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UKCRIC Drinking Water Treatment Pilot Plant

UKCRIC Drinking Water Treatment Pilot Plant

Helping deliver more environmentally friendly approaches to water treatment.

Project UKCRIC Drinking Water Treatment Pilot Plant

Client Cranfield University


In March 2017, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) announced £125m of Government investment in new state-of-the-art facilities as part of the UK Collaboratorium for Research on Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC), a resiliency initiative in which Cranfield University has a pivotal role.

The new UKCRIC-funded facilities at Cranfield would provide the capability to advance the understanding of long-term performance and serviceability of water infrastructure, and deliver more cost-effective and environmentally friendly approaches to water treatment.

Cranfield’s existing wastewater treatment pilot hall, which provides researchers with the unique ability to test plants with real sewage and pull in imported water, was to be expanded with a new build 220m2 clean water pilot hall housing parallel plug-and-play treatment trains and an advanced soil and sediment erosion testing environment.

The upgraded facility would have dedicated drinking water treatment facilities, and the two pilot plants would operate in parallel. Storage of up to 30m3 of drinking waters would be available for treatment.


Every new project has a learning curve and in this case, the client hadn’t previously specified a process rig of this size and complexity so it took time to fully understand the exact requirements for the equipment operation and test results to be achieved.

But, by far the biggest issue was that the footprint we were given for the Water Treatment Plant to be located in the new clean water pilot hall was much smaller than our anticipated final rig size!


We put together a finely detailed specification of the works in our client proposal, with clear component identification and process operation before the project commenced so all parties were confident that the final Water Treatment Pilot Plant would operate and deliver as the client expected.

We scheduled regular meetings with our Cranfield client throughout the design stage and a detailed design review meeting was held to ensure the system and the process being used for the Water Treatment Pilot Plant was fully understood and approved.

By relocating some of the major equipment into a tighter layout, we were able to reduce the footprint of the rig framework but still maintain full access to all areas of the rig.


The completed Water Treatment Pilot Plant was signed off and handed over to Cranfield University on 27th August 2019 for live commissioning. The Strata team continued providing assistance to the Cranfield team with livecommissioning support. Subsequently we also provided operational support to ensure the Cranfield team understood the setup and control operation, in advance of undergraduate student training.

The successful delivery of this project required communication and teamwork across all Strata departments and disciplines alongside our main suppliers, Twiggs Fabrication Division who supplied the three-storey rig platform and Endress & Hauser who supplied and commissioned the instrumentation.

A unique solution

The UKCRIC National Research Facility for Water and Wastewater Treatment’s clean water pilot hall, which opened in Summer 2019, is unique in the UK and positions Cranfield as a centre of excellence for the development of innovative treatment solutions using real source waters, including the capability to test reclaimed water from the wastewater works or wastewater pilot hall.”

Source: https://www.cranfield.ac.uk/facilities/national-research-facility-for-water-and-wastewater-treatment

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