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Nesting birds protected during major UK sewage facility upgrade

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A major sewage upgrade in Bicester, UK is well underway, despite a brief interruption by nesting birds.

Bicester sewage works, which is undergoing a £9.3 million upgrade to ensure a resilient service for the rapidly-growing town, is well known for its bird sightings, and even has its own local ‘twitchers’ club, for bird-watching enthusiasts.

Engineers at the Thames Water site spotted a nesting pied wagtail among the pipes and wires of a cherry picker at the town’s sewage works and immediately took steps to prevent the bird family from coming to any harm. The machinery has now been fenced off with signs warning people to keep away until the young birds have hatched and safely flown the nest.

Paul Dresou, of contractors MWH Treatment, said: “Pied wagtails are known to nest in strange areas like holes in walls, buildings, old nests of larger birds or even machinery and diggers, so we must be very vigilant and check all machinery before using it, especially at this time of year.”

To accommodate the town’s expected population growth of around 20,000 people over the next five years, the upgrade will increase the amount of wastewater the site can process and includes a newly constructed fourth aeration line and a fourth final settlement tank.

“The ongoing upgrades are the latest investments to improve our infrastructure so we can continue to deliver life’s essential service,” said Thames Water’s Bicester performance manager, Steve Tovey.

“These upgrades will enable Bicester sewage works to continue providing outstanding wastewater treatment to the residents of Bicester today, and for many years to come.”