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 Cable Trench Flooding Protection

The problem


A large number of assets within the gas, water and electricity distribution networks are housed below ground in ‘pits’. Continuous flooding of those pits through ingress of water presents major problems for regular maintenance and emergency activities. The ingressed water also generates additional risks to operatives and can cause major asset failure and intermittent faults. Kinectrics has identified the most common locations for waterinflow into the underground pits are: 

  • Failed seals surrounding pipe or conduit wall penetrations,
  • Damaged sections of pit wall,
  • Rainfall through poorly sealed pit lids.
During its previous engagements with distribution network operators (DNOs) in UK, Kinectrics has identified that the annular sections of through-wall pipe penetrations are the most significant source of water ingress into pits. 

Solution


Through its internal materials R&D and technology development program, Kinectrics has developed and identified polymer materials which could be applied to block significant water ingress through wall-pipe penetrations in underground pits. Kinectrics independently designed and developed an annular seal system (gaskets) for bespoke fitting to individual leaking pipe penetration revealed by pit inspection.

Kinectrics’ water blocking gaskets are produced from a high performance, non-absorbent, semi-rigid, non-toxic polymeric material. The product provides immediate, long-lasting water blocking upon application. The performance of the gaskets never compromised even when challenged with active leaks and increasing hydrostatic pressure from nearby ground water tables. The gasket is commonly used in a ring formation cut to create a compression fit within a specific configuration of wall-pipe penetration. The gasket can be easily and rapidly fitted without the need for specific training or powered equipment. If required, more gaskets can be added to strengthen the water blocking capabilities of the seal system. This process does not represent any risk to the nearby assets or pipe itself due to the low load transfer between seals and pipe. The gaskets can be easily removed to work on the assets as and when required.

  • Highly efficient water blocker
  • Can be applied directly to active leaks without any pretreatment
  • Simple and quick application procedure (does not require training or powered equipment)
  • Chemically resistant and rot proof
  • Excellent compression recovery
  • Non-extruding
  • Non-tainting
  • Minimal operator hazards

Benefits to our customer


​This solution addresses the problem of underground pit (used by various DNOs) flooding by stemming water ingress through pipe-wall penetrations. Pit flooding affects thousands of underground pits throughout the UK to a greater or lesser extent. Flooded pits must be pumped free of water prior to operator entry for regular maintenance. Depending upon the severity of flooding this process may take a significant amount of time, once pumped the pit interior may still be wet causing a slip hazard GDN operatives. 

By minimising water ingress, it is anticipated that: 

  • The maintenance cycle on a given pit will be substantially reduced as very little pumping will be required.
  • The risk to DNOs would be reduced, as the pit floor and assets would be less water logged , reducing the slip hazard.
  • Less time is required to prepare a pit before any technical operations and/or inspection performed on buried assets, which directly translates to lesser economic burdens for DNOs.
The key benefits to DNOs would be; a significant increase operational safety, improvement in the maintenance cycle efficiency and a reduction in the resource level required to inspect and maintain each individual pit.
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