Home Transit of Venus Sewer History in Leeds Sundials in Leeds William Gascoigne John Feild About



Leather's sewerage scheme dealt exclusively with the townships of Leeds, Hunslet and Holbeck. In the late 1860's however, major extensions of the sewerage network were planned, linking it to Armley, Wortley, Headingley, Chapel Allerton and Potternewton.

These plans stirred up great opposition from landowners adjacent to the Aire downstream of Leeds, who feared even worse pollution of the river. In December 1869 a Chancery injunction was obtained, restraining the Council from discharging any more sewage to the Aire, until it had been sufficiently purified and deodorized as not to be, or create a nuisance, or become injurious to the public health.

Under this pressure the Council's Streets Committee reached agreement with the owner of Temple Newsam estate for the sale of more land, upon which to build a sewage treatment works at Knostrop.

Many rival schemes were proposed for the 264 acre site. In 1877 the Streets Committee chose a lime precipitation process as the cheapest and most effective of the methods proposed. This method was used, more or less unchanged, for the next 30 years.

The West Riding Rivers Board, which was constituted in 1893, brought pressure on the Corporation in the mid 1890's to improve the quality of the effluent. Consequently, five new precipitation tanks were constructed in 1897, bringing the total tank capacity to 6.3 million gallons. This improvement however brought additional problems: more sludge was thus produced, as more suspended solids were removed from the sewage, and yet the area of lagoons available for drying the sludge correspondingly decreased. The accumulation of sludge became a worry and also the impetus for further developments as will be shown.

The construction of the Knostrop Treatment Works enabled the extension of the sewerage system to proceed once again. In the period between 1877 and 1900, approximately 600,000 was spent by the Council on sewerage and drainage. Construction proceeded at 120 miles of sewer per decade.

5. The Storm Water Problem