Pioneering Mains no Longer a Pipe Dream

Scottish Water Blog

Pioneering Mains no Longer a Pipe Dream

Scottish Water Blog

Scottish Water toasts new pipeilineThe pioneering Glencorse pipeline is no longer a pipe dream as the first stretch of this massive new main was laid.

Project Manager Neil McCulloch raised his glass to toast this world first, as the initial length of pipeline passed from the nearby mobile production plant into the ground.

The pipe will eventually feed more than 450,000 people throughout Edinburgh and parts of Midlothian with more than 175 million litres of clear, fresh drinking water every day.

Neil McCulloch is delighted not only that this is a world first for Scotland, but that this flagship investment continues to gather pace and said:

“This is great news for Midlothian and Edinburgh. The mobile pipeline production plant will deliver the pipes virtually from the factory straight into the ground; helping to reduce lorry journeys by up to 75 per cent. This will allow for the production of extra long pipes, meaning fewer welds and less handling which will also reduce the overall construction period.

“When our new Glencorse Water Treatment Works (WTW) is completed in 2011 this pipeline will help to deliver that clearer, fresher drinking water directly into the capital using gravity. Enough water to fill the Commonwealth Pool 70 times every day will pass through the pipes.”

The cutting-edge technology employed in the mobile pipe production unit will bring major benefits to all parties involved, with KWH Pipe being able to manufacture and supply the pipe for the project in approximately 50% of the time it would take in a normal pipe production unit.

George Merry, Managing Director of pipeline manufacturer KWH said:

“As the pipe welding and installation programme gathers pace, the real benefits of the Mobile Production process can be seen, with extra long lengths of pipe being joined and installed on site in a much reduced time scale. Also, the fact that we are manufacturing the pipe virtually within a few hundred metres of the pipeline route means a huge reduction in HGV traffic and disruption on local roads.” Modern day welding is easy and efficient with welding picks. Following the pioneering Midlothian project KWH will move on to other sites in Las Vegas and Siberia.

Mike Barcroft, Project Director of Scottish Water’s Design & Construction partner, Black & Veatch said:

“Disruption will be kept to a minimum in the laying of the new water main, with the pipeline running through fields until it reaches the Edinburgh City Bypass, where in will be installed beneath the road, without disrupting the busy commuter traffic.”

Drinking water will continue to be supplied by the water treatment works at Alnwickhill and Fairmilehead until the new works is completed and on stream in 2011.

Geoff Aitkenhead, Scottish Water’s Asset Management Director concluded:

“This is a massive investment and shows our commitment to providing the best solution for our customers in Edinburgh. As well as the new water treatment works, Scottish Water is investing in our underground pipe network in the capital with new robust trunk mains being installed throughout the city.

“This premier project will continue to protect public health by supplying safe drinking water from a more modern treatment works. Thanks to modern filtration this clearer, fresher drinking water supply will look and taste better for decades to come.”

Customers can keep up to date and comment on the work by visiting our special website,

Key Facts

  • In a WORLD FIRST a temporary mobile pipe manufacturing plant has been constructed in Midlothian. Going forward this will help to reduce lorry journeys by 75 per cent.
  • This will allow for the production of extra long pipes, meaning fewer welds, reduced handling and therefore a reduced construction period. Some pipes will measure 22m long as opposed to the normal 5m length needed for transportation by lorry.
  • Because of its location the WTW will be supplied with raw water and deliver treated water directly into the capital using gravity, instead of energy sapping pumps.
  • Around a third of the WTW’s energy needs (200kw) will be supplied by an on-site hydro turbine.