Wastewater Innovation Forum

MINUTES of the 71st Forum meeting of 17th March 2021

Oliver Grievson (OG) - Technical Secretary FWR/Z-Tech Control Systems
Barrie Howe (BH) Chair Environment Agency
Alice Horton (AH) National Oceanographic Centre
Gordon Jones (GJ) Foundation for Water Research
Steve Palmer (SP) Stantec
Ana Soares (AS) Cranfield University
Steve Bungay (SB) Helix Environmental
Pete Vale (PV) Severn Trent Water


Kevin Ridout (KR)


Item No Agenda Item
1 Welcome & Introductions
2 >Minutes of the 70th meeting held on 14th October 2020
3 Agenda items
Reviews of Current Knowledge
Latest Newsletter
Future article proposals
Website & Social Media
4 Areas of Knowledge Focus
Anti-microbial resistance
Chemical Investigations Programme
5 Other areas of research
Anaerobic Water Treatment
Circular Economy
Digital Transformation
6 Sharing information about other member’s research areas
7 Any other business
Date of next meeting 
8 Open Discussion on pollution with:-
Rt Hon Phillip Dunne MP
Helen Wakeham - Environment Agency
Dr Nick Mills - Southern water
  1. Welcome & Introductions
    Everyone who attended the online meeting introduced themselves to the assembled members. The attendance list was as above.

  2. Minutes of the Last Meeting
    The minutes of the last meeting were reviewed and accepted

  3. Agenda Items
  4. Areas of Knowledge Focus
  5. Other areas of research
  6. Roundtable discussions of members areas of research
  7. Any Other Business
  8. Open discussion on the current Pollution Crisis in the water industry.
    Featured speakers
    1. Right Honourable Philip Dunne MP
    2. Helen Wakeham – Deputy Director – Environment Agency
    3. Nick Mills, Head of Pollution – Southern Water

    For the presentation section of this meeting we had a different format and had a more open-discussion approach featuring speakers who are at the centre of the crisis. There were several areas of importance that were highlighted during the open discussion including:

    1. Philip Dunne highlighted that the Inland Waters Private Member’s Bill has basically failed to progress through the parliamentary session due to a lack of time due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Due to parliamentary rules it will not pass to the next parliamentary session. However things have been included in the Environment Bill and the Environment Audit Committee, which Philip Dunne chairs, is looking into this moving forward. There is a chance that the Inland Waters Bill will be discussed in a second session which would at least allow for a debate.

    2. The importance of monitoring where the pollution is and the challenge to the water industry about the technology that can be used to highlight where the problem’s within the wastewater system lies.

    3. The importance of water stewardship within the UK on a national basis and how water, especially the wastewater side of the industry, are not value as much as they should be.

    4. A discussion how the value of water can be promoted within the national industry and the importance of the water industry, regulators and the not- for-profit organisations coming together to help to address the public education issue and address the misinformation that is being portrayed in the national press.

    5. The fact that Southern Water are publishing the CSO data that they are collecting that affects their coastal assets. This is being done in an open data format and will help the public and make information available for those who want it. This is a definite way of addressing the large number of Freedom for Information Requests that water companies are seeing at the moment.

    The challenge after the meeting was to increase the public outreach in a relatively short timescale as there is approximately one year to kick off a cooperative campaign by all stakeholders within the water industry and the wider environmental industry.