THREE joint ventures are wading in to contest a £21 million deal for Southern Water in Eastbourne, East Sussex.
The competition to upgrade the seafront waste-water treatment plant, disguised above ground as a Napoleonic fort, is between Earthtec/Gleeson, Degremont/ Miller and Biwater/Nuttall.
The project, to install biological treatment processes in the underground works, is expected to start on site next year. The scheme must be completed by May 2002.
Southern Water project manager Lawrence Gosden said: 'We have designed the scheme so that all construction can be carried out within the existing complex.
'As a result we avoid having to build an underground extension to the works, which would have been very disruptive.'