CEEQUAL rating of Very Good for pumping station replacement project

CEEQUAL rating of Very Good for pumping station replacement project

Work to replace a pumping station in Wiggenhall St Germans, UK, earned a CEEQUAL rating of Very Good for sustainably-led engineering and construction.


The St Germans pumping station protects thousands of properties and high-grade agricultural land from flooding. The old installation served the whole of the middle level system, transferring all drainage to near the village, where the flows are pumped into the tidal River Great Ouse. However, at 74 years old, the station was approaching the end of its useful life and wouldn’t meet the required standard of protection.

Once complete, the new, modern station ensured the sustainability of the middle level system for the long-term future. It also provided security from flooding for numerous communities and businesses, as well as a number of environmentally sensitive areas. The work earned a CEEQUAL (now known as BREEAM rating) of Very Good.



The Middle Level Commissioners is a statutory corporation created under the Middle Level Acts 1810-74 and 2018. The company operates also under the Land Drainage Act 1991, the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 and the Nene Navigation Act 1753.


Following Defra funding approval for the estimated £38 million cost, work commenced on the construction of the new state-of-the-art pumping station. The goal was to future-proof the station, whilst ensuring as much of the surrounded area was conserved.


Atkins Ltd had been working with the Middle Level Commissioners on the St Germans scheme since 2003. The work was done in three phases. The first, a feasibility study, involved an extensive option study and environmental impact assessment, culminating in the successful Defra application. The second phase consisted of detailed design, pre-qualification, planning and phased tendering (three distinct contracts). This took 18 months, with the third phase of site implementation works, expected to take approximately three years.

The site implementation was broken down into civil enabling works, construction of the new pumping station and the demolition of the existing station. The first part of the civil enabling works, by the contractor Costain Ltd, was the installation of a 1.7-km-long, stone-surfaced access road, running from High Road at Tilney-cum-Islington down to the main works area. This was completed in January 2007 and will ensure that site traffic is routed away from the local community.

The second part required the installation of a twin-walled, steel-sheet-piled cofferdam out into the tidal section of the middle level drain. In addition to the cofferdam, the existing drainage channel was diverted around the works on the eastern bank of the channel to enable the continuing operation of the existing station.

Installation of the cofferdam enabled phase two of the site works – construction of the new station – to be erected in a dry environment. Continuous flight augured piles provided the platform from which to build the superstructure. This structure now houses six concrete volute pumps, capable of pumping 100 cubic metres of water per second.

In the later stages, the pumps, mechanical and electrical equipment were installed by contractors KSB and Birse Water. With connection to a new electricity substation constructed for the station, each pump has variable speed and has a dedicated 11-metre-long motor control centre. They also each have a transformer and 1700-kVA stand-by generator.


The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) survey involved a number of rounds of consultation with statutory and other interested parties. The output of the EIA formed a significant element in the derivation of the preferred option. Key features of the EIA were the traffic management plan, assessment and mitigation of any visual amenity disturbance, the introduction of mitigative ecological habitat and the assessment of construction noise on the surrounding environment.

Summary Middle Level Commissioners


Middle Level Commissioners
WS Atkins Consultants
Costain , KSB, Birse Water
Sonya Wilshaw
3, Sep 2008 | Kings Lynn, England
CEEQUAL rating:
Very Good – Interim Client & Outline Design Award

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