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Water management systems – optimised design, engineered to last

Sustainable drainage enters the mainstream

The effects of climate change were recently spelled out in no uncertain terms in a watershed report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In it scientists made a last-ditch plea for unprecedented change to stop our planet warming to catastrophic levels. Frequently underestimated compared to the effects of coastal and river flooding however, surface water flooding threatens millions of homes and businesses across the UK. Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) are key to building resilience, and the good news is that they are finally becoming mainstream.

Stortford Fields housing development, the UK’s largest SDS GEOlight installation

In August, there were encouraging results from the Government’s review of how effective including SuDS in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) has been in promoting greater uptake in England. It found that almost 87 per cent of all approved planning applications reviewed included explicit mention of SuDS. For architects involved in commercial or housing schemes, the consideration should no longer be whether to include SuDS. Instead the question is, what will constitute a great design? Published in July, the revised NPPF added a requirement for SuDS to provide, where possible, ‘multifunctional’ benefits. Instead of just being a means of getting rid of excess water, drainage becomes an opportunity to reuse or recycle it, and to work with nature to create biodiversity or public amenity. The new emphasis reflects wider ambitions to encourage ‘blue green’ infrastructure in urban environments, combining the best that nature can provide with engineering expertise to produce a transformational result.

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What our Customers say

Specifying SDS Aqua-Swirl hydrodynamic separators gave us added flexibility to engineer high-performance water quality protection upstream of SuDS ponds for the latest phase of the Berewood development. SDS’s bespoke inhouse manufacturing facilities, together with a wide choice of product sizes and outlet pipe diameters, allowed us to minimise the sizes of the devices we required. With the added benefit of the Aqua-SwirlTM’s lightweight plastic construction, we were therefore able to reduce excavation and construction costs significantly.

Paul Stewart, Technical Director, Mayer Brown.

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SDS Tackles Highway Metals Pollution

SDS has developed a groundbreaking new sustainable drainage material that offers a simple and versatile solution to removing toxic heavy metals pollution from highways. SDS Aqua-XchangeTM is a flexible and highly-efficient granular material that captures copper and zinc in surface water runoff from motorways, trunk roads and other high-traffic areas.

SDS Aqua-XchangeTM can be used in regulatory-compliant Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS). It has been proven in independent testing to achieve 99% removal of dissolved copper and zinc, toxic metals identified by Highways England as ‘priority pollutants’ and subject to strict regulatory controls.

Delivered to site in lightweight, one cubic metre bags, SDS Aqua-XchangeTM is now available for consulting engineers and infrastructure contractors to deploy as stormwater treatment in highways drainage, as well as on other higher risk locations such as retail car parks, freight and logistics hubs.

SDS worked with scientists at the University of Chester to perfect SDS Aqua-XchangeTM. A unique combination of naturally-occurring materials, it uses the processes of adsorption and ionic exchange to form unbreakable bonds with the heavy metals, including copper and zinc, capturing and retaining them even in heavy storms.

In a typical application, a layer of SDS Aqua-XchangeTM can be added as an additional component to a linear filter drain. Installed at a shallow depth, contractors avoid costly excavation or use of heavy cranes.

 

SDS Aqua-XchangeTM can also be combined effectively with other proprietary SuDS devices. As it can filter out finer silts and sediments, it can be deployed downstream of a hydrodynamic vortex separator such as SDS Aqua-SwirlTM that targets larger particles. It can also be combined with geocellular storage, such as SDS GEOlight®, when additional attenuation is needed as part of the roadside treatment system.

Compliant with guidelines in CIRIA C753 The SuDS Manual, SDS Aqua-XchangeTM can be included as a component in vegetative SuDS devices such as dry swales, raingardens or bio-remediation zones, so that robust retention of copper and zinc is completely assured while plants can continue to thrive as part of the landscaped design.

What our Customers say

Due to its sheer size alone the Stortford Fields development provides us with a whole set of new challenges. Planning over the extended timeframe that the project demands adds new complexities to items such as the scheduling of materials deliveries, groundworks and installations. It is vital, therefore, that the specialist suppliers and subcontractors in whom we place our trust deliver not only to the highest standards that we expect but are sufficiently flexible to respond positively and adjust whenever a change to the plan is required. In SDS we have a partner on whose unerring capacity to deliver we can always rely.

Steve Pallister, Project Manager, Breheny Civil Engineering.

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Local Authority SuDS Demand Prompts UK Production Deal

Increasing sales of our Aqua-SwirlTM hydrodynamic vortex separator, used to remove polluting silts and sediments from surface water runoff as part of SuDS, has prompted a new partnership with off-site build specialist Asset International.

The innovative technology of the Aqua-SwirlTM was first introduced to the UK market in 2015 along with its sister high-performance filtration system, the Aqua-FilterTM. Production of both devices has already begun at Asset’s state-of-the-art fabrication plant in Newport, using Weholite HDPE components, and the first products have been delivered to site.

The arrangement has more than halved the delivery times to SDS customers as well as providing more opportunity to engineer bespoke components to meet the precise requirements of a drainage design,” says SDS Sales and Marketing Director Richard Averley.

SDS has a well-established reputation among contractors for making it easy and affordable to install compliant sustainable drainage schemes. The SDS Aqua-SwirlTM’s lightweight, plastic construction and large choice of sizes already make it a popular choice. Now contractors can expect even quicker delivery and the opportunity to specify bespoke piped connections to fit the drainage layout on site, thanks to Asset’s superior pre-fabrication facility and the benefits of the Weholite product.

 

Since April 2015, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) has required SuDS to be included in major commercial and housing developments in England. “We expect demand for water quality treatment devices to continue to grow, now that the Government has committed to building more SuDS as part of its 25-year Environment Plan, as well as further strengthening the NPPF to include a requirement for SuDS to be multi-functional,” Richard continues.

Simon Thomas, Managing Director of Asset International, said: “Asset International has more than 35 years’ experience of delivering UK manufacturing excellence in drainage and pipework products. So we are delighted to be partnering with SDS to provide a home base to meet the growing demand for stormwater treatment products.

 

What our Customers say

We were really impressed with how the project came together at quite some speed despite the prevailing conditions. We are pleased with the result and the plant is working efficiently.

Sandy Coutts, Distillery Manager, Tamdhu Distillery.

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Guidance ‘will encourage more blue-green infrastructure’

NEW guidance appears to give water companies greater freedom to adopt Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) and to introduce more rainwater saving and re-use schemes, as well as encouraging the integration of surface water assets into blue-green infrastructure.

Guidance 'will encourage more blue-green infrastructure'

Mark Manning, SDS Business Development Manager, said the guidance’s emphasis on encouraging the multiple benefits of SuDS should be seized as an opportunity for Water Companies to combine water saving with flood risk management.

Not only does the document stress that SuDS should be multi-functional, it also reminds us that opportunities for rainwater to be reused should always be considered first in the design hierarchy.

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What our Customers say

This project required stringent control of surface water quality given the sensitive nature of the receiving watercourse in a SSSI. This level of water quality treatment could not be achieved by standard proprietary installations. Following extensive investigation, we identified a solution that we were previously unaware of. Having found the answer we were looking for in SDS’s new hydrodynamic vortex separation and filtration system we are proud to have installed the UK’s very first Aqua-FilterTM. Following successful pre-installation testing we are eagerly anticipating the first set of results of the system in situ.

Ed Hoskins, Senior Associate, Cambria Consulting.

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Pragmatism Will Reap Rewards

A new sense of optimism is in the air among long-time supporters of sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) who have battled to see their more widespread use.

Mark Manning, Business Development Manager, offers practical advice on how to interpret changes to the planning system aimed at driving forward the use of SuDS.

The government began 2018 with a New Year’s resolution embodied in its 25 Year Environment Plan to put more SuDS in place. This was followed up by confirmation of revisions to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), aimed at reinforcing the requirement for SuDS to be included in major new developments.

The environmental benefits that SuDS deliver are clear, both in terms of managing flood risk and protecting the receiving water environment from pollution. Climate change means more intense storms are likely in future and it makes perfect sense to manage rainwater sustainably, as close as possible to the place where it first falls.

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What our Customers say

SDS was instrumental in securing planning approval by designing a bespoke SuDS solution that was able to meet stringent discharge rates; through the prevention of flooding, by using source control techniques to manage the run-off from the site, any impact on the receiving watercourses is kept to an absolute minimum.

Matthew Richardson, Engineering Consultant, AECOM

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Supply and demand: the water pressure on cities worldwide

Many cities are in danger of running out of water. What can they do about it? SDS Sales & Marketing Director, Richard Averley, helps provide the answer.

It’s astonishing how people react when they fear they are under threat.” Professor Neil Armitage, an urban water management specialist at the University of Cape Town, explains the lengths to which citizens of South Africa’s second city have gone to protect themselves during a recent three-year drought.

There have been bumper sales of rainwater tanks that people attached to their roofs in the hope of catching any rain that falls,” he says. “People have been buying up containers of water from supermarkets and stockpiling them in their garages. They have been queueing at springs on the outskirts of the city to collect water, even though it hasn’t been purified. And the rich have been drilling their own private boreholes at huge expense, despite the increased risk of seawater ingress.

Another angle is to reassess how we use storm water. The approach has traditionally been to funnel it away from the city as fast as possible – be that into the sea or rivers. But a lot of work is going into capturing that water in the city itself using what’s known as SuDS – ‘sustainable drainage systems’.

SDS Ltd is a British firm that fits a wide range of these SuDS to help its customers control water drainage more effectively. As Richard Averley explains: “Most urban drainage systems prioritise getting the water to the closest river as fast as possible – but at times of heavy rain, this can actually result in more flooding.”

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What our Customers say

SDS was instrumental in securing planning approval by designing a bespoke SuDS solution that was able to meet stringent discharge rates; through the prevention of flooding, by using source control techniques to manage the run-off from the site, any impact on the receiving watercourses is kept to an absolute minimum.

Matthew Richardson, Engineering Consultant, AECOM

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Sewers for Adoption (8th edition)

New guidance gives water companies greater freedom to adopt Sustainable Drainage Systems.

Commenting on the news, SDS Business Development Manager, Mark Manning, believes that Sewers for Adoption 8 is “a significant milestone for water companies and puts them in a unique position to take the lead in innovative SuDS design.

 

Water UK has published a pre-implementation version of the 8th edition of ‘Sewers for Adoption’ with the expectation that the document will come into effect in mid 2019 as part of the implementation of the Ofwat Code on Adoption Agreements.

The SfA8 manual sets out detailed guidance for the first time to water companies in England and indicates that most compliant SuDS components will be adoptable by water companies, once the document comes into effect.

The guidance represents the latest thinking in best practice SuDS design, following extensive consultation with a wide range of stakeholders, and led by a steering group chaired by Professor David Balmforth.

To continue reading this article please click here.

What our Customers say

The installation of a system comprising a device of concrete construction, until now our only option, would have required the use of a 350 tonne crane and most likely, due to the massive inconvenience not just to us but to the airport and local road network, would not have been feasible at all. The Aqua-Swirl™’s versatility meant that we could design the devices for the specific requirements of this site, without the need for any bends in piping, whilst their inherent strength allowed us to save on time and cost through not requiring a concrete surround. Their compact size and small footprint, together with the lifting supports and straps provided, meant installation was very quick and simple and final placement could be done manually; we needed only a single day in which to dig, position, connect up and back fill.

Brian Fegan, Site Engineer, Whitemountain.

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SuDS: Time for a paradigm shift?

In an article featured in wwtonline.com, Mark Manning, SDS Business Development Manager, proffers a more sustainable approach to surface water:

Water Companies have a huge stake in how surface water is managed.  Their sewer networks carry the stormwater load and are the last line of defence against flooding during heavy storms.  At the same time, rainwater collection and re-use is their stock-in-trade.

So, it would be logical, would it not, for them to be in the vanguard of any attempts to prevent surface water from entering the network in the first place? More so than ever, given the challenges of over-capacity.”

Yet, neither regulation nor resources have encouraged Water and Sewerage Companies (WASCs) to own and adopt surface water assets and, in particular, Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) in the past. Instead, organisational culture has focused around the separate streams of potable supply and wastewater collection and treatment.

So, what is sustainable drainage? In order to answer this question, think about what unsustainable drainage looks like: directing rainwater into sewers causes flood risk, unnecessary levels of wastewater treatment and the potential for pollution via combined sewer overflows.

Opportunities to collect and recycle rainwater at source are missed while heavily-treated water is conveyed over long distances and used for non-potable purposes.

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What our Customers say

SDS helped us to engineer a successful SuDS outcome at an extremely challenging brownfield location. SDS GEOlight® tanks were integral to the drainage solution, providing attenuation to meet the very low site discharge rate on a steeplysloping site with limited space and no opportunity to infiltrate. Using below-ground storage in conjunction with surface water drainage features facilitated environmental and wildlife benefits above-ground, while achieving sufficient surface water storage necessary to satisfy planning requirements at this sensitive location.

Ben Rayner, Principal Engineer, Stomor Group.

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EA Water Quality Report short on action

Jo Bradley, Market Development Manager at SDS, proposes that the Environment Agency Report “The State of the Environment: Water Quality” fails to tackle pollution from urban and highway runoff.

In the article, published in April’s issue of “DrainTRADER” magazine and reproduced here, Jo writes that: “Whilst the Report acknowledges that harmful pollution from urban and transport runoff is a major contributor to water quality failures, no action is demanded to tackle the threat from toxic metals, hydrocarbons and microplastics that are washed into the aquatic environment during heavy storms.”

The report is weak, disappointing and sidesteps the need for action to prevent pollution from urban and highway runoff,” continues Jo.

It estimates that the urban and transport sector accounts for 13% of all activities preventing water bodies from achieving ‘good status’, compared to 28% from water industry activities and 31% from agriculture.

Yet it singles out farmers and Water Companies for action to reduce polluting discharges into rivers, without naming a single measure to tackle diffuse and point-source discharges from urban and transport runoff.”

The full article can be read here.

What our Customers say

The installation of a system comprising a device of concrete construction, until now our only option, would have required the use of a 350 tonne crane and most likely, due to the massive inconvenience not just to us but to the airport and local road network, would not have been feasible at all. The Aqua-Swirl™’s versatility meant that we could design the devices for the specific requirements of this site, without the need for any bends in piping, whilst their inherent strength allowed us to save on time and cost through not requiring a concrete surround. Their compact size and small footprint, together with the lifting supports and straps provided, meant installation was very quick and simple and final placement could be done manually; we needed only a single day in which to dig, position, connect up and back fill.

Brian Fegan, Site Engineer, Whitemountain.

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Microplastics – The elephant in the room…

In this month’s issue of Highways Magazine, Jo Bradley, Market Development Manager at SDS Limited, discusses new research into the dangers of microplastics from road run-off.

Jo writes: “For most of us, checking our tyre tread wear is a familiar routine – but have you ever stopped to consider where all that lost rubber ends up? It must go somewhere – and if you haven’t given it a second thought until now, you won’t be alone.

Pervasive microplastic pollution, including from highways, could turn out to be one of the biggest environmental elephants in the room. The trouble is, very little is known about where and how microplastics build up, where they come from and how they are transported through the river system to the sea.

Run off

The article continues: “That’s why unprecedented new research into microplastic contamination from the University of Manchester is so important. A team led by Dr Rachel Hurley discovered the highest microplastic pollution levels yet recorded in river bed sediments anywhere in the world on an otherwise unremarkable river in a highly-populated urban location in Manchester.

Their new study, published in the journal Nature Geoscience in March, also clearly demonstrated how high concentrations of microplastic pollution were flushed out into the sea after the 2015 Boxing Day floods.”

Read the complete article here: Highways Magazine

What our Customers say

The ability to meet new best practice guidelines on the quality of surface water runoff was a primary objective of this project. We worked closely with SDS to understand how their stormwater treatment products can deliver suitable water quality improvements; this allowed us to illustrate that the ‘pollution hazard’ associated with the site was adequately mitigated by the specified treatment devices.

Wayne Llewellyn, Principal Engineering Co-ordinator, RPS Planning & Development.

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SDS
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6mprofit in 2015
 

What our Customers say

SDS played a crucial role in designing a bespoke SuDS solution for this substantial development. As we continue to take on further rail development projects, we will be turning to SDS for their invaluable knowledge and expertise in this specialist and increasingly important sector.

Nico Wessels, Site Manager,VolkerFitzpatrick, attenuation system for Stoke Gifford train maintenance centre

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