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Cumbria framework awarded to Sapphire Utility Solutions

Sapphire Utility Solutions has been awarded a framework contract by Cumbria County Council for the clearing, inspection and mapping of drains and gullies.

“One of the main reasons for Sapphire winning this contract was the successful completion of a project in 2016 to conduct similar work on 12,000 gullies in the areas affected by the flooding that followed Storm Desmond,” said Cumbria County Council’s David Sheard. “Sapphire was contracted for a 12-week period, and we were delighted that the work was completed within budget and a week early.” 

Following the unprecedented flooding that occurred in Cumbria in December 2015, the Flood Investigation Report tasked Cumbria County Council, United Utilities and Carlisle City Council with an action to “review and investigate drainage and sewage systems for which they are responsible to better understand where improvements are required”. This led to Sapphire’s work in the flood affected areas, which delivered a range of positive outcomes. “For example, the mapping work undertaken by Sapphire revealed an extra 10% of drainage assets that were not previously documented,” said Sheard. “As a result of Sapphire’s work, these critical drains are now clear and the risk profile of the drainage infrastructure has been documented to provide a prioritisation matrix for remedial work, which makes a significant contribution to the future flooding resilience of these areas.”

Sapphire Utility Solutions managing director Colin Kelly said: “It is very pleasing to learn that our work in 2016 was appreciated by Cumbria Council. It was a challenging project requiring the complete jetting, cleansing and mapping of gully hotspots spread across the county over a relatively short timeframe, with gully access sometimes hindered in busy town centre roads lined with parked cars.”

The utilisation of smartphones and cloud-based data storage meant that CCTV survey and asset mapping work for each individual gully was quickly and simply available to the council and its contractors with detailed asset information including cover condition, gully size, silt level, silt defects, jetting/cleansing completed, and overall operational status of the gully. 

As a result of the framework agreement, Sapphire will deliver a county-wide service from Preston and a number of local depots. 

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