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Report - Bigwell Pumping Station,Dowdeswell,Nov 2014

Discussion in 'Other Sites' started by huey, Nov 3, 2014.

  1. huey

    huey 28DL Regular User
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    Explored solo on a cold,wet Sunday morning recently,thought id best write it up...this place has beckoned for months but now I can cross it off. This old filtration and treatment plant is for drinking water not sewer treatment like a lot of people seem to think. I love the honesty of a working building like this,industrial and abandoned.The smells,left equipment,history and feel you just don't get on other explores. Overgrown,forgotten and with huge water damage taking hold,this this place's time must be up soon.


    Pumping Station,wot dat?


    A huge pump that takes water from the Dowdeswell Reservoir next to it,filters and treats the water ready for drinking,then pumps it onto Cheltenham.Or it used to-its been retired and is officially now used for flood relief although in reality it isn't and just sits there deteriorating.


    How Dat Work?

    The water is pumped through filter beds which remove animal and natural waste,pesticides etc. The beds actually have a biofilm layer floating on top of them (a few millimetres of natural bacteria,fungi and larvae) that do most of the work. 90-99% of the bacteria is killed before it even goes through the four foot of sand.The sand filters everything else out,progressively finer sand filter beds and chlorine treatment finish the job.


    Wot Now?

    Severn Trent have put the reservoir up for sale-one person bidding for it actually brought the pumping station and grounds last year. Hes Julian Dunkerton,the co-founder of Superdry clothing who lives in a suitably vulgar mansion just up the road. Hes also bidding on the huge belt of woods surrounding the reservoir so will enjoy quite a view from his kitchen window whilst doing the washing up.


    The non-urbex entrance..
    15454509198_c8417b9b32_b.jpg

    The main reservoir pump and walkway-note the black waterbreak walls behind for when the reservoir used to properly be full
    15505035437_94a00f4e7b_b.jpg

    Main building,lovely sandstone façade and name plaque
    15454658557_9624061620_b.jpg

    Some nice details on all sides..
    15020534433_881b1f2cc9_b.jpg

    ..even round the back.Iron drainpipes,railings etc,other sub buildings on site are later additions,smaller and not worthy of a pic
    15019946624_0f7081ba77_b.jpg

    Like this one missing the gauge
    15638035011_80c8d87ef2_b.jpg

    Some of the filter beds
    15455082890_e2039d0de7_b.jpg

    The mixing chambers
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    Underground storage tank vents
    15455096400_05a4fccb9d_b.jpg

    Here for the stag do? (sorry)
    15455091540_535d5e69ef_b.jpg

    Lovely old valve wheel
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    Into the main pump house,sample chambers on right
    15504721737_577192dc2f_b.jpg

    Enormous pump dominates one entire end of building
    15504025319_788a3ff2bb_b.jpg

    Storeroom-disinfection records dating mid-nineties
    15691495982_c969be6d59_b.jpg

    Nice to see nothing was left behind to rot away wastefully..
    15666186916_054b331e58_b.jpg

    Nice banister leading upstairs,maybe its not as derp'd up there?
    15666252116_274f0cea60_b.jpg

    oh....
    15689934045_2bc6a29808_b.jpg

    ive eaten in worse places to be fair
    15504499348_8063d2140e_b.jpg

    Original testing kit and a few bits remain
    15691513432_3efcae05bf_b.jpg

    As does the main instrument panel
    15689876615_2184ac8c38_b.jpg

    And who says the British don't have a sense of humour? The place next door makes telecommunication masts disguised as 'Pine Trees',youd never know,would you?
    15638003001_2b67e98068_b.jpg

    The nature reserve and forest both sides of the reservoir are a huge breeding ground for frogs.Every June two tunnels are opened up for their migration,even the busy A40 running alongside the site is closed periodically with volunteers helping them across.Its not clear what happens if a frog breaks down on the main road itself-does it get toad away?? (sorry again.)
    These old pump stations are being sold off all over the place-slow sand filtration has been used since the 1800's but are slow.Modern stations use carbon blocks pushing water through at 6000 litres per minute.Thats progress I guess but I really like this place despite the damp,uncertain future and chemicals bleeding into the ground-its quite an alchemy.
    Thanks for looking,hope you enjoyed.
     

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  2. Wevsky

    Wevsky A Predisposed Tourist
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    any access to the underground tanks?that is if there not flooded still
     
  3. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
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    Nice ones mate :thumb

    And i"ve never seen a blue leafed Pine tree before :)
     
  4. Will Knot

    Will Knot 28DL Regular User
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    Looks a pretty decent explore matey, nice pics :thumb
     
  5. huey

    huey 28DL Regular User
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    Thanks guys,ran out of time to look properly and got talking to guy that owns the old mill house,nice bloke and got lots of useful info...have to revisit soon,only up the road from me.
     
  6. slayaaaa

    slayaaaa 28DL Regular User
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    Nice one, looks good. Would love to see the underground tanks :)
     
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