FIREFIGHTERS in Mid and West Wales are using treated wastewater to tackle fires.

Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service has partnered with Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water and Natural Resources Wales to be the first in Wales to use a specific type of water to tackle fires.

They are using ultra-violet (UV tertiary) treated effluent water at fires rather than using drinking water and other water sources.

Firefighters use a large amount of water when responding to incidents, with the average modern fire appliance having a capacity to hold 1,800-litres of water.

Water is essential in responding to fires but can occasionally leave communities with issues such as low water pressure and dirty water.

The new initiative that the service is trialling is being led by the fire service’s corporate risk assurance manager Seamus Doyle and involves using disinfected ultra-violet (UV tertiary) treated effluent water at incidents. It is hoped that this will reduce the impact on communities and will align with the service’s environmental objectives, including achieving Net Zero Carbon Status by 2030.

The service believes that reducing the reliance on clean water is increasingly important due to the changing rainfall patterns, frequent droughts and increased unpredictability on the world’s water supply.

A Welsh Water spokesperson said: “We are fully supportive of this initiative to make available where practical treated wastewater effluent that has been through a UV disinfection plant as a source of water for firefighting purposes.

“By substituting this volume of water which otherwise would have been taken from the potable water supply it will help in the preservation of our supplies for customers especially in the face of increasing climate change impact on our natural resources.”

A Natural Resources Wales spokesperson said: “A low-risk waste recovery operation has been approved and published by NRW allowing the use of UV treated final effluent from Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water permitted wastewater treatment works in emergency firefighting activities by the fire and rescue service.

“This regulatory decision delivers the sustainable management of natural resources by protecting both the natural environment and mains water supplies in an emergency by enabling fire and rescue services across Wales to utilise final waste effluent from relevant facilities.”

It is hoped the trial will allow crews to respond quicker to incidents as they will be able to collect water more efficiently from the local UV tertiary treated wastewater sites across the area, rather than having to shuttle water from various locations which can be up to an hour away from the incident.