Wessex Water unveils £39m project to improve Burnham sea
£39 million has been pledged by Wessex Water to improving
sea water quality in Burnham, it emerged this week.
company has pledged the funding for the area after a meeting with
South West Member of the European Parliament Julie Girling, right,
MEP met Wessex Water and the Environment agency to discuss sea
water quality concerns in Burnham-On-Sea.
meeting, called by Mrs Girling to discuss the European Bathing
Water Directive and related matters, sought to identify what progress
Wessex Water and the Environment Agency are making to improve
the water quality at Burnham in light of standards for water quality
being increased by the European Parliament.
was recently named as one of 45 UK seaside towns where sea swimming
could be banned due to the introduction of the new EU rules which
are twice as stringent as those currently in force.
is feared that the swimming ban may hurt the local tourism industry
unless more is done to offset the ban, as
the meeting, Mrs Girling told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "I visited
Wessex Water to find out what they are doing to ensure that the
Burnham community will have access to a clean beach and bathing
water, not just for their own enjoyment but also for the visitors
who are so vital to the economy."
explained their comprehensive investment programme and the work
they are doing to ensure combined sewer overflows and treatment
works which lead into the Burnham jetty area are appropriately
managed to prevent an inappropriate bacterial load being released
into the area."
added: "Wessex Water are also working with the local community
to ensure illegal connections are prevented where possible and
agricultural run-off is kept to a minimum."
simple fact remains that, because of the water industry's investment
cycle, these steps are coming about a year too late, but this
is what we have to work with and I'm happy that they have speeded
up as far as possible. I
will continue to work closely with Wessex Water on this matter
to ensure Burnham receives the priority it deserves."
Water says it is committed to spending £39m on sewerage
infrastructure improvements within the area which will contribute
to an improvement in water quality.
measures include increasing storage in the sewerage network to
reduce the frequency of spills from combined sewer overflows,
providing ultraviolet disinfection at more sewage treatment works
and a large overflow, and working with public authorities, businesses
and communities to reduce the amount of rainwater entering the
sewerage network and reducing its capacity.
Wheeldon, Wastewater Strategy Manager at Wessex Water, said: "We
have an ambitious plan to deliver these projects within a tight
timescale which will help to improve bathing water quality at
Burnham Jetty. As a company we have a longer term vision to remove
rainwater from our sewers within this area but we recognise that
this needs the cooperation of a wide range of people from local
councils to businesses and individual householders."
latest talks come after a Burnham meeting in July between Mrs
Girling, James Heappey, Conservative candidate, local business
and council representatives to discuss how to tackle the issue,
MP Tessa Munt is also discussing the matter with Wessex Water
and government bodies in a bid to try and help.
is very supportive of the joint approach taken by Wessex Water
and the Environment Agency but is keen to see everyone doing their
part. She said: "It is vital that every one of us contributes
towards improving the quality of the bathing water at Burnham
Jetty rather than just relying on these two organisations to solve
the problem. Small actions such as checking our toilets and washing
machines are connected to the sewer and not the surface water
drain, picking up dog mess and not flushing wet wipes down the
loo all help to improve the water quality at our local beaches."
Flory, Environment Manager at the Environment Agency, added: "The
EA has been working to identify and address possible sources of
pollution that could affect bathing water quality. This is a very
large catchment with many complex and contributing factors such
as agricultural and road runoff; illegally connected drains; dog
fouling and seaguls, as well as the contributions from sewage
treatment works and overflows."