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Unique solution?

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At Essex & Suffolk Water, reuse of effluent is supplying customers with up to 40Ml per day. As a water-only company it is using effluent from neighbouring sewage service provider Anglian Water to supplement supplies.

'We believe this is the only scheme of its kind in Europe, perhaps even in the world, ' said a spokesman.

'Effluent from Anglian Water's Chelmsford plant is taken from the discharge pipeline and put into our water treatment plant. Once it has been through the works at Langford it goes into the River Chelmer and this dilution further improves quality levels. It is then pumped to Hanningfield Reservoir in Chelmsford where it is put through another water treatment plant and into supply.' 'We are licensed to use up to 40Ml per day, but we operate at 30Ml per day. Usually we operate through April to October, but in the current challenging resource situation we expect to be doing this all year round, ' he said.

The scheme started in 2003 and cost £13M to build. 'It is working effectively and efficiently, and could be replicated, but it does require huge consultation with bodies such as the Environment Agency and the Drinking Water Inspectorate.'

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