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Research to focus on groundwater infiltration impact on infrastructure

Atkins has announced that it has joined forces with University of Birmingham, Imperial College London, and the British Geological Survey the impact of groundwater infiltration on urban infrastructure.

Under the agreement a Centre for Research and Innovation will be established to look at the issues created by groundwater infiltration in the UK.

“For decades infiltration has been a long standing infrastructure challenge for our industry,” said Atkins technical authority for urban stormwater management Adam Cambridge. “Local communities are often the ones most affected by the problem.

“This is the first time we’ve taken a co-ordinated approach to tackle the impacts of infiltration facing our infrastructure head on. Over the next five years, the centre will bring together academics, researchers and industry to build an integrated approach in managing the environmental risk and economic impact to our sewerage network across the UK, hopefully freeing up capacity, reducing the overspills and saving millions of pounds in the process.”

For the first two years, the centre will be focused on sewerage infrastructure where water seeping through cracked pipes is estimated to account for 40% of flow in the network. Initial estimates suggest that this problem costs the water industry millions of pounds a year after it was established that three utility companies spent £80M in responding to issues related to groundwater infiltration in 2013/14.

The centre will link academia and industry together to deliver innovative and practicable outcomes that could bring significant financial and environmental benefits.

The long-term aim of the centre is to develop preventative techniques that will reduce on-going asset management costs, as well as improve environmental standards and customer service for the industry. At times of increased wet weather and flooding across the UK, such as the 2013/14 winter, these techniques will also directly reduce the risk of flooding in urban areas.

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