Working together and creating a collaborative approach in the water sector can be beneficial to successful project delivery. The recent need for additional aeration equipment resulted in a positive cooperation between Northumbrian Water, Sulzer and another major UK water company.
Northumbrian Water Ltd, situated in the Northeast of England, provides water supply, sewerage, and sewage treatment. In the Southeast of England, NWL trades as ‘Essex and Suffolk Water’ delivering water services only.
Sulzer Pumps Wastewater UK has been a long-term partner, supplying products and services to NWG, recently working on an HST project at their Hendon WwTW. This involved the installation of 3 HST TurbocompressorsTM. The site had one mobile blower – a containerised Sulzer HST20 TurbocompressorTM, placed there strategically to help during installations and maintenance works. The project was completed successfully, leaving the mobile blower available for any potential internal requirement.
Dealing with the increased demand
At the same time another UK water company, also a customer of Sulzer, had a requirement for a hire blower to one of their sites in East Anglia. They were having some repair work performed on the existing turbocompressors and would need additional blowers to cover air demand for an eight week period.
Due to high utilisation of Sulzer turbocompressor hire fleet, only one blower was available, but two were needed at this site. At that point, Sulzer were able to request the spare turbocompressor from NWG to fulfil the other customer’s requirement.
Adopting the relationship-based approach
Paul Johnston – Interim Operations Manager at Sulzer Pumps put a plan of action together.
“Our hire fleet is continuously expanding, and we have continual high utilisation of the machines, with further capital investment in place to grow it. This isn’t uncommon when temperatures spike in the summer, which can affect the aeration process and, as a consequence, increase oxygen demand. But that is not the only reason why there is a need for hire blowers. In many instances, they are a backup for when maintenance and repairs are planned to allow process continuation on site” – says Johnston.
Sulzer have worked with NWG for many years and having a very established relationship helped with this unusual request. Paul Johnston asked the customer if they would support Sulzer on this occasion to carry out the works at another water company’s site. NWG, being one of the key players in the water sector, understood the urgency of the request, and Sulzer got a positive answer within 30 minutes.
The collaborative environment
The UK Water industry is under continuous pressure, some of it with aging infrastructure across the UK network requiring constant management, along with continuously growing population and rapid urban developments. Moreover, climate change creates additional issues to the sector, and places further strain on the infrastructure. There is also the government’s focus on improving water quality and current negative publicity within the sector.
Tony Rutherford – Treatment Works Manager at NWG received a phone call from Sulzer and gladly supported the request to ‘lend’ them the spare turbocompressor.
“We have maintained great relationships with Sulzer for years and wanted to give a hand to the supplier in need. Also, water companies and suppliers willing to help each other out, as opposed to working in silos, is so important these days, especially with the current impact of varying environmental press” – Rutherford states.
Sulzer planned the transport, agreed the collection with NWG and scheduled in engineers to uninstall the turbocompressor, ready to be delivered to the destination.
With the water sector facing unprecedented combination of challenges, Sulzer believes it is vital to create a collaborative environment. It helps improve relationships, it ensures efficient project delivery and creates collaborative culture with no barriers.