Articles & Case Studies

£150 million wastewater treatment project chooses pioneering alternative

Posted: Monday 25th October 2010

Water’s £150 million, three and a half year project upgrade at the Minworth sewage treatment works near Birmingham has just been completed and is set to benefit over 1.8 million homes.

The UK’s second largest sewage treatment works used Asset International Ltd’s Weholite to replace its’ sewage pipe system. The 18 phase project, which took 42 months to complete, used the high density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe for the four phases of the project that required pipework.

Contractors BNM Alliance (Biwater Treatment and North Midland Construction Plc) were looking for a lightweight and easy to install material for the various project phases. Weholite pipes, manufactured by Asset, are made to order and prefabricated, which allows for a quick and easy installation.

The large-scale project used Weholite pipes in a variety of sizes for different parts of the project, including gravity pipes which will carry up to five million litres of water per second from the distribution chambers. The Weholite pipes were also used for drainage manholes, fabricated chambers and duct pits which required 1.2 and 1.5 metre diameter pipes to carry electronic cables across the treatment works.

The project often had up to 400 workers on the 250 acre site at a time, and so required a strict health and safety policy to manage risk. Because Weholite is lightweight there was less requirement for heavy-lifting machinery on site for installation and helped remove some health and safety issues associated with this. The pipes also reached heights of up to 2.8 metres so Asset, working with BNM Alliance, ensured the pipes were delivered in strict stacking heights providing easy and safe access for offloading the pipe from delivery lorries.

Pat Heffernan, Biwater site manager, said: “Weholite’s flexibility and the fact that they are prefabricated means we were able lay longer pipelines and avoid joins. The quick and easy installation allowed us to complete the project safely and on time, especially considering the bad weather we had at the beginning of this year.”

Simon Thomas, managing director at Asset International added: “We were pleased to be involved in such a large scale project with Seven Trent and BMN Alliance across several phases. Because we manufacture Weholite at our factory in south Wales we are able to produce large orders to bespoke designs quickly and effectively, including the 3.5 metre diameter pipe which is the largest plastic pipe on the market.

“Due to Weholite’s lightweight it can dramatically reduce a project’s carbon footprint when the overall process, including manufacture, transportation and the laying of the pipes, is considered.”

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