A project that is claimed will half the discharges of waste water on Dorset’s Jurassic Coast has been completed.

The £800,000 scheme will ensure wastewater continues to be pumped away from the west Dorset villages of West Bexington and Swyre, according to Wessex Water.

The company says it will reduce the number of times a nearby storm overflow operates automatically by 50 per cent.

Instead, a replacement rising main sewer, stretching for nearly a mile between sewage pumping stations at West Bexington and Gorselands, near Swyre, will increase sewer capacity and help to cope with sudden increases in water volume.

Further improvement work has also been carried out at both sites to upgrade pumps and a new rising main has been installed from the Gorselands site to a discharge manhole on the nearby B3157 Coast Road.

The scheme, which is claimed will also ensure foul water is pumped away from the public toilets on the beach at West Bexington, will be backed up by further renovation of sewers within the Beach Road and Swyre Road area.

A project to separate surface water from the foul sewers on Beach Road is also being planned, further reducing the use of overflows, that operate automatically to relieve the threat of overwhelmed combined sewers flooding homes and businesses following heavy rainfall.

Project manager Paul Delves said: “The investment we have made between West Bexington and Swyre will ensure that the number of times the overflow operates automatically is reduced by 50 per cent, helping us to protect the historically important Jurassic Coast.

“This is a popular area, with Chesil Beach, the South West Coast Path that is used by lots of walkers and a coastal reed bed close by, and completing out this project will mean it continues to be protected in future years.’’

Work started last August, Wessex Water using directional drilling underground across fields for the replacement rising sewer main to limit the impact on local communities as much as possible.

The project team took special care to sensitively manage local habitats while completing their work, with the area home to protected species including the hazel dormouse, hedgehogs, harvest mouse, moths, great crested newts, water voles and a variety of plants, butterflies and birds.

Wessex Water also contributed funding towards a brand-new bus shelter on the B3157 after being approached by Puncknowle and Swyre Parish Council during the design phase of the scheme.

Project manager Paul Delves added: “We were very pleased to be able to give something back to thank the parish council and local community for their patience while our work was carried out.’’

The completion of the West Bexington scheme follows Wessex Water’s nearby £500,000 investment to protect the coastline around historic Portland Bill Lighthouse from untreated wastewater.

The two-month Portland scheme, completed last year, separated surface water, such as rain running off nearby roofs and roads, from the system that carries foul water from homes, businesses and the public toilets in the lighthouse car park.