Skip to content

Oberhausen Pumping Station

Facts and Figures
Company PORR GmbH & Co. KGaA
Principal Emschergenossenschaft
Location Oberhausen - Germany
Type Structural engineering
Runtime 03.2018 - 08.2021

New pumping station part of a sustainability master plan

The Emscher wastewater channel winds its way over 51 kilometres through Germany’s Ruhr region. At the end of the 20th century, the Emscher was considered the most polluted river in Europe. Water pollution control remained a low priority for decades, until the launch of the long-term Emscher River renaturation project instigated by the Emschergenossenschaft collective. The Emscher represents Europe’s largest wastewater project, aiming to transform the river from an uncovered sewage drain back into a natural waterway. The Emschergenossenschaft contracted PORR’s Berlin civil engineering department to complete the BA 60.3 sub-project of this sustainability master plan: the construction of the Oberhausen pumping station on the Emscher wastewater channel. Works began in March 2017, and included the construction of the Oberhausen pumping station, the adjacent Oberhausen-Handbach pumping station, and all the external facilities and access routes within the area. The most significant milestone of the entire project was reached when the Oberhausen pumping station was put into operation on 20 August 2021.

PORR is building colossal structures 46m below the ground to help eliminate sewage from the river

The new Oberhausen pumping station will remove wastewater from the low-lying sewer duct via an above-ground gravity channel leading to the Emscher-Mündung sewage treatment plant in Dinslaken. The Oberhausen-Handbach pumping station removes accumulating wastewater from the Handbach sewer line and pumps it into an elevated twin-bore pipeline that also runs to the Emscher-Mündung sewage treatment plant. The construction pits required for the two pumping stations were excavated by other companies during a separate construction stage. These pits feature diaphragm and bored pile wall constructions. The Oberhausen pumping station consists of a cylindrical underground engineering element with a diameter of 46m and a foundation depth of 44m below the surface. The Oberhausen-Handbach pumping station has a diameter of 7m and extends down to a depth of 12m. Along with the realisation of the pumping stations, the construction scheme also included additional engineering services such as the construction of a 220m-long section of pipe jacking, two expansion shafts including housings for the photo-oxidation plants, an operational building with mono-pitch roof, a dosing station including observation tower, wet well and shaft constructions, pipeline construction and realisation of all external facilities.

PORR competencies under the one roof: economical and secure realisation

PORR offers a diverse range of competencies under the one roof, with everything needed for the realisation of a complex construction scheme such as this one. Digital tools were needed to ensure the economical and secure realisation of such an extraordinary project. BIM methods were used for documentation, reinforcement inspections, concrete monitoring and to document the wet concrete testing process. Assistance with the civil engineering planning for the project was provided by sister company pde Integrale Planung GmbH, which contributed to schedule control and ensured that all contractual intermediate deadlines were met. The overall project required the input of more than just PORR’s civil engineering department. Construction stage 40 of the Emscher wastewater channel, a 10km section comprising two parallel tunnel bores, was realised by PORR Bau GmbH’s infrastructure and tunnelling team.

The initial operation of the Oberhausen pumping station marked the most important stage of the Emscher renaturation project

The start-up of the pumping station in Oberhausen established the most important requirement for minimising water pollution in the municipalities of Dortmund, Castrop-Rauxel, Recklinghausen, Herne, Herten, Bochum, Gelsenkirchen, Gladbeck, Bottrop, Essen, Oberhausen, Duisburg and Dinslaken. For the Emscher itself, this means that since the end of 2021, the river has been free of its burden of pollution for the first time in over 170 years. As soon as the pumping station began operation, the remaining sewage disposal lines running into the Emscher were gradually able to be connected to the new subterranean wastewater channel. From now on, clean river and rainwater will be able to run freely into the Emscher, while wastewater will be diverted through the underground sewage line to the sewage treatment plant.