About Team

The ACO Water Management blog team

Looking forward to sunny days and playing in the water?

It certainly seems to be have been a long, wet spring. There have been a few peeks of sunshine that have maybe bought with them the hopes of summer but many of us have started to yearn for the warm sunshine expected at this time of year. The thoughts of warm sunshine fits nicely with the beautiful surface fountain that has been installed as part of the Granary Square redevelopment at Kings Cross, London. It has 1080 individual jets of dancing water designed for beauty and fun at the centre of this redevelopment of a canal basin site.

Granary Square, Kings Cross Central

Granary Square is now one of the largest urban spaces of its type across Europe and within it are over 1000m of ACO drainage products from the MultiDrain MD range. The fountain looks as though it is level with the surface of the square but the surrounding paving is in fact slightly higher to prevent water overflow. To enable effective management of the surface fountain water, the site uses a customised version of the narrow Brickslot inlet to the channel drainage system. With just a 40mm profile, instead of the standard 105mm, the drainage inlets around the spectacular fountain are covered by surrounding paving. Water is channelled through an open joint between the covering slabs making the drainage invisible to passers-by.

Invisible as the solution is, it has enabled a magical effect for the fountain – helping to create the beauty of this impressive place. All we need now is for the sun to shine so people can laugh and dance with the jets of water!

The Abraham Darby Academy

As part of the new Abraham Darby Academy, developed for Telford’s Building Schools for the Future scheme, on-site contractors Kier invited ACO Water Management to provide a sustainable drainage solution for the management of surface water in car parks 1 & 3.

It was imperative that the solutions provided by ACO were a cost-effective alternative to the porous paving solution that had been used in the construction of car park 2, which had subsequently incurred high construction costs.

The proposed solution used the Collect, Clean, Hold and Release drainage system’s principle. Consisting of four stages, the process begins with the efficient and effective collection and conveyance of surface rainwater. The water is then clean using a hydrocarbon separator, which processes any problematic substances such as silt, whilst also removing pollutants such as oil. This water is then stored to await a controlled discharge. The water is then released into the environment via and ACO Q-Brake vortex flow control, which in turn allows the system to fill the StormTank attenuation units.


ACO worked closely with Kier to ensure that all design criteria were met, and to show the versatility of the ACO product range. Kier chose ACO products due to their considerable cost savings compared to the original porous paving design, which amount to a 30% overall saving.

Speaking about ACO involvement in the project, Graham Tait, Senior Project Engineer at Kier, commented. “The ACO design made good commercial sense for the car park and the support ACO provided helped this project to run smoothly. The products were quick and easy to install and dealing with a single supplier was a real benefit.”

The ACO products use recycles materials to provide an environmentally sound solution and their compact lightweight design further reduced the carbon footprint, as there was less need for shipping of both materials to the site and of haulage waste material away.

To download a full PDF of the case study please visit our website: www.aco.co.uk

Elliotts StormBrixx Competition FINAL

On sunny Bank Holiday Tuesday 8th of May the Elliotts head office in Southampton hosted the ACO StormBrixx Challenge Final. Established in 1842, family owned Elliotts is Hampshire’s leading independent Builders Merchants with 11 branches located throughout the county. Each Elliott’s branch has been busy hosting competitions since March, encouraging their devoted customers to construct an ACO StormBrixx soakaway configuration in the fastest time possible.


With the fastest time of 55 seconds and cheered on by the lovely staff of the Elliotts head office, Ben Penny, qualifier from the Totton branch, was successful in constructing the StormBrixx soakaway configuration system winning a fantastic iPad mini!

ACO’s Business Development Manager, Graham Barton has been following the competitions progress closely and reports that there has been a steady stream of builders at the trade counter keen to have a go! Customers have loved the concept of the new product and found it incredibly easy to construct, making for very competitive construction times.


ACO are thrilled that Elliotts have hosted the competition as it has provided the perfect platform to demonstrate the easy to transport benefits of the StormBrixx system, with its stackable design, the traditional 1m3 soakaway installation can easily fit into the back of a car.

Progressing Water Sensitive Urban Design

Progressing Water Sensitive Urban Design

Water Sensitive Urban Design provides towns and cities with the opportunity to create beautiful, successful and resilient places. It can be said that we can no longer deny the importance of the relationship between water and our urban areas, which must be given a higher priority in providing integrated solutions to flood risk management, sustainable water use and supply, and the improvement of water quality in our treasured watercourses.

In March this year, the Mayor of London and RoDMA announced a tender to create the UK’s largest floating village in London’s Royal Docks, on an area one and a half times the size of Green Park. In a recent article Sue Illman, from The Guardian highlights the concern of built environment professionals that water management is considered too late in the planning and design process of development.

“We already know, for example, that sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) can be a cost-effective way to prevent surface flooding while creating valuable public amenities. But we need to go further than SuDS and start joining the dots between flood risk management and water resource management, and start putting water at the heart of discussions about what makes places great to live.”


ACO have helped fund a CIRIA led project aimed to draw up guidelines for designers, planners and architects for use in Water Sensitive Urban Design – the process of integrating water cycle management with the built environment through planning and urban design. Two main principles are essential to its application:

1. All elements of the water cycle and their interconnections are considered concurrently to achieve an outcome that sustains a healthy natural environment while meeting human needs.

2. Consideration of the water cycle is made from the outset, and throughout the design and planning process. Accordingly, water management solutions seek to meet the expectations and aspirations for design of successful places.

Benefits of Water Sensitive Urban Design are endless, providing greater security of water supply with a reduction in flood risk, improvement of water quality in watercourses, a reduction of carbon and energy associated with water management, increased support of local food production and a creation of more attractive places.

‘London’s Lost Rivers’ Competition Winners!

Did you know that the city of London is built on a series of rivers and streams? Can you name all the rivers in London? As London has grown and evolved over the years, endless amounts of concrete have covered up a large amount of waterways originally running through the city and its surrounding land, nevertheless they’re still flowing down there beneath our feet!


At this year’s Ecobuild ACO launched their ‘London’s Lost Rivers’ competition to test visitors knowledge of London’s hidden waterways. We’re thrilled to announce the winners of this competition who will each win a pair of fantastic Hunter wellies to save them from soggy feet;

  • D. McLeish – Mid Kent College
  • L.Sharp – Buckinghamshire County Council
  • G.Young – Party Walls Ltd
  • S.Hunt
  • David Thorne

ACO provides drainage solutions to state-of-the-art Olympics 2012 venues

ACO supported the Olympics build by meeting diverse and complex drainage requirements across six venues and infrastructure improvements. We have been awarded our Licence Agreement as a recognised supplier of the London 2012 Olympic Games recently.

A presentation has been created to demonstrate our active involvement with prestigious Olympics venues and the drainage solutions that have been supplied. In total ACO supplied in excess of 30,000m of channel drainage for diverse and sometimes complex locations, supported by its in depth expertise to various Olympic build projects.

The task set out by the Olympic Delivery Authority was huge. It transformed a run-down area in East London covering parts of Stratford, Bow, Leyton and Hackney Wick with new sports venues, the Olympic Village, the International Broadcast Centre and Main Press Centre. A new shopping centre, Westfield Stratford City was also opened adjacent to the Olympic Park as well as other major works carried out on improved transportation infrastructure and extensive landscaping of areas.

ODA-Park Photos

Olympic Stadium: -

An Olympic track must be precise to ensure any records set during the games are fair. Standing water would also not be acceptable for Olympic conditions and the ACO drainage channel needed to provide guaranteed efficiency as well as fine installation tolerances. Not only did the track need to be up to Olympic standards it also needed to cope with the rigours of the opening and closing ceremonies. In all ACO supplied 850m of Sport Channel Drainage and 2000m of channel drainage systems for areas including the 100m track internal perimeter and warm up tracks.

Aquatics Centre: -

600m of stainless steel drainage channels was supplied for the Aquatics Centre as well as heel-safe gratings for the changing rooms. The drainage was custom built to match the architect’s drawings with complex interlocking channels requiring careful design, expertise and precise installation.

Westfield Stratford City Shopping Centre: -

In excess of 800m of drainage channel was provided covering the main shopping concourse, walkways, steps and bridges. Specially designed polymer concrete channels were fitted with discrete Brickslot gratings to meet the specific aesthetic requirements of the project with required hydraulic efficiency.

Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA): –

In order to support the increased visitors to the games, significant improvements were also carried out to the surrounding highway infrastructure, town centre, high streets and minor roads – designed to relieve congestion and improve accessibility. ACO RoadDrain and KerbDrain products were used extensively throughout the regeneration project.

ACO’s Martin Fairley presents at the SBWWI Seminar

ACOs Research Director Martin Fairley was delighted to give a presentation at last week’s SBWWI event at Stareton Hall, Stoneleigh Park.

The event, chaired by Alastair Moseley of J Murphy and Sons, Past President of CIWEM was the latest in a series of informative seminars run by the Society of British Water and Wastewater Industries to highlight the importance of SuDS in achieving an integrated approach to urban water management.


Martin was one of the panellists amongst a prestigious group of experts from a variety of fields, including Government, Water Companies, Local Authorities, Academia, Consultants, and SuDS suppliers, all giving presentations within their scope of expertise. His speech highlighted both the challenges and opportunities faced by commercial urban sites. View this presentation here.

The conference was key in highlighting how effective SuDS can be in providing solutions to flooding for water companies, their importance in whole catchment planning for local water management, and their potential for use as a local source of water for non-potable use to combat water scarcity in at-risk areas of the UK.

The timing of this conference is highly significant seeing as the debate around the inactivity in making SuDS the ‘norm’ in urban surface water management is at long last gathering pace. We hope more conferences like these will help raise visibility around SuDS and encourage its implementation in urban drainage and water management planning.

Global warming will mean more rain!

A report from Australian scientists declares significant statistical proof that global rainfall is on the increase based on a century of records. The report links global warming with this increase in precipitation and predicts that continued intensification of rainfall events will lead to more frequent flooding throughout the world.

The research, using data from 8,326 observing stations which had collected at least 30 years of record over the period from 1900 and 2009, found the intensity of rainfall was statistically associated with temperature. It showed that increases of between 5.9% and 7.7% in rainfall occurred for each degree of temperature rise.

According to NASA the average temperature has increased by 0.8°C since 1880, with over two-thirds of that rise occurring since 1975. If this trend continues we will see a rise of around 0.15°C per decade.

Picture courtesy of The Independent

Picture courtesy of The Independent

A BBC report in January stated days of particular heavy rainfall in the UK have become more common since 1960, mirroring the increases seen in other parts of the world. It will be no surprise to hear that last year extreme downpours in the UK occurred on average once every 70 compared with the normally expected once every 100 days. If global temperatures continue to rise, however, our air will hold increasing amounts of moisture which statistically means yet more rain and, if we do nothing, the misery of the floods that go with it.

This information only serves to strengthen our viewpoint that the need for sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) is increasingly important. To help in managing more intense rainfall, their implementation must be seriously considered by all local and national governments worldwide. If predictions about our climate are right, then we should maintain the drive for sustainable drainage to help manage the increased rainfall in our built environment. The need to engineer long term solutions that protect environments against the now all too common floods is recognised in the Floods and Water Management Act and we should welcome the careful consideration and subsequent implementation of SuDS in 2014 in England.

The legacy of the London 2012 Olympic Games continues…

We are thrilled to announce that we have received our Licence Agreement as a recognised supplier at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

This new scheme – the first of its kind – has given recognition to all those suppliers that have played a vital part in the success of the London 2012 Games.

olympic stadium 172 with ACO truck

ACO supplied the sustainable drainage systems to six of the major Olympic venues, all of which required very specific products and installations. As ACO were involved in the planning stages of each project all the way through to the completion, we were able to meet the high standards that were set out by the British Olympic Association (“BOA”). The Olympic Park has been defined by its ground-breaking engineering and the radical new approach to sustainability.

Last week ACO was awarded the UK Green Building Council Sustainable Stand at Ecobuild 2013, and the Olympic licence has only reaffirmed our credentials as a sustainable business within the business sector.

ACO: the proud winners of the sustainable “green stand” competition!

We are thrilled to announce that last night ACO were named winners of the over 100m2 UK Green Building Council Sustainable Stand Award at this year’s Ecobuild.


The central point of interest of our stand is the “tick leaf” which has attracted a great deal of attention. We chose the leaf design to help convey ACO’s connection to the natural world and the custodial role of managing surface water and the function of returning it to the ground in order to maintain a healthy and sustainable ecosystem. The tick is a simple means of verifying sustainability credentials have been met for the product and the processes employed in its manufacture, or to verify the product has a particular sustainability function within water management.

Speaking about our stand and the reason we were chosen as winners UK-GBC said: “The defining feature of this entry was how well considered it was. Unique to the Sustainable Stand Awards, they reported on and gave metrics of how they have improved the sustainability credentials on their stand from last year. They also used zero paper on their stand, instead simply directing people to their website for information.”


With this win, it looks like our aim to improve our sustainability credentials within the small to medium-sized business sector is working! We value sustainability and for over 50 years our innovative sustainable solutions have protected environments and maximized performance across industries.

What a great win and what a great sense of achievement.