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Burst response service enabled by innovative technology

Posted: Wednesday 26th August 2015

Overland supply service quickly restores multiple households to mains water network.

A specially fitted vehicle, which can quickly restore water to households that have lost supply in an emergency burst incident, has been developed by infrastructure specialist Aquam Water Services. Everything needed to create a temporary replacement water network for at least 24 households is carried as standard aboard a single Overland Supply Vehicle (OSV) and installed by a two-person crew.

At the heart of the service is an innovative new technology. The Overland Supply Manifold (OSM) is a solid machine-cut nylon device developed by Aquam trade partner Aquacheck Engineering. Each OSM becomes the hub of a temporary but stable potable water network, allowing up to 24 houses that have lost mains water supply to be reconnected swiftly and easily.

Yorkshire Water has already made the first acquisition of two Overland Supply Manifolds for its in-house network maintenance team. Roman Boryslawskyj, a consultant at Aquam Water Services and former operations manager in water supply and networks for Yorkshire Water, pioneered temporary overland networks when working at the utility.

He says: “Although the idea has been around for a few years the difference is the new Manifold is made from a single piece of nylon - it is much more adaptable and robust. Once the temporary network is in place it creates a very stable supply, which means householders will be able to use taps and toilets just as they would normally.”

Customer benefits

Being able to restore potable water quickly to homes which have lost supply could dramatically improve utilities’ performance commitments for disruptions to the network and customer service. Ofwat also measures the number of customer contacts, which inevitably increase when customers lose supply.

Using the Overland Supply Vehicle during an emergency burst event means customers are quickly informed and supply quickly restored while works are carried out. Better management of leakage and burst events also helps utilities avoid compensation payments – which are mandatory to householders who have been cut off for more than 12 hours.

The potential uses of specialist OSVs does not stop at emergency bursts. Being able to create a stable and robust temporary network also has a role to play during planned maintenance.

Boryslawskyj says: “If water companies are serious about keeping potable water network disruption to a minimum this is a fantastic innovation.”

Fully equipped

Each OSV is manned by two fully-trained technicians and carries everything needed to restore water supply to householders. The standard kit comprises an Overland Supply Manifold, 250m-lengths of both 2.5-inch and 1-inch collapsible drinking water hose along with connectors and adaptors.

The hose, which is manufactured by Delta Fire, is the only product of this type approved by the Water Regulations Advisory Scheme (WRAS) for potable water use in the UK.

To ensure a safe, reliable supply and avoid damage to household systems, the on-board equipment also includes pressure-reducing valves. A water meter can be fitted to measure the amount of water diverted to households from the main to ensure it is not classed as ‘unaccounted for’ usage.

Traffic management

Each van carries a full set of temporary roadworks equipment, meeting the requirements of Chapter 8 of the Department for Transport’s Traffic Signs Manual. The safety and technical equipment on board the Overland Supply Vehicles can be custom-fit to meet the requirements of individual utility companies and contractors.

Flexible lease-hire of vehicles or fleets can be arranged, including servicing of on-board equipment by Aquam’s OSV Support team where required. The next stage for Aquam will be providing a fully manned OSV service direct to contractors and utilities.

Ofwat’s new outcomes-based approach, which encourages utilities to consider capital and operational investment together (TOTEX) make the cost-saving potential of the Overland Supply Vehicle easier to demonstrate.

Aquam undertook a demonstration for United Utilities at the company’s testing centre in Lancashire in June. The prototype Overland Supply Manifold was also shown to delegates at the Sustainability Live show at the Birmingham NEC in March.

Boryslawskyj said: “A lot of people at the exhibition were coming up to us and saying ‘Wow! Why has nobody thought of that before?’”

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