Wet wipe monster

A group us from Cam Valley Forum had a fascinating visit to Cambridge’s Water Treatment works (also known as as the sewage works), run by Anglian Water near Milton. Two aspects of the visit stick in my mind.

The wetwipe monster

Never ever flush a wetwipe down the loo ….  despite vague statements on the packaging about being “flushable” they aren’t.

This photo shows just a few of the 4 tonnes a day of disgusting wetwipes that Anglian Water staff have to fish out. The problem is that wet wipes are made of plastic so they don’t degrade, and they aren’t even recyclable. At worst, if they get mixed up with meat fat in the drains, they can turn into massive fatbergs that clog the pipes.

Why use wetwipes anyway?  Many people find that using a small reuseable cloth and water from the tap works just as well. However, if you do need to use them, put them in the bin.

The power of poo-power. 

We were also impressed that 40% of the energy used by the treatment works is poo-powered, thanks to a big anaerobic bio-digester that turns the treated poo into fuel gas. This is burnt in engines to provide electricity for all the pumps they use to treat up to 1300/second of water and sewage. Any surplus power is exported to the grid to be used in people’s homes.

The dry crumbly non-smelly solid material that comes out of the bio-digester is  mostly sold to sugar beet farmers for improving the soil.