A MASSIVE scheme to allow increased water supplies to flow through Lostock’s water treatment works has been nominated for a top prize at the ‘Oscars of engineering’ awards.

The £14 million project ensured that clean drinking water continued to flow into hundreds of thousands of homes in Greater Manchester during the planned closure of a major aqueduct last year.

Haweswater Aqueduct, a major part of the United Utilities network in the Lake District, which transports about 25 per cent of the North West’s water to two million households every day, was closed for two weeks for inspection in October.

The closure meant water supplies via the Lostock water treatment works would have to increase to meet the demand during the two weeks.

A collaborative project between United Utilities, designers GHA Livigunn and contractors KMI Plus involved increasing filt-ration capacity by installing six 14-metre long filter tanks.

These were lifted into place by a 1,000-tonne crane and bolted together.

A huge subterranean backwash tank, measuring 42 metres in length, was also installed to retain water.

While a project of this size would normally be expected to take between 24 and 30 months, teams worked round the clock to complete the task in just 11 months of work.

The scheme will go head to head with other similar projects at the North West Civil Engineering Awards, which are being held at Chester Racecourse.

Alan Butler, regional director for the Institute of Civil Engineers in the North West, said: “The project was on a truly grand scale.

“Space and time constraints presented major challenges to be addressed . This was a real example of civil engineering, ingenuity and adaptability.”

Stewart Tennant, director at designers GHA Livigunn, added: “We are absolutely delighted that Lostock Water Treatment Works has been shortlisted for an ICE North West Award.

"Working collaboratively with United Utilities and KMI Plus, we were focused on rapidly but safely driving this strategically important project through to a successful conclusion within the 11-month timescale.”