Mains cleaning: Best practice review

Mains cleaning: Best practice review

Friday, 12 January 2018

Isle are undertaking a project for UKWIR* to provide the UK Water Industry with a Mains Cleaning Good Practice Guide together with a Decision Support Tool.

The aim of this project is to identify innovative and traditional techniques and technologies for cleaning water mains, and to assess the benefits of each of them taking into consideration a number of factors (e.g., mains condition, pipe material, aggressiveness of the cleaning intervention). Special attention is given to the suitability of techniques and technologies for the cleaning of unlined cast iron mains. It is understood that periodic cleaning mains can increase customer contacts due to disturbances in the network, therefore understanding the potential risk of this occurring and the management of the cleaning intervention to minimise risk is key. The project has included the following:

  • Literature Review and Horizon Scan to unearth all globally available and emerging water mains cleaning techniques and associated technologies.
  • A Best Practice Workshop, organised in London, July 2017, to gather mains cleaning data from UK water companies.
  • Development of an easy to use, excel-based, Decision Support Tool for the selection of mains cleaning techniques and technologies.
  • Preparation of an Evidence-Based Good Practice Guidance document for water mains cleaning to provide guidance on the needs to undertake mains cleaning, as well as on the planning, design, customer management, delivery and post-project assessment stages when implementing and undertaking mains cleaning. Special attention has been given to any potential risks and customer impacts as well as steps to be taken to mitigate these.

The work began in April 2017 and will be completed in March 2018. The outcome of the project will be presented to the water industry, represented by water company operations managers, asset managers, investment planners, process scientists at an Innovation Technology Transfer event in London (March 2018). To learn more about this project you can contact:

· Tom McNally (, Isle’s Project Lead for this project.

· Dr Blanca Antizar (, Project Director for this project.

*UKWIR was set up by the UK water industry in 1993 to provide a framework for the procurement of a common research programme for UK water operators on ‘one voice’ issues. UKWIR’s members comprise 20 water and sewerage undertakers in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.