Holdenhurst water recycling centre

We’re investing more than £30 million to enhance the Holdenhurst water recycling centre on the outskirts of Bournemouth.

What are we doing and why is it needed?

We’re helping to protect the town’s popular beaches by increasing capacity and reducing the automatic operation of storm overflows.

We’re constructing an extra nine million litres of additional storage at the Holdenhurst site next to the A338 by building a new 65-metre-long storm tank.

We’ll also boost our ability to remove harmful chemicals, including some that are frequently found in many household products, from wastewater to ensure we protect our rivers and coastlines.

To achieve this, we are constructing two new chemical dosing units that will be in place at the site, including one treatment lane with 50 membranes to help with ammonia removal which will be the largest single-unit installation of this type in the country.

Currently, Holdenhurst serves a population of approximately 180,000 which increases significantly during the summer months. By adding this new equipment on site, we’ll be able to ensure that the treatment of sewage keeps pace with a local population that is projected to grow further.

Work has started on preparing the Holdenhurst site for additional storage tanks

What about the impact on the local environment?

The extra storage will help to reduce the automatic operation of storm overflows nearby by nearly a third.

Boosted processes for removing chemicals from sewer flows arriving at the water recycling centre can also reduce the impact of nutrients, such as phosphorus, ammonia and nitrogen that can cause excessive growths of algae and damage the ecology of our waterways.

What happens next?

Final designs for both the chemical removal and storage elements of the enhancement were completed at the end of 2023. Construction has started and is expected to be complete by December 2024.

Early work on the storm storage element of the project is already under way. It is anticipated that the additional storm storage will be available by March 2025.

Holdenhurst does not have facilities for sludge treatment at the site and all surplus sludge is transferred to the nearby Berry Hill Bioresources Centre.

At Berry Hill, 750 cubic metres of new sludge storage will be built, together with the repurposing of existing storage tanks and transfer pumps.

Holdenhurst water recycling centre off the A338 in Bournemouth

What else are we doing?

We are committed to reducing overflow discharges and minimising the environmental impact of our sewage treatment processes, with £1.4 billion being spent between 2020 and 2025 on water and sewerage improvements.

We’ve recently re-lined a mile of sewer pipework in Dorset alone to further protect the environment, preventing rainwater from infiltrating the network and sewer flows escaping from them.

Schemes to build a new pipeline along the Jurassic Coast at West Bexington and separate rainwater from sewers around the iconic Portland Bill lighthouse were completed in 2023.

Meanwhile in Lytchett Matravers, near Poole, work is expected to start on a wetland next to a sewage pumping station in 2024. The first of its kind in Dorset, which will provide natural wastewater treatment before it is safely returned to the Poole Harbour catchment.

Real-time monitoring in Bournemouth and Boscombe

As coastal and river water quality is affected by numerous sources, including wildlife and agriculture, we have developed an Artificial Intelligence (AI) app.

Real-time monitoring in Bournemouth and Boscombe will provide a better understanding of the current water quality status, allowing people to make more informed decisions when using bathing waters for recreational use.

We were the first UK company to publish data on storm overflow operations at bathing waters and other recreational areas 365 days a year and provide this information to councils and Surfers Against Sewage.

How can you stay up to date with progress?

We’ll be providing updates throughout the course of the Holdenhurst scheme.

Revisit this page to stay up to date with how the scheme is progressing.