Pathfinder projects

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We believe the most efficient, cost-effective and environmentally beneficial way to prevent the use of storm overflows is to reduce or slow the amount of surface water which enters the sewer and prevent groundwater infiltration.

What is a pathfinder project?

The Clean Rivers and Seas Task Force is responsible for delivering at least six pathfinder projects in the next two years (until March 2025). We'll complete each project in three stages:

  1. Initial survey of the catchment area and action any immediate interventions. This could include cleaning screens and pipes to reduce the chance of blockages.  
  2. Implement ‘no regret’ interventions and establish pilots of new concepts and approaches. This could include measures such as controlled improvements on existing assets and piloting new schemes and incentives to encourage surface water management within the pathfinder catchment. 
  3. Implementing larger and more complex interventions to deliver the desired outcome for the project. This will involve working in partnership to deliver at scale. Examples of the types of interventions that could be implemented at this stage include: installing soakaways, roadside swales, rain gardens in schools; real time smart control of sewer networks, highway drainage enhancements and development of public green spaces. 

Ongoing analysis will be carried out to test the effectiveness of our interventions, and the findings will be gathered to use in other areas.


Where are the pathfinder projects?

We've identified three key focus areas to carry out our pathfinder projects. These have been selected as they pose complex challenges to overcome, have a higher volume of storm overflow spills, or require an innovative approach to tackle the local wastewater treatment issues.

To successfully reduce the use of storm overflows, we want to work in collaboration with a range of partners at all levels and across all industries. The pathfinder projects will demonstrate how strong partnerships can make a real difference.

North Kent and the East

Pathfinder project to significantly reduce the risk of flooding for residents previously affected in the area.

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South Downs & Harbours

Project to implement interventions to significantly reduce the need for tankers and pumping in the catchment.

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The Solent - Isle of Wight

We'll be trailing enhanced wastewater pumping station control, surface water removal and storage solutions.

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Pathfinder update

Working faster and harder to reduce the use of storm overflows across the South East.

Learn more