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Pumps clear the way for salmon run

Creating a path for wild salmon in the river Aire required constant pumping of large volumes of water, quietly

The Environment Agency has come to the rescue of salmon in the river Aire in Castleford, West Yorkshire, contracting Costain to build a ‘fish path’ or ‘salmon ladder’ on the river bed to give nature a helping hand in sending them upstream.

The technical requirements of the Castleford fish path project were matched by its sensitivity. The river itself has a delicate eco-system that has recently been cleaned up, while the river bank is a haven for cormorants, herons and otters.

To reach the riverbed so that the concrete fish path could be constructed, Costain needed to pump water away from the area 24 hours a day.

The company turned to Sykes Pumps to recommend equipment that could not only cope with the volumes of water that needed to be pumped away, but could address the project’s environmental concerns too.

The hirer provided four Super Wispaset 100 super-silenced pumps, each of which is capable of pumping up to 45 litres per second.

Getting the right equipment

“The first consideration was specifying a pump that was capable of pumping large volumes of water away from the fish path site,” says Steve Booth from Sykes Pumps. “If the equipment couldn’t manage the water volumes or there were any breakdown issues, the progress of the project could have been compromised.

By providing four of the Super Wispaset 100s we were able to confidently assure Costain that the pumps could easily manage the level of water they needed to pump.”

Sykes also offers fortnightly maintenance inspection as part of the package with all hire pumps, ensuring that the pumps were reliable.

The four pumps were located along the river bank, which is close to local homes and shops. This presented two potential environmental hazards - noise and contamination.

“Part of the reason we specified the super-silenced pumps is because they operate at a noise level of 58-65 decibels which is considerably lower than most silenced pumps,” Mr Booth says. “That meant that Costain could operate the pumps night and day without scaring the wildlife that lives around the river or annoying local residents who live and work nearby.”

Sykes believes the design of the Super Wispasets, with a built-in bund and drip tray reduces contamination risks. “Any industrial pump can have a fuel spillage,” Mr Booth continues, “but the important thing was to ensure that if any fuel was to leak, it did not reach the ground.”

The four pumps were on site for a total of eight months, although there was a hiatus when the summer flooding in the area pushed the river levels too high.

Despite this, the fish path was completed in plenty of time for the salmon to make their time-honoured journey to their spawning grounds this winter.