Our goal is to seek opportunities to reduce our consumption of natural resources by using alternatives where possible, and by optimising efficiency of use, whilst protecting and enhancing the environment.
Formal environmental, as well as health and safety and quality systems, are fundamental to our aim of continuously improving our performance.
The environmental management, systems of all Veolia Water UK businesses are certified to ISO 14001.
Managing responsibly... What do we do?
Society's demand for water has to be met efficiently and economically. Veolia Water UK's task is to balance the demand for water against the availability of water resources in the areas where we operate, whilst protecting the environment and caring for the communities in which we live and work. Due to the pressure on water resources in our supply area this requires innovative solutions.
The water resources balance is not just threatened by rising demand, droughts and climate change. If raw waters become polluted, they may become temporarily or permanently unusable, reducing the amount of water available to use. Protecting the quality of raw waters is a key part of sustainable water resources management. Our companies do not act alone in this; the Environment Agency monitors and protects the catchment, prosecuting those responsible for pollution offences.
Water is heavy to move around: pumping it from underground and surface sources, treating it and distributing it around networks uses large amounts of electricity, which is mainly generated from fossil fuels. To increase energy efficiency we have a phased inspection and replacement programme for pump motors. Where appropriate we install variable speed pumps.
We have recorded our annual carbon dioxide emissions associated with our energy requirements for water supply, offices and transport since 1996. Carbon dioxide emissions for 2009/10 amounted to some 126,500 tonnes, a 4% increase on the previous year. Emissions for the Almond Valley, Seafield & Esk (AVSE) contract which manages greater Edinburgh's wastewater amounted to 24,900 tonnes; 42% of AVSE's energy consumption was self-generated from biogas. Part of Veolia Water Outsourcing's offering is to optimise operation of their clients' assets and help them manage their carbon impacts.
The impacts of climate change are factored into our plans for adapting to the effects of extreme temperatures and weather events, more intensive rainfall, flooding, coastal erosion and sea water intrusion.
We monitor our use of aggregates and encourage our contractors who maintain the water networks to use "no dig" trenchless technology where possible and to re-use excavated material. In 2009-10, we estimate that 72% of the material excavated by us and our contractors was diverted from landfill for recycling (2008-9: 61%). We have an ongoing target to reduce waste going to landfill. Read here how our successful partnerships have helped us reduce waste, and win a Business in the Community "Big Tick" for environmental leadership.
All the treatment waste generated by our water supply companies during the year re-used as a soil conditioner on agricultural land.
Transport and travel
The water companies promote the use of cleaner fuels and vehicles with low emission levels for their fleet. Driver training and in-vehicle software that allows drivers to organise their workday instead of returning to depot, help to optimise fuel consumption.
All the water companies have tele- and videoconferencing facilities in order to reduce the amount of time and energy staff spend in travelling to inter-company meetings.