Articles & Case Studies

The New Forest’s new water main

Posted: Wednesday 22nd December 2010

When seeking to secure an alternative supply source for the growing town of Verwood, Bournemouth & West Hampshire Water (BWHW) had little choice but to lay a new water main through the environmentally sensitive New Forest. The fast installation and commissioning offered by polyethylene pipe systems enabled this £750,000 project to be completed with minimum disruption and ahead of schedule.

The new 355m pipeline was constructed from the tough, lightweight Excel (PE100) pipe supplied by GPS PE Pipe Systems. With an internal roughness of only 0.05mm, Excel has exceptionally low pressure losses in comparison with other materials. Even so, on long runs friction losses can still mount up, and BWHW opted for SDR11, the thicker pipe wall, with a pressure rating of 16bar to ensure consistent supply.

A large amount of the new pipeline was laid in a conservation area of the forest. Greatly concerned to minimise the environmental impact of the disruption from the installation, BWHW worked closely with the Forestry Commission to maintain a ‘best practice’ protocol aimed at protecting and enhancing biodiversity. Operations staff and contractors were trained to follow specific procedures for carrying out work in the New Forest and worked for 6 days a week to speed up the installation.

Engineers used open-cut installation, ‘snaking’ flexible strings of butt-welded 12 and 6m pipe lengths into the trenches. This method of installation simplifies the installation procedure, significantly reducing construction time in comparison with other installation options. Once installed, all pipe remains completely out of sight, with no impact on wildlife or landscape. It was these assurances of minimal disturbance to wildlife that convinced the Forestry Commission to grant permission to lay the pipe through the New Forest.

Now coming to a close, the new main will reduce Verwood’s dependence on the key water mains in the area and the risk of service outage in the event of an incident affecting that supply. It will also allow for maintenance to be carried out on the mains without disruption to customers.

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