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Annual Conference 2017 - site visit, 27th September

WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre is where Sir Peter Scott founded the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust and has been providing wildlife experiences for visitors for 70 years. The centre is home to a living collection of around 2,600 birds from around the world.  It also includes a 325 ha nature reserve on the banks of the Severn Estuary, which is nationally important for wintering water birds and breeding waders.  The centre currently receives approximately 250,000 visits per year. 

On the afternoon of 27th September, attendees to the CWA Annual Conference will be taken on a guided visit to the two large treatment wetland systems that serve the Slimbridge wetlands centre.

South Finger wetland treatment system
The South Finger was constructed in 1993 and became operational in 1995.  This treatment wetland treats wastewater from the captive animal collection.  The system is made up of a settlement pond, three treatment beds planted with different species mixes, a rafted lagoon, a cascade lagoon and two polishing beds.  The treated water flows into a kingfisher pool, with a bird hide where visitors can watch nesting kingfishers.  The water also floods over 20 ha of wet grassland where lapwing and redshank breed.  Performance is monitored through chemical water testing and a range of research projects have been completed looking at the system’s treatment processes and biodiversity.

Millennium Wetland Treatment System
The Millennium was commissioned in 1999 to treat the wastewater from the Slimbridge visitor centre, office areas, kitchen, and three residential homes.  The system has a modular design comprising of a settlement tank, sludge drying bed, vertical flow reedbed, settlement pond, horizontal sub-surface flow bed, overland flow bed, vertical flow phosphate removal bed and a wildlife pond.  WWT monitor performance through chemical water testing.  The Millennium system has been shown to support over 50 plant species and to provide a home for harvest mice.