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  • by Trevor Loveday

Leak sealant technology burst out of Northumbrian Water's Innovation Festival

A new technology that seals leaking water network pipes without the need for digging was one for the first innovations to emerge from Northumbrian Water’s latest instalment of its annual Innovation Festival.

The solution was developed by Northumbrian Water and Origin Tech at the 2021 festival and unveiled and trialled at the festival last month. It is now being tested in the field by operational teams across the North East.

The “No-Dig” technology, is according to its developers, Northumbrian Water and Origin Tech, “already showing signs of helping teams to improve the speed at which they can fix leaks.”

No-Dig works by using water pressure to first position a sealant slurry over a leak. The sealant is held between between two mouldable plugs – one downstream and one upstream. These “Evo plugs” are a product developed by specialist chemicals firm, Aubin, and by already in use in the oil and gas industry.

With the sealant solution straddling the leak, a downstream valve is closed and pressure is continued from upstream thereby forcing the sealant into the breach.

The sealant then cures to plug the leak (see HERE for a video explanation). Once the breach is sealed the downstream valve is opened so the plugs and excess sealant in between them can be pumped out of the pipe.

Head of water networks at Northumbrian Water, Jim Howey, said: “It is still early days at the moment, but we really do think it could completely change the way we, and in time all water companies, operate in the future.”

The idea was developed at the 2021 Innovation Festival by Northumbrian Water and Origin Tech, and was further developed over the course of the year to be showcased at the festival the this year.

Further trials of the product have been carried out on live water mains across the North East over the course of the year, including in Seaton Delaval and in Bowburn. The teams will monitor how long the repair lasts.

  • Northumbrian Water reported that more than 2,000 people attended the 2022 festival with virtual participants from Australia, Nigeria and South Africa. And attendees shared nearly 23,000 contact details with each other using a one-touch data exchange technology.


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