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Thames Tideway River Cruise

Investment in the water sector is a subject of intense discussion at the moment.  One successful high profile investment nearing completion is the Thames Tideway.  After substantial debate and years of construction it is nearing completion with the caps being put in place on the various combined sewer overflow (CSO) drop shafts which connect the existing sewage system to the new “super sewer”.  The Thames Tideway construction company “Tideway” occasionally invites organisations to learn about the Tideway and progress in its construction and commissioning.   Water Conservators were invited to join a boat for a tour of the sites.

We started at the London Bridge City Pier and travelled downriver to the King Edward Park foreshore where they have built an extension to the park to cover the drop shaft, air treatment chamber, valve chamber and interceptor chamber.  Here is where the main tunnel diverts away from the river via the Limehouse Cut to Abbey Mills pumping station and onwards towards Beckton Sewage Works via the Lee Tunnel.

We then made our way slowly upriver, visiting the various engineering sites.  In most cases the associated air treatment, CSO, monitoring and pumping equipment is hidden below the ground, generally topped by a small park with gardens, trees and sculptures.  The sculptures disguise the air treatment vents.  The designs reflect the history and value of the Thames and each particular area.  Much of the work in creating these green areas has been accomplished in consultation with the local population.

On the Bazalgette Embankment is the intercept for the Fleet Sewer which spills more than half a million tonnes of sewage into the river each year.  The new drop shaft and CSO outfall are slowly disappearing below a new piece of public land.

The development of the Thames Tideway has been a success for Thames Water customers (albeit they will be paying towards the costs for many years).  It is a success for the construction company Tideway, Thames Water and successive governments.  Without it the UK would have been infracted for breaching water quality standards by the EU.  It is a major success for the Thames and its ecosystem which will improve significantly without the regular sewage discharges into the river.

If you missed the visit and whant to find out more or would like to see the Thames Tideway from the river, we have another visit booked for 19 September.  Don’t miss out.

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