Anglian Water invests nearly £6 million to protect Langham’s rivers

09 February 2024


Anglian Water has begun work to improve the water treatment processes in Langham, near Colchester, in line with new Environment Agency regulations.


The improvement schemes mark a total investment of nearly £6 million into water recycling processes at Langham WRC.

This work – which includes phosphorous removal technology and improvements to the amount of wastewater the site can process – will improve water quality in local watercourses, including the River Stour.

Work on the phosphorous removal scheme finished in January, while additional work to increase the site’s capacity is planned for 2025. As the upgrades are taking place on site at the WRC, Anglian Water customers in the local area should not experience any disruption during the schemes.

Phosphorous is widely used in soaps and cleaning products but can be harmful to wildlife when it reaches rivers and other watercourses. The investment at Langham WRC, which is worth more than £900,000, includes new equipment to strengthen the current water recycling process and remove even more phosphorous from wastewater. This equipment will help remove harmful algae growth and improve water quality in local watercourses.

Anglian Water’s team has used detailed modelling of the local system to design a robust engineering scheme which will help to protect local watercourses in the Colchester area now and in the future. This investment means the water entering the Black Brook from Langham WRC, and the River Stour downstream, will be even cleaner, protecting wildlife and water quality in the river.

As well as installing phosphorous removal equipment to treat wastewater flows to a higher standard, the water company is also set to modify existing equipment in 2025 so Langham WRC can process higher volumes of wastewater. With high population growth in the area, as well as increased surface water drainage, it is vital that the site is able to keep up with increased flows.


The investment scheme will help to prevent flooding on site and improve the site’s resilience to future increased flows as a result of climate change and population growth.

Regan Harris, spokesperson for Anglian Water, said: “We’re really pleased that these upgrades to our Water Recycling Centre in Langham 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.

“We know how important rivers and the wider environment are to our customers and local communities. That’s why we’ve committed through our Get River Positive programme that our water recycling processes will not harm rivers.”

This work comes as the water company is beginning work on two other phosphorous removal schemes nearby, at Steeple Bumpstead and Sudbury WRCs. These investments, which are worth more than £3.8 million altogether, will further protect the River Stour by removing harmful phosphorous from other points along the river. 

Get River Positive was launched by Anglian Water and Severn Trent in 2022. 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.

These projects will be 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.