Ramboll helps Skelleftea with upgrade of water treatment plant

31 March 2016 Consultancy.uk

Following the contamination of Skellefteå’s water supply by a diarrheal disease causing parasite, the municipality hired Ramboll as the chief consultant for the upgrade of its water treatment plant. The new plant was recently delivered and uses oxidation, filtration and disinfection techniques that are able to neutralise the parasite.

A number of locations around that world are already undergoing water stress. As populations grow and a range of industries continue to require water for their productivity, sometimes limited supplies become overtaxed, and, eventually, run dry. A water crisis is ranked as the number three most impactful global risk in a recent World Economic Forum report, with climate change likely to exacerbate an already daunting water problem for Brazilian mega cities, including São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, while California too has been suffering under sustained drought. While water sources are an issue in a number of locations, the supply is also not always potable – even wealthy developed countries can find themselves in crisis, as was recently highlighted by the lead poisoned pipes in the US and a micro-parasitic invasion in Scandinavia.

Ramboll helps Skelleftea with upgrade of water treatment plant

Skellefteå, in Sweden, is a small city whose municipality has approximately 72,000 residents. The municipality is situated in Västerbotten County in the north of the country. Like much of Sweden, the city enjoys a relatively temperate climate, with plenty of rainfall and access to local water. Five years ago, however, it was discovered that the city’s water supply was contaminated with cryptosporidium, a parasite that results in diarrheal disease. Following the discovery of the contamination, residents were required to boil water for seven months. The parasite is highly resistant to chlorine based disinfection, with boiling, oxidation and UV being considerably more effective treatments to contaminated water.

To rid itself of the pathogen, the municipality decided to upgrade the water treatment system. The new water treatment plant uses the practice of artificial groundwater recharge, whereby groundwater reservoir levels are artificially increased, as well as leveraging modern oxidation, filtration and disinfection techniques to ensure that the city’s groundwater is safe to drink.

Engineering and consulting firm Ramboll served as chief consultant during the project, which is the largest of its kind in Sweden. The team working on the project includes the firm’s experts from ten different offices in Sweden. “As this case clearly demonstrates, clean drinking water is never a matter of course. It takes a constant focus and ability to change the way things are done, if the situation requires it,” says Anette Seger, Country Manager for Ramboll Water in Sweden.

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How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

11 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

Amey Consulting has leveraged data insights to assist Network Rail with the improvement of its South-Eastern route. Using the Quartz tool, which monitors train movement, Network Rail will now be able to commit to data-enabled interventions to quickly improve underperforming train stations.

With rail services in the UK coming under strain from the demands of modern commuter life, while the infrastructure and service delivery of the nation’s railways has come in for sustained criticism in recent years, a period of regeneration is on the cards at last. Network Rail is the owner and infrastructure manager of most of the railway network in Great Britain, and has subsequently tapped the consulting industry on a regular basis to help find areas of improvement.

The group recently drafted in consultancy BearingPoint to conduct a thorough organisational evaluation and advise Network Rail (High Speed) on attaining a ‘fit for purpose’ organisational standard – for which the consultancy was nominated at the 2019 MCA Awards. Meanwhile, ArupArcadis and Aecom have been contracted to help Colas Rail and Babcock Rail implement a decade-long framework for Network Rail, aimed at supporting the delivery of the next generation of rail systems, with the contracts said to be worth as much as £5 billion

How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

As Network Rail further aims to improve its performance and customer service offering, another area it has sought help from the consulting sector for is its South-East route. The network of railways connects London with the southern parts of the country, as well as with Europe, making it the busiest in the country, with more than 500 million passenger journeys per year. This crucial expanse of rail was plagued with small minute delays, which were impacting millions of passengers every day, while reducing the efficiency and capacity of the overall network – something Amey Consulting was selected to help solve.

Amey Consulting soon determined that with the sub-threshold delays to services only lasting for 1 or 2 minutes, most were not the subject of detailed root cause analysis, and this made their corrections almost impossible – with dire consequences. Without addressing these delays, passenger satisfaction would fall, while the capacity and efficiency of the network would be reduced, stinging the income of Network Rail even before a host of delay-related fines would hit the company.

In order to help the client gain a better understanding of where, how, when and what these small delays occur, Amey Consulting looked to demonstrate the value of data-led consulting, with a significant reduction in delays within the first month of rolling out changes to key stations. The consultants embedded themselves in Network Rail’s team, helping them learn the key skills needed to support and apply data-driven solutions.

Agile transport

This involved the deployment of the Quartz tool. The system utilises to-the-second train movement data to present the performance of individual stations across the South-East route. It allows users to effortlessly understand station performance with a high level of detail, and use this information to identify losses caused by small-minute delays. The granular data allows for targeted actions to drive efficiency savings and performance improvements. More importantly, it allows users to understand the impact of small process changes on performance. 

Steve Dyke, an Executive Partner at Amey Consulting, said of the project, “We looked to identify the physical root cause on the infrastructure, building a case for change then managing that project implementation and tracking the benefit/value.  In doing so we are working to define a data performance improvement service to the operational and infrastructure owners.”

Just as important for the project as the technology, however, was teaching the Network Rail team how to leverage it after the consultants were gone. The Amey Consulting team worked to develop an agile working culture within Network Rail’s South-East division, helping staff to be confident in using data to improve the journeys of millions of people per year by attacking the problem from the ground up.

Dyke concluded, “This is less about the tools and about the approach to managing performance.  It meant using by-the-second analysis, data science, and then agile development to visualise and identify areas where improvements can be made.  We then worked with NR to change the way they approached the management of the infrastructure changes.  So rather than pass the information down the value chain, any of which could have been missed, we managed the change end-to-end.”

The project was so successful that Amey Consulting was also among those honoured at the recent MCA Awards. The firm scooped the Performance Improvement in the Public Sector prize for its work with Network Rail, at the 2019 ceremony in London.