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Camels Head improvements planned from 2015/16

image depicting L-R: Cllr Tudor Evans, Richard Gilpin and Cllr Mark Coker at Camels Head
L-R: Cllr Tudor Evans, Richard Gilpin and Cllr Mark Coker at Camels Head
Local councillors have visited Camels Head Sewage Treatment Works in Plymouth to learn more about proposed improvements worth over £3million at the site.

Camels Head has a history of odour-related problems. While the situation has significantly improved in recent years following investment, detailed investigations and proactive odour control measures, it is South West Water's intention to replace the site's primary settlement tanks which remain the main source of the ongoing intermittent odour problems due to their age and outdated configuration.

Councillor Tudor Evans and Councillor Mark Coker were given a tour of the works and more information about the proposals by South West Water's Head of Waste Water, Richard Gilpin.

Richard said: "The tanks are part of the original treatment process and are now nearly 80 years old. They are challenging to operate and keep clean, as well as having a large surface area, all of which can contribute to odour issues.

"Our scoping team have been hard at work looking at all the viable options for the space available, currently occupied by the primary settlement tanks. We have narrowed this down to two preferred options for further detailed development.

"The project presents some challenges because the existing site is surrounded on all sides and is fully developed within its boundaries, so there are no free areas available for further construction.

"We are confident that both options will substantially reduce the risk of odour from Camels Head, and it is important that we make the right decision for the site. There is more analysis to do but we expect to make a decision on the preferred option very soon, with a view to starting work later in the year."

Council leader and ward member for Ham, Councillor Tudor Evans, said: "We have been campaigning long and hard for changes to be made reduce the smells that have affected this area and look forward to a time when this is no longer an issue. It is good to see for ourselves the plant and talk to the staff at South West Water about how they plan to resolve this problem."

Councillor Mark Coker, ward member for Devonport, added: "There has been a history of complaints about the smell over a number of years coming from the sewage works. We have been leading the charge to get the investment in the plant after years of complaints from the local residents. This planned work is a major step in the right direction - it can't come soon enough for residents living here."

Notes to editors

The two options being considered are:

a) Replacing the existing primary settlement tanks with four modern tanks, built on the same footprint

b) Replacing the primary settlement tanks with new 'primary filtration' technology

The significant investment proposed for Camels Head in South West Water's business plan for 2015-20 received final approval from Ofwat on 12 December 2014

Between 2015 and 2020, South West Water will spend about £1billion on improving the region's water and wastewater services

A 3 per cent reduction in the average household bill in 2015/16 follows a price freeze in 2014/15 and a 7 per cent drop in bills in 2013/14, with the introduction of the £50 Government Contribution

Other highlights of South West Water's 2015-20 business plan include:

  • Innovative ways to reduce the risk of sewer flooding and pollution
  • Increased protection for bathing water and shellfish water quality
  • New technologies to maintain high quality drinking water, including a new water treatment works north of Plymouth
  • Expansion of the company's renewable energy programme
  • Continuing support for those who struggle to pay their bills, working with Citizens Advice Bureau and other partners
  • Boosting the regional economy through jobs, the use of local contractors and an expanded apprenticeship programme
  • Sharing the rewards of out-performing its plan with customers in a new, transparent way. This will be monitored by an independent 'WaterShare' panel

Published: 27 February 2015

For further information please contact:

Press Office
South West Water
www: www.southwestwater.co.uk/contactus

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