Severn Trent starts £11.5 million upgrade in Shropshire to improve river health

Tuesday 5 September 2023

Severn Trent has launched an £11.5 million investment programme at six sewage treatment works across Shropshire to further improve river health in the area.

Once the work is complete, the multi-million pound investment will ensure the company’s operations will not be responsible for any harm caused to that particular stretch of the River Severn.

A significant proportion of the investment will take place at Monkmoor Sewage Treatment Works, where Bob Mansell (pictured) has worked for 33 years. The operational technician first worked at the site as part of the maintenance team, but has worked in sewage treatment for the last 25 years.

He said: “Our customers are all rightly focusing on what we’re doing in terms of river health, and this investment demonstrates our commitment to protecting and enhancing our rivers and the wider environment. It’s what we all come to work for and it’s the ethos of all the team and has been for me for over 25 years. We’re here to treat the waste and return it back to the environment at the highest possible standard.

“So this investment can only be a good thing – it will further improve the quality of the treated effluent released back into the watercourse to meet the new Environment Agency (EA) permits and will also help us treat more sewage as the local population continues to grow. Monkmoor consistently falls within EA permits already but that isn’t a reason for us to stand still - we’re always looking at ways to keep improving.”

This major investment forms part of Severn Trent’s Get River Positive programme, and their firm commitment to ensure that their operations will not be the reason for unhealthy rivers by 2030. When the upgrade of these sewage treatment works is completed, it will mean that 100% of the reasons for this stretch of the Severn not achieving the Environment Agency’s good ecological status measures, will be due to other sectors and industries and not Severn Trent.

Work started two weeks ago to lay the foundations for the equipment that will be needed on site ahead of the upgrades at the six sites.

As work got started at Monkmoor, Bob spoke of the changes he’s experienced in his time working at the site.

He said: “In that time sewage treatment has changed quite dramatically. In 2006 we had a major investment at the works to replace the old biological filter process of treating the waste, with a new process that produces a much better final effluent which at the time was a dramatic improvement.

“But we never like to stand still at Severn Trent, we are always looking to improve our process which is why we’re making this big investment in Monkmoor, and five other treatment works across Shropshire. I’m still enjoying working here after all of these years.”

Severn Trent is also planning to continue to invest in its Shropshire treatment works to continue to meet strict EA permits. Works including Bridgnorth, Morville, Coalport, Bitterley, Bedlam will receive significant investment, and the company also has plans to increase the capacity of its Pontesbury sewage treatment works. 

And as part of its Green Recovery, Severn Trent is also investing £78 million to improve water quality along more than 50km of river, including the River Teme in Shropshire, with the end goal to move a stretch of the Teme towards bathing quality by 2025.