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Yorkshire Water makes concrete from recycled wastewater

Yorkshire Water has begun a trial which it hopes will inform the way water is provided to businesses.

In a UK industry first, the firm has reused treated water from a wastewater treatment plant by transferring it to construction solutions provider Tarmac to produce concrete.

Water is normally returned to rivers after it has passed through wastewater treatment plants and must meet strict Environment Agency standards. Although below drinking water quality, it is nonetheless suitable for reuse in some industrial processes.

Reusing water has the potential to reduce pressure on Yorkshire Water’s drinking water supply network, lower the costs of water treatment, and reduce carbon emissions.

Tarmac used the water to create batches of concrete at its site in Bradford which were then transported to Yorkshire Water’s Esholt wastewater treatment site where it was poured into a series of 10 x 20 m slabs. These slabs will be used as foundations for a National Test Centre for emerging water technologies.

The concrete slabs will be tested over time to assess their strength, colour, and long-term weathering properties. These tests will confirm that the product is suitable for widespread use.

If successful, Yorkshire Water will look to further develop reused water supplies for concrete manufacturers, as well as other business users, across the region to sit alongside their existing clean water network.

Yorkshire Water Project Manager, Phillip Blaen, said “Water supply and protecting the environment are two of our Five Big Goals so this is a priority for us. We are excited about this project and the benefits it can bring to our customers.”

Tarmac Managing Director for North and Scotland, Shaun Davidson, said “Water conservation is an important part of our resource efficiency programme supporting Tarmac’s commitment to embedding circular economic thinking across the whole supply chain. We’re really pleased to be working in partnership with Yorkshire Water to see this innovative project come to fruition.”

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