Latest News: Thames Water Video Showcases Innovative Sheet Piling

January 29th, 2018

Thames Water Video Showcases Innovative Sheet Piling

Thames Water and the Eight2O Alliance have released a new video which showcases an innovative marine sheet piling solution which has been developed in partnership with Sheet Piling (UK) Ltd. The five minute video, produced by Thames Water, features the large scale Sheet Pile Cut Off Wall project at the Island Barn Reservoir, West London.

The Island Barn Reservoir was built in the early 1900’s to take and store water pumped from the River Thames. The Thames is the second longest river in the UK, rising in Gloucestershire then flowing through Oxford, Reading Henley-on-Thames, Windsor and London, before draining into the North Sea from the Thames Estuary. The water stored in the Island Barn Reservoir is treated at the Thames Water Hampton Water Treatment Works in West London, before serving the Greater London area.

A problem with water seepage was identified at the ageing reservoir, meaning that the integrity of its embankment was at serious risk. Thames Water undertook specialist geophysical surveys in order to accurately map the seepage and the groundwater connection paths. As a result of these surveys, three serious areas of leakage were identified between the puddle clay core and the underlying London clay formation.

The solution to the water seepage was to create a barrier running through the central clay core of the reservoir, thereby sealing the holes and stopping the leakage. With a narrow, fragile reservoir embankment, typical engineering solutions were simply not possible. Sheet Piling (UK) Ltd Managing Director Andrew Cotton explains: “The areas of embankment affected by the water seepage were in parts narrow and simply not suitable for heavy plant to operate effectively. We therefore created a bespoke floating platform and used the reservoir itself as the construction site.”


The 18.0m steel sheet piles were craned into position from the floating platform and driven through the crest of embankment using a Giken F201 Vibration Free, Silent Sheet Pile Press in order to avoid disturbance to the underlying London clay core. This innovative marine sheet piling installation and engineering solution, to a unique problem, avoided the need for expensive and slow heavy earth works. This in turn reduced the project costs and enabled both a faster response time and shorter overall project timescale.

Andrew Cotton commented: “In total, we installed 385 steel sheet piles, which now protect over 200 metres of the Island Barn Reservoir embankment from water seepage. The project was set to run for a full 12 months, however it was delivered within 9 months, saving 20% on the initial project budget as well as minimising disruption to local residents and other reservoir users.”

Following the success of this project, both Thames Water and Sheet Piling (UK) Ltd are looking to utilise similar marine sheet piling techniques in other reservoir and inland water piling projects, turning the body of water itself into a versatile and effective construction site to reduce costs and timescales.

You can read our in-depth Sheet Piling at Island Barn Reservoir Case Study Here.

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Sheet Piling (UK) Limited is one of the UK's leading piling contractors. Owning and operating a comprehensive range of specialist piling equipment Sheet Piling (UK) Ltd also carry extensive stocks of new and used piles enabling rapid reaction to any urgent requirements or emergency situations.