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£3.6 million upgrade to Faringdon sewage works

Thursday 11th June 2020 16:00

Faringdon STW upgrade

A 1960s-built sewage treatment works in Oxfordshire has been given a £3.6 million upgrade by Thames Water to protect the environment and serve a growing population. 

Faringdon sewage works is responsible for treating the wastewater of around 8,000 households and businesses in Faringdon and the Coxwells. 

Upgrades include two huge new sewage filters and a standby power generator so the works can provide its own energy for seven days in the event of a power interruption.  

New control centres for Thames Water engineers to manage the machinery have also been installed and a new tank was built so the site can hold sludge, the by-product of the treatment process, before it is transported to Swindon sewage works to be turned into renewable energy.

The number of households in the local area is estimated to increase to 11,200 by 2026. The upgrade, which ran from January 2019 to March 2020, means the site will now be able to process increased volumes of wastewater. 

The project ensures Faringdon also meets updated Environment Agency standards, which are linked to the future population increase, on putting treated and cleaned wastewater back into the local watercourse, Faringdon Brook. 

During the upgrade, Thames Water engineers found fats and grease clogging up the sewage filters along with several children’s toys which had made their way into the network. 

Unflushables – which also include nappies, sanitary products and cotton buds – don’t break down like toilet paper, causing blockages that can lead to flooding and pollution. They can also combine with fats, oils and grease to create fatbergs.  

Emily Goren, Thames Water project engineer, said: “We’re investing in our network across the Thames Valley so we can meet the needs of our customers and protect the environment as the population grows. This upgrade to the site will continue the seamless treatment of wastewater for the residents of Faringdon and the Coxwells into the future.”

Thames Water engineers have been designated as key workers during the coronavirus outbreak to help ensure the taps and toilets of millions of customers continue to work. However non-essential work, such as meter readings, has been reduced.  

Find out more about the sewage treatment process.