Why do we need a new pumping station?

The pumping facility at Wiggenhall St Germans is a land drainage and flood alleviation pumping station. The station pumps the land drainage and flood flows from the Middle Level system into the tidal Ouse River.

existing station

The existing Pumping Station was built in 1934. It currently has a capacity of 70 cumecs which equates to 70 metric tonnes per second or 70 cubic metres of water per second! This is a huge amount of water, but predictions of Global Warming, increasing tidal levels and the ageing mechanics of the current station mean that the operating life of the station is nearing an end.

Back in April 1998 the existing station was pushed to its limits when it pumped at full capacity for over 50hrs straight. If there had been a mechanical failure of one or more pumps then the consequences would have been disastrous. This station offers flood protection to over 20,000 residential properties and agricultural land valued at £3.6 Billion, all of which totally depend on the timely and reliable operation of the station.

The new station will have a 40% increased capacity giving it the ability to pump 100 cumecs. This would be equivalent to pumping over 200 bathtubs of water every second!

Old pump at St Germans
Old pump used at St Germans
New pump
New pump to be used at St Germans

The Old Pumping Station - Specification

General Description of Pumps:
Makers: Allen Gwynnes Pumps Ltd
Type: Double Entry Centrifugal Double Inlets 84" dia
Single Outlet 102" dia
Impeller 95" dia

Arrangement of Plant:
(A) North Engine House (Units 1 and 2)
2 No original units modified 1969/70
Pumps: As above Rotational Speed 98rpm
Electrical Motors: Laurence Scott Squirrel Cage 1500 HP @ 98rpm

(B) South Engine House (Units 3 and 4)
1 No original unit modified in 1982/83
Pumps: As Above Rotational Speed 98rpm
Engine: W.H. Allen 8 cylinder turbo charged
1550 HP @ 1000rpm

1 diesel driven unit (4th Unit) installed 1951
Pumps: As Above Rotational Speed 95rpm
Engine: Crossley Premier 8 cylinder V-A-V
1250 HP @ 215rpm

Pumping Capacity of Individual Units

Static Head (ft)
Capacity of Each Unit (tons per minute)
Original Units modified 1969/70
Original Units modified 1982/83

The table indicates the considerably greater capacities of the fourth unit installed in 1951 and the original units after the modifications in 1969/70 (2No.) and 1982/83 (1No.).

Total Capacity of Plant when Pumping Against Worst Tidal Period

1) 3 Original units in 1934 ..2500 tons/minute
2) After installation of fourth unit in 1951 ..3500 tons/minute
3) After modification of two original units in 1970 ..3900 tons/minute
4) After modification of third original unit in 1982/83 ..4260 tons/minute

Original Crossley Premier 8 cylinder engines when installed 1934
Original Crossley Premier 8 cylinder engines when installed 1934