Update from Southern Water about sewer flooding in Winchelsea – click here for the stakeholder update of September 2017 and letter of October 2017


Southern Water Winchelsea Beach letter October 2017

September 15, 2017

 Southern Water update for Winchelsea Beach stakeholders

 We have carried out nearly £100,000 worth of repairs to our sewer network in Winchelsea Beach this year – partly due to the introduction of new technology. This is in addition to previous significant investment in surveying and rehabilitating pipe-work since 2012.

We remain committed to improving the performance of our sewers in a village which has long suffered from the infiltration of groundwater and surface water into the local wastewater system during periods of excessive rainfall and high tides. A key challenge is finding where the leaks are in the sewers in the first place.

 Traditionally, water companies use remotely-controlled CCTV units to travel inside the sewer and identify leaks but this involves waiting weeks, sometimes months, before groundwater levels drop to an appropriate level to allow filming to take place. There is only a short, finite window for traditional camera surveys to be effective when the groundwater level is at the top of the sewer and falling.

 However, earlier this year we trialled a new technique to survey sewers that are fully surcharged with groundwater. If successful, this could greatly speed up the identification of leaks in sewers and help develop quicker repair programmes to relieve towns and villages affected by sewer flooding. Sewer repairs could then be scheduled to be carried out more quickly, protecting customers’ toilet, kitchen and bathroom facilities.

.We chose Winchelsea Beach for our trial, surveying sewers in Sea Road and upstream of our Morlais Ridge Wastewater Pumping Station. Despite both pumps operating to clear the surcharged sewer between a private property and the caravan park, the upstream sewer flows could not explain why the sewer was surcharged.

 Instead of using CCTV cameras, the new technique, named Electro Scan, identified a defect in the sewer crossing the stream which was rectified by installing a liner insert last month. The survey also identified gushing infiltration in a manhole within the pumping station compound which has also been repaired.

 The Electro Scan technique involves pushing or winching a small torpedo-shaped probe through a surcharged pipe instead of a CCTV camera. The probe emits an electrical current which if earthed indicates a pathway and therefore a potential point of leakage. Depending upon the signal, the severity of the leakage can be interpreted. For infiltration purposes this offers a physical test of the pipe’s water tightness that cannot be achieved by CCTV.

 It’s a German  technology which has only recently been made available in the UK but has proven itself to be extremely successful elsewhere.

 Repairs were also carried out in Winchelsea Beach earlier this year from April to June, following a 550 metre survey of public sewers via conventional CCTV cameras.  Repairs were made to 320m of sewers in the Victoria Way area. A dozen customers’ lateral drains were also investigated, bringing Southern Water’s investment in the area to nearly £100,000 this year alone.

 This is in addition to the £70,000 spent last year, and £40,000 prior to 2016 – bringing the total investment to £210,000 since 2012 which demonstrates Southern Water’s commitment to improving the performance of the sewer network in Winchelsea Beach.

 We shall also be attending a public meeting later this year to update residents of Winchelsea Beach face to face and are working with Icklesham Parish Council to finalise arrangements for this event.

This will be in conjunction with my colleague Joel Hufford who I know has been liaising with local stakeholders on this important issue. I play a similar role for our overall Groundwater Infiltration Reduction Programme which is seeing millions of pounds of investment made across our region to protect local communities from sewer flooding.

 With best regards

 Mike James

Groundwater Stakeholder Engagement Manager


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