Saltford Water Recycling Centre

As construction of a bridge over the River Avon to provide a permanent access to the Mead Lane site nears completion, a two-year £34 million expansion of the 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 water recycling centre bridge expansion
Saltford Water Recycling Centre treats sewage and wastewater from Bath and the surrounding area before it is safely returned to the environment
Saltford water recycling centre bridge expansion
An impression of how the bridge and access road will look upon completion
Saltford water recycling centre bridge expansion
The installation of the bridge across the River Avon at Saltford is taking shape

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.

Saltford water recycling centre bridge expansion

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).

An earth bund, or embankment, will be landscaped to provide for planting of new native woodland, species-rich grassland, and native hedgerow.

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

The bridge Wessex Water is building over the River Avon is expected to be completed in early 2024 and will help take site traffic to and from the water recycling centre expansion project.

As that expansion reaches its conclusion after two years, the bridge will then provide an alternative permanent access for operations staff at the Saltford site via a connection to the A431 road. Similarly a footpath, linking the A431 to the local public right of way network and the River Avon Trail, will mean people who live on either side of the river will have access by foot across it.

The story so far

Bridge support construction has been taking place through the summer of 2023, with installation of the bridge due to begin in September

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