Severn Trent host European “SMART-Plant” consortium to discuss future of sewage treatment

26 July 2017

Severn Trent has hosted a meeting of minds from across Europe as members of the Horizon2020 SMART-Plant project visited the company’s HQ in Coventry.

More than 50 delegates from across the continent gathered to discuss the project – which is based on a concept that sewage treatment works should become factories where waste is converted to ‘value added’ products, that can then be used in the chemical, construction, agriculture and renewable energy sectors.It has gained funding from the Horizon 2020 research programme which is the largest EU research and innovation programme ever. 

During the conference Severn Trent CEO, Liv Garfield, spoke to the group about the importance of collaboration to drive innovation.

Liv explains: “It’s so important for us to be at the forefront of this, working with partners from across Europe on technology that will change the way we deal with waste forever. 

“In a fast-changing world it’s essential we review and change what we do so we can better serve growing populations while also making sure we’re at the forefront of the innovations needed to meet our obligations.

”The meeting was the third to take place with the whole project consortium, following previous meets in Verona and Rimini. During the three-day event delegates were shown round Minworth Sewage Treatment Works which is one of the largest in Europe, treating waste from Birmingham and the Black Country. 

Pete Vale, who represents Severn Trent on the project, added: “It was fantastic to sit down with everyone again and look at where we are now and where we can go in the future. 

“The EU Water Framework Directive is pushing water companies across Europe to improve processes and help protect water bodies from pollution and degradation and that’s exactly what the project is aiming to achieve.

“The SMART-Plant project has obtained a €8.08m grant from the Horizon 2020 programme and we’re all committed to using that to fund research and innovation that will change the way we treat waste in the future.”

The project started in June 2016 and will run for four years. There are 27 project partners from nine countries involved, including eight universities and six water companies – Severn Trent, Mekorot (national water company of Israel), EYDAP (the Athens water and waste company), Aigues De Manresa (serves Manresa in Barcelona), Alto Trevigiano Servizi (serving the north east region of Italy) and Socamex (serving several areas of Spain and South America).For more infomation, visit