Belfast upgrade gets underway

Northern Ireland Water Service is spending more than £90M to upgrade Belfast's sewerage system. Morgan Est and Farrans(Construction) have been tasked with the work.

Morgan Sindall’s infrastructure services provider Morgan Est along with joint-venture partner Belfast-based contractor Farrans (Construction), is to carry out the Stormwater Management Works (SMW) in Belfast. The three-year, £91.8M scheme entails upgrading the city’s sewerage system for Northern Ireland Water Service (NIWS).

Under the terms of the deal, worth about £61.5M to Morgan Est, the companies will design, build, test and commission a 9.4km tunnel, up to 4m in diameter, under the city centre to the Duncrue Wastewater Treatment Works (WTW).

The contract also involves the construction of a 16 m3/sec capacity Terminal Pumping Station (TPS) housed inside a 40m diameter underground structure, a new 6,000m( stormwater tank and marine outfall.

Commenting on the project, Katharine Bryan, chief executive of Water Service, says: “I am delighted that the contractor building the tunnel is the internationally-renowned tunnelling company Morgan Est in a joint venture with local company Farrans Construction. Both companies have carried out many large scale engineering projects and represent the very best in contracting services. I am very confident that Water Service and its contractors will deliver a very successful project which will provide a modern sewerage system for the greater Belfast area.”

Flood reduction

The modernisation of the city’s sewerage system, which supports 250,000 people in the greater Belfast area, will result in improvements to both the water quality of the River Lagan and other watercourses. Flooding within Belfast city will also be reduced.

Mark Cutler, managing director of Morgan Est says: “We are looking forward to working with Water Service and Farrans on one of Belfast’s largest infrastructure projects which will be using innovative and environmentally friendly, tunnelling techniques.”

Cutler continues: “These are processes which do not require the digging of long trenches to carry out pipe replacement and renovation works making them much more efficient and less disruptive to traffic and the community.”

The Water Service, part of Northern Ireland’s Department for Regional Development, is continuing a huge investment programme to bring Belfast’s aged sewers up to date, the oldest of which was constructed in 1888.

In one of the most significant infrastructure projects ever to be carried out in Belfast, Water Service is investing £100M on providing a modern sewerage system for 250000 people in the greater Belfast area.

The development began two years ago, with tunnelling work starting the following year. The entire project will include:

  • The construction of a new 9km tunnel up to 4m in diameter
  • Construction of new sewers
  • The building of storm water tanks
  • The repair of 500 existing sewers

The Belfast Sewers Project is being funded through the Reinvestment and Reform Initiative (RRI) established by the Northern Ireland Assembly and HM Treasury. It is one of 300-plus projects that Water Service is carrying out over the next three years at a cost of £590M.

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