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A new dawn for Mayflower and the end of an era for Crownhill

04th November 2020

Today (Wednesday 4 November), a quarter of a million people in the Plymouth area will be drinking water produced by a new, state-of-the-art treatment works.

South West Water’s Mayflower Water Treatment Works at Roborough, just north of Plymouth, is the first of its kind in the world.

It uses cutting-edge treatment processes, designed to produce impeccable drinking water and to be more sustainable than a traditional water treatment works.

From today Mayflower takes over from the old treatment works at Crownhill in Plymouth, which has been serving the city since the 1950s.

The innovative treatment processes at Mayflower were designed and developed by Dutch water technology company PWNT, and tested at a prototype facility at Crownhill from June 2013 until June 2015.

Suspended ion exchange, inline coagulation and ceramic membrane microfiltration are used to produce more water, more efficiently and at a lower cost than traditional technology. It is the first time that these combined technologies have been used to produce high quality drinking water anywhere in the world.

Mayflower has been producing treated water since August, which has been blended with water from Crownhill to ensure a smooth transition for customers. The proportion of Mayflower water going into public supply has been gradually increasing over the last three months.

Today, Crownhill will be officially retired and 100% of Plymouth’s drinking water will be supplied by Mayflower.

South West Water’s Director of Operations - Drinking Water Services, James King, said: “It has been years in the making – planning, building and commissioning – but today is a truly significant milestone for South West Water, our customers and the wider water industry.

“We already produce some of the highest quality drinking water in the UK, but Mayflower does so extremely consistently and efficiently.

“Mayflower will meet the needs of Plymouth’s growing population and provide a secure, high-quality drinking water supply for the wider Plymouth area for generations to come.”

Notes to editors

  • Work to build Mayflower started in 2016 with the main construction work complete by the end of 2018. Between 50-100 people were employed during build and 150 people at peak build
  • The £60million project was the biggest single capital investment in South West Water’s highly-rated 2015-20 business plan
  • The works is designed to treat up to 90 megalitres of water a day, from sources including Burrator reservoir, the River Tavy and the River Tamar
  • The name was suggested by South West Water’s late Managing Director, Dr Stephen Bird, and was the clear winner of a South West Water staff vote
  • A formal celebration of the opening of the new works is being planned for when the current Covid situation eases

For further information please contact:

South West Water