£6m for sewage works for Exeter's next generation
SOUTH West Water is spending £6m ensuring its Countess Wear sewage treatment works can cope with Exeter's increasing population.
With thousands of new homes planned for the city and its outskirts in the next few years, SWW is expanding the treatment works and improving odour control.
The clutch of five new buildings, which do not require planning permission, include a 13.6m high alkalinity dosing plant, a filter cell measuring 22.3m long, a 9.5m-high silo and an 11.7m-high tank.
SWW does need planning permission for the trailer filling building measuring 17.7m long, and the city council is being consulted on this. A spokeswoman for the water company said: "SWW is proposing to invest £6m in upgrades to treatment works to ensure it has enough capacity to address future growth predictions in Exeter and East Devon.
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"The South West is one of the few regions outside of the South East predicted to grow, which in economic terms is good news for Exeter and East Devon as it leads to infrastructure investment such as this one at Countess Wear.
"Whilst Countess Wear has ample capacity within its environmental discharge permit until 2026, the site has already been identified as requiring investment to increase treatment capacity to serve predicted population growth in Exeter – irrespective of the new town development."
The expansion will allow it to cater for Cranbrook and for additional 10,200 population elsewhere in the catchment.
The spokeswoman added: "We are sensitive to the concerns of residents and we're taking the opportunity as we invest in the Countess Wear site to improve odour control overall, protect the sensitive natural environment around the site and provide waste water treatment in a low impact and cost-effective way.
"We want to continue working with the established Countess Wear liaison group to address any concerns residents might have.
"This project is due to be in operational use by June 2014. It is part of a phased investment in Countess Wear and there may be further phases as population increases."
The proposed scheme will prevent sludge being stored in the existing primary tanks and will therefore reduce odours attributed to this element of the treatment process.
New equipment in the proposed sludge treatment area will be sealed and odour controlled. The sludge product is created from the sewage treatment processes and will be used by local agricultural farmers as fertiliser.