Work is set to start on the final stage of a £1 million scheme to refurbish a vital pumping station in north-east Essex.
The Parkeston pumping station near Harwich, located at the lower end of the Ramsey/Dock River, helps to protect homes and businesses in the area from the risk of flooding and is currently undergoing a 2 year overhaul.
The largest and final stage of the work is the replacement of the debris screen, the concrete river banks and a footbridge. New piping will also be installed for emergency pumps, should they be needed.
The work is being undertaken by contractors Jackson Civil Engineering.
Environment Agency project lead Robert Brown said parts of the structure had been deteriorating due to age and need replacing. He said:
The work will ensure the pumping station can provide the best possible level of flood protection to the low lying areas of Parkeston and Ramsey.
Without the weed screen the pumps would block and the water levels would rise significantly until they reached the lowest point of the railway embankment.
We have also been reviewing our emergency plans for the site. In the unlikely event the site has a problem we can set up large temporary pumps. Currently, this would involve closing the railway line, so we are installing permanent pipework to allow the railway to continue to operate.
The Ramsey/Dock River cannot naturally flow into the Stour estuary so all of the water, including flood water, needs to be lifted up by the pumps into the estuary.
The pumps can lift up to 3 tonnes of water a second, so the station needs to have a debris screen to ensure they do not get blocked with vegetation and rubbish.
The work will start in early June and last for around 18 weeks.