The credential was awarded to Bedford Pumps Ltd following extensive and stringent trials by independent research consultant VisAdvies BV, a specialist in water management and which focuses on the environment of fish in all types of inland waterways. The results proved conclusively that Bedford’s SAF range of pumps are fish and eel friendly with no direct mortality observed from exposure to the pump.
EU legislation was brought into effect in 2007 to tackle the rapid decline in global populations of the European eel. Eels are a migratory species and to breed must return to their spawning grounds of the Sargasso Sea, a distance of around 6,500km. Obstructions which impede their journey, such as pumping stations, may be a contributing factor in their fall in numbers.
The EU Eel Regulations proclaim that each Member State shall implement appropriate measures to reduce mortality. In 2009 UK legislation empowered the Environment Agency to undertake activity to satisfy EU regulations and the agency can serve notice where the safe passage is impeded and enforce a resolution to preserve the lives of eels. While legislation is specific to the eel population it is generally accepted that protecting fish stocks is an added bonus of utilising this type of pump.
Eel and fish friendly pumping solutions will shortly become a requirement at the majority of pumping station and water abstraction points where eel populations have been identified.
Bedford’s axial flow fish friendly pump underwent rigorous tests in a dry dock in and VisAdvies performed the evaluation by means of forced exposure of the fish to the pump. Three representative groups of fish were used, in two size classes, 0-15cm and 16cm plus. The pump was tested at a duty of 1300 l/s at 1.5 metre head, running at speeds of 330, 425 and 518rpm consecutively.
The pump achieved 100% survival of eels passing through the pump. The most severe damage that occurred was some scale loss on the coarse fish. This was not caused by the pump impeller, but by the impact of the fish hitting the water after passing through the pump. In an actual land drainage application, the discharge point would be below the water level.
In addition to protecting fish, the new design demonstrates a significant improvement in hydraulic efficiency resulting in an 8% reduction in power absorbed. Consequently the new range will satisfy objectives of eel protection and carbon reduction.
Bedford has just installed its first fish friendly units at a new pumping station in Kempsey for the Environment Agency. The pumps will discharge water from Hatfield Brook, a waterway which has caused flooding to the village 23 times in the past 30 years. The area is home to an eel population so the new station will be the first in the UK to comply fully with the new EU regulations.
Image – Above right, trials underway, above, a pump ready to leave the factory and top, unscathed fish after the test.