Scroll Top

Glanville Environmental Promote Innovation

GlanvilleGlanville Environmental Promote Innovation On The Isles of Scilly with 80 Tonnes of Recycled Crushed Glass Used for Pipe Bedding

Innovative Thinking lies at the heart of Glanville Environmental as one of our core values, and it has recently taken centre stage during a rising main replacement project on the Isles of Scilly for our client, South West Water.

This year, our team has successfully replaced 825m of 63mm rising main on the Isles so far, complete with essential components like air valves and washouts. Operating in such a remote location presents unique challenges, particularly in terms of resource procurement – sustainability and innovation became paramount considerations. In construction, where excavating trenches for sewage systems is essential, proper pipe bedding is crucial to reinforce the pipes.

However, the logistical challenge of transporting tonnes of aggregate to and from the Isles via helicopter, small plane, or boat loomed large. This is where our Engineering Manager, Geoff Willcocks, played a pivotal role. With over 36 years of experience in Civil Engineering, predominantly in the water industry, Geoff is renowned for his technical prowess and innovative approach to engineering solutions across the South West Water network.

Sourcing sustainable materials is a cornerstone of Glanville Environmental’s Further Than Zero plan and the remote location of the Isles posed a procurement challenge. High costs and environmental impact associated with traditional aggregate transportation called for an innovative solution. Geoff’s extensive research led him to an article from New South Wales, Australia, where crushed glass had been extensively tested and successfully used as backfill on highway projects. This provided real-life evidence that using crushed glass as an alternative to traditional pipe bedding material was both cost-effective and sustainable.

Armed with this knowledge, Geoff, as a member of the Sewer Rehab Contact Group in the UK, initiated discussions with South West Water and the Environment Agency. Together, they gained approval to introduce crushed glass as pipe bedding on the Isles, leveraging its success in other construction projects outside of the water and sewer system.

Utilising recycled materials not only aligns with our sustainability plan but is particularly crucial on the Isles where resources are limited. To date, our team has used 80 tonnes of crushed glass on the rising main replacement project, equivalent to the weight of 240,000 empty wine bottles. This has resulted in significant cost savings for our client by reducing virgin material costs and mitigating the need for transportation from the mainland to the Isles.

Richard Price, South West Water’s Chief Engineering Director, said:

“The varying landscapes that we work in across the Isles of Scilly make it a special place to look after, but not always the easiest. By reutilising this glass from the Isles, we have saved it from needing to be transported around for recycle-processing and dramatically reduced our need to get resources sent over from the mainland.

“We are constantly looking for new and innovative ways of working across our entire region and having this beautiful natural environment surrounding us pushes us to leave places better than we found them, with minimal impact.”

Glanville Environmental’s Engineering Manager, Geoff Willcocks, who discovered the ability to use recycled glass in this approach, said:

“Repurposing the used glass on the Isles means we have made our work more environmentally friendly, reducing the need for materials from the mainland being brought across the sea by using what is already at hand.

“This has significantly reduced South West Water’s environmental footprint, and showcases both companies’ commitment to working more sustainably.”

Glanville Environmental’s innovative approach to material sourcing on the Isles, exemplified by the pioneering use of crushed glass as pipe bedding, showcases our commitment to sustainability and cost-effectiveness for our clients. This groundbreaking solution, a first in the UK water industry, not only cuts logistical expenses but also promotes environmental conservation by repurposing materials.

Overcoming this complex challenge on the Isles and finding forward-thinking solutions has set a new standard for environmental excellence in civil engineering. We are optimistic about the prospects of this innovative material and its potential introduction to projects beyond the Isle of Scilly within the UK water industry.


Privacy Preferences
When you visit our website, it may store information through your browser from specific services, usually in form of cookies. Here you can change your privacy preferences. Please note that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on our website and the services we offer.