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New underground piping system to protect Melbourne’s water assets

A new underground piping system will be used by the Melbourne Retail Water Agencies to manage and protect the city’s major water resources. 

City West Water, Yarra Valley Water and South East Water have approved Viega’s Geopress K system following a successful field trial.

Dylan Thomas, Water Operations Manager at Programmed, which provides maintenance services to City West Water, said the system was a game-changing concept.

“I see Geopress K as being a major player in the market and changing the way works are done,” he said.

Manufactured from first-grade polymer materials and non-ferrous components, Geopress K is a more efficient and cost-effective method for SDR11 HDPE pipes for potable water and recycled water applications. 

“The only options we had to connect poly pipes prior to Geopress K were either welding techniques or mechanical fittings, and both can be problematic,” Thomas said. 

“Welding takes specialised equipment and is not maintenance-friendly (your only option is to cut out and replace damaged pieces) while mechanical systems don’t react well to movement, so when atmospheric conditions cause pipes to shrink and expand, the fittings can move and fail.” 

With billions of litres of water lost each year due to ill-fitting, leaking pipes, Thomas said the Geopress K system would help save utilities money.

“Any leak obviously has a water loss factor as well as a money factor to it, which is compounded when you have multiple leaks on the one system,” he said. 

“So, any opportunity where you can avoid going back is definitely an advantage.” 

Easy installation

Viega Civil and Utilities Account Manager Glenn Lewindon said what makes the system different is its tapping valve, which combines a tapping band and isolation valve within the one device. 

“There's nothing else like it in the market,” he said.

“Live tapping of the main supply line takes only a few minutes and, due to the integrated miller for PE pipes, drilling can be carried out without having to use an external drilling machine or disconnecting water from the main line.” 

The system’s high-strength polymer connectors feature internal sealing, which allows pipes with damaged surfaces to be permanently pressed without preparation. This means supply lines can be quickly and easily installed. 

“These features make our connectors the perfect choice for harsh underground conditions,” Lewindon said.

“The system also means no hot works, generator or pipe preparation is required. It offers the reliability of permanent-press connection technology with internal sealing that’s robust and extremely economical. Put simply, in our opinion, it’s the most reliable underground supply line solution.”