Northumbrian Water is investing nearly £4 million to upgrade its wastewater treatment works in Northumberland.

The work at Wooler Sewage Treatment Works will help to increase its capacity and protect the environment, by ensuring sewage continues to be treated to the highest quality standards.

The announcement follows the news that the water company is investing a further £21 million in the area and also constructing a new water treatment works in Wooler, as well as a new water treatment works in Berwick.

Work is expected to begin in spring 2019 – around the same time that the work on the Wooler Water Treatment Works will begin, in order to help minimise disruption.

Northumbrian Water’s supply partners, Mott Macdonald Bentley, will carry out the work which is expected to take up to 16 months to complete. It will include the construction of additional tanks to cope with increasing populations and help the company to effectively treat the wastewater of customers in the area.

General upgrades and new treatment processes will also ensure that the wastewater is treated to the highest quality levels, before being returned to the environment, to help protect and improve rivers and coastal waters across the region.

Residents in Wooler are being invited to find out more information about both the water and sewage works and how the new projects will benefit them at a drop-in session on Monday December 10, 2018.

The project teams will be at the Cheviot Centre in Wooler between 5.00pm and 7.30pm to answer any questions residents may have.

Northumbrian Water’s Head of Asset Investment, John McGovern, said: “Between both water and sewage works projects, this is a major investment in Northumberland.

It’s important that we continue to invest in our infrastructure as populations grow so that we can continue to provide a reliable water and wastewater service into the future. By upgrading the sewage treatment works we can also ensure we’re treating water to the highest standards and can help improve the quality of local watercourses.”

Customers will not be affected while the work is carried out, although there may be an increase in volume of traffic to the sites.

Once work gets underway, residents will be able to follow the progress by visiting the Wooler sewage treatment works page on

A new technology developed in the US which could revolutionise the way the world’s waste water can be processed is being tested by experts at Scottish Water.

A six month trial of Microvi’s MicroNiche Engineering (MNE) technology is taking place at Scottish Water’s Waste Water Development Centre at Bo’ness.

The technology uses specific bacteria which eat pollutants in the waste water. It creates an environment for these bacteria – known as biocatalysts – to make them work more efficiently.

It is designed to intensify the population of the bacteria, which are put in a special capsule to encourage them to work much faster. The process is designed to speed up the rate at which the good bacteria out-compete the bad bacteria.

In previous testing in the USA the sludge produced using Microvi was shown to be only a around a tenth of typical levels.

The trial at Bo’ness will test the limits and conditions in which the biocatalysts can operate and see if this technique has the potential to transform how waste water is treated.

George Ponton, Head of Research and Innovation at Scottish Water, said: “We are excited to see the outcome of the trials of this potentially innovative waste water process. If this process works it would transform the way waste water is treated.”

“To meet the future demand of an ever-growing population it is essential that we find ways to increase the capacity and efficiency of our existing assets. Microvi offers the potential to meet growth requirements faster and at lower cost than many current conventional plant extensions.” 

Microvi’s technology was designed and developed in the US and is already used in parts of North America and Australia.

The team at the centre will carry out rigorous testing of the new process from now until April after which Scottish Water will look at the findings to determine if the process would be useful and cost effective at any of Scotland’s waste water treatment plants.

Dr Fatemeh Shirazi, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Technology Officer of California-based Microvi, said:We are delighted to work closely with Scottish Water at its pioneering test and development centre. As we have seen at other demonstration projects in the UK, the Microvi MNE technology is positioned to deliver a paradigm shift in the way we treat wastewater while protecting health and preserving the environment.”

“It is an exciting time for the industry as we find new ways to respond to new challenges in an ever-expanding world.”

The test centre, the only facility of its kind in the UK, is situated next to Bo’ness Waste Water Treatment Works making it a unique and dynamic research hub for waste water technologies. Users can test new processes, technologies and equipment under live conditions in a safe and operational scale environment to enhance the marketability of their products without risk to Scottish Water operations.

The centre provides three individual feeds of waste water from different stages in the treatment process. All discharges from testing areas enter back into the normal treatment process, offering a flexible and low-risk testing environment.  There is also the provision for testing of new screening innovations at the inlet to the Treatment Works.

Operated by the utility’s commercial subsidiary, Scottish Water Horizons, users can also benefit from UKAS accredited sampling and analysis services.


Yorkshire Water is to invest £30m in its waste water treatment works in Saltend, Hull to improve the site’s operation.

The work, which will begin in December, with completion late Autumn 2020, will help the firm produce more sludge.

Sludge is a bi-product of waste water treatment and the anaerobic digestion process produces bio-gas which is used to fuel a Combined Heat and Power engine which heats water for the process and generates electricity.

This electricity will be used to power the site and any surplus electricity will be transferred to the electricity grid.

Yorkshire Water is also looking at alternative uses of the bio-gas such as, after cleaning, injecting in to the gas grid to provide renewable energy to homes and businesses.

Yorkshire Water Senior Project Manager, Mike Smith, said: “We are delighted to announce this investment which will make a huge improvement to the performance of the site. This investment shows our commitment to invest in renewable energy and benefit the environment as we look at ways of becoming more efficient and self-sufficient and help keep customers’ bills low.”

The site will also have a new inlet works, which will make the site more resilient by giving the firm greater ability to remove unwanted items from the incoming waste water.