Coombe Fisheries

Coombe Fisheries

Coombe Fisheries are a leading seafood processor based in the South West of England. Formed in 1980, this family business has achieved consistent growth through developing and sustaining long term partnerships with suppliers and customers alike.

Currently employing 100 people at its custom built production site in Barnstaple, Devon, their main activities are the processing of king scallops, whelks, cuttlefish, crab and sprat and the global supply of these products from local restaurants, through to continental hypermarkets and also the Far East.

The approach

An experienced account manager providing pro-active account support is pivotal to the success of water2business contracts. Coombe Fisheries’ account is managed by Phil Sinclair who has over 30 years water industry experience in trade effluent and account management. The Coombe Fisheries contract takes advantage of the 2invest model where the available discount is transferred to a capital pot and used to fund water and wastewater initiatives and improvements. Investment priorities are agreed and water2business arrange the most reliable, cost effective and efficient solution. This approach can deliver much bigger savings and value than a simple discount.

The challenge

Seafood processing uses a lot of water for cleaning and processing which generates wastewater (trade effluent) which is discharged to the public sewer network for treatment and disposal. Facing continuous increases in water and trade effluent costs Coombe Fisheries were keen on getting the support of a retailer who could who could provide practical advice to improve water efficiency and reduce trade effluent costs through a long-term partnership. An additional challenge was to identify a retailer who also had specialist trade effluent expertise to help renegotiate an old trade effluent consent which has not been updated to reflect the significant growth of the business.

Year one success

The agreed key goal early on was to successfully renegotiate the trade effluent consent and deliver significant reductions in trade effluent charges. water2business in partnership with MSA Environmental, an independent consultancy specialising in food and drink wastewater, developed a detailed effluent strategy review for the site which included:

  • A two week intensive trade effluent sampling survey utilising automated wastewater sampling over 24 hours to establish a baseline and provide evidence to challenge wholesaler billing strengths which are assessed by monthly spot samples 
  • A two day intensive waste minimisation review within the factory reviewing and sampling point sources of effluent from all production and hygiene activities to produce a comprehensive waste map. This highlighted priorities and opportunities for the elimination, reduction and recycling of waste and water at source 
  • Independent effluent treatment options review 
    Effluent treatment options – low / medium / high capex
    Effluent monitoring review
  • Consent renegotiation strategy

The majority of this work was funded by the 2invest capital pot.

The effluent strategy review was then used as a basis to successfully negotiate a suitable revised trade effluent consent with the wholesaler and also challenge the trade effluent billing strengths. 

Positive outcomes

  • £63,000 savings from the successful trade effluent billing strength challenge
  • Revised trade effluent consent issued which meets the needs of Coombe Fisheries, allows for future growth and ensures a compliant discharge.
  • Waste minimisation review confirmed current good practices and highlighted additional potential saving
    worth £65,000 pa.

Some of the savings from trade effluent charge reductions have been re-invested in permanent automatic composite equipment to ensure the charge assessment is representative of effluent quality in future.

Current initiatives

The 2invest investment in Year 2 is focussed on further improving water efficiency through the installation of 4 water sub-meters at key locations in the factory to enable usage to be monitored and managed. Smart metering removes the requirement for manual reading and monitoring with detailed usage at 15 minute intervals automatically uploaded to water2business’s portal. In addition to monitoring water usage profiles in each department, Coombe Fisheries have the ability to set alarms for abnormal usage allowing prompt action to be taken to identify water wastage.

The main water supply to the factory is already logged and this additional facility will help to quickly identify any leaks or abnormal usage, saving water and money helping Coombe Fisheries to become a more sustainable and efficient business.

"We moved over to water2business towards the end of 2018 and are very glad we did. Phil Sinclair and Kim Trowbridge took the entire process off our hands and progressed the switch in a highly efficient, hassle free manner keeping us informed at all times. We used the savings to fund combined W2B/MSA consultancy work to tackle our eye-watering trade effluent costs. The expertise, knowledge and guidance of Phil and Kim was just fantastic. They definitely sit on your side of the table, which is not always the case. Through working together and listening to W2B we have secured significant savings going forwards as well as a rebate. I wholeheartedly recommend their service."

Richard Spear, Director, Coombe Fisheries.