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NEWS FROM MEMBERS | ada gazette SPRING 2014

St Germans Pumping Station – new UK record? DAVID THOMAS, MIDDLE LEVEL COMMISSIONERS

For only the second time since the new St Germans Pumping Station was commissioned in 2010, all six pumps were run to test the systems and clear silt deposited by the tide at the rear of the station. St Germans is the largest fl ood risk and

water level management pumping station in the UK and is the single point of exit for water falling on a 700km2

catchment, containing

24,500 houses. Its target capacity against an average tide is to lift 100 tonnes of water per second (cumec) from the Middle Level Main Drain into the tidal River Great Ouse, 4 miles from Kings Lynn in Norfolk. Whilst this fully automated and high tech

station has consistently shone in achieving its goal in keeping the low lying fens free from arterial fl ood, it is always good to know what you have in hand. Hence, two years ago the station was tested for the fi rst time with all six pumps running and at that time it achieved 102 cumecs. On this occasion the pumps were able to pump a combined 112 cumecs – more than

Chris Thorpe celebrates 25 years with Southery &


Bill Legge (l) with Chris (r)

Fo llowing the December meeting Southery & District IDB's Chris Thorpe was presented with a watch to mark his 25 years’ service with the Board. Chris commenced employment with the Board in 1988

as a general drains man. He was promoted to mower operator, then to excavator driver and more recently was made up to Assistant to the Operations Manager. Chris said that he had been very happy

working for the Board and hoped to continue to do so for many years. Continuing, he commented that the success of the Board is down to the teamwork which is enjoyed by all the staff .

14 St Germans pumping station in January 2014 (David Thomas)

to good design and also to the decision to maintain the concept of a straight pumping path, which, during construction, meant that the station had to be built within the existing discharge channel. This in itself presented

any such station has pumped before in the UK. As was the case last time, the station

achieved this feat with no complications and whilst water levels close to the station intake dropped markedly as additional pumps were called to duty, the intake path was smooth and linear. This was a testament

several signifi cant challenges, requiring the prior installation of a coff erdam large enough to house a football pitch. The test not only proved the ability of

the station but also provided valuable data, which will be used to assist with planning the management of major events. Engineers will appreciate that modelling data is useful but real world data is of greater value. In this instance, three pumps were run from the mains supply drawing in the region of 3 megawatt s and the remaining three from three of the six 2,200 horsepower diesel generators. In just under an hour around 300 megalitres (one megalitre is equivilent to one million litres) of water were pumped which, whilst appearing a lot, was only a third of the total pumped in the previous day during this wet period and a just a small fraction of that which was pumped over a fi ve days period during Christmas 2012, when 21,600 megalitres were evacuated from the Middle Level system via St Germans.


Ted joined the Witham Fourth District IDB in May 1957, and was elected Vice- Chairman in 1983. During his time

as Vice Chairman he enhanced the profi le

and credibility of Drainage Boards and helped adjust the Drainage Board contributions to Local Authorities. After one term as Chairman between 1996 and 1999 Ted retired, having served 42 years on the Board. Also Chairman of the Lincolnshire Local Land Drainage Committ ee in the early 1990s, Ted was instrumental in the rebuilding of the sea defences in the Mablethorpe and Sutt on- on-Sea area, and in particular, the commencement of the beach nourishment scheme which continues to the present day. Ted’s son James is the current Chairman of the Witham Fourth Board. Ted was a keen rugby player and played for

Boston RFC for many years and was also a pilot, having his own plane and landing strip at his


farm in Lincolnshire – a great asset for spott ing areas of poor drainage! A memorial service was held in Old Leake,

Boston on 17 January 2014 which was att ended by over 400 people.

Thursday 20 March at the Great Northern Hotel, Peterborough


2014 Local Authority, RFCC, and IDB members are entitled to nominate up to two delegates to attend the seminar free of charge. In the case of IDBs the seminar is open to local authority nominated representatives who are on the

Drainage Board.(£70+vat for additonal attendees) 2014 LAS sponsored by:

(David Thomas)

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