Northumbrian Water will improve tap water quality to around 500,000 Customers, by carrying out a pipe cleaning programme across Tyneside.

A £3 million investment will involve cleaning a 9 kilometres of pipes at 18 different locations in and around Newcastle, Gateshead and North Tyneside.


This builds upon a £66 million cleaning programme, which began in 2010 and has seen more than 221 kilometres of mains cleaned to date. Innovative methods trialled in that programme will be used again to make the cleaning process faster and more effective.


Supply partners, Fastflow Pipeline Services and Mott MacDonald Bentley (MMB), will be carrying out the work on behalf of Northumbrian Water and will spend short periods of time in a number of different locations as part of this year-long project. All the mains will cleaned by the end of March 2019, additional work will be required after March when all the work will be finished in the summer of 2019.


Some of the locations where the cleaning will be taking place this year, include Tynemouth Road in Wallsend, Dalton Road and Shields Road in Byker, West Road in Fenham, Heaton Road in Heaton and Lobley Hill in Gateshead. A further schedule of work is being designed as the work progresses.


Work first started in Wallsend in North Tyneside last week (Monday August 6) and is progressing well.


While the work on Shields Road in Byker isn′t expected to start until January 2019, the project team will be heading there on Monday August 20 to work on short sections of pipe nearby, which will enable the main work to happen quicker and with less disruption.


Project Manager, Graeme Ridley, said: "We want to ensure that our customers continue to receive excellent tap water quality into the future so it′s really important we clean these sections of pipe.


"We appreciate that there will be some traffic disruption as we work across these 18 different locations, but we will be working very closely with Newcastle City Council, Gateshead Council and North Tyneside Council to make sure any traffic management that we do need to put in place, will cause the least possible disruption and that people have plenty of information in advance.


"We will do everything we can to complete this essential work as quickly as possible and will keep our customers updated with the progress at every stage."


Northumbrian Water will be using different methods to clean the sections of pipe, including high pressure water jetting and an innovative technique called ice pigging, which helps to speed up the cleaning process.


Ice pigging involves isolating a section of pipe by turning off valves at each end. Water is then emptied to make room for slushy ice to be injected. Valves are re-opened and, as the water flows, pressure compacts the ice and it scrapes the pipe clean. The ice is then flushed from the main and the water is sampled before being put back into supply.


In some of the more traffic sensitive areas, work may be need to be undertaken at night or outside of peak hours to minimise disruption. Customers will be informed of any activity before it takes place.


More information about the cleaning programme is available on the ‘Tyneside Water Main Cleaning′ page at