Anglian Water repairs lead the way with innovative coring technology

07 December 2020


Anglian Water has recently become the first water company in the UK to complete a connection to a live in-commission water main without an operative entering the excavation.


A three-day trial of innovative new techniques for open excavations took place in Creeting, Suffolk, in early November. Working alongside external supplier Tracto-Technik UK (TTUK), and one of Anglian’s Alliance Partners, Kier, the excavation was cut using a 600mm coring rig and excavated using Air-Vac units before being connected by specialist long-handled tooling.


Unlike traditional methods, the coring method means that the top layer of the highway can be removed, before a hole is then excavated. This not only reduces the likelihood of service strikes of other utilities in the ground, but it also allows the original top layer to be replaced, allowing for a faster reinstatement of the highway.


This technique is already used in the gas industry, but adapting and developing the tools to work in the water industry will allow Anglian to benefit greater from excavation jobs, not just in terms of safety but also in terms of cost and time. 


Keith Childs, Planned Works and Asset Health Co-Creation Delivery Manager, said: “Adapting the tools to work for water, and backing this up with a successful live trial has been fascinating. We carried out three larger trial excavations earlier in the day to find our feet with the new kit and Vac Ex combo.


“With our final trial, we managed to achieve what, until recently, was only an aspiration – nobody in an open excavation to complete a live new water connection. Now, the challenge is to continue developing the technology so it can also be used for other activities across Anglian Water”.


The success of cored and replaced excavations of this type already have proven benefits of longevity and reduced defects, making the reinstatement process faster and more efficient.


Anglian’s team of experts are continuing to work with Tracto-Technik to supply a coring rig arrangement that better suits the businesses needs more closely and allows the water company to apply the process across the business.


Keith continued: “This is a great example of how working together will continue to provide safer and more efficient solutions to our operational challenges.


“Collaboration and innovation are key to us here at Anglian, and we’re looking forward to being able to deploy similar technologies and processes like this across the region.”


Future schemes to continue developing the keyhole technology are planned to begin from in the new year.