Expert Witness and Forensic Analysis of Failure at a Large WWTP in England

A Case Study (download )


Veolia Water – Multinational Municipal Water Company, Yorkshire, England

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A city in the north of England operates a 76,000 m3/d (20 MGD) plant that was upgraded to increase treatment capacity and achieve nutrient removal. After startup, the SBR Activated Sludge process was troubled by filamentous bulking biomass. The problem was exacerbated by various issues with equipment and automated controls. Eventually a lawsuit was filed; the four parties (Owner, Consultant, Contractor, and Supplier) each hired a qualified wastewater expert to represent them. Wastewater Experts was chosen to represent the process supplier.

The initial resolution effort included a protracted series of negotiations among the four experts to attempt to reach agreement; each Expert produced many prodigious and exhaustive detailed technical reports, but no consensus could be reached.

Wastewater Experts again represented the Process Supplier at a series of arbitration hearings, but none of the sides would yield.

Ultimately the case went to London’s Royal Courts of Justice. Technical and Expert testimony was supplied by Wastewater Experts, culminating in an extended appearance on the stand that lasted for two days of hostile cross-examination.

The final Court decision completely exonerated the process manufacturer. Wastewater Experts’ technical expertise and witness credibility were credited as key factors in the decision.