Hydrogeology and Water

Hydrogeological Services

Carbon Zero Consulting provides technical and regulatory consulting services related to all aspects of managing your water supply.

  • Audit and risk assessment services for private water supply systems
  • Borehole ‘prognosis’ reports to ascertain the potential for obtaining water (or additional water) at any site in the UK
  • Environment Agency liaison and field surveys to obtain consent to drill and test pump boreholes (Section WR32 applications and surveys)
  • Supervision of borehole drilling from domestic scale to largest commercial water supplies
  • Design and supervision of borehole testing programs (to Environment Agency requirements) including provision of water level and water quality monitoring and logging systems
  • Analysis and reporting of test-pumping data and reporting to the requirements of the Regulator.
  • Groundwater sampling and analysis – expert opinion of water chemistry and microbiology issues
  • Water and soil sampling for contaminated land assessment
  • Field assessment of water and wastewater treatment systems including sampling and analysis of effluent and treated waters

Our service is based on 40 years multi-national experience of water and natural resource management. Whether it is exploration of a new source of water or managing an existing resource we are here to help you.

Borehole Water Supply; Feasibility

As a first step we will use our experience of UK geology and hydrogeology to tell you whether or not you will find the amount and quality of water you require beneath your site. Within a few days of your query we can tell you if your site is suitable for a borehole in a clearly explained, no-nonsense manner.
Example project: Assessment of viability for borehole water supplies for Belazu (The Fresh Olive Co), London. Project has been seen-through from viability through construction, licensing and commissioning.

Borehole Design and Installation

The UK is noted for its incredible range and variability of hard rock and superficial geology. Nowhere else can you find such complexity and contrast within such a small area. We are experts in borehole design, from domestic to industrial scale, in all strata typically found in the UK from superficial sediments to hard rock. We have excellent relations with the UK’s foremost drilling contractors. We can manage the process of drilling and testing of a new borehole to minimise risk, expense and disruption. We also have sector leading expertise in borehole geophysical techniques that can help with borehole design and rehabilitation projects.
Example project: New borehole supplying water to a large Abattoir in Shropshire, Borehole design, drilling and testing completed within 3 months, followed by obtaining licence to operate in a further 4 months. borehole

Abstraction Licensing

We provide pragmatic regulatory input to borehole projects from the smallest (un-licensed 20m³/day) projects to large commercial or industrial abstractions. This might be for water supply or open-loop GSHP systems. We are also experts in the licensing of river-based WSHP systems. As part of our work we provide a full abstraction licence application, licence trading and renewal service, acting as your agent throughout the Environment Agency process (or equivalent in Scotland, Wales and NI). Occasionally the process might require formulation and negotiation of a detailed technical case to support an application or revision. We have the skills and experience necessary to obtain the best achievable result.
Example project: Carbon Zero Consulting manages the water resources and abstraction licences for Harper Adams University, Shropshire. The University relies entirely on borehole water supply for the entire campus, research and agriculture activities.

Environmental Permitting

Our input doesn’t just stop at abstraction. If you require a discharge (Environmental) Permit then we provide all the input required by the Regulator for water supply and/or discharge. This may be for a factory process or a GSHP or WSHP system.
Example project: Ground source heating/cooling schemes typically require an abstraction licence to take water from the ground and then a permit to re-inject the water to a different borehole. Carbon Zero Consulting has 20 years’ experience of obtaining licences and permits for major commercial schemes in England, Scotland and Wales for borehole, river-based and dock-based schemes

Management and Maintenance of Existing Borehole Assets

A borehole water supply is an important asset and should be treated as such. A supply can save the owner many £thousands per annum over a very long life-span. We have worked on boreholes that are well over 100 years old which provide as much high-quality water as the day they were drilled – but this is only because they have been well maintained! Too often we come across boreholes that have fallen into disrepair, forgottent or abandoned altogether – because they have not had the same attention or maintenance as all other plant in the facility. We develop programs of rehabilitation, commissioning and management based on sound knowledge of borehole construction, geology, water chemistry and water-use. A well-maintained borehole will save you money – for a very long time!
Example project: Ongoing technical input to Harper Adams University’s multi-borehole assets. Monitoring, refurbishment and drilling of new borehole sources. Also routine audit of water quality at the world heritage city of Bath’s famous hot springs spa; Thermae Bath Spa and the Gainsborough Hotel.

Water and Wastewater Treatment

We have in-house and associate expertise in all forms of water and wastewater treatment technologies ranging from ‘clean’ water conditioning systems such as media and/or membrane filtration, ion exchange and iron removal systems through to the most advanced high rate wastewater technologies such as bioreactors and membrane systems.
Example project: Assessment of viability of treating water from a pre-war borehole for a large, well known breakfast cereal manufacturer. Water was considered for use for steam raising and hot CIP. Filtration, chemical dosing and Reverse Osmosis (RO) desalination was reviewed and options provided for client consideration.
Additionally; assessment of client’s treatment of abattoir waste stream. Site surveys, sampling and recommendations for improvements and cost-savings.

Borehole Installation

We don’t drill boreholes – but we know a number of very good companies that do! We have long-standing relationships with trustworthy drilling and test pumping contractors across the UK.  As consultants, we provide viability assessment, borehole designs and all regulatory requirements for our client. We subsequently provide a range of site services to support the client throughout the drilling and testing of the borehole(s).

All borehole projects are unique, but this is a summary of a typical process:

  • We provide a borehole prognosis report.
  • If this looks favourable in terms of cost, yield, quality and water availability (not all areas of the UK are open to new abstractions), then:
  • We provide an outline design and/or borehole performance specification and arrange a tender process to identify the best value, competent contractor
  • We make the required applications and perform the necessary surveys for the regulator (EA, SEPA or NRW) to obtain consent to drill and test a borehole (unless the borehole is required for less than the minimum daily volume of water; 20 cubic metres per day in England & Wales).
  • The borehole is drilled to depth and the test pumping required by the Regulator is performed. We are often asked to provide field supervision services during this phase.
  • The data collected during drilling and testing is analysed and presented to the Regulator as part of an application pack for an Abstraction Licence (and sometimes an environmental permit).
  • The regulator processes the application – and in the majority of cases grants the client a licence to abstract. The licensing process takes 4 – 5 months to determine, we can provide you with all the planning and input for this.
  • The timeframe for a typical commercial borehole development project is ≈12 months from feasibility through to obtaining a licence to pump your new borehole. For smaller, domestic boreholes this timeframe might only be a few months

boreholes consulting

Water Quality and Treatment

Carbon Zero Consulting has a very high level of in-house expertise in water quality and treatment of water and wastewater. We can quickly get to grips with water and wastewater issues and offer advice on treatment processes or alternative approaches to address water quality problems.


Our advice has been utilised by many clients in many ways – ranging from treatment of domestic borehole water, investigation of major contamination incidents through to design and installation of industrial water treatment processes.

Recent projects include:

  • Analysing water samples and specifying treatment processes for a large food factory to re-use water from an old borehole.
  • Ongoing audit of water quality and water treatment processes at the world famous Thermae Bath Spa in Bath
  • Risk assessment of water supply and water treatment facilities at the UK’s largest Dairy products factory and a large London hospital.

Regulation, Licensing and Negotiation

We have an excellent, and lengthy, track record in obtaining licenses and permits from our UK regulators;  Environment Agency, SEPA and Natural Resources Wales.

We are often asked to help to solve complex or more unusual licensing or permitting challenges.

Our successes range from licensing farm water supplies through to negotiating and obtaining licenses and discharge permits for very large open loop borehole ground source schemes and very large river-based WSHP schemes (for agricultural clients).

We always remain up to date with regulatory changes and consultations so that we can provide you with the effective, accurate and current advice.

expert witness renewables

Expert Witness

We provide expert witness services in all our areas of our experience and expertise; Ground Source Heating and Water Management.

We have a unique blend of Engineering and Earth science experience with excellent ability to draft detailed technical assessments and reports for use in civil, criminal and adjudication cases.

A testimonial from a specialist solicitor can be provided.

Please contact us to see how we can help you with your case.