Our customers want to flush and forget, but keeping the sewer network flowing efficiently requires a massive behind the scenes operation.

To support us in these efforts, we are developing a more effective way of managing this vast underground network. Called the Wastewater Intelligent Network Management system, it is a centralised system receiving data from remote monitoring equipment installed in our sewers.

It’s still early days for the system, but we are confident it will help to improve the reliability of our network by, for example, providing an early warning of potential sewer flooding issues. This is good news for our customers and regulators, who want us to do more to tackle sewer flooding. It will also help us to reduce our operational costs.

In sewer monitorTo trial the system we focused on the Bolton and Northwich areas.  The trial saw us install in-sewer monitoring equipment to better understand the performance of the local network around the Eagely Brook area of Bolton, where there are a small number of properties on our sewer flooding register due to long-standing problems with overloaded sewers.

Information from the monitoring equipment was used to develop hydraulic models which will help us predict the future performance of the network. We are also adapting one of the installed monitors to send an alarm when the sewer is at risk of flooding. Unfortunately, the depth of this sewer means our engineers would struggle to intervene before flooding took place, but the alarm will at least allow us to respond more quickly to carry out clean-up work.

Longer term, we’ll be installing more monitors in other locations, to see if we can implement an automated system to better manage sewer flows and minimise the chances of flooding occurring.

If you would like to send us a comment about this report, please email our Head of Sustainability, Chris Matthews