Utility firm completes work to upgrade treatment plant ahead of schedule

Grafham Water, near Perry. Picture: ANGLIAN WATER

Grafham Water, near Perry. Picture: ANGLIAN WATER - Credit: Archant

A major Anglian Water scheme to upgrade and improve the current method of water treatment at the company’s largest water treatment works at Grafham Water has been completed.

Work began in 2016 on the £1.6million scheme and was originally due to be completed by 2019.

The scheme involved decommissioning the chlorine gas equipment and replacing it with a safer, modern technology which uses a liquid chlorine disinfectant called sodium hypochlorite.

Chlorine, in gas or liquid form, is added to the drinking water treatment process because it’s a microbial disinfectant; it kills germs and makes water safe to drink.

However in it’s concentrated form, chlorine is toxic, and as a result Anglian Water has strict processes in place at the water treatment site to manage the storage of the chemical.

This includes a purpose-built gas store to contain any possible leaks within the building itself, automatic safety systems in place 24hrs a day, 365 days a year, and a permanent, fully trained member of staff on-site at all times.

Regan Harris from Anglian Water said: “For a long time, chlorine gas has been an essential tool in our kit to ensure we provide safe, clean drinking water at all times. But we are investing £1.6m to remove the chlorine gas equipment. In its place we’ll use an innovative, liquid disinfectant instead, which is still just as effective but safer to transport, store and handle.”

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The removal project was put into action after a small a leak in the treatment centre set village sirens off causing disruption for the residents of Perry.

The move from the gas to a liquid disinfectant has removed the risk of gas leaks in future. As a result there is no longer a need for sirens in the village and the residents of Perry will no longer need a community response plan.

Ms Harris continued: “A project of this scale and complexity takes time, however following the hard work and dedication of a collaborative team from Anglian Water engineering, operational and construction teams the project was completed months ahead of the expected date.

“A fantastic achievement all round.”