£40 million Windermere improvement scheme announced

Posted: Friday 16th September 2016

United Utilities has announced a £40 million scheme to improve water quality in Lake Windermere.

The project will see the company lay a new 6.5km sewer and upgrade two local wastewater treatment works, in order to significantly reduce the amount of phosphorous in the lake.

Phosphorous can cause algal blooms, which can reduce the amount of oxygen in the water - inhibiting aquatic life, and potentially impacting on recreational uses of the lake.

The scheme will reduce the number of times the sewer network overflows into the lake during heavy storms. These overflows are a contributor of phosphorous in the lake.

Work will include the creation of a new 6.5km sewer to take extra sewage flows to the company's Windermere wastewater treatment works; improvements at the existing Glebe Road pumping station (whose purpose is to pump sewage flows uphill) and upgrades at both Windermere and Ambleside wastewater treatment works.

The scheme will commence in November this year, with work taking place throughout the winter months until March 2017. Successive winter periods of work in 2018 and 2019 will also be required, with completion of all projects expected by March 2020.

The new 6.5km sewer will follow the route of the A592, requiring traffic management and temporary closures of sections of the road, on a rolling basis.

Work on this road is expected to begin in January 2017, and run through to Easter 2017, in order to lay the first 1.5km of the overall 6.5km length.

The scheme aligns with the Environment Agency's long term strategy for water quality improvements to Lake Windermere, and with the Lake District National Park catchment management objectives.

Pippa Smith, Wastewater Asset Manager for United Utilities said: "This is a very important project for water quality in this most iconic lake. Once all our work is complete, we will have significantly reduced the amount of phosphorous entering the Lake Windermere.

"This will be a great result for aquatic life, recreation and tourism.

"It's worth remembering, however, that this project is only part of a bigger jigsaw puzzle for Windermere. Around half of the phosphorous in the lake is caused by water running off agricultural land or from private sewerage treatment systems. Sewer upgrades can contribute a lot, but are not the only answer.

"Unfortunately, the laying of the new sewer will result in some traffic disruption, which is why we are timing the work to avoid peak tourist seasons. We will do everything we possibly can to minimise inconvenience.

​"Ultimately, we want this project to create a lasting legacy for the area, supporting wildlife, tourism and a thriving local economy."

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