Holy Helpers including a 3rd century saint and one of our priests have blessed a remote-controlled tunneling machine which has begun boring under the A65 as part of Yorkshire Water’s scheme to reduce sewage discharges into the River Wharfe during periods of bad weather.
A small statue of Saint Barbara – the patron saint of tunnelers – was erected at the site and Yorkshire Water asked Fr Christopher Angel (Parish Priest of St Stephen’s, Skipton) to bless the machine before tunneling began.
The story goes that when St Barbara converted to Christianity, she was martyred by her own father – who was subsequently struck by lightning and consumed by fire! She since became one of the Church’s ‘Fourteen Holy Helpers’ and Patron Saint of all who face the possibility of sudden death through explosions, including miners, engineers and anyone else involved in tunneling.
At the site in Ilkley, contractors Ward and Burke are using trenchless technology 5-8m underground, with boring machinery controlled remotely to keep disruption in Ilkley to a minimum while laying 800m of new sewer. This reduces the need to close the road as it lays pipework behind it and sends the earth back to the staging site where it is cleaned and recycled for use in other projects in the area.
Ben Roche is director of wastewater at Yorkshire Water, and said: ‘Laying a new sewer to accommodate higher flows of wastewater during periods of heavy and prolonged rainfall will ultimately reduce the number and volume of discharges from Rivadale CSO, helping to improve water quality in the Wharfe.’
While the work is carried out Ilkley Wharfe View car park will be closed until the project’s planned completion date in January 2024.