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R&W wins the ‘Innovation’ category in the Constructing Excellence in London and the South East Awards

Hampshire-based R&W was named winner in the ‘Innovation’ category of the Constructing Excellence in London and the South East Awards 2016 for the design, development and operation of its wet waste treatment plant in Hursley, Hampshire.

Thanks to the plant, over 500,000 litres of fresh drinking water per year is diverted from use on the road networks for highway maintenance.  This is enough to fill 32 Olympic sized swimming pools!

 A platform for industry improvement, the Constructing Excellence programme celebrates the promotion of new technology and best practice across the UK construction industry.

R&W’s entry for the ‘Innovation’ category described the building of a £250k waste transfer station in central Hampshire, to process road sweepings and gully waste from across the road network. The plant separates solid waste from base material whilst purifying the liquid element for re-use on highways, saving over 500,000 litres of potable (fresh) mains water and diverting over 4,800 tonnes from landfill annually.

The R&W solution in detail

R&W created a ‘closed loop’ sustainable waste management system at its facility in Hursley, Hampshire, to recycle road sweepings and gully waste from the surrounding road infrastructure. However a major problem needed to be overcome, as Hursley had no foul sewer connection.  The resulting solution recycles and purifies waste water to river quality, processes the resulting solids and sends the purified water back onto the road network where it is reused.

The solution was made possible by embracing technology used for treating water from vehicle wash plants and applying it to cleanse biological oxygen demand and suspended solids from gully waste. The solid waste, which was previously transported to multiple depots throughout Hampshire to dry, before going to landfill or sent for processing at a plant nearly 100 miles away, is now is screened, and the resulting topsoil is authorised for use on the network.

The recycled and purified water is now reused by gully lorries and road sweepers for jetting highway drainage systems - spraying on the highways as part of the road sweeping process - thereby negating the need to draw potable (fresh drinking) water from the mains and saving over 500,000 litres for this implementation alone, enough to fill 32 Olympic sized swimming pools!

Today 90% of all solid waste material coming off the road network in gulley waste vehicles is recycled, diverting over 4,800 tonnes from landfill annually. The cost of constructing this gully waste recycling facility was in the region of £250k, representing significant savings over the cost of building a traditional permitted waste transfer station, which typically costs in excess of £1.5 million.  This innovative and sustainable solution could easily be implemented across the UK with significant benefits to the UK environment.

“We are truly proud of our environmental achievement in developing this ‘closed loop’ sustainable wet waste management system,” stated Andy Theobald, R&W’s Managing Director, “Our environmental team saw the requirement; developed a viable, sustainable and affordable solution; worked in collaboration with other stakeholders; and then implemented it.  R&W’s mission is to be the contractor and employer of choice across the south and winning this award shows that we are heading in the right direction.  We are working hard to improve the sustainability of our activities and doing what we can to improve those of our industry as a whole.  We hope that other businesses will be inspired by what we’ve created and will copy our approach so that the environmental benefits we have achieved can be replicated across the UK.” 

Results:

  • Negating the need to transport waste on 180 mile round trip for disposal.
  • Greatly reduced costs.
  • Reduced emissions and improved carbon footprint.
  • Improved productivity as the waste site operates 24 /7
  • Less stress on drivers.
  • Better resource management.
  • Greater water recycling.
  • Reduction in purchase of virgin topsoil for highway projects.
  • Accurate records provide stakeholders with quotable statistics on environmental and financial KPIs.
  • Hampshire County Council achieves higher recycling targets and implements cost savings, so benefitting all who live in the county.

What the Judges said:

“It is unusual to see such commitment and investment in R&D from an SME. R&W Civil Engineering were so totally commited to the theory behind the project that they also met the cost of the processing plant. They have data to support huge savings in water consumption and waste to landfill and their ambition is to see similar sites to be developed across the UK. Whilst they recognise that they are not able to personally scale up to meet potential demand, they are sharing their learning for others to follow”.

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