SRA Annual Report 2019-20: North Drain Pumping Station

In June 2019, the SRA Board agreed to put £156k towards a second phase of refurbishment works at North Drain Pumping Station, which sits close to the confluence of North Drain and the River Brue about halfway between Westham and Burtle. As this area tends to have too much water in winter – and too little in summer – this pumping station needs to operate as effectively as possible all year round. Pumping water from the North Drain into the Brue, as and when required, helps to reduce the risks of flooding for 9,700 acres of land.

First phase of works

In a first phase of works in 2018, the Environment Agency used SRA funding and contractors AMCO to remove the station’s 50-year-old leaking and collapsing concrete roof. It was replaced with a lightweight modern roof. Walls were re-pointed, cracks stitched together using steel rods and crumbling bricks replaced.

Second phase of repairs and improvements

In 2019-20, plans were finalised for a second phase of repairs and improvements to the pumping station. Work began on the design and fabrication of three stop-log boards for controlling the flow of water, and two replacement penstocks for the inlet to the pumping station. The advent of the coronavirus pandemic caused some unavoidable delays. However, work on a dozen different jobs around the station – such as de-silting inlet bays, straightening weedscreen bars and fixing stone gabions – is expected to be completed by autumn 2020.

The Environment Agency will then install new electric canister pumps. These will be ‘fish-friendly’ and have a lower carbon dioxide (CO2) output than the station’s existing pumps, which are nearing the end of their life. Works paid for by the SRA in 2018 will allow the crane inside the station to lift out the old pumps.

The project team say that SRA funding has “massively helped” to unlock possibilities for structural improvements and better ways of working.

Overall, the refurbished North Drain Pumping Station will allow for more flexible water management.

Ultra high volume pumps

Pictured below: installing ultra high volume pumps for taking water from North Drain into the River Brue.


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