AN UNDER-FIRE water company is making moves to clean up its act by pumping £5 million into its Petersfield treatment plant.

The huge investment in the Wastewater Treatment Works (WTW) off Harrier way should improve water quality in the town and Rother Valley.

Southern Water insist the improvements will also reduce the use of storm overflows amid ongoing criticism about sewage levels around the south’s rivers and coastlines.

Improvements in the Rother Valley basin have already begun as the company got permission to upgrade its South Harting plant in spring. 

Plans have also been submitted for a new pipeline from the Buriton plant to the Petersfield WTW in a further bid to reduce effluent dumping into the Rother and its tributaries.

Improvements at the Petersfield WTW will allow the company to “treat more flows during the winter” and will “further improve the quality of fully treated water leaving the site”.

Southern Water claims the investment will boost the local environment and will support future population growth in the Petersfield and East Hampshire area.

Its statement added: “Increasing capacity will also make it less necessary to use storm overflows following periods of rainfall, when sewers are overloaded by extra surface water and flows are released into the environment to avoid flooding of homes and communities.”

Daniela Pinto, project manager at Southern Water, said the firm is delighted to start work at the site.

She added: “By treating more flows we can play our part in improving water quality and reducing use of storm overflows.”

The work includes the installation of a storm tank with a 800 cubic metre capacity near the south western corner of the site and landscaping to the north east.

The work is required to meet tighter phosphorus limits and improve performance in line with Environment Agency regulations.

The company insists the work is unlikely to impact negatively on the adjacent Stanbridge Stream but has acknowledged there will be more vehicle movements to the site. 

The work will be jointly carried out by Galliford Try Environment and Binnies UK Ltd (GTb) with Andrew Dredge, Project Manager, happy to lead the collaboration.

He said: “By making these improvements and upgrading some of the existing equipment, Southern Water will be able to meet new targets.

“This work will involve increased vehicle movements to the site. We would like to apologise in advance for any inconvenience our work may cause to those people living in the area.”