Super-Sewer Sites To Be Named in September

Thames Water admits there is scepticism but vows to press on with plans

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Thames Water has set a date to name the sites it is proposing to dig up as part of its plans to build the controversial 'super-sewer'. Scores of sites across the capital are expected to be on the list when Thames Water makes their anouncement in September.

Phil Stride, Thames Water’s Head of London Tideway Tunnels, admitted that ‘some people may be sceptical’ but vowed to press on regardless. He said: “Our key task on the project is to ensure that the UK complies with the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive.”

Thames Water say the 20 mile long sewage storage tank, which would take eight years to build, is needed to prevent sewage flowing into the Thames but experts from the Consumer Council for Water have previously questioned whether the £2.2 billion estimated cost of super-sewer is justified by the relatively small improvement in water quality that it would create.

After tons of raw sewage leaked into the Thames last November, a spokesman for Thames Water explained that, "London's sewer system was designed to overflow into the River Thames when it becomes overloaded, to prevent sewage backing up into homes and gardens.

"Population growth, the concreting over of green spaces and more torrential downpours from a changing climate mean that these discharges are now required far too often. But they are legal and consented because the rainwater and sewage literally has nowhere else to go.

She added, "We now have funding and planning approval to improve all of London's five major sewage works and to build the Lee Tunnel to keep storm sewage out of the river, all between now and the end of 2014."

The tunnel dubbed 'super-sewer' has the backing of Mayor of London Boris Johnson who said, "The building of the Thames Tideway tunnel under the Thames and the river Lee to greatly reduce discharges of sewage into the river and improve the quality of the water in the River Thames."

"This clearly contradicts the views held by Tory Councillors in Hammersmith & Fulham Council who have been most vocal in their opposition to what has dubbed the super sewer" says local Lib Dem Merlene Emerson.

However, not everyone is convinced. Richard Ashley, Professor of Urban Water at Sheffield University, a renowned expert in urban waste water systems, believes the tunnel is "an extremely expensive scheme which is actually unlikely to function efficiently, has an enormous carbon footprint and does nothing to reduce flooding or reduce global warming.”

Raj Bhatia, Chairman of the Stamford Brook Residents Association, discussed the super-sewer plans at the association’s AGM last week. He said: “The few benefits of the super-sewer are completely outweighed by the negative human and financial costs. Many of the sites that are chosen will not be ruined for just eight years during construction but forever as on-going maintenance will be necessary.”


July 16, 2010