We provide waste water services to the residents of Knowle Village, Hampshire.
Albion Water has now been providing waste water services to the residents of Knowle Village for many years. At the outset of the process to provide a secure, public sewerage service we promised that we would efficiently manage the sewerage assets, facilitate highways adoption, improve treatment resilience, minimise our carbon footprint and enhance biodiversity.
Not only have we succeeded in this ambition, but this has been achieved whilst keeping average household bills below those originally predicted and lower than those that would have been charged had the local water company served the site.
In addition to these savings, some non-financial examples of our achievements are summarised below:
Landscape feature planning – since taking over the sewage treatment works Albion Water has planted a new hedgerow composed of native shrubs and it has also planted native trees that will provide a striking feature for future generations to enjoy. We have implemented a new grassland mowing regime with conservation in mind. This involves leaving uncut margins to support biodiversity and rough vegetation to provide cover for animals and insects.
We plan to plant a selection of fruit trees for screening and we have been working hard to secure the continued survival of a field maple that could date back to the reign of Queen Anne, 300 years ago. It will be several years before cuttings of this tree can be planted back at Knowle, but it is our intention to secure a new generation from this veteran tree and to use it in further hedgerow planting.
Research into wetland treatment – working with Cranfield University and various independent ecologists Albion Water has been able to show the benefits of nutrient removal by natural wetland treatment. As well as producing great water quality results it also produces a high soil invertebrates biomass – this means that there are lots of insects (including many rare or specialist ones) that provide a source of food for a thriving population of reptiles, amphibians (seven species), bats (seven or more species) and birds (including waders, thrushes and owls).
Progress is being made on an algae treatment trial which has produced some interesting results relating to nutrient removal and treating pharmaceutical chemicals.
Habitat variety – wherever possible, land in Albion Water’s ownership or stewardship is managed to promote biodiversity. For example, we create bare embankments to support threatened species of bees and wasps and work has been carried out to provide hibernation sites for bats and reptiles.
We are also planning a change to the discharge arrangements that will provide us with an opportunity to support local populations of water voles and otter, including providing safe resting up areas and even an otter holt.
More generally – improved monitoring of our activities has allowed us to reduce energy use, to ensure discharges are as clean as possible and to check the impact of rainfall and groundwater levels – helping us to protect homes as well as our assets and operations (including when almost one metre of rain fell in the area over one winter period!).