Yorkshire Water’s Clifton Wastewater Treatment Works (WwTW) Integrated Constructed Wetland (ICW) has won in the Net Zero category at the Utility Week Awards 2022. This award recognises the outstanding contributions of the sector in tackling climate change and meeting the UK’s net zero ambitions.
Clifton WwTW is the first integrated constructed wetland project of its kind in the UK designed to treat all flows. It does this in a more natural, sustainable manner when compared to traditional methods.
Designed by Stantec, a global leader in sustainable design and engineering, in partnership with Yorkshire Water and Barhale Enpure JV, Clifton WwTW is a rural treatment plant in a small village in South Yorkshire which recycles wastewater generated from the local area.
To meet new water quality requirements, additional infrastructure was needed to reduce nutrient load to the environment. This involved using more than 24,000 plants to create an innovative, low carbon, nature-based solution. These were integrated into an area of interconnected ponds approximately the size of three Olympic swimming pools.
As well as providing a sustainable and energy-efficient way of treating the water, the wetland will increase biodiversity in the area and attract a range of wildlife including bees and other pollinators, breeding birds, amphibians, and reptiles.
This project has given Yorkshire Water an operational carbon saving of 79%, and an embodied carbon saving of 50%. The Utility Week Awards judges remarked that the Yorkshire Water project was able to demonstrate ‘tangible outcomes’ and was ‘delivered in a sustainable way through design and construction’. They also commented that the submission achieves public interest, getting the net zero message across, while ‘setting the benchmark for the future’.
Commenting on the award win, Robert McTaggart, technical director at Stantec said: “This is a fantastic result for everyone involved. We all knew while working on the scheme that this nature-based solution was something special and demonstrates how the wastewater industry can use out of the box thinking to meet environmental aims. The number of awards that this project has won keeps climbing, and we’re delighted to share in Yorkshire Water’s success.”
Michael Housby, lead project manager at Yorkshire Water, said: “It's a real honour to be recognised by the industry for the Clifton Wetland project at this year's Utility Award's. We hope that this project will continue to provide valuable learning and encourage others to utilise more nature-based solutions as the water sector transitions towards achieving climate and sustainability goals. Well done to everyone who played a part in making this flagship project a success."
Steve Milling, Barhale Enpure JV Leader said: “Clifton WwTW marks an important stepping-stone in the industry’s journey towards low-carbon, natural treatment. It has drawn so much attention and recognition from across the industry, and we’re sure that its success will soon be replicated in other places not only looking to reduce their impact, but also to improve their surrounding environment.”
The ground-breaking scheme has won and been shortlisted for several other industry awards. Most recently, the project picked up both the Innovation Award and the Overall Winner Award at the CIRIA BIG Biodiversity Challenge Awards and took home the gong for Environment & Sustainability Initiative of the Year category at the British Construction Industry Awards.
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