Upgrades to the water and wastewater networks that serve the North East are in line for top regional awards and a chance to compete for national titles this week.

Northumbrian Water has not one but four, pioneering projects in the running for the 2022 Robert Stephenson Awards.


Birtley Reed Beds post work.JPG


Held by the Institution of Civil Engineering (ICE) North East on Friday, April 8, the awards will showcase the outstanding work carried out by civil engineers from across the region over the past two years.


This year, in partnership with its contractors, the water company has two projects in the ‘large’ category (those costing more than £5 million), one project in the ‘medium’ category (those between £1 million and £5 million), and one project in the ‘small’ category (those costing less than £1 million).


One of the projects in the ‘large category’ includes the modernisation and refurbishment of the raw water pumping station at Riding Mill, Northumberland, to help secure the North East’s water demands into the future.


The pumping station, which takes water out of the River Tyne, much of which has travelled from Kielder Reservoir, and transfers it through a tunnel to the River Derwent, River Wear and the River Tees, can pump the volume of water in an Olympic-sized swimming pool in around 13 minutes when the Kielder Water transfer system is in operation.


The other ‘large’ project is the upgrade of Wolsingham Sewage Treatment Works in Durham, which has been fitted with new technology, to help it tackle the increase in demand due to a growing population in the area.


Innovative technology has also been installed at Lumley Water Treatment Works, which is in the running for the ‘medium category’ project award. Ultravoilet lights will now add an extra layer of cleaning to the site’s treatment process and improve water quality.


Finally, the ‘small’ category project is the refurbishment of the reed beds at Birtley Sewage Treatment Works.


The reed beds, which have been treating both minewater and sewage naturally for fifteen years, had built up waste material that needed to be removed. The waste material is recyclable and since its removal, there is more space within the reed beds for further, sustainable treatment.


Richard Seales, Capital Delivery Manager, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have four projects shortlisted at the Robert Stephenson awards this week.


“We’re grateful to all of our supply partners, who help us to carry out these valuable investments across the region, which deliver multiple benefits for our customers and the environment. Being shortlisted for these awards is a fantastic credit to our teams and the brilliant engineering work that they deliver."