Update on the work to replace the water pipes on Norwood Road, including details on Thames Water’s response to maintaining services and reducing risk to their workers and customers during the current pandemic.
Thames Water response to coronavirus
Ensuring water and wastewater facilities operate normally is vital to the health of Thames Water customers during this pandemic. Staff have been identified as key workers by the government, and are following official health advice and keeping their work under review to ensure they can continue to operate safely.
Some of their essential works unavoidably require engineers to work in close proximity to one another, however teams will only do this when completely necessary and will always follow the latest government advice for these circumstances. Robust plans are in place to ensure staff stay safe, and Thames Water are asking staff to follow official health advice on coronavirus and to self-isolate if they have symptoms.
An update on plans
Approximately 630 metres of pipework have been laid.
The intention was to progress with the pipe replacement as planned from Tulse Hill (at the junction from Perran Road to Norwood Road) to Robson Road. Unfortunately, engineers have uncovered unexpected ground conditions including a number of unmapped services.
When Thames Water reached this section of pipework, it became apparent that there was no space within the road to safely lay any new pipework without endangering the integrity of their clean and wastewater pipes, as well as other key services.
Thames Water consulted council and utility map records in their planning process, but can only rely on these being accurate and up to date. When safe to do so, this is sometimes accompanied by the digging of trial holes. This was done along some sections of Norwood Road, however it was not safe or practical to do so in some of the busier sections of road.
Thames Water engineers and design team have therefore undertaken a number of investigations and concluded that the most practicable option is to connect the new pipework to the existing network in this section of the road, and not replace the remaining pipework (approximately 200 metres) as detailed in their original plans. Please see the annotated map which displays the estimated new connection point in relation to the existing pipework that will now be retained.
Thames Water will continue with the installation of state-of-the-art monitoring units covering the entire length of the pipe on Norwood Road. The monitors will continually transmit data to their control centre giving an enhanced visibility of the network in the area and allowing them to react quickly should the need arise.
How long will this work take?
The challenging ground conditions in this and other sections of Norwood Road have resulted in a revision to the timeline of work. Although Thames Water are installing less pipework, the project team have been working hard to understand in full the implications of the required changes.
In addition to resilience tests on the condition of the remaining pipework, our design team must model changes in the route and depth of the pipe, as well as changes to the final connection point, which require the digging of trial holes as well as careful planning to mitigate disruption to water supplies.
The current coronavirus pandemic has slowed progress, as teams adapt their working methods and follow government social distancing guidelines as far as practicable. This will remain an ongoing challenge and Thames Water will keep all work under close review with both our teams and Lambeth Council.
They anticipate that engineers will therefore be required to work in the area until August 2020, focusing on construction until late July, and then disinfection and commissioning in August.
Thames Water Compensation Claims
Those businesses that have begun or continue to make a compensation claim have been sent a more detailed letter explaining Thames Water’s position with regards to the current pandemic.
Thames Water will only support valid claims as a direct result of losses arising from our street works. Compensation will therefore continue based upon previous calculations and not upon pandemic restrictions placed upon businesses since 20 March 2020. They do however appreciate that some businesses providing key services and provisions will continue to trade and the claims team will be happy to review ongoing income details to give further consideration to a claim in the usual way.