The show must go on

Dec 28, 2006

New technology is helping a West Sussex village to cope with thousands of visitors every year.

The population of Ardingly is normally about 1,400 but can soar to more than 40,000 during events at the South of England Showground. Southern Water engineers were tasked with finding a solution to deal with the massive fluctuations in the amount of wastewater generated during shows.

They decided on an innovative approach, involving adapting an Ion exchange process, previously used in public swimming pools to help remove ammonia from the water.

Andy Pitt, Process Engineer with Southern Water, said: “We came up with the design and challenged our contractors, Morrison, to build it. The work was fast-tracked so it would be ready in time for the big shows last summer. So far, the plant has been operating very successfully.

“Historically, convoys of tankers were used on show days to transport the sewage off-site, which increased traffic movements during an already congested time for the village. We are pleased to be now able to minimise disruptions for residents by treating it on site.”

The £1 million project will improve the quality of wastewater being recycled into the environment by offering extra treatment to the wastewater.

First, the sewage is screened and passed through filters that blow air into the water to keep bacteria alive while they break down tiny waste particles. The water is then filtered through millions of grains of sand before passing through the new ion exchange plant to remove ammonia before the water is safely recycled back into the environment.

The work was carried out as part of a £317 million investment programme by Southern Water in 2005/2006, year one of a five-year scheme of improvements totalling £1.6 billion. Thousands of customers are benefiting from the first year of the programme in which the company beat targets set by water industry regulator Ofwat.

The expenditure equates to £1,200 of investment for every household in the Southern Water region of Sussex, Kent, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight with the aim to improve customer service, upgrade tap water quality, safeguard water resources and improve the quality of wastewater that is treated and recycled into rivers and the sea.


Southern Water



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