A giant intelligent membrane which can pinpoint specific leaks is being used by United Utilities to protect a 47,000m² reservoir roof in Bury, Greater Manchester.
During a revamp of the 50-year-old, 272M litre reservoir, a delicate hi-tech membrane of electrical wires is being installed to seal the roof and protect the concrete tank from rainwater leaking through.
If it does detect a leak, the membrane will send information on the precise location back to its control room.
The wire mesh membrane is being installed in layers and welded together. As the collection of wires is fragile, no heavy plant can be used: workers have used 56 wheelbarrows to manually spread a protective layer of gravel on top of the membrane, totalling 14,000t.
“This is all about improving the resilience of water supplies and ensuring that the structure can continue to serve customers well for another fifty years,” said United Utilities senior project manager Connell O’Donnell.
“When we have finished the roof we’ll be giving the inside of the structure a good clean before it is put back into service later this year.”
The reservoir work forms part of a wider £3.5bn investment by United Utilities into water and wastewater facilities in the North West between 2015 and 2020.