Sludge

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Yorkshire Water, with the University of York, has begun work on a research hub to improve efficiency of wastewater treatment and extract value from sludge processing while working towards its 2030 net zero carbon ambitions
News
Yorkshire Water has announced three smart wastewater network pilots aimed at improving understanding of assets as well as reducing sewer flooding and pollution.
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Thames Water has set out plans to go beyond carbon net-zero goals with an ambition to enter carbon neutrality by 2040. The routemap highlights wastewater treatment as the area most in need of attention, but with opportunities included.
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Featured

The water sector must find ways to cut the emissions from its most energy intensive activity - wastewater treatment. Industry experts discussed how this could be done and what challenges stand in the way of creating a circular economy to benefit from what has previously been considered waste.
Analysis
Meeting environmental targets and cutting the use of combined sewer overflows have been outlined as key priorities for Ofwat to incentivise in the next price review. Defra has instructed the regulator to make environmental planning and pollution reduction top objectives, in its draft strategic policy statement (SPS) for PR24 and beyond.
News
Utility Week hears initial thoughts from the water sector on the first draft of Defra’s strategic policy statement to Ofwat, with commentators warning that it lacks the detail required to trigger the investment needed at PR24 if the government is serious about tackling river pollution and decarbonisation.
Analysis

Latest in Sludge

Severn Trent led a bid in the Ofwat Breakthrough Challenge to rollout monitoring equipment to wastewater treatment plants to better understand the scale and distribution of greenhouse gases emitted through treatment processes. Despite not being successful, the company is charging ahead with its own monitoring including using drones to measure methane and find opportunities for optimisation
Analysis
When last year's ambitious Routemap to net zero was published by Water UK in collaboration with Mott MacDonald and Ricardo, the sector was frank that it did not have the answers to all the challenges to be faced by 2030. As part of our Countdown to COP coverage, Maria Manidaki, net zero technical lead at Mott MacDonald, talks to Utility Week about the technical hurdles that remain on the water sector’s journey to net zero.
Interviews
Initial results from a BEIS-funded trial to cut energy consumption in wastewater treatment processes has shown power savings of up to 84 per cent compared to a traditional centrifuge. The pilot is the first commercial-scale demonstration of the Volute technology in the UK
News
The 2024 price controls can play a critical role in enabling wastewater companies to monitor and manage process emissions from wastewater treatment works, which Wessex Water's head of sustainability said cannot be delayed if the country is to meet its carbon targets.
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Thames has awarded an eight-year contract to SGN to design, build and operate biomethane gas-to-grid facilities at its wastewater treatment works with the first installation due to be completed in March 2022. Gas from anaerobic digestion will be used to heat 3,500 homes in north London.
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Wessex Water has pledged to take a “total carbon” approach to reaching net-zero emissions by 2030, stressing that water companies cannot shy away from tackling difficult-to-decarbonise areas. However, the company stressed that the innovative solutions required to achieve genuine decarbonisation would only be possible with a new approach to investment in the water sector.
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Northumbrian Water has joined the UN-backed Race to Zero global campaign as it announced plans to achieve net zero carbon by 2027 - three years earlier than the industry-wide commitment. However, the target excludes process emissions, which make up half of the company's total greenhouse gases. 
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The public remain largely unaware of the responsibilities water companies and other stakeholders have to conserve the natural world, or of the work the sector undertakes. Most agreed environmental concerns should be more important than lowering bills or making services accessible.
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The judging panel for the main competition within Ofwat's innovation fund has been named with eight people chosen from industry, academia, R&D and beyond the water sector. The competition is designed to encourage innovative ideas, collaboration and sharing of risk to develop projects.
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Anglian Water has set out a twin-track approach to reaching net-zero emissions by 2030, including a “stretch” pathway that shows what could be achieved with additional funding and policy levers.
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The Environment Agency has proposed allowing water companies up to 25 years to deliver on environmental programmes and extending the timeframe for the Water Industry National Environmental Programme (WINEP) from five to ten years.
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