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Bradford on Avon Sewage Works

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Sewage works construction

Bradford’s sewage works tanks under construction 1907

Disposal of waste was in pits at the back of houses, or collected to be spread on fields as a fertiliser. The chance of polluting water course, wells and other things with water-borne diseases was high and things came to a head following mid-19th century cholera epidemics and the Health of Towns reports. Stephen Moulton, founder of the rubber industry in Bradford, complained to the General Board of Health about the want of a public sewer in 1849.

Such improvements did not reach a small town like Bradford on Avon until 1876 in the form of sewers that ran down from the Tory hillside and from Trowbridge Road, but these discharged directly into the river. It was not until 1903-1907, with various difficulties, that all the connections were made to a sewage treatment works and large earth-covered holding tanks next to the river, downstream from the town.

A new modern and larger sewage works was built later in the 20th century up the hill on the other side of the Kennet & Avon Canal. The old brick-built tanks are still there, but are not noticeable under earth and vegetation.

Smaller sewage works serve the villages.

Bradford on Avon sewage works

The modern Bradford on Avon sewage works, across the Kennet & Avon Canal