Bathing water to get £26m splashout

PUBLISHED: 11:00 03 August 2012

Wessex Water is investing in improving the water's bathing quality

Wessex Water is investing in improving the water's bathing quality

Archant

A £26MILLION scheme to improve the condition of Weston’s bathing water will be carried out this year.

Wessex Water will add capacity for eight Olympic-sized swimming pools’ worth of storm water to its Weston treatment works in a bid to improve the quality of the area’s waters.

In April the Mercury reported how signs could be put up on Weston and Uphill’s beaches warning people the sea is too dirty to swim in if it remains at its current cleanliness levels for five years.

The sea in both areas was reported to fall under the minimum European standards for bathing water set to be introduced in 2015, according to the Environment Agency (EA) – although they did meet current UK standards.

A spokesman for the EA said: “These areas are struggling to reach the standards required of them from 2015 for a number of reasons and a lot of people have their part to play.

“There is both urban pollution from litter and animal waste and insecticides and pesticides that come off farming land, as well as the Wessex Water sewage works near Bleadon.

“I know Wessex Water is investing a lot of money to upgrade the sewage works.”

Now the utility company has announced the works are set to be completed by December.

The four tanks now under construction will store 21,000 cubic metres of water – the equivalent of 8.5 Olympic swimming pools.

A statement released by the company said: “Work started last year to increase treatment processes and allow more storm water, which arises from impermeable areas such as roads and roofs, to be stored at the plant during times of intense rainfall.

“Once the storm has passed, Wessex Water will be able to treat the water before returning it to the sea.”

Matt Wheeldon, head of waste water strategy, said: “This extra storage will increase storm water capacity to store more storm weather flows, reducing the impact on rivers and sea during periods of intense rainfall.”

The work also involves increasing treatment and ultraviolet disinfection capacity – a method of killing germs using UV light.

The upgrades will further improve the quality of discharged water from the works.

Since 2005 Wessex Water has spent £22.7million improving 550 overflows, and between 2010-2015 will be spending £45million to improve bathing water, including in Weston.


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