Whirlwind in water pipeline

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BLACKPOOL’S water system is set to get an early spring clean.

United Utilities is preparing to launch a nocturnal cleaning system – and it should mean clearer water for the town’s residents.

The town centre, North Shore and Bispham areas will all benefit from the deep clean, which is designed to remove the naturally occurring mineral deposits which build up inside the pipes.

Ray Melia, the firm’s project co-ordinator, said: “We need to give our water pipes a thorough clean from time-to-time, to remove harmless deposits which have built up.

“It’s rather like removing the fur on the inside of a kettle. Once we’ve completed the work, the pipes can be left to their own devices for at least another 10 years.

“We’re doing the work at night to keep disruption to a bare minimum.”

Although harmless, the deposits can cause water discolouration and removing them should result in crystal clear water for residents.

The project – part of a £1 million scheme to clean more than 375km of water pipes across Blackpool, Fleetwood , Thornton and Cleveleys during the first half of 2012 – and is set to start at the end of January and continue throughout February.

It involves pumping a combination of water and compressed air through the pipes, which creates a whirlwind effect and scours the deposits from the pipes.

The company plans to complete most of the work overnight, with work scheduled to take place from 11pm to 6am in a bid to minimise disruption to local residents.

The work is due to begin in the town centre on January 30 and the larger pipes on Bank hey Street, Market Street, Church Street, Coronation Street and Lansdowne Place will be cleaned first before the focus moves to smaller pipes across the town centre.

A spokesman for United Utilities said the “majority” of customers would not experience any disruption to supply, but individual properties which may be hit by short interruptions were being written to.

No road closures are planned.

United Utilities is midway through delivering a record programme of investment into the region’s water system.

Between 2010 and 2015 £3.6 billion is being spent in the North West, with the work designed to improve the region’s water and wastewater networks as well as protect the environment.