Veolia’s optimised operations and maintenance helps Northern Ireland Water manage COVID-19


Implemented on all wastewater treatment plants run by Veolia, the company’s Optimised Operations and Maintenance (VOOM) methodology is now showing how it can work effectively through the pandemic, to support Northern Ireland’s (NI) wastewater treatment services. Essential to maintaining the NI wastewater effluent quality and meeting environmental standards, Veolia’s team working on behalf of NI Water, continues to treat 20% of the sewage and wastewater, and 100% of the sludge created by the wastewater treatment process in NI. By using VOOM the sites are achieving savings in reactive maintenance and base costs, lowering energy usage, and increasing sludge dewatering performance.

Veolia’s 75-strong team serves the key wastewater treatment works at Armagh, Ballynacor, Ballyrickard, North Down Ards and Richhill, and operates two incinerators at Duncrue Street in Belfast. The continued 24/7 operation of the sites during the pandemic has seen procedures adapt through measures such as staggering break times, remote shift handovers, use of additional PPE and video conferencing. This has ensured the safety of the team members and the implementation of VOOM to enhance the reliability and performance of assets, reduce operation and maintenance costs and create energy saving opportunities. As an example the success of the VOOM programme at the Ballyrickard WwTW includes reactive maintenance reduced by 28%, sludge dewatering performance increased by 64%, base cost savings of 35% and energy savings of 7%.

Commenting on the teams success Sinead Patton, Regional Director – Northern Ireland, said
“Covid has brought its particular challenges. But while many businesses shut down for a time, our frontline teams need to operate the plants 24/7”

“Their continued operation is down to the commitment of our maintenance teams, who have had to adapt to a change in normal ways of working, ensuring the effluent leaving the plants continues to meet all the required environmental standards.

“Thanks to their dedication there have been absolutely no interruptions to Northern Ireland’s wastewater treatment services, even though our frontline heroes have had to adapt to very different ways of working.”