Yorkshire Water commits to £36M investment to prevent sewer overflows in Leeds and Bradford

Water quality improvement in Pudsey Beck as it flows through Leeds and Bradford is being targeted by a £36M investment by Yorkshire Water.

The project aims to reduce storm overflows during prolonged periods of heavy rainfall by focusing on six projects within the area, including creation of a new wetland at a former Yorkshire Water site that was previously earmarked for housing.

According to Yorkshire Water, the six schemes will create 18,250m3 of additional storage in the network to slow the flow of heavy or prolonged rainfall, which modelling indicates will reduce the number of storm discharges into Pudsey Beck by more than 20%.

The work is expected to call for a high level of industry collaboration and Yorkshire Water has said that it is working with Stantec, Kier, Arup, WSP, Mott MacDonald Bentley, Peter Duffy, Galliford Try, Barhale, Tilbury Douglas, Leeds City Council and Bradford Metropolitan District Council on the project.

The work will start with construction of new storm water storage at Pudsey Smalewell, Pudsey which will get underway next month. The work will then move to adding storm water storage off Dick Lane, Thornbury, Bradford and Farnley ring road beginning in January 2024.

In February next year, Yorkshire Water has said that it will start work to construct new storm water storage at Kent Road, Littlemoor Bottom, Pudsey and at Dale Farm, Drighlington.

The project will finish with creation of a 4.7ha wetland at a disused Yorkshire Water site at Hough Side, Pudsey beginning in July 2024 and will take three years to complete. Once operational, the new wetland will be able to accommodate a minimum 25,000m3 of diluted wastewater from heavy or prolonged rainfall events. Plants in a series of cells will treat the diluted wastewater as it travels through the wetland via gravity. Pollutants and nutrients will be naturally broken down and taken up by the plants and bacteria within the wetland. The wastewater will not include solid waste.

Yorkshire Water has said that, once established, the wetland will also provide a biodiversity net gain and improve the area for local wildlife.

Yorkshire Water director of capital delivery Richard Stuart said: “We are committed to improving water quality in the rivers across our region. One of the key focuses is reducing storm overflows to make a real difference to water quality in our rivers.

“This project is a significant investment in the west Leeds and Bradford areas to improve water quality within Pudsey Beck. The additional storage and wetland we are building into the network will reduce the number of storm overflows significantly into the watercourse and is just part of a £568M capital investment we are making across Yorkshire this year alone.

“We know that there is more to be done to tackle storm overflows. We are already working on our largest ever environmental investment as part of our 2025-2030 business plan. The plans, which will be subject to approval by our regulator Ofwat, outline a £1bn investment to further reduce discharges from overflows to meet the government’s storm overflow reduction plan, including the requirement for coastal bathing waters of an average of two spills per bathing water season by 2035.”

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