RIDING Mill pumping station is to receive investment of £12m for a two-year modernisation project.

The four pumps at the pumping station take water from Kielder reservoir, out of the River Tyne, and transfer it through a tunnel to the River Derwent, River Wear and the River Tees.

They can pump the volume of water in an Olympic-sized swimming pool in around 13 minutes when the Kielder transfer system is in operation.

Work has now started on the refurbishment of the entire site, including all four of the pumps, which will make them more effective and energy-efficient. The site will also get all new electrical equipment to bring it up to date, including the main control panel which monitors and regulates all of the pumps.

Northumbrian Water’s project manager, Andy Downer, said: “Riding Mill pumping station helps us to meet the water demands of the region by allowing us to transfer water from Kielder when necessary.

“It’s vital that we refurbish this important site, utilising the modern equipment that we’ve now got available to us, which will help to increase the efficiency of the pumping station.”

Working with the Environment Agency, an addition of special screens at the river intake will help to preserve fish and eel populations.

Work is expected to be complete by the end of 2020.