Anglian Water installs new storm tank in Ivinghoe to protect local rivers(2)

15 September 2023


Anglian Water has finished work on the installation of a new storm tank in Ivinghoe, near Luton, in line with new Environment Agency regulations.

The water company is also upgrading existing equipment to reduce the levels of phosphorus in the water that is returned to the environment. This will strengthen the current water treatment process, reduce algae growth and improve water quality in local watercourses.

Work has taken place entirely on site at Anglian Water’s water recycling centre off Station Road in Ivinghoe, minimising disruption for customers in the area during the scheme.

The scheme marks a £4.2 million investment, as part of a larger programme of work totalling over £100 million, to increase storm water storage across the East of England. The additional storm water storage will help to capture and redirect more than 72.5 million litres of rainwater – equivalent to 29 Olympic sized swimming pools – to help protect the environment during heavy rainfall.

The upgrade specifically aims to increase resilience across the East of England, which is likely to see the impacts of the climate emergency – like drought and flooding – more keenly than anywhere else in the UK. It forms part of the company’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 storm tank at Ivinghoe will capture an additional 380,000 litres of storm water during extreme weather and flooding, so it can then be treated before being returned to the nearby water courses.

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.

The water company is continuing work on site at the WRC to further improve the water treatment process by installing new phosphorous removal technology. Phosphorous is widely used in soaps and cleaning products but can be harmful to wildlife when it reaches rivers and other watercourses.

This work, which is due to be completed by early 2024, will help remove even more phosphorous from wastewater. This means the water entering the River Ouzel from Ivinghoe WRC will be even cleaner, protecting wildlife and water quality in the river, as well as other downstream watercourses.

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 Ivinghoe.”

Get River Positive was launched by Anglian Water and Severn Trent earlier this 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.