Reading Festival sewage turned into electricity

Hundreds of thousands of litres of sewage from the toilets at Reading Festival was transformed into renewable energy.

Thames Water worked night and day to process and treat the enormous quantity of poo and pee generated by thousands of music fans over five days.

But festival-goers were also being urged to be mindful of what else goes into the toilets after tents, mobile phones and sleeping bags have had to be fished out in previous years.

Nine tankers, which can each carry almost 19,000 litres of sewage, worked from 6am until 10pm every day collecting the waste, before transporting it to Reading sewage works.

It’s expected more than 750,000 litres of the stuff was collected by contractors A1 Group, with a huge screening system to ensure any other objects do not clog up and break the sewage treatment machines.

The sewage is then transformed into renewable energy by extracting gas from a by-product called sludge to generate electricity for the Island Road plant. It would be enough to power two homes for a day.

Reading sewage works produces 50 per cent of all the electricity it uses, while Thames Water as a whole generates around a quarter of the power it needs from waste.

Ahead of the Festival Andrew Glover, from Thames Water’s commercial operations team, said: “Reading Festival is one of the biggest events in our calendar, but we’re raring to go. We’ll be working 16 hours a day for five days, collecting and treating a total of 750,000 litres of sewage from the site’s toilets.

“Festival loos are infamous for their pong, but it’s amazing to see what else people flush down there each year. We’ve previously had to drag out tents, sleeping bags and foil blankets, along with smaller items like mobile phones, beer cans and clothes so they don’t clog up our machines.

“We’re therefore urging festival-goers to only put the three Ps down the loos – pee, poo and paper – and not to flush any other objects or rubbish down there.”

The festival ran from Friday, August 23, to Sunday, August 25.

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