Anglian Water installs new storm tank in Peterborough to protect local rivers

30 October 2023


Anglian Water is due to begin work in November to install a new storm tank and upgrade technology at its main water recycling centre (WRC) in Peterborough, in line with new Environment Agency regulations. The scheme forms part of a £27 million investment programme to overhaul Peterborough’s water and sewerage infrastructure.

The scheme marks an investment of more than £10 million to Anglian Water’s Flag Fen WRC, as part of a larger programme of work to increase storm water storage across the East of England, with overall investment in the programme totalling more than £100 million. The additional storm water storage across the region 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 programme 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 tanks at Peterborough will be able to capture 19 million litres of storm water during extreme weather and flooding – the equivalent of more than seven Olympic swimming pools – so it can then be treated before being returned to the River Nene nearby. 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 the end of 2024.

Regan Harris, spokesperson for Anglian Water, said: “We know how important rivers and the wider environment are to our customers and local communities, which is why we’re investing £27 million into Peterborough’s water and sewerage infrastructure. 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 Peterborough.”

The scheme followed a £3.3 million investment to repair the sewer network along the footpath which links Fengate and Potters Way which finished last month. In addition to the work on Fengate and Potters Way, Anglian Water has replaced and relined sewer pipes in Thorpe Road and Bourges Boulevard, with plans also in place for an additional £6 million in upgrades at Flag Fen. These investments have been designed to accommodate new homes and businesses in Peterborough, which is one of the UK’s fastest growing cities, and will help protect the environment at the same time.

This programme also includes improvements to the water networks across Peterborough. Engineers upgraded 2.4km of water pipes in Folksworth last summer, as well as laying new pipes in Great Haddon to keep taps flowing ahead of an additional 4,000 homes being built. Anglian Water is also working to install smart meters across the city, which will help households monitor their water use day-to-day so they can save both water and money.

Anglian Water’s programme of investment in Peterborough has been designed to support both environmental and social prosperity, in line with the water company’s purpose. Alongside the schemes to upgrade Peterborough’s water and sewerage infrastructure, the company has been working with local secondary schools with employability lessons, as well as offering early careers opportunities at its Thorpe Wood engineering HQ.

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.