Thames Water opened its Aylesbury sewage works doors to show members of the community what goes on behind the scenes.
Around 30 residents attended the day for a guided tour of the works, and were given talks on how wastewater is treated before being safely returned to the environment.
The open day was held by the water company to showcase improvements made since being fined £19.75 million for leaking billions of litres of untreated sewage into water courses between 2012 and 2014.
Thames Water director Richard Aylard said: “Since the pollution incidents, we’ve reviewed our processes and invested heavily in improving the reliability of the sewage works, as well as employing more staff in key operational roles.
“This open day was a good way of showing the public the progress we’ve made in preventing pollution incidents, but there will always be more to do and we’ll continue to challenge ourselves to do even better in the future.”
As well as being shown the sewage treatment process from start to finish and different operational processes, residents also got to see one of the machines used to remove fatbergs – a large mass of congealed fat, oils and greases and other unflushable items such as wet wipes – from sewers.
Andy Kirkham, a resident who attended the open day, said: “It has been absolutely fascinating. I didn’t realise how big the plant was, and the level of detail that is put into the process, and how natural it all is.
“There’s no noxious smells, it’s all very clean, and I’m really impressed by the education side of it as well, with the ‘Bin it – don’t block it’ campaign. If you can see the mess flushing non-flushable items causes, I think it will make people stop and think.”
Henry Badman, who helped organise the event, added: “We’re really pleased with how the event went, and we’re keen to show customers how we work.
“Everyone who came enjoyed it and learnt a lot, and it was a good opportunity for us to show what we’re doing since the pollution incidents to ensure that all the water we return to the environment is of the best possible quality.”