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Take a day trip into the story of sewage

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Residents of South Devon can find out what happens after they flush their toilets when Torbay's sewage works takes part in the national Heritage Open Days event next month.

Brokenbury Waste Water Treatment Works was built in a quarry at Churston in 2002 as the centrepiece of Torbay's £98 million Clean Sweep scheme which modernised sewage provision and dramatically improved bathing water quality at the bay's now Blue Flag-winning beaches.

The works will be open on Friday 9 and Saturday 10 September to visitors who will be able to see the whole treatment process from inlet to outlet at one of the nation's most advanced sewage treatment works.

In previous years, Brokenbury has been highlighted as one of the 10 most interesting places to visit by The Guardian during Heritage Open Days and places on the free tours normally fill up fast.

Site supervisor Rhidian Howells said: "Hardly anyone knows we're here as the site was built in a quarry to be unobtrusive as possible but everyone is always fascinated to see what we do. And there's no need for a nose peg as we have a controlled air flow within the building and the whole process is indoors.

"We've been operating for nearly 10 years now and thanks to advanced treatment processes like this removing the need for crude sewage outfalls, Torbay can now boast six Blue Flag beaches."

Visitors will witness each stage of the treatment process including preliminary treatment to remove screening, grit and grease, primary settlement to separate the solids from the liquid and a secondary biological process where naturally occurring organisms break down the organic material.

Places on the free tours are limited and must be pre-booked. Tours start at 10.00am and last for about two hours.

Published: 17 August 2011

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