Wastewater scheme will help restore lake

Date: Friday 15th October 2010

A £20 million wastewater treatment scheme in Keswick, designed to achieve a 30 per cent. increase in treatment capacity, will help restore the health of Bassenthwaite Lake. As part of the scheme, a new pumping station is being provided and improvements made to the Elliot Park sewer network to ease the flooding risk.

Martin Williams, United Utilities’ North Cumbria wastewater catchment manager, said the £20 million was being invested to achieve improvements in water quality in Bassenthwaite.

The Greta Grove pumping station will be replaced with a new and better pumping station in Rawnsley Hall car park. The new pumping station will have double the capacity of the old one and a screened overflow.

Mr. Williams said: “We will also be improving our sewer network in the Elliot Park area to alleviate the risk of sewer flooding from our system.”

Keswick wastewater treatment works, Greta Grove pumping station and the associated overflow have been identified by the Environment Agency as having contributed to unacceptable levels of phosphate in the Bassenthwaite Lake catchment.

In May, United Utilities began work on the scheme to upgrade the wastewater treatment works and resolve the the problem of the Greta Grove pumping station.

“HUGELY SIGNIFICANT”

Delivering this scheme will provide “hugely significant” environmental benefits for Bassenthwaite Lake, which is a key feature of the Lake District’s landscape and designated as a nature conservation site. Human activity has had a detrimental impact and the quality of the lake habitat has suffered a decline, mainly due to phosphate levels.

The Environment Agency and the Bassenthwaite Lake Restoration Program established in 2002 to address environmental issues for the lake have been working with United Utilities to deliver the scheme.

The lake has been recognised as being of national and international nature conservation importance through its designations as a Special Area of Conservation, National Nature Reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest, but deterioration in water quality has been highlighted as a significant problem.

No single organisation had overall responsibility for the condition and management of the lake, so a “fair share reduction” approach involving all partners is seen as essential. This scheme represents a major commitment to the overall plan by United Utilities.

John Pinder, lakes manager for the Environment Agency, said: “We are working with farmers, foresters, businesses and the public to reduce pollution and improve water quality. The improvements to Keswick wastewater treatment works will result in reduced levels of phosphate entering the lake and make a major contribution to making Bassenthwaite Lake a clean and healthy lake once again.”

He added: “Following preparatory work, consultation started in September, with the whole project set to take approximately two years to complete. We will continue to work with our partners to achieve the best environmental outcome from the scheme.”