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Securing Water Supplies For Consumers

19 March 2013

Work is underway to ensure the security of future water supplies for almost 600,000 people in the East Midlands under a major project for Severn Trent Water.

Costain will supplement, then replace, Europe’s second-largest covered reservoir at Ambergate, north of Derby. The existing reservoir, roughly 190 x 100 metres in size and completed in 1910, is reaching the end of its lifespan.

Its 110 million-litre capacity provides water supplies for a large area of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire. It cannot simply be closed while a replacement is constructed, explains Simon Roberts, Costain’s representative on the project board.

“We have to build the largest reservoir we can – about 87 million litres – on the space available to us elsewhere on the site. Once we commission this new reservoir, we can take out the old one and build a new one in its footprint for the remainder of the capacity – 50 million litres.” This will give a new total capacity of 137 million litres.

The major technical challenge facing Costain is the local topography; the reservoir site slopes dramatically.

This will require Costain to move some 100,000m³ of earth to create a new ‘shoulder’ to the hill. “We pile down to the bedrock, then install a reinforced concrete tank,” says Simon.  A new connection will also have to be created to link it to the Derwent Valley Aquaduct.

That part of the project will be completed first. The existing reservoir will then be decommissioned, demolished down to ground level and the second new reservoir constructed in its place.

As part of the project, junction improvements are being made to the nearby A610, so deliveries can more easily be brought to site. However, to minimise HGV movements during the construction process, a concrete batching plant will be constructed on site.  

Site clearance is underway, with the earthworks due to start shortly.