Langford Mill Eel Screen Update
Works on the Langford Mill eel screen are continuing to progress well. The lowering of the river for inspection of the area was successful and fish protection was maintained throughout. Due to this success, the project team are now planning to lower the river level again for the installation of the eel screen rather than having dive teams working in the water as was originally designed. These works are scheduled for mid-late January 22, assuming weather conditions are suitable and the river is not in flood.
Most activities on this project are happening off-site for now; manufacture of the eel screen has been completed and the support structure and control systems are also being built off-site. There are likely to be some minor preparatory works in and around the Mill in the lead up to Christmas but the main site works will commence in the New Year.
Langford Mill Eel Screen Progress
Activities on the Langford Mill Eel Screen project are taking shape. This week the team have been preparing the site, installing temporary fencing and levelling the ground to create a safe working area next to the river. We had an archaeologist on site with the team today overseeing the levelling works in case of any historically important finds although nothing of interest was turned up.
Preparations are being made for the lowering of the river to enable the existing intake structure to be inspected. We're working closely with the Fisheries team from the Environment Agency to make sure fish are protected during these works. The EA will monitor the activity, checking the oxygen levels in the water and will assist with moving fish out of the affected area if required. It's hoped that this will all take place next week (from Monday 27th September), pending receipt of a permit from the EA. Further updates will be provided if the works have to be rearranged.
In addition to these site-based works, the eel screen fabrication is progressing well at the manufacturer’s workshop. When complete, it will be transported to site in sections and reassembled at the riverside before being lifted into place with a crane.
Hi and thanks for visiting our community portal for our Water's Worth Saving initiative. My name is Harriet and I’m the Customer Engagement Advisor for Essex & Suffolk Water. I’ll be providing updates on behalf of the Water's Worth Saving team throughout the duration of the scheme so please remember to check back regularly to follow our progress.
This area of Suffolk is our focus, due to challenges faced with supply and demand, whereby the combination of repeatedly warm, dry weather spells, more people holidaying in the area, and more people working from home during the Coronavirus pandemic has resulted in an increase in the use of water.
The amount of water available for us to treat in this area hasn’t increased, it has and will stay the same. We can’t take any more water away from the surrounding environment. That’s why it’s so important that we work together to reduce any water wastage and unnecessary use, to make sure our teams can keep up with the demand.
We are excited to bring this opportunity to this area of Suffolk and can’t wait to dive right in and succeed with the local community. Our plan is to work together with local groups, schools, charities, and residents to protect local water resources. I’ll share more information here soon about our plans to attend community events and I’d love to see you there and have a chat. I’ll also be available to talk over Zoom or Teams on a regular basis, and we'll also be holding frequent digital discussion groups, the details of which will be posted in due course.
Want to get involved and raise funds for your community? Play your part by:
Reporting any leaks seen out and about via our leakage portal.
Reduce the amount of water wasted throughout the day in your home/community.
Repairing leaking toilets and be on the look out for leaking toilets.
And don’t forget, if you haven’t got a water meter, having one fitted also allows you to become more aware of your usage, and the less you use, the less you pay.
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The Blackwater fish and eel pass project at Langford is also progressing. The outline design for the pass has been approved by the Environment Agency and is now moving into final design development for the construction phase. The pass will be located at the southern end of the existing weir structure approx. 130m upstream of Langford Mill. The attached General Arrangement drawing shows the location and proposed layout for illustrative purposes.
Langford Mill Eel Screen Works Commencement
We have engaged Farrans Construction for the installation phase of the Langford Mill Eel Screen project and preparations are being made to enable works to start on site at the beginning of September. Initial site mobilisation activities will include setting up of welfare cabins and preparing the ground with temporary hardstanding for the working area. The grounds will be returned to grass once the site works are finished.
The screen is currently being manufactured off-site and is expected to be delivered for installation in November. Whilst the screen is being fabricated, preparatory works on site will include surveys and inspections (including a 2-3 day lowering of the river level to enable inspection of the existing concrete structure), installation of an access platform, a pathway and electrical works inside the Mill building.
The scheduled site completion for the Mill Eel Screen is February 2022. As described in the section on Planned Work, there are two further associated projects in this area so there is likely to be a continuing construction site presence beyond the February end date for the Mill. As the plans for the other works are developed more details will be shared here on the portal in future updates.
Site Layout and Construction Development for the Langford Mill Eel Screen
Plans are developing now for the installation phase of the Langford Mill Eel Screen project. Currently works are expected to start on site around August 2021.
The drawing below shows how the site will be laid out once the installation is complete. The main elements to be constructed are marked ‘new’ on the drawing.
During construction, the site will be fenced off (as indicated by the dotted red line) to maintain a safe working area separated from any passers-by. The maintenance platform, pathway and control systems inside the Mill building will be constructed first whilst the screen is manufactured off-site.
When the screen is delivered for installation there is likely to be a crane on site for a short time to lift it into the river but for most of the time the site presence will be a few construction engineers and smaller vehicles. Our vehicles will access the site via the existing double gates off the B1019 Maldon Road (between the Mill and the village Hall). There are no road closures or long-term traffic lights anticipated to support the access arrangements but there may be occasional short duration traffic controls to enable larger vehicles to safely navigate the entrance. More details will become available on traffic management once the construction plans are in place.
Chosen Solution for the Langford Mill Eel Screen
To meet the legal requirements of 'The Eels (England and Wales) Regulations 2009' Essex & Suffolk Water have an obligation to install fine screening at our main raw water intakes to prevent eel entrapment within pumping systems. At the Langford Mill, the chosen option is a static 'Eco-Screen' which will sit in the river in front of the intake and water will filter through the fine mesh panels to the original pumps inside the Mill building. If the screen starts to block with the debris in the river, sensors will detect the difference in levels and will initiate an automated cleaning operation. This activates a wiper arm with bristles (like a large toothbrush) that will draw the debris up the screen to a trough and a wash water system in the trough will flush the debris into a catchment trolley which will be regularly cleared by our Operatives.
For the Eels Regulations, the key parameter is the speed at which the water engages with the screen, called the 'approach velocity'. This needs to be low enough to enable eels and fish to swim away rather than being drawn towards the screen and unable to escape. To achieve the right approach velocity the screen needs a large surface area. This meant that some screening types were not suitable for the Mill as the number of units and overall footprint would have been excessively large in this location, we therefore selected the most compact solution available to minimise the visual impact. The photomontage below depicts how the screen will fit with the existing structures. It will be a dark colour to blend in with the surroundings as much as possible.
Construction works for this project are now complete, you can see the results in the attached photos. The grass is already regrowing well in the field where the digger was transported to and from the site so it should be back to normal soon.
Thanks to everyone for your patience during and interest in the works. Wishing you all the best for a healthy and happy 2021.
I am pleased to report that the upgrade work at the pumping station will shortly be drawing to a close. We have successfully installed 4 new abstraction pumps, a new High Voltage electricity substation in a more suitable area within the building and installed the new riverside intake band screen to comply with The Eels (England and Wales) Regulations 2009. All equipment has been rigorously tested and has been running to transfer water to fill our Abberton Reservoir to over 93% full at present.
The Covid restrictions have meant that some minor works have been delayed a little but our contractor IWS will be returning to site on 17th May to complete some outstanding tasks which hopefully will be completed, and their site cabins removed, by the start of June.
The final major piece of work will be the installation of 2 new delivery main flowmeters which is to be carried out by an Essex & Suffolk Water networks construction team. This was originally planned for the winter months but excessive rainfall and high river level over the Christmas period made it unsafe to consider excavating close to the river bank.This work involves making two excavations, one within the site boundary and the other just over the fence into the riverside garden, now maintained for us by the Parish Council. In agreement with the Council, we will be fencing off the working area to prevent access from the garden gate entrance. This work is planned to start in w/c 17th May and should be complete within 4 weeks. Any disruption to garden area will be reinstated in consultation with the Parish Council.
As always, should you have any queries or questions, please contact me via this portal.
Hi everyone, this is just a short update to let you know that the designs for the new eel-friendly screen at the Langford Mill are progressing well and I will soon be able to share some drawings here on the portal so you can see what we’re planning to install.
I also wanted to make you aware if you’re in the local area that we will have a couple of groups on site next week carrying out some non-intrusive surveys so please don’t be alarmed if you see a few more vehicles and people around than usual.
The screens are still working well and haven’t been affected by any flooding or high water experienced in the last few weeks. During January the team have split their time between Belaugh and the site on the River Waveney near Beccles. They have successfully removed the old drum screens and have been training our Operatives to use the new systems. Next up for Belaugh are the new covers over the old drum screen chamber (inside the pumping station site boundary) and there are some minor works to complete in and around the kiosk by the river.
The new screens are fully installed, commissioned and have successfully passed through a 28 day trial period. The screens are operating really well and so far haven't experienced any heavy loading of debris so the cleaning system is only being called to operate on a timed basis, twice per day. We're really pleased with the performance and will continue to monitor it and optimise the process so it operates as infrequently as possible.
The site has now closed down for Christmas but we will be returning in January to complete the groundworks inside the compound area and remove the old drum screens from the pumping station site. The majority of site-based works should be completed by the end of February.
I wish you all a safe and happy Christmas and New Year!