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SWW completes £26M Plymouth wastewater upgrades

A £26 million project to improve water quality in the Plymouth Sound and maintain excellent bathing water quality for the city's two beaches has been completed successfully.

South West Water has made significant upgrades to its wastewater infrastructure across Plymouth to further improve water quality in the Plymouth Sound and protect bathing water quality at Plymouth Hoe East and West beaches, both of which have been rated excellent every year since tougher new standards were introduced in 2015.

The £26 million investment included improving key stormwater overflows across the city, removing surface water from the sewerage network in Cattedown and increasing stormwater storage capacity in Stonehouse.

Ultraviolet disinfection technology has also been installed on the stormwater overflow at Plymouth Central Wastewater Treatment Works. This is the largest UV treatment plant of its type for intermittent stormwater overflow discharges in the UK.

South West Water’s engineering director Graham Murphy said: “We utilised a hydrodynamic model for the Plymouth Sound and the estuarine river networks which influence bathing water quality at East and West Hoe, to help us identify where improvements would have the greatest impact.

“We believe that, with the help of the local community, this major investment will help Plymouth’s beaches continue to meet tough new bathing water quality standards for years to come. 

“You can help by checking your property is correctly connected to the foul drainage system – investigations by the Environment Agency and South West Water have identified that homes with plumbing that is incorrectly connected into the surface water system are a source of pollution to some of the bathing waters in the South West.  

“Some drains lead directly to rivers and beaches, so please don’t pour paints, oils or chemicals down them. Nappies, wipes, cotton buds, fat, oil and food waste can all block drains and cause pollution so please dispose of them correctly.”

An update on the project to the BeachWise Forum, which met in Plymouth on 21 May, was positively received.

The BeachWise Forum is independently chaired by Malcolm Bell, chief executive of Visit Cornwall, and attended by organisations with an interest in ensuring that the South West continues to enjoy some of the cleanest beaches and seas in Europe. Membership includes representatives from coastal councils, South West Water, the Environment Agency, NGOs, and public health bodies.

Author: Robin Hackett, editor, WWT
Topic: Asset Management , Sewer Networks , Drinking water quality
Tags: wastewater , Water Quality , stormwater storage , Bathing water quality , South West Water


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