Spreading the word around water treatment
Ian Hawke is a site technician at St Cleer and Bastreet Water Treatment Works in Cornwall.
My name is Ian, I have been employed by South West Water for 22 years. During this time, I have worked for Customer Accounts, Metering, Customer Relations and for the last 10 years or so, I have been at St Cleer and Bastreet Water Treatment Works formerly as an Operator and more recently a Site Technician.
During my time within Drinking Water Services there have been many changes regarding working patterns, areas, roles and responsibilities. However, the importance of my role continues to be the responsibility to maintain the quality and quantity of our drinking water supply.
There are 29 water treatment sites within the company, all ensuring the quality of our customers' supplies. From our latest, audited results, we are proud to maintain 99.98% compliance for all drinking water quality samples taken during the last financial year, 2013/2014.
At the works, we are responsible for maintaining the site assets, the ordering and safe receipt of site chemicals, the managing of contractors and their schemes, and the day to day housekeeping in order to ensure the sites are in decent working condition.
There was a slight change to my normal work this week, as at Bastreet, I was pleased to welcome a visit from the Warleggan Young Farmers Club. It was a brilliant opportunity to show this group around the site, to explain the treatment processes in place, and give them an insight into some of the challenges that we may face. This may include; river spate conditions with elevated colour and turbidity to remove, potential ammonia spikes from the farming activities upstream and abstraction / licensing concerns during periods of dry weather.
The visit was well received, with feedback showing surprise at what goes on and a genuine interest in the site, the volumes of water produced and the technologies used. Spokesman Jack Tucker, on thanking South West Water for the experience, stated: "We have all learned a great deal" and "we will all be more aware in the future as to what goes into producing wholesome tap water".
We also discussed the Upstream Thinking activities and the potential mutual benefits in such a philosophy. The successes already achieved in reclaiming upstream wetlands to store and filter raw water are important steps in this process. Furthermore, the potential for commercial gain by farming smarter was a real talking point.
Visits such as this are, I feel, vital to engage the local community, to educate and provide the platform for long term mutual respect.