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Printer Friendly VersionSelected Information - Completed Research

CP485  Reducing white water contacts Drinking Water Quality
Project Appreciation and Objectives

"White water" (WW) - microbubbles of air that give water a milky appearance - is the reason for about 20% of all customer water quality contacts. The frequency of WW contacts has implications for company costs and the Service Incentive Mechanism (SIM) score and DWI expects companies to improve operational practice to reduce contacts.

There is substantial variation in WW contact frequency between companies and varying success in reducing contacts. The differences may relate to the nature of individual networks, maintenance practice, rehabilitation practice, or other factors.

The project aims to identify and rank the key causes of WW contacts and from this develop detailed guidance on diagnosing causes together with strategies for resolving them and preventing recurrence.

Business Benefits to Clients

Reduced customer contacts, with direct positive impact on SIM scores and reduced costs associated with responding to WW complaints. The project is also expected to identify improvements in network intervention practices and network design.

Work Programme

  1. The occurrence and associated causes of WW will be documented, drawing from WRc's previous investigations, water companies own experience, and other public and non-public sources.
  2. Existing knowledge from within contributors companies will be collated to assess current status of white water contacts and the success or failure of past strategies.
  3. The WW contact data will be analysed for contributing factors, such as location, seasonality, linkage to rehabilitation events, temperature rise, and network components (pumps, air valves, dead-ends).
  4. A system for diagnosing and investigating the cause/source of the WW will be developed, together with options for mitigating and preventative actions. The application of DO measurement and monitoring to both locate a problem and demonstrate that a solution has been effective will be included.

Project Output and Implementation

A strategy and tools for investigating and diagnosing WW customer contacts, including key questions for customer call centre operatives to ask on initial contact, a guide for operational staff to use on initial response, specific recommendations for in-depth investigations, guidelines for maintenance staff and contractors to minimise the risk of WW generation, and methods for follow up monitoring to determine the effectiveness of actions taken.

Related WRc Work

  • On-going UKWIR project to explore the cost benefit analysis of ubiquitous monitoring of water quality in distribution systems (2011-2012).
  • Collaborative investigation of the benefits of real time monitoring of DO in water distribution networks (2008 and 2010).
  • Past investigation of the potential causes of white water (1999).
WRc's Portfolio Programme
Summary of the £1.5 million per annum research programme

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