Wetland plants clean up the Ingol
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.