Tuesday 14th April 2020 12:00
A major civil engineering project involving floating cranes and silent piling is underway at a reservoir near Heathrow Airport to help keep taps flowing in London for at least another 120 years.
Huge steel sheets are being pile-driven deep into two sections of the dam wall at Staines South Reservoir as part of significant improvement works by Thames Water.
Due to narrow access roads, the sheets are transported by barges to a crane on a floating platform. The sheets are then driven into the clay core of the dam using an innovative silent piling technique to reduce noise and vibration.
Jon Green, Thames Water’s reservoir safety manager, said: “It’s a legal requirement that Thames Water keeps the 120-year-old reservoir in the best possible condition so it can continue to store and supply water to millions of Londoners.
“This work will strengthen and reinforce the dam wall, extending the life of the reservoir well into the next century. We are using innovative techniques to keep noise and disruption to a minimum and have adapted to the coronavirus outbreak with great flexibility and dedication.”
Work was already well underway when the lockdown came into force. However, Thames Water staff are classed as key workers, meaning those who cannot work from home will continue to fix leaks, clear blockages and maintain services at reservoirs, treatment works and sewage sites in accordance with government guidelines. Non-essential work, such as meter readings, has been reduced.
Jon said: “The construction team put in various measures to demonstrate that the site could be run in accordance with government advice. This included a constant cleaning regime, re-organising briefing and break times to allow social distancing and buying in all food to prepare on site.
“We have one supervising engineer undergoing chemotherapy so they are dealing with technical matters at home, one who is self-isolating due to a family member being ill and another working from home after coming back from Ghana with a cough. It’s a great example of Thames Water teamwork and flexibility to get the job done.”