February 28, 2012

Sewage Outfalls

sewage 1

Many thanks to Ian Powers for sending in this detailed article about the sewage outfalls near Meols:

If you walk along the sea wall from Meols slipway to Moreton, you might notice that there is a kink half way along the route. As well as defending us from the sea, the sea wall was also used as a defence from potential invaders during WWII.  Positioned on the kink was a large concrete pill box which has now vanished.

This area was also the scene of a major civil works project, and those works were the subject of very heated discussion. A lot of seaside towns were seeing population growth, and they wanted to dispose of the increased sewage in the sea. There was much discussion both locally and in Parliament throughout the 1960s. During one YMCA Pantomime, our resident dame Bill Stanley composed a parody on Eartha Kit’s “Old Fashioned Millionaire” where he sang “I’d build a huge Atomic Sewage Scheme” during civic night when Hoylake Councillors attended the show.

I believe Hoylake originally had a number of sewage outfalls, including the Dovepoint Road outfall and one at this location called Crawford’s sewer.

To dispose of the increased sewage, the North Wirral Sewage scheme was created, and in 1971 a 900mm steel pipe encased in concrete was assembled on the grass at this point. At high tide a tug pulled the pipe out to sea over Spencer’s Spit whilst welders attached length after length of pipe together. When the pipe was about a mile and a half in length, it was sunk to the sea bed and buried with jets of water. The striped post in the photographs marks the sewer, and you can see a disturbance in the water of the gulley as it goes over the concrete protection.

I am not sure what happens to the sewage today, but I think the effluent was screened before entering the pipe and there was a macerator at the far end. The sailing club knew where the far end was, and they tried not to capsize anywhere near that point!

The capacity of the pipe was about 4.5 million gallons a day, and the Atomic Sewage Scheme parody nearly became true when Capenhurst applied to dispose of low level waste down the pipe.

Hoylake cine club used to hold an annual competition for amateur movie
makers, and I remember one winning entry was a film about the whole project called “Outfall”. I wonder if a copy of this film still exists?

sewage 2


  1. Peter Watt says:

    Old sea wall at Meols with tank traps and original pumping station in distance. c 1972

  2. admin says:

    Hello Peter

    Thanks for the link. What was building that you can see in the distance …I don’t think that its there today?


  3. Peter Watt says:

    Hi John

    The building near the tip of the promontary was shed housing the outfall pipe pump. The roof was lashed down. The pump was not always on. Pumping might have been timed to correspond with outgoing tides. Anyway, it smelled when it was pumping.


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