South West Water uses drones and dye testing in sewer survey
South West Water is using a combination of dye testing and drones to survey the sewer network in two villages in South Devon.
The utility will be putting a harmless green fluorescent dye into sewers in Newton Ferrers and Noss Mayo on Wednesday 1st March to help identify defects and plan improvements to the villages' sewerage systems.
The dye testing will take place during the night and early hours to fit in with tide times, subject to weather conditions.
Work will start at around 4.30am on Wednesday and cameras mounted on drones will be used from 8am to help survey the estuary and sewerage network.
Steve Rosser, South West Water's Wastewater Strategic Planning Manager, said: "Although we frequently use dye to survey the sewerage network in this way, it is the first time we've used drones to help our teams on the ground. This is because many of the pipes in Newton Ferrers and Noss Mayo are in the foreshore and difficult to access.
"During and after the testing you may see dye coming from manholes or in the stream and estuary. This will help us pinpoint any sections of pipe that need further investigation or repair.
"The dye will disperse naturally and is not harmful to the environment."
The Environment Agency, Natural England and the Marine Management Organisation and are supportive of the testing, and the Harbour Master, Parish Council and local businesses have also been informed. The drones will be supplied and operated by commercially licensed drone pilots from South West Water and Exeter University.
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