North East Firms Collaborate to Develop Smarter Sewers

21st April 2018

New technology developed by engineers at Reece Innovation to tackle costly sewer blockages is making a splash with water companies around the world.

The HYDRAPULSE™ flusher gate harnesses the power of water to blast through the congealed debris that can clog sewers and storm drains.

A successful 12-month trial by Northumbrian Water Group (NWG) has sparked significant industry interest and the gates are now being exported to Australia, New Zealand and North America.

The NWG trial found that HYDRAPULSE™ reduced levels of fat, oil and grease (FOG) as well as silt, without the need for manual jetting. This led to a fall in maintenance costs and increased overall network productivity.

The equipment, designed to interface with an optional data logger and telemetry module, is one of several projects that Reece Innovation is carrying out with NWG using Internet of Things (IoT) technology to develop ‘smart sewers.’

These include ORCA, an acoustic system that uses sound to detect blockages or potential ‘fatbergs’ within minutes, avoiding the need for costly and time-consuming CCTV inspection that can take weeks.

Northumbrian Water spends more than £1 million every year clearing approximately 14,000 blocked drains in its 29,000km sewer network.

Steven Robson, Northumbrian Water sewerage operations controller, said: “Partnerships with innovative companies are key to our continuous improvement and by working closely with Reece Innovation we are finding solutions to long-standing problems that face our industry.

“Blockages are a major cost to water companies and although we are still in the early stages of using HYDRAPULSE™ to its full potential, it’s proving effective in helping to reduce this cost and improve operational performance.”

Developed by the team at Reece Innovation, the R&D arm of Newcastle-based engineering firm Reece Group, HYDRAPULSE™ is marketed through Tellus Utilities, a spinoff company that addresses technical challenges facing the water, electricity, gas and renewable energy sectors.

Alistair Kitching, operations manager, Reece Innovation and manager, Tellus Utilities, said: “Working closely with NWG, we have developed a cleaning system that addresses the issues caused by FOG and sediment in challenging sewer networks.

“We see HYDRAPULSE™ as a potentially widely used tool throughout the water sector, not only domestically but also internationally.

“The use of IoT technology can transform our infrastructure networks, enabling companies to more efficiently focus their resources, reduce operational costs and minimise environmental impact.”

Watch the video here: HYDRAPULSE™