leak. Worst of all, if the leak is in a vital business or production area, the risk of non-productivity is immense. Water leaks get progressively worse, so contact a water detection and repair company before the costs rise further.

Time is of the Essence

water leakThe first concern in leak detection and repair is ensuring you can quickly return to business as usual. Although the leak may have been occurring underground for years, and the source of the leak won’t be immediately apparent, the goal is to detect it quickly.

Site Surveys to Detect the Leak

Professional leak detectors will conduct a full site survey to find the source of the leak. Your mains water supplies will be extensively mapped and zoned, while average daily use and flow rates will be recorded, and flow and pressure tests undertaken. Finally, acoustic correlation and ground microphones will be used to precisely locate the source of the leak. You’ll be pleased to know that this can all be done without disruption to your businesses water supply or productivity.

Repairing the Leak

Once the leak is detected, civil engineers will immediately start repair work. Leak repair typically involves further mapping, repair or replacement of external water supplies, and reinstatement of the surface areas. While it’s impossible to know exactly how much work will be required until the leak is detected, you will be informed and consulted throughout the process. The key with water leaks is to have them eliminated as quickly as possible. Contacting a water leak detection and repair company now will prove more cost effective than waiting for things to get worse.

26Aug/14

Why You Need a Surface Water Survey

The sewer system allows rainfall to drain away and helps prevent flooding. But this service is not free, and charges may be substantial. Find out how a surface water survey can save you money.

What Are Surface Water Drainage Charges?

Surface Water SurveysWater companies charge for the service of draining surface water. This means you have to pay for any water that drains into public sewers from your site. However, the calculations made to determine the charges are complex, and inaccuracies are common.

Charges are normally determined according to the size of a property, so the larger your site the more you will have to pay. However, you can receive deductions for areas of your property where natural drainage occurs, since no water drains to public sewers.

Consequently, you have an opportunity to pay lower bills should you take steps to increase areas of natural drainage. This will also reduce stress on the sewer system.

A Surface Water Survey Can Save You Money

Unfortunately, water companies often lack the resources to make the necessary calculations. So they estimate the size of your site and the size of the area chargeable for water drainage.

Frequently, these sizes are overestimated, meaning you could be charged too much for water drainage services.

A surface water survey can help to clear up any inaccuracies and determine exactly how much you should be charged. First, the latest mapping technology examines your site for signs of any potential overcharging. If the results suggest your site may be smaller than the water company’s estimation, or that the amount of natural drainage has been miscalculated, it will then be surveyed to give an exact determination. In some instances, a non-connection can be determined whereby all surface water is found to be draining away naturally, i.e. to a local river. This is where the biggest savings can be made.

Armed with indisputable evidence, including professional drawings, you can then apply to the water company for a refund of any previous overcharges, and ensure you are billed accurately in future. Given the substantial costs involved in water drainage, particularly for larger properties, a surface water survey may represent a sizeable saving.

Other Ways to Save Money

Surface water surveys are not the only way you can save on your surface water drainage costs. Here are a couple of additional options:

• Install a Soakway

A soakway is a man-made hole in the ground that collects rainwater and allows it to drain away naturally. The more surface water you collect this way, the less you’ll have to pay for drainage costs, depending on your water company’s policy.

• Replace Surfaces

If you have surfaces such as asphalt, which do not allow rainwater to soak through, you are adding to your drainage costs. Replacing these with permeable surfaces could save you money – provided the permeable surface isn’t linked to the water company sewer.

But always remember, these changes will only benefit you if your water company’s estimation takes them into account – something that doesn’t always happen.

The best way to make sure you are billed correctly is to get a surface water survey. This will make sure your payments are calculated according to your site’s true specifications, and allow you to reclaim any previous overcharges.

08Jul/14

Costs and Benefits of Installing a Greywater Recycling System

Greywater systems are becoming more popular in the UK, with adoption continuing to rise as technology improves, environmental regulations tighten and awareness increases. The most compelling argument for installing a system is the amount of water you can save in your business operations.

Greywater recycling has been shown to reduce water use by as much as 40%. Typically, a system will pay for itself in three to five years. Businesses that install greywater systems are eligible for the Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) scheme to contribute to the costs.

grey water recyclingWhat is Greywater?

In this instance, greywater refers to the wastewater from showers, baths, and sinks. This water is still relatively clean after use and once it has passed through the system it can be reused for flushing toilets and irrigating gardens.

Environmentally conscious businesses have traditionally installed rainwater collection systems and used this as an alternative source of water. However, greywater recycling systems typically have a quicker return on investment and aren’t dependent on the level of rainfall, meaning you can save water all year round.

How Does It Work?
 
The system collects wastewater from washbasins, showers, and baths. This water is fed into the greywater system to be filtered and pumped into a storage tank. Here it sits until there is a demand, at which time it is then pumped out of the tank for reuse in toilet flushing or irrigation.

Once in place, a greywater recycling system is fairly low maintenance and typically only requires an annual visual inspection.

grey water recyclingIs a Grey Water System Right for You?
 
To truly maximise your return on a greywater system, it should be designed into the building prior to construction due to the requirement for specific pipework and space for the filtration and storage tanks. Retrofitting these components will often prove too cost prohibitive and cause disruption to your business.

Greywater recycling is ideally suited to hotels, leisure centres, large office and residential blocks as there is a constant supply of water used in baths, basins and showers which can meet the demand of flushing toilets and irrigating gardens.

The ECA program has made greywater systems very appealing to UK businesses, since they are able to write off the entire investment cost for the system against taxable profits. The need for improved water efficiency is only going to increase, so installing a greywater system will not only realise cost and consumption savings now but also prepare your business for the future.

To learn more, or for a no-obligation chat about installing a system, contact Waterscan, the UK’s leading provider of water management services.

15May/14

Water Audit

Water AuditA water audit provides you with a full understanding of water use within your company. It enables effective management and maintenance of a sites water infrastructure, including the identification of any areas of inefficiency.
The main purpose of a water audit is to highlight the potential savings and how these can be achieved, whether it is through maintenance and repair of pipework, replacing older fixtures with more water efficient ones or locating supply abnormalities.

The audit will provide a complete insight into the use of water throughout the whole of the site. It combines an analysis of your water supply, including waste removal and effluent discharge, with the data provided from on-site observations. The process will identify where water use and costs can be reduced in order to help the business become more efficient and sustainable. The audit also enables the business to establish targets and goals. These targets are usually environmental but also include cost, consumption, customer perception through CSR and specific business related objectives.

The impact that the audit can have is invaluable as it provides the baseline on which the targets can be set and measured. A water audit has different stages and begins with a site survey where a technician with vast experience observes the processes currently in place and builds an understanding of where water is being used, areas of high consumption, where waste occurs and how savings can be made.

The data is then analysed to produce water consumption patterns which are benchmarked versus industry standards; this gives data to support the on-site audit findings. The next stage of the audit validates all charges levied by water companies from assessing meter capacity and accuracy, testing the integrity of supply and any historical charges. The analysis will show opportunities where cost savings can be made.

Following on from the audit, a strategy can be tailored to the needs of the business targeting areas of inefficiency. This allows investment to be deployed where it will have the most impact and provide for a quicker, more successful return on investment.

14May/14

Water Management


Climatic uncertainty threatens the reliability and quality of water supply, so management strategies that secure water supplies have become a high priority in the public and private sectors. Rebecca Gale of Waterscan Ltd. explains various approaches that have reduced water use and maximized available supplies.

Water management strategy to minimize corporate risk

Climate change has been a hot topic over the last decade, as extreme weather events have increased around the world. Temperatures have risen, glaciers have melted, ecosystems are out of sync, and weather events have become more frequent and more intense. In 2007 alone, monsoons caused floods in South Asia that displaced an estimated 20 million people, heavy rain in China killed 66 people in flooding and landslides, and the United Kingdom (UK) floods cost the economy US$5.3 billion, according to BBC News.

Climatic uncertainty threatens the reliability and quality of a continuous water supply, which is imperative to industry. Before devising a water management plan, all risks – operational, reputational, regulatory, and financial – should be analyzed to ensure a robust strategy, with a collaborative approach to a shared problem.

Operational risk can be either a direct physical risk to a business, an indirect risk from an unsustainable supply chain, or both. Using flooding as an example, a flooded site’s indirect risk is the potential loss of revenue if the site cannot operate, while the direct risk is associated with the expenditure required to repair flood damage. In times of water scarcity, the operational risk to a business is that production will cease, stores won’t open, and employees cannot work.

Reputational risk encompasses the customer experience and the public’s view of the company’s brand. It is more imperative now for a company to have a good corporate social responsibility policy. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental implications of products they buy and seek to purchase goods from ethical companies. In 2004, protesters in Kerala, India, accused Coca Cola of depleting the groundwater and polluting the local environment, which led to the shutdown of their plant.

Coca Cola denied these allegations, but the brand in this region was irrefutably damaged. Since then, the company has been carrying out one of the most sophisticated corporate social responsibility global water strategies in the beverage industry.

Regulatory risk encapsulates current and future local water regulations and legislation surrounding water supply and wastewater. Failing to meet these requirements can lead to the termination of the business’s water supply or large fines for environmental degradation. In China, between 2008 and 2009, there were 8,179 legal disputes on water-related issues. In 2010, a mine belonging to the Zijin Mining Group leaked 9,100 cubic meters of contaminated wastewater from the plant into the Ting River. Thousands of fish were poisoned, drinking water was affected, and operations were suspended. The company was fined $4.5 million and the five employees directly responsible were fined and imprisoned.


The financial risk to business is the accumulation of the operational, reputational, and regulatory risks, and is often the driving force behind a business seeking to mitigate their water risk. Companies can be fined millions of dollars for non-compliance with regulations, and loss of revenue from operational and reputational risks can also be substantial amounts. The other financial risk a business can face is the potential increase in supply or wastewater company charges, plus abstraction and discharge licences.

Compared to the financial implications of the other risks, the price of water does not currently reflect its true value. It is anticipated that water will be treated more like a commodity in the future, much like oil.

Water measurement

Good water management begins with measurement and transparency. Adapting to climate change, mitigating water risks, and effective water management is about knowing how much water is being used, where and when, and then setting priorities on where water reductions can occur – this is referred to as water footprinting.

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A water footprint of a business is defined as “the total volume of freshwater that is used directly or indirectly to run and support the business,” according to the Water Footprint Network (WFN). A water footprint is divided down into many subsections. For example operational, supply chain, product, and end-use water footprints are subsections, which are further broken down into blue, green, and grey waters. Blue water refers to the consumption of surface or groundwater. Green water refers to the consumption of rainwater that does not become runoff. Greywater is an indicator of pollution.


Operational water management

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To optimize water resources within a business, initially it is better to look at operational water consumption as the company has a direct influence over reductions. The best way to monitor a business’s water consumption is through automated meter reading. Irregular and estimated water company charging systems provide poor data if the site is billed at all. Data loggers monitor consumption from revenue and sub meters and provide remote meter readings up to every 15 minutes. Unusual patterns in water consumption and leakage can then be immediately identified and rectified.

raw_water_footprint

 

The success of any water management project can be evaluated using this accurate data. For Whitbread’s Premier Inn hotel chain in the United Kingdom, the automated meter reading identified peaks in consumption at approximately 11 am that was caused by inefficient housekeeping practices, which led to a preventable wastage of water. Whitbread also saved $665,700 identifying and stopping 11 major leaks.

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Water-efficient technology

Successful water management is about identifying and prioritizing significant high-water consumption and reducing it to a best-practice benchmark. Full water audits of sites can show where technologies need maintenance, where processes and behaviors are inefficient, and where water reductions can be made.

Automated meter readings can monitor savings to determine which technologies are the most effective in terms of water consumption savings and return on investment, before implementing the technology solutions across the whole portfolio. Changes to employee and customer behaviors are the most challenging, but often the cheapest way to save water. However, many technologies available in the market generate significant water savings with an impressive return on investment.

All water points should be considered for improvements. For example, hotels that install low-flow showerheads and taps, and dual-flush toilets, and encourage guests to wash towels only when necessary, can significantly reduce the water use per room. Premier Inn saved approximately 500,000 cubic meters (m3) of water per year by installing low-flow showerheads in 40,000 rooms throughout its hotels. In companies where there is a high level of domestic water use, such as offices, considerable savings can be made through urinal controls and generally the return on investment is evident within a few months. For Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Limited in the UK, the annual water saving from urinal controls and new-build waterless urinals amounted to 50,310 m3.

Rainwater harvesting and water recycling

rainwater harvesting systemsRecycling water creates a sustainable, dependable, and controllable source of supply, which is essential for business stability. It reduces the pressure on less renewable sources, such as groundwater and surface water, which is needed for continued ecosystem functioning. Furthermore, potable water is not used for non-potable applications, which reduces the supply energy cost per cubic meter.

All rainwater harvesting systems work on the basis of using rainwater as their primary source of water, with mains water as a backup source. When accounting for rainwater-harvesting water use as part of the water footprint assessment, rainwater is considered blue water – simply because it would have eventually become run-off if it was not captured by the system. Even though blue water is less sustainable than green water, the use of rainwater is more sustainable than surface or groundwater, and is a useful means of reducing the demand on mains water. It can also act as a preventative measure of surface water flooding due to the improved management of surface water runoff. The supply of water is dependent on rainfall, so regions that are water stressed, due to a lack of rainfall, are not suited to this technology.

Rainfall replenishes other sources of water, so by collecting the water it is no longer available for other users. Installations need to be analyzed on a case-by-case basis – for their effect on the local watershed, the increased carbon cost, and the benefit to the site. Systems vary from the basic water butts for irrigation, which require no treatment, to systems for non-potable water use, and systems that filter the water to potable water standard.

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Rainwater harvesting should not be a substitution for other water efficiency measures. All cost-effective technology should be implemented before alternative supplies are considered. Rainwater harvesting does not reduce water consumption, but water efficiencies will.

Unlike rainwater harvesting, greywater recycling saves mains water regardless of external environmental factors and reduces water consumption within a business more consistently. Greywater recycling reuses water used in baths, showers, and hand basins, for use in flushing toilets and irrigating gardens. Therefore, it is suited for installation in buildings, like hotels, that have the potential to meet a significant proportion of domestic demand for water. Greywater is generally installed in new-builds since retrofitting a system is costly and ineffective. Many greywater systems have an increased energy cost due to the ultraviolet disinfection used to treat the water. Some systems are designed to use less energy, and instead of using ultraviolet they use an ultra-membrane filtration technology. A cost-benefit analysis should be carried out to see if the system will meet the demand, produce a shortfall, or would have water stagnant in the tank. Premier Inn installs greywater systems in all newly constructed properties, which can reduce water consumption in hotels by 40 percent.

Bespoke recycling

Operational water use can be reduced to almost zero in most industrial systems. Bespoke recycling systems, custom-designed for specific processes, can reuse significant volumes of water. Located in the UK, Walkers Crisps (PepsiCo) plans to stop water intake at all manufacturing sites in the next 10 years by capturing, treating, and reusing water extracted from potatoes during slicing and frying.

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Sustainable drainage systems (SuDS). All new buildings in the UK have a mandatory requirement for sustainable drainage where feasible over conventional drainage. The reason is to retain surface water runoff on site and release it at a controlled rate. SuDS are designed to reduce the potential effect of new and existing developments on surface water drainage discharges. Urbanization has caused areas of vegetation to be replaced with impermeable surfaces that do not have the ability to absorb rainwater, which overloads the drains and causes flooding. These drainage systems aim to replicate natural systems to drain away dirty water run off through collection, storage, and cleaning, before slowly releasing it back to the environment. They should be easy to manage, require very little energy input, be resilient to use, and should be environmentally and aesthetically attractive. They should also use the following techniques: source control, permeable paving, water detention, infiltration, and evapotranspiration. This water can be recycled for use in buildings by using underground attenuation tanks for storage.

Summary

Holistic water management maximizes available water resources on a large scale beyond one company’s needs. Water management should focus on the allocation of water on an equitable basis to satisfy all demands in a catchment area. Businesses share similar water issues, such as availability and quality, but each water management approach should be unique depending on its location and water-consuming processes employed. Water reduction and efficiency is the first step towards achieving water stewardship, and the influences and drivers can be varied for each regional area.

Historically, business’ overuse of water had minimal effect on global water resources. However, businesses cannot afford to ignore the potential risks that can occur from the lack of understanding of their water use, its effect on the local catchment, and of the importance of a strategy to reduce freshwater dependency.

Numerous water management strategies can be implemented to suit different businesses. Every saving made is a step closer to a more sustainable water environment, not just for the business, but also for the local community.

Case Study

Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Limited achieved a relative reduction in their water use through an operational water management strategy that included installing automated meter reads, efficiency measures, rainwater harvesting and bespoke recycling.

Due to the company’s commitment to sustainability and corporate social responsibility, a target of 50 percent relative reduction against sales area, compared to a 2005-2006 baseline, was set.

This strategy has saved one billion litres of water compared to the baseline. Annual savings from some of the water-saving techniques implemented include: pre-rinse spray taps that saved 29,000 m3, remedial works that saved 119,064 m3, urinal controls that saved 50,310 m3, shared supply that saved 50,000 m3, account analysis that saved 147,000 m3, and rainwater harvesting RWH at Sainsbury’s Swansea saved 1,300 m3.

All new stores aim to be 50 percent more efficient than the baseline year, and install a suite of water-efficient technologies and rainwater harvesting systems as standard.

Sainsbury’s aims to be the UK’s greenest grocer, and has consequently opened two new stores that are water-neutral. The UK Environment Agency and government define water neutrality as no net increase in water use after a development in a pre-defined area, which encompasses the new development and surrounding area.

The company reduced water consumption at the Leicester and Weymouth stores as much as possible before offsetting the remaining water used in the stores in the local community.

 

 

 

 

 

08May/14

Water Recycling

water recyclingWater recycling is becoming widely acknowledged across the UK as businesses seek out new ways to act responsibly and give something back to the environment.

Water is increasingly recognised as a valuable natural resource and urgent action is needed in order to help cut down wastage and sustain its availability for generations to come. A recycling system will use much of the water which would normally be discarded from commercial premises for non- potable purposes, such as toilet flushing, washing vehicles and irrigation, saving valuable mains water.

In some parts of the world there is a severe shortage of freshwater, however there are issues closer to home with parts of the UK experiencing similar problems, for example London has a lower average rainfall than Rome, Johannesburg and Brisbane. Recycling waste water is one way businesses can make a significant contribution to a sustainable water future, with reductions on mains water usage of up to 50% possible.

Another benefit of using recycled water is the inherent cost savings that are achievable. By replacing the use of potable water in your daily operations, a consistent, long-term cost reduction stream can be realised.

Utilising water that would normally have been sent to sewerage for irrigation and toilet flushing will help contribute to substantial cost savings.

In an era where everyone is expected to do their bit for the environment, water recycling has grown in popularity and is seen as a simple solution to meeting water demands sustainably, and helps mitigate water issues. The recycling of water, as part of a comprehensive water management plan, enables us to be more effective in sustaining this valuable natural resource.

02May/14

The Many Benefits of Rainwater Harvesting Systems

rainwater harvesting systemsMore and more businesses are discovering the benefits of rainwater harvesting. Rainwater harvesting is an indispensable water saving tool in a climate where groundwater isn’t as plentiful as people might think. Water resources in the UK are in short supply, especially when factoring in changes in rainfall patterns and population growth. Through harvesting, rainwater is collected, commonly from large roof spaces and stored in underground tanks for use at a later time. This helps us to reduce our reliance on and consumption of mains water (the water that comes out of your tap).

 It is not a new practice for people to harvest rainwater in some way, yet the need to do so is becoming greater and greater. Climate change has contributed to increased exposure around rainwater harvesting systems and the benefits of their use. Various government and charitable authorities are also encouraging people and businesses to reduce their consumption of water, specifically mains water. Rainwater is also free from various pollutants, and although mains water has been treated, harvested rainwater is more than sufficient for various business uses such as toilet flushing, cleaning processes, irrigation, car washing and cooling water processes.

Expect Less Wastage

75% of the planet is made of water, yet much of this cannot be used for practical purposes. This means that there is a real shortage of water that we can use for various applications. The principles of rainwater harvesting are not complex. It is a system that collects, stores, filters and conveys rainwater; with the equipment required being easy to maintain.

Harvesting rainwater helps us to stop wasting drinkable mains water for applications that don’t need that level of purity. The process of harvesting rainwater can reduce mains water consumption by up to 50%, which has a huge impact on water bills.

Carbon Footprint Reduction

Businesses can run up sizeable bills and have an increased carbon and environmental impact when relying on mains water, which is one reason more and more companies are getting in touch with Waterscan for the provision of harvesting systems. The systems available from Waterscan are designed, built and installed to site requirements.

Waterscan has supplied equipment to offices, schools, hospitals and various other businesses, with the rainwater being used for an array of different purposes on these sites. Increasing workplace awareness of rainwater harvesting can also encourage staff – and students – to reduce their reliance on mains water.More and more homeowners and businesses are discovering rainwater harvesting.

 

 

15Mar/14

Greywater Recycling for Hotels and Businesses

flushing A shortage of water has led to an increased awareness of water saving solutions, such as greywater recycling and rainwater harvesting. There are various reasons for this impact on water resources, with climate change and population growth regularly cited as being key factors. As a result, the threat of water restrictions on a business is never far away. Government incentives to encourage better usage of water have also had an impact on this increased awareness.

Greywater recycling reuses water already used by a business in baths, showers and hand basins. Greywater recycling is on the rise and is suited for installation in buildings, like hotels, that have the potential to meet a significant proportion of domestic demand for water through recycling.

Greywater can be recycled for various non-drinking purposes, such as flushing toilets and irrigating gardens. More and more businesses are signing up for greywater recycling, as unlike rainwater harvesting, it saves mains water regardless of external environmental factors and reduces water consumption within a business more consistently. There are various sites that might be served well by greywater recycling, particularly those with a number of baths and showers including hotels, leisure centres and residential blocks.

A Quick Return on Investment

Rainwater HarvestingBusinesses that start to recycle their water can be eligible to benefit from the governments Enhanced Capital Allowance scheme, as well reductions in their water bills. Greywater recycling can also substantially reduce an organisations carbon and water footprint. With Waterscan’s system, which incorporates energy efficient components, the impact on energy consumption is also limited. In fact, you can potentially realise a full return on your investment in a greywater system within as little as 2.5 years.

It can be all too easy to underestimate how much water we use when washing our hands or flushing toilets. Many businesses offer bath and shower facilities to their staff or guests. By reusing this water, it’s estimated that greywater recycling can reduce the reliance on mains water by around 40%.

Easy to Accommodate

Greywater Recycling Hotels and guesthouses are a perfect beneficiary of these systems due to the natural supply and demand balance from their operation. The systems are more suited to new builds to allow for the system to be designed and installed in a discreet and compact manner, which means that you won’t have to take big steps to accommodate them. Our greywater systems are extremely energy-efficient, can be combined with a rainwater harvesting system – allowing for an even more effective water recycling product, and make an optimal contribution to the impact on water resources.

Waterline – a web-based online management system – can even run reports on the systems performance, allowing you to verify the savings in mains water usage as a result of installing the system.