Articles & Case Studies

High Praise from Stakeholders for Waste Neutral at Tottiford

Posted: Wednesday 8th October 2008

May Gurney Utility Services was recently called upon by key customer South West Water to repair a burst water main that supplies water from Tottiford Reservoir on Dartmoor to the Torbay water supply zone.

Not only did the site team, lead by Simon Rickarby and Rob Lane, complete the project ahead of schedule, but, with the re-use of materials and meticulous planning, Tottiford was the first Waste Neutral project to be completed by the South West team, emphasising our commitment to environmental best practice.

The burst, which occurred under the River Bovey at Heathfield, near Newton Abbot, was difficult to access and in the centre of an environmentally sensitive area. A number of construction methods were considered, but it was decided that the least disruptive solution would be an open cut insertion with the protection of strategically placed cofferdams.

A number of environmental measures were taken in order to protect the surrounding area and river, which is well known for its course fishing. For example, biodegradable hydraulic oil was used in all machines working inside the dam or close to the watercourse ensuring minimal risk of pollution or contamination. Electrical submersible pumps were also used, powered by a centrally located generator, with fuel stored off-site, minimising environmental risk.

Where the water was pumped out from the cofferdams, it was de-silted before percolating back into the watercourse. The consolidated silt was then recycled for backfilling during the reinstatement works.

Re-usable bog mats were used to form a 250-metre access road across the floodplain, eradicating the need for an aggregate track, and the problems associated with disposal of such material.

All materials used to restore the riverbank and working areas were sourced locally, and 80 willow and alder saplings were planted to complete the reinstatement.

Particularly pleasing for May Gurney has been comments made by two important environmental stakeholders; John Marks, of the Environment Agency, stated “I would like to commend all May Gurney staff for the high level of liaison, co-operation and expertise in completing what has been a complex and highly environmentally sensitive operation.”

Furthermore, Andrew Bakere, of the Devon Wildlife Trust, being impressed with the project management, commented, “The area where the water main crossed the river was reinstated and landscaped very well. The detail involved in terms of contouring and the revetments will be difficult to see once the area re-vegetates. The wildlife seems to have been minimally effected by the operations which speaks volumes on how well the project was handled.”

Lastly, Gavin Scarr Hall, MD May Gurney Utility Services remarked “Although this project was needed in response to an emergency repair on our client’s assets, I am delighted that high regard was given to the potential environmental impact of our works, that we achieved Waste Neutral and to add to this two important environmental stakeholders congratulated us on our approach on such a challenging project”

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