United Utilities completes eight-year water storage cleaning programme

11 Aug 2023

North West water company United Utilities has completed the mammoth task of cleaning more than 500 water tanks across the region, ensuring customers’ taps continue to flow with high quality water.

The eight-year cleaning programme was part of the company’s Water Quality First initiative, and involved the inspection and cleaning of every storage reservoir before they were returned to full capacity.

Colleagues from across the business have been involved in the activity over the years, with a rigorous process followed at each tank. After draining, each tank underwent a full inspection inside and of the roof. Any repairs needed were then carried out before the tank was thoroughly cleaned and refilled with high quality water from the local water treatment works.

Charmian Abbott, Chief Scientific Officer, said: “Service reservoirs store water for hundreds or thousands of homes in a postcode area and are a vital part of our network that helps keeps customers’ taps flowing.

“Ensuring that the quality of the drinking water doesn’t deteriorate as it moves through our pipes or in the storage tanks is just as important as the water treatment phase, and that’s why we committed to undertake this vital cleaning and inspection routine.

“It’s been a real team effort across our network, process operations, production planning and capital delivery teams, as well as a number of external partners, and we’re proud to have been able to complete the programme and take these tanks out of service while maintaining supplies to customers.”

Andrew Kendall, Water Network Business Manager, added: “We’ve learnt a lot over the past eight years and dealt with some interesting challenges - one tank had 297 columns that needed to be sealed and now the life of that asset has been extended by 50 years.

“Finishing the last tank was a great feeling, but we don’t stop here. The programme is now ongoing, with a rolling schedule to clean and inspect tanks every seven years to ensure the water we provide is of the best quality at all times.”

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