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Holeby Waterworks

"It's more fun to put money in the wiring than to send it to the state"

The small private cooperative waterworks in the rural municipalities have low costs because they are run by volunteers. On the other hand, they have to be in tip-top shape operationally, otherwise they risk being put under the big utilities.

The waterworks in Holeby on Lolland had to pay a fee to the state every single year of 65,000 kroner, because there was a shrinkage of more than 10 percent on the water supply network.
But now Benny Hermann, who is chairman of the board of Vandværket, has made sure that the shrinkage has stopped. Benny spends 2-3 hours every single day operating and managing the waterworks, and he is relieved that the water supply network is now in tip-top shape. Soon it will be time for a generational change in Holeby and Omegns Vandforsyning, where he will after 40 years as chairman of the board hand over the baton to his successor.
A few months ago, Benny Hermann feared that a larger and more expensive repair work awaited, which would ruin the small waterworks and ruin his life's work.


25,000 m3 of water disappeared without a trace

Out of 170,000 m3 of water pumped up every year in Holeby, 25,000 m3 disappeared without a trace.
But the leak was not like that to find. In Holeby and the surrounding area, the water main is 140 km long and the leak could not be seen anywhere on the earth's surface. The water apparently disappeared directly into the ground. It took a bit of detective work to find the hole - or holes. A leak detection company with the most advanced listening and tracking instruments, Leif Koch AS, was hired.


Detective work begins

After three weeks of detective work on the 140 km long pipeline network, there was a catch. The leak detection experts listened at night when most water consumers were sleeping, using the latest and most advanced listening and tracking equipment.
It turned out that the shrinkage of the 25000 m3 was fortunately due to one large leak: at a building from the 1970s, the water pipe had been masted between two large sewer pipes. Year by year, quietly, the water main had been squeezed more and more to pieces. The leak had therefore been a long time coming. There was nothing to see on the surface of the earth. The water disappeared directly down the sewer pipes, into the ground. Fortunately, there were no cracks in the sewer pipes.
The hole in the water main was quickly closed - and 65,000 kroner to the state is saved every year.
Benny Hermann could breathe a sigh of relief. "It's more fun to put the money in the wiring than to send it to the Treasury," he says.


Small is good - and cheap

With a good economy in the waterworks, the 2000 water consumers in Holeby can keep their small waterworks, which they are happy with. The small waterworks often charge a lower price for water because they are operated cheaper. And when the wiring is well maintained, consumers will eventually get rid of even cheaper ones.
“It is important to maintain a waterworks. Once a waterworks is not maintained, it suddenly becomes very expensive for consumers. And if the economy in the waterworks is bad, the small waterworks risks being swallowed up by the large water supply companies, ”explains Jørgen Koch from Leif Koch A / S.
In future, there will be both better security of supply and economy in Holeby Waterworks.
There are over 2500 small private co-owned waterworks in Denmark, and they are popular with consumers. It is volunteer enthusiasts like Benny who manage supervision, maintenance and operation. And therefore there are not many expenses. "We can make a decision faster, move the money around a bit and get things sorted out on an ongoing basis when needed," says Benny Hermann.
The small waterworks have not hired expensive engineers, so when a major or minor technical problem arises, such as a leak that you cannot solve yourself, you hire a company. That is why the small private waterworks are also eager participants in industry exhibitions and fairs:
"I like a lot of the relationships that you build with the small waterworks", says Jørgen W. Koch from the family company Leif Koch AS. “For example, I have been coming to Holeby Waterworks since the 80s. It makes good sense to help the small waterworks ”




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