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Southern Water completes new £7.5m water pipeline to serve Isle of Sheppey

Southern Water has completed its £7.5 million project to provide a new water pipeline to the Isle of Sheppey

Southern Water has completed its £7.5 million project to provide a new water pipeline to the Isle of Sheppey.

The entire project took less than a year.

And the project team are signed off with beach cleans at five locations in support of the Sheerness Seaside Festival.

The entire project – which means the Isle will now have four pipes bringing water from the mainland – was completed within 13 months.

The project team led by Peter Simmons faced major challenges as they used a directional drill 500 metres across the swale. “There was all sorts of changes in the soil, clay and shells which made life pretty tough. But we had a brilliant team and overcame every hurdle,” he said.

The project commenced in October 2022, just three months after a major incident saw Sheppey lose water supplies for three days.

In the wake of the incident Southern Water:

  • Promised this new pipeline
  • Paid compensation and  donated £30,000 to local causes including Festival of the Sea and Swale Pride
  • All customers received compensation and additionally a £20 shopping voucher at a cost of £300,000

Additionally, residents voted for community organisation receive grants. The top 12 from the list of 58 voted for by residents automatically receive £500 and this was followed by a further vote by Sheppey residents  and the top 5 from this list will receive an additional £3k  share of the funds. We received 9,530 votes via social media to determine the top five.

South East 4x4, Castle Connections, The Salvation Army, Freedom Centre and Curley’s Farm were the most popular picks and shared the cash.

Aside from the engineering hurdles the nature of the site presented its own complexities.

Dr Nicola Meakins who is in charge of Southern Water’s enabling team got special consents in record time. “We were drilling from on site of special scientific interest to another so Defra, Natural England and other regulators and stakeholders had to be sure our work was done to minimise our impact on wildlife and we had good plans in place to return our sites to normal,” she said.

“Fortunately, regulators know and trust our ecologists and project managers to do the right thing and we were able to gain consents in record time.”