WESSEX Water is about to start a near-quarter-of-a-million pounds project to upgrade sewers and help protect part of Exmoor from pollution.

Work is due to start later this month near Timberscombe to restore the integrity of nearly one-and-a-quarter miles of the sewer system.

The £240,000 programme will take just over six weeks, from August 21 to October 6.

Engineers will work mainly in fields near Timberscombe with specialist equipment deep underground to help complete the sewer repairs and reduce disruption.

More than 6,000 feet of pipes will be relined to prevent both foul water escaping and polluting the environment, and groundwater infiltration, which can overwhelm the system and lead to the automatic operation of storm overflows.

Most of the repairs will be carried out using ‘no-dig’ techniques, which is quicker and less intrusive than replacing a pipe in a conventional manner.

The project continues Wessex Water’s investment in environmental protection in West Somerset, following a separate announcement of more than £12 million being spent on improvements to water recycling centres near Milverton and Bishops Lydeard.

The water recycling centres work aims to reduce chemicals and pollutants from the arriving sewer flows and the discharge of untreated wastewater into watercourses by January, 2025.

Wessex Water project manager Daniel Kelly said of the Exmoor work: “Relining pipes in this way ensures the resilience of our sewer system can be maintained while preventing pollution from damaged pipes.

“We reduce disruption on local communities as much as possible by using the ‘no-dig’ methods.

“It continues our hefty ongoing investment in the sewer system, spending more than £2 million this summer alone relining nearly 24,600 feet of sewers throughout our region.

A Wessex Water engineer.
A Wessex Water engineer. (Wessex Water)

“This scheme is taking place mainly within fields in a rural area but we are writing to customers nearby to ensure they are aware of the project and where there is an impact on local roads, an inconvenience for which we apologise.’’

There will be a rolling road closure to through traffic in Drapers Way from the A396 junction at Timberscombe to Cutcombe Hill to outside Bench Cottage, lasting from Monday, August 21, until Friday, September 22.

Traffic will initially be diverted via Drapers Way, the B3224, and the A396 (Cutcombe Hill) from until September 1, before being diverted via the A396 alone between September 4 and 22 as the closure moves north.

Between Monday, September 25, and Friday, October 6, temporary traffic signals will be in operation on the Timberscombe by-pass, outside Ford Cottages.

Then, from Monday to Friday, October 2 to 6, temporary traffic signals will be in operation on the Dunster to Timberscombe Road between the junctions of Brook Street and Orchard Way.

Wessex Water has written to local customers and businesses about the Drapers Way closure, with further information about the later phases of the scheme to follow in September.