Villagers given water butts in sewage cut scheme

Villagers are taking part in a trial to help cut sewage spills during heavy rain.

Around 150 households in Staveley, Cumbria, have been given water butts which collect rainwater and then slowly release it into the sewage system.

This should reduce the amount of rainwater going into the sewer network during heavy rainfall and therefore cut spills, water firm United Utilities said.

The company is looking for more people in the village to take part in the trial.

Wastewater treatment works can become overwhelmed during heavy rainfall and so are designed to overflow occasionally and discharge excess wastewater.

But water quality campaigners have previously said United Utilities discharged untreated sewage from the Staveley wastewater treatment works into the River Kent for the equivalent of 169 continuous days in 2022.

They have also said there had been 66 discharges of raw sewage on to the streets of Staveley between 2015 and 2023.

The Clean River Kent Campaign (CRKC) has been approached for comment.

The rainwater butts project is one of several schemes the water firm is looking at across Cumbria to cut sewage spills, United Utilities said.

The firm is also aiming to increase the capacity of Staveley Wastewater Treatment Works by 50% by September.

"We’re also going to continue to engage with the local community to share our findings and keep them informed as the projects progress," a spokesperson said.

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