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Cameras go out to snap the half-way moment of Thames ‘super sewer’ scheme

PUBLISHED: 15:00 23 September 2020

Starrting point for London's 'super sewer' construction as seen today... 4 years after work began by Tower Bridge. Picture: East London Mornings

Starrting point for London's 'super sewer' construction as seen today... 4 years after work began by Tower Bridge. Picture: East London Mornings

East London Mornings

Latest surveys of work-in-progress for London’s £4billion “super sewer” scheme under the Thames has come up with unique snaps of the sunrise and sunset along the waterfront.

Sunrise over Tower Bridge... close to where construction began in 2016. Picture: Skye O'NeillSunrise over Tower Bridge... close to where construction began in 2016. Picture: Skye O'Neill

The photographic commissions have been released by the Tideway construction company at the half-way point in the eight-year project.

Work began in 2016 removing 20,000 tonnes of mud from the riverbed opposite St Katharine’s Docks at Chambers Wharf, next to Tower Bridge.

The 15-mile main tunnel deep beneath the riverbed stretches from Limehouse westward under Tower Bridge, The City and Westminster to reach Nine Elms and Hammersmith.

Super sewer construction site at sunset. Picture: Skye O'NeillSuper sewer construction site at sunset. Picture: Skye O'Neill

At least 94 per cent of the millions of tonnes of sewage seeping into the river every year will be “captured” from the overloaded Victorian sewer system built just below the streets in the 1860s.

The super sewer is designed to shift that sewage safely, hidden deep below the riverbed, down to Limehouse.

From there it goes eastward under the Limehouse Cut to Abbey Mills pumping, then onto Beckton to discharge “all cleaned up” into the estuary to flow out to sea.

Sunset on the Thames by the London Eye with Big Ben in scaffolding in the distance. Picture: Katya JacksonSunset on the Thames by the London Eye with Big Ben in scaffolding in the distance. Picture: Katya Jackson

It will also capture the “first flush” from the sewers after heavy rain that contains the sediment built up during dry weather that causes most damage.

The Thames has had a dramatic clean-up over the last 30 years, a prime example of a recovering ecosystem.

But the millions of tonnes of raw sewage that still overspills into the river each year represents its last major source of pollution.

Thames Tideway 'super sewer' now half way point in construction. Picture: TidewayThames Tideway 'super sewer' now half way point in construction. Picture: Tideway

Engineers promise only three or four overspills into the Thames in future, mostly surface rainwater, instead of 50 sewage flows we have to put up with every year.

The quality and appearance of the Thames “will improve vastly” when the scheme is completed in 2024, we are told, with the added bonus of new habitats for aquatic wildlife.


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