Projects Starting Soon

Projects Starting Soon

Published On 16/11/2021

UKWIR is starting nine new research projects focusing on different areas, including climate change, drinking water, plastics,  sewerage, water mains and wastewater.

Some of the most crucial projects are:

Tackling plastic pollution

Items being flushed down the toilet when they shouldn’t, cause many of the 300,000 sewer blockages the water industry deals with each year, costing an estimated £100 million. 

Many of these items also cause microplastics to enter the treatment process and water courses. 

This project aims to understand more about plastic items commonly found during the wastewater treatment process, identify their source and suggest how to reduce them. 
This will allow the industry to work with the wider sector to develop a strategy to target the sources of plastic pollution – reducing operational costs and improving environmental outcomes.

Improving sewer capacity

To ensure the sewer network is fit for the future, the sector needs to understand how much of it is privately owned. 

Without knowing this, it’s difficult to estimate how much rainwater ingress from these assets contributes to groundwater flooding or the operation of sewer overflows.

Outputs from this will inform work being undertaken by Defra’s Storm Overflows Taskforce to help reduce the number of uncontrolled discharges from sewers.

Helping reduce pollution

Wastewater companies use bespoke tools to report on substances released to the  environment. These are essential for maintaining and improving the water environment.

One of these tools needs to be updated to incorporate newly available data on these substances so companies continue efficiently and accurately reporting this 
information to their regulators and identifying where to take action.

Understanding asset health

UKWIR maintains a National Failure Database, providing decades of records on pipeline asset health, giving companies valuable insight into the condition of water mains and sewers and the reasons why they fail.

Our ambition is for this to become an international, open-innovation cloud platform for asset health analytics – initially focussed on water mains and sewers but able to expand to other asset types.

This would improve our collective understanding of asset health, allow better predictions of failure and provide international comparisons for the first time.