Thames Water is using cutting edge techniques to replace its ageing water mains while reducing congestion on the busiest roads in its area.
As part of its ongoing investment to protect water supplies for now and future generations, the company is investing millions of pounds into its water network to search for defects in pipes which could cause leaks or bursts, and then repair or replace them.
Now, the company is using a method called slip-lining to replace old pipes, a process when a durable plastic pipe is inserted into the old iron pipe. This is done by welding sections of pipes together and using a specialist machine to push it through the pipe, with a winch at the other end to pull it through.
This method is proving incredibly effective, and also removes the need to close a whole road to dig down and replace the pipe completely, resulting in fewer delays for residents and commuters.
Tim McMahon, head of water networks at the company, said: “Thames Water is committed to investing millions into improving its water network, to ensure robust supplies for now and future generations.
“One of the most crucial parts of this is to scour our network for bursts and leaks, and once we find them, repair them.
“But, to protect against future incidents, it’s key for a long-term investment plan, and that’s what the mains replacement programme is. Inserting these plastic pipes into the old pipes is the most efficient way. They are tougher and stronger, and it also means we can replace hundreds of metres of pipes without digging up a road, which would cause huge delays.”
Some of the company’s biggest water mains pipes lie underneath London’s busiest roads, so the slip-lining process is crucial to help keep the capital moving.
It is being rolled out across the company’s mains replacement programme, including the £2.1 million scheme at Baker Street, London, and at the £600,000 work near Banbury, with plans in place for it to be used at various mains repair work throughout next year.
As well as slip lining pipes, the company is trialing a raft of new technologies to detect potential failures on its pipes and to date has installed more than 150,000 smart meters which has saved around 4.7 million litres of water.
To see a video showing the process, click on the image below