A HUGE scheme to allow increased water supplies to flow through Lostock’s water treatment works has won the top prize at the ‘Oscars of engineering’ awards.

The Bolton News reported that the £14 million project — which 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 — was nominated for a prize at the prestigious North West Civil Engineering Awards.

The project, a collaborative effort by United Utilities, designers GHA Livigunn and contractors KMI Plus went on to be named the large project of the year at the showpiece event at Chester Racecourse.

After the the event, Stewart Tennant, director at GHA Livigunn said: “We were delighted when Lostock Water Treatment Works was shortlisted amongst a field of top class projects, but to come away as winner of Large Project of the Year on the night was an amazing result.

“This is testimony to the commitment from the whole team who delivered an innovative and quality civil engineering project in such a challenging time scale.”

The project was planned for a two-week period in October last year when the 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 inspection.

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

This involved increasing filtration capacity by installing six 14-metre long filter tanks — which were lifted into place a 1,000-tonne crane and bolted together.

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

The project was completed in just 11 months, which is less than half the time usually allocated for work of this scale.

Alan Butler, North West regional director of the Institute of Civil Engineers said: “The importance of this project cannot be overstated, both in the challenging work environment it presented and the scope of the civil engineering expertise it entailed.

Everyone involved in the project has to be congratulated on delivering a first rate scheme within such a tight timeline.”