Severn Trent launches pioneering pipe renewal trial

Wednesday 10th March 2021

Severn Trent is trialling new technology to reline the inside of its pipes, in partnership with UK developer Aqualiner.

The water company has recently installed specialist lining material inside a stretch of pipes in Wrexham, to provide greater protection and cut the number of leaks and bursts in the area.

Severn Trent is the first water company in the world to use this pipe renewal technology. Its innovative design means it’s quicker and cheaper to install than existing open-cut and slip lining techniques. Fitting the new lining also requires a smaller footprint on the road, resulting in less traffic management and less disruption for customers.

This new technology is even capable of lining sections where the host pipe is no longer structurally sound, or where part of the pipe wall is missing. Engineers working on the project believe this approach has the potential to change the way water networks are maintained in the future.

Jamie Perry, Innovation Trials lead for Severn Trent said: “We’re really excited to be trialling this new technology, because if it’s successful, it could transform how we work going forward. Aqualiner has the potential to offer us a more efficient, less disruptive way of dealing with our aging network of pipes, by structurally lining the inside.

“Currently, our main option is to renew leaky pipes by digging them up and replacing them. Aqualiner has the potential to fully line a pipe with reduced excavations and less time on site. Ultimately, this means our customers experience less disruption. We look forward to our continuing partnership with Aqualiner, as we further develop their system to include a greater range of pipe diameters.”

The installation process involves pulling the new liner through the old pipe and heating it to 200oC, using a heating element attached to a pig. The pig then moves along the pipe at a controlled speed by an inversion bag, which also moulds the new liner against the wall of the host pipe. The heating element never meets the wall of the host pipe, so it can line any material, including plastic pipes.

The first trial has taken place on Hafren Dfrdwy’s water network – part of the Severn Trent group.