United Utilities have started the construction of five micro-tunnels underneath the streets of Preston to stop waste water flowing into the River Ribble at times of heavy rainfall.

At an estimated cost of £114m, United Utilites have just started digging the first of eight shafts at Watery Lane, which will allow a Micro Tunnel Boring machine to dig 27 metres beneath the surface of the city. Using hydraulic jacks behind the machine, the water company’s drainage contractor will push pipes through the tunnels behind the machine.

The five tunnels, when complete, will eventually connect to a 3.5km storm store. It’s hoped the scheme will significantly improve the water quality around the Fylde Coast and Ribble Estuary.

The principal project manager on the project, Brian Edwards, stated:

“The project has been planned to help the river and the Fylde coast comply with European legislation.

“Once complete, improvements should be seen to river quality and shellfish waters along the estuary and to beaches at Southport, Ainsdale, St Annes and Blackpool.”

The new tunnel will direct the excess waste water to a pumping station in Penwortham and provide over 40,000 cubic metres of extra storage for storm water, instead of it flowing into the River Ribble.

Work in Stalybridge at the junction of Dean Road and Trinity Street has just got underway to improve the Victorian sewer under the road.

United Utilities are spending £8 million on sewer improvements in Stalybridge and Dukinfield over the next few months in an attempt to improve the water quality in the River Tame. Currently, during times of heavy rainfall, waste water overflows into the river due to the Victorian sewer being unable to handle the volume of water.

The sewer under Trinity Street needs to be improved. United Utilities project manager, Steve Taylor, stated:

“We understand how inconvenient it is at this particular location, but we have absolutely no option. We need to construct a new overflow on the existing sewer, and the laws of drainage mean this is the exact spot where it has to be.

“We’re working very closely with the council highways department to minimise disruption, but the junction has had to be closed for the safety of the public and our engineers.

“We are sorry for any inconvenience and we would ask people to continue to support their local shops which are very much open for business, even with the road and bus route diversions in place.”

Pedestrian access will be maintained while the work takes place, but the road will be closed to traffic.

Flooding issues in Morpeth are being looked at by the Environment Agency and Northumbrian Water as a way to finally solve the problems that have been plaguing residents for the last few years.

Flooding on Bennetts Walk usually happens at times of heavy rainfall. After a feasibility study into the flooding was conducted, it was found that the waste water drain is simply not big enough to cope with the excess water. Northumbrian Water are now looking at whether a combined sewer overflow would stop the problem happening.

Further flooding issues in Goosehill and Middle Green are also being looked at by the Highways Agency, who is looking to see if improvements can be made.

A spokeswoman for Northumbrian Water stated:

“Obviously we appreciate that the people of Morpeth have suffered extreme flooding.

“The issues are very complex and the council, Environment Agency and Northumbrian Water are working together.

“Northumbrian Water has identified that the sewerage network in the Bennetts Walk area needs to be upgraded and we are currently carrying out investigations to identify the most suitable solution. We will keep residents informed of the progress.”

Drainage problems can be a headache for any homeowner. In the worst cases, raw sewage can actually enter your home and have devastating consequences.

If you notice that the toilet level is taking longer than usual to drop, or you are having problems with the sink draining, it could be the start of a drainage problem. Drain inspection engineers have all the tools and knowledge at their disposal to find drain problems and fix them quickly before they worsen.

Some of the things drainage contractors can do to solve drain blockages include:

Drain jetting

Drain jetting is one of the easiest ways that drain inspection engineers can remove a blockage from a sewer. Using a high power jet of water, the blocked waste can easily be broken up and flushed down the drain.

CCTV surveys

If the blockage cannot be removed using drain jetting equipment, the drain inspection engineers may have to conduct a CCTV survey of the pipe. As part of the survey, a CCTV camera is inserted into the pipe and real-time images are displayed on a computer screen. This enables the drainage contractor to view the problem so they can take the necessary remedial action.

A drainage contractor is working with Southern Water to replace a section of sewer pipe under the popular Cuckoo Trail in Polegate, East Sussex.

The works started on the drainage pipe in November, but due to heavy snowfall at the end of the year, they have been delayed somewhat. Over 700 metres of the pipe have been replaced already, with over 800 metres to be replaced. Southern Water hopes the work will be completed before Easter.

The pipe had leaked a number of times over the past few years, so needed to be replaced completely. Southern Water project manager Keith Jeffery stated:

“The replacement of these 1,500 metres of sewer along the Cuckoo Trail is just an initial phase of a multi-million scheme to replace the entire 5.2km length of sewer at this location. This work is currently in the design stage, and Southern Water will be updating the public on the progress of the project”.

He added:

“I would like to thank the users of this popular trail for being so patient and understanding while this work is underway.”

A Hampshire village will see an upgrade of its local sewage treatment works as part of a £4 million investment by Southern Water.

The south of England water company are going to refurbish the treatment works at Ludgershall, which serve 5,000, people over the next year. The works will see new treatment units installed, a new pumping station and refurbishment of other facilities on site.

The sewage treatment works are on the Hampshire/Wiltshire border and process 2,557,000 litres of waste water every day. The site needs refurbishment to meet the exacting standards set by the Environment Agency.
The contracts engineers on the job, Dennis Taplin, stated:

“We’re delighted to be starting this important scheme, which will improve the quality of wastewater being recycled into the environment.

“I’d like to thank customers for their patience while we carry out this scheme. Our priority is to complete the scheme with as little disruption to the community as possible.”

Southern Water hopes the work on the sewage treatment plant will be completed by the end of 2012.

Drainage work in Levenshulme is currently being carried out by United Utilities to increase the size of the sewers, so they can carry a greater volume of water at times of heavy rainfall.

In the flood prevention scheme, the sewage system under Clare Road, Davenhill Road and Errwood Road is being replaced. The new sewers, which will be approximately four times bigger then the existing sewers, should stop the flooding problems these roads have seen in the past.

The £900,000 project will see the closure of Errwood Road for around five months. United Utilities project manager, Matthew Steer, stated:

“We’re doing this work to give peace of mind to those local homeowners who have lived with terrible problem of internal flooding with sewage when it rains heavily.

“We’re sorry for any temporary disruption while the major engineering work is carried out, but it will be well worth it in the long run.

“We’d ask people to bear with us throughout the road closure and diversion. Although Errwood Road is closed to through traffic, we will maintain access up to the work area for residents.”

The work is part of a £3.6 billion investment by United Utilities in the North West’s water and waste water systems.

The small town of Wigginton in Yorkshire has finally seen an end to the flooding which has caused raw sewage to be strewn over its main street on numerous occasions over the last few months.

After residents complained that dirty water was seeping into their gardens and raw sewage was found floating on the main street, Yorkshire Water began an investigation into the cause of the problem.

After conducting several sessions of drain jetting and a CCTV survey of the drains, drain inspection engineers from Yorkshire Water found that the problem was caused by the drains being blocked by people unfortunately putting inappropriate materials into the drainage system.

A local resident praised Yorkshire Waters attempts to rectify the issue, Paul Watkinson, who is the landlord in the Black Horse pub stated in The Press:

“We are on slightly higher ground than some of our neighbours so we haven’t been as badly affected, but some of them have had it coming into their gardens and it just shouldn’t happen.

“Credit to Yorkshire Water. They have made every effort to sort it out. They’ve had cameras down the drains to see what the problem is and tried to unblock them, but it still keeps happening.”

Yorkshire Water has done their upmost to remove the blockages from the drain, a spokesperson for the company stated:

“It’s sad to say, but these blockages have been caused by building materials which have been knowingly discarded into the local sewer network.

“On each occasion this has been brought to our attention, our technicians have been out to inspect the network and remove any items causing partial blockages, including pieces of plaster, timber and concrete.
“We are currently investigating to try and determine the source of these materials with a view to taking appropriate action to put a stop to such irresponsible and potentially damaging and costly behaviour.

“In instances like this we would always encourage people to think before they put things down their drains, toilets and sinks as the consequences of these actions, and the potential suffering they can cause is clear for all to see.”

Many of us only really think about our drains at the point at which one becomes blocked. Slow drainage or a complete blockage is impossible to ignore, but they are merely easily-observable signs that something is wrong. In reality, many things can affect your drainage before you ever notice a problem.

Scaling can be a major cause of build-up and blockages. Matter can build up on the internal surface of the pipe, narrowing its diameter or sharp edges can gather dirt and lead to an eventual blockage after a period of time. In these instances, there is no need to wait for the blockage, the cause can be addressed through descaling.

Professional descaling equipment is highly sophisticated and very effective. In the simplest terms, a cable is fed through the pipe which loosens and removes any build-up of matter and also smooths away any rough edges. Having done this, the debris is then pushed through to a point where it can be removed.

If you find that your drains are regularly becoming blocked, it is highly likely that there is an underlying problem and it may be one which is easy to address through descaling.

Drainage problems generally only come to light when they start to affect us, but that isn’t to say they don’t start before then. If you have never had your drains inspected, it is worth hiring someone to carry out the task as it may prevent major problems in the future.

A standard drain inspection will involve first jetting the drains to clear away any significant debris and then putting a camera through to identify any major problems.

Many things might be found. Something as simple as a build-up of silt will be easily dealt with, while tree roots and broken sections of drain will be more complex. However, the key benefit is that you will be able to address these problems before they get out of hand.

Tree roots will often find a way into a drain as they are searching for moisture. Obviously, what starts as a small root is likely to develop over time and can cause greater structural damage to the pipe as a result. Similarly, a sharp edge inside a drain can lead to a gradual build-up of grime which might ultimately lead to a complete blockage, which will be hugely inconvenient.

Far better to address problems such as these early and the only way to identify them in the first place is by arranging a professional drain inspection.