In August we were very lucky to receive funding from the Coca-Cola Foundation to install a Downstream Defender (silt trap) at Richmond Park, which will stop pollutants (such as heavy metals and hydrocarbons) reaching the Beverley Brook and improve local water quality and the health of the river.
The project was one of three water management projects being managed by The Rivers Trust and WWF, in the Thames and South East River Basins, for the benefit of both people and wildlife. The wider initiative is funded by the Coca-Cola Foundation and contributes to Coca-Cola’s promise to safely return the full amount of water used in finished beverages and their production to communities and nature by 2020 – an ongoing commitment as they managed to reach this goal five years ahead of target. Globally Coca-Cola works in over 2000 communities and supports more than 248 community water partnership projects in over 71 countries – this being one of them.
If you wanted to find out more about how this project came about, you can read our Introduction Blog here.
Our first report left off at the point of the launch event – with the highlight being the arrival of the lower section of the Downstream Defender silt trap. When we all saw it arrive on the back of the low loader, I think it’s fair to say that we were all was a little shocked by the scale of it, including myself and Dave, the Site Manager.
Despite months of looking at the diagrams, seeing a number in the dimension box, and doing the calculations, the actual size only hits home when you are confronted by the scale of it in 3D. But that was nothing – the following week, the upper section arrived, and I’ll let the photos tell the story!
The Royal Parks had agreed to let us install this unit in Richmond Park, and they also very kindly allowed us to commandeer one corner of the Roehampton Gate car park for the five-week duration of the works.
To start with, a by-pass channel was installed around the point where the Downstream Defender would be located on the existing drain. This would to help accommodate peak flows and prevent surcharging the drain network.
Once the bypass was installed, it was time to dig the main excavation. The base of the Downstream Defender was big enough, but it was absolutely dwarfed by the upper section. This was going to have to be an impressive hole!
After much head-scratching, the Kenward Groundworks guys came to the moment of truth – lowering and offering up both sections of the chamber. The head-scratching had clearly paid off. The height of the inlet and outlet pipes were spot on, and running a spirit level over the unit verified that they’d done a very good job of getting it to fit.
A significant amount of concrete back-filling and some careful landscaping later, you would never guess what lies beneath. The only evidence on the surface is four inspection covers and some disturbed ground, and these too will soon disappear from view as the vegetation establishes.
But out of sight certainly isn’t out of mind. Simply knowing the Downstream Defender’s beneficial effects in improving the quality of water flowing from the A3 into the Beverley Brook is reassuring enough, but now we’re planning to demonstrate and quantify this too. Watch this space!
Once again a massive thank you to all involved. Thanks to…
- The Coca-Cola Foundation for funding the work as part of their aim to help conserve water worldwide
- The Environment Agency
- The Royal Parks for your continued and much appreciated assistance and permission
- Thames Water for all your contributions
- Hydro International, WWF, The Rivers Trust and the Friends of Richmond Park
- And a special thanks to all the guys at Kenward Groundworks who delivered a top job
- And thanks for John Sutton from Clearwater Photography for the great photos
Thank you all!