NoDig is unbeatable – not least for the climate

The name NoDig doesn’t tell the whole truth. Of course we have to dig – but much less than with other methods. It is quick, efficient, cheap – and much better for the climate.

My job involves renewing pipelines for water and sewage, district cooling, gas and fiber. This is an essential task as our pipelines in Sweden are old and in great need of upgrading. This is what we do: we dig down to the pipelines at what we call connection points and place a robot in the pipeline to check how things look on the inside – this tells us what actions have to be taken. Certain aspects can be resolved without having to dig at all. 

NoDig methods are unbeatable when you have to upgrade water and sewage pipelines in urban environments. Instead of “doing what you always do”, meaning excavating everything above the pipeline, having huge number of trucks emitting exhaust fumes and diggers making a lot of noise, we can minimize digging and do the job in one third of the time and at half the price. But above all, the environmental impact of NoDig upgrades is sometimes up to 70 percent lower than the use of conventional methods. 

Key feature of community building

We usually work unnoticed. Private individuals rarely come up and talk to us, although that does happen sometimes. They usually start by complaining that we’re in the way, but we explain that we would be much more in their way and for much longer if we’d been working conventionally, so they soon change their minds and like what we’re doing. We often hear: “That’s what we should always do.” 

My amazing employees and I work with a key element of community building. Water and sewage, district cooling, gas and fiber are fundamental parts of our infrastructure. It’s a pity that we’re not able to point out exactly what we have done – like our colleagues who build bridges, homes and tunnels can do. But we’re proud of our work and know that we’re helping to build a better society. And getting to work with something that has a much lower climate impact feels really great. 

//Henrik Strömbäck, Project Manager, NoDig Stockholm