Severn Trent Water (STW) has made significant progress in its drive to reduce waste to landfill volumes and increase recycling through the introduction of a processing plant from CDE Ireland, based in Co Tyrone.
The plant, which STW has on a rental contract through Biffa, has been processing a variety of waste materials since it was introduced at Minworth Sewage Treatment Works. And the utility has seen a significant reduction in waste to landfill volumes.
Nick Williams, STW's digester fleet said, 'We are now sending 50% less waste to landfill than was previously the case. We are recovering a range of materials from the waste which are subsequently used in construction projects and energy generation initiatives within the company.'
STW says that generating energy from waste is very much top of its agenda and chief executive, Tony Wray, is very keen to increase the proportion of electricity that the company can generate for its own use.
Wray has a goal of generating 30% of the electricity needs from the Dmax portable plant installation at Minworth internally within five years. This is a significant increase from the figure of 17% recently announced for 2008, but according to Wray, imminent legislative changes now mean that this sort of blue sky thinking is necessary from all water companies. Wray highlighted the fact that water companies will be among those that will be included in the EU's carbon trading scheme, under which they will have to pay for emissions.
He comments, 'We're going to get captured in the next phase of the carbon trading scheme, so the efficiency with which we can manage our energy consumption is very important.'
Recycling specialist Biffa manages the day to day operation of the processing plant, which processes a variety of waste materials including wet well waste, gully waste, inlet works grit and sewer blockage waste. The plant also processes reed bed material as part of STW's Reed Bed Refurbishment Programme.
The capability of the plant to cope with a variety of feed materials was key at the specification stage, and this was one of the main reasons for the decision to specify a plant from CDE Ireland.
Williams explains: 'We had previously purchased a modified version of one of CDE's sand plants and had a good experience with the system. The most important thing from my perspective was ensuring that the system we chose was tried and tested and proven in this type of application. Over the last three years we have seen first hand that the CDE system works.'