The Chelmer project had some minor associative works in plan before lockdown and in the last couple of months we've been addressing these so you may have seen occasional activity if you've been near the site. There are further works planned for November and some maintenance activities will also be carried out in the coming months.
The eel screens have been installed for a year and have been operating well. We’ve been asked lots of questions by interested passers-by so we're in the process of designing some interpretation boards to be placed on the site fencing and at the Museum of Power that will explain more about the purpose of the project and how the screens work. I've included a brief description below for anyone that's interested in how they operate.
In normal operation the screens are static, the fine mesh (2mm wide) allows water to pass through to the pumping station at Langford while 'filtering' out any debris and preventing small fish and eels from entering the pipeline. When the screens start to become blocked (e.g. if there is a lot of leaf debris or blanket weed in the river) they enter a cleaning mode where they start to rotate and wash water is sprayed from the inside of the screens outward to remove the debris from the screen. The debris and wash water drop into a trough behind the screens and return to the river downstream. If the river debris is low (as it is at the moment) the cleaning cycle will still operate every few hours to keep everything clear and prevent any build up. The screens will also run more often in the coldest weather to prevent any freezing up, so if you're passing site don't be surprised to hear them running frequently.
The screens were inspected by the EA recently and the installation has been accepted, so the eel screens should now be contributing to the wellbeing and biodiversity of this beautiful site!