A new way to treat sewage that is “quicker and cheaper” has been discovered by Severn Trent during a three-month trial near Gloucester.
The water company said engineers based at Newent treatment works have improved the process by putting sewage through an additional tank containing thousands of plastic discs, which are roughly the size of sporting medals.
They have a sponge-like texture and are full of holes, allowing bugs to strip away ammonia and turn it into harmless gases.
Attaching themselves to these plastic discs give the bugs a greater surface area, exposing more of them to the wastewater, helping speed up the process and reducing the amount of space that is needed.
Project Engineer Lewis McGregor said: “We introduced these sponge-like discs around three months ago and the results have been fantastic. The discs give our bugs a greater chance to react with the wastewater, which means more can be treated in a shorter time, using less space.
“We believe it could make the process of treating sewage much more cost effective and reduce the size of treatment works in the future, which is a great outcome for everyone.”