St. Germans Pumping Station
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Realisation of largest pumping station in England
The recently built St Germans pumping station near King’s Lynn (100 kilometres to the north of London) is the biggest pumping station in England. This brand-new pumping station has been built to deal with the effects of sinking ground-levels, a phenomenon well-known in some areas of the Netherlands. The pumping station was designed by consulting and engineering company Tauw.
Engineers worked for four years to realize this new pumping station, which was opened in May, 2011. In order to prevent the agricultural land in the Fens – with 22,000 houses - from being flooded, its 70-year old predecessor needed replacing. The current pumping station boasts 40% increased capacity and can pump the equivalent of 200 bath tubs of water per second. Expectations are that the pumping station will last for another 100 years.
Tauw was commissioned by the Middle Level Commissioners district water board to supply the technical design. The English firm of consulting engineers Atkins was called in at the request of Tauw, because of its knowledge of the English building industry.
Pumps with cast-iron or steel pumping chambers are still frequently being used in England. For the construction of St Germans pumping station the district water board opted for pumps with concrete pumping chambers, which to date have been successfully employed in the Netherlands. They are more durable and more maintenance-friendly than cast-iron or steel pumping chambers. The production technique used to make them, making the moulds for the pumping chamber, is almost like the work of a joiner.