DrainsAid Engineer Greg Thomson at Outwood Site

Greg Thomson, Graduate Engineer

During his two years with DrainsAid, Greg has played an essential role in the planning and execution of numerous large-scale, challenging pipeline renovation projects, that required the use of various trenchless techniques.

Currently a Graduate Engineer, he continues to develop his knowledge and understanding of the industry through training and on site experience, with a view to grow as a Managing Engineer. Greg hopes to be at the forefront of the industry, utilising innovative trenchless equipment to relieve pressure on our overloaded sewers and combat the issues associated with climate change.

What projects have you managed so far this year?

So far this year, I’ve undertaken six projects, that have all seen successful results.

In January, I planned and supervised the upgrade of a 500mm diameter cast-iron strategic water main on the busy Gateshead High Street. Using a McElroy Butt Fusion machine, our crew welded a 204m x 450mm diameter HDPE pipeline together to insert into the original pipe. This was the first sliplining project I had undertaken, which in itself made it something of a challenge for me, as I had to learn the unfamiliar technique while on the job. Choosing this repair technique benefited the client, the environment, and the general public as excavation and replacement would have been an expensive, time consuming task. Slip lining not only allowed us to keep disruption to a minimum, but was the cheaper option.

DrainsAid Sliplining a sewer main in Gateshead
Sliplining in Gateshead

In February we began the process of spray-lining 90m of 1800mm brick, surface water sea outfall at Scarborough beach. The team used the Hermes M-Coating system, which is designed to seal the culvert from water in/exfiltration, protecting the beach and water quality.
Precise planning was crucial as works were affected by the changing tides. All daily work had to be completed in the 4-6 hour period of low tide.

After completing an extensive environmental awareness course in 2017, I have worked exceedingly hard to ensure that as a company, and an industry, we remain as environmentally friendly as possible. The ERGELIT KS1 mortar used on the Scarborough Beach project was chosen specifically for its environmentally-friendly properties, which when used in conjunction with the M-Coating process, has a significantly reduced carbon footprint.

Which project have you enjoyed the most?

My favourite was probably the spray-lining 450m of the 250mm diameter sewerage rising main serving Outwood Pumping Station. We partnered with Yorkshire Water, Schur Ltd and Axalta to prevent bursts, which had previously triggered pollution incidents to a downstream watercourse and flooded the surrounding area.

My team and I received training to safely use the advanced Rig System. DrainsAid became the first ever company to receive a contractor accreditation from NSF International, for the spray-lining of wastewater pipes, which was great to be a part of.

DrainsAid Team Spray Lining Training

What’s been your most challenging project while at DrainsAid?

The most challenging project I managed has to be the rehabilitation of three culverts in Oldham. I consider this the most challenging project of my career to date, due to the variety of rehabilitation techniques required to resolve wide spread flooding issues in the area. Precise planning was vital to stay within the client’s time and cost restraints, as each culvert offered different challenges and required a unique approach to its restoration.

Although choosing three different repair techniques was not considered the easiest option, it would provide the best results for the client and the area’s residents. We was able to deliver mortar spray-lining, steam cure and UV CIPP lining in-house, without the need for additional sub-contractors, which was made possible by the vast range of innovative solutions we can directly deliver here at DrainsAid.

Greg Thomson, DrainsAid Engineer, Projects
From Janurary 2018 – April 2019, Greg has played an essential role in the planning and execution of 20 large scale projects.

How do you spend your free time?

When i’m not at work, i spend most of my time with my family. My wife and i have two young kids, so we spend most our time entertaining them. I see my friends as often as i can. We’ll meet to enjoy a few beers down at the pub, or have the occasional weekend away. Me an my mate are off to Sweden next weekend.

What’s your vision for the future of the Wastewater industry?

I’d say that because the UK drainage industry can be particularly cost-focused, it doesn’t always allow for other benefits, such as improved longevity of repairs, or enhanced structural integrity. I believe that overcoming this barrier is the next step for our industry as a whole.

As a forward-thinking company, DrainsAid invest in the latest technology, to ensure we gain the fullest understanding, training and specification of trenchless methods. Without the need for sub-contractors, the company can perform all repairs in-house, to the highest of standards.

With climate change increasing the likelihood of more frequent and intense flooding, we must plan our drainage infrastructure to relieve the pressure on our overloaded sewers, by stopping excess water from entering the network and being processed unnecessarily. We can then think of sustainable ways to reuse the captured water, helping in water-stressed
areas around the UK.

The involvement of water companies and contractors like DrainsAid, along with technological improvements, will be vital in the employment of sustainable drainage systems that are environmentally-friendly, practical and attainable within a time and budget scale. This is perhaps where trenchless technologies offer the best advantages. Using trenchless methods enables contractors to install, rehabilitate and maintain the necessary pipelines, including clean, surface and foul networks. This can be done with minimal impact on the general population, businesses and other infrastructure.

Greg and the DrainsAid team in Germany completing Brawoliner Training
Greg and the DrainsAid team in Germany completing Brawoliner training.