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The Utility Pipeline Technology Award is the result of strong partnership and dedication from all teams that were procured from specialist contractors directly to Affinity Water. This allowed for more informed decisions to be made at all stages when it came to the design and execution of the operation on a live potable water network.
This year, SUEZ Water UK, Affinity Water and Mace all came together to tackle 900km of mains during an 18month period that included 120km of trunk mains and is one of the largest mains cleaning exercises carried out within the water industry in recent years.
The programme was developed to begin the controlled removal of deposits to ensure the highest water quality standards and to improve the usability and resilience of the network with minimal disruption, two key customer expectations for Affinity customers.
no room for risk
The heart of this strategy was in developing a project structure that was based around preventing risks.
The decision to first clean / flush certain distribution mains areas to reduce the risk of discolouration when taking trunk mains out of supply is a step up from the traditional methods of cleaning.
To further minimise risks, Ice Pigging was chosen as the preferred technique for the program as ice pigs becoming stuck is incredibly rare. Were an ice pig to become stuck in a pipe it would simply melt. In addition, most if not all Ice Pigging work is carried out at night to minimise customer disruption.
The element of highest risk during the programme was the cleaning of cast iron and coal tar lined mains without adversely affecting the water quality. To avoid a disturbance in water quality, Affinity Water and SUEZ’s Ice Pigging team worked together to develop a number of predictive tools and assessments to enable the Ice Pigging technique to be successfully applied to these mains.
The mains cleaning program was successfully completed in March 2017 having cleaned over 950km in total of which 120km were trunk mains and 80km of cast iron / bitumen / coal tar lined mains.
The project has delivered significant savings as a result of finding direct contractors and the contract model will be adopted for similar works going forward.