Water firm plans £840,000 investment on the River Aln in Northumberland

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A new underground storm tank will help to protect water quality in the River Aln in Northumberland.

By installing the new 30m³ tank – approximately the size of two shipping containers - at its sewage treatment works on the edge of Whittingham village, Northumbrian Water will help protect the river from pollution.

The £840,000 investment will increase the site’s capacity, to cope with increased volumes of water from both population growth and climate change.

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The tank will hold storm water and wastewater from homes at times of heavy rainfall, ready to be treated when flows reduce, protecting against the risk of spills to the environment.

The River Aln near Alnmouth.The River Aln near Alnmouth.
The River Aln near Alnmouth.

The level of investment is allowing for projected population growth over the next 15 years, ensuring the project delivers environmental benefit for the longer-term.

Work is due to begin in February on the site and will be carried out by Northumbrian Water’s partner, Esh-Stantec. It is expected to be complete in July this year.

Following the excavation of around 40m³ of material – approximately 58 tonnes in weight, which will be taken away for processing, the frame of the tank itself will be constructed off-site and delivered in pieces for assembly.

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Mat Simmonds, Northumbrian Water’s project manager, said: “We have looked to the long-term for this project and made sure we are delivering long-lasting benefits for the environment by enhancing the site so that it can most effectively deal with the anticipated higher volumes or storm and wastewater.

“The work itself will take place on our site, so while customers may see traffic relating to the project, it should have no impact upon their lives. However, we will be writing to customers living in the area at key points and providing updates on the project page at www.nwlcommunityportal.co.uk.”

The River Aln rises in Alnham in the Cheviot Hills and flows past Alnwick Castle before discharging into the North Sea at Alnmouth.

The river has a good run of sea trout and salmon, as well as a population of resident brown trout. Otters can also sometimes be spotted, along with grey heron, barn owls, kestrels and buzzards.

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