In a collaborative effort to safeguard the water quality of the Hampshire Avon catchment, Wiltshire Council is partnering with Wessex Rivers Trust to launch a groundbreaking initiative aimed at upgrading septic tanks. This initiative seeks to reduce nutrient-rich wastewater entering watercourses and, in turn, enhance the health of our aquatic ecosystems.
Septic tanks, commonly used to separate liquid and solid waste, can inadvertently release nutrient-rich wastewater into rivers, contributing to pollution. The resulting high nutrient levels lead to algal blooms, obstructing light and causing oxygen depletion in waterways. This has detrimental effects on the entire river ecosystem, impacting crucial microhabitats for fish and insects. To counteract this issue, a new law mandates the upgrade of old septic tanks discharging into surface water.
Wiltshire Council is offering fully funded grants to homeowners in specified areas of the Upper Avon catchment for upgrading their sewage systems. The initiative promotes the replacement of septic tanks with more efficient package treatment plants, tailored to each property's needs. These upgraded systems not only separate solids and liquids but also biologically treat effluent for safe discharge into watercourses.
Dave Rumble, CEO of Wessex Rivers Trust said: “We are delighted to be working with Wiltshire Council to positively address the issue of septic tanks which, when they are not working well, contribute to water pollution in some of our most sensitive chalk streams. For too long this has gone under the radar and at last here is an opportunity to link people up to the scheme and help promote ways of reducing pollution from homes which are off the mains sewage system.”
Cllr Nick Botterill Wiltshire Council Cabinet Member for Finance, Development Management and Strategic Planning, said: “This initiative will help residents in the Avon catchment area to upgrade their sewage systems which in turn will help improve the precious ecosystems and environment in line with the council’s Business Plan.
“We hope that eligible homeowners take part as it provides an ideal opportunity to upgrade to a much more effective system and the more people that play their part the bigger the positive impact we will see.”
Wessex Rivers Trust will be hosting several live events so you can find out more about the upgrade campaign and ask questions in person, follow them on social media
to find out when and where these will be taking place.
By participating in this initiative, homeowners can actively contribute to preserving the health of our chalk streams in the Hampshire Avon catchment. Upgrading septic tanks not only benefits the environment but also supports the flourishing of plant and animal species that rely on clean and healthy river ecosystems.