Articles & Case Studies

Underwater Robot Showcase for Wessex Water in Chippenham

Posted: Monday 28th June 2010

Forward-thinking Wessex Water has been testing a pair of innovative underwater cleaning robots to see whether they can be deployed to ensure customers continue to receive the purest supplies at the tap.

Wessex Water has been working with Water Quality Engineer Panton McLeod to see if the machines – which are used to inspect and clean service reservoirs across the UK – can be deployed across the Wessex region to keep supplies at their highest quality.

The robots are used exclusively by Panton McLeod to inspect and clean underground water storage tanks while they are live and online – meaning that they do not need to be drained first and customers experience no disruption to their supplies. The firm already uses the machines when undertaking cleaning and inspection work for some of the biggest water companies in the British Isles, including Severn Trent Water and Scottish Water.

In a recent test, Wessex Water invited Panton McLeod to carry out a demonstration of the machines – known as the ROV and the VR600 - at the Goodshill Reservoir near Chippenham to show how they could be used to clean their water storage facilities across the region.

During the trial, the firm used the smaller ROV to carry out a routine inspection of the inside of the water storage tank to check for any structural damage or potential water turbidity problems. The team then deployed the large-tracked VR600 machine to clean sediment from the floor of the facility while it was still in un-interrupted supply.

Paul Henderson, operations director at Panton McLeod, said: “Our underwater robots are state-of-the-art machines and play a vital role in the work we carry out for major water companies across the UK. We have previously showcased our equipment for Wessex Water but this is the first time that we have carried out a test for them with a facility that was still ‘live’.

“Because we meticulously clean and disinfect them before they are put into service reservoirs, we are able to operate them while the tanks are still active and in use without posing any risk to the quality of the stored water – which makes them an efficient and environmentally-friendly way of performing this kind of routine cleaning and inspection work.

“We were delighted with how the trial went and we now look forward to working with Wessex Water again in the future. Our robots offer a good value, environmentally-friendly service and hopefully we have demonstrated how useful they are when it comes to keeping water supplies at the highest quality levels.”

Panton McLeod, which has offices in the Scottish Borders, Nottingham and the United States, is one of the best-known names in the water industry, working with the biggest companies on the inspection, cleaning and repair of drinking water structures.

The firm’s VR600 robot is a large-tracked machine that is manoeuvred along the floor of a service reservoir and discharges any sediment or impurities in the water directly to the surface. It can also be used to inspect the condition of the water tanks, including checking the walls and pipework for corrosion or damage.

The ROV unit is a smaller robot that can be manoeuvred like a submarine through the water in a service reservoir. It is able to inspect the walls of the tank, joints, and the roof soffit for damage or leakage.

Both machines are remotely operated from the surface and fitted with cameras and lighting equipment, allowing staff controlling the sub to assess the interior of the tanks. They are also used solely within clean potable water environments and meticulously cleaned and disinfected prior to every use to ensure they can be safely used in the public water supply, and Panton McLeod conducts rigorous tests before and after each inspection.

For further information, visit the website: or contact Panton McLeod on 01835 822 835.

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