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Northumbrian transforms water treatment with ultraviolet system

Northumbrian Water is set to begin using an innovative 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 Wafer UV technology is currently underway at the company’s Mosswood Water Treatment Works, located on the borders of Durham and Northumberland.

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.

The existing site process treats water through several different cleaning processes, filtering it through twelve giant filters, before chlorine is finally added to make sure the water is free from any bacteria.

Now, 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 peoples’ taps, as well as increasing the site’s current and future resilience.

The compact Wafer UV equipment was developed to disinfect water in swimming pools, providing high performance capabilities in the smallest footprint possible; a key factor in the selection of this system. Through early engagement and collaboration with water technology specialists, Evoqua, the technology has been uniquely adapted for use in treating drinking water.

As part of the trial, the unique ultraviolet reactor was fitted within the filter gallery on the outlet of one of the twelve filters at Mosswood Water Treatment Works.

Thanks to its success, 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.

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.”

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.

Topic: Drinking water quality , Innovation
Tags: water treatment , drinking water , Northumbrian Water , Ultraviolet , chlorine , technology

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