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South West Water to open its doors to the public this September

31st July 2019

South West Water is inviting the public to explore behind the scenes at eight different sites during England’s largest celebration of culture and heritage – Heritage Open Days.

This year we are offering exciting opportunities to explore local heritage sites including England’s first hydroelectricity station or taking the 170-step climb to the top of Roadford Reservoir’s valve tower.

The National Trust’s Heritage Open Day celebrations will take place from at South West Water sites between Friday 13 September and Friday 20 September, so come and join us at one of the free events below.

From toilet water to treated water – Camborne Wastewater Treatment Works, Cornwall, TR14 0BN

Residents of Cornwall are being invited to discover what happens after they flush their toilets when Camborne Wastewater Treatment Works opens its doors.

The South West Water works provides full biological sewage treatment for Portreath, Redruth, Camborne and surrounding areas.

Wastewater Services Operations Manager Peter Kelland said: “We also want to raise awareness about what we should and shouldn’t be flushing, as the wrong items down toilets and sinks contribute to the 8,500 sewer blockages we deal with each year.”

Visitors will witness each stage of the treatment process including preliminary treatment to screen out items including 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.

Tour details – Tuesday 17 September at 10am and 1pm. For more information and booking details, click here 

Discover the work behind high-quality bathing waters – Croyde Wastewater Treatment Works, Devon, EX33 1PA

Come and see the work that goes into maintaining some of North Devon’s high-quality bathing waters with a tour of Croyde Wastewater Treatment Works.

The population of the village of Croyde grows to up to five times its normal numbers in the summer months from just over 1,000 to 5,500 as tourists flock to enjoy the beach at Croyde Bay. The treatment of the village’s sewage behind the scenes is instrumental in the high-quality bathing waters that are so popular with these tourists and the surfing community.

Hidden away on the boundary of National Trust land, in what looks like a small farm dwelling, it won an architectural award for its design.

The tour will provide an opportunity to see how the wastewater is fully biologically treated before going out to sea along the outfall at Baggy Point, and how the site has developed to bring cleaner seas at Croyde Bay.

Tour details – Thursday 19 and Friday 20 September, hourly from 9am to 3pm. For more information and booking details, click here

What happens after you flush? St Leonard’s Launceston Wastewater Treatment Works, Cornwall, PL15 9QR

Ever wondered what happens after you flush your toilet? Join us at St Leonard’s Launceston Wastewater Treatment Works.

Built in 1898, St Leonard’s has been operating for over 120 years and provides full biological sewage treatment for Launceston and surrounding areas.

Visitors will be shown the various stages of the treatment process, including preliminary treatment to remove screenings and grit, the biological process where naturally occurring organisms break down the organic material and finally the filtration process through two filter beds.

Tour details – Tuesday 17, Wednesday 18 and Thursday 19 September at 9am and 12pm. For more information and booking details, click here

Harnessing the power of Dartmoor: Mary Tavy Hydro Electric Power Station, Tavistock, Devon, PL19 9PR

Come along to England’s largest hydro electric power station in daily use, which harnesses the power of Dartmoor’s water, to create sustainable, renewable energy.

Set in the beautiful surroundings of western Dartmoor, the site remains fully operational, generating enough green energy to power around 5,000 homes each year.

Explore the grounds, ask questions and witness the technology South West Water use to create renewable energy.

The guided tour will include a presentation and talk, and on completion one of the leatsmen will show visitors some of the unusual items of plant and equipment at the site, used for maintaining the watercourses.
Still active today, the hydro electric turbines were built in the 1930s by enterprising industrialists who recognised that the water resources and old mining sites in the area could be used for electricity production.

England’s largest hydro-electric power station in daily use; Mary Tavy is now small compared with more recent plants built within the UK, yet provides a fascinating insight into how hydro electric generation has developed over the decades.

Tour details – Wednesday 18 and Thursday 19 September at 10am and 1.30pm. For more information and booking details, click here

What happens to wastewater? Find out at Plympton Wastewater Treatment Works, Plymouth, Devon, PL7 1YB

Come and join our tour of a large wastewater treatment works serving Plymouth and the surrounding area. Find out how sewage is treated to the highest standards using naturally occurring bacteria to clean the water.

Plympton Wastewater Treatment Works is located next to the A38 and serves the Plympton, Leigham, Estover and Efford area of Plymouth, and also receives flows from the newly developed Sherford, resulting in a population equivalent of 62,744.

Have a look and see what not to flush down the loo and put down the sink! This is a great opportunity to find out about how it all works from some knowledgeable South West Water operational staff.

Tour details – Wednesday 18 September at 10am and 2pm. For more information and booking details, click here

Explore the history of Exeter’s water supply: Pynes Water Treatment Works, Exeter, Devon, EX5 5EQ

Delve into the history of Exeter’s water supply as part of this year’s National Heritage Open Day programme with a behind the scenes tour of Pynes Water Treatment Works.

Pynes was built in 1833 in response to Exeter's devastating cholera outbreak which claimed the lives of 440 people. The tragedy led to dramatic changes in water treatment processes and the city's water treatment processes being moved from Exe Street near the city centre to the less polluted Pynes Leat.

Visitors will be greeted by South West Water's water quality experts for a presentation on the history of the water supply and a guided tour of the fully operational site with staff wearing period costumes to add extra atmosphere to the proceedings.

South West Water’s Scientific and Water Quality Manager Chris Rockey said: “Exeter’s water supply has a fascinating 186-year history. These days, people quite rightly take the supply of clean water for granted, so we’re looking forward to giving visitors an insight into how it arrives at their taps.”

Tour details – Thursday 19 September at 2pm and Friday 20 September at 10am. For more information and booking details, click here

Discover the region’s largest reservoir: climb the tower at Roadford Dam, Lifton, Devon, PL16 0SW

Experience the 170-step climb to the top of the valve tower and witness the spectacular beauty over the lake.

Roadford Reservoir was opened by South West Water in 1990 following the drought of 1976, which saw the last use of standpipes in the South West. The facility almost doubled the region’s water storage capacity, containing enough water – 34,500 megalitres – to fill an Olympic sized swimming pool nearly 14,000 times over!

After walking under the dam, which impounds water from the River Wolf to form the reservoir, visitors will climb to the top of the valve tower. It’s a picturesque location on Dartmoor not to be missed!

Cafe facilities and a visitor centre are available at the nearby South West Lakes Trust.

Tour details – Thursday 19 and Friday 20 September at 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1.30pm and 2.30pm. For more information and booking details, click here

Providing top-quality bathing waters and beaches: Sidmouth Wastewater Treatment Works, Devon, EX10 9PL

Did you know, until as recently as the year 2000, raw sewage in the coastal town of Sidmouth was discharged straight into the sea?

It is now treated to the highest possible standards, which you can discover for yourself at Sidmouth Wastewater Treatment Works, which is just one element of the £12 million “Clean Sweep” scheme engineered and delivered by South West Water to provide Sidmouth with top-quality bathing waters and beaches.

The works at Sidmouth was built following a considerable amount of consultation with local residents and was the preferred site for environmental and technical reasons. The location and design of the buildings together with new tree planting has helped minimise the impact of the works within the existing landscape.

Sidmouth was also home to Devon’s largest ever fatberg, which was discovered in a sewer under The Esplanade last year. Longer than six back-to-back double-decker buses at 64 metres in length, it was the biggest discovered in our service history and thought to be one of the largest found so close to the sea, taking 36 tanker loads to remove the debris, each containing 3,000 gallons.

It was formed from everything that has been flushed or poured down the sinks of Sidmouth that shouldn’t have been, including wet wipes and fat, oil and grease.

Tour details – Friday 13 September at 10am and 1pm. For more information and booking details, click here

For further information please contact:

South West Water