An Anglian Water scheme costing £3.4 million to replace and improve a large stretch of water main in the Belstead area of Ipswich is due to begin today. 

The scheme is one of the largest and most involving investment projects the water company will undertake in Suffolk in 2017, with around 14km of water pipe to be replaced. The scheme is due to be completed by the end of the summer 2018.

Mark Pryke, Anglian Water’s Network Manager for Suffolk, said: “Historically, there have been problems in the area with customers noticing discoloration of the water and while we’ve been keeping a close eye on it and taking steps to manage it, we’ve moved as quickly as possible to get this scheme underway. It’s been a large scheme in the planning, and we’re pleased to be starting this permanent solution for our customers.

Discoloration in the water is caused by a build up of iron sediment in the pipes, although it is not a risk to human health, Anglian Water has been regularly flushing the pipes to prevent a repeat of the issue.

Mark continues: “The existing pipework has reached the end of its life and needs to be replaced. By doing such a thorough job now and laying new sections of pipe we will minimise the chance of discoloration in the future.”

Work begins today (Tuesday 18 April) on Mallard Way from Tern Road to Stone Lodge Lane West with further work along Belstead Road, Luther Road, Stoke Park Drive and Fountains Road scheduled to begin early in May. While the work takes place there will be some traffic lights, lane closures and traffic diversions in place.

“We’ll be using advanced main-laying techniques wherever the ground conditions allow keeping disruption to a minimum for customers,” added Mark. “In some places we may need to dig trenches, but we can also use slip-lining and boring techniques that go underground like a mole, meaning the road surface doesn’t need to be disrupted. Where we can do this we will.

“Work will move around the Belstead area over the next year. Some lane and road closures may be needed for safety reasons but this will not be done without plenty of notice and access will be maintained for residents and emergency vehicles.

“Inevitably, with a project work of this scale there may be some disruption to residents and road users, and we apologise for this. However, we hope that people understand how important this work is and that the benefits of this work will outweigh any temporary inconvenience.”

Anglian Water has pledged to keep residents updated on the scheme’s progress with regular newsletters, and videos and images on social media.