Summer 2019

Reservoir reconstruction

When Mott MacDonald was tasked with bringing an old, disused reservoir back into service for Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water, it called in James Fisher to help

The team at JF Non-Destructive Testing (JFNDT) was able to develop a bespoke programme for detailed surveillance work which combined a number of specialist inspection services from within the James Fisher group.

The integrated solution was developed for the Ynys-y-Fro Reservoir in South Wales, to be delivered by Mott MacDonald working as part of the Welsh Water Capital Delivery Alliance. The Alliance was formed in 2014 to deliver a £1.7bn capital investment programme in AMP6 (2015-2020). JFNDT’s solution was designed to meet Welsh Water’s drought mitigation plans by providing an additional sustainable water source for the region.

The project is on schedule and to budget – which means the old pipelines (now fit for purpose) can soon be brought back into active use, as required, to keep taps flowing in South Wales in the event of future water shortages.

Bringing old water pipe infrastructure back into active use

Key to the project was the ability of the JF NDT team to calculate the remaining life of the very old cast iron water pipes connected to the reservoir, some of which were originally laid in 1848. After years of exposure to the elements and within a 55m long tunnel, the pipework had become heavily calcified in places with extensive coating breakdown, so the team conducted a pulsed eddy current (PEC) and manual ultrasonic NDT survey using the latest and most innovative testing equipment to confirm the condition of the pipework and provide a colour graphic corrosion image for the client.

JF NDT’s qualified and experienced technicians worked closely with James Fisher Marine Services which provided enabling works including a confined tunnel rescue team.

‘It was a challenging task,’ 

Says Mike Ennis, applications specialist with JF NDT;

'the testing had to be carried out underground and inside the tunnel which housed the pipework – so there was no natural light and an ever present risk of flooding if any of the supporting infrastructure were to fail.'

The resulting survey was able to provide sufficiently accurate information about the condition of the pipes to allow Mott MacDonald and Welsh Water to make informed decisions about the remaining life of the systems and to plan accordingly.

JFNDT engineers testing the old cast iron pipelines

JFNDT testing the old water pieplines

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