Operations & Management
Case Study: Cranfield University

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“ Your team's extraordinary efforts in managing the Sewage Treatment Works (STW) plant during the recent extreme weather conditions is greatly appreciated - thank you to all involved on behalf of the University. ”

Jim Hurson Engineering Manager, Facilities at Cranfield University

The Background

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The Background

Cranfield University is a renowned UK postgraduate university which is widely recognised for its expertise in areas such as engineering and technology, aviation and aerospace, and (of particular relevance to our work with Cranfield) water and waste water management and research.

The University’s main site has its own private sewage treatment plant which has been developed over time since its original construction as part of an RAF base. The plant is complex in configuration with changeable water and waste water patterns due to the size of the on-site population, which varies significantly according to the academic calendar.

The Service

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The Service

In 2011 Alpheus refurbished the sewage treatment plant and since then has been contracted by Cranfield to supply a comprehensive range of services including: full operations and maintenance; Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM); sampling; chemical supply and dosing; sludge tankering and recycling; and grease trap management for campus facilities.

Because of our shared focus on innovation in this sector, we have developed a close relationship with the University and School of Water, Energy and Environment at Cranfield. Our team often conducts educational tours for students and staff as part of our service and we collaborate with the University’s pilot-plant hall research facility.

This facility explores new technologies in areas such as grey-water recycling, clean water and waste water treatment. Our on-site work helps to meet the requirements of the pilot-plant hall and research associated with it.

The Implementation

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The Implementation

As part of our ongoing contract, we have provided sampling and trending services which allow the management of the complex plant at Cranfield. Our work involves close monitoring and management of site operation (for example, changing pump regimes, tank levels and biological filter configuration) as the profile of incoming flows and loading change both on a weekly and season basis.

As part of the earlier plant upgrade project, we installed a telemetry/Human Machine Interface (HMI) system which allows remote monitoring of the plant configuration in response to differing influent conditions.

We maintain a strong research relationship with the University which has led to site improvements and enhanced testing regimes. We have built close ties with various campus facilities such as the laboratories and on-site accommodation with swimming pool facilities, helping to provide advice with regards to discharges to the sewage system.

The Outcomes

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The Outcomes

We have built a long-term relationship with Cranfield which has resulted in the reliable and cost-effective management of a complex plant with variable influent conditions. In particular, remote access via telemetry has allowed rapid response to challenges as and when they arise.

Our close collaboration with Cranfield has also made the plant more accessible, becoming a high-profile area within the campus which is regularly visited by staff, students and visitors to campus. In this way, it has become an integral part of the research and educational infrastructure at the University.

We are a trusted partner, able to respond to adverse circumstances when necessary. Jim Hurson, Engineering Manager, Facilities at Cranfield University, commented: "Your team's extraordinary efforts in managing the Sewage Treatment Works (STW) plant during the recent extreme weather conditions is greatly appreciated - thank you to all involved on behalf of the University".