Kevin Packard 30 March, 2020 at 11:44AM
Following the latest government advice, our projects are currently under review to ensure that only essential works are carried out. The Government has confirmed that utility workers, including the water industry, are classed as Critical Workers in the UK's Corona Virus response. This means that certain people who work for Northumbrian Water/Essex & Suffolk Water or their contractors, suppliers, partners or agencies are eligible to take on this status where they are engaged in our service provision.
The upgrade work at Stratford St Mary is needed to maintain the supply of drinking water to the public. The pumping station is our main raw water supply to Abberton reservoir and although the reservoir has good levels of water at present, the levels will fall with the usual increased water demand over the summer months. As river water levels fall below our minimum abstraction level, we cannot abstract and refill the reservoir during this time so is vital that the pumping station is fully available to pump water once again when we reach the Autumn refill period. Our principal contractor Integrated Water Services (IWS) will therefore continue to visit site to progress the work. They will be operating within the Government guidelines in respect of travel, social distancing and working arrangements and will be adopting many segregation measures during their work.
Progress with the upgrade has been good and we have now installed our new High Voltage (HV) equipment comprising switchgear, cabling and new transformers. Two of the four new pumps are installed and have been preliminary tested but their full commissioning is planned on 7th & 8th April which will give us good resilience going forward. The next phases of work will be to remove and replace the 2 remaining old pumps and also to install the new river intake screen to comply with the new Eels Regulations. The planned completion of work is September this year but obviously with the Coronavirus situation our plans may need to be modified as necessary.
Please be assured that the safety of our colleagues and the general public is paramount in everything we do. I will update this portal regularly with any more information as I have it. As always, should you require any further information or have any queries, please feel free to contact me via this portal.
Best Wishes, Kevin