Safety in the Sewers Wins National Award

Southern Water and its contracting partners Clancy Docwra and Atkins won a national award last night for their work in the unique Thanet sewer system.

Transport Minister Andrew Jones presented the NJUG 2015 trophy to Southern Water at the House of Commons. The awards celebrate the year’s best projects from 75 utility companies and contractors.

I’m delighted our work has been recognised at such a high level,” replied Richard Price, Southern Water’s Director of Engineering and Construction.

“We are particularly pleased that our entry won the Safety Category as we introduced many measures to ensure the safety of staff working in a potentially dangerous network of crumbling chalk tunnels. Our biggest prize is zero accidents but I’m delighted we have won this national award as an endorsement of our work.”

When repairs were required to Ramsgate’s unique sewer system – a network of deep tunnels – staff were faced with working in the most inhospitable conditions imaginable to clear by hand sewer sludge and debris up to 300mm deep.

This lead to a ‘world first’ use of technology being introduced to reduce disruption to road users and the public, and a string of safety measures to protect the large workforce of over 100, resulting in an exemplary record of zero accidents during the 249 days of the project.

The NJUG Awards celebrate innovative and safe ways of working to minimise road occupation. Bob Galienne, Chief Executive Officer of NJUG, revealed that last year there were more than six million days of roadworks at 1.3 million sites across England and Wales.

“It is forecast there will be 73 million people in the UK by 2015 and a 43% increase in traffic between 2010 and 20140. This requires continuing investment on an increasing scale in the nation’s utility networks. It is absolutely clear we have to deliver a step change in minimising road occupation.”

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