A new underground storm tank will help to protect water quality in Northumberland’s River Aln.

The 30m3 tank – approximately the size of two shipping containers – is being installed at Northumbrian Water’s sewage treatment works at Whittingham village.

The £840,000 investment will increase the site’s capacity to cope with increased volumes of water from population growth and climate change.

The tank will hold storm water and wastewater from homes at times of heavy rainfall, ready to be treated when flows reduce, protecting against the risk of spills to the environment.

The level of investment is allowing for projected population growth over the next 15 years, ensuring the project delivers environmental benefit for the longer-term.

Work began in February and will be carried out by Northumbrian Water’s partner, Esh-Stantec. It is expected to be complete in July this year.

Following the excavation of around 40m3 of material – approximately 58 tonnes in weight, which will be taken away for processing, the frame of the tank itself will be constructed off-site and delivered in pieces for assembly.

Mat Simmonds, Northumbrian Water’s Project Manager, said: “We have looked to the long-term for this project and made sure we are delivering long-lasting benefits for the environment by enhancing the site so that it can most effectively deal with the anticipated higher volumes or storm and wastewater.”