Yellow submarine inspection robots are being used to keep the North East’s tap water clean. Northumbrian Water is using the state-of-the-art, remote-controlled submersibles to inspect underground storage service reservoirs.
The robots, named Ringo and Macca, were put through their paces to beam back pictures from inside a treatment works near Chester-le-Street in County Durham.
The underground and underwater health check provided an unusual assignment for a group of performing arts students from Castle View Enterprise Academy in Sunderland.
The students, aged 11 to 14, who get tap water from the works into their Wearside homes, were asked to perform the Beatles hit Yellow Submarine as a soundtrack for Northumbrian Water’s video about the robots.
Use of the submersible ROV’s, or remotely operated underwater vehicles, is an innovative new method of inspection for Northumbrian Water.
It can be carried out efficiently with the reservoir still in service, minimising potential disruption to customers.
Service reservoirs allow supply and pressure to be maintained during peak demand periods and provide backup in case of burst mains or mechanical breakdown.
Paul Richardson, Northumbrian Water Project Manager, said: “By using these submarines we are able to carry out thorough inspections while ensuring the supply through the storage reservoir is totally unaffected.
“It’s an innovative use of new technology which can be done quickly, efficiently and safely while the water is still in use. Submarine inspection means less disruption for customers and that top tap water quality is maintained.”
Paul Henderson, Sales Director, of Borders-based contractors Panton McLeod, the UK’s leading water quality engineering company which operates the submarines, said: “We asked the pilots who operate the ROV’s to label the robots for recording purposes and because they were yellow and submarines they came up with the names of the two remaining Beatles.
“We’ve built strong relations with Northumbrian Water through previous projects and we are delighted to be able to work with them again to ensure that drinking water standards remain at the highest levels and look forward to working with them in the future.
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