WINCHESTER City Council has confirmed that improvements to two council-owned wastewater treatment plants have been completed.

The improvements were discussed at a meeting of the city council on Wednesday, January 17.

During the meeting, Cllr Margot Power asked Cllr Chris Westwood, the cabinet member for housing, how the nutrient content of the water will be monitored and reported.

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Cllr Westwood said: “I am pleased to confirm that the upgrades to two water treatment works owned by Winchester City Council in the Itchen Valley, at the Northington Road plant near Itchen Abbas and also at The Goodens plant near Cheriton have now been completed.

“Winchester City Council is one of the first in the country to install this new generation of treatment plant – and it will make a real difference – cutting phosphates and nitrates in the Itchen catchment area. I think we are all aware of the problems with pollution in our rivers, and especially the impact this is having in our local chalk streams – and how disappointed many of us continue to be at the failure of the Conservative Government and the water companies to act fast enough to tackle it.

“We will also be measuring the impact of these upgrades. Before the upgrades were installed, discharges from the plant were monitored to establish a performance baseline from which the improvements can be accurately measured.

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“Following installation, water sample outputs from the upgraded plant will be analysed by an independent laboratory on actual samples collected and the results kept by the council and provided on demand to the Environment Agency.

“We don’t measure pollution input on a regular basis – since the outputs are what do the damage to the local rivers and the focus of our efforts. Nutrient input into the plant is based on a series of assumptions on flow rates and average occupancy of the dwellings connected to the plant.

Cllr Westwood added that the council is planning on rolling the upgrades out to other water treatment works over the coming year.