August 13, 2020 @ 14:33 by Richard Dawson
Northumbrian Water Group (NWG) and the Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing (SAM) Project are urging businesses and individuals across the North East to participate in a design sprint aimed at solving the UK’s waste blockage crisis.
NWG alone experiences more than 10,000 sewer blockages per year, causing flooding to homes, businesses and outdoor areas as well as creating odour problems and environmental pollution.
Companies participating in the sprint, which is being held as part of the NWG Innovation Festival, will receive support from a team of experts and will be able to access grant funding to further their idea, should they be chosen for proof of concept trials.
The NWG Innovation Festival will be held digitally this year, from September 14 to 18, with attendees able to tune in to a series of presentations, masterclasses, speeches and pitching competitions.
Adrian Lee, technical policy manager at NWG, said: “The Innovation Festival offers a unique and exciting opportunity where we can gather together some of the best and most innovative minds from business, science, technology, engineering, utilities and customer services to tackle real life problems.
“The problem of sewer blockages is significant and can lead to issues which are both upsetting and distressing for our customers, as well being potentially harmful and damaging to the environment.
“Our vision is to prevent sewer blockages within our network or to identify them before there is an impact to customers or on the environment.
“In recent months, we have launched our “Bin the Wipe” campaign, which has seen great success, helping to reduce sewer blockages associated with wet wipes, but there is still a lot more we can all do.
“No matter how big or how small your idea might be, please sign up for our sprint where you will be part of an amazing team working together to make a real difference to the planet.”
Ken Teears, project manager at SAM, added: “The North East is home to some of the UK’s most innovative businesses and expert thinkers and this is a great opportunity to once again show the world what we’re capable of achieving when we put our minds together.
“UK sewer waste is growing year-on-year, causing blockages that are extremely damaging not only to the environment, but also to public health.
“If this trend continues, water companies across the country are going to require new infrastructure and equipment capable of unblocking such waste streams and hopefully this sprint can help kick start a new revolution in the waste industry.”