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Sheppey Pipeline Project Enters Final Phase

The £4.5 million project to tunnel two new water mains across the Swale to Sheppey is entering its final phase.

The £4.5 million project to tunnel two new water mains across the Swale to Sheppey is entering its final phase.  

The project began last autumn and has overcome huge engineering challenges due to the complex geology under the seabed, between the mainland and Sheppey, ensuring work did not grind to a halt.  

 The drill first broke through across the 600m stretch and the team have since made a series of repeats to enlarge the hole enough so a pipeline can be inserted. This pipe has now been pulled through. 

Elsewhere, work has finished on repairing the broken pipe which runs underneath the main bridge to Sheppey. The team inserted one pipe inside the broken main and water is now flowing through to give the Isle of Sheppey the resilient water supply it needs and deserves.  

Project Manager Nick Marshall paid tribute to the team of engineers and contractors who delivered the undersea pipeline in record time.  

He said: “There were huge challenges to overcome – our work was being conducted in ecologically sensitive areas and we had to prove to regulators such as Natural England we were taking every measure to protect wildlife; the wide variety of rock, sand, mud, crushed coral and clay under the seabed meant a series of adjustments to our engineering solutions.”  

Now the pipe has been pulled through, it can be connected at each end and the island will then have multiple options to get water to the island.  

Last summer, the Isle of Sheppey suffered from a loss of water supply during drought conditions, resulting in Southern Water and its partners delivering almost 1 million litres of bottled water to the island and directly to vulnerable customers.  

Customers were compensated for the incident and received an additional £20 shopping voucher while Southern Water made £30,000 of donations to a dozen local charities.  

Katy Taylor, Chief Customer Officer at Southern Water, said:  

“Last summer’s burst caused major disruption and distress to residents and businesses in Sheppey, and we have been working as quickly as possible to ensure that this does not happen again. We want people to know we can be trusted to keep our promises.”