Scheme to ensure abundant water supply to mid-Sussex

Monday, 16 February, 2009

Black & Veatch, a global engineering, consulting and construction company, provided design and construction supervision services for a recently completed South East Water (SEW) pipeline project that will safeguard water supplies for mid-Sussex, in the south of England.

Among the challenges facing project engineers was the presence of unexploded ordnance (UXO) in an area used for military training during World War I and II. During the Preliminary Environmental Assessment, it was noted the water main would be laid in the military training areas. Therefore, mitigation against UXO was carried out during the design process with a desktop study that recommended a preconstruction site evaluation and the commissioning of a Watching Brief during construction.

"Before construction began, a specialist team was called in to find any unexploded ordnance,” said Martin Charlton, Black & Veatch’s Project Centre South Director.

“A number of wartime shells were found along the pipeline route and safely removed so the vital pipeline could be built.”

The £1.25 million project is part of an SEW scheme to enhance the transfer water from the south coast of England to mid-Sussex and will ensure Poverty Bottom Water Treatment Works (WTW) can meet the demand/supply balance in times of water stress. The project serves the towns of Burgess Hill, Ringmer and a number of villages along the foot of the South Downs.

Black & Veatch carried out a 'tool box talk' as part of the health and safety briefing prior to and during construction in order to increase staff awareness of the risks involved.

The project was tendered under two separate contracts — civil and mechanical and electrical — because of the complexity of the works, cost and program. The construction phase was programmed to allow for both contractor groups to carry out works at the same time.

Under the construction design and management regulations, the role of principal contractor was alternated. Working alongside SEW, the Black & Veatch team ensured Poverty Bottom WTW and Firle Reservoir were kept operational during the period of construction, maintaining uninterrupted supplies to SEW customers.

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