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Village Sewage Treatment Plant – North West England, UK

United Utilities have spent £4m installing new sewers and a treatment plant for the village of Aikton, near Carlisle in Cumbria.

The Problem

One small group of about eight homes is situated approx 400 metres from the new main sewer. The wastewater from these homes is collected in a newly built chamber and pumped uphill to meet with the new sewer. Foul odours have been reported by residents from the pump chamber and from an inspection chamber where the pipe meet the new main sewer. Uniter Utilities agreed with the residents that they should have not have to put up with foul odours from the new sewer, particularly as there were no such malodours from the old septic tanks.

Bio-Systems inspected the pump chamber. This is situated within a few metres of the houses it serves. It is easily large enough to cope with the wastewater from these houses. Indeed, it seems likely that the relatively slow flow of wastewater into the pump chamber could be part of the problem. Wastewater is collecting in the chamber long enough to go septic. We suspect that wastewaster is also collecting in the pipe, which would explain the foul odours from the inspection chamber downstream.

We suspect that there has been insufficient time for any viable biomass to build up in the pump chamber. It is too large an area for the relatively slow flow rate. It is probable that a naturally occuring biomass will establish in time, but it could take months and by then, Fats Oils and Grease may have built up in the chamber and pipe. It is doubtful that a naturally occuring biomass would ever degrade this build up, which may continue to cause malodours and possibly block the pipe and/or the pump.

The Solution

We recommended that the application of one 900g EnBac® S220 Biocube into the pump chamber each month. The Biocube is suspended into the wastewater on a rope. This will allow a steady supply of healthy bacteria into the wastewater. The bacteria will soon establish a biomass on the walls of the pump chamber and then onto the internal walls of the pipe.

Fitting a new Biocube each month will take less than 10 minutes for a United Utilities engineer.

The Results

We advised that the malodours may possibly increase over the very short term as Fats, Oils and Greases in the pipe are degraded. However, this appears not to have happened. We believe this is because the Biocube was installed so quickly after the first malodours were reported. This speedy action by United Utilities appears to have prevented further problems. Reports of malodours from local residents have stopped.

United Utilities are now considering the use of EnBac® S220 Biocube at all new remote pump chambers.

Simon Humphries, Natural England’s Area Manager for Cumbria was quoted in the local press as saying “Biglands Bog is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest in recognition of it’s important and unusual range of wetland habitats. It’s great news that the opening of United Utilities’ new wastewaster treatment plant will provide not only a major improvement in services for local people, but will also help the water quality and wildlife of Biglands Bog. Thanks to positive patnership working, the future is now looking much brighter for this special wetland site.”