The new £200 million extension to our Liverpool Wastewater Treatment Works, which will keep the Mersey clean for generations to come, is now just over half-way through its construction.
When complete, the new plant at Wellington Dock will serve around 600,000 Liverpudlians, taking away their sewage and treating it to the highest standards, before returning it to the river.
The construction site, one of the biggest on Merseyside at the time of construction, is almost the length of two football pitches, and a hive of activity, with around 350 people expected to work on it.
Work started in autumn 2011 on the extension to the existing treatment works at neighbouring Sandon Dock. The project will continue to improve the quality of the water in the river, something which originally began in the 1980s, when it was heavily polluted and named as the dirtiest in Europe. Since then, millions of pounds has been spent on the construction of a huge 29km sewer from Crosby to Speke, which carries the city’s wastewater to Sandon Dock, which opened in 1989. Before then, 26 outfalls would regularly send sewage into the Mersey.
Now, salmon and trout live in the river and it’s a much cleaner environment for the people who work or play on its waters. And a clean River Mersey has played a huge role in the regeneration of Liverpool’s economy, helping to attract tourists and businesses to the city’s waterfront.
As part of the new improvements, sections of Sandon Dock will also be upgraded and a new, longer outfall pipe – the pipe which takes treated wastewater out into the river – has been installed and is already being used. This is over a quarter of a kilometre in length and will disperse the water further into the middle of the estuary, away from the banks of the river where bird habitats can sometimes be found.
The completed plant will be able to cope with 11,000 litres of waste a second, equivalent to filling an average family car 200 times every second.
The project is part of the £3.6 billion being invested by United Utilities across the North West from 2010 – 2015 to improve the water quality and the environment.