October 18, 2014
Wessex Water's £39m bid to improve Burnham's sea quality welcomed

Wessex Water's decision to spend £39m on improving sea water quality in Burnham-On-Sea has been welcomed this week.

As reported here earlier this week, millions of pounds have been pledged by the water firm for sewerage infrastructure improvements in the Burnham area which will contribute to an improvement in water quality and help it to meet new EU regulations coming into force next year.

Among those welcoming the announcement is James Heappey, Burnham's Conservative parliamentary candidate, pictured, who has been working on a plan to improve the sea water quality.

He said: "I'm delighted that our MEP Julie Girling has made such great progress in getting Wessex Water and the Environment Agency to do their bit in improving the bathing water off Town Beach."

"I thought it was so defeatist when some in the town were advocating that we simply gave up on that stretch of beach and promoted bathing further up the beach instead."

"It will take time for these improvements to come through but the bottom line is that the best thing for Burnham and our local tourist industry is that we tackle the problem and work hard to make things better."

"Working with Julie and Ken Smout, we’ve managed to get Wessex Water and the Environment Agency to do their bit but our meeting in the town in July concluded that there was a third part of the jigsaw too."

"We now need to make sure that we keep the beach and promenade tidy, that we don’t pour the wrong things down our drains and that we clean up after our dogs. It only needs a small change from each of us to make the improvement needed for our bathing water to be graded better in the future."

"This is great news for Burnham and proof that it pays to be positive and seek a solution. We may not see the improvement in time for next year but the key is that the improvement comes before the categorisation becomes permanent. I’m confident that we can do that."

Matt Wheeldon, Wastewater Strategy Manager at Wessex Water, added: "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 co-operation of a wide range of people from local councils to businesses and individual householders."

The work will 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.


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