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New cleaning process improves sewage network

30 July 2021

Jersey's sewage network received a special treatment as part of a trial period to advance the way sewage pipes are cleaned, which will improve flow and prevent deterioration of the pipes.

The Pumping Stations team from Infrastructure, Housing and Environment (IHE) worked with SUEZ Group to trial ice pigging, which involves pumping a salty slush-type consistency through the pipes.

The ice crystals in the slush, also known as 'the pig', work with the salt to form a gentle but abrasive mixture that cleans the inside walls of the pipe as it moves along.

The results of the trial showed that sewage flow improved by up to 140%. Additionally, pipes that were previously too narrow to be cleaned were able to undergo ice pigging.

Damian Bouchet, Pumping Station Manager, said: "While ice pigging is not a new concept, it is a new tool that the IHE department in Jersey has been testing. I am really impressed with it so far, it's great that the ice simply adjusts to the size of the pipe, effortlessly taking the sharpest of bends whilst absorbing any debris. This will save us money in the long run, as previous cleaning methods, such as water jets or scraping tools, can become jammed or wear down the pipe wall thickness which is expensive to repair.

"With the sewage network running better and pumping at almost full capacity, we won't need to dig up pipes that may have otherwise needed repairing, and our electricity bill will reduce.

"After running three or four pigs through different mains, we have seen flow rates increase by as much as 140%, and with 104 sewage pumping stations dotted about the Island under the control of IHE, this just shows how the process will greatly improve the network."

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