Saltford Water Recycling Centre

A two-year £35 million expansion of the Saltford water recycling centre is getting under way in early 2024.

Why is this expansion needed?

Saltford Water Recycling Centre treats sewage and wastewater from Bath and the surrounding area before it is safely returned to the environment.

The current site, shown on maps from 1914, was expanded in the 1960s but, apart from two large storm tanks and four filter beds installed in the early 2000s, has largely remained unaltered in the years since.

With the local population projected to expand in future years, further development is now necessary to ensure the enhanced regulations to improve river water quality will be met.

The Saltford centre also forms part of Wessex Water’s nutrient removal programme within the Bristol Avon Catchment.

One of 66 water recycling centres within that catchment, Saltford currently contributes between seven and 12 per cent of the total catchment removal of nutrients entering local watercourses, preventing blue green algae and endangering aquatic life.

These facilities are being extended as the site expands. 

Saltford Recycling Centre 3D Model
A model of Saltford Water Recycling Centre and extension

What will this expansion look like?

By boosting the capacity of the water recycling centre, Wessex Water will be able to treat more than 800 litres of wastewater per second – around a 40 per cent increase on current flows – to help meet increasing demands.

Based to the west of the existing water recycling centre site, these new treatment processes will include new flow measurement and screening equipment, grit and phosphorous removal facilities, primary and final settlement tanks and an activated sludge plant.

These will be built with associated pumping stations and electrical supply and control infrastructure.

The project is expected to take two years to complete and cost an estimated £34 million.

What about the impact on the local environment?

Wessex Water has worked closely with Bath & North East Somerset Council on developing measures to mitigate the landscape and visual impact of this scheme as a requirement of planning permission being granted, with the centre sitting within the green belt and in view of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

The planning application determined that the scheme will provide a biodiversity net gain of more than 10 per cent.

Part of this is the ‘Ecological Wetland Scrape’, which has been designed to provide a habitat for amphibians, invertebrates, mammals and wetland birds.

Centred on three ponds designed to give seasonally wet areas, extended undulations mimic the ‘ridge and furrow’ of a natural, ancient floodplain meadow, allowing native plants - and the animals that rely on them - to naturally establish.

Ecological Wetland Scrape
Aerial view of Ecological Wetland Scrape and lagoons at Saltford

The story so far

After building supporting abutments, wingwalls and embankments in the summer, our team successfully launched and landed the bridge into place across the River Avon during September and October of 2023.

Drainage and kerbing are being added as we work towards completing the junction to the A431, under two-way traffic lights, during January 2024.

As a result, the new access road will take construction traffic to and from construction of the water recycling centre extension from February 2024.

Planting of approximately 5000 trees and shrubs together with reinstatement of the ground around the bridge and site clearance will continue into the spring of 2024.

By installing fencing, the public right of way along the Avon Trail will also be able to be reopened during this period.

New River Avon Bridge
The new bridge across the River Avon after being lifted into place earlier this autumn

Proposed bridge construction programme

  • September – October 2023: Bridge installed
  • October 2023 – January 2024: Drainage, services and surfacing completed
  • February – March 2024: Reinstatement of ground at site
  • March 2024: Site to be cleared

Some of this work is taking place under traffic lights on the A431, while other elements are subject to parking restrictions through a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO) for the High Street and Mead Lane.

These restrictions will only be invoked on a number of occasions during that period, when absolutely necessary.

As agreed with residents, councillors and the parish council, the restrictions will only be used for occasional larger vehicles and during working hours only (between 8am-5pm) and not on weekends and bank holidays, to minimise inconvenience.

Wessex Water will write to residents about the exact restriction dates in advance of each occasion when parking restrictions are required and will attempt to meet any the special needs or concerns of any residents when the restrictions are in place. These requests should be phoned through to the team on 07717 355917 in advance.

We will be asking residents and local members to advise of any known significant deliveries and building works that may affect vehicle movements while the restrictions are in place.

What happens next?

The main construction phase itself will get under way upon completion of the new access road and bridge in January 2024.

Proposed water recycling centre extension construction programme

  • January – April 2024: Remaining bulk earthwork and site establishment
  • May 2024 – September 2025: Civil construction of main structures, including piling work, followed by phased handover of structures for mechanical & electrical installation
  • August 2024 – December 2025: Mechanical and electrical installation
  • October 2024 – May 2026: Structure and plant testing
  • January – May 2026: Commissioning, reliability and performance testing
  • August – October 2025: Final landscaping and seeding
  • January – March 2026: Site to be cleared