There is a requirement for water companies to reduce the levels of lead found in drinking water to below10μg/l, in accordance with European water quality legislation. However, while utilities have responsibility for service pipes up to the boundary of the customer’s land, lead pipes on the customer side are privately owned.

In a trial supported by Ofwat, Yorkshire Water is undertaking the relining of lead pipes in 1,000 council-owned properties. Aquam was identified as the ideal partner to carry out the works, due to its package of the Overland Supply Vehicle (OSV) and Serline advanced pipelining system, which is available to utilities.

?Water is continuously supplied whilst the service pipes to the rear of the houses are lined.

A seamless service for the rapid refurbishment of lead pipes is provided, while customers and the community remain largely unaffected.

Aquam consultant Roman Boryslawskyj said, “As well as inconveniencing householders and customers, the financial penalties for utilities failing to achieve their targets on the Reliable Water Index can be immense. Each second over target can attract £85k of penalty.

“Our trials and data analysis show that the seamless switch to stable temporary supply offered by the Overland Service Vehicle can make a quantifiable budgetary impact. Use of the OSV in reactive deployment trials elsewhere have resulted in ODI savings of hundreds of thousands of pounds.”

Based on an initial lining contract with Yorkshire Water for 2,000 communication pipes, the system has proved to be around 80% more efficient than open-cutting trenches on busy main roads, resulting in a dramatic reduction of open excavations outside customers’ houses and reducing traffic hold-ups in built-up areas during works.

Yorkshire Water has also identified the following environmental benefits:

  • Reduction of 1,876m3 (188 lorry loads) of excavated material going to landfill and the equivalent in backfill material
  • Size of each excavation reduced by an average of 80%, cutting carbon footprint Noise pollution reduced dramatically as the time spent outside customers’ properties with plant was cut by 80%
  • Construction method much less intrusive than traditional methods, vastly reducing pollution risk PU coating applied to the lead pipe has proved to repair small holes in the pipes, impacting on water leakage in addition to lead leaching
  • Reduced need to dose certain chemicals during the treatment process
  • As the current pipe is refurbished there is no longer a requirement to use plastic pipe, which has resulted in fewer plastic pipes been produced and less pipe being wasted

Steve Taylor, innovation technician at Yorkshire Water said, “The Serline lead pipe lining has gone very well to date. We have three lining rigs deployed in Rotherham and by using the Aquam Overland Supply Vehicle we can work onsite all day with minimal disruption to customers’ supplies. 

“We have been lining right into the main without excavation on the ferrules, though the stop tap and from the stop tap to the property. In Rotherham this has reduced the number of excavations and made the civils works safer.”

Aquam’s Serline system has delivered over 12,000 lead linings for UK water companies to date. The trial with Yorkshire Water in Rotherham, which began in October 2016, will continue to March 2017.

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