WORK has started on a £100 million investment in water treatment centres as part of a scheme to reduce flood risk and make the River Don one of Britain’s cleanest rivers.
The project comes as the fifth anniversary approaches of the floods which deluged South Yorkshire leaving hundreds of homes underwater and three people dead.
Yorkshire Water is undertaking a £78 million overhaul of the Blackburn Meadows plant near Meadowhall, which treats waste water from 830,000 homes in Sheffield and Rotherham.
It is also investing in plants at Aldwarke, Woodhouse Mill, Old Whittington and Cudworth.
The project at Blackburn Meadows includes construction of a new storm overflow channel and the refurbishment of a pumping station to prevent storm-related debris entering the river.
Filters have been fitted at dozens of locations where waste water enters the Don to capture debris.
Mike Smith, batch manager for Yorkshire Water, said: “The work will help to reduce flood risk by removing smaller items of debris from the water.”
The project was launched at Blackburn Meadows by Mike Connolly, of engineering specialists ETM, and Graham Dixon, Yorkshire Water’s director of production.
The upgrade is part of a wider investment in the River Don which also includes efforts by the Don Catchment River Trust and the Environment Agency.
Work has already taken place to reduce bankside vegetation and clear debris from bridges to improve water flow.
But Karen Sherwood, whose Hillsborough home was flooded in 2007, said: “The investment sounds a lot but is probably only a small proportion of Yorkshire Water’s budget. We also need other agencies to cut the flood risk, such as the council working to clear drains.
“Investment should have been made years ago.”