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  6. Thames Water reveals revised “super sewer” proposals

Thames Water reveals revised “super sewer” proposals

Thames Water has published revised proposals for its controversial Tideway Tunnel project in London, designed to tackle the 39 million tonnes of untreated sewage that overflows annually into the River Thames from the capital’s Victorian sewerage network.

The utility insisted that its plans for the “super sewer” had reduced the need for so many greenfield locations like Barn Elms Playing Field, now no longer earmarked as a main tunnel “drive site”.

The changes announced by Thames Water also mean that some 90 per cent of the soil from the “drive sites” would be transported away by barge or rail, significantly reducing the amount of road borne construction traffic.

The new proposed main drive sites are at Carwarth Road Riverside in Fulham, Kirtling Street in Battersea and Chambers Wharf in Bermondsey.

Excluding minor works, 22 sites are needed to construct the Thames Tunnel, compared to the 23 envisaged a year ago.

In addition to the three main tunnel drive sites, and two main tunnel reception sites, a total of 17 smaller construction sites are also proposed to intercept or control the flows from the 34 so-called Combined Sewer Overflows (CSO) into the main tunnel.

The CSO interception site originally proposed at Jews Row in Wandsworth is no longer needed. Instead this is to be tackled by adapting the configuration of flows within the existing network.

Much reduced construction work at alternative nearby sites is also proposed to replace the activity previously proposed at Butcher Row (Limehouse) and a children’s playground in Druid Street (Bermondsey).

Phil Stride, who is heading the Thames Water project team, said: "We have been working hard to refine our original plans, where possible, in the light of the concerns people have raised with us. This has resulted in some significant changes, also reflecting our absolute determination to balance overall disruption with the equally important need to ensure that the price tag remains affordable for our customers.”

He added: "There are no easy choices when it comes to selecting construction sites, but our focus during this latest phase of consultation will be to work with communities around our revised list of preferred sites to ensure we understand and address their concerns effectively."

The changes to Thames Water's original plans mean that main construction work for the tunnel is now provisionally scheduled to begin in 2016 and expected to last six years. The company’s revised estimate for the total capital cost of the project is £4.1bn at 2011 prices, excluding inflation.

Full details are available from the project’s website 


Roger Milne

10 November 2011