ACO SuDS Swale Inlet: Behind the Design

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Bringing products to market involves a detailed journey of research and testing to develop a solution that meets various industry guidance and criteria.  In fact, many are developed to answer challenges presented by changes in legislation.  This was exactly the case with our SuDS Swale Inlet, which started as an initial response to Schedule 3 of the 2010 Flood and Water Management Act, evolving into the effective and noteworthy interface between SuDS solutions and proprietary drainage systems that it is today.

When reviewing the market’s requirements, a dearth of end of pipe solutions and a reoccurring trend of visually unappealing swale and basin inlets – often left as a cut pipe or with an unsightly concrete surround – was evident. Following customer suggestions and guidance from CIRIA C697, we recognised that a solution providing consistency of finish whilst being highly cost effective needed to be developed.

Engaging directly with our customers and meeting with landscape architects, local authorities, and environmental engineers across the country is always an integral part of our new product development programme, to ensure we create insightful solutions that meet the needs of the entire supply chain.

Taking on board wide ranging feedback we developed a solution that offers simple aesthetics with a technically advanced design in terms of surface finish and flared outlet.  As a result, flow is distributed across a footprint up to six times that of traditional pipe outfalls, allowing water dispersion and reducing scouring velocities.  What’s more, our SuDS Swale Inlet is the only product on the market that provides an off the shelf, ‘drop in’ solution for contractors, with erosion protection at the heart of it.  This product really takes swale inlets to the next level!

Click here for more information on ACO’s SuDS Swale Inlet.

Launch of BS 8582 – a much needed step forward for practical, sustainable drainage

The recently published BSI standard provides a hugely useful ‘code of practice’ to those of us involved in the specification, installation or maintenance of surface water management systems.

One of the key topics recognised by the standard is the relevance of proprietary drainage systems, and how they can provide flexible, effective, and complementary alternatives to natural infiltration systems.

With space and ground conditions such a major factor on new urban developments, this acknowledgement of hybrid surface water drainage solutions will be a welcome development to designers and planners.

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BS 8582 recognises the use of proprietary drainage elements as part of a sustainable drainage system (SuDS)

And with the forthcoming legislation changes, BS 8582 also provides SuDS Approval Boards (SABs) with a structured methodology to assess drainage planning applications.

For more information on BS 8582:2013 Code of practice for surface water management for developed sites, visit the BSI website

Flood prevention plans delay – new controversy?

With the profile of flood prevention high on the agenda it seems to be the right time to be talking SUDS.

News on the subject has been building gradually over the last week or two and the article by Roger Harrabin on the BBC article makes for interesting reading http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-25676973

Extended range of flow control systems lower project costs

Our newly extended range of flow control systems can now regulate any surface water flow before it discharges into a watercourse or sewer network. The updated range includes both Q-Brake Vortex Flow controls and Q-Plate orifice plate systems which are designed for efficient handling of flows, simple maintenance and easy installation.

ACO's extended range of flow control systems

ACO’s extended range of flow control systems

ACO Q-Brake Vortex is ideal for flows up to 100 l/s and minimises maintenance with no moving parts and large openings to reduce blockage risk. The enhanced patented bypass door and emergency drain down facility enables remote access to the bypass inlet and independently drains the upstream system – simplifying access and removing the need for direct man access to sewer manholes.

In situations where the ACO Q-Brake Vortex is not suitable, ACO Q-Plate offers an effective alternative. Our orifice plates are available with or without remote bypass and drain down, and depending on your project requirements, are available with flat and round manhole configurations to simplify installation.

Our design team will provide guidance to ensure the right product specification and both flow control systems are included in the WinDes software to simplify hydraulic modelling. Manufactured from stainless steel, the systems offer high quality, yet robust, reliable and economic solutions. With rapid deliveries to exact site requirements, our range of flow control systems will reduce installation costs, minimise maintenance and will ensure the final stages of a project can be concluded quickly and without hassle.

For more information on our range of flow control system visit the ACO website.

 

ACO StormBrixx nominated for an award again!

Its smiles all round here at ACO– last month ACO StormBrixx was again shortlisted for an award.

This time it was for the highly regarded Sustainability Leaders Awards in the category Sustainability Innovation: Systems & Software. The awards recognise organisations that are making genuine progress in embedding sustainability throughout their operations and we are thrilled to be part of the cut!

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Since its launch in 2012, the success of our geocellular stormwater management system, ACO StormBrixx, has been tremendous. In October 2012, its clever design was affirmed when presented with the prestigious British Construction Industry (BCI) Awards for Product Design Innovation.

Since then it has been recognised by the CPA in their Innovation & Achievement Publication, and has been shortlisted in both the Sustain’ magazine and the Environment and Energy Awards.

The industry recognition of its clever design and successful application in numerous projects confirms it is the special product we were aiming for. Its success has proven that it is something that brings value engineering, delivers real benefit and solves many challenging issues for successful, sustainable surface water management today and for the future.

Head to the edie.net website for more information on the Sustainability Leaders Awards

What impact will the new Water Bill have on SuDS?

The long awaited Water Bill has been published and has started its passage through Parliament. According to the Government website, the bill aims to reform the water industry: from the consumer’s point of view, it will address topics including the UK’s resilience to flooding and drought, the availability and affordability of flood insurance and generally make the industry more innovative and responsive to customers.

But what effect does it have on those of us involved in the specification, installation and maintenance of surface water management systems?

Section 21 of the bill “Drainage systems relieving public sewers” clarifies that the building and maintenance of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) can be undertaken by sewerage undertakers. We welcome this encouragement for the use of SuDS but does this change anything in the design of SuDS?

Bringing the decision process away from the developer – SAB – local authority negotiation into one organisation could change the way that, at least some, SuDS are designed. Even though there is no likelihood of them being included in the SuDS standards, there is a perception that amenity and biodiversity currently have a high weighting in the design of systems for adoption by the local authority. Water and Sewer Companies, coming at the problem from a different direction, could be expected to focus more strongly on demonstrable control of quantity and quality, and how and when maintenance is carried out.

We think that this will help bridge the gap between ‘engineered’ and ‘natural’ solutions (although we all know that ‘natural’ solutions have to be engineered that way) to a more holistic integration of components. What is clear is that access and maintenance will rise up the agenda and we design this into our surface water management solutions. For example StormBrixx, our infiltration and attenuation system, provides full 3D access and significantly simplifies inspection and cleaning.

ACO StormBrixx attenuation and infilitration system

ACO StormBrixx  infilitration and attenuation system

For further details of the measures coverage in the new Water Bill, visit:http://bit.ly/12HJrLm

What impact do you think the new Water Bill will have on SuDS? We would be interested to hear your comments…

 

Central Europe on Flood Alert

Current weather patterns are causing serious problems throughout Europe. According to a recent BBC news piece, Central Europe is on high alert with emergency operations under way in Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic in order to deal with record levels of rainfall and the evacuation of thousands of homes. The German cities of Passau and Rosenheim have declared a state of emergency and in Austria, the meteorological service said that the country has witnessed two months worth of rain in just two days.

Now may be the time to highlight the importance of water management at every level in order to help protect our environment. As Central Europe experiences on-going urbanisation, each country’s population continues to grow and migrate towards larger settlements, with towns and cities continuously expanding. As a result, the natural landscape is replaced by hard, man-made surfaces leading to potential problems with water quality and safety, as pollutants mix with the rainwater run off as well as altering the natural drainage patterns. Coupled with the ever-changing weather pattern, a more extreme climate rainfall is expected to increase year on year according to the Met office.

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This increased risk of flooding during high rainfall will have a significant and widespread impact on people, businesses and essential services. Addressing these flooding issues will inevitably not be easy, and it is likely that numerous different initiatives will be required to help alleviate the dramatic and disastrous effects impacting people’s lives and livelihoods. However, by turning to more considerate and innovative approaches to drainage we will have a better chance of over-coming the challenges of rapid climate change now, as well as in the future.

Since the introduction of the Pitt review and the Flood and Water Management Act, we are seeing greater urgency to introduce more sustainable solutions on the micro level that will help manage surface water in a macro context. The SuDS concept is one that looks to deliver effective management of quality and quantity whilst also recognising some of the real positive aspects of water – sustaining biodiversity, improving local amenities, the re-use of water and of course the replenishment of groundwater.  As urbanisation increases so does the urgency for drainage technology to address and support natural processes; ACO are working hard to deliver solutions that integrate with effective natural elements to best manage surface water. Years of experience in dealing with surface water all over the world has put us in a favourable position to provide product and advice with regards to managing surface water.

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.”

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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.

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.

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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.