A real eye-opening visit, staff from Anglian Water invited me to take a tour of the new multi-million pound water treatment plant, in Chelmsford Avenue. The plant is necessary to remove nitrates from the water we use every day, for drinking and household purposes. Nitrates from agricultural fertiliser have been increasing for more than three decades and, if left unchecked, could be detrimental to the health of residents living and working within the Anglian Water area.
A 3D CAD tour of the site showed that much of the pipework for the new plant is overground, Given that there has been a waterworks there for more than 100 years, many changes have taken place during that time and it was deemed safer, financially more efficient and easier to plan an above ground system for the new treatment works. A laser scan of the area helped designers to create the right plan for the project while the soft, wet clay ground has meant that 82 concrete and metal piles are being driven underneath the main building to keep the structure sturdy.
Ordinarily, the staff would be poring over documents and diagrams in order to figure out the best way of operating in the new facility but due to Covid-19 they have had to get creative with tweaking plans and have quite extensively used a virtual reality headset. The team have been able to pop on the VR set, plug into a life-size version of the treatment works and work out if the position of technical equipment and machinery is workable. A misplaced handle or button can make the job more difficult and while Covid-19 has naturally caused problems for the team, they have managed to find ways around things in order to remain on schedule.
Within the nitrate treatment building, the nitrates are removed through an ion exchange process using saturated brine, a process that is extensively used across the Anglian Water region. The pumps are in acoustic covers so there will be little to no noise for the surrounding neighbours.
The project is on target to complete in a year, which is a great achievement given the current pandemic situation.
Anglian Water prides itself on being an active organisation within its region, regularly going out to schools (prior to the pandemic) and educating the community on its water supply. It is also a fantastic place to work, offering constant training to its staff and solid employment opportunities to people in the Anglian Water region.
It was certainly a fantastic chance to see somewhere that you wouldn't normally see, and extremely interesting to learn of all the wonderful things Anglian Water does within our community. To find out more, whether you are looking for work or wanting to know more about your water, visit www.anglianwater.co.uk/about-us