Main event to ′keep the sparkle′


Half a million people are to benefit from a £32 million water scheme, ′The Main Event′.

Northumbrian Water will begin the major programme of work in mid-February 2012, and it will involve cleaning and upgrading 218 kilometres of large diameter water mains, which transport water around parts of the lower Tyne Valley, North Tyneside, Newcastle and Gateshead.

Over time sediment can build up in these pipes, known as trunk water mains, and this can result in discoloured water. Although not harmful to health, the water company accepts this is not acceptable and reducing discoloured water is a top priority.

Up to half a million people will benefit from this project, which will take up to three years to complete. Those affected will receive information and advice in writing, from the water company.

The table below shows where Northumbrian Water will be working.

Date of work Areas Northumbrian Water will be working in
February 2012 to September 2013 Horsley, Whittle Dene, Wylam, Prudhoe, Ovingham, Ovington, Ryton, Stocksfield, Greenside, Crawcrook, Throckley, Newburn, Lemington, Walbottle, West Denton, Benwell, Westerhope, Newbiggin Hall Estate, Kingston Park.
October 2012 to June 2013 Working from Newburn Bridge to the Tyne Bridge, incorporating the Redheugh Bridge, and through the areas of Newburn, Blaydon, Swalwell, Dunston, Teams, Gateshead.
April 2013 to December 2014 Benwell, Fenham, Arthurs Hill, Hunters Moor, Gosforth, Jesmond, Heaton, High Heaton, Longbenton, Killingworth, Benton Square.
June 2013 to March 2015 Benwell, Elswick, Newcastle city centre, Byker, Walker, Walkergate, Wallsend, Rose Hill.
July 2013 to
July 2014
Gateshead, Bensham, Felling, Deckham, Carr Hill, Beacon Lough, Low Fell, Team Valley.

Richard Johnston, The Main Event’s project manager, said: "We all rely on tap water every day and we strive to provide our customers with an excellent quality product. The Main Event demonstrates this commitment and is testament to how are investing in our assets to improve the services we provide. Our source to tap approach of reducing the likelihood of discoloured water will also involve flushing out smaller diameter pipes, which feed off trunk mains and supply properties directly.

"This phase of mains cleaning work follows a four-year scheme completed last year. We cleaned and upgraded 171 kilometres of trunk water main, improving tap water quality to 500,000 customers in south east Northumberland, North Tyneside and the north of Newcastle. We learnt a huge amount during that work which we are able to apply when carrying out ‘The Main Event’. For example, we trialled and used award-winning, innovative pipe cleaning technology which will be using again."

The technique chosen to clean pipes depends on what the pipe is made of, its lining and whether it is in a rural or urban location. Cleaning methods used to remove sediment from the inside wall of pipes, include using a giant sponge, spring-loaded metal scrapers or, the most frequently used, high pressured jets of water.

Before cleaning a section of main, water will be moved around the network to maintain water supplies. The pipe is then emptied, cleaned, refilled and disinfected. Water quality samples and pressures tests are then carried out before the pipe is put back into service.

Northumbrian Water is reassuring both domestic and business customers that all will be done to keep disruption and inconvenience to a minimum. The company is working closely with relevant agencies and organisations to carefully plan and organise any traffic management required. Customers will be kept informed of the progress and impact of the scheme.

Anyone with a query regarding ‘The Main Event’ should call Northumbrian Water’s customer centre on 0845 717 1100 or log onto

For further information, please contact Cara Hall on 0191 301 6720.

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