Amey—a supplier of consulting and infrastructure support services in the U.K.—will be using a new augmented reality app to help fight blockages caused by unflushables.

The app uses technology commonly used in video games and aims to show homeowners how flushing the wrong items can block their drains and sewers.

Amey has partnered with ClicksandLinks, a specialist supplier in the augmented reality field, to develop the app, which will be piloted across the Severn Trent contract. The contract serves 4 million properties and 8 million customers across the Severn Trent area.

The app allows operators to overlay a typical sewer network on a customer’s property or surrounding area. The app then runs animations which mock-up how unflushables cause blockages in real time.

Previously, operational teams issued print-based guidance informing customers of what should, or should not, be put down drains. However, research showed that 25 per cent of blockages caused by unflushables would happen again within 12 months of the customer being notified. This finding suggests that print-based guidance may not be effective in creating behaviour change.

Amey is hoping that the app will be an effective way to increase customer understanding about the impact unflushables have on the water network and help to prevent future blockages.

“The UK water industry spends about £90m a year clearing sewer blockages,” said Ben Hawkins from Amey’s innovation team. “Many of these are caused by putting unflushables down the drain. This app is the first of its kind and demonstrates Amey’s commitment to using new technology, in increasingly tech-reliant times, to help our customers visualise and solve these issues.”

The app will be launched in 2020.


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