The beginnings extend back to 1914, when the EMSCHERGENOSSENSCHAFT commenced operation of the first pumping station on the Old Emscher in Duisburg. Since then, the design, size and arrangement of the machines, transformers and switchgear have developed consistently. This is because one thing was clear from the start: pumping stations must never fail, and absolute operating reliability is the very top priority. The plants should and must be capable of raising whatever outflow occurs, even during the heaviest precipitation. If they were ever switched off, large parts of our region would be underwater.
To this day there are 121 drainage and 7 wastewater pumping stations, which drain around 38 percent of the area of the Emscher region. The 100 drainage and 48 wastewater pumping stations of the LIPPEVERBAND keep around 16 percent of the catchment area dry.
The water pumped out of the low-lying areas of the Emscher and Lippe region each year amounts to approx. 600 million cubic metres. This is enough to fill Lake Baldeney in Essen 70 times over.
The volume of water pumped annually in the Emscher region alone would be enough to fill the Gasometer in Oberhausen around 1,000 times over. One more comparison: working at maximum capacity (approx. 900 kilowatts), every second the plant in Gelsenkirchen-Horstermark pumps 3,600 litres, which is the same as the contents of 30 bathtubs.
The highest-capacity pumping station of the LIPPEVERBAND is located on the Sickingsmühlenbach stream in Marl. It drains an area around 8,000 hectares in size. With a rated capacity of 3,840 kilowatts – as powerful as an Intercity Express locomotive – the pumping station can shift up to 20,000 litres per second during heavy rainfall events.