An ageing sewer in Calne has been given a new lease of life thanks to robot technology deployed by Wessex Water.

Rather than digging up roads, engineers used the latest ‘no dig’ techniques when carrying out sewer repairs in The Pippin, Oxford Road and Wood Street. Carrying out work via traditional excavation could have meant huge disruption to residents and lengthy roadworks. The pioneering scheme took only ten days to complete. The no-dig technique involves strengthening the existing sewer by inserting a new liner, after which remote-controlled robots are sent underground to open up connections to properties and survey the work.

Wessex Water engineer Helen Isaacs said: “Repairs were needed because the sewer had a number of structural defects which could have contributed to blockages and the loss of service to customers.

“By lining the sewer, we’re improving its structural condition and hopefully mitigating the need to come back and do further excavation in the future.

“The liner itself is effectively a giant felt sock which we impregnate with resin and invert into the sewer. Once there, we use hot water to cure (harden) the resin so it forms a new pipe.”

Four-way traffic lights were manually controlled while work was carried out in order to minimise the impact of the scheme and keep traffic flowing in the busy town centre.

As well as reducing disruption, sewer lining helps Wessex Water reduce its carbon footprint. Compared to open-cut excavation work, the work produces 95 per cent less carbon dioxide and massively reduces the number of lorry movements on the roads.

Helen added: “We would like to thank residents and road users in Calne for their patience."