Rainwater used for sewer jetting in Northumbrian initiative
Northumbrian Water has started using harvested rainwater in jetting operations to clear sewer blockages, as an alternative to using clean, treated water for the purpose.
The north east utility has begun installing rainwater harvesting tanks around some of its larger offices, to collect and store rainfall from the roof of the buildings.
Capable of holding up to 2,300 litres each, the tanks are used by the company's jetting fleet, who fill up their specialised vehicles with the rainwater, instead of using clean, drinking water to flush out the sewers.
In 2018, around 12,000 blockages had to be cleared across the North East, made up of things wrongly put down the drains, including wet wipes, fats, oils and greases.
Often these blockages can be cleared by shooting a jet of high-pressured water through the sewer network to break up the clog, which also cleans out the inside of the pipe to prevent further build-up and damage.
However, using drinking water isn't the most sustainable method and while climate change threatens to limit water resources, it can also bring about more frequent flooding.
Part of the company's ‘Rainwise' initiative, the rainwater harvesting tanks can help on both fronts, collecting the rainfall ready for use when necessary, while freeing up the capacity in the network during storms.
The water company is also encouraging customers to get ‘Rainwise' at home, by making small changes to homes and gardens that can help save water and manage rainfall locally, by adding water butts and rainwater planters.
Northumbrian Water's Sustainable Sewerage Manager, Steena Nasapen-Watson, said, "Historically, we've filled up the tanks on our jet vans with clean water from water hydrants to help keep the sewers flowing freely, but this isn't the most sustainable way to manage our network.
"Water is a precious resource and when it comes to clearing blockages in the drains, we don't need to use high-quality drinking water. By adding these rainwater tanks, we can ensure the best use of water resources, storing storm water for when we need it."
- Getting to Grips with… FOG and bioaugmentation Of the tens of thousands of blockages in UK sewer networks every year, almost three quarters are caused by Fats, Oil and... Read More >
- Capital's infrastructure needs integrated water approach The concerns of Londoners about the capital city's resilience highlight the need for integrated planning across water,... Read More >
- Ready for anything: Resilience in the Round Resilience is one of the four priorities that Ofwat wants to see water companies adopt in their plans for PR19. But what... Read More >
- Mind the step: manholes, steps and ladders Manhole steps, ladders and associated access systems perform a safety critical function. Here, Chris Cawte, managing... Read More >
- Deragger proves benefits in wide-ranging trial An innovative device which keeps sewage pumps free of rag has been shown in an independent trial to save energy as well as... Read More >