Europe’s largest Nereda wastewater treatment plant now online to boost Fylde coast bathing waters

Next generation wastewater treatment is now up and running in Lancashire after United Utilities completed its £164m rebuild of Blackburn wastewater treatment works.

The scheme, which included a new transfer pipeline between Darwen and Blackburn, has seen the installation of a revolutionary wastewater treatment technology known as Nereda.  Serving 400,000 people, the Blackburn site is now the largest purpose built Nereda process plant in Europe.

Kevin Moody, Programme Manager at United Utilities, said: “This is a really proud moment for the company.

“In a bid to improve the way waste is dealt with in the North West, we were the first in the UK to invest in a pilot plant for this new technology. All the hard work to test the process has ultimately helped to deliver a project on this scale, which will ensure we can meet the needs of today’s population, whilst protecting the environment.”

Nereda is a development of the conventional process for treating wastewater which has been used for over 100 years.  It is a significant evolutionary step in wastewater treatment technology, providing a sustainable solution to towns and cities facing challenges associated with urbanisation and the demand for good sanitation and the protection of the natural environment.

Now operational, the new wastewater treatment works will help improve local watercourses that are tributaries of the River Darwen, which feeds into the River Ribble.  Ultimately this will continue the improvement of bathing waters along the Fylde coast.

The multi-million pound infrastructure upgrade project, which took 4 years to complete, also included a new 1.6km pipeline between Blackburn and Darwen wastewater treatment works, a section of which was tunnelled 16 metres underneath the busy M65 motorway in Darwen.

As the issue of healthy rivers grows, United Utilities recently set out a road map on the action the company is taking to play its parts to achieve better river health, including a pledge to invest £230 million into 184km of rivers by 2025.