Bradford-on-Avon storage tank

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

Tackling the problem

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.

What we did

Starting in autumn 2023, our team built 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 saw a mechanical screen installed to prevent any larger solid material from being discharged into 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 significantly reduce the instances of the nearby storm overflow discharging.

Construction site at Bradford-on-Avon
A new storm storage tank is being constructed underneath a corner of Victory Field in Bradford-on-Avon

Supporting the community

To install the underground tank, our team had to remove a section of the stone wall at the top of Pound Lane to build the construction area.

The wall was rebuilt at the end of the work, and we also paid for the restoration of the grass area of the playing field, which has been overseen by Bradford on Avon Town Council.

We also provided equipment to Bradford Town Youth Football Club and discussed alternative arrangements with them as one of their football pitches on Victory Field was unavailable due to our work.

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 the protection of the River Avon, with similar storage schemes taking place downstream in Lambridge, Bath, and Hanham, near Bristol, as well as further such projects being planned in Bath and Saltford.

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 percent.

We are investing to tackle storm overflows affordable and sustainably – but are proposing going much further in the future – 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.

Find out more about our future investment proposals.

Scheme status

This scheme was completed in March 2024.