Coventry MP learns about the work of Severn Trent

3rd July 2023

Coventry MP Taiwo Owatemi had the chance to hear about Severn Trent’s programme of work to improve the region’s rivers when she met with local experts in Finham.

The Labour MP for Coventry North West was invited to Severn Trent’s training facility, the Academy, to learn more about wastewater management and the company’s ongoing investment to improve river health, before taking a tour of the Finham sewage treatment works.

During the visit, Ms Owatemi was given an overview of the company’s Get River Positive programme – a series of commitments to make rivers the healthiest they can be. Severn Trent is moving faster, in some cases 20 years ahead of targets set out by regulators, with the Get River Positive pledges already having a positive impact across Coventry and Warwickshire.

In the programme’s first year, the impact of Severn Trent’s operations on rivers reduced by one third and monitors have been installed on all storm overflows, providing more than 300 million data records over the course of a year.

Central to Severn Trent’s commitments is the pledge that its operations will not be the reason for any stretch of river in its region to be classified as unhealthy by 2030. Environment Agency (EA) data shows this figure for rivers in Coventry and Warwickshire is now 13%, with the remaining 87% attributable to other sectors.

Ms Owatemi said: “I am grateful to Severn Trent for inviting me to their Academy and Finham sewage treatment works to hear more about their work, including the Get River Positive programme which aims to improve the health of rivers across our region.

“It was also fascinating to hear about the other work they do across Coventry with their Community Fund, apprentice schemes and their work on water efficiency with free water saving devices available through their website.”

During her tour of Severn Trent’s Academy in Finham, Ms Owatemi was shown a virtual river, complete with Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) as well as a virtual home to see first-hand the process of wastewater management.  

She was also told about the impact of fatbergs – the build-up of unflushable items such as wet wipes and sanitary products, grease and fat which cause blockages across the sewage network.

Whilst touring Finham sewage treatment works, the Coventry MP heard about Severn Trent’s £35 million investment to install new innovative technology called CoMag, which removes phosphorous from wastewater before it is returned to the environment.

The new equipment will make sure that Severn Trent exceeds targets to reduce phosphorous and in turn improve the local environment.

Severn Trent’s Wastewater Area Manager, Steven Adcock said: “We were delighted to welcome Ms Owatemi to our Academy and Finham sewage treatment works. It gave us a fantastic opportunity to share our work and investment in our rivers and the new and innovative projects we are undertaking to improve our environmental credentials.

“As a business, we are passionate about making a positive impact on the communities and the environment where we live and work. And we recognise that as a sector, there’s more we need to do to help our region’s rivers be the healthiest they can be.”