The Whitehouse Farm outline application has still not gone to committee, such is the quantity of objections from the statutory bodies whose remit will be affected by the development. A major sticking point has been the reluctance of the Environment Agency to accept the developer’s solution concerning the treatment of waste water.

The objections are many. The Apuldram treatment works are full and cannot be used. The waste water will have to be piped to the new facility being built at Tangmere: a journey of some 5 miles across the top of Chichester at an estimated building cost of £8M.

The developer has put in a preferred option which is to build a mini treatment plant on site, run by a private company called Albion Water Limited. Southern Water have expressed reservations about the ability of this company to provide 100% reliability (they already run a unit in Havant and profess to meet ISO standard 14001), which means that they will be called out on those days when it all breaks down.

The Harbour Conservancy have expressed misgivings about the cleanliness of the water which is due to be fed into a chalk stream which runs through the WHF site – an SSSI (site of specific scientific interest) – and into the harbour; most particularly whether there will be nitrates in the water. Having a treatment works on site will also mean some smells and the movement of lorries in and out of the site carrying the solid waste (known as sludge in the trade) to Tangmere.

To build the works, access will be require via Clay Lane. Network Rail are prepared to countenance heavy lorries going over the level crossings in that area, but only for the building of the water treatment works, not the whole site.

An environmental permit

The Environment Agency has seemed unable to respond to the proposal since it was mooted a year ago now, such have been its misgivings. Now the developer has encouraged Albion to make application to the EA for an “environmental permit for water discharge activity from a built site”. This will involve the release of treated domestic sewage effluent into the harbour and requires consultation with the Harbour Conservancy and the Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority.

The discharge is not limited in time once the licence begins on the 1st February 2017 and eventually it will dump 708 cubic metres a day into the harbour (by 2029).

This is calculated in the following way:

  • Separate foul and surface water systems will be constructed at the proposed development; that is 1600 domestic plots with an occupancy rate of 2.5 persons per plot using 150 litres of water per day, producing an estimated 600 cubic metres of effluent a day.
  • Retail,commercial and public usages are estimated at an 800 population equivalent using 150 litres per day, that is 120 cubic metres per day.
  • These calculations also estimate that the treatment process will generate approximately 12 cubic metres per day of sludge.
  • Therefore the average DWF discharged is calculated to be  720 – 12 = 708 cubic metres a day.

If you want to see on a map where the outfall of this effluent will be, it will discharge into the non-tidal chalk stream at grid ref SU 84350 05281 on your local Ordnance Survey map.

A full set of supporting documents from Albion may be found here.

Colin Hicks

Site Admin - Westgate Residents' Association Chichester

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