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‘Ice pigs’ tested for pipe flushing

A pipe cleaning technology developed in the United Kingdom has been trialled for the first time in an irrigation network in Australia.

'Ice pigging' involves running an icy slurry, similar to a slushy, through pipes to clear them of debris and bio-film.

It was first developed at the University of Bristol for use in water utilities.

The Barmera, Australia-based Central Irrigation Trust's corporate services administrator, Simon Knowles, says there are a lot of benefits the technology could provide irrigation water providers.

'The biggest advantage is the insertion and retrieval points [for the ice pig] being so small - so it would be quite cheap for us to install them if we needed to.'

But the method is expensive; Mr Knowles says they would be looking at a cost of around $2 a metre.

'If we multiply that by all the different trusts we look after it does equate to a significant investment.'

The method gets its unusual name from the traditional plumbing technique of 'pigging', where a piece of foam is forced through a pipe to clear debris.