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Water Level Management

Fish friendly pump on site at Kempsey

How fish friendly are your pumps?

Bedford Pumps new SAF Range are proven Fish Friendly

Bedford Pumps Ltd will shortly become the first company to be awarded compliance with the new official EU Fish Friendly Standard

Fish friendly pump undergoing trial

The certification is currently still in development by Dutch bureau NeN ( but Bedford Pumps’ Fish Friendly pump has been stringently tested to procedures and standards which will form the model for it. VisAdvies BV (an independent research consultancy in the field of water management, focusing on the environment of fish in all types of inland waterways), completed the extensive trials for Bedford Pumps in a dry dock in Holland. The results prove conclusively that Bedford Pumps new SAF range of pumps are Eel Friendly, as no direct mortality was observed after exposure to the pump.

EU legislation was brought into effect in 2007 to tackle the rapid decline in global populations of the European eel. In order to breed, eels must return to their migration grounds, in Europe a distance of approximately 6500 km to the Sargasso Sea. Obstructions which impede their journey, such as pumping stations, may be a contributing factor in their fall in numbers.

Fish unscathed after the test

The EU legislation “EU Eel Regulations” proclaims that each Member State shall implement appropriate measures to reduce eel mortality. In 2009 UK legislation empowered the Environment Agency to undertake activity to satisfy EU regulations. To this effect the Environment Agency can serve notice where the safe passage of eels is impeded and enforce a resolution to preserve the life of eels. This legislation is specific to the eel population but it is generally accepted by all concerned that protecting fish stocks is an added bonus of utilising this type of pump.

Eel and fish friendly pumping solutions will shortly become a requirement at the majority of pumping station and water extraction points where eel populations have been identified.

Bedford Pumps Axial Flow Fish Friendly pump underwent rigorous tests in a dry dock in Hellevoetsluis, Holland. VisAdvies BV performed the evaluation by means of forced exposure of the fish to the pump. Three


For further information please contact Lucy Ogden: Tel: +44(0)1234 852071

representative groups of fish were used, in two size classes, 0-15cm and 16cm plus. The pump was tested at a duty of 1300 l/s at 1.5m head, running at speeds of 330, 425 and 518rpm consecutively.

The pump achieved 100% survival of eels passing through the pump. The most severe damage that occurred was some scale loss on the coarse fish. This was not caused by the pump impeller, but by the impact of the fish hitting the water after passing through the pump. In an actual Land Drainage application, the discharge point would be below the water level.

Bedford Pumps SAF Range of Fish Friendly pumps cover from 250 to 6,000 l/s at 1 to 6m head and are ideally suited for Land Drainage, Flood Defence and Fish Farm applications. Larger capacity pumps can also be designed to meet specific requirements. In addition to protecting the fish, the new design demonstrates a significant improvement in hydraulic efficiency resulting in an 8% reduction in power absorbed. Consequently the new range will satisfy objectives of eel protection and carbon reduction.

Bedford Pumps has just supplied their first Fish Friendly pump to the Environment Agency for installation at a new pumping station at Kempsey. The pumps will discharge water from Hatfield Brook, a waterway which has caused flooding to the village 23 times in the past 30 years. Hatfield Brook is home to an eel population, so the new pumping station will be the first station in the UK to comply fully with the new EU regulations.

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