It’s estimated that London’s complex sewage network could easily stretch the length of the Earth, collecting and feeding waste through our intricate system of drains, pipes and treatment plants. Impressive as this may be, combine it with the 8 million people living in the capital, and it perhaps takes a different stance, giving an insight into the current strain our drainage infrastructure is under.
As Europe’s most densely populated metropolis, London is experiencing the greatest levels of growth, yet it possesses some of the oldest infrastructure. Fortunately we offer clients a comprehensive service, ensuring that our sewer network is more than capable of handling everything that is thrown at it.
“A cleaner, healthier River Thames is essential for the wellbeing of the city as a whole. The Thames Tideway Tunnel will ensure the country’s capital remains a flourishing business centre and tourist destination, protecting the city’s reputation around the world. The river is a great, under-used asset for the capital that must be protected.” – Thames Water
The Thames Tideway Tunnel is a major new project planned to increase the capacity of London’s Victorian sewage system and to prevent increasing pollution in the River Thames, from sewage overflows.
The demands of modern day London are unfortunately taking their toll on the current system and although built to last, it was never designed with the growth we are experiencing, in mind. Nearly 40 million tonnes of untreated sewage escapes into the River on average, a year and this is gradually increasing.
The estimated cost of the project was £3.6 billion, which has since risen to £4.1 billion, which excludes various other related works and upgrades. It is scheduled to be completed by 2023 and will make way for the UK to meet European environmental standards.
Thames Water, the Environmental Agency, DEFRA and the Greater London Authority have all been working together, devising the proposed project, which will comprise of a storage and transfer tunnel, under the Thames riverbed.
Like any major project it has received its fair share of negative press which is due to a number of reasons:
- Although the tunnel will prevent increasing pollution in the Thames and any sewage overflows, campaigners feel that it does not deal sufficiently enough with the increasing volume of sewage in the capital.
- C02 emissions will be produced, from pumping effluent, causing a environmental impact, in addition to areas such as parks and brownfield sites being utilised.
- The economic cost means that the average Thames Water customer’s bill could rise to over £50.
Whether in agreement or not the population of London, along with the Thames, do need action taken immediately as mentioned before, our current sewage system was never designed for the growth we are currently experiencing.
If you wish to find out more please view the short video below from Thames Water:
The following video gives a general overview of the sewer transfer:
In autumn last year, water and sewage companies in the UK became responsible for private sewers, which were formerly the sole responsibility of property owners.
This meant the ownership and maintenance of private sewers was transferred, bringing peace of mind and clarity regarding ownership.
Not all private pipes were included though. There are certain cases where property owners remain responsible for the sections of pipe between the buildings and the transferred private sewer or lateral drain.
Due to the way the sewers and drains are connected, the way you’re affected by the transfer depends on the type of property you currently reside in.
You are still responsible for any domestic plumbing and for the section of pipe leading to the newly transferred sewer.
If you experience a problem with a sewer pipe or drain, simply carry out the following steps as it’s important that you try and identify where the problem is:
- If you have a shared sewer, try asking your neighbours if they are experiencing problems.
- If they aren’t, it’s more than likely that the problem is on your section of pipe or waste plumbing, meaning you will need to resolve it yourself.
- If your neighbours do have a problem, it may be in a shared section of pipe.
Some properties are connected to a private pumping station before they connect onto the main sewer network.
It’s likely you will know this already if this is the case.
Examples of these situations include small housing developments, remote farms or small business parks.
The Government plans to transfer the ownership of these pumping stations to water companies on by October 2016.
Until this time, the owner(s) of the pumping station will continue to be responsible for its maintenance and repair.
For FAQ’S and the source of the above information see Thames Water: