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Upgrade for east London sewage works

Thames Water will carry out a £190 million upgrade to the Beckton sewage works in east London in order to treat additional storm flows from the Lee Tunnel.

The Lee Tunnel is a new 6.4 kilometre sewer, to be completed in 2015, which will capture the storm sewage overflows from heavy rainfall. Located up to 75 metres below ground, the tunnel will prevent more than 16 million cubic metres of wastewater annually from entering the River Thames. The £433 million contract has been awarded jointly to VINCI Construction and Morgan Est.

Beckton is already Europe’s largest sewage works, and after the upgrade will be able to treat 60 per cent more sewage, said Thames Water Chief Operating Officer Steven Shine.

The upgrades will also allow the site to fully treat increased flows during heavy rainfall, which currently discharge into the River Thames, and to accommodate additional flows from the proposed Thames Tunnel.

The upgrades form part of Thames Water’s London Tideway Improvements program, and beginning in early 2010. The project is scheduled for completion in 2014.

Meanwhile, Thames Water has begun a £85 million upgrade at Riverside Sewage Works in east London to improve the quality of water in the River Thames.

The project will improve the quality of effluent returned to the River Thames, meeting new Environment Agency standards. This will raise oxygen levels in the river and improve habitats for aquatic wildlife. Mr Shine said “These improvements will help provide a cleaner River Thames for all those who use and enjoy it.”

The project will also introduce a new treatment process, called anaerobic digestion, where solid waste is broken down in enclosed tanks in the absence of oxygen. This process forms biogas which can be used to generate renewable energy, and it is intended to produce enough energy to power the entire site.

These upgrades form part of a larger £675 million project to modernise London’s five main sewage works.

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