Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Work begins on new Fens pumping station

Work has started on Britain's biggest pumping station which will protect tens of thousands of homes in the fens from flooding.

When it becomes operational in 2010, the new station on the Middle Level Drain at St Germans, near King's Lynn, will also increase run-offs on the entire Middle Level system, which stretches inland as far as March and Chatteris.

The existing Pumping Station, built in 1934, is a familiar landmark for pike and zander anglers.

The horn signalling its pumps are about to start up is soon followed by the drain shivering and then picking up flow, before water levels begin to visibly drop.

Its six existing pumps can shift 70 tonnes of water a second, but the Middle Level Commissioners say global warming, rising sea levels the age of the current station mean its operating life is coming to an end.

In April 1998, the station was pushed to its limits after heavy rains inland were followed by high tides and a north easterly gale.

It was forced to operate non-stop for 50 hours and if one of its pumps had failed a flood would have occurred with disasterous consequences.

The new station will have a 40% increased capacity giving it the ability to pump 100 tonnes.

Building work is now in progress on the massive coffer dam needed to protect the site before work on the new station, downstream of the present plant, can begin.

For more information click here.