Water Wise or Wasted Opportunites?

BBC Radio 4's Archers serial has Pat and Tony Archer installing a WET system (Wetland Ecosystem Treatment) on their dairy farm to deal with the highly polluting effluent streams from the various food processing operations, the cost is going to be around 20,000 GBP but will enable the farm to meet tough water quality standards. WET installations are proven to be low cost and effective way's of dealing with mixed and very strong sewage wastes plus additional grey and rainwater effluent streams. They are ideal for individual sites and for developments housing up to 400 people. If this is the case why are we not installing these on ALL new housing developments? Surely while the infrastructure is going in the opportunity to install a WET system in conjunction with grey/rain water harvesting and distribution is very cost effective.

To check out what does happen in practice I visited a commercial housing development site in Milton Keynes (Yes they were still building homes!) to discover what was happening in this area. Not one part of the type and scale of infrastucture being installed was capable of being used more eco-efficiently with ALL the mains water and sewerage being connected to the existing public networks. The site was mapped to show a number of amenity areas including several ponds, the latter functioning as emergency reservoirs for runoff but only from the paved surfaces. If it is possible to install a WET installation on a food production site it must be able to be installed on a residential housing estate (with all safety provisos of course). Equally, on this construction site none of the house plans showed a rainwater harvesting reuse installation, not even a reservoir in the micro gardens fed off the roof guttering to be used for toilet flushing irrigation, car washing, fishponds etc. I find this totally illogical as the costs of putting in the infrastructure must be close on the same for these types of systems.
Is it simply a case that the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing and the house builder is not responsible for this part of the site development, effectively taking over the site once the 'damage' has been done?

Mark Harrison

Topics: edie
Tags: | dairy | food | Infrastructure | rainwater harvesting | reservoir | Reuse | water
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