Blackburn with Darwen rivers to be revitalised

19 March 2010

United Utilities is due to embark on a multi million pound clean-up programme across Blackburn with Darwen.

Capita Symonds’ Blackburn office is providing highways services on the scheme which involves a number of new underground storage tanks and upgraded sewer pipes being installed across the Borough.

The new storage tanks will also breathe new life into two Lancashire rivers flowing through Blackburn - the Blakewater and Darwen. Cleaning up the rivers will bring significant environmental improvements to the Fylde Coast bathing water while shellfish beds located within the Ribble Estuary will also benefit as both rivers eventually makes their way out to sea.

The huge water clean-up, which is scheduled to start in the Infirmary Street area of Blackburn in May 2010 will take up to five years to complete.

Councillor Alan Cottam, Executive Member for Regeneration & Environment, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council said: “We are currently in the early planning stages for a large majority of the schemes and will continue to work with the Utility company on keeping the disruption to motorists to an absolute minimum. “It’s not an ideal situation but the longer term benefits the scheme provides to the wider community outweighs the short term disruption. We will of course continue to monitor the disruption on a daily basis.”

Carly Ratcliffe, project manager, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, said: “We’ll literally bring the hearts of both rivers back to life, transforming the quality of the water that currently enters the rivers from the local sewer network following heavy downpours of rain. When the scheme is finally completed there will be 1000m3 of additional wastewater storage at a number of newly installed underground tanks. In addition, the installation of high tech filter screens will prevent grit and other debris entering the water course, and a number of new outfall pipes will also be built.

“Blackburn’s rivers will be revitalised and improved for local anglers, they will be attractive to walk along, they will create new habitats for wildlife and they will improve a safe and cleaner environment for everyone to enjoy,” she adds.

During the last five years, United Utilities has pumped millions of pounds into cleaning up Lancashire’s rivers and as a result species were once thought to be in decline such as salmon, eel and otters are returning.