A £100 million scheme to transform the old Woolston Wastewater Treatment Works in Southampton into a state-of-the-art-Water Recycling Plant has been completed.
The new plant provides world-class treatment turning wastewater to a high quality outflow which is returned to the environment, rightfully earning it recognition as a water recycling plant. In addition, despite a challenging location in a densely populated part of the city, the advanced technologies at the plant significantly reduce odours and ensure local residents can live harmoniously alongside it.
The construction held huge challenges: No new site was available so the old works had to be kept running while the replacement was built on the same footprint, leading engineers to call the task ‘Tetris with concrete’.
Southern Water CEO, Ian McAulay, said: “Our investment in this plant is a testament to our ongoing commitment to upgrading and improving our infrastructure to ensure that people of Southampton continue to receive a world-class service.
”I am very proud of the team at Southern Water and our delivery partners who have delivered this state-of-the-art facility. It will provide exceptional service for customers and at the same time improve the environment for years to come.”
Construction of the new plant was driven by the need to meet ever more stringent environmental regulations and the factor of increasing housing density immediately around the site leading to customers being affected by odour.
Throughout the construction period, which started in 2015, the site has continuously provided a treatment service to 68,000 customers. To achieve this during those five years, an ever-shifting jigsaw puzzle of structures and equipment has had to be carefully managed as Woolston’s state-of-the-art recycling plant steadily emerged and the old works disappeared.
The completion was welcomed by Member of Parliament for Southampton Itchen Royston Smith who said:
“I'm really pleased to see the completion of the new Woolston Wastewater Recycling Plant. This was a major project which required Southern Water to have a working treatment facility at all times, while building a new facility on this small site. The old works were not fit for the 21st century. Many Woolston residents will be aware of the frequent smell from the old site. The completion of this project is great news and provides a works which futureproofs local demand for many years to come.”
Southern Water Project Manager, Jorge Rodriguez said: “It’s been incredible to have been part of this huge and important project, mainly to witness first-hand how the site has changed and grown over the years. The treatment plant really is state-of-the-art and has the largest membrane biological reactor in the UK.
“Many teams have been part of this achievement and all are proud, of the improvements it brings to improve the environment we serve.”
Learn more about the construction.