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Discover what's hidden beneath the Lyme Regis sea wall

Members of the public are once again being offered the opportunity to discover exactly what happens after Lyme Regis residents flush their toilets.

South West Water is inviting visitors on a free tour of Gun Cliff sewage pumping station as part of this year's national Heritage Open Days programme in September.

The sewage pumping station is hidden beneath the sea defence wall at Cobb Gate, Lyme Regis, where it discreetly transports waste water from the town's population further inland for extensive treatment.

The site was built as part of South West Water's 1995 Clean Sweep scheme for Lyme Regis in order to remove the need for two crude sewage outfalls and improve bathing water quality.

It will be open to members of the public on Thursday 12 September and visitors will be shown what goes into transporting and storing large volumes of waste water, particularly following heavy storms, before it is pumped uphill for treatment.

Pumping station manager Peter Turney said: "Most people who stroll along Lyme Regis promenade have no idea what is going on under their feet.

"This is a rare opportunity for visitors to look around our high-tech pumping operation which has improved the bathing water quality in Lyme Regis. Without this pumping station, crude sewage would still be going out to sea to the west of Cobb beach but instead it is taken inland to our sewage treatment works where it receives full biological treatment and is disinfected under ultraviolet light to reduce any remaining bacteria."

Places on the free tours are limited and must be pre-booked. Tours run between 10am and 4pm and last for an hour.

Notes to editors

  • South West Water provides water and sewerage services to over 1.6 million people across Devon, Cornwall and parts of Somerset and Dorset.
  • South West Water operates 630 sewage treatment works and 29 water treatment works.
  • On average, half a billion litres of sewage arrives at South West Water's treatment works every day.
  • In 2014 South West Water will submit its business plan for the years ahead to the UK water industry regulator Ofwat. We are inviting customers to find out more and tell us what they think our priorities should be for 2015-20 at www.southwestwater.co.uk/waterfuture

Published: 5 August 2013

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