New Research Centre Opened at Southern Wastewater Treatment Works The University of Portsmouth has opened an Environmental Technology Field Station at Southern Water‘s Petersfield wastewater treatment works which will be used by researchers an students to study sustainable drainage, wastewater treatment, and contaminated sediments.

The site is the only one of its kind in the UK that is located at an operational sewage works, and Dr John Williams, from the School of Civil Engineering and Surveying, said:

“The successful collaboration between the university and Southern Water means students get the chance to see the workings of a real sewage works. It’s fantastic for students to visit the site, throw on hard hats, high-vis jackets and steel-toed boots, and get genuine experience of working with a water company.

We were delighted to show the facility off to guests, particularly the new lab equipment, which allows for complex wastewater testing to measure general water quality and deciphering the fate of contaminants.”


The University’s Environmental Technology Research Group (ETRG), which includes engineers, microbiologists and chemists, will be the main users of the facility as they investigate rainwater harvesting, pharmaceuticals in the sewage and sludge treatment process and other wastewater issues such as fats, oils and grease in sewers.

The self-contained site has a steady supply of effluent from the different water treatment processes, and also offers facilities for chemical and microbiological water quality analysis. This allows the team from the university to conduct full-scale evaluation of sewage treatment systems, and they can they also perform test on real sewage in the laboratories on the site. Dr Williams said that this is vital for “developing research and innovation projects with industrial collaborators.”

Dr Barry Cleasby, Innovation Strategy Manager for Southern Water, said that they were delighted with the partnership with the University of Portsmouth as it presented them with an opportunity to tap into the team’s skills and expertise and to “support the development of the next generation of water and wastewater engineers.”

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