In England, the Government has made it clear that it expects to see significant reductions in storm overflow releases and in the associated harm caused to our rivers and seas. Following heavy rain, to avoid sewers being overwhelmed and subsequently flooding homes and businesses, untreated sewage combined with storm water has traditionally been released into rivers and coastal zones. Population growth and the effects of climate change threaten to increase the impact of this socially unacceptable practice.
The Government has responded to the concerns of the public and campaigning organisations to legislate for the reduction of these releases and published its far reaching and consequential Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan ahead of schedule at the end of August. The plan is underpinned by and references Stantec’s Storm Overflows Evidence Project that compared the costs and benefits of different polices and approaches.
In this Institute of Water Magazine article Elliot Gill, Stantec’s Senior Technical Director and Market Sector Lead for urban drainage and flooding, outlines some challenges and opportunities that will arise in delivering the plan that represents the largest wastewater investment in the UK for more than 30 years. Elliot highlights how collaboration between water companies, local government, businesses, landowners, the voluntary sector and communities will be central to successfully reducing storm overflows in the future and in so doing help transform our towns and cities.