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ACE install draw-down siphon at Yorkshire Sculpture Park reservoir - 5th August 2016

Over the 37 year history of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park it has grown to become one of Wakefield‘s largest tourist attractions, which contributes a predicted £5 million a year to the local economy. The attraction is based around the 200 year old landscaped grounds of Bretton Hall which feature woodland and a large man- made lake.  The upper lake is fed by a steady stream of fresh water from the River Dearne, and in-turn it runs off from the lake, flows over a spill way and is channelled back to the River.

The high profile site requires periodic maintenance to keep it in top condition. To carry out inspections and maintenance access to the spill way is required at which time water must be drawn down to a level below the weir crest.  When looking for a way of lowering the water levels the obvious solution was to pump from the lake directly into the river and whilst this solution minimalised the need for civil engineering it did have some inherent drawbacks. Mobile diesel pumps require diesel….a lot of diesel!

 An alternative to over pumping was found by means of syphoning. In 2012 ACE installed a siphon containing baffles to act as a fish pass which turned out to be a huge success. The project was launched to great accolade from industry experts Bretton as it offered a new solution to an old problem. While the siphon at Bretton did not contain fish pass baffles it did provide an innovative solution to an old problem. The siphon was able to lower the water level at a controlled rate without the need for a heavy duty diesel pumps.  Once the design and construction of the 84 meter long 450mm composite siphon was completed off site, it was buried within the reservoir bank keeping it hidden from sight and preserve the aesthetics of the historic landscape.

ACE would like to thank Jackson Civil Engineering and Wakefield council for the opportunity to play a part in the future of this historic landscape.

Water control siphon at BrettonCompleted and buried Siphon

WaStop Check valve offers flood protection at a fraction of cost - 15th July 2016

Flood defence is a major part of Thames Water’s work across the south-east of the UK.

While in most situations traditional flood control techniques can be used, there are some occasions when a problem can only be solved by alternative technologies.

One such example is Cross Lane in Hornsey, north London, where the sewer network can sometimes struggle to cope with the demands of a modern society. In this case, surcharges overwhelmed the existing pipes and were flowing up through manholes, causing flooding to roads and properties.

When Thames Water investigated the problem, the traditional solution would have been the installation of an anti-flooding device (FLIP) or a new pumping station and while this would resolve the flooding problem, the cost would have run to around £300,000 to protect what, in practice, was a small number of homes.

Aquatic Control Engineering (ACE) approached Thames Water to offer an alternative solution – the WaStop inline check valve. ACE supplied a valve that would fit snuggly inside a DN225 pipe and offer outstanding protection from back flow.

The main body of the WaStop was manufactured in stainless steel 316 which would protect it from possible corrosives in the water. Due to the potential high back pressure, the valve was fitted with a heavy duty cone designed to withstand 8MwC.

While the valve is designed to offer outstanding protection it also opens with a low head pressure which means there is no foul water allowed back up the pipes.

The ways in which the WaStop offered huge savings include short installation times and a reduction in civil engineering requirements. The installation of the valve was completed in around an hour by a small team from Thames Water.

The WaStop check valve is designed to offer maintenance-free operation for 25 year, which means over its lifespan it will keep saving Thames Water money compared to the original proposal.

As we see ever more frequent flooding events, the first real test of the installation cannot be far but we expect it to pass with flying colours and hope the installation will form the blueprint for similar situations across the country.

Wastop waiting to be install by thames water WaStop Check Valve installed and in action


ACE to hold Fish monitoring and Counting Workshop in Tain, Scotland - 9th March 2016

In 2014 ACE ran a series of fish migration workshops across the UK. These focused on the latest fish monitoring technology from Vaki along with guest speakers from the Environment Agency, Rivers Trusts and the Institute Of Fisheries Management.

Due to the success of these workshops and with growing interest in the Vaki RiverWatcher Fish Counter, we have decided to host a one off workshop in Scotland. This will once again offer an opportunity to get a feel for the latest technology. There will also be expert presentations covering elver monitoring, cutting edge level controlled fish pass technology and using fish counter data.

The workshop will be held in Tain in the Scottish Highlands on the 19th April.

Click Here to book your free place at the Fish Monitoring and Counting workshop


Vaki Workshop at Cromwell, Notts


Vaki workshop Melrose - site visit

ACE expand our team to include 3 pump specialist engineers - 7th March 2016

ACE expand our team to include 3 pump specialist engineers

Over the last two decades the ACE team has steadily grown in size and experience. We are now pleased to announce that we have added two new experienced pump engineers to the team. Mark Kirby joins ACE with 35 years’ experience in Engineering and Construction, including the project management of several multi-million-pound oil, gas & petrochemical projects both in Europe, the Middle East & Asia. Graeme Stocks joins ACE after a strong career at Flowserve where he built a great depth of knowledge in pumps and pumping technology. Mark and Graeme’s experience gives ACE a greater breadth of knowledge and will allow ACE to take on multiple pump projects, normally handled by our in-house pump specialist, Marcus Widdison. Until now Marcus has been the main pump specialist at ACE and has managed some of ACEs most noteworthy projects.

ACE’s 3 pump engineers’ knowledge is backed up our European suppliers. Pentair Fairbanks Nijhuis have been supplying the world with high quality pumps for over 150 years from small municipalities, to the world’s largest pumping station in New Orleans.  Pentair’s Fish Friendly Pumps are a vital addition to the ACE fish migration solutions range.  The fish migration range also includes the ground breaking Fish Friendly Screw Pump designed by FishFlow Innovations. This not only complies with fish migration regulations, it also boasts several advantages over traditional screw pumps like improved efficiency and reduced civil engineering requirements.

Along with the engineering team our installation team has also seen a new addition. ACE is pleased to welcome Paul Robinson, a multi-skilled and talented installation engineer to the team. Within weeks Paul has been deployed to sites across the UK and is already a valuable member of the team.

The new additions to the team will give ACE the ability to take on not only more projects, but larger projects without sacrificing quality.

ACE installs UKs biggest WaStop Check Valve in Poole - 23rd February 2016

The area around Poole harbour is well known as a tourist hot spot attracting over 3 million visitors a year.  Its shallow waters attract water sport lovers and wild life in equal measure. These shallow waters can also pose problems for flood defence.

In 2013 the Environment Agency laid out a proactive approach to minimalizing the risks presented by climate change and raise sea levels. This led to a review of the procedures and assets presently in operation in the area.  It was found that some of the sites around the harbour where not operational. There were 2 main issues that the assets encountered.  Historically steel flap valves had been installed to prevent back flow as this was the only option available at the time of construction. One of the issues with steel flap valves is the head required to allow discharge. The second issue found at various sites was caused by a natural build-up of rocks sand silt around the base of the valves. This blockage increasingly hampered the operation of the valve. Fortunately the WaStop non-return valve is designed to overcome these problems. ACE worked with Poole Borough Council and Wessex Water to supply and install a series of WaStops for strategically import sites.

One problem area that was identified was an outfall near Sterte. This had previously used a steel 1.5m flap valve. This large outfall had a comparably small head pressure causing water to back the culvert. The decision was taken to fit a 1.5m Wastop with a custom flange plate to form a tight seat to the existing civil structure. The 1.5m valve supplied for this site is the largest WaStop check valve to be installed in the UK and one of the largest to be installed in the world.

The 1.5m WaStop gets lifted into place

The size of the large WaStop meant that the engineers rethinking the installation method. Most valves previously could be lifted into place and then manually manoeuvred and bolted. In this case a combination of the size of the valve and the flange made this impossible. The installation was made even more complicated by the small operating window afforded to the team by the tide times. This gave the team around 3hrs to get the valve in place and secured before the entire site would be underneath 1.5m of water. The Installation engineers quickly decided that hiab lift beam would allow the valve to be lifted and safely supported while being secured into place. Due to the unique nature of the valve being mounted the hiab beam had to be designed and constructed specifically for this lift.

UKs Largest WaStop fully installed

The installation was complete with the addition of debris screen to prevent the build-up of rocks thrown up by turbulent waters. Previously when a flap valve had been installed it was impossible fit a debris screen as it would block the valve from opening. The design of the WaStop allows it to fit inside the outfall itself meaning that the debris screen does interfere with its operation.  One of the widely recognised selling points of the WaStop valve is it pulsing motion. This characteristic forms a natural flushing action clearing silt and debris from the valve and the screen so that operation is not restricted.

Over the last few years ACE has seen an increasing demand for the WaStop Check Valve as its unique design has found a home in greater and greater diversity of sites. ACE would like to thank Poole Borough Council and Wessex Water for the opportunity to work on this record setting site.

ACE Penstocks used in £27m flood dam at Morpeth - 23rd February 2016

The commissioning of the Mitford Dam in Morpeth saw the completion of one of the UKs most ambitious flood alleviation projects which included the Environment Agencies biggest ever dam.  ACE were pleased to have been the full mechanical and electrical contractors of this landmark project, working closely with the Environment Agency and main contractor Balfour Beatty. The whole project was valued at around £27m of which the mechanical and electrical contract was worth approximately £800k.

A common problem that is met by every flood alleviation scheme, is that the flood waters blocked from the protected area must be displaced elsewhere which is why, when the Environment Agency looked at flood protection for Morpeth, they had to re-evaluate this problem. The flooding that affects Morpeth is traditionally caused by the volume of water flowing from the upper section of the River Wansbeck, and when this reaches the town of Morpeth the subsequent breach affects thousands of homes and businesses.

The approach of the Morpeth flood alleviation scheme was to divert and store water in a large reservoir which could then be used to control the flow of water being passed through the town. The new reservoir needed to be capable of holding 1.4 million cubic meters of water which would remove the need for excessively high flood walls being built in the historic town.  

The main feature of the reservoir is the large dam which stems the flow of the River Wansbeck during times of flood. This huge structure utilises five 3m x 3m ACE penstocks, which had to be designed to withstand pressures of up to 12.5MwC. The frames of the penstocks had to be large enough to allow the doors to be lifted completely clear in time of normal or low flow,

Steel Penstocks at Morpeth


Whilst the dam’s main aim was flood protection, this wasn’t allowed to sacrifice fish migration. To this end the second penstock was mounted in a lower position than the other four doors, which would allow the migration of trout and salmon. The five large doors are accompanied by a smaller 1.8m x 1.8m penstock door to allow crayfish and eel migration, which meant the critical migration path, would stay open.

The key to successful operation of penstocks are the large hydraulic actuators which allow the doors to be controlled with accuracy to regulate the downstream flow. This would allow the operators to manage the discharge from the lake and keep flow at a level that would not overwhelm the existing and new flood defences in the town.

As Balfour Beatty knew that ACE had a reputation for completing projects of this scale, being able to offer £5m of professional indemnity insurance, and also having a portfolio which included being a major contractor on the construction of the Uk’s largest ever Pumping Station (St Germans) they decided to entrust this major part of the project to ourselves. The project at St Germans involved installing 4m flap valves, 4m penstocks and 4m wide stoplogs that could be stacked to 11m in height.

The project at Morpeth utilised a wide variety of specialist skills from the team at ACE which included the design of the door, able to withstand the pressure requirements, fabrication, testing and installation and the project management in multiple areas.

On completion of the project at Morpeth, the Divisional Chief Engineer for Balfour Beatty commented that “The ACE project team managed their supply chain very well, always meeting our requests and dealing with changes in an efficient, professional and friendly manner. They are good people to work with and achieved high safety standards, embracing all of our safety procedures and requirements.”

Over the winter months the area upstream from Morpeth saw the level of rain fall that would have previously have tested the old flood defences. This gives the dam and its penstock doors their first real life test. While the flow never reached a point where full deployment was necessary, it did give operators a great opportunity to test the door performance in an everyday situation - a test they passed with flying colours.

ACE would like to thank Balfour Beatty, the Environment Agency, and Northumberland County Council for the opportunity to work on this landmark project.

Aerial view of Mitford dam

ACE awarded OHSAS 18001 accreditation - 11th November 2015

ACE are pleased to announce, that after a full audit of our systems and procedures, we have been awarded the accreditation of OHSAS 18001. This is an internationally recognised British Standard covering all aspects of ACEs Health and Safety management systems. The Audit inspected all areas of the business both on and off site and found ACE to perform well in all areas.

Throughout the 20 year history of ACE, health and safety has lay at the heart of everything we do. Ace prepare site specific Risk Assessments and Method Statements for all Installation works. Not only does this reduce and remove potential risks, this planning process allows for reduced downtime and unexpected costs. While everyone at ACE is delighted to have passed the latest audit, we all know not to rest on our laurels and will continually work to maintain the highest possible standards of Health and Safety Management.

ACE celebrate 20 years in business - 29th September 2015

ACE celebrate 20 years in business

On the 29th September 1995, ACE officially started trading, and now 20 years on ACE are pleased to celebrate this milestone. Over the past 20 years the water industry has seen many changes including the use of HDPE in water flow control equipment which ACE pioneered in the UK by selling the first HDPE flap valves and HDPE/steel composite penstocks. It didn’t take long for the benefits of HDPE to become apparent 20 years on ACE HDPE flap valves and composite penstocks are used extensively across the country.

In recent years the need for products that can open up previously blocked fish migration routes has become paramount. This led to ACE producing the first fish migration friendly flap valves within the UK. In 2012 ACE install the UKs first siphon fish pass, which has technology that can operate in locations where a traditional fish pass would fail.  Today ACE provide the UK with an unrivalled range of fish migration products from elver passes to fish counters.

ACE would like to thank all our customers for their support over the past 20 years. We look forward to working together in the future.

WaStops help to protect Pumping Station - 28th September 2015

WaStops help to protect Pumping Station......

The WaStop’s versatile functionality has found it being used across the globe in a variety of situations, whilst the majority are utilised to protect either individual or a small numbers of homes. Black Sluice IDB found a novel use for the Wastop which has helped to protect a whole district.

Black Sluice IDB protects a large area of Lincolnshire stretching from Sleaford to the coast. This area contains 500 miles of water ways and 34 pumping stations, one of which has proven itself to be invaluable in the fight to protect the area of Wyberton , which lays to the east of the Boston district in a coastal location.

The Wyberton Marsh pumping station came into its own during the major flood event of 2013, when a breach in the flood defence at Slippery Gowt allowed tidal waters to flood into the landward feeder drains. The early activation of the 3 large pumps reduced the damage caused to farmland and residential property, as these pumps removed around 3 tons of water per second from the overloaded drainage system.

One reason that the pumping station was able to operate without being affected by the flood waters was the use of the WaStop non return valves. The pumps can be susceptible to water flowing back through them when left  Idle and this can potentially prevent start up. Fortunately for the residents of the Wyberton area, Black Sluice IDB takes a holistic approach to water management across their district.  This meant that they had foreseen this risk and invested in WaStop Non Returns Valves to be fitted onto the outlet of each pump, ensuring that tidal water would be blocked from flooding the pumps.

The WaStop Non Return Valve has many attributes that make it ideally suited to protecting the pumping station in this way. Firstly it will operate on any angle, which is due to the fact that it does not rely on gravity to close. This means that the outlet pipe doesn’t need to be horizontal allowing much greater flexibility in positioning without modifying the pipe.  The second feature of the WaStop that makes it ideal for this situation is its location, meaning that when the WaStop is installed it is fitted completely inside the outlet pipe, which protects the valve from any damage including debris which may either damage or obstruct the valve.

It is hoped that the Wyberton area will never have to deal with a situation like the breach in the flood defences again, however if it does, the pumping station with the WaStop protection will be ready for action once again.

WaStop at Wyberton Marsh Pumping station

ACE announce 1st employee of the month - 28th September 2015

Congratulations to Dafydd Robert, Sale Manager for Wales and the West Midlands for being voted ACE employee of the month. He was awarded the accolade after a company wide vote. Since Dafydd’s appointment he has proved himself to be a valuable member of the team having had a positive effect on many areas of the business.

ACE supply 15 eel friendly tilting weirs to the Caldicot and Wentlooge levels - 3rd August 2015

ACE supply 15 eel friendly tilting weirs to the Caldicot and Wentlooge levels

Ever since the Caldicot and Wentlooge levels where originally settled in the Mesolithic period (around 10,000 to 5,000BC), drainage has played an important part of life in the area. Laying to the south east of Newport and sitting adjacent to the coast, the area has been reclaimed from the sea at various points in history, each leaving their own unique mark on the landscape. This makes the area of particular archaeological interest. 

Over the history of the Levels, the maze of drainage channels has grown to accommodate the changing needs of the local communities. While Henry VI attempted to manage the Levels drainage system in 1531, it was not until 1884 that a body was established to formally manage the water course. In 1942 this became the Caldicot and Wentlooge IDB.

For many years the priority of the drainage system of the levels was to prevent flooding. In the modern era we have a greater understanding of how these networks form part of a greater eco system that needs to be maintained. The modern drainage boards recognise that it is not enough to purely clear water out. Their aim is to control the water levels across the network at an optimum level with consideration for areas including flood prevention, ecology and agriculture. In the summer months it is important to hold back the water level which prevents the surrounding ground from drying out. Whilst during the winter months controlling that water level across the complete network is critical. The levels proximity to the tidal estuary means that the area can become tide locked; the high tidal waters stop water from discharging from the drainage network.  By controlling the water levels across the entire network water can be held back at safe levels until the tide allows discharge. Since the year 2000 pressure has been increased to maintain the water level across the network when the RSPB established the Newport Wetlands nature reserve. This delicate habitat lays within the Caldicot levels and is dependent on the strict control of the water level.

Historically the water levels have always been controlled by timber stop logs which pen the water at a predetermined level. These stop logs perform a basic function; however they are not without their problems. Firstly they require a degree of manual handling to install and remove which takes time and can be a risk in adverse conditions. The second issue is that once installed they do not offer an opportunity to adjust the level of water being penned. When it came to updating 15 of the structures Caldicot & Wentlooge Levels IDB turned to the expertise of ACE, commissioning 15 custom built tilting weirs, these offered the IDB quick and accurate level control at any of the structures without the need for heavy manual intervention.

The location of the structures meant that any replacement equipment had to comply with the Eels Directive. Therefore making sure that all the new structures would allow eel to migrate without obstruction. ACE being the UKs Leading eel pass supplier were perfectly placed to supply a solution of 15 tilting weirs complete with floating eel passes. These eel passes where originally designed by the ACE engineering team around 5 years earlier and have been widely used across the UK.

ACE are proud to have contributed to the long history of the levels and as the needs of the area change ACE will be on hand to bring the best technology for every situation.

Please Note on 1 April 2015, the functions, assets (including the tilting weirs in this article) and Staff from CWLIDB transferred to Natural Resources Wales.

ACE launch innovation and sustainability awards - 30th July 2015

ACE launch innovation and sustainability awards

Both innovation and sustainability are key to everything that we at ACE do. To us these are more than just words, they underpin our very ethos as a business. Part of ensuring that innovation and sustainability are the focus of everyone at ACE, we have launched two internal awards.

The ACE Sustainability Award will be presented to a person that has proven great commitment to a sustainable future for the environment over the past year working at ACE. This maybe steps to reduce waste and energy usage, or may be something as simple as reducing their carbon foot print by cycling to work. It is hoped that the award will encourage everyone at ACE to constantly think “what can I do to make a difference”.

The ACE Innovation Award will be presented to the person that has implemented the most innovative idea over the past year working at ACE. This idea will have had a positive effect on ACE as a business and its customers. Whilst ACE have always lead the way in both product innovation and business systems it is hoped that the awards will ensure that the next great idea is always pushed to the forefront.

The awards will be presented at the end of the year to the two deserving winners. While only two members of staff will receive awards it is our hope to shine a light on all the good work that everyone at ACE carry out on a daily basis that keep us as not only an innovative business, but also a sustainable one.

ACE awards


ACE team cycle 174 miles to change a life. - 15th May 2015

After hearing about the issues confronted by Seb, a young boy from Nottinghamshire, the Ace team decided to play their part to try and help make a difference to the little boys life. Seb has Cerebral Palsy Spastic Diplegia, a rare condition that affects his balance, co-ordination and muscle control, which  makes it incredibly difficult for him to lead a normal life because he is unable to stand or walk unassisted. His parents had looked into ways that would help Seb and they found that he could have surgery which would help to change his life, however this would cost in the region of £70’000.


To help raise funds toward the life changing surgery that Seb required, the team at ACE quickly formed a plan for a charity bike ride, however they were so inspired by the challenges that Seb had to face on a daily basis, they felt their challenge had to be something extreme.

The staff at ACE and some of their friends decided the ride would be from Rampton in Nottinghamshire to Biddinghuizen, in the Netherlands. The three-day cycle ride would  take place over the May bank holiday weekend and would cover around 152 miles. The challenge was increased by the fact that most of the participants had not been on a bike in many years and had certainly never taken on a challenge of this kind.


The team, made up of members from ACE and West Deremham Plant Ltd, set off from Rampton to Hull on the initial leg of the of the ride, however they found this very hard going. It was  a grueling 60 miles that had to be completed in time to board the ferry to Rotterdam, which was increased by an impromptu detour around Hull.  The second day was again very tough, after having arrived late in the morning due to the ferry crossing,  the team had to push on hard to reach their hotel before sunset but faced further challenges along the way. They had to face another detour due to a bridge closure which meant further mileage. The third day saw the weather take a turn for the worse which meant the team completed the last leg against driving wind, persistent rain and sleet as well as fatigue from the previous two days of riding.

At the end of the third and final day the team had racked up an impressive 174 miles in the saddle, a feat that many of them would never  have imagined a few months earlier


After a long and grueling  weekend the team where greeted by the news that they had smashed the £3,000 fundraising target after great generosity from the many sponsors and well-wishers. Donations can still be placed by visiting

ACE would like to thank everyone for their great generosity  and support towards the Charity Bike Ride

ACE play their part in making Ruthin Weir fish and eel friendly - 24th April 2015

The town of Ruthin in North Wales sits on the banks of the River Clwyd. For many years the large concrete weir installed to control the level of the river, formed a barrier to fish migration severely limiting fish stocks upstream. In 2009 a concrete fish pass was constructed to relieve this problem. While this structure has increased the number of trout and salmon moving upstream, this is only part of the story as there was still a restriction for eel passage.

Over 3 decades the numbers of eels in British waterways has dropped by around 95%. Now down to the work of the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales this decline is being reversed. The work at Ruthin weir is a great example of the efforts across the country to help boost the eel population.  Prior to the work a 12-mile stretch of the River Clwyd was inaccessible to migrating eels. This stretch proves to be a critical area as it provides access to many of the rivers small tributaries forming a large expanse of habitat.

In 2014, Natural Resources Wales approached ACE to design, manufacture and install an eel pass capable of over coming the issues at the site. The first stage was to take a series of accurate measurements allowing the engineering team to produce a fully rendered computer model of the site. This allowed the team to tailor the design to the specific site and minimise any issues that may arise in installation. The eel pass design took the form of a 30-meter channel manufactured from high quality HDPE. This channel formed the housing for ACEs’ tried and tested substrate brush. The eel pass was fed by an electric pump, which is calibrated to allow the correct amount of water to flow over the brush allowing the eels to pass. The pass was finished with anti-vandalism galvanised steel covers, keeping the structure free from damage for years to come.

The installation programme for the project took careful planning as adverse weather conditions meant that at points access would become hazardous. Therefore the installation had to be worked into times of low flow. After the installation a representative from Natural Resources Wales praised the ACE team for their initiative, which lead to the project running smoothly. The final stage of the eel pass will be to install a camera system inside the pass. This will show the effect that the new pass is having upon eel migration. ACE would like to thank Natural Resources Wales for helping make this project a success.


Ruthin weir eel pass - Designed and rendered proir to manufacture.


Ruthin weir eel pass - Installation


Ruthin weir eel pass - Completion


Testing the new sliding steel flood doors at Kinmel Bay after their installation - 24th April 2015

Kinmel Bay is situated on the north-east coast of Wales and is a suburb of Rhyl. The area is home to many residents as well as being popular with tourists.

In 2013 the area suffered from flooding as the high tidal waters pushed up the beach and through the low flood wall. To prevent these scenes from repeating ACE were commission to design and install a flood door that could be deployed at a moment notice but still allow access to the beach for emergency vehicles. The result was a robust coated steel flood door complete with a running track. When testing the ACE team found that the doors operation was so smooth it could be closed with one hand!


Innovative technology help fish swim free near Inverness - 27th February 2015

The Innovative fish pass that ACE stalled at Loch Duntelchaig has become a land mark project for Scottish Water. This is what they said about it:

Revolutionary technology and a large dose of innovative thinking are at the heart of a recently completed, cutting edge Scottish Water project. The installation of a new tilting weir fish pass has been critical in not only securing the water supply to customers in Inverness but is also protecting the migration patterns and survival of migrating fish passing through Loch Duntelchaig in Inverness-shire.

There were a number of challenges associated with this project, namely the tight turnaround time associated with the construction programme. The work had to be completed by the end of September 2014 – meeting this deadline was absolutely essential to ensure fish populations were not impacted due to construction work that could have prevented migration or the release of sediment into their habitat.

The utility’s project team used their expertise in the field of water resource management and embraced the latest technology to come up with a solution that would effectively meet both the business need to complete the job quickly, efficiently and cost effectively and the environmental needs of the migrating fish population. This came in the form of strong partnership working with a company that are promoting the benefits of ‘Greenbox’ technology and applying its capabilities to tilting weir technology.

The Greenbox is essentially an actuator, level sensor, solar panel, battery pack and control panel in a single, off-the-shelf unit which powers and moves the tilting weirs into the correct position, ensuring that fish passage can be maintained throughout the full operating range of the loch. It helped make savings in three ways; it removed the need for expensive cables to be laid or wind/ solar solutions installed to power the weirs, there was no requirement for the manufacture of a bespoke control panel and there was no need to use traditional actuators.

Caroline Olbert, from Scottish Water’s Water Resource Team, says the team faced many challenges: “Our task was to look at ways we could improve the security of supply to our customers in the Inverness area, as well as making an improvement to fish passage at the loch. We looked at a number of different solutions but none was as innovative and comprehensively beneficial as the one we settled on.”

“At the fish pass fixed concrete walls were replaced with tilting weirs that are adjusted to match the water level in the loch. Fish passes are often designed to work at particular water levels but at Loch Duntelchaig parts of the pass now move with the changing water levels, meaning that the pools and weirs are always at their optimum level to allow fish to move upstream. The inflexibility of the old fish pass meant that less water was available for use by customers during dry weather, as the loch had to be maintained at a higher level to allow fish to continue to use it.”

Control over the weirs came in the form of a Greenbox – a standalone unit, designed to sense water levels and adjust the position of the weir. These weirs were also custom built to include a V shaped notch to allow safe fish passage.

Hugh MacPherson, Scottish Water’s Project Manager for the project, said: “This fish pass is unsurpassed in terms of how innovative the technology behind it actually is. It is the first tilting weir fish pass of its kind in the UK and, possibly, Europe. Cost has also been a great win for the team in that the whole project would have been a lot more expensive if it hadn’t been for the Greenbox.

“A new standard has been set and the hope is that this concept will be replicated in the future at various reservoirs and lakes where the water levels fluctuate too much for a normal fixed pass.”

ACE Penstock protects homes in Lydney - 9th February 2015

There has been a ‘significant risk’ of flooding associated with the historic port town of  Lydney over many years, as it is an associated with the River Severn Tidal Estuary and located at the bottom of a catchment which is susceptible to changes in water level. In 2007 flooding reached its pinnacle when high water levels brought misery to the small community.

Whilst the Environment Agency has provided a Flood Alleviation Scheme increasing the level of protection from the Tidal Estuary and main River Lyd, there has still been a significant risk of flooding from a number of other critical ordinary watercourses which flow into Lydney from the upper catchment. This can be further exacerbated when a tide locked scenario occurs.  With prolonged spells of localised rainfall, these watercourses fill quickly, and, unable to discharge into the tidal estuary, they can contribute to the flooding of properties within the built up residential areas of Lydney.

The Forest of Dean Council contacted ACE to discuss water flow control ideas for a particular watercourse originating upstream of Lydney which had historically been linked with flooding of property downstream. ACE was able to offer a 1.2m penstock and fill any gaps, to alleviate the risk of flooding downstream by helping to control and attenuate the water upstream of the main A48 Lydney Bypass. By installing this penstock upstream of the road, culvert water could be held back in this low flood consequence area when Lydney was subjected to the risk of flooding. 

When mounting the penstock a small channel was dug out to allow it to be recessed into the ground. This meant the penstock opening was flush with the base of the channel so no water or silt could build up in the culvert. Within a few weeks of installation, the penstock was being put to the test as water levels rose to potentially dangerous levels completely immersing the penstocks door; however the penstock was successful in reducing the flow of water to a level that could be transported by the drainage network.

By providing this low cost sustainable level of control with low maintenance solution,  ACE has been able to contribute towards the Forest of Dean Councils overall efforts in reducing the risk of flooding to the residents of Lydney.

ACE would like to thank Forest of Dean District Council and the residents of Lyndey for helping make this project a success.



ACE and West Dereham Plant Ltd 152 mile bicycle ride to change the life of a youngster. - 5th February 2015

Over the May bank holiday a team consisting of representatives from ACE and West Dereham Plant Ltd will be cycling from the ACE offices in Rampton, Notts to the KWT offices and factory in Biddinghuizen, The Netherlands. The team are hoping to raise money in order to help fund life changing surgery for Seb, a 2 year old boy, allowing him to live a full and active life.

Seb has Cerebral Palsy Spastic Diplegia, which means he has difficulties with muscle control, balance and coordination. The spasticity in his legs makes them stiff and rigid so that simple things such as crawling and even sitting are very difficult for him. He is unable to stand or walk independently, therefore his life will be full of immense physical challenges and frustrations.

The team taking on the challenge will consist of cyclists with varying abilities from keen amateur cyclists to those who have not been on a bike in years. The aim is to complete the 152 mile ride in just 3 days which will mean an intense training schedule for all the riders taking part.

If you would like to help the team raise their total please visit Together we can change a life.

ACE supply an eel pass a week over the past year - 26th January 2015

ACE are please to announce that since the fantastic article was published almost a year ago. ACE have supplied on average one eel pass a week. This can only be a sign that the raised profile of the plight of the eel in the UK has started to have a real effect on their conservation.

Eel Passes

February 27, 2014

By Gareth Jones, Fisheries Scientist

Back in 2009 the EA reported that eel numbers had declined by up to 95% nationally over a 25 year period, mainly the result of over-exploitation, entrainment and habitat loss. The ability of their population to recover is constrained because they are a long lived species living up to 4o years and their complex life history. Juvenile eels, called elvers, passively venture on to our shores utilising North Atlantic Ocean currents from their spawning areas in the Sargasso Sea, near Bermuda. In early summer they arrive at the estuary and with a high tide enter into freshwater where they will reside in order to feed and mature. As they build up their fat reserves they reach maturity before metamorphosing into silver eels and completing their migratory loop back to the Sargasso. Little is known about their return migration and they remain enigmatic.

Eels also present important prey items within the wide riverine ecosystem and are revered prey for otters. In response to the challenges of eel population decline the Sustainable Eel Group was formed in the UK, tasked with reaching the common objectives of the EU Eel Regulations across a broad range of Fisheries related bodies. The SEG are now committed towards improving access to an additional 3500 hectares of habitat and past 684 barriers by 2021.

Throughout of the Trust’s survey programme of electrofishing we have learnt that eels extend across the Calder, Hodder and Ribble catchments and in some surprisingly urban places. Their distribution is limited in the headwaters of the Hodder and Ribble with their migratory path is being obstructed. The Environment Agency in partnership with the RRT has sought to extend the accessibility of the river network to elvers to aid in their development by targeting their existing assets, namely hydrometry station weirs. These weirs were originally conceived to aid in the measurement of water flows and levels and continue to function for this purpose. Unfortunately, they also present significant barriers to fish due to their gradient, shape and change in flow type. Fish species with reduced swimming abilities such as elvers are particularly constrained and so a solution was sought…

ACE engineering have developed a bypass channel, through which water is pumped and elvers can circumnavigate weirs. The pumps are solar powered to ensure water to driven through all sections of the pass ensuring that the pass is fully immersed. The pumps are programmed to switch on when night falls to coincide with the typical migration timing of the elvers. To reduce exposure to predators elvers also swim close to the banks of the river, hence the entrance to the pass is positioned parallel to. On reaching the entrance the elvers wind their bodies around the upward facing bristles to move up and over the weir, finishing upstream of the barrier. Although elvers and eels can move distances overland the pump create a constant water flow to assist free swimming.

New elver passes have now been erected on the wing walls by weirs on Croasdale beck (at the top of the Hodder) and on the main stem Ribble at Henthorn (otherwise known as Mitton weir) during the course of the winter and were completed in February. The passes dovetail with earlier installations that were completed further upriver on Settle and Langcliffe weirs. The cumulative effect of these passes now eases migratory access right through to the Ribble’s headwaters.

The passes represent two of the steepest and longest installations ACE have constructed and we will be monitoring their success through capturing video footage inside the pass come the time of the 2014 elver migration. The project is boosted by the news that last year’s run was the best recorded for 20 years so it is hoped adult eels will be observed across upper catchment sites soon.

Henthorn hydrometry weir before (lower) and after (upper) the elver pass installation.

Croasdale Before (Left) and after (Right) the elver pass installation

ACE in-house experience reaches 130 Year milestone. - 29th October 2014

ACE are pleased to announce that they have reached a new milestone of 130 years in-house experience. We have always been proud of our knowledge and experience as we feel it separates us from many of our less established competitors. The 130 years accumulative experience really show how Aquatic Control Engineering have become established as ACE the market leader in Water Flow control equipment.

Over the past 20 years the water industry has seen many changes, and the challenges faced by those working with water seem to get greater by the day.  The past two decades have also seen huge changes at ACE, the industry leader in water flow control and maintenance equipment.

ACE was established in 1995 to bring the latest water flow control technology from the Netherlands to the UK, and have built up a reputation for being a knowledge centre for water flow control, waterway maintenance and fish migration solutions. We have also become renowned for being the UKs original supplier of HDPE Flap Valves, tilting weirs and maintenance free penstocks.

As the reputation of ACE has spread the team here has grown, searching out key personnel from throughout the water industry. A great example of this is when Dafydd Roberts, joined ACE, after holding a series of key positions within Natural Resources Wales for around 20 years. Dafydd has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the design & delivery of coastal and inland water based engineering projects, and since joining ACE early in 2014 he has focused on projects based across Wales and the West Midlands. When talking about his position at ACE Dafydd commented “I have been using products from ACE for many years and know they are top quality.”.

As ACE have grown over the years the number of customers requiring products to be installed has increased significantly, so to help meet this demand, earlier this year ACE appointed Ryan Bruinsma to the installation team. Ryans existing experience in the water industry adds to the wealth of experience that is already present in the ACE installation team.

Whilst investment in expansion is important it is also important to remember that the existing staff can also offer the highest level of knowledge. To make sure of this, the entire team at ACE undergo regular training on all areas of their work.

Having an experienced team in the supply of water flow control equipment and fish migration solutions would mean nothing without the facilities to back them up. ACE have always invested in using the latest equipment and techniques, whether it’s the state of the art design software or new installation techniques to deliver professional results. As part of this investment, construction of a new warehouse / workshop facility is underway at the ACE site. When completed this will give an additional 320m2 of available storage allowing ACE to provide a wider range of HDPE flap valves, penstocks and WaStops from stock enabling them to deliver these at short notice without suffering extended lead times.

11 Non return valves installed in a day and a half. - 16th October 2014

Fazeley in Warwickshire is a high profile site with a risk of flooding , which was particularly highlighted when in 2007 when 150 properties and the Coleshill Road were badly flooded. Over the past few years property development in Fazeley has increased therefore the number of properties at risk of flooding has risen to 216. One of the main issues that the area suffered from with the 2007 flooding, was the back flow from sewers as they struggled to cope with the sheer volume of water.

The traditional method of controlling water flow would have involved a major civil engineering project. This would have meant headwalls would need to have been cast to accommodate a Penstock or Flap Valve; however as many of the locations had physical constraints it would make casting a headwall very difficult, therefore another solution had to be found. These restrictions made the site perfectly suited to the WaStop In-line Check valve, which has been designed to offer reliable flood protection where a flap valve cannot operate.

A critical feature of the Coleshill site was an outlet into the river, and at times of flooding this represented a major risk, therefore the site required a double line of defenses to be installed.  The conventional method of achieving this would have involved removing a section of the existing pipe, along and excavating both sides of the floodwall so that a headwall could be fitted with flap valve.  To have done this a vital access road would need have been temporarily closed, causing issues for local residents. The second line of defense would have been provided by a penstock, and whilst a penstock acts as a very secure flood defense it is reliant on an operator being present to manually close it. This would have meant a member of staff being available 24hrs a day to close the penstock in potentially bad weather conditions.

Jackson Civil Engineering and ACE worked together to design an innovative idea that would avoid those problems. The solution was to create a cartridge with a pair of Wastop pre-mounted inside, which when slid into the existing pipe a tight seal would form. This design completely removed the need to dig up the road and had the added benefit of being easy to remove for inspection.

The reduction in civil engineering works meant the costs and installation time were also dramatically reduced and the Wastop’s robust nature means that the flood defence will offer a reliable operation without maintenance for years to come.

In total ACE installed 11 WaStop Non Return Valves of varying sizes, which were fitted directly into the sewer pipes at critical points, preventing storm water from passing back into homes. Even with the great level of experience that the Installation team at ACE possess, they would normally allow themselves around half a day to install a reasonable sized flap valve. This would mean to install and test 11 non-return valves would be a major under taking, however the greatly reduced civil engineering works meant  that all 11 non return valves were installed within one and half days.  Whilst the majority of locations for the check valves where straight-forward, a few needed clearing of excess concrete to allow the valves to be securely fitted, and Jackson Civil also constructed a number of new access chambers to accommodate new Non Return Valves. Even with these minor complications and the fact that many of the installations required Confined Space Entry Skills, the comparatively low installation time meant the solution was not only reliable but also cost effective.


On completion of the project whereby ACE was employed as a sub-contractor, a representative from Jackson Civil Engineering praised the level of knowledge and experience of the ACE staff and their clear communication with all parties involved in the project.


Coleshill Road, Fazeley - Double line of defence in a cartridge - 16th October 2014

A critical feature of the Coleshill site was an outlet into the river, and at times of flooding this represented a major risk, therefore the site required a double line of defenses to be installed. The conventional method of achieving this would have involved removing a section of the existing pipe, along and excavating both sides of the floodwall so that a headwall could be fitted with flap valve. To have done this a vital access road would need have been temporarily closed, causing issues for local residents. The second line of defense would have been provided by a penstock, and whilst a penstock acts as a very secure flood defense it is reliant on an operator being present to manually close it. This would have meant a member of staff being available 24hrs a day to close the penstock in potentially bad weather conditions.

Jackson Civil Engineering and ACE worked together to design an innovative idea that would avoid those problems. The solution was to create a cartridge with a pair of Wastop pre-mounted inside, which when slid into the existing pipe a tight seal would form. This design completely removed the need to dig up the road and had the added benefit of being easy to remove for inspection.

The reduction in civil engineering works meant the costs and installation time were also dramatically reduced and the Wastop’s robust nature means that the flood defence will offer a reliable operation without maintenance for years to come.

An exceptionally early arrival of large numbers of elvers and eels has been recorded at the new Wiggenhall St Germans Pumping Station elver pass near Kings Lynn. - 18th July 2014

After decades of very poor numbers of young eels returning from their breeding grounds in the Sargasso Sea, a significant improvement has been recorded in 2014 at many sites around the UK. At the new Wiggenhall St Germans Pumping Station, the second largest in Europe, an elver pass has been installed to allow the young eels to migrate into the waterways of the Middle Level catchment. The catchment covers 70,000 hectares of the Cambridgeshire and West Norfolk fens between the Nene Washes near Peterborough and the Ouse Washes from Earith to Downham Market.

The new St Germans Pumping Station near Wiggenhall St Germans, Kings Lynn. It is one of the largest pumping stations in Europe.                                                
The new St Germans Pumping Station 
near Wiggenhall St Germans, Kings Lynn. 
It is one of the largest pumping stations in 

The elver pass during construction. The green bristle tufts in the trough enable the elvers to climb its 35 meter length.                  
The elver pass during construction. The
green bristle tufts in the trough enable
the elvers to climb its 35 meter length. 

At the beginning of April the first elvers of the year were seen making their way up the 35 meter long pass from the tidal River Ouse. The elver pass is an angled trough with bristle boards inside it that help the eels to climb up it. They are attracted to it by the fresh water that is trickled down the trough from the upstream side. 10,000 glass eels were recorded in the first three days of April

The elver pass on the tidal side of the pumping station. The elvers climb eight meters in height and 35 meters in length

The elver pass on the tidal side of the pumping station. The elvers climb eight
meters in height and 35 meters in length

Glass eels are the early stage of elvers (young eels) and are nearly transparent. They are thinner than a shoe lace and less than three inches (75mm) long. During the first three weeks of April nearly 50,000 elvers made their way through the pass. This is an exceptional quantity for so early in the elver migration period which lasts from April to October.

There is a chamber at the top of the elver pass where they can rest and be counted. It is difficult to count the small elvers in quantity but they can be weighed and their numbers calculated from the weight. As the season progresses the glass eels become darker and are referred to as elvers.

Later, larger young eels also climb the elver pass. They too are looking for fresh water in the Middle Level catchment to feed in. They will spend the next 10 to 15 years growing and putting on fat that will sustain them on their long journey back to their breeding grounds in the Sargasso Sea.

Cliff Carson, Environmental Officer for the Middle Level BAP Partnership said

‘It is great to see a boom year for elvers after so very many years when their numbers were less than 5% of the former totals returning to the UK.  We hope this improved trend will continue. The St Germans Pumping Station elver pass will give excellent access for eels and elvers into the Middle Level rivers and drains that will benefit eel population recovery in the future’

Some of the 50,000 elvers that came through the elver pass during April 2014.                         
Some of the 50,000 elvers that came         
through the elver pass during April 2014.         


 The size of eels that climb the elver pass range from tiny elvers to much larger young adult eels.                                                

The size of eels that climb the elver pass range
from tiny elvers to much larger young adult eels.

Cliff Carson, Environmental Officer for the Middle Level Commissioners monitoring elver numbers at the St Germans Pumping Station elver pass.              
Cliff Carson, Environmental Officer for the
Middle Level Commissioners monitoring
elver numbers at the St Germans Pumping
Station elver pass.            


Photo credits – Cliff Carson

Cliff Carson

Environmental Officer

Middle Level Commissioners

85 Whittlesey Road



PE15 0AH


Office   01354 602965

Mobile   07765 597775





The Middle Level Commissioners

The Middle Level is the central and largest section of the Great Level of the Fens, reclaimed by drainage during the mid-17th Century. Its river system consists of over 120 miles (190 kilometres) of watercourses most of which are also navigations and has a catchment of just over 170,000 acres (70,000 hectares).

The Commissioners, together with local drainage boards, operate a complex flood protection and water level management system to balance the various water uses and requirements and to alleviate the risk of flooding of land and properties.


The efficient operation of the system is vital to the safety and prosperity of over 100,000 people who live and work in the area.  But for the operations of the Commissioners and boards, the majority of the fen land would be under water for much of the year, accesses from higher ground would be cut-off and many of the present land uses, which are taken for granted, would be impossible.


Aquatic Control Engineering Ltd 

The elver pass for St Germans Pumping Station was designed and supplied by

Aquatic Control Engineering Ltd (ACE)

Contact Marcus Widdison 01777 249080 Email   Web site


The Environment Agency

The bristle boards for the elver pass were kindly supplied and funded by The Environment Agency (EA). They are the national lead agency for the UK Eel Management Plan.

Contact Kye Jerrom, Fisheries Technical Officer, Fisheries and Biodiversity. 01480 483980 Email


65 meter eel pass shows great results within weeks of completion - 9th July 2014

65 meter eel pass shows great results within weeks of completion

The St Ives sluice and lock structure on the River Great Ouse forms a formidable and unpassable barrier for juvenile eel trying to move up the river systems to find suitable habitat, and with this is a key site for mitigation under the European eel and elver regulations.

Aquatic Control Engineering are pleased to announce that early results from the large eel pass they installed at St Ives is already showing positive results, with many eel being recorded within weeks of the opening of the pass. ACE won the contract to design and install the eel pass

The site has been the focus over several years of planning for improved eel and elver passage and through a regular and two-way dialogue between ACE and the EA, the preferred solution which has successfully been installed, was instigated.

The size and location of the structure made the design of the eel pass a challenge.  This site, the FCRM function of the structure, restricted the options available and the final design resulted in a 65 metre long underground eel pass, running through a private garden. One of the major issues that the team had to confront was how to deal with the myriad of plumbing and services positioned on the proposed eel pass route. While this proved to be challenging, the experience of the ACE team meant that problems where quickly rectified and delays where mineralised. Due to the site being located in the proximity of a residual property the site management had to include provision to deal with potential exposure to the public. Fortunately, ACE’s history of safe working meant that the extra health and safety considerations where all part of the job.

The number of eels that are already using the pass gives a clear indication that the work of the Environment Agency and ACE has clearly paid off. ACE would like to thank representatives from the Environment Agency who were invaluable to the success of this project. 

The new Flap balancer - 7th July 2014

New solution to an old problem.
There is a constant balancing act between controlling the water flow and allowing fish and eel migration. When you throw ever tightening budgets into the mix, you have a real problem.

The latest product from ACE is specifically designed with this problem in mind. The Flap balancer is designed to either be fitted as part of a new flapvalve installation or crucially, can be retro fitted to an existing flapvalve removing its negative impact on fish and eel migration without having to replace the entire flapvalve.

Striking the right balance
Like many of the products in the ACE fish friendly range the flap balancer is designed to allow fish and eel passage at the critical stage were back flow is present but not at a dangerous level.  With any product that balances the need for migration and controlling back flow, such as flood defense, there is always a need for site-specific configuration.  The Flap balancer is no exception, as each flap balancer sold is backed by ACEs extensive experience in fish migration products. This means that the balancer can be optimized to give the perfect balance.

How it works
The Flap balancer utilizes ultra-strong neodymium magnets that are encased in a protective housing. When the off seating pressure opens the door the magnets engage holding the door in an open position. The door will remain in this position until the back pressure pushing on the door becomes great enough to overcome the magnetic force and the door will close. The distance between the encased magnets can be adjusted to control the magnetic attraction. The predictable nature of the field strength of the neodymium magnets allows the closing load to be precisely controlled. While the mounting position can be used to control the opening aperture. 

Where can it be used?
The flap balancer has been designed with a hold load of up to 130kg. This makes it ideally suited for use with HDPE flapvalves up to 1.5m across. If a larger flap valve is installed then multiple flap balancers can be used in unison to give a greater hold load. The robust stainless steel (316) construction and neodymium magnets, which are designed not to de-magnetize, make the flap balancer suitable for potentially high corrosive environments.

Click here to find out more about the full range of migration friendly flap valves including the flap balancer

Out with the old and in with the new at Cow bank sluice - 16th June 2014

Aquatic Control Engineering have an impressive history of working with the DBs of the UK on water level management schemes. Recently Lindsey Marsh DB had an interesting project in which ACE’s products were fully utilised. Everyone working in the drainage sector knows that the maintenance of drainage paths is essential for water level control and flood prevention and clearing excess weed is a vital part of this maintenance. Like most DBs, Lindsey Marsh uses a mechanical weed-boat to cut and remove excess weed leaving the drain clear to flow.

Cow Bank Drain when flowing normally does not have enough depth to enable a weed boat to work so in the past three large penstocks were installed to form a controllable dam. This allows the water level to build behind the penstocks to a sufficient level to allow the weed-boat to work safely. For many years the Lindsey Marsh DB have used 3 traditional timber and iron penstocks. These were hand wound and over time have degraded and become seized .

When it became time to replace the aging penstocks Lindsey Marsh DB turned to ACE for a modern alternative. ACE supplied 3 large weir penstocks constructed from stainless steel. These have been designed to be more easily operated and are maintenance free which will allow the DB to easily and quickly close them to allow the water level to be raised.

The penstocks are purpose built for the Cow Bank Sluice following detailed surveys by ACE engineers and are operated via hand wheel operated reduction gearboxes. When it came to installing the 1.84m x 2.66m penstocks, the location posed its own challenges. Working across a main road the ACE installation team utilized a 35T crane to remove the older and heavier timber penstocks. In compliance with CDM health and safety practices and with the site fully cleared the crane lifted the new weir penstocks one at a time across the road and down into the existing civil structure where the installation process could be completed. Completed in just two days, ACE are very proud of the installation and the timely and safe manner in which it was delivered by their Midlands engineering team.



RSPB find new uses for PTO pump - 31st January 2014

RSPB find new uses for PTO pump

The RSPB Nature Reserve in the Dearne Valley is a safe haven for a wide variety of wild birds including some highly endangered species like the Bittern. It consists of wetlands and is bordered by the River Dearne. This fragile habitat is dependent on careful management of its water levels.

To allow the team at the RSPB the ability to manage the water levels they required a pump that could transfer water in large quantities while being flexible enough to cope with the changing aspects of the site. It was critical that the Pump could be manoeuvred around the site with ease and once the pump was in place it had to be operational in the shortest time possible.

The BBA B3000 PTO pump had already shown itself to be a powerful and flexible piece of equipment when the Kings Lynn Internal Drainage Board ordered 2 for emergency flood relief. The pump is ideally suited for this type of situation. It is driven via the standard PTO connection on a tractor. This means that it can be manoeuvred into position and in action when and where it’s needed. The pump is capable of pumping 24 tonnes of water per minute to a height of 2 meters.

The PTO pump was originally designed as a method of emergency flood relief but the RSPB have found it to be a diverse tool for a multitude of situations. The first job for the pump was to drain an area of the wetland to allow reed beds to be planted to increase the habitat for Bittern and other species. The pump has also been used to reduce the water levels in some pools allowing wading birds to feed and going forward, it will be able move water between different management cells during the breeding to create optimum water levels for species such as Lapwing, Redshank and Snipe.

Dave Waddington from the RSPB commented that the pump could “clear an area in 1 hour that would have taken their conventional diesel pumps 6 hours”.

The RSPB have found various additional uses for the pump. Due to its high flow rate, they plan to use the pump to circulate water through the pools preventing them from freezing over during harsh weather. The location of the site also means that there is a risk of flooding visitor facilities and if this happens the PTO pump is on hand to save the day.

Then and Now…..ACE revisits the quarry they helped transform in to a nature reserve. - 27th November 2013

Then and Now…..ACE revisits the quarry they helped transform in to a nature reserve.

When it was built the 27 Km flood defence running from Sawley to Colwick was the biggest inland flood defence in Britain and brought peace of mind to 16,000 homes and businesses. The section at Attenborough had the added importance becoming a large nature reserve that would become home to hundreds of animals and birds.

Part of the work to transform the site from quarry to a nature reserve while allowing it to play its part in the flood defence, was the inclusion of 5 large flapvalves.  These where supplied by ACE measuring a colossal 4m by 1.5m each, this made them the second largest HDPE flapvalves to have been installed in the UK.  The only time that HDPE flapvalves of a comparable size had been fitted where the 3 huge 4.3m by 4m flapvalves that ACE designed and manufactured for a site at Gilpin bridge. By installing HDPE valves rather than conventional cast iron the overall carbon footprint of the site was lowered dramatically while removing the need for regular maintenance which could disturb the newly created habitat.


The Attenborough section of the flood defence was completed in 2009, 3 years prior to the grand opening of the complete 27km scheme. After 4 years of maintenance-free operation, the ACE team where intrigued to see how the doors where functioning and how the site as a whole had evolved.

It was great to see that the Attenborough site had bedded into its surroundings. When ACE where last at the site it was just starting its transformation from an active quarry to a full-fledged Nature reserve.  The flapvalves themselves where not only performing perfectly but their HDPE and stainless steel construction meant that they looked like the day they were first fitted. The Attenborough site is now visited by hundreds of visitors a year and has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and the ACE Flap valves mean that the site will continue to operate as flood defence for thousands of homes for year to come.          

ACE expands its installation capabilities. - 26th November 2013

ACE expands its installation capabilities. One of the reasons that Aquatic Control Engineering (ACE) are the biggest name in water flow control is their ability to provide excellent turnkey solutions. This allows ACE to guarantee the quality of their work for both the supply and installation.

To help manage the ever increasing demand, ACE has invested in expanding their installation capabilities. This has led to the appointment of a full time Installation Manager with many years of experience in water flow control working with ACE products. He also has the keen attention to detail that ACE demand to give a really professional service. He has already faced his first challenge when he played a key role in the installation of the ACE eel pass at Clysthole weir. This was a technically challenging installation which utilized a pair of hydraulic ram pumps. The difficulty was increased by the fact that the entire installation was buried to protect it from vandalism.

ACE’s investiment in the installation team has gone beyond the recruitment of personnel and new tools, They have expanded their fleet of installation vans with two new jumbo transits. The two new vans are named after two of the major projects that ACE has carried out. The first new van is called “Marlow” after the Little Marlow sewage works. This was a milestone project in ACE’s 18 year history. ACE worked with Interserve Water who where tasked with diverting flow from an existing plant in High Wycombe via a 900mm pipe to the site at Little Marlow. Ace worked closely with Interserve on the design of the works which incorporated over 50 ACE flow control devices.

The second van is called “Wissey” after ACE’s landmark installation of the UK’s first fish syphon on the river Wissey. This was not only a milestone for ACE, but a great leap forward in fish migration technology. Since its unveiling to key members of the Enviroment Agency, the site has featured both on news and special interest programmes.

The new expansion in facilities gives ACE the capability to offer greater flexibility to their customers adding to the already great ACE service.

Pic: Jacob, Roger and Neil, part of the ACE installation team

Happy 18th Birthday ACE - 30th September 2013

October sees the 18th anniversary of the founding of Aquatic Control Engineering (ACE), the market leader in fish friendly water flow control devices. When ACE first started operating in 1995 they had a simple aim which was to bring the latest and greatest innovations in Flow control to the UK and Irish market.  Over the past 18 years ACE has championed the use of HDPE for devices such as flapvalve and penstocks, which are now common site dotted around the rivers of the UK.

ACE’s 18 year history has been filled with exciting developments in fish friendly products including the UKs first fish syphon, an Academe’s screw that is not only fish friendly but has one of the highest efficiency ratings on the market and the first flapvalve to not hinder fish migration. A spokesperson at ACE says that over the years they have come up against every situation imaginable, but their depth of experience has always helped steer them to a solution. 

How do you get fish to swim under a house? - 12th August 2013

How do you get fish to swim under a house? Well that was the problem confronted by the Wild Trout Trust and for the solution they turned to the innovative team at ACE.

The house in particular is the converted mill building at Glandford. When it comes to fitting a fish and eel pass into a historic building that has stood for over 100 years it takes a special kind of solution. The design and build of this particular fish and eel pass pulled on the knowledge gained from all 18 years of ACE’s experience in the industry.

The Solution
The main issue that had to be contended with when designing the fish pass is how to construct a structure that was robust enough to last while fitting into the constraints of the site. The problem is compounded by the fact the site is currently inhabited as a private residence. The solution came in part from ACE’s experience of using HDPE for the baffles on the fish pass. This helped reduce the overall weight and cost considerably. Even with this reduction in weight the installation still weighed in at around 2 tons. The only way to make the installation physically possible was to build the entire Fish and eel pass around a modular system that could be assembled in the constraints of the site.

The project was carried out as part of the Anglian Sea Trout Project with funding from the Environment Agency. The work formed the final phase of the project at Glandford Mill, installing the fish and eel pass at the mill sluice. The first phase involved creating a new meandering river channel through the bed of a former mill pond. The completion of the project has enabled trout, sea trout and eels to access the newly-created habitat upstream of the Mill and beyond



   Glandford Mill


History of the site
Records show that there has been a water mill based at the site in Glandford since the 18 Century making it a site of historical significance.  The present Mill building has been on the site at Glandford for well over 100 years. The mills operation would regularly be hindered by the tidal flow from the nearby coast. This would run up the River Glaven through the mill wheel and in to the mill dam. Records from the time show that this was sometimes a daily occurrence.

Success of the project
The Wild Trout Trust are currently monitoring the effectiveness of the project by way of an integrated CCTV system (on loan from ACE). So far reports are that the fish pass has been a success.

After the completion of the fish pass the Wild Trout Trust commented on how smoothly the project had run, they commented that ACE has a “can do attitude”. They also commented on how ACE were always on hand to give all the support needed to deliver the project on budget and without delay.

We would like to thank Tim Jacklin of the Wild Trout Trust, Mike and Matt Beach, Rossi Long Consultants, the Mill owners Mr and Mrs Brownlow, West Dereham Plant and USL Divers for all the great team work on this successful project.

Fish Disco anyone? - 6th March 2013

See our latest YouTube video which demonstrates our new strobe and acoustic technology for fish deterrent systems.  For our non-fisheries customers you may wonder what this is all about?  We know it looks a lot like a strobe light, but jokes aside stroboscopic light alerts fish to the dangers ahead and helps prevent fish swimming into dangerous intakes and pumping stations.  Enjoy the video #savingfish


Translating Research Into Design - 1st March 2013

Evidence Project: Implications of provision of fish access at tidal structures for water quality and sedimentation

In order for the Agency to fulfil obligations under the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and Eel Regulations, fish access facilities are being installed in tidal flaps at many sites in the lower reaches of rivers to allow the migration of elver, eel and other species between the main river or estuary and incoming tributaries and drains.
However, the operation of these fish access devices could result in potential changes in the water quality and sediment regime in the associated drains, with implications for management and maintenance regimes in these drains, and in late 2011 the Environment Agency commissioned a short study to investigate the potential for this.
The Evidence Summary and full report of a preliminary study can be found here :

This features our ACE fish friendly flap valves, the pet flap system, and demonstrate lower rates of turbidity and higher opening times that some of the other devices installed.  Also our valves have since been completely re-designed for tidal applications since and feature larger doors which should aid in reducing turbidity further.

New tidal reset system with bigger doors and fail shut innovation

Tweeters - 25th February 2013

Events Coming Up - 22nd February 2013

At ACE we like to get around... visiting customers to see projects is our no.1 past time but we also like a good show or two.  This year we have a number of conferences and events planned where you can meet our team, here are some coming up soon....


30th April- 1st May, Northampton

Link to the RRC Conference Information

This year our sales Engineer Marcus Widdison and the Environment Agency will be reporting on the latest fish passage innovations, particularly the Wissey Siphon Fish Pass Project.  Also our Northern Sales Manager and the RSPB will presenting on lateral thinking in floodplains on the Beckingham Marshes project, a follow up from studies of our Environmental Manager and the successful creation of a fantastic new wetland.



17th July, Peterborough

Link to the ADA demo Website

This outdoor extravaganza is host to a nationwide group of drainage authorities, local councils, consultants and Environment Agency professionals.  It is an excellent opportunity for us to demonstrate our newest waterway machinery on working plots and to provide drinks, snacks and product information on our outdoor stands.  This extremely popular event is an ACE favourite and we hope to see you there.

Grand Passage for Elvers - 1st February 2013

Aquatic Control Engineering has been working with The Canal & River Trust, Thames River Trust and The Environment Agency to secure the future of the European eel by installing elver passes along the Grand Union Canal.

European eels have a fascinating life cycle, spawned as larvae in the Sargasso Sea near Bermuda before travelling with the Gulf Stream to Europe, developing into glass eels. Upon reaching coastal areas they migrate up rivers and streams, such as the River Brent, which forms a large section of the Grand Union Canal, turning into elver (baby eels) as they hit freshwater.  However, their migration into the upstream waters and ponds where they mature has many obstacles. Weirs, which help to prevent flooding, make it difficult for the elvers to complete their journey.

The first of four elver passes is at Boston Manor on the Grand Union Canal. This sandwich pass has long bristles and a very gentle water flow, which allows the elver to crawl along the walls of the weir and into the next stretch of river. The elvers mimic wet grass being pressed against the wall, stopping hungry herons snatching them from the water.

Monitoring of the success of these passes will allow Aquatic Control Engineering to update the design of future elver passes.
Leela O’Dea, environment manager at the Canal & River Trust says: "I am really excited to be involved in the design and installation of elver passes, these are amazing animals with an unequalled journey, it is a testament to the natural environment and those working in it that such strong partnerships can be developed to bring about important changes within the river systems."

For more information on our elver and eel passes visit our fish migration solutions products page

Take only Photos, Leave only Footprints. - 24th January 2013

Take only Photos, Leave only Footprints…  This popular sign adorns the walkways and park benches of the UK's most beautiful landscapes and sets a very important environmental message.  Yet the focus of many an Environmental Manager, including myself, is the footprint we leave behind and whether it sets a sustainable trail for others to follow.

At Aquatic Control Engineering Ltd, we believe strongly in the ability of our products and installations to interact with the environment without the compromise of flood defence and protection of property and infrastructure. A large focus of this has been the reduction in carbon emissions throughout our organisations activities, from material and design considerations, installation considerations and best office practice. 

Whilst efforts to minimise our carbon emissions began at Aquatic Control in 2004 an official audit with the Achilles Small Supplier Carbon Measurement Scheme in 2010 aimed to have our emissions formally tracked and verified.  This year we are pleased to announce a 6% reduction on scope 1 carbon emissions at ACE per million turnover and we are aiming for similar reductions in 2013.

These minimisation techniques have largely been down to effective transport planning, offering our customers incentives for booking installations in similar areas as a package and our Southern Region office base, reducing mileage from head office southbound.

As one of the first companies to complete the Achilles small supplier carbon measurement scheme, our details have been updated on the Utilities Vendor Database and companies such as Anglian Water, South West Water, E-ON, National Grid, Northumbrian Water, Scottish Water and United Utilities.  We hope that they share our passion for carbon reduction and recognise our efforts thus far.

We wish to thank the Small Supplier Carbon Measurement Team at Achilles for helping us through this process and look forward to reporting further initiates in the coming year.

For more information on their scheme visit: Achilles Carbon Footprint Website

THANK YOU - 21st November 2012



Maybe we don't say thank you enough on this website!  This year we have done an exhibition roadshow with the Water, Sewerage and Waste exhibitions group.  Totalling 11 exhibitions all over the UK and Ireland we are sad to say our last on, in Newcastle is tomorrow.

If you are interested in attending then REGISTER HERE  As a guest you will get free lunch and a chance to win £250 and costs you nothing.


To all our customers and new faces this year, it has been excellent.  THANK YOU for coming and we hope to do business in the future.

Award Winners- St Germans - 6th November 2012

Although St. Germans pumping station seems quite a long time ago for some of us (except perhaps the Project Manager), it is still being recognised nationally as an important flood defense structure.

On the 8th May 2012 the new St Germans Pumping Station won the Borough Council of Kings Lynn and West Norfolk Mayor’s award for ‘Design in the Environment – Commercial New Build’ and also received the overall ‘Gold Award’ as competition winner topping approximately fifty entries in numerous classes.

Click on the link below to view the results on the Borough Council's website (opens a new window).


This project, for middle Level Commissioners involved £1.2 million worth of ACE water flow control structures... here is a picture of the complete valve section, pre-flooded.  This is the largest pumping station in the UK and has been designed to withstand the next 100 years of effective flood defense.


Happy Halloween!! - 31st October 2012

Just a quick news to say that we hope you all have a spooky evening.  If you are scared then read our comforting October Newsletter featuring our latest projects:

- Borrowash, Largest Fish Pass in the Midlands

- Godmanchester Flood Gates

- North Thames Tilting Weirs

- Foston Beck Eel Pass

CLICK ME to access the page and forward to all your friends




Function and Style... Flood Gates - 24th October 2012

It's all too common in the flood world to forget about esthetics!  So when we won a project to install flood gates in the lovely civil parish of Godmanchester we decided to design them in wood and metal materials.  Whilst the thickness and metal of the door make sure residents houses remain safe from flooding, the wood doesn't completely ruin the look of the residents nicely groomed gardens.


This project formed a small part of the £6.8 million Godmanchester flood alleviation scheme.  Jointly funded by Defra, Local Authority Local Levy and direct contributions from Cambridgeshire County Council and Huntingdonshire District Council, the hope is that it will provide flood protection to over 500 homes in the area.


Website Update: Windmill pumps in fourth generation design - 23rd October 2012

We have updated our website windmill pump information.  Now on our fourth generation design since 1929 I think it is about time we show the world just how far our designs have come.


Take a look at our windmill pump page and leaflet


Weed Harvester Raided by Local Thugs! - 19th October 2012

I may have exagerrated in the title... thought you may all enjoy a fantastic shot of our weed harvester which had to take a break from weed collecting after it was considered a play ramp for Northamptonshires finest ducks!


Beckingham Marsh Open Day - 18th October 2012

Our famous wetland windpumps are now part of the fantastic landscape at the Langfield Lowlands RSPB reserve.  After 2 years of hard work and patience at Beckingham Marshes, this reserve has now opened its gates to the public.

The RSPB would like to welcome you and thank you for your support at their official opening event.

If you are interested please RSVP by contacting us or Nicola Craven at the RSPB on 01636 893611

It starts from 12.45pm for a welcome address by Michael Copleston followed by a guided walk following the wildlife and heritage trail.  This should give you an
opportunity to see the changes made to the landscape and the new interpretation at first hand.

Also if you are interested to view the windpumps in particular please call ACE on 01777 249080 and ask to speak to Zebrina who will organise you an opportunity to understand better the technology.  In the meantime why not take a look at our case study for the Dearne Valley RSPB wetland which features three of our windpumps

Congratulations to the RSPB, we can't wait for November 8th!


Our commitment to the Environment - 6th October 2012

We have updated and reviewed our Environmental Statement for 2012-2013, aiming  for continued reduction on our carbon emissions and recycling in-house.  Have a look at what we hope to achieve...



Wissey Siphon Fish Pass - 2nd October 2012

NEW Additions to our website...take a look if you missed the event.  The UK's first Siphon Fish Pass:


Or view our video on the project if you're getting bored of reading!!


Borrowash Larinier is biggest in the Midlands - 1st October 2012

Whilst we welcomed with The Environment Agency Anglia our siphon fish pass, Borrowash Larinier Fish Pass, midlands was also opened!  Featuring our HDPE Larinier tiles this fish pass is the largest in the Midlands and allows fish spawning activities to resume on these waters for the first time in over 100 years!  Standing on the banks of the River Derwent this fish pass also includes our elver passes to encourage the migration of eels as well as course fish and most importantly Salmonids.

We are working on featuring this on our project profiles page but in the meantime see what our partners, The Environment Agency and ITV news have to say about our innovative product...

ITV New Release

Environment Agency Webpage



August Newsletter...The Installation Edition - 29th August 2012

To all those who have waited their entire Summer Holiday's we have just released our latest newsletter, an installation special covering some of the projects we have got the van out to this Summer


It features our installations at Goswick, Beal and Ross near Berwick Upon Tweed,

Includes information regarding Markham Brook WaStop installation which will hopefully be added to our project profiles shortly


Want to get our newsletter straight to your inbox... FILL OUT OUR WEBFORM



Our Newest WaStop Installation - 6th August 2012

Check out a short video of our newest WaStop installation!  This particular project is pretty interesting as the flange had to be specially made to fit the headwall and a security grill attached over the top.  Watch this space for our Summer WaStop project profiles including installations from Wales and more!  In the meantime enjoy our video below...

...please note that some scenes are mid installation however the complete project is filmed at the end!  ENJOY!


Going the Extra Mile!! - 27th July 2012

Yesterday one of our customers asked our engineers  'is HDPE really stronger than metal?'.  Well we know how strong it is but what better way to demonstrate than by preparing a short video....and why only share it with only one of our customers?

Check out our HDPE Larinier Baffle as it faces the challenge of the sledgehammer and then the Landrover Defender!

10 points to our engineers who have prepared this gem for us in their lunch break


New Project Profile - 16th July 2012

We have a new project profile for you to read!  This is a number of site we did in conjunction with Byzak construction on behalf of the Environment Agency.   We have installed over 100 fish friendly flapvalves throughout the UK and Ireland with no recorded loses or failures... I think from this case study you will see why



IFM Sponsors - 10th July 2012

We have just renewed our sponsorship for the Institute of Fisheries Management!  Two of our staff members are currently taking their diploma and certificate of fisheries management, which enable them to further tailor and design our products to better meet the needs of fisheries specialists and the fish themselves!

But we don't just support Fisheries, we have been corporate and local sponsors of the RSPB for some time, enabling them to fund wetland regeneration and increase areas for wading bird populations.

At ACE we work hard to give back and to help improve our local river communities, keep an eye on our news feed for staff volunteering and charity information!  If you'd like to know more about either organisation take a look at our useful links page where you can find a company profile and link to their sites.

Our New Fish Friendly Best Seller - 29th June 2012

For so long the fish friendly flap valve has been our biggest fish migration solution to date.  However ACE HDPE Larinier Fish Pass tiles have become pride of our this space for it's own dedicated website page and leaflet.  The passes involve as series of baffles which increase water turbidity and create adequete resting pools.  Monitoring on one of our site is in the process of being released following the coarse fish migratory season.


Whilst you are waiting for our Larinier page launch why not take a look at our case study for Ashlone Wharf which features a Larinier Fish Pass, an eel pass or Elver pass alongside our traditional flapvalve and penstocks.  Otherwise see a picture of our HDPE Larinier Fish pass below, a test piece we take around with us to meetings.


HDPE is shatterproof and UV resistant and reduces civils and costs associated with it's metal counterparts.  That isn't to say that we don't to metal based tiles should you need them, we are just big fans of HDPE!!!


Whats New on Our Website! - 15th June 2012

At ACE we work hard to keep you up to date on our latest information.  Testing and monitoring reports form a large part of our design and installation decisions.  We have updated a number of our fish friendly products with the latest research and monitoring reports so  take a look at:

Siphon Fish Pass

Fish Friendly Axial Turbine

Fish Deterrent Strobe Lights

Full copies of all the reports are always available, for our scientific followers do not hesitate to contact us for a copy!


June Newsletter - 11th June 2012

That's Right... our June newsletter is out and on it's way to our newsletter registrants.  Bi-monthly our newsletter covers new products, new case studies and news from the team and offices.  Over 600 people currently benefit from our newsletters.  Interested?  Sign up on our contact page


To view our newsletter click on the link below:[UNIQID]



Berkenheger Get Front Row at the Olympics! - 27th May 2012

The latest Berkenheger weed harvester and weed boat arrival took place in London on Wednesday!  These lucky boats will be used to maintain the waterways around the Olympic Park beyond, keeping London's Waterways clean and debris free...

British Waterways are running a great competition, allowing children to name the boats.  Their more senior Berky colleagues are called Taran-Chewer and the LEE mean clean machine so we cannot wait to hear the names!


For more information please sign up to receive our newsletters or follow us on twitter for updates

WaStop and Effluence! - 21st May 2012

We've been getting a lot of requests for evidence of our WaStop working with effluent waste in household applications... so we thought we'd get the video for you and put it in our news!


The PVC range in sizes 75DN-200DN work exceptionally well in these gravity feed situations.  At around half the price of its Non-return valve competitors it does not need any replacement parts and installs quickly and simply into existing pipe structures.


For more information please see our WaStop page or contact us for more information


Half Marathon for WaterAid - 15th May 2012

Zebrina and Martin, some of our newer team members are running together the Birmingham Bupa Half marathon this October.  Aiming to hit and exceed their 2 hour time target and to raise at least £400 for water aid in the process.


WaterAid helps the global population achieve the right to claen and reliable water access, a resource precious to us here at ACE...did you know...

  • 783 million people in the world do not have access to safe water. This is roughly one in ten of the world's population.
    (WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Report 2012 update)
  • 2.5 billion people in the world do not have access to adequate sanitation, almost two fifths of the world's population.
    (WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Report 2012 update)
  • 1.4 million children die every year from preventable diarrhoea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation. This is equal to 160 school classrooms of children every day.  (WHO 2002)

If you would like to see more information on our charity campaign for this year please follow the link to see photos of their training and an update on their progress:


New Thinking For Hydro Power - 8th May 2012

New Thinking for Hydropower.  ACE has showcased an innovative solution bringing the Archimedean hydro-turbine into the 21st century.  Fish friendly and boasting high efficiencies, this turbine is appropriate for micro hydro schemes through to large scale power generation.  Read more on PAGE 40!

If you would like to know more please take a look at our product page for the ACE Archimedean Hydro-turbine or contact us for more information

Wissington Siphon Installed - 2nd May 2012

Our First UK Siphon Fish Pass has been successfully installed at Wissey Syphon (yes, a siphon at a syphon!).  I know you are all itching to hear about it's monitoring progress and to see it for yourself so we have organised a professional and community launch party in September.  For more information and to be send an invitation in the coming months please fill out our enquiry form