Yesterday saw a miraculous change at Old Ford Lock on the Regents Canal in Tower Hamlets, East London.
We are working under contract to Fountains, carrying out ongoing maintenance work for the Canal and River Trust. One of our “Aquatractor” weed boats works on the London canals through out the summer, cutting weed, removing litter and keeping the waterways looking their best.
Aquatic Weed Harvester Demonstration on 4th April 2017 from 10:00am
Braunston Marina is situated at the junction of the Grand Union and Oxford Canals and was originally developed at the turn of the 19th century as the waterways depot at the northern end of what was then called the Grand Junction Canal. It now forms a focus for those interested in the canals, their boats and history.
With the kind permission of Braunston Marinas management team we are holding a demonstration event where industry professionals can come and see two of our “Aquatractor” weed harvesting boats and get a close look at its unique features.
The boats “Jenny” and “Gordon” are based on a well tried and proven design. Capable of being trailered to site they are an efficient, reliable and agile workhorse capable of maintaining a high level of aquatic weed harvesting hour after hour. Unlike many boats the “Aquatractor” cuts and collects aquatic weed, which can then be deposited onto the bank or into a barge or trailer.
The purpose of the day is to show the two boats to interested professionals and riparian owners who might have an interest in learning more about this method of mechanical weed control. During the season we have one boat based in London and the others operate from Somerset, regularly travelling as far afield as Liverpool, the North East and the Broads.
There will be members of Kingcombe staff on hand to discuss particular problems and introduce you to the wide range of services we offer.
If you would like to come along, see the boats, walk around this historic site or enjoy a complimentary cup of tea and bacon roll at the Gongoozler’s floating café then please get in touch with Kelly to book a place on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01460 279200.
Kingcombe Aquacare Ltd are proud to be framework contractors for Wessex Water Services Ltd. We have built up a good relationship based on trust, reliability and understanding the needs of our client.
We have been involved in a range of projects, including the relining of final settlement lagoons, the repair and prevention of erosion, specialist fabrication design, and environmental project control.
Final Settlement Lagoons
Final settlement lagoons are found at many sewage treatment sites and are used to impound the water from the treatment process before it is released in to a watercourse. This is to allow any remaining sediment to settle out to ensure that the cleanest possible water is allowed to enter our streams and rivers.
We have been asked by Wessex Water to carry out lining works to several final settlement lagoons. We have installed Firestone EPDM liners to these lagoons to improve the integrity and extend the lives of these valuable assets.
The wet weather and high flows experienced in recent years have caused many stream and river banks to suffer accelerated erosion. Several Wessex Water outfalls have been affected with the river cutting away the banks around the asset and we have been called in to carry out repairs.
We also get involved with environmental works for WW such as permit applications, surveys and monitoring. We were asked to monitor the controlled drain down of a small reservoir recently. This involved measuring and recording the dissolved oxygen and turbidity levels, fish containment and maintaining a watch over the general fish health. We are pleased to announce that no fish were hurt in the undertaking of these works!
2017 has got off to a good start with projects underway around the country.
We are working in East Sussex on a splashpad as part of a leisure park development. The site is at Camber Sands near Rye, and is a new feature being installed as part of the redevelopment of the holiday park. So far we have experienced torrential rain and freezing temperatures but the project is moving on. One of the quirks of working on sites like these is that the client provides the accommodation and the site teams end up staying in the park mobile homes. Whilst these are great for family holidays in the summer months I am told they get a bit chilly when the temperature outside is minus 5 degrees C.
At the other end of the country we are working on a very similar scheme at Stibb near Bude in Cornwall. Another splashpad development on a holiday park but here we are working very closely with the Main Contractor who is building the control and plant room next to the splashpad.
These projects are running to strict timescales to allow the work on the surrounding areas to be finished before the parks reopen and take holiday bookings.
In complete contrast we have just started building a 6m deep pumping station and associated valve chamber with ancillary works on a sewage works for Wessex Water. The site is about 10 miles from our offices, so gets lots of visits from everyone. It also means that everyone gets home at night.
We are also involved in work for a government agency along the sides of the River Severn within site of the Severn Bridge. This must rate as one of the most bleak and cold places in the South of England. When the wind is blowing up the estuary bringing rain from the Atlantic it is not a pleasant place to be.
The winter maintenance of the weedcutting boats is underway and fabrication of platforms, structures and stairways is keeping the workshops gainfully employed.
Despite the cold and recently wet weather everyone is cheerful and looking forward to the advent of spring, longer days and hopefully better conditions to work in.
We have been busy lately helping the European Eel fulfill its migratory desires!
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.
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.
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.
John recently started a new LinkedIn discussion regarding the use of herbicide against non-native aquatic plant species. Here’s what he wrote.
“Over the last 10 years most approved aquatic herbicides have been removed from the market. Now it would seem that Glyphosate is the next target to come into the sights of the EU legislators. I suspect that all environmentally conscious people would prefer not to be introducing chemicals into the environment unnecessarily. However, the potential loss of Glyphosate, which in the form of Roundup Pro Bio is deemed to be one of the safest products for use in or near water, would present us with real challenges, not the least being the control of non-native species such as Japanese Knotweed, Giant Hogweed, Floating Pennywort to name but a few.
As a responsible company working in the field of water management and maintenance, Kingcombe Aquacare is keen to find alternative procedures if they exist, but for some of these pernicious plants, which are destroying our native habitat, often in SSSIs, spraying with Glyphosate is the only commercially viable means of control.
I would be interested to know where other Chartered Environmentalists stand on this issue, and whether there are alternative non-native invasive weed control strategies that are commercially viable and successful. Indeed, I would be keen to know where the Institute stands on this issue!”
The ramifications of potentially losing the last remaining effective herbicide are huge and will spark many discussions of how best to control infestations of these non-native plants
An example of success achieved by good design, strong partnership working and experienced installation teams.
We have recently completed another eel pass and fish baffle installation for the Environment Agency, this time in Frampton Cotterell, on the Bristol Frome in Gloucestershire.
Working very closely with the Environment Agency project manager, Gareth Varney, and Fisheries Officer Jody Armitage, we installed one of our jointly designed cassette type eel and elver pass systems on an existing weir, to help improve eel migration. The recycled plastic fish baffles were installed on the concrete weir face to improve the ease of passage for trout and coarse fish. Both systems were designed to minimise the impact on flow measurement accuracy of the weir and on flood warning capability.
Water level was higher than expected so conditions were challenging but not insurmountable. Our site team were able to manage the water effectively by deploying sand bags and flow deflectors to divert it away from the works area. This facilitated the installation of fish baffles and the eel pass, while maintaining constant water flow downstream.
Our work was completed safely, on time and to budget. Gareth Varney, Environment Agency Hydrometry & Telemetry Programme Manager commented;
“We are delighted with the new eel pass installed by the Kingcombe team. They were able to complete the installation under challenging conditions but despite this the end product is perfect. It has not compromised the operation of our existing weir and has hopefully improved migration of fish further up the Frome catchment and should be another positive step in the right direction in the battle to reverse the decline in the European Eel population”
In October we completed a successful flood protection and bank revetment project in Wiltshire. The return of our wintry wet weather will likely increase enquiries for this type of work so here is a short case study to demonstrate one of the many ways we can help deal with erosion and flood protection of rivers and streams.
Working on a section of river that suffers from periodic flooding Kingcombe Aquacare were asked to remedy a failed section of bank protection and remove an obstruction within the channel.
The blockage in the channel was the main cause of the problem as it was causing water to back up in a flood event and also deflecting the flow towards the river bank.
We designed a rock armour solution and obtained the relevant approvals from the the local authority before starting on site. We arranged for a qualified ecologist to check the site for the presence of protected species before proceeding. As with all in-channel works we set out a series of environmental protection measures to protect the watercourse from our work activities. These included a sandbag cordon, sedi-mats and an oil boom.
The obstruction was removed from the channel and the existing failed revetment dismantled. Following some preparation we lowered in slabs of Purbeck rock to form a stepped wall up to the designed level. Some voids were left in the rock to enable plants to colonise and soften the look of the stone. We used geotextile material and a little concrete behind the rock where necessary to ensure our solution stands the test of time.
Our client is delighted with the finished work and so are we! We can’t wait to see how it looks in 12 months when it has had time to weather in a little. This sort of revetment is useful in slow to moderate flows where periodic flood events are possible.
There are many erosion protection solutions available ranging from living bioengineering green methods to reinforced concrete and steel piles. Whatever your requirement please do not hesitate to call us, we would be happy to talk it through with you. Alternatively, have a look here