Wet­land plants clean up the In­gol

The Field - - News -

An in­no­va­tive wa­ter-treat­ment fa­cil­ity has been cre­ated in Nor­folk to im­prove wa­ter qual­ity on the River In­gol. Anglian Wa­ter has in­vested £500,000 in the pro­ject, which has been cre­ated in part­ner­ship with the Nor­folk Rivers Trust and the En­vi­ron­ment Agency.

Com­pleted in April, the one-hectare nat­u­ral treat­ment site uses wet­land plants to re­move am­mo­nia and phos­phates from the wa­ter be­fore it goes back into the river. It is made up of four shal­low, in­ter­con­nected ponds planted with iris, sedges, rush, marsh and other na­tive chalk wet­land species.

Built ad­ja­cent to the vil­lage of In­gold­is­thorpe, the fa­cil­ity treats more than a mil­lion litres of wa­ter a day. “Nu­tri­ents such as phos­phates and am­mo­nia come from ur­ban­i­sa­tion, do­mes­tic prod­ucts like de­ter­gents, as well as from hu­man and an­i­mal waste. We need to find more nat­u­ral ways to treat them rather than adding more and more chem­i­cals in our treat­ment pro­cesses, which is un­sus­tain­able,” said Anglian Wa­ter’s press of­fi­cer Re­gan Har­ris.

Anglian Wa­ter is the first wa­ter com­pany in the UK to use the tech­nol­ogy and said it is look­ing at us­ing it at other sites.

David Diggens, di­rec­tor of the Nor­folk Rivers Trust, said the In­gol Pro­ject, “is the be­gin­ning of an in­no­va­tion that will hope­fully be rolled out across the whole of the United King­dom”.

The Trust cre­ated a sim­i­lar wet­land sys­tem at Northrepps, near Cromer, in 2014, which has im­proved the wa­ter qual­ity in the River Mun and in­creased bio­di­ver­sity.

“We want landown­ers to ask wa­ter com­pa­nies to do this on their land to im­prove wa­ter qual­ity in rivers across the coun­try,” added Diggens.

“By work­ing to­gether to de­velop this scheme we ex­pect the wa­ter reach­ing the river will be of bet­ter qual­ity, al­low­ing health­ier, more nat­u­ral plant com­mu­ni­ties to flour­ish,” said Steve Hop­per from the En­vi­ron­ment Agency.

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