New water pumps for flood-hit Carlisle

United Utilities has completed a multi-million pound mechanical instalment in Cumbria providing improved flood defences for thousands of local homes and businesses.

The £3.4 million programme saw two huge new storm pumps installed at a UU wastewater treatment works in Willowholme, near Carlisle, which were switched-on ahead of schedule at the end of last month.

Carlisle was at the epicentre of devastating floods in January 2005, which destroyed 3,000 city homes. UU now claim that the massive pumps mean the scenes of five years ago need not be repeated.

The pumps are the ultimate aspect of an intense work programme carried out by UU to strengthen the area's defences following the floods. The scheme has included improvements to swathes of Carlisle's sewage infrastructure, enabling it to handle greater masses.

Working automatically the second water reaches a certain level, the pumps themselves are capable of shifting over 3,200 litres of water every second between them; safely channelling huge amounts of storm overflow into the nearby River Eden during periods of intense rain.

Gary Dixon of UU, said: "Since 2005, our engineers have carried out a lot of work on Carlisle's sewer system to make it better able to cope with severe storms. We have upgraded almost 4km of pipes so that they can hold much more rain water. The new pumps mean we can get rid of it even when river levels are high."

United Utilities is one of a number of organisations to carry out flood alleviation works in Carlisle since the 2005 floods and is planning to invest £3.6bn in water and wastewater systems like Carlisle's across the North West of England by 2015.

Sam Plester



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