Robotic Clean and hatches cut into live drinking water tank

Panton McLeod Van Close-up

The underwater robotic cleaning project at Horsley Water Treatment works in Northumbria was successfully completed last month and we are delighted to report fantastic results!

Work commenced at the beginning of November 2013 on the 34 Megalitre Treated Water Service Reservoir which could not be isolated. There is no bypass facility available on this tank and until this project was completed, only one entry access hatch was available which severely restricted access and made it almost impossible to clean.

However, in conjunction with Northumbrian Water, MWH, and Stonbury, we engineered a solution to allow robotic cleaning to commence with our underwater floor cleaning robots. Three additional hatches were cut into the live reservoir whilst our separate inspection ROVs (Remote Operated Vehicle) monitored the operation from within the tank to ensure no construction debris entered the tank (as pictured above). During this time stringent hygiene procedures were of paramount importance in order to maintain the quality of the water and not to disrupt supply to the customer.

No turbidity spikes or bacterial failures were caused whatsoever and the tank remained in service to Northumbrian Water customers throughout the cutting of the hatches and the sixteen week robotic clean of the tank floor.

Both Northumbrian Water and MWH were delighted with the outcome and have entered all parties involved in the project into the NWL’s Framework GEM Awards.

Alan Willoughby, Treatment Works Manager for Northumbrian Water stated “Many thanks to you all for work! This was a fantastic effort working on a live tank.”

For more information about the range of robotic services please contact the team on 01896 663 330 or email

Keep up to date with all our latest news via Twitter. Follow us at Panton McLeod