Earlier this year we visited the Ashlands site of the new sewer for Ilkley. After an intensive health and safety briefing and presentation on the plans for the new sewer we had a look at the new sewer pipes which are easily large enough for a person to stand up in them.

An engineer then showed us the storage tank that the new sewer is being laid from. Laserguided trench-less tunnelling technology is being used to dig the tunnel at the 

bottom of the tank. The tank is about 8m deep and the sewer sections are lowered down into it and then gradually pushed into the tunnel using pistons. Each section has one end that can form a seal when the sections are pushed together to avoid having to make any additional joins and ensure that there are no leakages.

Once the project has been completed the tank will be covered up, the surrounding area re-seeded with grass and a manhole cover put into place. The tank itself will also be used as part of the storage system when large volumes of sewage are passing through the new sewer. The completed sewer will be 800m long and should reduce the frequency of spills into the first section of the designated bathing water in Ilkley by 40% and halve the volume of wastewater discharged.

Since our visit work on 2 sections of the sewer has been carried out and is due to be fully completed by early 2024. A third extension section is also currently being dug which will become operational in 2026.