Another week, another pipeline 🙂 It has been a real blast from the past working on water utilities again – many years ago I had a job at United Utilities and I loved the fieldwork, travelling all over north west England to survey sites for pipelines, extensions to water works and so on. I didn’t love the office work quite as much – I estimated at one point that I was trying and failing to do the work of six people – so the field work was a blissful break from the stress and an opportunity to travel and get to know my own home region.
Anyway, this was another interesting little job – the project was to replace an existing water main which had experienced a few leaks and was generally thought to be not up to the job. The route traversed fields, woodland, a river and went close to a quarry and Local Wildlife Site, itself not far from a SSSI designated for its limestone pavement. So there was plenty to think about, not just on the plant side of things but also for animals too, with potential for bats, badgers, otters, dormouse and so on.
I met the project team on site to walk the route and discuss how they hoped to install the new main, where they might gain access to the fields and so on. Meeting the team on site is so valuable, as it is an opportunity to deeply understand the project and avoid becoming overly concerned about hypothetical potential impacts which would only happen if the most destructive methods were used. This project is expected to use directional drilling and pipe bursting, both methods which don’t require open cut over the full length of the project, but access via pits at intervals instead, meaning that it is relatively easy to avoid potentially valuable features like species-rich hedgerow or mature trees with bat roost potential.
The highlight of my day was finding these otter footprints under a nearby road bridge 😀