Work on the anticipated Lee Tunnel stated at Beckon shaft at the end of last week.

The Lee Tunnel sewer will take discharged waste from the combined overflow at Abbey Mills in Stratford to the sewage treatment works at Beckton. The estimated cost of the new sewage network is thought to be in excess of £635m, with sections of the sewer as wide as three double decker buses in places.

When completed, the Lee Tunnel will hopefully stop 16 million tonnes of raw sewage flowing into the River Lee every year.

The tunnel will be 75 metres deep in places and will be the deepest sewage tunnel ever constructed in London. The project is the largest engineering project Thames Water has ever undertaken.

Although the tunnel is a huge undertaking, it will only stop around 40% of the sewage that flows into the River Lee and the River Thames every year. The tunnelling work will start in early 2012 and the completion of the project is due in 2014.

The chief executive of Thames Water, Martin Baggs, stated:

“Abbey Mills is the largest sewer overflow in London, so the Lee Tunnel will deal with this first so we can have the biggest impact, most quickly.”

Work is already underway at London’s five major sewage treatment works to modernise facilities and allow them to treat more waste.

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