Articles & Case Studies

Repair of One of the UK’s Largest Water Pipes

Posted: Thursday 17th July 2014

A rapid setting repair mortar manufactured by Flexcrete Technologies Limited has been used during the repair and protection of an aqueduct which carries 570 million litres of water a day from a Cumbrian reservoir.

Flexcrete Fastfill, an engineering quality, Portland cement-based structural mortar, was used for the repair of concrete lined tunnels at Haweswater Aqueduct, which supplies drinking water to around two million homes across South Cumbria, Central Lancashire and Greater Manchester. Comprising one of the UK’s largest and most important water pipes, the aqueduct is 110km long and hundreds of feet below ground level in parts. Considered an example of engineering heritage, it enables water to flow from Haweswater Reservoir in Cumbria to Heaton Park Reservoir in Manchester.

The Flexcrete mortar was hand applied by structural repair specialists Ram Services. After 10 years of planning and an investment of £22 million, the regional water company United Utilities - which owns Haweswater Aqueduct - has recently undertaken a complex project to conduct the first detailed structural analysis of the aqueduct in its 60-year history. A total of 100 specially trained men and women, known as ‘aquanauts’, carried out the structural surveys over a two-week period in which the aqueduct was drained and shutdown. To help the project, 16 specialist Vehicle Access Systems, known as VAS’s and designed and built in Canada, were flown over to help transport equipment and supplies in the aqueduct, which has a 2.6 metre diameter.

Fastfill was used during this prestigious project as it is extremely rapid setting, well proven in demanding environments and is backed by a number of independent certifications. It is CE marked in accordance with the demands of BS EN 1504, approved by the British Board of Agrément (BBA) and is authorised under Regulation 31 of the Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations 2000 for use in contact with drinking water.

Specially designed for the durable repair of concrete which cannot be taken out of service for long periods, its Portland cement base ensures the cured material is similar to that of base concrete and provides a monolithic repair. Non-toxic when cured, Fastfill is supplied as a single component product only requiring the addition of clean water on-site and rapidly develops its strength, even at very low temperatures. Fastfill can be applied up to 100mm in a single application, or even up to 300mm when bulked out with sand or aggregate. Its dense matrix resists 10 bar water pressure and it develops very high diffusion resistance to acid gases and chloride ions.

With origins dating back to 1983, Flexcrete Technologies Limited manufactures a wide range of concrete repair mortars, fairing coats, waterproof cementitious coatings and decorative protective coatings. With its head office and manufacturing complex based in Leyland, North West England, Flexcrete products are available from stockholding distributors all around the UK. The company also has a global presence through international agents and distributors in 65 countries worldwide with export sales accounting for over 50% of its business.

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