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An easy to use A to Z of some of the most commonly used terms used throughout the water industry.


capital maintenance
Work to maintain existing assets at a level which allows customers to receive the service they expect.

capital programme
The investment in replacement assets to maintain existing assets, or new assets to enhance services and deliver the environment and quality programme. Usually planned on a five or ten year basis.

carbon accounting
This is the general term used to describe the accounting undertaken to measure the amount of greenhouse gas emissions (measured in carbon dioxide equivalent units) emitted or avoided being released into the atmosphere by a company’s activities.

carbon reduction commitment (CRC)
The Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) is a government scheme applying mandatory (October 2009) emissions trading to cut carbon emissions from large commercial and public sector organisations, including supermarkets, hotel chains, government departments, large local authority buildings and water companies.

Area drained by a river or river system. Also area drained by a sewerage system.

cess pit
A holding tank for wastewater storage which is emptied on a regular basis. No treatment of the wastewater occurs in the cess pit. Used by outlying properties remote from the mains sewerage systems.

chemical oxygen demand (COD)
The quantity of oxygen equivalent to the amount of oxidising agent consumed in oxidising the majority of organic matter present in wastewaters. Does not distinguish between the organic matter liable to be degraded readily by biological means and the more intractable forms. Can include the oxygen demand of some inorganic substances such as sulphides. Measured by testing a sample of the wastewater with potassium dichromate and sulphuric acid.

The application of chlorine to water for the purpose of disinfection.

coarse screen
A screen used for removing gross solids from domestic or industrial wastewater, with spaces between the bars at least 50mm wide.

coastal waters (United Kingdom)
Defined in the Water Act 1989 as any waters which are within the area which extends landwards from baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured as far as the limit of the highest tide and in the case of any rivers, as far as the tidal limit of the river.

coliform bacteria
A group of bacteria found in the intestine and faeces of most animals. Coliforms can sometimes be found in untreated water. The treatment process removes them and disinfection prevents their reappearance in the distribution system. In water receiving discharges, faecal coliform bacteria are used to indicate the presence of sewage.

communication pipe
That part of the pipe which conveys water from the main to the customers house and which is in the road or footpath.

comparative efficiency
Annual comparative efficiency assessments of both the operating costs and capital maintenance expenditure.

controlled waters
Inland, coastal, territorial and groundwater to which British pollution control legislation applies.

cost base
A system used by Ofwat to compare the unit costs of standardised projects across companies, in order to identify possible efficiency gains achievable in the capital programme.

cost of capital
The minimum return that providers of capital (lenders or shareholders) require in order to induce them to supply capital to a business, given its risks. Estimates of the cost of capital form the basis for the rates of return allowed in price determinations.

A water-borne parasitic micro-organism, believed to originate in livestock. Cryptosporidia have been identified as responsible for a small number of acute diarrhoea cases (cryptosporidiosis).

customer research
The proposed framework criteria for Ofwat to take account of customers’ views, based on customer research.

© Water UK

Wed 27 Aug 2014, 17:54