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SUEZ were recently contracted to provide Ice Pigging as the preferred method of cleaning 170km of water trunk mains in Affinity Water’s mains flushing programme, collaborating with other utility companies to provide the highest quality service and water quality to their customers.
The programme sought the controlled removal of manganese and iron deposits from 958km of mains pipework within the Ickenham, Harlow and Epping areas between 2015-2017. Although manganese and iron are naturally occurring minerals present in groundwater sources, it can cause build up in pipework and can sometimes cause discoloured water.
Affinity Water’s mission and responsibility is to continually provide their customers and communities with the highest quality water by calling upon some of the most innovative and environmentally oriented suppliers.
Ice Pigging is a highly effective and exceptionally low-risk method of removing sediment, biofilm and other objects from pressurised water pipes and has widely been adopted as the most cost-effective method of pipe cleaning for water mains in many countries around the world.
Ice Pigging uses less water and requires less clean up compared to traditional underground pipe flushing or other pigging techniques. It is a risk-free solution that leaves the pipes undamaged after cleaning. If the ice pig were to ever become stuck in the pipe, it would simply melt.
When the Ice Pig is inserted into the pipe, it forms a semi-liquid form and adapts to the topography of the pipes as well as any changes in diameter, making it an effective and ideal solution to common pigging problems.
Ice Pigging operations on water mains generally don’t involve excavations and make use of existing fire hydrants for the insertion of the ice slurry into the pipe where the ice pig will take its form. The ice itself is usually composed of NaCl (table salt) ice, and water, with no other additives or chemicals, greatly reducing potential environmental impact.
To carry out the project, various suppliers were brought together to form one collaborative ‘Mains Flushing team’ that worked towards the shared goal of achieving the challenging target whilst continually maintaining water quality throughout the operations, improving usability and resilience of the network and minimising disruptions to the environment and to customers.
Throughout the programme, all flushing was carried out at night to minimise customer disruption through street operations and disturbances to their water supply and of the 100,000 people that could have been affected, there were zero written complaints.
The award honours and recognises the hard work and strong collaborative relationships between utility companies and their suppliers. Providing the best services to their customers, utilities need to be able to reply on suppliers to help them achieve exemplary services.
Phil Adams of Affinity Water and part of the winning team for the Collaboration Cup said: “The awards ceremony was a wonderful evening of celebration and recognition with fellow colleagues. For the Mains Cleaning team to win the Collaboration Cup was incredible and a really positive reflection of our own team ethos. Throughout I felt a sense of pride and privilege to have been a part of such a brilliant evening – thank you!”