May's top stories: England Water Bill becomes law

English businesses will be able to choose their water supplier from April 2017, bringing competition to the £2bn market. Water Technology wraps up the key headlines from May.


Tallinn receives water network loan

Water network

Water utility Tallinna Vesi has signed a ten-year €20m loan agreement with Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) to upgrade the freshwater distribution network and wastewater network in Tallinn, Estonia.

Scheduled until 2017, the investment programme aims to reduce the risk of emergencies and leakages and improve the supply of freshwater.

Tallinna Vesi will renovate freshwater supply and wastewater effluent pipes and repair major sewage pumping stations and sludge treatment facilities in the city.

Fluor wins EPC contract for Saudi Arabia RO manufacturing facility

US-based engineering construction company Fluor has secured an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract from Dow Chemical for a facility to manufacture water purifying reverse osmosis (RO) elements for drinking and industrial uses.

The facility is said to be located in Jubail Industrial City II at the Sadara Chemical Company complex in Saudi Arabia. It will produce Dow RO products such as Dow Filmtec brackish water RO elements and seawater RO elements. The products will be supplied to the local Saudi Arabian market, as well as the wider Middle East and Africa (MEA) region and markets with similar critical water needs, such as Eastern Europe, India, China and South East Asia.

RO elements are used for demineralising brackish water or desalinating seawater for the water treatment, power generation, food and drinks processing, municipal desalination and water reuse sectors.

England Water Bill becomes law

The Water Bill has been granted royal assent, enabling English businesses to choose their water supplier and bringing competition to the £2bn market from April 2017.

The Water Act 2014 allows water users that consume more than five million litres a year to select their water supplier. The bill came out of the Water For Life white paper published by Defra in June 2011.

Currently, England's water market is divided into regional monopolies, and the existing market structure allows little scope for customers to exert pressure on suppliers to tailor the services they provide.

Parsons Brinckerhoff appointed for stormwater management in US Everglades

The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) has appointed engineering and design firm Parsons Brinckerhoff to offer construction management services for the C-44 Reservoir / Stormwater Treatment Area (STA) Project in the Everglades.

Parsons Brinckerhoff will work in collaboration with the SFWMD to construct the STA to meet water quality targets in compliance with industry standards.

The project aims to develop wetlands, canals, culverts, discharge structures, and embankments to hold local runoff from the C-44 basin that usually discharges into the Indian River Lagoon and the St Lucie Estuary, polluting the water resources and affecting livelihoods and local businesses.

Irish Water to invest in water and waste treatment improvements

Irish water

Irish Water will invest approximately €1.8bn over the next three years to improve drinking water quality, leakage, water availability and wastewater compliance.

Established by the government less than six months ago, the utility is considering taking control of the water infrastructure programmes of 34 local authorities in the country.

It will look into eliminating boil water notices in Roscommon by early 2015 and providing more water. Reducing disruptions to water supply in the Dublin area, improving water quality, increasing wastewater treatment capacity and improving environmental compliance also form part of the priorities.

Report finds global inequalities in clean water access

water access

A new WHO/UNICEF report has revealed that inequalities in access to improved drinking water and sanitation facilities still persist around the world with further focuses on the need to reduce gaps in access.

Entitled "Progress on drinking water and sanitation: 2014 update", one of the issues highlighted by the report is a disparity in access to cleaner water and better sanitation between rural and urban areas.

Since 1990, almost 2 billion people have access to improved sanitation globally, 2.3 billion have improved drinking water. Around 1.6 billion people now have piped water connections in their place of dwelling.

Malaysia to increase frequency of contaminant testing in Selangor

The Malaysian Health Ministry has announced that it will increase the frequency of testing at Selangor treatment plants to ensure that water supplied to consumers can be safely consumed.

Previously, testing was carried out once a month to check for chemicals and metals, but now this will be done weekly.

The directive follows laboratory tests on water samples collected from Bestari Jaya mining pools that found high levels of metals including manganese, iron, nickel and lead.

Veolia wins water treatment contract from Ecopetrol

water treatment

Waste and energy management solutions provider Veolia has won a $73m contract from Ecopetrol America to provide equipment and services to treat water produced from the company's Castilla oil fields located in Colombia's Llanos Basin, southeast of Bogota.

Oil from the produced water will be removed and recovered using an integrated system provided by Veolia, which in turn will treat sludge and cool the water prior to discharge.

Veolia will design and supply the equipment and material, supervise installation, commissioning and start-up, as well as assist Ecopetrol in the operations.