Innovative technique boosts water quality in river Holme near Holmfirth

Aerial image of Neiley wastewater treatment works
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Yorkshire Water is improving water quality in the river Holme in Brockholes, near Holmfirth, through innovative techniques that provide better value to customers.

The utility, and its partner Stantec, has designed a new process between Holmebridge water treatment works and Neiley wastewater treatment works using a by-product of the drinking water treatment process to help reduce the amount of Phosphorus entering the river Holme.

Phosphorus is a normal part of domestic sewage, entering the system through commonly used household products such as shampoo and liquid detergent. It can also wash off from agricultural fields after the use of fertilisers and be dissolved from soil which can be difficult to control.

As part of the new process, Neiley wastewater treatment works is making use of an iron-enriched by-product of the water treatment process from nearby Holmebridge. The presence of iron lowers the amount of Phosphorus without the need for costly chemical dosing at the wastewater treatment works.

Work to implement the new process is underway and is due to be completed in August 2024.

Rich Tomlinson, project manager at Yorkshire Water, said: “As a business we are investing more than £500m to reduce Phosphorus entering watercourses in the region. In the first instance, we were intending to carry out a £7.5m project to increase chemical dosing at Neiley, but by changing our normal process we have managed to deliver a significant reduction in Phosphorus for a tenth of the cost. The process meets environmental standards, our commitments to reducing Phosphorus and provides better value to customers, meaning the fund can be invested elsewhere.”

Yorkshire Water has worked with the Environment Agency throughout the process, outlining the benefits of the process changes. The success of the project has led to the first ever operating techniques agreement between the Environment Agency and a water company, enabling Yorkshire Water to make further adjustments at Neiley to maintain and, in some cases, overperform.

Additional investment is planned in the coming years for Neiley wastewater treatment works that will further enhance its performance.