Barges could take Cambridgeshire sludge to Norfolk

A water company believes it could reduce its carbon footprint by moving sludge to its sewage treatment plant by barge, instead of tanker.

Anglian Water is trialling the scheme on the River Ouse between Ely in Cambridgeshire and the plant at King's Lynn in Norfolk.

If the trial is a success, the company hopes to use a coastal barge between Wisbech and Boston and the plant.

It estimates barges could reduce "lorry movements" from 60 to 10 per day.

Ciaran Nelson, from Anglian Water, said: "We're looking to try to bring some more commercial traffic onto the River Ouse and we're hoping to use barges to transport a by-product of the waste water treatment process - sludge - to our sewage treatment works at King's Lynn.

'No smell'

Mr Nelson said that when bathroom and waste water from homes had been treated, the bi-product - sludge - was "put back into the environment".

"We're always left with the sludge, but it's actually really useful because we can use it to generate energy and we can also turn it into compost for farmers' fields," he said.

Mr Nelson added that the company would do due diligence to check that it would not have an environmental impact.

He said there would be no smell associated with moving the sludge on the river as the barges would be covered.

"Despite what it looks like, sludge doesn't smell as bad as you think," he said.

Anglian Water expects to make a decision by the end of the year.

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