March 2013 |

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Ten items which should never be flushed

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Much of the recent sewer flooding which Thames Water has seen is due to the sheer amount of rainfall which fell during the later months of 2012. The water table is now at such a high level that any run-off after subsequent rainfall is making its way to a sewer system which is only designed to cope with waste sewage. Hence the problems many residents across the Thames Valley have faced with sewer flooding – there is simply not the capacity to take the rainwater away as well as the raw sewage. However, even though Thames Water can do little to resolve the current issues without long-term investment, residents can help the water company by carefully considering what can and what can’t be disposed of in the region’s drains. Thames Water spends hundreds of thousands of pounds every year removing blockages from the sewer system. And in many of these cases the blockage which has caused the problem is due to an item which should never have been disposed of in the sewage system in the first place. Things which shouldn’t be flushed into the sewer system include: • Sanitary wear • Nappies • Cotton buds • Liquid fat • Kitchen paper • Hand wipes, face wipes, baby wipes • Condoms • Tooth floss • Food • Hair

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Hambledon residents fed up with sewer flooding

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Residents of Hambledon have expressed their dismay at the problems they are still facing with sewage flooding, nearly four months after the first incident took place last November. Thames Water are currently tankering at the Hambledon pumping station with two of their tankers in attendance around 16 hours every day – but fed up neighbours are asking for a long-term solution to be found. One of the residents spoke in the Henley Standard. She said that unless she checks that her drains outside her house are clear she’s unable to use the shower or the toilet because the sewers just can’t cope. She has started a petition, which already has over 500 signatures. She said in The Standard:

“I am hoping this local petition will encourage people who have lived in the area for a lot longer to come forward with the history behind these issues. The previous owner of my house experienced similar flooding in 2003 so it’s not a new problem.”
A spokesperson for Thames Water said:
“The main issue is the failure of the natural drainage system — rivers and groundwater — caused by the wettest year on record in England. This problem has been added to by a blockage in a sewer at Hambleden. We cleared this blockage overnight last Monday. “We sympathise deeply with people affected by these problems. Where our customer service has fallen short, we are also sorry.”

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New THP plants help Thames Water hit renewable energy targets

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Thames Water has plans to install Thermal Hydrolysis process (THP) plants at six of its sewage treatment works as it aims to meet its target of producing 20% of its own power using renewable sources. The new THP plants are essentially pressure cookers which heat the leftover waste from the treatment process to 160C. the sludge is then fed into digesting units which break it down and produce a biomethane gas which can be burned to create heat and hence energy. Waste ‘solids’ which are heated using the THP process burn more biogas than those that are not treated helping to generate more energy which will enable Thames Water to meet its target. The director of capital delivery at Thames Water Lawrence Gibson said: “We currently produce enough renewable electricity to run a city the size of Oxford, but by the time we install all this new THP we will be producing enough to run Oxford and the whole of Woking, in Surrey, too. "This investment is good for the environment, our business and our customers. For as well as being environmentally friendly, generating energy from waste also reduces our running costs by protecting us from the price fluctuations of the mainstream, non-renewable energy markets, bringing savings that help to keep customers' bills down. "This investment will also help us to achieve our target to renewably self-generate 20 per cent of our annual energy requirements by 2015." In 2012 Thames Water saved £15m by generating its own energy.

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Aldbourne residents speak at Thames Water meeting

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

Residents in Aldbourne got their chance to speak to Thames Water officials last Monday night about the sewer flooding which has blighted their village for the last four months. Thames Water is visiting locals whose lives have been disrupted by the latest spate of sewer flooding across the Thames Valley. Last Monday, the 10th of March, local residents were allowed to question Thames Water officials about what the waste water company are doing about the sewage problems in Aldbourne. The Thames Water spokesperson on the night, Anthony Crawford, said that most of the problems have been caused by the sheer amount of rainfall at the end of last year. He said:

“This time last year our problem was drought. Then we hit May, when we had 200 per cent of the normal rainfall for the month. All thoughts of drought disappeared. “Then, after a summer which was hardly a summer at all, we had 144 per cent of average rainfall in October and 177 per cent in November.”
Thames Water has been using tankers in Aldbourne to remove the excess sewage. But residents are concerned that this is not fixing the problem and will only work for a certain amount of time. Some say the tankers are as much of a blight in village life as the sewage itself. Residents have recently formed an action group and want Thames Water and the Environment Agency to solve the problems once and for all. Simon Knighton, the action group’s spokesperson said at the meeting:
“While everyone understands we have the wettest year on record, the sewers have overflowed on average once every four years. “We would like you to identify solutions. If we know what they are then we can work with you to put them in place. “We are surprised that your chief executive didn’t write to everyone affected

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Tottenham sewer works begin

Monday, March 18th, 2013

Thames Water has just begun work in Tottenham on a sewer upgrade project which will see the size of some of the boroughs the sewer pipes increased in size. The work on the new scheme began on March 11 and is being done to protect homes and businesses from sewer flooding at times of heavy rainfall. The new larger pipes will take the sewage to be treated at the Deephams sewage plant. The project, which is costing Thames Water £2.4m, will see the pipes doubled in size in Markfield Road and Constable Crescent. It’s expected that the work will take around nine months to complete. The senior contracts manager at Thames Water, Dave Meacham said:

"Sewer flooding is utterly vile. It has no place in the 21st century and we’re committed to putting an end to it. "We’re sorry for any disruption this work might cause, but this is a must-do job, not a nice-to-do."
The sewer pipes will connect to the main sewer under Tottenham Hale. Haringey councillor Nilgun Canver said that while the works may cause some short term traffic problems it’s great news for residents whose homes were previously at risk from flooding.

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Super sewer planning application finally submitted

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Thames Water has finally submitted its planning application for the ‘super sewer’ which will pass underneath the city of London. The planning inspectorate received the 50,000 page application for the Thames Tideway Tunnel at the end of last week. The scheme, if it is approved, will provide a new super sewer under the city to deal with sewer overflows at times of heavy rainfall. Currently only around 2mm of rain has to fall on the capital before the city’s drains can no longer cope and sewer water is allowed to flow into the River Thames. The application includes the contentious construction site at Carnworth Road, which was land previously earmarked for regeneration. There were previously 475 riverside homes planned. There has been much opposition to the building of the tunnel, with various groups urging London Mayor Boris Johnson to further question the water company’s scheme. Debbie Leach, the chief executive of Thames21, one of the country’s leading waterway charities said recently:

"The Thames has made significant recovery in recent years, but we must have no doubt about the severity of the situation; raw sewage is entering the river at least once a week, threatening not just the many fish, birds and mammals that depend on it, but human health too. "We cannot afford to delay this desperately-needed action any further."

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Chertsey sewer scheme underway

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013

A new Thames Water scheme to upgrade the sewer network in Chertsey has just got underway. The London drainage company will replace around 1.7km of sewer over the next seven months with pipes being increased in size to the new 300mmm standard. The project, which is costing £1.6m, will reduce the risk of flooding at times of heavy rainfall. The work started on the 16th of February and is expected to be completed sometime during August. The programme delivery manager at Thames Water, Antony Rippon said:

"We are sorry for any disruption to customers caused by this must-do work that will help make the sewer network fit for purpose for the future. "Flooding from faulty sewer pipes is disgusting. It has no place in the 21st century, which is why we are committed to putting an end to it. "We understand works of this nature can be disruptive. We would like to assure residents that we will do everything we can to keep disruption to a minimum and complete the work as quickly as we can."
The new sewer will run along the length of Staines road from the Twynersh public house through Chilsey Road and from Cowley Avenue to Riversdell Close before crossing the park to Free Prea Road.

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