A Case Study in Effective Collaboration
This case study is different. It ends, as all case studies should, with a successful project, an upgrade to a Trickling Filter installation at Thames Water’s Sewage Treatment Works (STW) in Earlswood, Surrey which involved replacing mineral media in two Trickling Filters with BIOdek structured plastic media. But it’s not all about 2H Water Technologies, not entirely. It’s a case study about the importance of collaboration, and its even more demanding twin, compromise, in ensuring the client gets exactly what they want, on time and within budget.
Let’s start at the beginning.
When Thames Water approached 2H Water Technologies in December 2019 for help in refurbishing a Trickling Filter installation at its STW in Earlswood, Surrey, we were keen to help.
The Earlswood site has 12 Trickling Filters, 6 providing primary and 6 providing secondary treatment for BOD and ammonia reduction. The primary works comprised 6 Trickling Filters, 4 of which used structured plastic media whilst the other 2 were filled with mineral media. An additional 6 secondary Trickling Filters used both mineral and blast furnace slag media.
By late 2019, Thames Water wanted to improve the balance of BOD and ammonia treatment across the Primary and Secondary stages.After considering several options, Thames Water believed increasing primary treatment capacity would be the most effective approach.
How to go about achieving the required improvements was another question. Thames Water could see the difference in quality between the different media – structured plastic and mineral media – used in the Primary Trickling Filters.
Thames Water decided the best way to improve overall treatment quality was to convert the underperforming Trickling Filters to structured plastic media. There was an added benefit in upgrading rather than replacing the Trickling Filters. By reusing the existing asset, Thames Water avoided the inconvenience and expense which would inevitably result from onsite civil construction.
Following the initial approach, Thames Water appointed Ward and Burke Construction (W&B) as the main contractor in February 2020. When the companies came back to 2H, it was with a different proposition.
Because W&B wanted to handle the work involved in building the support and installing the media, 2H was left with, what we thought at the time, was a limited role – i.e. assembling and supplying the BIOdek structured plastic media.
But then we thought, why not? We could see W&B had committed a lot of their people to the project. We could also see they were justified in wanting to get the most from a hard-working, highly professional team of people, each of whom took an obvious pride in every aspect of their work. In short, we loved their attitude!
As the following weeks proved, we made the correct call. After a very cordial discussion with Ward and Burke, we agreed a fully collaborative approach; that, after the BIOdek media had been delivered to the site, Ward & Burke would provide all the labour while 2H supervised and inspected progress.
W&B carried out the civil works needed to refurbish the walls on the two Trickling Filters and laid the media support tiles to the base. 2H’s Trickling Filter design experts confirmed the layout and installation of the support tiles would support the BIOdek media at the same time as allowing discharge of the effluent and sufficient air flow to provide oxygen for the process.
2H supplied 1,675m3 for each filter (3,350m3 total) of BIOdek structured plastic media. Following delivery of the first batch of media in May 2020, W&B handled the installation whilst 2H supervised and inspected progress.
The initial filter installation was signed off on 6th July 2020. At that point W&B refitted the distributor and set the Trickling Filter to work. Seeding on the first filter started on 2nd July 2020 and it went so well that, within 3 weeks, W&B had enough confidence in the treatment process to take the second filter offline, ready to remove the mineral media and commence the new installation in early August.
While seeding was underway, we’d delivered the second batch of BIOdek in mid July 2020. 2H carried on inspecting installation of the second Trickling Filter until, on 19th August, it was also ready to sign off.
Collaboration in Action
That’s the story: project delivered, signed-off and put to work, all without drama, and all thanks to compromise and true, practical collaboration. We worked as a team in which each member not only pulled their weight but was also mindful of the needs, talents and contribution of our colleagues.
The two teams quickly established a productive, enjoyable and, above all, collaborative working relationship. The 2H experts who checked the installation at every stage were impressed by the attitude of their counterparts from W&B.
It’s often the little things that make for a smooth, problem-free project. For example, attitude, engagement and pride in a job well done, all of which were demonstrated by W&B and 2H in delivering this project.