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Eastbourne Wastewater Treatment Works upgrade

We’re investing £16million on a major upgrade of our Eastbourne Wastewater Treatment Works, at Langney Point.

These improvements will help protect the local environment and ensure we can continue to meet the needs of 140,000 customers well into the future.

  1. Why are you carrying out this work? 
    • As the site is now 16-years-old, we need to refurbish existing equipment, and we’re taking the opportunity to make further improvements too.

      This major overhaul will bring many long-term benefits and ensure wastewater leaving the site is of the highest quality, which is good news for our local beaches and the wider environment.
  2. What’s going on? 
    • The vast majority of the treatment works at Eastbourne is located underground, beneath the fortress-style building on the seafront.

      This means that up to 86 million litres of wastewater can be pumped in and treated everyday almost entirely out of sight, a design that reduces the visual impact on the seafront. The underground nature of the works means you may not see much construction underway, though you may notice more activity than usual around the site.

      Beneath ground level, our contractors are working around the clock to carry out these improvements as quickly as possible, with minimal disruption to customers.

      Planned work includes updating the biological filter, improving lighting, ventilation and odour controls and replacing pumps and other equipment.
  3. Why can I see rescue teams and emergency workers at the site? 
    • The site at Eastbourne is one of only two underground treatment works in our region, making this scheme particularly complex.

      To carry out these improvements, our staff and contractors need to carry out specialised work in confined spaces, between four and 10 metres below ground level. Their safety is of the highest importance to us, so we’ve put in place expert rescue teams, including firefighters and paramedics, to be on standby to assist should an injury or emergency occur.

      Because we’re working both day and night to complete this scheme as quickly as possible, our emergency teams will be stationed outside the site around the clock.
  4. How long will the work take? 
    • We’ve already made good progress with the scheme, which is due to be completed during early 2020.
  5. What are you doing about smells? 
    • We understand that smells can be a concern for customers living close to treatment works and the improvements we’re making will help reduce these smells in future.

      In the short-term, odours may be slightly more noticeable while we’re carrying out our improvement works and installing new odour-control systems. While it’s impossible to completely eliminate odours associated with treatment works, we’re confident that once complete, our work will result in a noticeable improvement.


Find out what progress we’ve made and what work is coming up:

10 October

We’re upgrading the underground cranes, which are essential to the smooth running of this large site. We’ve also drained the third biological filter, given it a structural inspection and started refurbishing it.

20 September

We’ve finished refurbishing a second biological filter, and preparing the next one for upgrade work.

We’re using temporary pumping equipment to do this, installed close to the site, which is quicker and quieter than using tankers and also helps reduce smells.

We're making good progress, so will remove the pumping equipment at the end of September. Then we'll carry out improvement work on the filter  which should take around five weeks. When complete, we'll need to re-install the temporary pumping equipment to get the filter running again.

  1. January to August 2018 
    • 28 August

      In order to carry out the next phase of works, we’ll need to install additional pumping equipment close to the site. This will be placed either in the adjacent bus stop car park or near the seafront ice cream parlour. 

      Because this temporary equipment may create some noise, we’ll be using a series of acoustic barriers to minimise the impact for customers.

      This phase of work will begin at the end of August and we aim to complete it by the end of September when the equipment will be removed. 

      We’d like to thank customers and businesses for their patience while we carry out this essential part of upgrading work.  

      8 August

      Our interim odour management system is now fully operational once again, so any smells from the works should be reduced. We're really sorry if you were affected by any unpleasant odours over the last few days.
      Although the system is now working, if you have any concerns or queries, please do get in touch with us on 0330 303 0368.
      Meanwhile, work on the site's permanent odour management equipment can now continue, with this project due to be completed by early September. Together with the interim system being restored to service, this will help reduce the risk / impact of any smells that originate from the works in the future

      15 June 2018

      We’re now using new pumps below ground to transfer filter material without the need to use outdoor tankers, which will help reduce smells around the site. These pumps are powered by four generators, which we will now be encasing in sound-proof barriers to reduce noise.

      We’re aware of the potential for increased smells, particularly in the summer months. We’re constantly monitoring odour levels and have completed a full refurbishment of the odour control system.

      Over the coming weeks we’ll be installing new isolation valves. This will make carrying out future repairs and maintenance quicker, safer and more cost-effective.

      To protect the safety of our teams, we’ve also made further improvements to ensure a safe working environment, including replacing the steel floor. Our emergency rescue teams continue to be on site around the clock while our teams work underground.

      15 May 2018

      We’ve now nearly completed improvements on one of the biological filters, and this will be put back into service over the next two weeks. We will then begin work on a second filter over the coming weeks.

      To carry out this part of the scheme, we’ve worked with an engineering firm to construct a safety cage as an alternative to using scaffolding. This means we’ve been able to carry out this section in less time, while ensuring our staff and contractors are well protected.

      These biological filters rely on special filtration material to treat wastewater. The changes we've made mean that we will now be able to pump this material directly from one filter to another, without the need to use outdoor tankers.

      This will help to reduce odour coming from the site whenever we need to switch filters in the future. 

      8 May 2018

      Improvement work to the underground chamber where wastewater arrives from Pevensey and Eastbourne is on course to be complete in July. This major part of the project has seen us replacing older sections of concrete with more resilient material to maintain the structure of the chamber.

      We've needed to ensure the site has remained full functional throughout this work, so our teams have been working through the night, when flows of wastewater entering the site are much lower. We're now able to work during the daytime too, so work on this section should be complete in July. 

      April 2018

      We’ve now completed our lighting improvements and are preparing to start work on the new odour-control system.

      This month, we’ll be continuing to upgrade the treatment tanks, so that we can further improve the quality of wastewater being treated.

      Early 2018

      We’ve rebuilt three treatment tanks to improve the treatment process and we’re well underway with work to rebuild the inlet, where flows enter the site.

      As this is an underground site, making repairs can be complex, but we’ve now made big improvements to ventilation and lighting inside, which will make problem-solving much easier in future. Still to come are upgrades of more treatment tanks.


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