Northumbrian Water has begun a £1.3 million upgrade to a sewer network in Darlington using trenchless technology to minimise disruption during the seven-month project.

The work includes replacing a pipe and completing localised surface water drainage work to disperse rainwater from the area, reducing the chances of flooding during heavy rain.

The company, which is awaiting a final decision from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on its 2020-25 business plan, underlined the necessity of investment to protect properties from sewer flooding in its final submission to the body. The company proposed a plan that would allow additional spending for sewers as part of a £150 million investment in resilience that it said would be delivered alongside a 21 per cent reduction in customer bills.

Northumbrian is using trenchless techniques to minimise disruption, including road closures. This involves digging small pits and drilling horizontally instead of unearthing a trench.

Project manager Paul Davison said: “The use of trenchless technology will help to reduce impact for customers and commuters in the area, and we will work wherever possible to minimise disruption throughout the project.”

He said the upgrades will reduce the risks of flooding and pollution to benefit customers and the environment.

Philip Dunne, the MP who chairs the Environmental Audit Committee, told Utility Week that investment on sewers will be on the government’s agenda for the next price review in 2024. 

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