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Mud, mud, not so glorious mud

Revolutionary machine restoring village pond

A muddy pit at Swineshead is being restored as a village amenity thanks to a revolutionary machine not seen in this country before. The village pond was last dredged by steam engine and over the decades has silted up and impenetrable beds of rushes and reeds have encroached.

In places just a few inches of water remained, but the Mud Pump will restore the depth to as much as six or seven feet in the deepest areas.

Mud Pump Dredging was looking for a demonstration site to show the capabilities of the Mud Pump.. Black Sluice Internal Drainage Board engineers heard about the machine at an exhibition and invited them  to Swineshead to put it through its paces.

The Mud Pump was in operation this week for no fee, removing up to 5,000 tonnes of accumulated mud from the pond, which is known as Mackay's Pit and is sited between South Street and the A52.

The Mud Pump here has been used in conjunction with a Silt Pusher - a sort of underwater bulldozer. The Silt Pusher boat drops its bulldozer-type blade to the bottom of the pond and then winches itself towards the Mud Pump, which it is attached to by a strong line.

Reeds and rushes were cut back and the Mud Pump removed mud near the bank creating a deep hole.  The Silt Pusher has been driving the  debris into the hole so the Mud Pump can extract it. The debris is separated from most of the liquid content and pumped along a tube so the mud can be extruded onto nearby land.

The pond fills naturally with ground water, and the level has been going down during each day that the Mud Pump has operated, but then refilled by a few inches overnight.

Boston Borough Council deputy leader Cllr Michael Brookes, a Black Sluice IDB board member, member of Swineshead Parish Council and Swineshead Enhancement Society, said he was grateful to the society for planning and organising the work and Swineshead Poor Charity for funding at short notice reed cutting and the cost of the Silt Pusher. He also thanked Black Sluice IDB for their expertise and help with the project and Mud Pump Dedging for use of their revolutionary machine at no cost.

He said: "The village has really rallied to let us take advantage of getting the Mud Pump here for free. It will restore a village amenity. Silt had built up so much that the reeds and rushes were growing further into the pond. Eventually the pond would have disappeared altogether - it would have just been a shallow scrubby depression in the land.

"Now we will have our village pond back and the plan is to restock with fish and put in some platforms for anglers, which will also provide access for people who are disabled."

The pond is common land, so anyone can use it, but Swineshead Parish Council has care of the area.

Cllr Brookes thanked farmers, W Laird and Sons, for giving permission for access by the Mud Pump to the pond across his land and for permitting the discharged mud to be deposited there. It will be ploughed in.

Silt Pusher Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window  Silt Pusher at the ready Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window

Silt Pusher reels itself in Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window  Journey's end for the Silt Pusher Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window

Mud Pump-ing Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window  Ducks not bothered Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window

Pond landscape Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window  Mud Pump raised from pond bed to shake debris clear Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window

Mud, mud, glorious mud Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window