Ninewells Hospital Community Garden

Business Stream’s water support helps Ninewells Community Garden flourish

18 October 2022

The garden has such a positive impact on those who use it and it’s become a wonderful safe haven for all staff and visitors. We are extremely grateful for the support Business Stream has provided to restore our water supply and, in particular, to the colleagues who gave up their time to come and help out.
Mary Colvin Chair of the Ninewells Community Garden Trustee Group

NHS Tayside was established in April 1974 and is responsible for commissioning health care services for the residents of Angus, Dundee and Perth and Kinross. It provides healthcare for a combined population of over 400,000 through over 60 GP surgeries and three major hospitals, including its flagship institute, Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.

Business Stream was awarded the Scottish Public Sector Water and Wastewater Framework Contract in 2020 and works with over 200 public sector bodies across Scotland, including NHS Tayside.

The challenge

NHS Tayside set up a volunteer-run community garden in 2011 at Ninewells Hospital. The Ninewells Community Garden, which was designed as a rehabilitation and relaxation space for long-term patients and hospital staff, has very limited funding and relies on charitable donations and goodwill to be maintained.

To nourish the large volume of plants and shrubs, the garden volunteers installed a rainwater harvesting system on the roof of one of the on-site buildings. Although very sustainable, this proved to be an unreliable water source due to the small capture area and lack of rainfall given the long periods of dry weather. As a result, volunteers resorted to carrying heavy water containers to and from the hospital building to help water the plants.

To resolve this issue, NHS Tayside asked its water retailer, Business Stream, to develop a viable solution to ensure a future-proof and reliable source of irrigation water.

The solution

Business Stream experts organised a site survey to review the hospital’s water supply. Following the site visit Business Stream recommended installing an alternative pipe route, taking advantage of the nearest feasible garden connection.

Business Stream agreed to carry out the works at cost price to provide the most value for the volunteer-led project. To deliver the new water supply, approximately 70m of pipe was required from the hospital’s mains network to connect to the garden site. However, the work was complicated due to the plants and foliage on the site which could not be damaged.

To mitigate any disruption and damage, Business Stream employed “moling” techniques to minimise the requirement for excavation work. Moling was chosen as it is a trenchless method used to lay pipes. During the process, the pneumatically-driven machine, known as a mole, pushes its way through the soil, following a pre-defined path. The mole quickly and efficiently displaces the soil, creating a cavity for the pipes to be installed. Additionally, Business Stream installed WRAS-approved standpipes with storage tanks at two pre-agreed locations. This ensured bylaw compliance and minimised any potential risk to the hospital’s mains supply.

Upon completion of the work, the garden and its volunteers have access to a reliable source of water 24/7 which will help the garden flourish over the coming years. As part of the project, Business Stream colleagues also volunteered at the garden, helping with planting and clearing areas and pathways.

At Business Stream, we’re passionate about making a positive difference to our local communities so it was great to be involved in this project. In addition to finding a viable solution to their water supply issue, we were delighted to get the opportunity to volunteer in the garden. It’s a fantastic initiative and I’m looking forward to visiting the garden again soon!
Debbie Malcolm Framework Manager, Business Stream

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