A solution in store in Bradford-on-Avon

We’re spending nearly £2 million to protect the picturesque River Avon running through the historic market town in west Wiltshire from the discharge of untreated water.

What we’re doing

During heavy rainfall, the sewer system in the town can become overwhelmed by the volume of water travelling through the combined sewers that carry both foul water from people's homes and rainwater runoff from buildings and surfaces to a nearby water recycling centre for treatment.

As a result, a nearby storm overflow can operate automatically, releasing water that hasn’t yet gone through the treatment process back into the River Avon.

Starting in autumn 2023, our team have been building a new below-ground storage tank in Victory Field, in the centre of Bradford-on-Avon to ensure a greater amount of stormwater can be retained instead of discharged.

Further improvements will see a mechanical screen installed to prevent any larger solid material from being discharged to the environment without having first gone through treatment.

How will it help?

The new tank, built below ground in the north-east corner of Victory Field, can hold more than 160,000 litres of additional storage, helping the system cope with rapid increases in the flow of wastewater after heavy rainfall.

The stored water is initially retained, then safely returned to the sewer system and onwards for treatment at a nearby water recycling centre after the storm has receded.

Adding this storage capacity is expected to reduce the number on instances of the storm overflow discharging by nearly 75 per cent.

Supporting the community

Due to the site of the project, a large area of the popular Victory Field open space has been used while the work is carried out.

We also needed to remove a section of the stone wall at the top of Pound Lane to allow the construction site to be built.

We’re returning that wall to its previous location and condition at the end of the scheme, as well as restoring and enhancing the playing field.

Because one youth football pitch on Victory Field has also been unavailable, with the project taking place during the season, we’ve worked with Bradford Town Youth Football Club on ways to help them via alternative arrangements or equipment.

Meeting the overflows challenge

The Bradford-on-Avon project was one of 13 priority projects to tackle the most frequently operating overflows in our region before 2025.

And it continues our efforts to boost protection of the River Avon, with a similar storage scheme taking place downstream in Lambridge, Bath.

Nearly 100 improvement projects relating to the discharge of untreated water are being completed in our region between 2020-25, part of a £3 million a month investment to reduce the number of hours storm overflows operate for by around 25 per cent.

You can read about our storm overflows improvement plan up to 2025 – but we’re proposing going much further in the future – continuing to tackle overflows affordably and sustainably, using a variety of solutions to support the environment around us.

We're proposing our largest ever investment in water and sewerage services – at around £3.5 billion – including a record £400 million to reduce discharges from storm overflows, between 2025 and 2030 – subject to regulators approving our business plan.

You can read more about our future investment proposals here.