Atkins-designed St Germans pumping station formally opened

The pumping station designed by Atkins for the Middle Level Commissioners at Wiggenhall St Germans in Norfolk was formally opened on Wednesday (April 20) by Lord James Russell.

The pumping station designed by Atkins for the Middle Level Commissioners at Wiggenhall St Germans in Norfolk will be formally opened on Wednesday 20 April 2011 by Lord James Russell.

The £38M pumping station, which pumps the land drainage and flood flows from the middle level system into the tidal River Ouse, is the biggest facility of its kind in the UK with a capacity 40% greater than the old station it replaces. Capable of pumping 100cumecs – the equivalent of five Olympic swimming pools – every two minutes, it protects 70,000ha of land much of which is Grade A and more than 20,000 properties, valued at £3.6bn.

David Thomas, chief engineer at Middle Level Commissioners, said: “Before this new pumping station was built, there was a smaller one on this site. Originally constructed in 1934, it had four pumps, one over 50-years old. In 1998, Cambridgeshire was suffering its most significant flooding event for many decades and required all four of those pumps to be called to run at full pelt for 52-hours solid. Had one of these failed, there would have been serious consequences and the area would have flooded. Middle Level Commissioners decided soon after to build this new modern facility with greater capacity.”

Atkins was contracted by Middle Level Commissioners to design the facility and ECC project manage construction, which began on site in 2006.

Atkins project manager,John Sheppard, said: “This has been the project of a lifetime to work on from the moment we started. It is a beautiful example of the multidisciplinary approach that Atkins takes, covering all the bases from DEFRA grant application, environmental impact assessment and detailed design to implementation and project management.”

Atkins’ design incorporates six huge 17cumec variable speed pumps which can be controlled independently of one another meaning that St Germans pumping station is effectively six pumping stations rolled into one. Each pump has a screened inlet channel, concrete volute pump and outlet channel incorporating large penstocks and flap valves. The design is versatile in its ability to handle low summer water flow as well as major flood events, and is now fully automated.

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