“We have invested more than £2billion to transform bathing water quality across the region, stopping over 200 raw sewage discharges and introducing modern sewage treatment processes.”
There has been a lot of noise being made about sewage ending up in our rivers and seas.
This report was from the summer – before this autumn’s storms:
Such was the furore following the storms and overflows, that the government was forced to bring in stricter measures – although some would say they are not strict enough:
So, the pressure is still very much on, with District Councillors calling this week for more to be done:
East Devon councillors say they’ve had enough of surplus sewage spewing into road, so they’ve summonsed South West Water to explain what’s going wrong at a special meeting of the council’s scrutiny committee. The water company has been under the spotlight after it was revealed that the company made 42,000 raw sewage discharges into Devon’s rivers and coastal areas last year.
Councillor Jess Bailey (Independent, West Hill and Aylesbeare), who suggested the meeting with South West Water and got unanimous agreement from committee members, said the issue was a “matter of massive public concern. Having clean water in our rivers and on our coast is absolutely fundamental to East Devon, both for wildlife and tourism.”
Speaking recently about concerns over flooding in East Devon, South West Water’s engineering director Matt Crabtree said: “We are committed to delivering a permanent solution which will involve detailed works and upgrades to our network.”
Meanwhile, further researches are being carried out into the discharges SWW are making into the area’s waters – and it is expected that Councillors will have pertinent questions to ask SWW about the current state of things and how the company intends to address this.
The government’s own website talks about what UK companies can do about ‘waste-water treatment’:
SWW’s own website gives more such impressive language:
We understand the importance of our environment for both tourism and quality of life for our residents so over the last 20 years we have invested more than £2billion to transform bathing water quality across the region, stopping over 200 raw sewage discharges and introducing modern sewage treatment processes in the biggest environmental programme of its kind in Europe.
The question is, then, what ‘modern sewage treatment processes’ can be expected in the South West?
In Latin America, Western companies are offering partnership projects around the ideas of recycling and reuse:
An important paradigm shift is necessary at multiple levels to advance sustainable sanitation services toward a circular economy in which wastewater is considered a valuable resource rather than a liability.
One such ‘sustainable sanitation services’ would be reed beds, although the systems are not easy:
Nevertheless, there have been high-profile applications of this approach:
“Rather like when I set up a reed-bed sewage treatment system at Highgrove all those years ago, that was considered completely mad.”
The question is, then:
What are SWW’s longer-term plans for waste-water treatment in the Sid Valley?