Bridging Liquid Waste Strategy 2023-26 Review
Launch date: 04/05/2023
Review status: Call for evidence
What is the review about?
On 3rd May 2023, the Minister for Infrastructure published the Bridging Liquid Waste Strategy 2023-26.
The strategy outlines plans to upgrade the existing sewerage network to support population growth and the additional homes indicated in the Bridging Island Plan.
Much of the existing sewerage network was built in the 1950s, or earlier, and was designed for a population of half the current number of residents. The network, as a whole, is already at its limits in a number of areas and therefore needs to be reinforced and upgraded before the flow and load from new homes can be accommodated.
The strategy considers the immediate needs for 2023- 2026, and then beyond this in the medium-term to 2035. It identifies schemes to upgrade the infrastructure in key locations including First Tower, Le Dicq, Maufant, West Park, Bonne Nuit, St Brelade, Greve de Lecq, Maupertuis, St Peter, Beaumont, Grouville and Le Hocq.
The strategy also considers the significant disruption and challenges that have been experienced in Jersey from rainfall and storms due to climate change. These issues have not been fully addressed within the scope of the strategy but it “is intended to lay the groundwork for a long-term programme of works that will make the Island more resilient to these challenges.”
Due to the age of the foul water sewerage system and climate change, Jersey’s sewers have increasingly suffered with ground water ingress which leads to significant problems within the pumping stations and causes operational issues, particularly in wet periods.
The following key issues have emerged and will be explored further as part of the Panel’s review:
- Whilst the new Sewage Treatment Works is on schedule to be completed by the end of 2023, the sewerage and drainage network requires significant investment to be able to serve the Island’s needs. Currently, it poses “serious risk” of:
- Sewage overflows/back flows into property
- Increased risk of pollution incidents
- Almost certain risk of flooding
- Restricted location/volumes of housing developments
- It has been identified that the sewerage network is ageing and already at its limit, particularly in diurnal peaks and during storms. This is resulting in insufficient infrastructure capacity to accommodate new developments and to meet housing targets set out in the Bridging Island Plan, including those sites re-zoned for affordable housing. Planned developments cannot be occupied until the network is increased or improved and can accommodate the additional flows.
- Recent flooding events have further flagged the necessity to improve and maintain the drainage network and to prevent sewerage overspills from occurring.
- The investment required for upgrading the sewerage and drainage network is significant and will need to be agreed by the States’ Assembly. The new Sewage Treatment Works was partially funded from the Infrastructure Rolling Vote and funding was reallocated from the maintenance / replacement of existing sewage infrastructure. An estimated £41.2m will be required to fund various Liquid Waste Strategy projects from 2022 – 2027 to upgrade the sewerage and drainage networks before the proposed Bridging Island Plan housing developments, as well as any future developments, can be connected to the network. This funding is in addition to an estimated £47.5m required for ‘Business as Usual’ projects which are required to ‘catch up’ on the underinvestment in the network over the last few years.
- It has become evident that a long-term strategic approach by Government to delivery of the capital programme is needed. The Emerging Projects are required not only to meet the housing demand up to 2025 but also to allow for long term development needs such as: the Town and St. Helier / West of Island Planning Framework; as well as the Five Oaks Masterplan.
The Panel has launched its review and will be inviting submissions from targeted stakeholders, as well as any members of the public who have experienced difficulty in connecting property onto the mains sewerage system. Public hearings will also be held with Ministers in June/July 2023.
Terms of reference
- To assess how the Bridging Liquid Waste Strategy 2023-26 plans to address known issues with ageing and capacity of the Island’s current sewerage and drainage network and to:
a. consider the suitability and sustainability of proposed solutions which have been identified.
b. explore whether there are suitable alternative solutions / technologies which should be considered.
- To assess the impact of current sewerage and drainage network capacity issues on meeting the housing development delivery targets set out in the Bridging Island Plan 2022-25.
- To consider the historic underfunding of essential infrastructure-related services and projects and what measures should be put in place to ensure Government takes a more longer-term strategic approach to the funding of these essential works within the capital programme.
- To consider how and to what extent the Bridging Liquid Waste Strategy 2023-26 will lay the foundation for a long-term programme of works to the Island’s drainage network and to ensure greater resilience to challenges posed by climate change, such as flooding events.
- To conduct a desktop study exploring liquid waste strategies in other jurisdictions, with particular focus on jurisdictions which face, or have faced, similar issues with sewerage and drainage network capacity impacting on building development delays.