Scottish Water extends network using gas mains

Increased water demand from an industrial user drove Scottish Water to come up with an innovative solution to extending the mains, using existing, but unused gas infrastructure.

The scheme, in the fishing port of Kirkcudbright, utilised an abandoned gas mains as a ‘sleeve’ for the new water mains extension. And the work, which is almost complete, has been successful on all counts. It has not only increased supply, it has improved efficiency by reducing leakage, it has saved money, disruption and is a more environmentally sound alternative to traditional installation methods.

Scottish Water network analyst Paul Hyles said: “My first thought was that this method would be more cost-effective than the traditional ‘open cut’ method of laying pipes. Scottish Water could complete the work at reduced costs with less disruption to customers and the environment.

“During the trial our contractor, Colin Dempster & Sons, used pushing technology to insert water mains into the old gas pipes. This is the same technology that Scottish Gas Networks use and the process was explained and demonstrated on site. In the future this technology could be utilised by Scottish Water contractors or our own operations team to make further savings for the business.”

Robert Instrall from Scottish Gas Networks, said: “When Scottish Water contacted us to ask whether it would be possible to use a section of our abandoned Gas Main at Dee Walk, Kirkcudbright in order to insert their new main, we were delighted to have the opportunity to support them.

“We have been actively promoting the use by other utilities of our abandoned gas mains for some time now. We recognise the potential they have to allow other utility companies to lay their assets inside of these pipes, thereby significantly reducing excavations and disruption to the public.

“So the opportunity to support not only Scottish Water but also the local community in removing any congestion caused by this project fitted perfectly with our company values. We look forward to many more similar partnerships with Scottish Water in the future.”

Will Parsons

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