Oldham pipeline scheme is off to a flying start

1 March 2016

Picture of project management staff

A multi-million pound project to breathe new life back into the River Irk at Oldham has just started to get under way.

United Utilities is giving the town’s sewage treatment system the biggest upgrade since the Industrial Revolution. 

Earth-moving work has just begun at Oldham wastewater treatment works as the environmental improvement project gets off the ground.

The scheme, costing £80 million, involves decommissioning part of the sewage works at Royton and upgrading the Oldham treatment works at Chadderton. A new sewer pipeline is also proposed between the two treatment works.

Chris Tighe is the United Utilities project coordinator responsible for the scheme and he explained why the work is needed: “New European rules will mean we have to treat the wastewater to a much higher standard, which both existing plants are too old and too small to meet at present.

“The plan is to transfer most of the sewer flows from Royton to Chadderton and upgrade the treatment processes so that the water we discharge into the River Irk is even cleaner.”

A number of exhibitions have already taken place to inform residents about the plans and more will be held later this year when the final plans for the pipeline route have been confirmed.

Chris added: “We’re planning to use tunnelling techniques for parts of the pipeline to minimise disruption.  When we have more detail about the route we’ll arrange to meet with local people and explain about the work.  

“It’s a major investment for Oldham and it’s one of the many projects our customers’ water bills are helping to fund.”

The project will take until the end of 2017 to complete.