Articles & Case Studies

World’s largest plastic pipe will help to cut pollution in Birmingham

Posted: Wednesday 3rd March 2010

Severn Trent Water is using the largest plastic pipe available on the market to help reduce pollution as part of a sewer improvement project in south Birmingham.

Water company Severn Trent in consultation with Barhale Construction plc has chosen Weholite, the high density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe manufactured by Asset International Ltd, to reduce the risk of pollution to the River Rea.

When complete, the £3.3 million large-scale project will upgrade the existing sewerage system through Cannon Hill Park near Edgbaston, Birmingham. This will include improving its resilience in storm conditions by rebuilding an overflow chamber and adding a storage tank. This will reduce the amount of overspill into the river during storm conditions and improve the water quality of the River Rea.

500 metres of 3.5 metre diameter Weholite pipe will be laid in 47 metre long rows interconnected by nine manifold sections to form a storage tank during periods of bad weather. The end pipe will act as the primary entry point for the water. The inlet will then release the water into eight adjacent pipelines. The tank incorporates a sewage pumping station to return flows into the sewerage system.

Severn Trent’s original design considered using a concrete specification for the new storage chamber. However, due to cost and the length of time this would take to construct, the company looked for an alternative material. By using Weholite instead of concrete, the project saved 2,600 tonnes of CO2 when the overall process, including manufacture, transportation and the laying of the pipes, is considered – helping to contribute to Severn Trent’s carbon reduction targets.

Contractors Barhale will be laying the pipes for Severn Trent. Barhale site manager, Roger Light, said: “Weholite pipes are lightweight and therefore easy to lay. By using plastic rather than the original concrete specification we’ll be able to reduce the time spent on site by six months.

“Also a number of health and safety issues are removed for us as there is much less requirement for heavy-lifting machinery on site for installation.”

The overall project in south Birmingham will be completed in March 2010.

Project coordinator for Severn Trent Water, Wayne Ellis, said: “Our sewerage system through Cannon Hill Park has been serving the community for many years. However, it is no longer able to cope with modern demands.

“During heavy rainstorms an overflow of sewage and rainwater spills into the River Rea and causes pollution. We want to reduce these occurrences and we are committed to helping clean up the river by reducing pollution from our sewers.”

Managing director at Asset, Simon Thomas, said: “We have successfully worked with Severn Trent on many projects, all of which have used our Weholite pipes.

“This project was the largest order to date for our new 3.5 metre diameter pipe and in total there will be 34 sections of pipe used in the project, all of which will be welded on site. Weholite is very versatile and particularly effective for projects of this nature because the pipes are prefabricated and lightweight, which means they can be quickly and easily laid on site.”

For more information about Weholite call Asset International 01633 273081 or visit

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