With planning permission and all other consents granted for the Saddleworth Community Hydro scheme back in the summer 2013, excavation work is now underway.
These works mark the beginning of the process of constructing the turbine house chamber and sump, as well as the culvert that will connect these to the stilling basin. Excavations are required because these elements of the scheme will all be located below ground level.
The reason for this is to ensure that the turbine is level with the existing reservoir pipework, as well as keeping pipework direct and to a minimum. It also ensures that the visual impact of the scheme is minimised, as the penstock pipework, turbine chamber, etc, is all underground and that the suction tube underneath the Crossflow turbine extracts every last drop of energy from the available head.
Steel piles were driven into the ground to a depth of several metres. These enable the soil and rubble to be excavated safely, before construction works commence for the turbine house basement, sump and connecting culvert to the stilling basin. The culvert will enable spent water from the turbine to be returned to the stilling basin.
Once the turbine basement, sump and culvert are constructed, the excavated ground will be reinstated, thus concealing everything from passers-by. The only visible aspect will be the turbine house superstructure.
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