Utility Week

Utility Week 25th October

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Operations & Assets Pipe up Leo Carswell and Carmen Snowdon, WRc Innovative solutions are needed to fight leakage costeffectively while minimising disruptive roadworks. tion of 11km of new sewer tunnels and two pumping stations, and a 2.5km outfall to release the treated wastewater to sea. Solid waste produced by the plant is sold as an agricultural soil conditioner. Nestling on the edge of the South Downs National Park, the treatment works has an 18,000m2 grass roof – one of the largest in Europe – and an extensive odour control system. If you have an asset or project you would like to see featured in this slot, please email: paul.newton@fav-house The water industry is facing a difficult challenge. Customers demand ever lower leakage, but at the same time they don't want the inconvenience of more traffic disruptions. UKWIR in 2005 estimated the social cost of excavations to be at least £5.5 billion a year and yet we are still losing just under one-quarter of all of our water through leaks. If the industry is going to achieve these potentially conflicting goals, it is going to need more innovative solutions with a real focus on cost effectiveness. Over 40 experts from across the water industry and supply chain met last month to collectively formulate an action plan to address these goals. The day resulted in some lively exchanges on six key themes: Supply pipe adoption: with this looking likely, the industry has an opportunity to better integrate these pipes into leakage management policies. One big benefit will come in the form of having the opportunity to replace supply pipes – and be funded to do so – because they are an asset owned by the water company. New technology to identify small leaks in small pipes: because it is not likely to be cost-effective to repair these leaks individually, technology that enables improved replacement decisions is needed. Better sensors and smart meters: making better use of the data collected for leakage management is important because there is a general reluctance to manage leakage differently and move away from existing methodologies. Robotic inspection, key-hole techniques and the application of advanced materials: one key action is to address the high cost of trialling new technologies. Sharing of the cost, results and benefits is likely to be the only way the industry can address this issue. Asset location to reduce unnecessary excavations: the hottest topic discussed is the need to make sure that when any hole is dug, for any purpose, asset location is recorded and shared. What still needs to be explored is the most appropriate information on asset location, balancing costs and requirements. Condition assessment: for inspections to be viable, non-intrusive methods are needed because the price of excavation for inspection alone is high. The industry needs to engage with stakeholders to ensure that when any hole is being dug the opportunity to carry out condition assessment is exploited. The industry action plan from the day will be published on WRc's website. We are also convening an Innovation Action Group on leakage and excavations to push forward these actions, engaging with the right stakeholders, approaching the right funders and building the business case for moving the agenda on. Collectively we can find the right innovations and solutions. Leo Carswell and Carmen Snowdon, technology & leakage team leaders, WRc UTILITY WEEK | 25th - 31st October 2013 | 23

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