Our team of engineers have seen an increase in damage to water infrastructure since the recent harsh weather conditions. Here Paul Leach, our Pipeline Solutions Manager talks about how businesses can prepare before, during and after the cold weather to prevent significant costs and damage caused by burst pipes.

“I have no doubt that there will have been an increase in water related incidents at business properties due to the ‘beast from the end’ hitting the UK. Waterlines, heating pipes and even sewage pipes have been freezing.

“This can happen anywhere but especially in older buildings, where there’s still a lot of metallic pipe work in use, this pipe material will absorb a lot of the cold air and freeze. With traditional copper water pipes you can try to get heat onto the frozen area using a thawing machine that generates an electric current.

“A lot of newer office/commercial builds, however, use plastic pipe work for their water systems, this is a much better weapon against freezing but please remember that all plastic pipe work should be lagged as an extra layer of protection.

“Incidents will increase when the cold weather moves on, this is mainly due to pipe movement as frozen pipe work thaws, this creates leakage when pipe joints try to return to their original position before freezing but can’t, this is when pipe bursts are common place and can take businesses by surprise.

“There are a number of things that customers can do to minimise internal pipe work damage. Businesses should check the exterior of their buildings, including the flashing and siding, to make sure it’s intact and in good condition. The recent snow and high winds may have caused damage that allows drafts or colder air to get inside. Keep windows closed to prevent drafts.

“Cold will freeze pipes no matter what, but it’s the wind chill that will do the most damage. So on really cold days where the wind’s getting through to the pipe work, that’s where you could experience a major freeze-up.

“Moving water does not freeze, so for pipes prone to freezing leave a tap trickling to keep water running in the system.

“If you are leaving your building unattended, set the heating to come on for short periods every day. If the building is going to be empty for a long time, make sure the key holder makes regular visits to check inside and outside the property.

“The cold weather can cause enough disruption to business, so consider your water infrastructure and make that one less thing to worry about.”

Here are a few extra tips to help prepare business properties for challenging conditions:
•Check any trace heating is operational on any external pipework and inspect during cold spells.
•Ensure any evaporative cooling systems that are in use are circulating at a sufficient temperature not to freeze, and inspect regularly.
•Make sure that chemical storage tanks and associated pipework are adequately protected from freezing.
•If you have any unnecessary or little used processes, drain if possible.
•Have contacts and procedures in place to deal with emergency situations.
•Know where your water meter is and any sub meters so key areas can be identified and quickly shut off.
•If you can, isolate the water supplies to areas which are vulnerable to freezing.
•Repair any dripping taps or overflows
•Find out where the property’s internal stopcock is located and check that it works correctly.
•Consider installing our new AMR system (Automated Meter Reading), our system can warn customers of a burst to their premises almost immediately through our clever software alarms. This alarm can be sent to any device or computer.


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How the Gold Standard Water Benefit Standard Can Make Your Business’s Water Strategy More Sustainable

Water scarcity is an increasingly important topic of conversation on the global stage. With a growing number of high profile water shortages, and concerns that by 2050 over 4.8 billion people could be affected by water scarcity, more and more companies are treating water saving measures as a crucial business priority.

Brands such as Coca-Cola, Levi and L’Oreal have all made ambitious commitments to water sustainability, and others are following suit. As you might expect, improving efficiency and reducing usage are the main priorities of most corporate water strategies.

In this article we’ll introduce the Gold Standard Water Benefit Standard. This newly-launched scheme offers a new way for businesses to meet sustainability commitments, publicly demonstrate their contribution to water stewardship, and improve their reputation.

Who is Gold Standard?

Gold Standard is a certification body dedicated to defining standards for climate and development projects.

Their goal is to set and promote rigorous best practice standards, to ensure that projects aiming to positively impact the environment are easily measurable and rigorously monitored. In doing so, they ensure that funding and investment in these projects goes as far as possible.

What is the Gold Standard Water Benefit Standard?

Gold Standard’s Water Benefit Standard is a best practice framework for implementing sustainable water projects – for example, initiatives that either supply, conserve or purify water, increasing availability of clean water in areas that desperately need it.

By defining clear guidelines for measuring the impact of water sustainability projects, as well as by monitoring and checking their outcomes, Gold Standard can provide businesses who contribute funding for water sustainability projects with the confidence that their investment is having the desired impact.

The certification takes into account a wide range of different factors to measure the impact of water projects accurately. This includes measuring the “knock-on effect” of water projects on the surrounding area and environment, to ensure that any potential risks or negative impacts are identified and prevented.

Gold Standard’s Water Benefit Standard is currently being tested in pilot projects in Uganda and Ghana, and their goal is to implement 200 Water Benefit projects by 2020, benefitting over 3 million people worldwide.

What are Water Benefit Certificates?

For businesses who want to invest in water sustainability projects, Gold Standard offer Water Benefit Certificates. These work in a similar way to Carbon Credits, with each certificate representing a set volume of water that’s been supplied, conserved, or purified as part of a Water Benefit Standard certified project.

This means that companies can contribute in a measurable way to global projects which provide sustainable access to clean water. By purchasing Water Benefit Certificates, businesses can meet their commitments to sustainability or water stewardship goals, as well as offsetting their own water usage.

How Can the Water Benefit Standard Help My Business?

  • Offset your company’s environmental impact


Purchasing Water Benefit Certificates enables businesses to meet their water saving or sustainability targets, and also to offset the impact of their water usage by investing in projects elsewhere that reduce water scarcity. In doing so, businesses who invest in Water Benefit Certificates can demonstrate that they are having a measurable impact on global water projects, with benefits to their brand perception and reputation.

For businesses who wish to fund projects, Gold Standard provides a range of information on how to get involved on their website:

  • Improve your company’s water stewardship


The Water Benefit Standard provides a valuable framework for businesses to improve their own internal water management. By defining best practice for water sustainability, the guidelines provide a useful benchmark for companies who wish to improve the sustainability of their own water usage.

In particular, the Water Benefit Standard provides a set of guidelines for measuring and understanding the impact of your business’s water usage. This focus on data and proven benefits is what sets Gold Standard’s certification apart from other, similar initiatives, and the same approach can deliver real impact to businesses. By implementing accurate measurement, and effectively identifying and managing risks, companies can control their own water usage and environmental impact, whilst also reducing costs.

Many businesses don’t have a holistic picture of their water usage. If this is true for you, the Water Benefit Standard sets a rigorous framework that’ll help you develop a clear understanding of how water can affect your operations, both now and in the future.

Understand the Impact of Your Business’s Water Usage

TWS offers a range of services and solutions for businesses to measure and reduce their water usage. Our Automated Meter Reading technology can help businesses achieve best practice standards of measurement defined in the Water Benefit Standard, and our expert consultancy and support can help your company develop a comprehensive strategy for understanding, reducing or offsetting your water usage.

To find out more about how we can help, read our case studies or contact us.

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Light fantastic for Zoe’s place

A baby hospice in Middlesbrough is looking forward to a bright Christmas thanks to the help of our employees and volunteers from local businesses.

Employees from NWG Total Water Solutions, BT, TUI and P2 Utilities Ltd joined forces to create a magical Winter Wonderland at the centre that provides critical care and support for families going through the most difficult of times.

Paul Leach, from NWG Total Water Solutions, said: “We all wanted to get together to help out because Zoe’s Place is such an inspirational charity that provides palliative and respite care for babies and children with life limiting and life threatening conditions.”

The group of volunteers excavated a new pathway and laid over 90m2 of playbark donated by PBU (UK) LTD. The team also helped hang the external Christmas decorations on the main building and also fairy lights to lead a magical pathway through the woods where the children will get to meet Santa at the annual Christmas Light Spectacular and Fayre on Wednesday 29 November 2018.

Lisa Thomas, Office Manager at Zoe’s Place, Middlesbrough, said: “Without each and every one of you this event would not be able to go ahead. We don’t know what we would do without you. From all the staff, children and families at Zoe’s Place baby hospice, thank you for making our Christmas period especially twinkly and bright.”

The NWG TWS team has helped the charity on numerous occasions throughout the year thanks to Northumbrian Water’s companywide employee volunteering scheme, Just an hour. The Just an hour programme gives employees the opportunity to spend at least 15 hours of paid, work time a year improving local communities in the company’s supply area – from Berwick to North Yorkshire and across to the Pennines.

Lisa added “With the support on our drains from your contractor Aquajet and also P2 Utilities work on our pathways, yours and your teams support with the lights and your continued support with sweet treat collections, we really would have been lost without you guys this year. Your continued support and assistance has saved the hospice a considerable amount in monetary value this year and will hopefully make this year’s switch on the best so far.”

The majority of the support given at Zoë’s Place is respite care. All of the babies at the Hospice have a life-limiting or life-threatening condition and require differing levels of 24 hour support on a one to one basis. Zoë’s Place offers parents and carers a chance to recharge their batteries or to spend time with their other children. For more info go to


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Do you want to take control of all your utility bills?

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