Grundfos installs rain-powered toilets at Sunderland plant

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EVERY cloud has a green lining for one Sunderland firm.

Pump manufacturer Grundfos has introduced a rainwater collecting system which has reduced the firm’s consumption of clean water by 15 per cent.

Instead of allowing rainwater to flush away through the sewer system, Castletown-based Grundfos is collecting it and using it to flush toilets in part of the factory and in the newly-renovated offices.

Engineers at the plant designed and built the system themselves, based on an idea that came from the company’s Belgian sales operation.

Grundfos general manager Lee Carlin said: “It’s very simple really. We collect water from our roof – which covers 2,000 square metres – through a downpipe which feeds the water into a three-cubic-metre tank.

“From the tank, the water is pumped to where it is to be used via a small holding tank, which is also automatically supplied with mains water during dry periods.

“All sensors, pumps and valves in the system are monitored and controlled via a dedicated Grundfos Rainwater System controller,” added Lee.

So far, the system has been sold to 200 customers in Belgium and is being used in an increasing number of Grundfos companies around the world.

“When we began focusing on rainwater systems in 2010, we had no Grundfos solutions that could be controlled via building management systems,” said Lee.

“We collaborated with the Belgian sales company to develop a system based on a number of existing parts and this enabled us to offer a high-tech Grundfos alternative within a short time.

“The result was a system that stands out, among other things by taking up less room in the plant room where it is often situated.”