Work set to begin to improve tap water quality for 10,000 customers in Gateshead

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WORK has started on a project to improve tap water quality for around 10,000 customers at Gateshead.

Over the next eight weeks, Northumbrian Water’s supply partners, Fastflow Pipeline Services, will be installing 850 metres of temporary water pipe along Durham Road, Gateshead, past the Angel of the North.

It will allow the company to disconnect the mains section of pipe supplying water to Birtley and then clean it, without disrupting the town’s water supplies.

An innovative technique called ice-pigging will be used to carry out the cleaning, which forces slushy ice into and along the pipe, scraping any harmless natural sediment off as it goes.

Ice-pigging, which is much faster and uses less water than traditional methods of cleaning such as jetting, will take place overnight on Monday 24 February.

Once the mains pipe is cleaned and reconnected, the temporary pipe will be removed and Northumbrian Water are expecting the work to be complete by Friday 20 March.

Project Manager for the work, Northumbrian Water’s Richard Johnston, said: “We’re very proud to supply our customers with a high quality tap water but it’s important that we continue to look after our network to keep it tasting great into the future.

“We’ve got a little bit of work to do now, to make sure we can maintain our customers’ water supply at all times, before we can carry out the actual cleaning of the pipe, but then once we start the ice-pigging it’s a very quick process.

“There’s a small chance that during the cleaning process our customers might notice their water looks a little bit different, but we’d like to assure them that it’s still safe to use. If their water does change in appearance, they should run the cold water tap in the kitchen until the supply runs clear.”

The £250,000 work is part of a £3 million project to improve water quality for around 500,000 customers by cleaning and upgrading 9 kilometres of water mains across Newcastle, North Tyneside and Gateshead.