Northumbrian Water has a cool way of keeping the pipes clean, to help improve customers′ tap water, and is using it to clean a water main along an iconic Newcastle bridge.

Next week, the water company will be ‘ice-pigging′ a section of pipe that runs along the deck of the Tyne Bridge, stretching from Gateshead to Newcastle.


It′s a cutting-edge method, which involves injecting slushy ice directly into the pipe. This is then pushed along with the flow of the water, cleaning harmless sediment off the pipe walls as it goes, before being removed.


The technique uses less water than pressure jetting, so it′s more environmentally friendly, and because the pipe doesn′t have to be emptied of water first, it speeds up the cleaning process meaning less disruption to customers.


The cleaning will take place overnight, from 8.00pm on Thursday February 28. A lane closure will be in place on the Newcastle side, on the filter lane from City Road onto the Tyne Bridge. On the Gateshead side, a lane restriction will be in place just after the bridge and leading up to the traffic lights near Church Street.


The work, which is being carried out by Northumbrian Water′s supply partners, Mott MacDonald Bentley (MMB), is expected to take ten hours to complete, and will be finished by 6.00am on Friday March 1.


Graeme Ridley, Northumbrian Water′s Project Manager, said: "Not many people realise that there are water pipes that were installed in the deck of this iconic bridge when it was constructed. Just like any of our other pipes it′s important that we clean them every now and again to make sure that we′re continuing to supply our customers with excellent quality tap water.


"We know that the centre of Newcastle and around the Tyne Bridge is a very busy area, but by using this innovative method of cleaning, we can do it a lot faster than other methods. We′re also going to be carrying out the work overnight, to try to keep disruption to a minimum."


The work is part of a £3 million project to clean and upgrade 9 kilometres of water mains across some 18 different locations in Newcastle, North Tyneside and Gateshead. It will help to improve tap water quality for around 500,000 customers.


To find out more about the work, customers can visit the ‘Tyneside Water Main Cleaning′ page on