Anglian Water installs new equipment in Wells to protect local rivers

09 August 2023


Anglian Water has begun work in January to install a new final settlement tank and upgrade technology at its water recycling centre (WRC) in Wells-next-the-sea, in line with new Environment Agency regulations.

The scheme marks an investment of almost £3.5 million to Anglian Water’s Holkham Road WRC, as part of Anglian Water’s Water Industry National Environment Programme (WINEP), a programme of environmental investment which is taking place between 2020-2025.

Anglian’s WINEP totals over £800 million of work which is specifically targeted at protecting the environment and improving river water quality. It is the largest WINEP plan of any water company, with double the number of commitments made and delivered in the previous five-year period.

The new final settlement tank at Wells will increase the amount of water treated by around four baths per minute. This builds resilience to extreme weather caused by climate change and protecting the environment by helping to reduce the use of storm overflows, providing additional protection for rivers, many of which in the East of England are unique chalk stream habitats. Work is expected to be complete on the project by early 2024.

Additional upgrades have already taken place to the infrastructure in Wells, at the company’s Freeman Street WRC. Engineers have constructed a new final settlement tank and scraper bridge, with suppliers FLI/Carlows, CEMA, Bells, Glasswell & Xylem. In line with Anglian Water’s aim to reach net zero by 2030, this scheme achieved a 38 per cent reduction in capital carbon. The new technology on site will allow the water company to process 5.2 additional litres of water per second, meaning Wells’ wastewater can be treated to an even higher standard before being returned to the environment. This will enhance water quality in local rivers and the sea, as well as preventing pollution in the local environment.

Regan Harris, spokesperson for Anglian Water, said: “We know how important rivers and the wider environment are to our customers and local communities. We’re really pleased that this scheme will help to protect nearby rivers and increase our resilience to climate change, by helping us make sure the wastewater is treated to an even higher standard than usual before it’s returned to the natural environment.

“As a result of climate change, we’re seeing more bouts of extreme weather, sudden downpours and rising sea levels, so it’s really important that our sites are prepared to process higher volumes of stormwater and protect the environment. That’s why we’ve committed through our Get River Positive programme that our water recycling processes will not harm rivers, with schemes like this one in Wells.”

Get River Positive was launched by Anglian Water and Severn Trent last year. The plan includes five pledges to transform river water quality across their regions and demonstrates a clear and actionable response to calls for a revival of rivers in England. Central to the pledges is a commitment that work carried out by the two water companies will ensure storm overflows and sewage treatment works do not harm rivers.

This project is being completed by Anglian Water’s @one Alliance. The @one Alliance delivers complex engineering and construction projects across the Anglian Water region, utilising the skills and expertise provided by their seven partner organisations – specialising in the world of water.