Storm water storage tank almost completed, works at Anchorsholme Park

Anchorsholme – United Utilities Wastewater Works

A major £200m construction project has taken place at Anchorsholme between 2015 and 2020. The United Utilities Wastewater Works will help to manage wastewater and improve bathing water quality.

Phase 1 of the works in Anchorsholme Park was an underground storage tank. Then United Utilities replaced the outfall pipe in the sea. Finally they completed major works in the park to build a new pumping station and landscape the site.

Aerial view of Anchorsholme Park just before reopening
Aerial view of Anchorsholme Park just before reopening in 2020

The completely revamped Anchorsholme Park reopened on 20 July 2020. There’s a new bowling club, a café, outdoor seating area, children’s playground, sports area with tennis courts and a trim trail.

Visit Fylde Coast went along to the opening morning. Enjoy the event and take a look around this amazing new facility in this video –

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United Utilities Wastewater Works Part 1 – The Storage Tank in the Park

The first phase of the United Utilities works in Anchorsholme Park was to build a massive underground storage tank. Started in 2015 it took about 18 months to complete.

Due to the urban nature of the local area (many areas are developed with housing, business parks, retail parks and car parks) much of the rainfall is unable to soak away naturally. The rainwater enters the sewer system and mixes with the contents.

The tank holds the storm water until the weather event has passed. Then it’s passed to the sewage works at Fleetwood to be treated. When the local treatment works becomes unable to deal with the massive but temporary increase in flows, they are forced to deal with the excess. In the worst cases, they can discharge to sea a limited number of times over the course of a year.

When we say that it’s a big tank we’re not exaggerating – it can hold the equivalent of five Olympic sized swimming pools of water!

How the tank was built

Watch this excellent aerial video footage from our friend Quadographer13. It takes you through the whole process of how the tank was constructed.

It’s all part of the work which is going on on the Fylde Coast to clean up our seas. It led to Blackpool South beach winning its first ever blue flag.

Construction Works

These photos of the storage tank which is being constructed by United Utilities in Anchorsholme Park are also from Quadographer13. Watch the video above which also explains how the tank was built.

Anchorsholme Park before work started
Anchorsholme Park before work started

The huge concrete storage tank is 30m deep with a 30m diameter (that’s over 90′ both ways). The purpose of it is to store sewage and stormwater during periods of heavy rainfall. Otherwise, the system can’t cope with so much fluid and to avoid flooding there’d be no other choice but to discharge it out to sea.

Sheet piles in place and concrete rings being added from the top, works at Anchorsholme Park
Sheet piles in place and concrete rings being added from the top, works at Anchorsholme Park
Storm water storage tank almost completed, works at Anchorsholme Park
Storm water storage tank almost completed, works at Anchorsholme Park
Roof added to the storm water storage tank in Anchorsholme Park
Roof added to the storm water storage tank in Anchorsholme Park

United Utilities Wastewater Works Part 2 – the Outfall Pipe

From the huge tank in Anchorsholme Park, an outfall pipe stretches out underneath the sea. It’s a safety valve for the sewage system, to be used only when needed.

The old outfall pipe was quite short. There’s a green buoy marking the end of it which you can see just offshore. At 4.5km (that’s 2.8 miles) the new, Long Sea Outfall pipe is much longer than the existing one.

After being screened in the new pumping station, excess stormwater is discharged through it and out to sea during periods of extreme rainfall.

Laying the new outfall pipe under the sea was a complicated process. There was lots of work on the shoreline while it was going on.

Works on the beach

A trenching vessel carried out dredging works as part of this process, you can see it in action in these clips below. A cofferdam structure was built on the beach, so that the engineering works can take place. 

There was also a new ramp built, adjacent to the boating club house, so the engineers can access the beach safely.

If you’ve enjoyed this video, why don’t you subscribe to the Visit Fylde Coast YouTube channel?

Installing the pipe

Two lines of sheet piles were installed on the beach and the area within them was excavated in preparation for the pipe.

Beach work has to be completed around the tides, so they were often working in the early hours of the morning and into the late evening.

The new pipe left Stathelle in Norway in early May 2017, bound for Loch Foyle in Northern Ireland. There it was fitted with concrete weights before heading to the beach to be installed. 

Making and Delivering the Outfall Pipe

The original, massive new outfall pipe measuring over 2 miles long, was delivered to the beach at Blackpool on 8/9 August 2017. This video clip shows you how it was floated to Blackpool.

If you’ve enjoyed this video, why don’t you subscribe to the Visit Fylde Coast YouTube channel?

You can also watch a short video of how the pipe was prepared for delivery.

More about the Superpipe

  • The 2 mile long pipe was floated 220 miles across the sea from Northern Ireland where it was fabricated.
  • It took 4 years of planning, and weighs 20,000 tonnes – transportation and installation alone has needed the expertise of around 100 people.
  • It’s roughly the same length as 25 Blackpool Towers are tall, or 12.5 of ‘The Shards’.
How the outfall pipe will be floated to Anchorsholme
How the outfall pipe will be floated to Anchorsholme

Many thanks to Geoff Haw for these photos taken at 7am on Wednesday 8 August 2017. The pipe was floated to shore on the previous high tide overnight.

Delivering the superpipe to Blackpool

Concrete collars are used to weight and protect the pipe. It’s towed across the sea in a pipestring with the concrete collars attached.

The new pumping station will have the capacity to pump 14 tonnes of water per second through the massive new outfall pipe. Together with the 30 metre deep storm tank these two new assets will help to protect Blackpool’s beach and keep all of our bathing waters clean.

Damage to the pipe

Unfortunately, part of the original outfall pipe was damaged before the installation could be completed, in one of the storms of 2017.

A short piece of replacement piece was delivered and installed at the end of June/beginning of July 2018. See what happened in these photos –

United Utilities Wastewater Works Part 3 – The Pumping Station

Now that the storage tank and pipe have been installed, works continued in Anchorsholme Park to build the new pumping station.

Aerial photo of Anchorsholme showing United Utilities works
Aerial photo of Anchorsholme showing United Utilities works

The new underground pumping station is intended to replace the facility under the headland at the end of Anchorsholme Lane West.

The old station at the headland was in need of repair but couldn’t be replaced in the existing location due to lack of space. Design parameters have changed since it was built and United Utilities would be unable to build and operate in this current location safely.

The new pumping station includes new structures which enable United Utilities to screen and control water that flows through it. A shaft which forms part of the new pumping station was sunk by installing concrete rings and excavating the earth from inside it, enabling it to sink below ground.

Find out more about United Utilities works in Anchorsholme Park

During the Works

Dji Mavic-Air Drone captured these photos at the end of 2018. You can see that the construction works for the new buildings were well underway.

Late 2018 at Anchorsholme - United Utilities Wastewater Works. Thanks to DJI Mavic Air Drone
Late 2018 at Anchorsholme – United Utilities Wastewater Works. Thanks to DJI Mavic Air Drone
Late 2018 at Anchorsholme - United Utilities Wastewater Works. Thanks to DJI Mavic Air Drone
Late 2018 at Anchorsholme – United Utilities Wastewater Works. Thanks to DJI Mavic Air Drone
Late 2018 at Anchorsholme - United Utilities Wastewater Works. Thanks to DJI Mavic Air Drone
Late 2018 at Anchorsholme – United Utilities Wastewater Works. Thanks to DJI Mavic Air Drone

The Park now works are complete…

Anchorsholme Park remained closed until the end of the project, reopening in July 2020.

It’s a big civil engineering project and the site had to be kept safe. It was also used to store materials during construction and soil which has been dug up. That was used at the end of the works to redevelop the park and improve facilities.

United Utilities and Blackpool Council originally commissioned a report from an independent organisation to carry out surveys of park users and other local groups. This was used to help designers determine the plan for redeveloping the park afterwards.

While you’re here…

Have a look at the homepage of the Live Blackpool website for more of the latest updates.

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2 thoughts on “Anchorsholme – United Utilities Wastewater Works”

  1. Looks like they had to do some work in the rear gardens of the homes on College Avenue. Very impressive enginering works.

  2. An absolutely fascinating account of the work involved in building the “tank”, installing the new outflow pipe and the new pumping station. Thank you to all contributors who produced these videos and accompanying texts.

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