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  • Rivers, lakes and estuaries

    Our region has many of the country's finest rivers and streams and we are focused on working with other stakeholders in continuing to protect and improve their condition.

    We have reduced water abstration, in part by cutting leakage and managing cutomer demand and working with communities where there is concern about local impacts of abstraction.

    We have upgraded sewage treatment works to avoid adverse impacts from contaminants such as ammonia and excessive nutrients.

    We have reduced the number of pollution incidents from our sewers, usually caused by blockages, and work with the Environment Agency and local councils to address water pollution caused by misconnected domestic plumbing.

    Protection programme

    Our programme for this asset management plan period (AMP6) includes the reduction of phosphorous concentration in discharges at 47 sewage treatment works.

    During 2015-16 our in-house engineering team completed outline design on the first group of these schemes - a standardised, modular approach will be adopted, wherever practicable, to ensure procurement and construction is as efficient as possible.

    As part of this programme we have been working with the Environment Agency to develop a catchment-wide permitting system for phosphorous at our sewage treatment works in the Bristol Avon river catchment.

    This is an innovative form of permitting which, by assessing the performance of a group of sewage treatment works as a whole, enables a different approach to risk, and delivers a greater environmental improvement at a lower cost.

    During the year we agreed the form of this permit and associated regulatory position statements with the Environment Agency. Work has started on monitoring the 64 sewage treatment works involved.

    The agency's National Environment Programme also includes a series of phosphorus technology trials to test the performance of new processes to meet future, more stringent concentrations required by the EU Water Framework Directive.

    We have completed construction and commissioning of four full-scale trial, including:

    • a magnetite assisted settlement process (BioMag)
    • absorptive media (steel slag reed beds)
    • stretching existing chemical dosing performance on tertiary sand filters and activated sludge plants.

    Under this programme we are working with the University of Bath to develop a high-rate algal pond for the removal of phosphorus from sewage effluent.

    In addition, design work has begun on eight sewage treatment works which required improved ammonia removal.

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