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WJ Project Update : Bujeon – Masan Railway Project, South Korea

When the South Korean engineering and construction company, SK ecoplant, whose annual global revenues are about £4 billion, required a dewatering contractor to help to solve a problem with a series of distressed high speed railway tunnel cross passages under construction on the Bujeon – Masan Railway Project on South Korea’s south coast, they turned to WJ. Obviously.

In the first instance, a series of pumping tests were required. Within 4 weeks of the formal instruction in August 2021, WJ had mobilised a complete package of materials, equipment, and skilled personnel to carry out four, separate, fully instrumented deepwell pumping tests, with provision to install pumps with capacity to pump up to 50l/sec from 60 m depth – No mean feat considering the Covid travel restrictions and international transportation difficulties in place at the time. Once on site, the first challenge was for our most experienced driller, Michael Crowley, to demonstrate how to install an effective dewatering well using the 110 tonne, 48 m high, cased auger piling machine available – a change from the usual 20 tonne well drilling machines he is used to. Not surprisingly, Michael didn’t have single word of Korean and the piling crew didn’t have any English but with patience, cooperation and leadership from Michael, the highly technical wells were installed successfully. Michael now has an extensive Korean vocabulary comprising ‘hello’ and ‘beer’ and a small enclave of South Korean piling operatives can swear with a Yorkshire accent.

The pump controls for a dewatering pumping test require skill and knowledge to set up reliably and ensure the best test results and for our Senior electrician, Rob Whitby, this was all in a day’s work. Rob has over 20 years of experience with WJ and has previously undertaken pumping tests and system installations throughout the UK, Ireland, Poland, Turkey and across the Middle East. WJ’s purpose built electrical control and monitoring system, mounted in robust housings designed for air freight and containerised shipping as well as providing secure protection once on site, performed perfectly. Our Monitoring Project Manager, Chris Robson, was on site with the SK team to ensure that the data gathered was integrated with other project instruments and data and was presented clearly and real time to the project team in Busan, SK head office in Seoul, the Consultant in Singapore and the WJ design team in the UK. This way, decisions could be made immediately and within 6 weeks the site works had been completed, data collated, modelled, reported and preliminary designs presented – an exceptional achievement for such a complex series of tests and hydrogeological conditions.

When the main works were ready to commence in January 2022, SK again called upon WJ’s global capability to provide a full dewatering service, and equipment for a 40 No deepwell, 300l/sec system was mobilised from our operations in the UK, the UAE and the Philippines by air and sea, again led by our technicians from the UK and supported by WJ’s skilled project management and site operative team from the Philippines.

The dewatering system had to be operated cautiously to avoid affecting the damaged tunnel structure and an adjacent railway bridge but behaved exactly as predicted by WJ’s groundwater model and successfully achieved its objectives, on programme.

South Korea is the 18th country where WJ’s ability to provide exceptional and competitive pump testing and dewatering services to grateful clients has been deployed, and the fact that WJ are still operational in 12 of those countries, years after the first job was completed, is testament to our track record of repeat business. You can learn more about WJ’s global operations here: https://wjgroup.org/locations/

Dan CarpenterWJ Project Update : Bujeon – Masan Railway Project, South Korea
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