New Ribble Storm Drains for Preston
Update to the story below about the new storm drains United Utilities are constructing in Preston...
At the public meeting (see below), Save the Ribble residents asked whether these new drains and the tunnel will improve the street flooding problems that Broadgate and Penwortham in particular experience during very high rainfall...
...the answer is unfortunately NO: the new drains and tunnel are required to ensure that pollutants such as diesel do not get washed straight into the Ribble during rainfall, as rainfall will instead be channelled beneath the Ribble to a new treatment works in Penwortham where it will be cleaned up before being discharged into the River Ribble as clean water.
This is very good news for the Ribble's ecosystem, which is sensitive to pollutants and other changes to its delicate balance, but may not alleviate the occasional flash flooding Broadgate and Penwortham experience during heavy rain storms.
According to Lancashire County Counci, who cleaned out the drains in these areas at the end of last year, part of the problems we have had were due to the drains' capacity being seriously reduced over time due to the rubbish and soil washed into the drains during rain, and so far we have not experienced any further problems. Once we get into the raining season - i.e. Summer! - we'll see what happens...
Original story below...
A huge tunnel project which is intended to improve storm water overflow discharges into the River Ribble from Preston will be one of the topics under discussion at Preston City Council's next 'Central Area Forum' on Tuesday 24th March at the St Walburge's Parish Centre at 7pm.
At the meeting, representatives of United Utilities will provide an overview of the project, and the public will be able to ask questions.
The project will construct tunnels up to 100ft below the streets of Preston to hold excess rainwater during storms, several tunnel shafts, and over 5 kilometres of pipeline to transfer waste water underneath the River Ribble to a new pumping station which will be built in Penwortham, then back under the river to Clifton Marsh Water Treatment Works.
The tunnels in Preston will follow the paths of existing roads and will not travel under buildings apart from those owned by United Utilities. Restoration will also be carried out after the underground work is complete.
Whether this project will prevent or reduce the kind of flash flooding Ribblesiders experience during heavy rainfall periods is not clear - but we will go to the meeting and find out...
The main reason for the project is to improve the water quality of the River Ribble, as United Utilities Project Manager Andrew Kennedy exaplains: "This will provide great benefits to the estuary and bathing beaches as the quality of life for species on the Fylde coast improves."
This is certainly great news for the River Ribble, although traffic disruption is expected while the work is carried out.
Three shafts will be dug at Watery Lane, Marsh Lane and Fishergate Hill to allow digging machines to travel 26m underground to create a tunnel between the sites.
From Preston the pipes will travel under the river to a new pumping station in Penwortham, before passing beneath farmland and the river to Clifton Marsh.
The project has been planned to help the river comply with European legislation on bathing water quality.
Once complete, improvements should be seen to shellfish waters along the estuary and to beaches at Southport, Ainsdale, St Annes and Blackpool.
We will be asking what impact this project is expected to have on the local environment during the construction period.
Coun Ken Hudson, leader of Preston Council, said benefits to the city and the river would outweigh any problems during construction.
He said: "We don't like roadworks but it is essential the river is cleaned up and it may help tackle the algae at Preston Dock."
Exactly how it may help the algae problem is another question we will be asking!
United Utilities are intending to consult local residents about this scheme so more information should come to light over the coming months as Planning applications will be submitted to Lancashire County Council later this year and work is due to begin in the autumn.
Click on Preston City Council's link for more information.
If you want more information about the forum, a copy of the agenda, or if you can't attend but want to ask a question, the guy you need is Nigel Heckford, the area forum manager. He can be contacted at the Town Hall on 01772 906372, or by emailing n.heckford@firstname.lastname@example.org
See also great local blog Broadgate is Great
and the Lancashire Evening Post.
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