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Is the UK heading for a drought? If so, what does that mean and how can we prepare?

As recently reported by the BBC, we’re seeing the longest ongoing dry period since 1936. In the first three months of the year, England’s rainfall was down 26% and in Wales it was down 22%. As a result, the National Drought Group moved England into “Prolonged Dry Weather” status – the stage before a drought – at an emergency meeting.  At the time of writing, water authorities have leapt into action with imminent hosepipe bans announced in Hampshire, Sussex and Kent. 

But what does this mean in everyday life?  Well, the following activities are banned:

  • Watering a garden using a hosepipe 
  • Cleaning a private motor-vehicle using a hosepipe
  • Watering plants on domestic or other non-commercial premises using a hosepipe
  • Cleaning a private leisure boat using a hosepipe 
  • Filling or maintaining a domestic swimming or paddling pool
  • Drawing water, using a hosepipe, for domestic recreational use
  • Filling or maintaining a domestic pond using a hosepipe
  • Filling or maintaining an ornamental fountain
  • Cleaning walls, or windows, of domestic premises using a hosepipe
  • Cleaning paths or patios using a hosepipe
  • Cleaning other artificial outdoor surfaces using a hosepipe. 

In a worsening drought situation, the next step is to restrict non-essential use through non-essential use bans. These apply to households and commercial customers/businesses. Drought orders to bring this ban into effect are granted by the Environment Secretary. Users must be able to show that they have taken all necessary steps to save water and protect the environment, i.e., recycling, before being given indemnity.

Activities that would usually be restricted are as follows:

  • Watering outdoor plants at a commercial premises such as a garden centre, fruit/veg growers, and producers
  • Filling or maintaining a non-domestic paddling pool or swimming pool
  • Filling or maintaining a pond
  • Operating any mechanical vehicle wash
  • Cleaning any vehicle, boat, aircraft or rolling stock /train.
  • Cleaning any commercial premises
  • Cleaning windows
  • Cleaning industrial equipment (plant)
  • Suppressing dust

Should the Drought order be enforced, that’s when the situation transforms dramatically. Industries that are likely to be severely affected are:

  • Car and Commercial Washes 
  • Agriculture
  • Automotive
  • Food and Beverage production
  • Chemicals 
  • Construction

Kirton offers a range of water recycling systems which will enable businesses to reuse water and continue to run during any drought order.  

How do I invest for the future?

A longer-term solution which people often overlook is Rainwater Harvesting. We’re all sometimes guilty of complaining about the weather, particularly as the seasons change and rainfall invariably increases. There is however a positive upside to this occasional abundance of water… it’s free!  We must recognise that this sustainable resource is readily accessible for onward integration into endless applications. Not making use of this asset represents a vast squandering of the potential savings which are available to operators and industries throughout the country who don’t always need mains quality water.

Take Agri-Food for example, a typical large broiler farm can consume millions of litres of water. Our rainwater equipment seamlessly provides sites with an automatic, multi-use water supply, subsequently reducing the farm’s dependency on the local mains water network, or costly and variable quality boreholes.

Pictured is the first of 2 recent RWH plants designed and manufactured for our industry partner. In this instance we’re collecting and treating the roof water fall to provide consistent, stable drinking water for high welfare poultry houses.

The systems can be tailored to fit a wide variety of industries and applications.

Get in touch to discuss how we can help you prepare and continue operating during this potentially challenging period.

01509 504 565

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We’re Hiring!

Kirton is a forward thinking specialised UK wide water treatment business with over 40 years experience in the industry. We are looking to recruit a Water Treatment Service Engineer, with specific experience in working with water softeners & reverse osmosis systems to support our continued growth. The successful candidate will be given the industry specific training and support, as well as taking on a vital role within the business.


  • Water Treatment Service Engineer
  • Servicing water treatment equipment, working on water softeners, reverse osmosis systems, dosing units and chemicals
  • Previous experience of working on systems specified above
  • Conversant with the water treatment industry and legislation
  • Have a basic understanding of Microsoft Office
  • Good communication and interpersonal skills (written and verbal)
  • Have good client -facing and organisational skills
  • Full drivers licence
  • Based in the Midlands or South West of UK would be preferable                      


  • Company vehicle and phone
  • Pension scheme
  • Competitive Salary
  • Full training and support

If you’re an experienced engineer within the water treatment sector with good previous exposure to softeners & reverse osmosis systems, please get in touch to find out more about this position.

Please send any CV’s to

We look forward to hearing from you!


The Kirton team

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Kirton features in Car Wash News

Jon West, Kirton’s MD, recently featured in Car Wash News discussing the golden period ahead for the car wash industry. You can read the article below:

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Industrial Waste Water

The UK faces a real challenge ahead in the form of wastewater compliance, regulatory changes, and equipment/ infrastructure replacement. The nation’s pipes, pumps and treatment plants are straining under this mounting pressure. Whether it’s a sudden downpour, a new commercial development, or an unexpected pollutant showing up in the wastewater, utilities are having to adapt their procedures and systems to meet these ever-shifting demands.  

The scarcity of water resulting from economic and population growth is considered a genuine fear for humanity, and is now an undisputable constraint for sustainable development. There are limited options to confront the challenges of our freshwater shortage problem; these routes include:

  • Desalination
  • Water conservation efforts
  • Recycling and reuse of process and wastewater
  • Rainfall infrastructure projects

Here at Kirton, we look to monitor, adapt and innovate new systems to recycle & reuse marginalised sources of water. We provide a full range of focussed water treatment technologies from small scale systems up to full turnkey tailored projects. A partnership with Kirton secures our expertise and will help you realise an effectual, practical solution for your water and wastewater treatment requirements.

A full-scale turnkey project we managed for a major poultry producer is a prime example – due to tougher restrictions being made compulsory by the EA, the company had to act. The wastewater being produced by the processing facility was untreated and unsuitable for discharge to the local drain. We were approached to design and engineer a solution to treat the effluent, ensuring it met with consent levels so discharge to a local stream was possible. The system has now been in successful operation for 18 months, generating significant savings with a speedy return on investment for the end client.

To see how Kirton can support you and to discuss the benefits of our combined technologies please contact us here.

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Introduction – Water Treatment & Recycling

Kirton is a well established name in the water industry with over 50 years experience in engineering bespoke water purification equipment and service solutions from our manufacturing base in Melton Mowbray. 

Using numerous filtration technologies, many different types of water systems have been designed, manufactured, and installed over the years for applications such as car-wash re-use, grey water recovery for agriculture, desalination plants for drinking, & borehole treatment for food processing.   

The aim is to provide a high level of expertise and workmanship, delivering fit-for-purpose bespoke water systems on time and to budget that last for years to come.

Here are some of the areas we can help with:

•           Reverse Osmosis plants (RO Water) including upgrading, repairing, and servicing

•           Multi-media filtration & Iron removal

•           Water Softeners, Ion Exchange cylinders & Carbon Filters

•           Rainwater Harvesting System

•           Borehole systems

•           Wastewater & Effluent treatment plants including MBR, DAF, Screening, pH correction & UF filtration

•           Demineralisation, Deionised & EDI units

•           Desalination Systems (Sea Water)

•           Chlorine Dioxide Generators

•           Electro-chlorination Systems

•           pH Correction Systems

•           Oil Separation and remediation

•           Leachate treatment

•           Pump Booster sets

•           Tanks and Storage Solutions

•           Vehicle wash and recycle systems including jet washes, car washes for cleaning all types of vehicles

•           Servicing of equipment & breakdown call outs

•           System Chlorination’s

•           Chemicals, Spares, Membranes, & other consumable parts

We have a nationwide network of service specialists who can attend site and complete a full diagnostic report on all existing equipment to either improve, refurbish, or offer a new more cost effective solution. 

With the cost of water, tankering away, increasing at an alarming rate and discharge consent levels for rivers, drains & sewers being closely monitored by the EA ,the need for recycling has never been more imperative.

You can contact us here with any questions, enquiries or if you’d like a free survey and cost saving analysis. 

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Christmas Opening Times

We are closing for Christmas on Thursday 24th December, with our last order shipping date on Monday 21st December. We will reopen for business on Monday 4th January.

If you require critical spares, chemicals or an urgent order prior to the Christmas shutdown please contact us at or 01509 504565. We will do our very best to deliver them before the closing period.

We hope you all have Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and look forward to continue working with you in 2021.

Warm regards,

The Kirton team


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Insight: Jon West – MD of Kirton Water Treatment Services

With what has been a commercially challenging year for everyone, our thoughts must go out to those most effected by Covid -19.  Throughout the year we’ve built on our core strengths in the vehicle wash market, reinforcing our activities with the major wash manufacturers and extending our service penetration around the whole country. In parallel, we also successfully completed several significant projects with industrial clients where a custom-built, engineered solution was required.

Highlights included ;

  • UPVC Window Manufacturer: the design, build and installation of a PH correction and monitoring system followed by an automated system to control their Powder Coating process, encompassing water treatment and chemical management.
  • Fruit Farm: design, build and installation of a turnkey water treatment system to utilise the clients own water sources to clean and irrigate crops via use of RO and other advanced water treatment technologies.
  • Poultry Farm Hatchery: a truly complex system, integrated with the existing wastewater management units to create a complete and compliant wastewater system which utilised Ultra Filtration membranes as it’s core. 

It’s extremely rewarding that we have been able to employ these solutions as it further heightens our reputation in the industrial wastewater and reclamation sectors. Our pipeline for enquiries in these areas is the highest it has ever been, and we look forward to successfully deploying further solutions for our growing client base.

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic we have remained open and completed many interesting and differing projects through these turbulent times which has demonstrated the increasing focus on efficient water usage in the UK. What has also continued to strengthen during this period has been our service support activity. Many of our customers have been examining their requirements here, as either water usage has increased or the focus on clean water regulation has grown. We will all have been reading about the Governments agenda for Carbon neutrality and there will be no surprise that the Water Efficiency agenda is an integral part of this.  In collaboration with Waterwise, all of the UK water utility companies are supporting the ‘’water efficiency strategy’’ which focuses on both domestic and industrial water use . It’s purpose is to enable all homes and businesses to become water efficient everywhere and every day.

As we approach the end of 2020 the pandemic is still around us, but I’m hopeful this will subside in the next 6-12 months, enabling a return to a normal life. What is clear though, is that the focus on improvements in water utilisation and cleanliness is increasing. Whatever sector you are involved in this is happening now, and at Kirton we have been positioning ourselves to scale up our activities as the demand escalates. We have a very strong projection of work, some traditional but much of it is coming from a wider and diverse industry group. To this end we are well placed to support our current and new clients’ needs going forwards. We are very proud of our applications engineering skills at Kirton and pride ourselves on excellence in customer service. If you have a specific need, and are not sure of the solution, please contact us and we will help you address the problem in the most efficient and sustainable way.

Thanks to all our clients for their continued support,  Best Wishes for Christmas/New Year and we look forward to working with you in 2021.

Jon West

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Kirton team achieve City and Guilds certification

We are pleased to announce that 7 members of staff have recently achieved City and Guilds certification for Disinfection of Hot and Cold Water Systems  (WH005) , this industry recognised accreditation forms part of our on-going training and development program and reinforces our commitment to provide up to date safe working methods and procedures for all our clients. Congratulations to all attendees.

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Coronavirus Update

Following the latest restrictions, we wanted to reassure you that in line with Government advice, Kirton remains open for business. The safety of both our clients and colleagues is paramount so we continue to adopt strict safety measures. 

During these challenging times, we continue to provide essential collaboration to the road transportation network, NHS support services, UK MOD, railways and fuel retailing facilities. Our manufacturing, City and Guilds accredited hygiene and service divisions remain open and fully responsive, whilst continuing to follow current government guidelines for safe working.

We wish to thank all our staff, clients and industry partners for their sustained support during this challenging period.

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Car Wash News

Read the latest edition of Car Wash News which includes an article from Kirton.

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Car wash industry has become wild west

It’s a sight becoming increasingly common in car parks, disused forecourts and waste land all over the UK. It is the sight an industry of taking a huge step backwards. The car wash business has become the wild west of the automotive support business, attracting the unscrupulous in search of a quick buck at the cost of irreversible damage to the planet and to the future of the many legitimate car wash operators.

It is estimated that there are around 10,000-20,000 hand car washes in the UK, offering £5 washes to a motoring public unaware of the true cost to the environment and the lives of the workers who deliver the services. Many of these operations are draining waste water directly into rain water drains, releasing gallons of untreated effluent into public waterways.

Concern about the environmental impact of these car washes and for the protection of exploited immigrant workers has prompted the Government to set up a special inquiry to examine how hand car washes compares to automatic ones. It will examine how they are regulated and what steps the Government might take to ensure hand car washes are operated sustainably.

A recent BBC article shows increasing pressure on the Government to take action over these unregulated car washes.

On the environmental side, the focus will be on examining how the industry is regulated in comparison with automatic car washes and whether providers could be using water more sustainably and doing more to prevent waste water, as well as dirt, oil and other contaminants, polluting rivers, streams and ground water.

Although the focus of the Committee’s inquiry will be on environmental issues, the Independent Anti-Slavery Commission (IASC) has produced a list of indications of exploitation at hand car washes where foreign workers are effectively slaves.

Mary Creagh, who chairs the Environmental Audit Committee, said the anti-slavery commissioner had expressed concerns about conditions in the industry, amid reports of workers being housed eight to a room and not being paid the minimum wage.

Thousands of workers in Britain’s car washes are believed to be slaves – primarily men lured from Eastern Europe then trapped in debt bondage, forced to work in unsafe conditions, stripped of documents and subjected to threats, abuse and violence.

The recent death of a Romanian man in east London has highlighted concerns about how the industry operated.

Sandu Laurentiu was electrocuted while taking a shower in what police said were “dilapidated, cramped, rat-infested” living quarters beside the car wash where he worked in Bethnal Green.

The owner of the company was jailed for four years after pleading guilty to manslaughter by gross negligence.

Ms Creagh said she wanted to know whether companies were complying with rules requiring Environment Agency permits, how they were disposing of chemicals and if there were alternatives to highly intensive agents.

An investigation by the Car Wash Advisory Service, in Nottingham in 2014, found most operators did not have planning permission, did not pay business rates and did not have permission to dispose of effluents through the sewers.

On the other side of the fence, legitimate automated car wash operators are playing their part in water conservation whilst at the same time reducing costs and improving their brand reputation. Water treatment technologies now offer solutions at all stages of the car wash process from treating the water at its source, reclaiming water for re-use and for the final disposal into the public drainage system,

In the context of water usage, automated car washes are pretty efficient using around 120 litres per wash compared with a home hand wash which can easily drain 480 litres at a time. The usual source of water is the mains supply, although some facilities are supplementing this with rainwater harvesting from the roof of the car wash and forecourt buildings. Depending on the quality of fresh water, some form of treatment will be required to remove impurities and soften the water. This is certainly the case for the final rinse where a spot free finish is desirable.

According to Jon West, managing director of Kirton Water Treatment Services, the main water use issue, however, does not lie at the water source but with what happens to the water after use.

A good reclaim system will recycle up to 90 per cent of all water used through a three-stage process. Firstly, the water is collected in a sludge interceptor which separates the large contaminants by allowing them to settle at the bottom of the tank. Next the water is passed through a cyclonic filter and finally through activated granular carbon vessel to remove any remain organics and chemicals. The recycled water can be further treated with dosed with an organic biocide or an oxidising agent. A final treatment of by reverse osmosis is required if a spot free rinse is offered.

Kirton has been providing water reclaim systems for many car wash operators and equipment suppliers for more than 40 years and has witnessed a sharp decline in the number of automated car washes, forced out of business by their unethical rivals.

“The cost of protecting the environment is falling on the shoulders of the few, whilst the many continue to damage legitimate business, the environment and the human rights of thousands of workers, “said West.


Kirton Water Treatment Services.


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Kirton joins Car Wash Association

Kirton Water Treatment Services has joined the Car Wash Association to lend its support to the body’s lobbying efforts to prevent upregulating car wash operators from continuing to pollute the environment.

There are 38 million vehicles in the UK requiring washing with total car washing in the UK for all types of washes accounting for £1 billion turnover.

However, current legislation and environmental regulations tend to be ignored by most unregulated hand car wash businesses often with illegal employment conditions and unfair business practices forcing compliant car washes to close.

Pollution caused by car wash effluent through car wash solids and chemicals pose a serious threat to our environment and are key issues that the CWA addresses and lobbies against by collaborating with UK government to ensure enforcement and compliance.

The association provides advice and support to our members so that they are armed with all the information they need to offer a range of high quality car wash and valet facilities that meet all relevant industry regulations, to run a legitimate and well managed car wash business.

Jon West, managing director of KWTS, said: “A major part of our business is dedicated to providing treatment systems for car washes, it is only right that we support the trade body that represents bone fide operators.”

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New service vehicles hit the road

Kirton Water Treatment Services has taken delivery of three new vans to meet the demands of its growing business.

The Melton Mowbray-based firm specialises in designing, building, installing and servicing water treatment systems for industry and agriculture.

The new Ford vans, decked out with the company’s new livery, will be on-call 24 hours a day delivering spare parts and providing essential maintenance and repair for installations across the country.

The company was recently acquired by private investors who recognised the growing demand for technologies that help reduce the water footprint of an industry facing environmental pressure to use less water.

Jon West, the managing director, commented: “Our customers need our support around the clock to keep their systems operating at optimal levels. Our new fleet will be performing a vital role in this task and they are already clocking up the miles.”

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Paper mills under pressure to reduce water footprint

Despite huge advances in technology, the paper industry remains one of the biggest consumers of water on the planet. For every tonne of paper produced, it takes around 54 cubic metres – or 54,000 litres -of water to produce. Continue Reading

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