Today marks a milestone in the £17 million programme of improvements at the Foss Barrier as the installation of the last of eight new, high capacity pumps is completed.
Weighing 6.5 tonnes each and at a cost of £800,000, they are capable of pumping around 50 cubic metres, or 50 tonnes, of water per second. The pumping station, now able to cope with the highest flows we have experienced flowing down the River Foss, will provide the City of York with an increased level of resilience this winter.
This resilience will be further increased next year when a new power supply will be installed and the pumping station’s operation room will be housed on a new, raised level.
Tony Andryszewski, project lead for the Foss Barrier improvement work at the Environment Agency said:
This is a major milestone for the project to upgrade the barrier and for the City of York. The installation of the new pumps means the city is better protected this winter as we can now deal with the same size of flood we experienced last December.
The Foss Barrier is a 16.5 tonne gate that when lowered, prevents high levels from the River Ouse entering the River Foss. When the barrier is down, water cannot flow from the Foss into the Ouse, so water is pumped around the barrier into the Ouse through the pumping station.
The pumping station suffered extensive damage on Boxing Day 2015, including the loss of power to the gate and pumps when it was overwhelmed by flood water.
The barrier was fully restored again on 29 December with all eight pumps working to full capacity. Additional resilience was provided through the installation of three temporary pumps. These temporary pumps have remained in place while improvement work has been ongoing.
The work to upgrade the barrier is part of a wider long-term plan to reduce flooding to York. Members of the public will have the opportunity to comment on the plans at an exhibition later this month.
The installation of the last of the new Foss Barrier pumps comes during the Environment Agency’s flood action campaign, which aims to raise awareness of flood risk and encourage people to sign up to its flood alert service. For more information and to check your flood risk visit floodsdestroy.campaign.gov.uk.