all is calm
United Utilities for 4 and a half years
United Utilities – keeping water and sewage flowing in North West England
I design, test and optimise water & sewage treatment works.
I work for one of the UK’s largest water and wastewater (sewage) companies, United Utilities. We keep over 7,000,000 people supplied with water and remove all of their wastewater, through some 42,000 km of water mains and 72,000 km of sewers.
My job has three areas:
Design – this would be the design of new assets, for example upgrading a treatment works to meet new standards or due to kit becoming too old and no longer working as we need it to.
Test – over time mechanical kit can loose some performance, so every now and then we test it to see how much performance it has lost. This is done primarily on pumps as they are one of the most power hungry pieces of kit we have and we have thousands of them.
Optimse – when our sites are up and running we look to tweak them so they work as well as possible for as little as possible. Be it by reducing electricity and chemical consumption or by extracting more energy from our works (by getting as much of the brown stuff out of the wastewater so we can produce gas and electricity).
In my spare time I play the tuba in a local brass band. This is a great way to forget about work and unwind with people from very different backgrounds.
My Typical Day
70% Office – meetings, calculations, reviews , 30% Out and About – looking at kit
07.10 – arrive at the office, if possible I like to cycle in rather than drive
07.15 – get the computer on and grab a coffee
07.30 – after checking my emails I’ll settle down to the business of work – today (10/06) I will be calculating pump sizes for a new sewage treatment works at Hesketh Bank. Shown below is the current treatment works
09.30 – time for a break…and more coffee before getting back to pump sizing
10.00 – have a chat with the Hydraulic Engineer about a new outfall and tidal pumping station for Hesketh Bank
11.30 – run through with the estimator to make sure the right costs are put in to the estimate
12.00 – lunch time, a chance to catch up with the news
12.45 – begin to define work on another site, Horwich. The work here is about upgrading the treatment works.
15.30 – time to get on my bike and go home!
What I'd do with the money
Refurbish the United Utilities ‘Pump It’ demo rig
Back in 2010 United Utilities built a pumping demo rig to use at the Big Bang event in Manchester. Over the years it has become tired and is well overdue a sprucing up.
The rig allows us to engage with students at events and highlight the importance of network integrity (leaks) and how much effort is required for pumping water, all with a competitive edge too.
Over the years it has been in use at many events in the North West. A refurb would allow our Engineers to continue the good work in the years to come.
The photo below shows the rig at its last outing with two of our Graduate Engineers.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Extravagant, Honest, Obsessive
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
I designed a pumping station to keep Blackburn supplied with water
What did you want to be after you left school?
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Yes, more than I care to remember!
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
A musician in the Armed Forces
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Performed at the Royal Albert Hall for the BBC Proms
Tell us a joke.
A fish swam into a wall…Dam!