Employing 5,000 people and being responsible for the supply of water and water recycling services to more than six million customers, Anglian Water covers the largest geographical area in England and Wales.
This huge region stretches from the Humber estuary, north of Grimsby, to the Thames estuary, and from Buckinghamshire to Lowestoft on the east coast. The stretch of coastline is around 1,257 kilometres and 112,833 kilometres of water and sewer pipes supply and transport water across some 27,500 square kilometres. If they were laid end to end, they would take us a quarter of the way to the moon.
The physical attributes of the region include a high proportion of flat and low-lying areas, taking in The Fens in Cambridgeshire and the Norfolk Broads and is home to hundreds of farms growing food for the nation.
In its quest to improve the quality of our raw water sources including ground water, rivers and reservoirs, Anglian Water’s catchment advisors work with farmers small holders, paddock managers and gardening communities across the region raising awareness of the risks associated with pesticide use, and provide them with tools and information to reduce risks in order to protect our natural water sources.
“We’re delighted with how Daro worked with us throughout the entire process. Without the professionalism and expertise of Ian Bianchi this project would not have got off the ground.”
It is worth bearing in mind that everything that goes down a drain ends up with our water companies to clean and ensure the safe supply back into the environment or potentially through drinking water treatment to households and businesses across the region.
Pesticides that are used in farming, gardening, amenity and paddock management can find their way into watercourses via a number of routes such as during application, surface run off or in-field drainage after heavy rains plus via rinsing and filling over or in close proximity to drains and ditches.
Although we are only talking about minute volumes the key area that can be improved to cut up to 70% of these losses is providing containment in the initial handling and mixing of pesticides. In a recent survey carried out by the independent company ADAS, the majority of weed killers and plant protection products used by gardeners and allotment holders were diluted from concentrate plus a high proportion of agricultural losses can be attributed to farm-yard areas.
Understanding this, catchment advisor, Gary Hodgetts, contacted Daro Manufacturing Services and explained he was looking to develop a compact but effective solution that would help contain drips and spillages that may happen when farm workers, gardeners and other pesticide users dilute/mix products.
The team at Daro came up with a simple but highly effective design for a drip tray. Darrell Jamieson design engineer at Daro comments “As a starting point we needed to understand how the drip trays were going to be used to specify the ideal dimensions. Given that the product was being created to protect the environment it was important that the trays were manufactured using recycled ABS plastic. Once we made the prototype and agreed the drip tray design, dimensions and debossed branding we were commissioned to make a bespoke aluminium tool.”
Daro Group’s manufacturing services division developed a process based on their lean manufacturing philosophy and the ABS plastic sheets were suspended, heated and vacuum formed.
Anglian Water received the first batch of drip trays in 2017 and started strategically providing over 500 farmers and small holders with the robust tray to go alongside other measures and practices, helping protect raw water resources.
“The ‘can do’ attitude and lean processes mean the team can be agile and produce great results.”
Gary Hodgetts shares “The feedback we have received has been very positive with all sorts of stories including one where a farmer said the tray came in really handy when he experienced a leak on a nozzle, others being used as backup spill containment within designated spray fill up areas, measuring chemicals over or to place knapsacks in during filling.”
Gary adds “We’re delighted with how Daro worked with us throughout the entire process. Without the professionalism and expertise of Ian Bianchi this project would not have got off the ground. With their help we’ve distributed to 500 land managers across multiple sectors within and around our reservoir catchments so far.”
“Due to the success of the drip trays and its ability to fit any situation other water and chemical companies are now following suit, providing similar products via Daro in their own priority areas. No matter how large or small the land area being managed the more people we can reach the better. Accidents do happen but being prepared and having something as simple as a drip tray to hand is helping to protect our water environments for the multiple uses and species that they support. Between us all there have now been in the region of 1,200 mini pesticide handling improvements made by the drip tray initiative alone.”
Mervyn Douglas managing director of Daro Group concludes “The fact that this initiative has led to additional enquiries along the same lines is testimony to the consultative and honest approach of the team here. The ‘can do’ attitude and lean processes mean the team can be agile and produce great results. Helping with environmental issues are very rewarding projects for Daro to be involved in.”