Water Industry News

No-Dig Technology Used For Wessex Water Sewer Upgrades

Wessex Water has turned to pioneering no-dig technology in what is thought to be a UK first to upgrade a sewer beneath the River Parrett in Bridgwater, relining it with an epoxy resin – a job that took just three weeks and cost £900,000 less than traditional techniques would have done.


The pipework near the Bristol Road pumping station was 40 years old and had to be replaced, work that would typically require horizontal drilling and deep trenches, having a very real impact on the river and the surrounding area.


The water supplier has plans in place to spend £1.4 billion over the next five years to provide its customers with an outstanding service, as well as protecting and improving the environment, while contributing to the communities it serves.

Sewer rehabilitation manager Julian Britton explained that this lining solution has allowed the water supplier to work “smartly and safely”, ensuring that its customers received the best value for money.


“Beyond this, we massively reduced our carbon footprint by using trenchless technology that removed lorry movements from the roads. This is the first [Cured In Place Pipeline] liner of this specification to be used in the UK and will prolong the life of the sewer, as well as safeguarding river water quality,” he went on to say.


Upgrading the nation’s ageing pipe networks and infrastructure is becoming increasingly important, as population growth puts more and more pressure on sewers. A recent CBRE report explained that the population of the UK is expected to be more than 70 million people by 2040, which will add extra strain on waste collection and treatment infrastructure.

Sewers around the country collect more than 11 billion litres of wastewater every day, which is around 150 litres per person.


The government has set itself the target of reducing this to 130 litres per person per day by 2030, but population growth means that by 2040, there will be an additional 1.6 billion litres of wastewater created… which means that upgrading the underlying infrastructure is essential.


The majority of the UK’s wastewater systems were built back in the 19th century, designed to serve far smaller populations. The sewerage system in London, for example, was only intended to serve four million people – which is less than half the current population.


As well as upgrading the system, it’s important that we change what we send down the drain. It’s estimated that there are, on average, 366,000 blockages in sewers across the UK, which can lead to flooding and pipe damage.


More than three-quarters of these blockages are caused by unflushable household waste, such as oil, fats and grease, medicinal and cosmetic products – which suggests that we all need to start doing our part to help reduce pressure on the nation’s pipe networks.


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