A COMPANY has injected £500,000 into a project to protect drinking water in the Hartlepool area.
Bosses at Hartlepool Water have revealed the huge investment for the main treatment works near Dalton Piercy.
They say it is needed to protect the quality of stored drinking water on the site.
Five enclosed concrete storage tanks, holding around 36 million litres of treated drinking water which is around a day’s supply, have had the soil covering removed and new watertight membranes applied to the roofs.
The new membranes have then been covered with dolomite stone to protect them from damage and the effects of sunlight.
Hartlepool Water’s operations manager, Kevin Ensell, said: “This work is the single largest investment being made by the company in the period to 2015.
“The work was essential to reduce the risk of contaminated water entering the tanks which store the pristine drinking water.
“The original tanks were built in the 1950s and 1960s as the town expanded and have served us well. But the time had come to make sure the water they contain was protected for another 25 years.”
A membrane laid on a tank built in 1985 was also found to be defective and this has been replaced.
Mr Ensell said: “We have also been focused on reducing this project’s impact on the environment.
“Rare wild flowers were relocated from the area of work last year, topsoil was disposed of on site and the dolomite imported from the nearby quarry at Hart to reduce the number and length of lorry movements. By planning in this way, we have roughly halved the carbon footprint of the work.”
The five-month programme is expected to be completed by the end of this month.
Bosses also confirmed they were investing £130,000 to replace old water pipes in the Lister Street and York Road areas of the town.
About 1,500ft of new plastic pipe is being installed with the help of Fast Flow Pipeline Services, the company’s specialist contractor.
The work will continue for the next four weeks, after which customers will be connected to the new system.
Mr Ensell said: “As we connect customers to the new pipes there will be some very short interruptions to their service. We will keep everyone informed and provide customers with bottled water if necessary.”