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‘Reed’ all about it - fields of green to treat sewage

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: March 14, 2014

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A VILLAGE near Ashbourne is having a facelift carried out on its sewage treatment works.

Severn Trent Water will be planting fields of green reeds to help treat sewage from Hulland Ward.

The sewage treatment method – called vertical reed beds – has been introduced from France and will be used in the UK water industry for the first time.

Before work begins in May, plans to improve Hulland Ward’s sewage treatment works were unveiled to the community.

Feedback was generally felt to be positive because, as well as blending in with the environment, there will not be a lot of disruption while improvements are carried out by Severn Trent Water’s contract partner, MWH.

The work is part of wider plans to improve the land and water environment of the Ecclesbourne Valley and the reed beds will bring benefits to the area.

When the system is established, they will produce an environment that allows micro-organisms to digest sewage meaning that sludge only has to be removed once every decade, rather than on a monthly basis.

This should help to prevent pollution, save money and lessen road noise for villagers, as well as reducing the carbon footprint of the treatment processes.

Severn Trent Water’s senior programme engineer, Daniel Cunliffe, explains: “We have been planning the improvements to Hulland Ward’s sewage treatment works for a couple of years.

“We went to France to see the reed beds working over there.

“They are the perfect solution to allow us to treat sewage for a small community in an environmentally friendly way.

“They save money in operational costs too.

“We don’t expect the local community will notice a lot of noise or disruption while the improvements are made to the sewage treatment works.

“When the reed beds are established they’ll blend into the landscape and will help to reduce odour.

“We also save power because gravity moves the sewage through the majority of the process.

“When they’re working, we expect to demolish parts of the old sewage treatment works and we hope it’ll eventually look like a field of crops.

“It’s perfect because it blends in with the rural environment, provides a natural habitat for wildlife and is safer for workers.”

Further details are available by emailing info@mwhglobal.com.

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