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Bridging the digital gap: safer, faster, better


By Ronan Clancy, executive director at Clancy

The water industry is facing pressures on all fronts – from the cost of infrastructure upgrades to a changing climate.  Upgrading our existing network to meet 21st century demands and achieve wider sustainability goals of course needs significant investment.  But more than that, it will take innovative, smart solutions to best direct this investment and resource in a way that addresses both usage and the environment.   

Reimagining how things are done and finding ways to be smarter, safer and more productive is at the heart of our work at Clancy.  In particular, we’ve been integrating two exciting pieces of technology to help us deliver repair and maintenance work more efficiently. 

The first is a digital mapping platform that we’ve been using to chart the water network and its condition to get a clear picture of exactly where remedial work is needed.  

This tool is already delivering clear results.  In our work implementing it with one water company, we’ve charted close to 130,000km of their wastewater network.  This has allowed us to identify the highest risk areas for flooding and potential pollution events, which resulted in about 135,000m of pipework being cleaned to clear local blockages and debris.

The second technology we are using is Bluelight, which uses UV relining and a LED curing system to reinforce deteriorated sewer areas. 

The use of this plant maximises efficiency.  In Cottenham, Cambridgeshire, for example, the technology has helped to establish a new way of working that focuses on relining existing sewer infrastructure to repair as much as possible without the need for full excavation of the asset.  This project was recently crowned Wastewater Innovation Project of the year at the Water Industry Awards 2023.

Embracing these technologies means that we can offer the safest possible working environments for our teams while delivering projects efficiently.  Our digital mapping capabilities give us a much greater understanding of underground assets, ensuring that we can avoid potential accidents.  Bluelight, itself, lowers the risk of potential incidents because it uses targeted ‘keyhole’ excavation.  This is a more dynamic digital solution, as opposed to more traditional analogue processes, and allows us to navigate potential problems and keep our workers safe, while guaranteeing the work is right first time.

Rising demands from households and increasingly unpredictable rainfall patterns mean that the water sector will need to be innovative in its solutions.  From network mapping and industry-leading relining solutions to data sharing and automation, there are opportunities to get jobs done faster, safer and with greater confidence.

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