Ducklings lost in storm tanks find sanctuary

Staff at United Utilities Waste Water Treatment Works at Congleton were surprised to find two tiny ducklings swimming in storm tanks used to prevent storm overflows by storing the first rush of rainwater.

Thinking fast, the team made a raft and attached some rope to retrieve the ducklings from the water. They were visibly cold and soaking wet, with their parents nowhere to be seen, so the group put them safely inside a cardboard box and put them in the drying room.

Site Manager Oli Howarth researched which specialist food the ducklings needed and bought it from a local supplier before letting the birds sleep over in his bathtub that night! He took them to a local wildlife sanctuary (Lower Moss Wood Nature Reserve and Wildlife Hospital) the next day.

Oli works on one of United Utilities Capital Delivery projects at Congleton, where they're constructing a new activated sludge plant and pipework for treating wastewater safely.

He said: "The behavioural culture at United Utilities is to look out for each other.

"This incident only goes to show how colleagues on site are not only considering the wellbeing of the team, but also the wellbeing of neighbours to the site - and in this case local wildlife.

"By taking just a few minutes to notice and react quickly to a situation, we were able to save the three ducklings. I then thought it only right to see this through and ensure they were given the best chance of survival by taking them to the local sanctuary."

Janet Kotze, Hospital Manager at Lower Moss Wood Wildlife Hospital said, ‘The ducklings were placed in an enclosure with others of the same size and so far, they are doing well. They will be with us until they are old enough for release to a suitable site as a small flock. Lower Moss Wood Wildlife Hospital admits over 2000 wildlife casualties per year and relies entirely on donations from people who care.’