Norwich’s Briar Chemicals finishes £4.6m water treatment plant

Briar Chemicals site manager Tim Green at the Norwich facility.Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Briar Chemicals site manager Tim Green at the Norwich facility.Picture by SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

A Norwich-based chemical manufacturer hopes to kick-start the development of new products after finishing a £4.6m project to improve its water treatment plant.

Briar Chemicals, off Sweet Briar Road, said the investment will drive down the cost of treating contaminated water before it is transferred to the Whitlingham Water Recycling Centre.

It comes after site manager Tim Green stated earlier this year that the outlook for the company's 230 staff was 'good', thanks to a landmark order by a US firm for 400 tonnes of a herbicide formulation, which would now pave the way for future deals.

But he warned that while the outlook was positive, the firm still needed to carefully control its costs to be competitive.

Mr Green said: 'This investment in our waste water treatment plant will help to assure the long-term viability of Briar Chemicals. Many of our potential new customers have commented favourably on this investment and we're looking forward to the additional benefits that this will bring.'

The core technology for the automated plant, which will allow the firm to cost-effectively treat more materials in the water, was supplied by German company, Eisenmann, who completed trials, designed and oversaw the construction of its equipment.

The project involved nine Briar employees and 25 contracting companies, with up to 30 contractor employees working on its construction.

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The process included building 11 storage tanks, five reactors, 29 intermediate vessels and 49 pumps, and installing more than five miles of pipework and seven miles of electric cable.

Multi-national Bayer CropScience sold the Sweet Briar Road site to Munich-based investment firm Aurelius in 2012.

It agreed a transitional contract guaranteeing work, on a gradually diminishing scale, for five years - putting the onus on Briar to extend its product portfolio and develop new customers.

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