Articles & Case Studies


Posted: Friday 18th September 2009

Tap water quality has been taken to new heights by a North East utility company as work at a County Durham site gets underway.

Northumbrian Water is upgrading a service reservoir located south of Durham and has used an unusual mode of transport to get materials to site to enable the £410,000 scheme to be carried out.

A helicopter has been used to deliver 120 rolls of lining to the site, which will be used to re-line the reservoir, which holds nine and a half million litres of water (more than one million toilet flushes or 118,750 baths full) and supplies more than seven thousand properties. Specialist contractors, Stonbury, are doing the re-lining work.

Each roll of the robust lining, which is made of a combination of plastic and rubber and is up to 2.4 metres wide, 30 metres long and 80 kilograms in weight, was too bulky and heavy to be transported to site via the existing access track.

Luis Mosquera, Northumbrian Water’s project manager, said: “Work to upgrade the service reservoir started in June and will be complete early in September. As well as relining the bottom and sides of the concrete reservoir we also need to line 69 columns which support the reservoir roof. In total we will use 6,657 square metres of lining.

“It is very unusual and rare for us to use a helicopter to deliver materials to site – it has been an interesting process! I don’t think many people appreciate everything that goes on behind the scenes and in the air (!) to ensure we supply our customers with excellent quality tap water.”

Chris Ruddy, Chief Pilot for Pennine Helicopters Ltd, said: “The working load of the helicopter is 500 kilograms so it took 24 trips to complete the delivery, together with other trips to transport ancillary material and small plant. A helicopter is a very fast and efficient means of ferrying goods to difficult locations.”

This is one of 213 service reservoir sites in the region which store and supply treated water to homes and businesses. On average, the reservoir supplies more than three and a half million litres of water every day (388,888 toilet flushes or 43,750 baths full).

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