Water & Wastewater Treatment

WWT June 2019

Water & Wastewater Treatment Magazine

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Page 21 of 47

22 | XXXXX 20XX | WWT | www.wwtonline.co.uk The Works S ES Water is starting work on an ambitious project that will see it measure the health of its pipe network, identify the causes of leaks, and ensure that its mains renewal is targeted with maximum efficiency. The water-only company is working with Echologics and Atkins to measure pipe thickness in 30 of its district meter- ing areas (DMAs) using non-invasive acoustic technology. The data from this year-long exercise will provide a compre- hensive picture of asset condition which will then be used to decide which mains are chosen for replacement. Furthermore, the data will be analysed alongside a host of other network information to reveal the causes of leaks and deterioration so that repairs, enhancements or operational changes such as pressure management can be used to extend asset life. This is the first phase of work in an approach that the company plans to eventually roll out to all DMAs in its supply area. The impetus for the project has come from the need for SES Water to meet stretching targets in its 2020-25 business plan to reduce leaks and to minimise bursts and supply interruptions, explains Daniel Woodworth, network strategy manager at SES Water. "We have comparatively low leakage compared to the rest of the industry – we are up there in the upper quartile. How- ever, like all companies in the industry it's been a bit stagnant of late, as we've been holding our leakage at what was popularly termed the economic level of leakage," Woodworth says. "In this AMP, we've been reducing by a fairly modest 0.1MLD per year, which equates to a 2 per cent reduction overall. So what we and the whole industry are targeting now, a 15 per cent reduction in leakage, is a signifi- cant increase and very ambitious." Water companies typically have lit- tle real-world data about the condition of their water mains, and instead use probabilistic models to determine which might need replacing: if multiple failures have occurred in pipes of a particular age and type, then the company will prioritise those categories of pipes for replacement across the network. However, pipes can deteriorate in very different ways accord- ing to variables such as water pressure, the frequency of pressure transients, surrounding soil conditions, the layout of the network and local patterns of water usage. Real data provided through the project will allow for more targeted replacement where pipes are genuinely at the end of their life, while also providing insights about the network which might help asset life be extended. SES Water first starting talking to suppliers about acoustic condition as- sessment around four years ago, and immediately saw the potential. "We were looking for something that could validate our probabilistic models – everyone in the industry has always wanted that," Woodworth says. "How- ever, the technologies up until this point have been invasive, involving digging down and inserting something into your mains or cutting a section out. That leads to disruption for customers, there are water quality risks, and it's expensive. So when we learned about this non-invasive method we were keen to give it a go." A proof-of-concept trial involving five DMAs showed that the solution was both usable and scalable, and also demonstrat- ed how the data could be used to perform a 'health check' on the network. This has led directly to the current project, in Collaborative work to assess the condition of pipes in the Sutton and East Surrey region is set to give SES Water unrivalled intelligence about its below-ground assets By James Brockett SES Water seeks out below-ground intelligence 22 | JUNE 2019 | WWT | www.wwtonline.co.uk

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