Wastewater treatment

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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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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
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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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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
Water companies need to double the level of annual investment in wastewater treatment for the next AMP cycle to tackle the contentious issue of managing combined sewer overflows (CSOs), according to the chair of the Environmental Audit Committee.
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Latest in Wastewater treatment

The government has announced plans to impose a legal duty on water companies to reduce the impact of sewage discharges from storm overflows after stripping out a similar requirement from an amendment to the Environment Bill. Water UK said it must now enact further policies to protect sewer systems if it is serious about combating pollution.
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Severn Trent's chief executive told the Environmental Audit Committee that diffuse pollution from agriculture has "swallowed" the improvements to river health made by water companies. Industry CEOs updated the committee on status of monitoring and pollution across their regions with Sarah Bentley telling the committee she was "impatient for change" at Thames.
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Anglian Water is ahead of industry peers in seeking to tackle the tricky area of capital carbon. Setting up robust carbon models and integrating these into asset intervention decision making as well as design processes has been key to progress as attendees at a recent UW Innovate webinar learned.
Analysis
Southern Water, along with local stakeholder organisations, has committed to prioritising the water quality and environment of three Sussex and Hampshire harbours in all investment decisions that may impact the areas. The company is carrying out an assessment to establish a natural capital baseline for future decisions.
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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
Northumbrian Water has been fined more than half a million pounds for a pollution incident in 2017 where sewage overflowed from a manhole and entered the Heads Hope Dene stream. The company self-reported the spill to the Environment and immediately began work to clear the blockage that caused the problem
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SES Water has said there is “no indication” of contaminated water leaving its Westwood water treatment works after a routine sample from the site tested positive for E-Coli. The company said it is “increasingly confident” it will shortly be able to lift its precautionary notice to customers in and around Oxted to boil water before drinking it or using it to prepare food.
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SES Water has instructed customers in Oxted in Surrey to boil their water before drinking it or using it to prepare food after routine testing at the Westwood Treatment Works found it may contain E-coli bacteria. The company said it is not yet known how long the precautionary notice will remain in place as its investigations into the cause are still ongoing.
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Water UK has proposed new legislation to protect and enhance the health of rivers to fix loopholes in current legislation and remove any barriers to innovation - especially in the form of nature based solutions. In a new manifesto, the trade body also called for swift action on CSOs, abstraction and bathing water.
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Projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions during wastewater treatment, minimise harm to waterways, and an at-scale water neutrality scheme are among the winners of Ofwat's £35 million innovation fund to encourage collaboration on common challenges in the sector.
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