Accredited calm network operators passes 6,000 mark
May 22, 2017
United Utilities makes Calm Network Training mandatory / Ten utilities now accessing online course / Benefits include reduced leakage and fewer customer complaints
Research shows that human error in how hydrants, valves and pumps are operated is a major cause of surge effects in water supply networks. Surge is a major cause of leaks and bursts in pipe infrastructure.
United Utilities (UU) was first to take up Aquam’s online Calm Network Training after launch of the scheme in 2014. The water company made it mandatory for its contractors to complete the course, which involves a video tutorial and multiple-choice assessment. Over 3,000 operators of UU’s potable water network have achieved certification to date.
Severn Trent Water has also made Calm Network Training mandatory and has trained over 1,600 users of its networks. Eight other UK utilities have also taken advantage of the comprehensive and flexible training programme.
The benefits of this training go far beyond reducing surges, they include:
- Increased lifespan of existing infrastructure
- Reduced leakage and water wastage
- Fewer incidents of discolouration and contamination of the water supply caused by ingress
- Fewer customer complaints about leakage, water quality and supply interruptions
- Reduced risk of pollution from burst main run-off to water courses
- Reduced traffic disruption caused by leak repair
- Significant cost reductions
Aquam consultant Roman Boryslawskyj said, “The good news is that much of the harm done to pipe infrastructure can be avoided by modifying the way the network is operated. This can be achieved by ensuring operators are thoroughly trained, which utilities must do under their duty of care.
“It’s about protecting the network by operating in a calm environment; then you don’t disrupt customers. Each burst attracts an average of 35 complaints and costs £1,000 a time – and that’s just an average cost.”
Ken Lacey, technical support officer - water regulations, United Utilities said, “We are delighted to be leading the field in training network operators to manage our infrastructure carefully and safely. The Calm Network Training course offered by Aquam can be undertaken by our own staff, our partners and other users of the network wherever they are and at whatever time suits them.
“We have already seen the benefits in terms of reduced customer contacts and fewer bursts and leaks.”
Dan Littlewood, senior technician, Severn Trent Water said, “We are already seeing the benefits of training users of our networks to do so safely and calmly. This is important not only to prevent damage to the pipes and prevent leakage, but also to maintain water quality and avoid disruption to customers and the wider public.”
Phil Walker, water services director, Aquam, said, “I am delighted that the online Calm Networks Training course developed by Aquam has proven so popular with utilities and contractors. The regulatory pressure is on to improve customer service and reduce supply interruptions, while simultaneously keeping bills low.
“Calm Networks Training helps our utility clients reduce leakage, improve water quality, preserve pipework and cut costs. The benefit is on-going too, with best practice becoming embedded in those utilities that invest in routine training of standpipe operations staff throughout their supply chain and customer base.”
He added, “At Aquam we also manage licensed standpipes for many UK utilities, so we feel we have a duty to help ensure that operators of the network know what they’re doing with this kit.”
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