16 October 2013, 15:19
Southern Water's new wastewater treatment works which will bring bathing water quality in Brighton and Hove up to EU standards has opened at a cost of £300m
The company's largest ever project includes 11km of new sewer tunnel, two pumping stations, a wastewater treatment works and a 2.5km long sea outfall.
The scheme ensures that the 95 million litres of wastewater produced each day by people in Peacehaven, Telscombe Cliffs, Saltdean, Rottingdean, Ovingdean and Brighton and Hove is treated to EU standards.
Last week, the scheme was named Major Civil Engineering Project of the Year at the British Construction Industry Awards, beating other entries including The London 2012 Olympic Park Project.
Simon Kirby, MP for Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven Simon Kirby was among guests taken on a tour of the Peacehaven works to mark the opening.
He said: "This project is a remarkable feat of engineering. Peacehaven is a quarter of my constituency and I'm pleased that Southern Water has recognised the strong sense of community here. The company has worked with the councillors, with me as MP and with the residents to make sure that during the construction of this engineering achievement, the intrusion has been minimised.
"So thank you Southern Water, this is an important new facility with cutting edge 21st century technology."
Hear our interview with Geoff Loader of Southern Water
The new treatment works at Peacehaven is covered by a green roof which is as big as three football pitches and one of the largest in the Europe. It is planted with downland grasses to help it blend into the surrounding landscape.
At Peacehaven alone, more than one million cubic metres of earth was moved, all of which was reused on site as part of the extensive landscaping. The treatment works covers just one third of the construction site, the rest having been returned to agricultural land and a new park for the community.
Other guests included Margaret Paren, Chairman of the Southern Downs National Park Authority, who described the new treatment works as a 'fantastic facility' and particularly praised the use of downland grass on the roof.
She said: "What really impresses me is not only have you moulded it into the landscape, you have also moulded it into the biodiversity of the South Downs."
Graham Peters, High Sheriff of East Sussex described the project as a 'remarkable undertaking'. He said: "I praise Southern Water for their foresight and vision."
Richard Hodgson, Southern Water's project manager for the scheme, said: "There is an immense sense of achievement and pride on site. Our plans to bring cleaner seas to Sussex have been some 16 years in the making so it is fantastic to stand here today and see them finally brought to life.
"This has been a major engineering operation and is the largest ever project that Southern Water has undertaken. Construction took four years and I must thank the communities in which we have worked for their patience and support over that time.
"Thanks must also go to everyone who has worked on this scheme, whether in its planning, design, construction or operation. The team, including everyone who works for our supplier 4Delivery and the various specialist sub-contractors brought in, has been superb and helped deliver our biggest ever scheme on time and on budget."
The scheme also includes 11km of new sewer tunnel running from the centre of Brighton & Hove, two pumping stations (see picture below) and a 2.5km sea outfall.