Commonwealth Games Aquatic Centre, Sandwell, Birmingham
OGI Groundwater Specialists Ltd are a UK based consultancy company who specialize in the design of groundwater control systems for the construction industry. OGI design innovative solutions for the most challenging groundwater problems in the UK and globally. They utilize groundwater flow models, geotechnical engineering concepts and site presence to design and optimise the most efficient groundwater control systems in the industry.
Contribution to sustainability in our industry.
The Groundwater Control Dewatering operation for this project operation itself would have been relatively straight-forward if the abstracted groundwater could have been discharged by conventional means, i.e., directly to sewer or a water course. However, this traditional approach would have likely resulted in the loss of groundwater in the order of 250 million litres over the period of construction dewatering. OGI’s design resulted in this volume of groundwater being maintained within the subsurface hydrology so mitigating the loss from the water supply to Birmingham.
Innovation of initiative.
Whilst groundwater recharge is not new, innovation for this project was required in many criteria, particularly how to inject groundwater under pressure, but also to avoid back flooding from the recharge tanks if a borehole was damaged be site traffic. Site specific mathematical models were also developed to ensure that recharge was feasible both to conserve water supplies and protect local housing from settlement, and at the same time ensuring drawdown was achieved to provide a safe and stable working environment to construct the Aquatics Centre.
Significance to initiative.
The project demonstrated to many organisations, including the Environment Agency, the Client, the Principal Contractor, that this Groundwater Control Dewatering operations required a scientific and professional approach, and was fully able to mitigate any hydrological impact.
Originality of initiative.
This project is by far the largest and most complex groundwater abstraction and recharge system constructed in the UK. The ability to apply this system so successfully on such a high-profile project on such a tight site, is a testament to the commitment and determination of all those involved.
Can and/or did the initiative contribute to the sustainability of projects in our industry?
This project is being used as a major exemplar case study to demonstrate that a sustainable approach is economic, prevents drawdown beneath neighbouring structures, and protects water resources in the region.
Can this initiative be used widely in our industry & become best practices in the future?
This exemplary initiative will be used to demonstrate to the industry that Groundwater Control Dewatering is not a dirty industry, and quite to the contrary, results in a safe and clean site, protecting water resources, and improving site efficiency.
Can the initiative be related to categories in the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
UN Sustainable Development Goal 6 is “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”. OGI’s project initiative demonstrates the ability to recharge groundwater back to the ground, even with the water table close to the surface. Using a simple approach of elevated tanks to provide additional pressure at the wellhead could be applied world-wide to countries for the capturing of excess groundwater in the wet season, then recharging to ground storage for later recovery during the dry season. This initiative could be packaged into a training programme to enable dissemination of the water & environmental benefits of this technique.
Commonwealth Games Aquatic Centre, Sandwell, Birmingham – PDF Case Study