Mains cleaning system wins award

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New pipeline technology developed in association with UK utility Northumbrian Water has scooped a national award for innovation. Gateshead-based Hydrascan Ltd received the prize at the UK Society for Trenchless Technology (UKSTT) Awards for its Typhoon system designed to clean water mains.

The typhoon system was developed in response to a challenge set by Northumbrian Water for an efficient means of cleaning the larger trunk mains as part of its four-year GBP30 million (USd43 million) mains cleaning programme. The scheme will improve drinking water quality to 500,000 people in South East Northumberland, North Tyneside and the north of Newcastle, UK.

In 2007, the water company tested a number of systems during field trials and awarded Hydrascan - a subsidiary of Killbride Industrial Services - a contract with Lumsden & Carroll Civil Engineers to clean approximately 50 miles (80km) of water mains in Northumberland.

The new water jetting technology, which uses a tethered ‘pig' system developed from technology used in the oil and gas industry, enables contractors to clean pipes ranging from 6 to 60 inches (12 to 120cm) in diameter.

Requiring only a single entry point, the system cleans up to 1km of pipe at a time. According to Hydrascan, the system will save water authorities and their contractors millions of pounds in the cost of excavating and re-routing traffic for extended maintenance projects in both rural and urban environments.

Northumbrian Water project manager Stuart Tilley said: ‘The Hydrascan system has proved well suited to working in urban environments due to its small site set-up, the achievement of high specification cleaning over long lengths and the ability to negotiate bends, valves and fittings in the network.'

Hydrascan technology achieves high levels of cleaning in pipes lined with concrete, cement, bitumen or polyethylene and can be fitted with imaging equipment for surveying pipe condition.

Technical director, Dr Neil Stutchbury, explained: ‘The hydro powered pig is jetted along a length of pipe where it will switch between propulsion and cleaning operations. On its return, multi-directional controlled water jets remove any build-up on pipe walls allowing for expedient, thorough and environmentally friendly cleaning at ranges of up to 500m, totalling 1km in both directions from a single entry point. We have been working on the Typhoon system since May 2007 and today believe we have the most effective and cost-efficient system on the market.'

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