Asset standards
Asset standards define the criteria, activities and practices to optimally manage assets - their condition and performance, any risks, expenditure and investment - in a sustainable way. VBTM helps water companies to develop asset standards and ensure that these accord with the company’s overall strategy and latest industry asset management good practice.
Asset management
Asset management is the systems, tools and processes by which assets and investments (structures, data, information etc) are selected, assessed, monitored, operated, maintained, renewed and disposed of, in order to deliver an organisation's fundamental aims. VBTM helps water companies formulate their asset standards, assess asset capabilities, and develop risk-based asset management plans. We aim to help our clients achieve the optimum balance between risks, costs, benefits, regulatory requirements, customer levels of service and strategic business needs, with regard to the whole life of the asset.
Asset Management Plan (AMP)
An Asset Management Plan is a strategic plan for managing an organisation’s asset(s) to defined standards of service. It is a vital element of a water company's business plan submission to the industry regulators. VBTM helps water companies develop risk-based asset management plans and prepare their business plan submissions to the Regulators.
An audit is a formal inspection and evaluation of an organisation, individual, system, process, product, service, data or information. It is normally conducted with reference to defined (often statutory) standards and levels of service, and seeks to maintain existing good practices and identify areas for improvement. Regular audits are part of good management practice. They can verify whether an organisation is complying with internal control processes, external and regulatory obligations, and that management and governance are operating effectively.
VBTM assists water companies in conducting internal audits of their service delivery chain. We also have considerable experience preparing for and hosting statutory technical inspections by water industry regulators, with respect to day-to-day operations, asset management plan submissions and capital investment programmes.
Carbon footprint
Carbon footprint, expressed as tonnes or kg of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), is the total amount of greenhouse gases produced – directly and indirectly – by an individual, organisation, product or event. Greenhouse gases impact adversely on the environment. They include carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, methane, hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), chlorofluorocarbons (CFC), perfluorocarbons (PFC) and sulphur hexafluoride. They are emitted through day-to-day activities such as burning fossil fuels for electricity, heating and transportation; the production, consumption and disposal of products etc.
VBTM aims to conduct its business activities and operations, and produce engineering solutions, with minimal carbon impact.
Cost-benefit analysis
Cost-benefit analysis is a decision making tool or approach to determine whether, and to what extent, the costs of a planned action or project option are balanced by the benefits. The outcome of the analysis will indicate whether the action or project option is feasible, or whether an alternative should be pursued.
Desalination is the process, or processes, of reducing the concentration of salt or other minerals in water and is most often used to produce fresh water from sea or brackish water. It is mainly used to meet demand for drinking water and for irrigation in water scarce regions of the world. Methods of water desalination include ion exchange, electrodialysis, reverse osmosis, and distillation followed by condensation. The particular method selected is dependent on the concentration of total dissolved solids (TDS) of the raw water source. Desalination is expensive and energy-intensive, and careful consideration must be made to the disposal of the highly concentrated waste brine produced during the process when designing a desalination plant. Significant progress has been made in the application of energy recovery systems in conventional desalination facilities as well as in the use of solar powered desalination technology.
Flow and load assessment
This is undertaken when sizing and designing treatment plants and includes historical flow and load assessment, population projections and projections for future flows and loads.  Rainfall flow analysis is often included in the assessment when dealing with wastewater treatment facilities.
Hazop and Hazan
HAZOP and HAZAN are tools which are used to identify, assess and minimise hazards and risks.
A Hazard and Operability Study (HAZOP) is the formal (qualitative) identification of potential hazards that may arise from a planned action, plant or process and the problems that prevent efficient operation. A HAZOP should be carried out on every new design or project.
A Hazard Analysis (HAZAN) is a formal quantitative assessment of a hazard that may arise from a planned action, plant or process. The hazard is evaluated together with any risk(s) it presents, so that appropriate measures can be determined to control or eliminate those risks.
Hydraulic modelling
This is a tool for determining the flow and conveyance of fluids and is used in the design of water and sewage collection, storage, treatment and transfer facilities, spillways, dams, culverts, storm water and flood management systems.
Hydrological studies
These studies cover the abundance and distribution of water, water movement, pressure and flow, and water quality.
Hydrogeological studies
These studies cover the distribution and flow of groundwater through soil and rocks. They also look at the potential effects of man-made or naturally occurring contaminants on the quantity and quality of groundwater supplies.
In the water industry, government regulations - maintaining or often requiring higher standards, the need for capital investment and technological developments - have brought about significant improvements in the quality and management of drinking water supplies, watercourses, bathing waters and waste emissions. This has resulted in improved public health and the protection of ecosystems and environment. Government appointed regulators are responsible for enforcing the regulations.
Waste treatment
This is the processing and disposal of sewage sludge, sludge generated during water treatment and sludge arising from industrial effluent treatment in a manner which minimises its impact on the environment. In many countries, waste treatment and disposal are governed by national legislation. The particular treatment technology used will depend on the nature of the waste to be treated and may include inter alia sludge dewatering, aerobic digestion, anaerobic digestion, incineration, energy recovery.  The term is also used for the handling of household waste, which sometimes can be combined with sewage and water sludges.
Wastewater treatment
This is the treatment of human sewage, other wastewater from domestic and commercial premises and stormwater run-off such that it is rendered harmless to the environment to which it is returned. In many countries, wastewater treatment and disposal are governed by national legislation. The particular treatment technology used depends on the quality of wastewater to be treated and may include inter alia screening, aeration, clarification, chemical and biological treatment, membrane filtration, phosphorus/nitrogen removal, ultra violet (UV) disinfection etc.
Water characterisation
VBTM provides advice on determining the physical, chemical, biological and aesthetic characteristics of water and wastewater. We undertake water characterisation studies using existing data and information, formulate monitoring programmes, arrange sampling and analysis by an approved laboratory and recommend engineering solutions to improve water quality, where required.
Water footprint
The water footprint of an individual/entity is the total volume of freshwater used to produce the goods and services consumed by the individual/entity. The assessment of water footprint facilitates quantification of water use and understanding of its potential environmental impacts and, in turn, the identification of opportunities to minimise those impacts and conserve water resources.
Water quality
The quality of water is determined by its physical, chemical, biological and aesthetic characteristics. A wide range of standards for water are specified to ensure that it is collected, treated, stored and supplied such that it is clean and safe to drink. These standards are based on the guidelines of the World Health Organisation, and in most countries are governed by national legislation.
Water quality sampling
VBTM provides advice on determining the quality of raw, treated and wastewater, drinking water and water for industrial use. We formulate water monitoring programmes, arrange sampling and testing by an approved laboratory which has been assessed against internationally recognised standards, interpret results and recommend solutions for water quality improvement, where required.
Water reuse
Water is essential for life and every effort must be made to use it wisely and conserve resources. This is particularly important in water scarce areas of the world, where there is demand for reclaimed wastewater for non-potable purposes such as crop irrigation and industrial water cooling systems. The water is treated extensively and disinfected to safeguard public health and environmental quality. VBTM Associates Ltd advises clients on the extent of water reuse opportunities. We engineer solutions which maximise the potential for water reuse.
Water Safety Plans
A Water Safety Plan is a holistic source-to-tap approach to ensuring consistently the safety of drinking water supplies. It identifies and eliminates or mitigates risks to the safety of drinking water at all stages of the collection, treatment, storage and supply processes i.e. from catchment to consumer.
Water treatment
Water treatment is the treatment of drinking water to render it harmless to human health. In most countries, the collection, treatment, storage and supply of drinking water are governed by national legislation. The particular treatment technology used will depend on the quality of the source water and may include inter alia screening, aeration, coagulation, clarification, sand/carbon/membrane filtration, chlorine disinfection etc.