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York and Selby Water Pollution Hotspots Targetted


8:57am 3rd September 2014

The potential ‘hotspots’ have been identified and targeted as part of the company’s £300m war on sewage which aims to significantly reduce the number of escapes throughout the region.

Analysts at the company have used historical data to create a system which will monitor the weather and sound an alert when conditions create the ‘perfect storm’ for sewage pollution.

The company will use this trigger to proactively jet pipes in the region’s most at risk pollution hotspots, preventing pollution incidents and potentially saving scores of outbreaks each year.

James Harrison, Technical Sewerage Manager for Yorkshire Water, said:

“Taking care of the environment is absolutely crucial to our business and that’s why we wanted to try and develop a new approach to minimising sewage pollution."

“Rather than being on the back foot, preventing the problem from occurring in the first place is a far more efficient way of working and we’re already starting to see the results with numerous potential incidents being prevented.”

Among the areas already visited in York are roads in the New Earswick, Huntington and Heworth areas of the city, while sites in Ulleskelf and Colton have also been targeted. These are just a handful of the 300 areas across Yorkshire that will be looked at as part of the project.

Sewage pollution is a serious issue for water companies across the UK, with escapes into becks, rivers and seawater having a detrimental effect on both water quality and local wildlife.

However, it is something which has traditionally been dealt with on a reactive basis – with companies treating sewage escapes as they occur.

But Yorkshire Water’s new approach aims to prevent these problems by identifying the periods when a sewage escape is most likely and acting to stop it from happening.

Analysis revealed that dry weather, which reduces the flow in sewers, increases deposition, which when followed by a spell of wet weather greatly increases the risk of a blockage and subsequent pollution.

Alongside the identification of the conditions that lead to sewage pollution has been pinpointing the most vulnerable areas, or hotspots, of Yorkshire Water’s sewage network.

When the company’s system spots a potentially threatening block of weather on the horizon, teams are dispatched to the hotspots to clear any blockages before the rain hits and an escape can occur.

The model is just one aspect of a £300m war on sewage over the next five years that will see Yorkshire Water also investing in refurbishing its sewers, relaying rising mains and upgrading its pumping stations.

If the new approach is successful, a similar predictive approach may applied to other repeat areas of concern like flooding and odours.

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