Pioneering treated water initiative in Wales

Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service (MAWWFRS) is leading a pioneering initiative to use treated wastewater to tackle fires.

In a first for Wales and through working in partnership with Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water and Natural Resources Wales, MAWWFRS is trialling the use of ultra-violet (UV tertiary) treated effluent water at fire incidents attended by the service, as an alternative to drinking and other water sources.

Fire and rescue services use a large amount of water when responding to the variety of incidents they attend, with the average modern fire appliance having an 1,800-litre water capacity.  While water is an essential element of the response work by MAWWFRS crews, the large amount of water required can occasionally cause issues for communities, such as low water pressure and dirty water, depending on the location.

This new initiative, devised and being led by the service’s Corporate Risk Assurance Manager, Seamus Doyle, will involve using disinfected UV tertiary treated effluent water at incidents attended by MAWWFRS crews.  As well as reducing the impact on communities, the process will also align with the service’s environmental objectives, which includes achieving net zero carbon status by 2030. 

The service said that in addition to reducing its environmental impact, utilising UV tertiary treated effluent water will also enable crews to respond more efficiently to incidents.  Where water supply is limited at an incident, water must be shuttled from various locations which can be up to an hour from the incident, prolonging the incident and delaying response times.  Using the UV tertiary treated wastewater sites across Wales would allow crews from the three fire and rescue services to collect water more efficiently and provide a quicker response.