Northumbrian Water uses ultraviolet light to transform water treatment

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NORTHUMBRIAN Water is set to begin using an ultraviolet light disinfection process to clean drinking water at one of its large water treatment works for the first time.

A successful £150,000 trial of the bespoke ultraviolet technology is currently underway at the company’s Mosswood Water Treatment Works, located on the borders of Durham and Northumberland.

David McDonagh, a Senior Project Manager seconded to Northumbrian Water from Turner & Townsend, said: “This is a very exciting development for Northumbrian Water.

“We’ve never used ultraviolet light to treat filtered water in this way at a water treatment works, and we’re the first in the industry to use this particular piece of equipment from our supply partners, Evoqua Water Technologies.

“It’s massively exceeded our expectations and will help us to improve the quality of water received by our customers, as well as making sure the treatment works are reliable and resilient, long into the future.”

Originally built in 1954, Mosswood treats up to 135 million litres of drinking water every day for more than 800,000 people across County Durham, South Tyneside, Washington, and parts of Sunderland and North Tyneside.

It treats water through a number of different cleaning processes, and filtering it through twelve giant filters, before chlorine is finally added to make sure the water is free from any bacteria.

Now, powerful ultraviolet light systems will be added to the water treatment process, to further improve the quality of the final drinking water product before it travels to people’s taps, as well as increasing the site’s future resilience.

This particular piece of equipment was originally developed to disinfect water in swimming pools, but by working with water technology specialists, Evoqua, the equipment has been adapted for use in treating drinking water.

James Leigh, Regional Sales Manager at Evoqua, added: “It has been an exciting and enjoyable project to work on with the team at Northumbrian Water.

“I think this project has highlighted the benefits of early engagement and working in collaboration with all key stakeholders and suppliers to overcome the technical challenges we faced in order to design the best solution for Northumbrian water and their customers.”

As part of the trial, the ultraviolet reactor was fitted to just one of the twelve filters at Mosswood Water Treatment Works.

Now a further £4 million will now be invested in order to install reactors on the remaining eleven filters, which the water company expects to have complete by the end of 2022.

As well as Evoqua, Northumbrian Water has been working with its partners Turner & Townsend, Interserve, Intelect Ltd, Peak42 and FSE on the project.

While this is a first for the company for the installation of ultraviolet disinfection inside a water treatment works of this size, Northumbrian Water has been using the concept of using ultraviolet light to treat wastewater and some small groundwater drinking stations for many years.

However, due to advances and development of the technology, Northumbrian Water in partnership with manufacturer Evoqua, believe this is the first time this particular equipment has been used to disinfect water in this way.

Once the work at Mosswood Water Treatment Works is complete, the company plans to install the same technology at its Lumley Water Treatment Works in Durham.