Thames Water is hard at work on Lee High Road, trialling new technology that it’s hoped will help the company detect defects on its water pipes and reduce the liklihood future bursts.
This innovative trial, a first in the UK, follows a burst along the same stretch of road in Lewisham, south-east London, last November.
The trial involves lowering a rocket-shaped scanning device through a specially designed hatch built onto the pipe (see below), which is currently out of service. The scanner will then set to work travelling inside the cast iron pipework, using acoustic technology to survey its condition.
The results will enable the company to decide whether further work is required, or if the main can be returned to service.
In addition, a CCTV camera will be mounted to the scanner, which the team will be able watch in real-time, to ensure there are no major obstacles that would otherwise damage the scanner.
Project manager, Jo Stringer, said: “This is a very exciting trial, a UK first, with the scanner sensors needing to be particularly powerful, so the ultrasound waves that are emitted can pass through the thick cast iron pipe.”
She added: “Having one lane closed here is obviously not ideal, but it’s our hope that if all goes to plan, this type of technology will reduce bursts in the future and the need for us to close roads.”
To ensure its effectiveness, the team have added man-made defects to the pipe for the scanner to detect, which will be fully repaired before the road is reopened in late August.