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Water Main Cleaning

Historically, water mains have been cleaned using high pressure water jetting, drag scraping, pigging, air scouring, rack feed boring and swabbing, which are described elsewhere in this section. More recently, the need to clean minerals from trunk mains has lead to innovative technologies using both low pressure water jetting and water/sand abrasive jetting – the latter being described elsewhere in this section.
A number of low pressure, high volume jetting systems have been developed to meet the demands of the water companies which in turn are cleaning trunk water mains to reduce the levels of aluminium iron and manganese to acceptable levels. They are in principle, sophisticated flushing systems developed to clean larger diameter mains from a central position and are not used to remove hard deposits such as the encrustation seen on many cast iron main images. For the type shown in the image, an onboard valve at the rear of the machine switches from propulsion along the pipeline to a cleaning mode through a series of manifolds arranged radially to cover the complete internal surface of the pipe bore.

A recent development of this technology has produced an expanding frame which allows the cleaning device to enter a relatively small access and clean a much larger sized pipe - the frame can be reduced to 600mm for access purposes and clean pipes from 900mm to 1800mm diameter or height. A recent project gained access through an 800mm entry point expanding out to clean an 1800mm diameter pipeline. The cleaning operation follows the same technology as described above and the process is managed by the same onboard operating valve – the valve is also used to activate the pressure switch which then expands the unit to the required working size.

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