Hydraulic study slashes surge vessel size
Oct 02, 2015
The replacement surge vessel required for the sewage network in Bracknell was calculated at half the size of its 30-year old predecessor, following a hydraulic study. Thames Water Utilities contacted Quantum Engineering Developments (QED) after a surge vessel at its Queensmere sewage pumping station in the Berkshire was condemned during an examination by third-party insurance inspectors.
QED suggested carrying out a real-time hydraulic survey to make sure the new surge vessel was suited to the optimum needs of the system.
QED Operations Manager Tim Harper said: “A lot of these vessels have been installed for more than twenty or thirty years.
“There is no way the hydraulics within any system will be the same now as they were twenty or thirty years ago.”
Surge control vessels work by maintaining a level of air within the network that acts as a buffer to protect mains from low and high pressure, safeguarding the system against bursts. In the case of Queensmere, QED suggested a full hydraulic survey carried out by pressure and flow expert Hydraulic Analysis.
On receipt of the final hydraulic study, QED designed and manufactured a replacement surge vessel, compressor and control system that matched exactly the current demands of the system.
The survey showed that while in 1978 a surge vessel of 8.5m3 was fitted, today the main is best served by a 4m3 vessel – less than half the size.
The new stainless steel vessel was made to fit the chamber where the original carbon steel surge vessel was housed. Although stainless steel is more expensive, on this occasion it was chosen over carbon steel because of the whole-life cost benefit.
While the redundant surge vessel had no controls, the new one will be monitored and controlled by the Qube - QED’s patented surge control system. At Queensmere the control panel and compressor were housed in a purpose-built glass-reinforced plastic kiosk.
The hydraulic survey suggested an air valve fitted at a particular point was critical to ensure the pressure within the main was within working limits. Mr Harper said the bespoke new surge vessel will give the best possible protection against surges and leaks.
“Replacing outdated surge vessels and making sure they are correctly sized for the main they are serving can be a vital way of preventing leaks which could save water companies millions of pounds a year,” he said.
Colin Pearcy, Project Engineer at Thames Water Utilities said, “Installing a new surge control vessel after carrying out a hydraulic survey means we’ve been able to optimize the network and reduce leaks and burst. The new system at Queensmere went into action in May and is working well.
“QED have carried out the works efficiently and their experience has been invaluable to the team.”
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