Geobags sited adjacent to Ormesby Broad

Safeguarding water supply at the Trinity Broads

Friday 13 October, 2017

The supply of drinking water from the Trinity Boards has been secured for many years to come, thanks to an innovative mud pumping project that will also protect and enhance the area’s distinctive natural environment.

As well as being one of Britain’s most important wildlife habitats, the Trinity Boards is an important source of drinking water, used by Essex & Suffolk Water to serve a large customer area including Great Yarmouth.

The Broads are designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a European Special Area of Conservation (SAC), so careful consideration had to be given in order to safeguard future water supplies whilst protecting the local ecosystem.

In order to achieve this, Essex & Suffolk Water has now completed a significant investment project which has seen the removal of 10,000 cubic metres of nutrient rich mud, from shallow areas of the Broads, which had accumulated over decades.

Removing this mud will encourage the growth of water plants which provide important habitat for wildlife and will also help to maintain clear water supplies to the local water treatment works. This ambitious project involved the hydraulic pumping of approximately 50,000 cubic metres of sediment and water from shallow areas of the Broads. The material was pumped distances of up to 1km into ‘geobags’ – huge woven polypropylene bags that retained the solid material and allowed for surplus water to dissipate. This was the first time that geobags have been used for a project on this scale in the UK.  The de-watered sediment was then used as a soil improver for local farmland.

Jonathan Thompson, Project Manager for Essex & Suffolk Water said: “The completion of this project is significant as it means water supplies for Great Yarmouth and surrounding areas have been secured for many years to come, and the natural environment of the Trinity Broads is being protected. The Broads are a special place in terms of their ecology and a fantastic asset for the local area, and we were determined to preserve and enhance this as much as possible.

“The work was carefully planned with Norfolk Wildlife Trust and Natural England to prevent any disturbance to breeding birds, for which the site is so important. We would like to thank all of the stakeholders and partners for their assistance and support throughout this crucial project.”

Trinity Broads warden, Eilish Rothney said: “it has been a balancing act to ensure that the mud pumping project – which will benefit the wildlife –was carried out in a way to minimise disturbance to the wildlife. NWT and the Trinity Broads Project were closely involved with this and the contractors (Ponds UK) were excellent at adapting their working methods.

“It may take a couple of years to see the full benefits but already one area, Muckfleet mouth, has been carpeted with a rare plant, holly-leaved naiad and other rare plants have been seen there as well. This was the earliest area to be mud pumped and  I am really excited to see how the other seven bays develop.

“We have an extensive programme of conservation work to manage this beautiful and tranquil network of lakes and this project is a great complement to these activities. Improvement to the habitat not only helps the biodiversity but also the water quality benefitting users of this E&SW water supply. Anglers and other boat users will benefit from better access.”

The mud pumping project commenced on site in February 2017, and was completed in August 2017. Essex & Suffolk Water worked closely with Norfolk County Council to ensure the work was carried out in a way that minimised any inconvenience to customers and the local community.

Alongside Norfolk Wildlife Trust, other key stakeholders included the Environment Agency, Natural England and The Broads Authority. Engagement also took place with community groups, water users, landowners and farmers.

Essex & Suffolk Water, Norfolk Wildlife Trust, the Broads Authority, Natural England, and the Environment Agency have been working in partnership for many years to improve water quality and people’s enjoyment of the area. Activities including mud-pumping, scrub removal and managing non-native species, such as mink, have all been undertaken by the partnership.
Share this

Top news stories

2018-04-25 Nigel and Joshua’s Lad join th Nigel and Joshua’s Lad join the grazing ponies on local wildlife site
Wednesday 25 April, 2018
Two Dartmoor Ponies are settling in to their new home at Litcham Common in West Norfolk, where they will graze the he...
2018-04-18 Ben to go Broads to Brecks to Ben to go Broads to Brecks to celebrate Norfolk Day
Wednesday 18 April, 2018
Ambassador of Norfolk Wildlife Trust and of Norfolk Day, Dr Ben Garrod, will journey across Norfolk on Friday 27 July...
2018-04-17 New research reveals nature’s New research reveals nature’s beauty increases happiness
Tuesday 17 April, 2018
30 Days Wild pioneers action to connect people with nature The Wildlife Trusts’ annual nature challenge 3...
2018-03-29 Hi-tec installation for intern Hi-tec installation for internationally-important fen
Thursday 29 March, 2018
A data logging piezometer system has been installed this week at a Norfolk fen to gather detailed data about the site...
2018-03-28  Norfolk's iconic swallowtail Norfolk's iconic swallowtail butterfly at risk from climate change
Wednesday 28 March, 2018
Norfolk's butterflies, bees, bugs, birds, trees and mammals are at major risk from climate change as temperatures...
2018-03-22 People’s choice Alice Lee will People’s choice Alice Lee will exhibit her unique ‘Flock’ at NWT Cley Marshes
Thursday 22 March, 2018
Norfolk Wildlife Trust is excited to host talented Norwich-based artist, Alice Lee for an exhibition, colouring book ...
2018-03-14 NWT announces new Chief Execut NWT announces new Chief Executive
Wednesday 14 March, 2018
The trustees of Norfolk Wildlife Trust are delighted to announce the appointment of Pamela Abbott as the new Chief Ex...
2018-03-06 Grant will give children a sur Grant will give children a sure start with nature
Tuesday 06 March, 2018
Norfolk Wildlife Trust has received a grant of £7,770 from the National Lottery’s Awards for All scheme f...
2018-03-05  Mass marine death along North Mass marine death along North Sea coast
Monday 05 March, 2018
Tens of thousands of marine animals have been washed up along the UK’s east coast following the cold temperatur...
2018-02-27 Bag funds for wildlife Bag funds for wildlife
Tuesday 27 February, 2018
Norfolk Wildlife Trust is bidding to bag a cash boost from the Tesco Bags of Help initiative. Tesco teamed up with G...
2018-02-26 Badger cull consultation Badger cull consultation
Monday 26 February, 2018
Defra has launched a three-month consultation on proposals to allow limited culling of badgers in low-risk areas, inc...
2018-02-05 Cley Calling Presents: Bird Ph Cley Calling Presents: Bird Photographer of the Year 2017 Exhibition
Monday 05 February, 2018
We are thrilled to debut the very best imagery from last year’s globally prestigious Bird Photographer of the Y...