Correct initial specification can avoid costly clean-up
When pumping potential contaminants, inadequate equipment can be a false economy. BSS Industrial works with a number of manufacturers to ensure it can supply its clients get the most suitable solutions for the job.
Prevention is always better than cure and it would be naive to think that risking the costs of a clean-up operation, both financially and in PR terms, would be preferable to investing in protective measures to guard against the risks of accidents.
But what does this mean in practical terms? The water industry has vast lengths of pipes running the length and breadth of the country. Making changes to this infrastructure is no mean feat.
For many years, BSS Industrial, a supplier of pipeline and heating solutions, has been finding solutions for its customers to ensure the safe flow of liquids and guard against the risks of contamination.
Paul Norton, national sales manager for Manor, a specialist plastics brand within BSS Industrial, says: "The cost of cleaning up chemical spills and leaks can run into millions of pounds, so we prefer to recommend to our customers that they find a solution before it reaches this point. There are plenty of products and systems available on the market that will do this job but, as we find in our day-to-day work, many are inadequate for the task they are required to do."
According to Norton, this may be because the infrastructure is past its serviceable life; because the contractors, specifiers and engineers employed by water companies only have a general understanding of the solutions available to them; or because suppliers have a lack of stock availability.
Right first time
He says getting the specification right is the first challenge. "At Manor, we work with some of the leading manufacturers of plastics in the country to provide a comprehensive range of quality products to suit the widest range of requirements. By establishing what our customers need from a system, we can start to build a picture of the type of products that are required. Getting the products on site when they are required and providing after-sales support when things go wrong is what differentiates us from many others in the industry."
Norton continues: "In terms of chemical dosing systems, there are broadly two options. The first is a flexible dual containment hose. As its name suggests, this is essentially one continuous length, flexible tube contained inside another - the outer tube is in place to contain any leaks from the inner. Controlled drain-off points are built in to the outer tube at specific locations to allow the safe removal of any leaked substances.
"We work closely with Copely Developments for the supply of flexible hose. One of its leading products is the Codeflex Aquachem system. This is a reinforced PVC hose that incorporates a WRAS [Water Regulatory Advisory Scheme] approved inner layer and is specifically designed for use by water companies for metered chemical dosing."
The hose is available in long lengths and diameters from 6mm through to 38mm.
Copely also offers Codeflex Hydrachem, which is manufactured from blends of PE and EVA for resistance to different chemicals used within the water industry.
Manor is also working with George Fischer (GF), a leading industrial group that includes Piping Systems as one of its three core businesses.
Norton says: "GF has developed a rigid retrofit system called Contain-it. This is a secondary containment piping system that fits over virtually any carrier system. Pipes are split along their length, as are fittings, allowing the system to be easily interlocked over existing pipe to contain leakages.
Clearly more access
The pipes are made out of clear PVC to allow inspection in above-ground installations, while leak detection cables can be installed if a system is more inaccessible. Contain-it is used extensively in the water industry as costs often dictate retrofitting as the most feasible option.
Water treatment companies and authorities are spending more and more money safeguarding against the risks of chemical leaks. While installation of flexible hose or rigid systems does incur some outlay, it is not actually as costly as companies may think.
Norton explains: "One of the major savings, particularly for flexible systems is on labour. Hoses often arrive on site ready for installation - the two tubes are already inside each other and, as there are no joints or corners to fit, the job is relatively straightforward. In the case of GF's Contain-it, this has been cleverly constructed to make installation as straightforward as possible. Clips, hammers, clamps etc are all supplied, eliminating the need for highly skilled labour."
He concludes: "We are a long way behind Europe in installing these systems but there is great potential for this market to grow. Manor offers an extensive service for choosing the best solution for guarding against system failures.
Technical support and advice comes from our national sales centre, backed up by 16 Manor branches located throughout the country. We have access to hundreds of products from which we can select for specific applications and deliver to anywhere in the UK in 24 or 48 hours."
Expertise enables responsive solution
Nomenca is the mechanical, electrical, instrumentation, control and automation contracting arm of North Midland Construction Group. One of the company's activities is providing wastewater and water treatment products and services.
While working on a ferric dosing system at a sewage treatment plant, the company had to respond to a last-minute change in the hose diameter. Two separate lines of 32mm diameter (inner hose) and 50mm diameter (outer hose) in 100m and 150m lengths were required to feed chemicals from a dosing rig.
Manor was able to supply a temporary solution to the problem. This enabled Nomenca to continue its contract while orders were placed for the bespoke requirement.
Paul Norton says: "Nomenca is a typical example of how our expertise and industry contacts enable us to find solutions to problems, meeting bespoke specifications without compromise. In this case, a flexible hose was the best option but it is not always possible to completely change the infrastructure of a system."