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UU to bring West Cumbria pipeline into action early

Parts of United Utilities' new £300m water supply scheme in West Cumbria will be coming on line three years ahead of schedule, as part of the water company’s response to the dry summer.

One of the TBMs - named Diggory by local schoolchildren - is lowered into position at Castlerigg near KeswickOne of the TBMs - named Diggory by local schoolchildren - is lowered into position at Castlerigg near Keswick

Engineers are currently working on an ambitious scheme to make use of stretches of the new pipeline as early as next month to help keep water supplies on tap for communities around Aspatria.

The plan is to use parts of the pipeline already laid between Workington and Wigton to tap into water supplies from the River Derwent at Barepot.  

The water will be pumped 25km to Quarry Hill water treatment works near Mealsgate where it will help to relieve the pressure on local water sources in the area.  

John Hilton, Project Director at United Utilities, said: “The dry spring and summer has meant that the usual water sources feeding Quarry Hill, such as Overwater, are running very low. We are looking at all possible solutions to minimise the environmental impact and ease the strain on these sources and that’s where the new pipeline comes in.

“We have some spare capacity at our water abstraction point on the River Derwent at Barepot and we nearly have a complete pipeline all the way to the treatment plant, so it’s a question of joining up the gaps.

“We’ve mobilised in record time and if all goes according to plan we hope to have the temporary supply system up and running by mid-September.”

The West Cumbria engineering team is now in the process of building four new temporary pumping stations, four balancing tanks and 3km of additional pipework.  There will also be two new river crossings, one beneath the River Derwent at Barepot and one above it on the A595 bridge at Papcastle.

Mr Hilton explained that the pipeline scheme had made very good progress during the dry weather and in some areas around Stainburn and Brigham landowners had been told that work was complete: “We will need to go back into some of the areas where we had finished, and there will be some temporary road closures while we lay the new sections of bypass pipework. We hope that people will understand that this is an unprecedented situation, and the work is essential to safeguard water supplies.”

The West Cumbria pipeline project is currently about a year ahead of schedule thanks to the dry weather and the team has managed to lay 45km this summer. This has allowed the team some flexibility to help with the drought effort.

The £300m West Cumbria Water Supplies project will bring more reliable and sustainable water supplies into Allerdale and Copeland. The scheme will link the area to Thirlmere Reservoir, and involves the construction of 100km of new pipeline, a new treatment plant at Williamsgate, two new pumping stations and two new underground service reservoirs. The project started in Spring 2017 and will be in use by 2022.

Author: James Brockett,
Topic: Pipes & Pipelines
Tags: pipelines , tunnelling , drought

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