Water company starts work on £5m project to cut sewer overflows into River Frome

WORK on a £5 million project to stop excess rainwater from swamping sewers that overflow into the River Frome is has started in Frampton Cotterell.

Wessex Water, which is in charge of waste water disposal and treatment in the region, is building three underground storage tanks, capable of storing 885,000 litres of water between them, at Church Road in Frampton Cotterell, at Nightingale Lane and off Cloisters Road, Watley’s End.

Work on the first, in Church Road, started in April, with the Nightingale Lane project starting in May and Cloisters Road in July.

All three are due to be completed by next January.

Three sewers discharged for more than 3,000 hours last year

They cover the three combined sewer overflows (CSOs) which discharged the most last year: 1,137 hours at Church Road, 923 hours at Nightingale Bridge and 1,155 at Sunny Acres, off Cloisters Lane.

In total, CSOs discharged sewage into the Frome for more than 4,000 hours into the River Frome between Iron Acton and Winterbourne Down last year.

Wessex Water says the tanks will “ease the flow of large amounts of rain into sewers during heavy storms, helping to significantly reduce the automatic operation of storm overflows”.

The company says CSOs were designed as a “relief valve” to protect homes from flooding, and have been part of the UK’s sewer system for more than a century.

Vehicles on the Church Road site in April

Works ‘will help to protect the River Frome’

Project manager Andy Roberts said: “These are substantial investments into our sewer system in Frampton Cotterell which will help to protect the River Frome by reducing times when untreated water reaches it via the automatic operation of storm overflows.

“The combined sewer system can be overwhelmed by rain in heavy storms but, by holding this excess water back in these tanks, we can then return it to the system later, via the Frome Valley Relief Sewer, so it can go onward to a water recycling centre for treatment.” 

Mr Roberts said the works involve diverting a “small section” of the Frome Valley Walkway along Meadow Mead and Rectory Road.

He said: “We’ll be reinstating the area, including a memorial bench we will carefully remove while work takes place, when completed. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.” 

Wessex Water says it has committed “towards progressively and substantially reducing the discharge of untreated wastewater by 2025”, and is focusing on priority projects where overflows discharge most frequently or have environmental impact.