From Blog

1987-2017

Happy New Year to all of our clients, staff and suppliers at the start of 2017, which is our 30th anniversary year of service to the environment.

Without your support we would never have achieved all that we have done over those 30 years. As we reach this significant milestone, it is wholly appropriate that we should take time out to thank you all for your individual contributions, in so many ways, to our success.hrh

First of all to our suppliers. Despite the modern world demanding that our commercial relationships have to be wrapped up in ever increasing contractual paperwork, those relationships still remain founded on a bond of mutual trust and respect. You have worked hard over the years to provide us with the resources to do our work, for which you can rightly expect to be paid in a timely fashion. We hope that we have always achieved that. Those old fashioned values have remained at the core of our business, helping us to survive some pretty turbulent economic conditions over the years.

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Then to our staff. One of the greatest joys has been to see how many of our staff have grown up within the business, developing their skills and experience in the process. Only this week we celebrated another member of staff reaching his 20th anniversary with the company. It is impossible to place a value on the knowledge accumulated over those years, but for certain it ensures we can offer our clients a healthy mixture of mature experience and youthful enthusiasm to overcome the challenges with which they present us. We are only as good as the staff that we employ, and we thank them all for their loyalty, their hard work and their good humour over the years.

And finally, and most importantly, to our clients. Without you, there would be no business. You have continued to present us with new and exciting challenges, which I hope that we have always strived to overcome. One of our proudest moments was to be awarded the Environment Agency’s Project Excellence Award in 2013, for the innovative design and installation of a simple eel pass. In the absence of any external power source, this relies upon miniature ram pumps to provide a suitable flow of water for the elvers to swim up. Working in close collaboration with our clients in this way is so rewarding, especially if the environment is the beneficiary of our mutual efforts.

It is a particular source of reassurance to me that over 70% of our orders come from our existing client base. Many of our regular maintenance contracts extend back well over a decade or more, demonstrating the faith that you have in our staff and the quality of the work that we do. Working in the demanding water environment, we cannot claim that everything goes according to plan every time, but our ethos is always to go that extra mile if necessary to get it right in the end.

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We would encourage you to take a few minutes to browse our website, view our various videos and see the full range of services that we can now offer. Kingcombe Aquacare Services We have certainly come a long way over the last 30 years and we unreservedly say thank you to all of our clients, commercial, private, Local Authority and Agency, for the trust that you have put in us and for encouraging us to grow over those years. We will never take that trust for granted.

So please join us in raising a toast to the next 30 years of Kingcombe Aquacare’s continuing service to the environment.

Merry Christmas!

We would just like to wish all our existing customers, colleagues, suppliers, sub contractors and friends a very Merry Christmas.

2016 has been a year of change with new faces joining the team and existing colleagues moving on to further their careers elsewhere. The Company has continued to diversify, making firm commitments to the waterplay and splashpad market, and starting to work in the power generation sector with water turbines installed through a zero cost funding scheme. Meanwhile we have continued to work hard providing a service to the Environment Agency, fabricating new structures and repairing existing ones whilst also keeping the culverts and screens of Torbay free of debris. The maintenance teams have been busy keeping the canals of London clear of weed and debris with our two weed boats. They have also continued with the regular visits to business parks and private gardens keeping the water features pristine. Our engineering teams have been travelling the country providing their specialist skills to build new and refurbish existing water features, on sites as diverse as sewage works to working on prestige housing developments.

We look forward to the challenges of 2017 and all that is in store for us, and would like to wish everyone a very happy and prosperous New Year.

Site Manager

New Year – New Job?

We are actively seeking to recruit additional site staff for the New Year. If you have the skills and aptitude, are looking for a challenge, and don’t mind working away from home, then please get in touch.

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We are looking for a Site Manager, ideally from a ground works, earthmoving or building trades background. You will be a problem solver, happy to manage a team of 3 to 6 men, reporting to a Contracts Manager for delivering a diverse range of projects safely, on time, to budget with no defects.

We are also looking for Site Operatives. Hardworking with a desire to make a difference, you might have construction industry experience or come from the landscaping industry or agriculture. You will work as part of a team on a range of projects all over the country for private and public sector clients.

Please follow the link to the specific job descriptions:

Site Manager Job Description                                 Site Operative Job Description

If you are interested in these positions can you fill in the application form – here – and we will get back to you.

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As Good As New!

Kingcombe have been busy over the past 6 months de-silting in various locations over the South West including a project near Dorchester.

Working with the Environment Agency, we carefully reinstated a section of River back to its original condition.

Before the works started, an ecologist surveyed the area which determined when the work could take place and agreed the working methods.

A pre-start meeting took place to agree access, parking and emergency procedures.

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Prior to starting, a detailed site specific inspection, environmental and site risk assessment and methodology were completed.

During the works

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Using a hydraulic excavator and a dumper, the silt and vegetation was removed from the river to a stockpile for later disposal.

Project Completion

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And it doesn’t stop there for 2016! This month, one of our site teams will be busy right up to Christmas de-silting a private lake near Warminster.

De-silting has been one of Kingcombe’s core activates for nearly 30 years and it gives us great pleasure to return a lake/pond/river or reservoir back to its original beauty.

Please contact us if you require further information on de-silting.

European Water Play Park Projects

As Sole European Distributors of Water Odyssey (the USA’s leading water play company) we are able to offer hundreds of high quality super soaking water play products to companies across the whole of Europe. Offering our services as supply only or complete installation to Landscape Architects, Leisure Facilities, Local Authorities and Theme Park Attractions, the possibilities for interactive water play projects is endless.
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We are currently working with ‘Boer Slides & Disco’ based in the Netherlands, on expanding their product range into the splashpad market. They also specialise in water play, specifically large water park slides.

 

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An exciting complex splashpad installation using a mixture of our product ranges (Water Odyssey and UK Manufactured EcoSplash) is currently taking place in Diest, Belgium. The products include a range of In-Ground Jets, Tipping Buckets and Crystal Dome features.

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We are heading out to Belgium to assist in the testing and commissioning mid March and we look forward to working closely with Boer Slides and Disco.

A Wet Night in Torquay

We have been busy with the Environment Agency in the last few weeks with additional call outs on top of our weekly maintenance visits to the Torbay area.

The majority of the work is preventative vegetation management. To increase flow and reducing blockages in water courses.

However all the leaves which gave us such a beautiful autumn have now fallen and coupled with torrential rain last week meant we were out during the night clearing blockages.

Our on-call teams were able attend site at short notice to prevent a serious rainfall event turning into flooding problems.

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Eels – an Uphill Struggle

We have been busy lately helping the European Eel fulfill its migratory desires!

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The European eel (Anguilla anguilla) is a species of Eel, a snake like, catadromous fish. They can reach a length of 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) in exceptional cases, but are normally around 60–80 cm (2.0–2.6 ft), and rarely reach more than 1 m (3 ft 3 in).

There are still elements of the life cycle of the eel which area mystery but the bits we do understand are fascinating.

Unlike many other migrating fish, eels begin their life cycle in the ocean and spend most of their lives in fresh water, returning to the ocean to spawn and then die. In the early 1900s, Danish researcher Johannes Schmidt identified the Sargasso Sea as the most likely spawning grounds for European eels. The larvae (leptocephali) drift towards Europe in a 300-day migration. When approaching the European coast, the larvae metamorphose into a transparent larval stage called “glass eel”, enter estuaries, and start migrating upstream. After entering fresh water, the glass eels metamorphose into elvers, miniature versions of the adult eels. As the eel grows, it becomes known as a “yellow eel” due to the brownish-yellow colour of their sides and belly. After 5–20 years in fresh water, the eels become sexually mature, their eyes grow larger, their flanks become silver, and their bellies white in colour. In this stage, the eels are known as “silver eels”, and they begin their migration back to the Sargasso Sea to spawn.

The European eel is currently classified as ‘Critically Endangered’. Overall numbers have significantly declined over the last 25-30 years and the reasons for this are suggested as being a combination of habitat loss, barriers to migration, parasites, pollution, over-fishing and climate change affecting oceanic currents.

The barrier to migration problem is one area that can be improved and Kingcombe Aquacare Ltd have been working closely with the Environment Agency to improve things for the humble eel. We design and fabricate effective eel pass systems to suit a wide range of conditions and our skilled site teams have been carrying out installations at many locations in the South of the UK.

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Cassette type Eel Pass system with fish pass baffles. Eel pass solutions are designed and fabricated by us in our CE accredited workshops…
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… and fitted in some difficult locations!
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Cassette type Eel Pass system on the weir of a gauging station. Cassette type systems offer ease of maintenance and can be fitted with cameras.

Milestones

We are now beginning to look ahead to May 2017, when Kingcombe will be celebrating 30 years of continuous service to the environment. How to celebrate?

There have been some notable milestones along that road.

It seems a lifetime ago that we took on our first Youth Training Scheme employee. It was such a huge decision at the time to take on the responsibility of actually employing someone. Now we are fortunate to employ over 40 members of staff, all specialists in their own right, some of whom have been with the company for over 25 years. It means that we can rely upon their experience and their own personal integrity to get the job done, with the care and attention to detail which has become the recognised standard for all of our clients.

This has been recognised by various important milestone events, not least our recognition in 2000 as Investors in People, and our subsequent accreditation with ISO 9001, 14001 and OHSAS 18001, as well as CE accreditation for our fabrication shop.

The range of work that we now undertake has also grown way beyond our original expectations. Not only do we still use our core skills to build and restore lakes, repair river banks, install flood alleviation schemes, and maintain business parks. We also apply those same skills to creating natural swimming ponds, building ponds on roofs, installing green energy water turbines and constructing water play parks. Whilst water continues to form the spine of the business,  it is surprising how many different workstreams have grown from that one theme over the last 30 years.

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Modern weed cutting using a weed boat as opposed to the traditional weed cut (above)

Probably the biggest influence on the way the business has developed has been the growth of the internet and IT generally. In 1987 we were right at the beginning of this business revolution, investing – would you believe – over £1,500 on our first mobile phone, and creating one of the earliest websites in our or any industry. We have continued to remain at the cutting edge to this day, combining traditional values with modern technology to provide our clients with the best possible service that we can.

So the question remains, how do we celebrate our pending 30 year milestone? 10 years ago we partied hard, dined on water cress soup, water buffalo casserole and Mississipi mud pie, and danced into the early hours in our wellies.

Any ideas on how we should celebrate 30 years? Answers on a postcard please (electronic of course!)

Made to Measure

We have recently completed a number of projects where the main features of the works have been fabricated in our own workshops. We are CE accredited to Level 3 (EN1090) and produce a wide range of made to measure products including bridges, jetties, flood gates, trash screens, sluice gates and bespoke one-off fabrications – using a variety of materials such as steel, timber and plastics.

The pictures show works in Devon including replacement trash screens at two sites and a fabricated mild steel footbridge with a composite deck and stainless handrails.

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All three structures were upgrades and improvements on what was installed previously. All our fabrications are bespoke and made to suit the particular location. The first activity is always a careful survey of the site to ensure we have the correct dimensions. This must be done to ensure that when the finished structure arrives on site the measurements are perfect and it fits first time.

Trash screens are installed in flood channels to remove large pieces of debris from the water course before it flows through a pipe or culvert.  The screen reduces the risk of debris causing blockages in the culvert and subsequent flooding. We also undertake maintenance contracts with several clients to ensure that these screens are regularly cleaned and maintained so that they are ready to take any storm flows, and are not covered over with a fly-tipped mattress or garden waste.

To see more about the fabrications we do, please visit http://kingcombe.com/water-maintenance-services/fabrications-2/steel-fabrications/

Kingcombe creates a new Blue Lagoon

Kingcombe has just completed the construction of another new lake, this time for a private client in Oxfordshire.

With approximately 3,000m2 surface area, the lake has been designed to create a conservation feature between the house and the woodlands below, acting as an environmentally beneficial interface between the domestic gardens and the wider landscape. Working with the Landscape Architect, Guy Thornton, we have been able to redefine the contours to create an aesthetically pleasing land form whilst remaining true to the historic character of the landscape.

Dug primarily into chalk, the lake has been lined with a 1.1mm Firestone EPDM waterproof membrane, sandwiched between two layers of 250gm geotextile and then surcharged with 200mm depth of the chalk substrate. Water supply is from a borehole delivering out of the chalk aquifer below. This combination has created the special circumstances for the unusually blue/green hue to the fresh water, which will be subdued just as soon as an organic layer builds up on the bed of the lake.

Water quality will be maintained by recirculating the water over a 25m stone cascade/stream flowing down over the hillside, which will introduce greater levels of dissolved oxygen. The banks have all been seeded with a wildflower mix, with additional aquatic marginals due to be planted in the Spring of 2017.

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Lining the lake with a 1.1mm Firestone EPDM waterproof membrane
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Work in progress
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The finished Blue Lagoon
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Site Manager, Grzegorz, sitting by the new stone cascade

To find out more, follow on to our ‘Lake Construction’ page http://kingcombe.com/water-maintenance-services/reservoirs-and-lakes/lake-construction/