An £8million scheme to upgrade the sewer network in Sunderland and South Tyneside has begun.
The one-year project will improve the performance and resilience of Northumbrian Water’s sewer network in Roker, Seaburn, Cleadon and St Peter’s.
The work, which will be carried out by the water company’s partner, Esh-MWH, will involve reducing the amount of surface water that enters the sewer network in order to free up capacity within pipes.
Traffic management works, including road closures and temporary traffic lights, will be put in place while the scheme is carried out, with the last of the improvements scheduled to be complete by December 2017.
As a result, the amount of times that waste water is discharged into the sea at Whitburn Steel pumping station, and into the River Wear, near St Peter’s Church, will be reduced.
Flood risk will also be reduced in parts of Roker and Seaburn following the work.
Northumbrian Water’s project manager, David Groark, said: “Looking after the environment and reducing flood risk are two of our top priorities.
“We are very pleased that we have been able to incorporate sustainable solutions, such as rainwater gardens, into this scheme as they have wider social and environmental benefits.
“They create green space for people to enjoy and valuable wildlife habitats.
“We appreciate that there is a significant amount of work going on to help make Sunderland a great place to live, work and our work will certainly add to this.
“I would like to assure residents and businesses that we will do all we can to reduce any disruption and inconvenience.
“Our contractor, Esh-MWH, will keep in regular contact with customers directly impacted by the work.
“I encourage residents to keep-up-to-date with progress via our community portal www.nwlcommunityportal.co.uk.”
New sewer pipes will be installed in Roker Park, Roker Baths Road, in a small section of Fulwell Road and in some surrounding streets.
Sustainable drainage solutions, including rainwater gardens and grassed detention basins, will also be installed in the Fulwell Road and Roker Park areas.
Two underground storage tanks will be constructed too, with one in farmland north of Mere Knolls Cemetery in Seaburn and the other in the grassed area between Sunderland College’s St Peter’s Campus and the River Wear.
New sewers will be installed in the Ocean Park area of Seaburn to transfer surface water from Morrisons supermarket and its car park to Cut Throat Dene.
Surface water from farmland, in the Boldon Flats area of Cleadon, which currently enters the sewer network, will also be transferred to Cut Throat Dene via a new pipe.
Jonathan Chambers, Esh-MWH Construction Programme Manager, said: “This is a major project for Esh-MWH which will provide vital improvements to the sewer network in the Sunderland area.
“As always, we will work with local communities to minimise disruption and do our best to keep residents informed at all times.
“When complete the project will reduce the amount of surface water that enters the sewer network which increases its capacity.
“This is particularly important during times of rainfall.”
Traffic management works will be in place from this month until May 2017 in the Fulwell area, in the Roker Park area from this month until August 2017, in the Boldon Flats area from March 2017 to June 2017, in the Roker Baths Road area from March 2017 to July 2017 and in the Ocean Park area from November 2017 to December 2017.