Thames Water has today been given the go-ahead by the UK Government to start building London’s $4.2bn, 25km long tunnelled ‘super sewer’ which will tackle the sewage pollution in to the tidal River Thames. Six TBMs will bore the route from five drive sites.
The tunnel will run underground from Acton storm tanks in West London, and travel roughly the line underneath the river to Abbey Mills Pumping Station in East London, where it will connect to the Lee Tunnel.
The sewage collected from the 34 most polluting discharge points along the tidal river in Central London, will then be taken via the Lee Tunnel to Beckton sewage works for treatment.
Last year, 55m tonnes of sewage polluted the tidal River Thames, far higher than the average 39m tonnes that discharges in a typical year.
Andy Mitchell, chief executive of Thames Tideway Tunnel, said: “If the tunnel had been in operation last year, it would have captured 97% of the sewage that poured in to London’s river.
“Hardly a week goes by when untreated sewage isn’t pouring in to London’s river and we are pleased that we can now start to tackle this archaic problem.
“This is a huge project but it’s a huge problem, and we can now get on with tackling it. It’s no easy task, but we’re confident that we can deliver this project and still achieve our aim of minimising the impact on our customer bills.”
The Thames Tideway Tunnel will take seven years to build, and main construction can now start in 2016 as planned.
The project has been given a Development Consent Order, or DCO, by the Government, to be built as proposed using 24 construction sites across London.
Mr Mitchell, who joined the project earlier this year from his previous role at Crossrail, added: “This DCO means we can improve London’s river for the benefit of Britain. We appreciate the impact our construction work will have on some communities near our
The Thames Tideway Tunnel will be financed and delivered by an independent specialist company, separate to Thames Water and with its own licence from Ofwat. Interested investors are currently preparing bids for this company, with the successful bidder expected to be announced next summer.
The project will be paid for by Thames Water sewerage customers, who will see an increase of up to a maximum of £70-80 (in 2011 prices, excluding inflation), by the mid 2020s.