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Printer Friendly VersionSelected Information - Completed Research

CP424  Blockage cause diagnosis - a tool to reduce incidents Waste
Project Appreciation and Objectives

Sewer blockages now account for the majority of sewer flooding incidents - in 2008/9 such blockages resulted in approximately 30,000 internal and external sewer flooding events in England and Wales.

In order to move to a more proactive approach to sewer blockages it is necessary to better diagnose and understand blockage causes so that susceptible locations can be better identified and appropriate proactive maintenance works implemented.

This project links into a four year Eng D programme being undertaken by WRc and The University of Exeter; this STREAM IDC supported research aims to develop a series of practical outputs to reduce sewer blockages. The first of these will be made available through this Portfolio project and will draw on the early results of the STREAM IDC programme.

The outputs will include a practical methodology that will enable better diagnosis of blockage causes and help identify where there is scope for proactive maintenance or other lower cost measures, such as sewer abuse customer education.

Benefits to Clients

  • Cost effective application of proactive maintenance and practical methodologies that identify and diagnose blockages in hotspot areas.
  • Improved serviceability from a reduction in the number of blockages and flooding incidents.
  • Cost savings due to a reduction in the number sewer blockages and flooding incidents.
  • Improved understanding of sewer blockage risks and costs, to help in preparation for PR14 planning.

Work Programme

  1. Work with the sewer operators to develop the specification of the methodology and review the results of the work undertaken to date in the STREAM IDC project.
  2. Undertake field study with blockage teams from participating water companies to develop the practical aspects of diagnose tool.
  3. Develop the cause analysis tool for blockage diagnosis, along with an improved methodology for recording blockage events using information from the filed study a sewer blockage data provided by participating water companies.
  4. Develop the methodology to better specify guidance for corrective action to reduce risk of repeat blockage occurrence.
  5. Review, demonstrate, refine and deliver the tools.

Project Output

  • Blockage diagnosis decision tool: This will enable the effective diagnosis of blockage cause and give guidance for implementing corrective action.
  • A bespoke tool allowing high risk areas to be identified in order for proactive maintenance to be undertaken reducing the risk of sewer blockage occurrence.
  • Action plan to collect data needed to develop PR14 and develop a risk assessment for the proactive management of blockages.

Related WRc Work

  • Effect of reduced water usage on sewer solids movement, CP367, 2009.
  • "Less water to Waste". Environment Agency, 2007.
  • Understanding blockages in small diameter pipes and the development of blockage scoring tables, CP283/CP283a, 2007.

WRc's Portfolio Programme
Summary of the £1.5 million per annum research programme

More details...

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