WESSEX Water is spending £20m over five years to make its sewage treatment works serving Taunton greener.

It is installing equipment at Ham, near Creech St Michael, to increase renewable energy produced there.

Work started this week to put in two acid phase digesters to generate more power from waste flushed down toilets and drains.

Wessex project manager Dave Jones said: “We’ve been generating biogas from the treatment process at the site for a number of years to produce renewable energy.

“The new equipment will mean we can now do this more efficiently on a larger scale which will reduce our carbon footprint as well as future operating costs.”

Biogas, which can be used for power generation, is produced when human waste is broken down through a process in which bugs, in the absence of oxygen, break down biodegradable material to produce methane.

The digesters at the sewage works increase biogas production by keeping waste in the system for longer, prolonging the time energy can be generated.

Wessex also plans to improve the quality of waste water at Ham before it is released into the environment.

Additionally a new access road is planned so vehicles travelling to and from the works can more easily access the A358.

Mr Jones said: “The majority of the construction work will take place once the new road has been built.

“The road will be used by tankers for our normal operation of the site.

“In the near future, traffic travelling to and from the site will avoid Ruishton and Creech St Michael.”