New £5million wastewater treatment works in East Devon

Posted: Tuesday 27th February 2018

South West Water has completed a £5million investment in wastewater treatment in East Devon.

Ottery St Mary Wastewater Treatment Works has been decommissioned and a new state-of-the-art works has been constructed next to the existing works at Fluxton. The old site at Ottery remains as an operational site but is now only used for flow control and storm storage.

The project took three years to devise, develop and deliver. The new works was designed and built by South West Water's H5O delivery alliance in partnership with the company's wastewater team.

South West Water Scientist Dr Nick Gardner explained: "Ottery St Mary Wastewater Treatment Works was coming to the end of its useful life. Parts of the works dated back to the 1960s, though there had probably been some sort of treatment process on the site for years before that. The works was difficult to access and had become challenging to operate, and as the population of Ottery grew, it struggled to cope."

Wastewater from all of Ottery St Mary is now treated at the new Fluxton and Ottery St Mary Wastewater Treatment Works, which serves a population of around 7,200.

"The original works at Fluxton, which treated waste from Tipton St John, Fluxton, West Hill and about a third of Ottery itself, was left running while we built a completely brand new works right next door," explained Nick.

"To combat the risk of flooding from the River Otter, the works is built at elevation rather than at ground height, which was another design challenge.

"Fluxton is now one of our most efficient and technologically advanced activated sludge treatment works. We've also been able to incorporate a new phosphorous removal process. Phosphorous is an essential element for life in small amounts but if there is too much in a river it can act like a fertiliser, causing excessive weed growth. Phosphorous has also been linked with algal blooms in Lyme Bay, which is where the River Otter ends up near Budleigh Salterton.

"So not only are we are pleased with the new works, but it's good news for the water quality of the River Otter, and I expect the otters and beavers are very happy too."

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