Superpipe arrives in Blackpool

A massive new outfall pipe measuring over 2 miles long arrived off the coast of Blackpool this morning ready to be installed in a huge trench under the sea.

The pipe’s amazing journey started off from a Norwegian fjord in May this year. It was towed in six sections by ship to Lough Foyle in Northern Ireland where it has since been assembled into one long pipe with special concrete collars like giant cable clips.

Filled with air to keep it afloat, the 20,000 tonne pipe left Ireland on Saturday afternoon, pulled across the Irish Sea with an escort of 4 ships.

The pipe’s final installation by water company United Utilities will take place yards off the beach and just across the road from the company’s on-going project at Anchorsholme Park ­– part of an overall £200m investment in further improving Blackpool’s bathing waters.

The supersize outfall pipe, the largest in the UK, will be used during periods of heavy rain to pump storm water away from the sewer network – preventing flooding of properties, and ensuring the water mixes far out into the sea helping to protect bathing waters.

Steve Wong from United Utilities said: “This scheme will continue our work in helping to improve the North West coastline, which is not only fantastic for the environment but will mean even cleaner beaches to be enjoyed by all.

“This builds on more than £600m of wastewater investment along the coast of Blackpool over the last 20 years.”

Since 2015, engineers from United Utilities have had a presence above and below ground at Anchorsholmes Park.

A new 30 metre deep storm tank, a new pumping station which will have the capacity to pump 14 tonnes of water per second through the massive new outfall pipes are just some of the major engineering activities taking place, which will help protect Blackpool’s Blue Flag beach.

Stephanie Wyatt from LOVEmyBEACH said: “The work taking place here will help improve the quality of the Fylde coasts bathing waters even further. Twenty years ago only 18% of the North West’s bathing waters met minimum standards; in 2016 this figure was 100%. Due to fantastic work from United Utilities, and efforts from across the whole community, we’re now able to enjoy safer, cleaner bathing waters.”

Cllr Fred Jackson, Blackpool Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “The improvement to Blackpool’s bathing water quality over the last five years has been phenomenal, resulting in cleaner seas, better conditions for marine wildlife and even a coveted Blue Flag.

“That work has only been possible through partnership work with United Utilities and other partners and this work is another example of the scale of work that is taking place to continue that improvement.

“Improving sea water quality isn’t just about giant pipes and new storage tanks though, the public need to do their bit to keep our beaches clean, such as picking up their litter, cleaning up after their dogs, and only putting the rights things down the toilet and drains.”

United Utilities work will be finished in 2019 and a completely revamped Anchorsholme Park will be re-opened in 2020, boasting a new bowling club, a café, outdoor seating area, children’s playground, sports area with tennis courts and a trim trail.

United Utilities is a partner of LOVEmyBEACH, a campaign which brings together various groups, including the Environment Agency and local authorities, including Blackpool Council, to keep the North West’s bathing waters clean.