No-dig method for lead pipe restoration sets new distance mark
Specialist contractors working for Affinity Water in Hertfordshire have completed what is believed to be the longest length of in-place restoration of a small diameter lead drinking water service pipe in the UK.
Pipe Restoration Services (PRS) used a trenchless method to restore a 15-metre stretch of pipe which runs under a busy stretch of the High Road in Bushey Heath, Hertfordshire.
The PRS team used ePIPE ‘no dig’ technology to apply a resin to the inside of the pipe which cures within 2 hours. The process sees the resin blown into place using an air stream, with no mechanical devices needed within the pipe itself. The technique is already a proven solution for shorter lengths of service pipe, but the project shows that it can also be successful over longer distance.
Lead pipes present a potential water quality issue nationwide, but replacement is not always the most practical or economic option. In this case, lead pipes in the property where the work took place had previously been replaced by the owner, and where this is done it is Affinity Water’s standard practice is to replace or rehabilitate the pipes on its side.
Digging up the road to replace the pipes via an open cut method would have caused major disruption, as the crossroad junction is controlled by 4-way traffic lights that would have had to be taken out of service and temporary traffic management put in place. Moling was not an option as the road had multiple other utilities within it, which is why PRS was called in to provide an alternative solution.
Tony Hanks, general manager at Pipe Restoration Services, said: “Traditional pipe replacement methods would have resulted in between 3 and 4 days of disruption. This type of project would also require major noticing with the Highways Agency.”
PRS completed the project in one day, minimising customer downtime and ensuring no road excavations or closures that might have caused traffic disruption. Flow rate was also boosted through the pipes. Prior to the start of work, the property had a 12 litre per minute water flow rate; on completion, the flow rate was 15+ litres per minute and lead levels in the water were brought into compliance.
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