Due to low ‘visibility’, sewerage systems are inherently difficult to monitor, maintain and rehabilitate. However, in the interest of maintaining a public health barrier and preventing environmental pollution, their continued rehabilitation is essential.
Maintenance of sewerage systems is very costly and proper management is often hampered by financial constraints. As a result, a reactive ‘management by crisis’ approach is often adopted whereby maintenance is carried out as and when a service failure is reported. There is however limited scope to reduce the number of sewer blockages occurring through the sole use of reactive maintenance.
The project is being funded through the Stream IDC, an industrial doctorate centre for the water industry and is part of research collaboration between WRc and the Centre for Water Systems at the University of Exeter. The collaborative project is targeted at improving sewer operation, with the aim of the initial study being two-fold:
to improve sewer performance in terms of blockage occurrence per km/yr and
to reduce the total cost of sewer maintenance incurred by the sewerage undertaker.
The work will improve the way that sewerage undertakers diagnose their causes of blockage and carry out work to prevent reoccurrence. This improved methodology will be developed by achieving a better understanding of the mechanics of sewer blockage occurrence, specifically by identifying under what circumstances sewers begin to show a propensity to blockage formation.
Better understanding of the mechanics of blockage formation will improve the sewerage undertaker's ability to predict where blockages are most likely to occur and therefore manage this aspect of sewerage maintenance on a more proactive basis.
For further information contact Trefor Hillas at email@example.com or telephone +44 (0) 1793 865089.