October 2010 -

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Sewage works in London to get £60m upgrade

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

Becton Sewage works is to get a £60m investment to cover the most odorous sections of the Europe’s largest sewer works. The sewage plant in East London has already seen the start of major works in March this year to increase their capacity by about 60%. This is so the system can cope with extra rainfall so the sewage works will not be overloaded and discharge into the River Thames. When the sewer works are currently overloaded, there is no where else for the extra water to go, so the rainwater and sewer water is discharged through overflow vents. The new £60 project will see covers fitted to the 16 primary settlement tanks to filter the air before it is released into the surrounding environment. The primary tanks are the size of ten football pitches, so it will be no mean feat to install covers over them. The works will start in 2011 and will be completed in 2015. The chief operating officer at Thames Water Steve Shine stated:

"This project will reduce odour emissions by around 70 per cent by 2015, making a substantial difference to local residents. "As well as covering the settlement tanks at Beckton, we are going to install special odour-eater machines to gobble up the smelly air which sometimes comes off them. "We have earmarked more than £350m to improve Beckton over the next five years in order to serve the future needs of London and deliver significant environmental benefits."

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Lossiemouth residents asked to help to stop flooding

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Residents in Lossiemouth are being urged to help Scottish Water’s bid to stop flooding in the region by being asked to take care what they put into their drainage systems. The Moray town has seen a number of flooding incidents recently, all caused by blockages at the local pumping station. Most of these blockages are caused by residents putting the wrong things down their toilets. Baby wipes and other bathroom sanitary items are some of the things that have cause problems in the past, so Scottish Water are asking residents to bag these items and bin them so they don’t get into the sewage system. When the pumping station does not work, waste backs up and ends up flooding out of street drains and directly into overflow outlets into the Moray Firth. Scottish Water’s communities manager for Moray, Steve Scott, stated:

“Protecting the environment is of paramount importance to Scottish Water but we face a real battle thanks to the likes of the humble baby wipe. Along with kitchen wipes, nappies and other products they’re tougher than toilet paper and shouldn’t be flushed but bagged and binned instead. We’re doing our best to keep on top of the situation and I’m sure the people of Lossiemouth care about their environment and will do their bit to help.”

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New sewer to protect site of special scientific interest

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

Thames Water has just completed a thirteen week sewer project at a site in Abingdon to stop sewage spills into a nature reserve. The site in Abingdon, which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), has seen a sewer pipe that travels under Dry Sandford Pit burst on a number of occasions over the last few years. To remedy the problem, Thames Water has installed a new plastic and concrete sewer three miles northwest of Abington away from the rare fenland habitat. The £800,000 project undertaken by the water company had to receive the go ahead from the MoD and Natural England before commencing. Thames Water project manager, Andrew Popple, stated:

"This is really great news wildlife and for residents. The new sewer pipe will help prevent flooding to the SSSI land in the future, which will be a great benefit to everyone who enjoys visiting, or live near to, this lovely spot. "Sewer flooding at people's homes is a truly miserable experience and getting rid of it is our top priority. Our new sewer pipe will help prevent this."
The Senior Oxfordshire Reserves Manager for the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT), Martyn Lane stated:
"Dry Sandford Pit is a BBOWT nature reserve of national importance. This is a fragile and rare fenland habitat supporting species such as the southern damselfly and marsh fragrant orchid and hundreds of marsh helleborine all of which depend on excellent water quality. "Few other places in Britain have such a remarkable combination of habitats, so it's good news that Thames Water has completed this work to prevent potential damage from storm sewage spills."

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London Wetland Centre Down the Plughole

Monday, October 25th, 2010

The London Wetland Centre has just opened a brand new exhibit sponsored by Thames Water, a giant sewer complete with fat deposits and unnerving odours. Located in Barnes, which is but a stone’s throw from Hammersmith, the Wetlands Centre is a brilliant educational day out for all the family. The recreation of a working sewer allows visitors to the Wetland Centre to walk through a section of trunk sewer. In doing so they are treated to a cacophony of sights and smells that few of us are fortunately exposed to. So the purpose of the exhibit? To educate children and adults about the problems caused when we put the wrong things down ours sewers such as fats and cooking oils. The new exhibit is part of the Pond Zone section of wetlands park and is a welcome addition to the Wetlands Centre. Few of us realise the problems that can happen when we put the wrong things down out plugholes or toilet and this exhibition is the perfect way to see the problems that can occur. The new Down the Plughole attraction is sure to be a great hit with the kids over the half term break.

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Free water saving devices

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

United Utilities is handing out free water saving devices to people visiting the National Trust’s Hill Top farmhouse, the home of author Beatrix Potter, next Wednesday the 27th of October. The company are holding a range of water saving roadshows across the North West region over the next few months. The water saving packs given away will include information on how to save water, a shower device and a save-a-flush device which can be fitted easily into your toilet and saves around one litre of water with every flush. The pack also contains a shower regulating device which slows the flow of water but mixes it with air, so users should not notice the difference when showering with the device fitted. It has been estimated that just using the shower regulator could save you £43 per year for homeowners on a water meter. United utilities water efficiency manager stated:

"Reducing the amount of water we use on a daily basis can be done in small steps and doesn't have to be life changing. Even something as simple as turning off the tap when brushing your teeth could potentially save up to 18 litres each time, that's enough to run some washing machines. Switching from taking baths to using showers and making sure your dishwasher or washing machine is full when you use it means you're getting the maximum use from your water supply. They're steps I'm sure some of Miss Potter's characters would have approved of."

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River Thames is no longer London’s sewer

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

There has been much talk about the new Thames Tunnel and how it will improve the water quality of the River Thames. But it seems that the river has started to fight back since the nineteen fifties when it was declared “biologically dead”. London’s river was also its main drain in the 1800s when the industrial revolution spewed toxic contaminants into the river on a daily basis. And in the 1950s and 60s you wouldn’t ever have considered the river winning any prizes. At times of heavy rainfall, sewers still overflow into the river to prevent localised flooding, but even so it has just won a prestigious award for environmental conservation. The International Thiess River Prize comes with prize money of £218,000 and the Thames beat off competition from Australia and Austria to claim the top spot. Salmon are now found in the river (the first past London bridge since 1833) and in fact, it now has over 125 species of fish. It’s so clean that some people have even started to swim in the river again. Just this summer, The Great River Swim saw 70 people swim around Chiswick Island, file miles from Hyde Park.

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Penketh sewer improvements

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

A number of roads in Penketh will be closed over the coming weeks as United Utilities carry out sewer improvement works in the area. United Utilities have been upgrading the sewer system in Penketh for the last few months, and as part of the latest stage of works, sections of Tannery Lane, Walkers Lane and Station Road will be closed. During the works, drainage contractors will be installing a new sewer system and connecting these pipes to an existing sewer in fields off Tannery Lane and an underground water storage tank off Station Road. Road closures started on Tannery Lane on Monday and will start on Walkers Lane next week. United Utilities project manager, Tony Lowles, stated:

"The work on Tannery Lane and Walkers Lane is designed to improve the overall reliability of the sewer network and help towards alleviating the risk of flooding to nearby homes during heavy rainfall. "When we are in a position to connect our new sewer on Walkers Lane to the tank on Station Road we will reopen Station Road and remove the diversion. "We will continue to allow access in and out of Walkers Lane through the newly formed access for local traffic and our construction vehicles, but we would like to advise residents that this access will revert to a no through road once our work is completed. "Access to Penketh South Primary School and St Vincent's Primary School will be maintained via Chapel Road. "We will do everything possible to keep disruption to a minimum and we will be writing to local residents to inform them of our progress."

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New Thames Tunnel exhibitions announced

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Thames Water has announced that they will be holding three new exhibitions on plans for their proposed super sewer - The Thames Tunnel. The new exhibitions will be part of the 14 week public consultation period and will be held at the sewer’s proposed construction sites. It is hoped that the exhibitions will give concerned parties an opportunity to see the scale of the works and see how it may affect them. The new exhibitions will be held at: • Barnes, WWT London Wetlands Centre, Queen Elizabeth’s Walk – Oct 20th and Oct 21st between 10am and 8pm. • Bermondsey, Time and Talents Association, The Old Mortuary, St. Marychurch Street – Nov 5th between 9am and 7pm. • Vauxhall, Park Plazza Riverbank, 18 Albert Embankment – Nov 6th between 10am and 4pm. The Head of London Tideway Tunnels, Phil Stride, stated:

"We want to give everyone an opportunity to tell us what they think, either by attending one of our exhibitions or visiting our consultation website. At this stage we haven't got all the answers but through this consultation and speaking to people with local knowledge, we aim to get them. "The consultation will run until Christmas, and there will be a second consultation next year. Until then no final decisions will be made."

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Flood defence works in Alsager completed

Monday, October 18th, 2010

United Utilities has announced that flood defence works in Alsager have just been completed. Works to install a new sewer system on Linley Grove, Linley Road and Barrett Road and a flood storage tank in the car park of Linley Grove has now been finished. It is hoped that the works will stop flooding on the aforementioned roads during times of prolonged heavy rainfall. The water storage tank will collect rain water, which will alleviate problems the local residents have faced for many years. The United Utilities Project Co-ordinator, Jason Boyd, stated:

"We are pleased to say that this essential work is now complete and there should be no further traffic disruption for local residents, which we know has been an issue for them whilst work has been ongoing. "We would like to thank residents for their continued patience and understanding and we hope that our work will bring peace of mind to those who have been affected by the very unpleasant problem of sewer flooding."
Drainage engineers will continue to be on site during the next couple of weeks while they will be carrying out checks on the new systems. Mr Boyd further stated:
"We will be fencing off one of the new car park areas for safety purposes until an existing high-voltage cable can be diverted by Scottish Power, "We will be writing to local residents to let them know when the affected side of the car park area will be available again."

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Edington sewer scheme completed

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

Wessex Water has just completed work on a new sewer system in Edington. The work, which cost the company £2m, is the largest project undertaken by the water company over the last year and included connecting 75 properties to the mains sewage system to stop pollution incidents. The small village near Bridgwater had only 25% its properties connected to the mains sewer system before the project started. But after Wessex Water laid over 2,300m of new pipes, 75 more properties have been connected. The project included adding a new storm tank and the addition of sewer along Broadmead Lane, Church Road, Broadway and Holywell Road. The site manager for the scheme, John Phillips, stated:

“This was a challenging scheme which involved using specialist equipment to remove rock discovered below ground so that the new sewers could be laid. “Workers also had to contend with heavy snowfall at the beginning of the year but thankfully due to their persistence and cooperation from local residents we were still able to complete the scheme on time.”
The water company provided regular updates to Edington parish council throughout the scheme. Peter Holt, Edington parish councillor stated:
“Before this scheme took place we had problems with pollution in the village so this work was essential to ensure Edington’s sewerage network is fit for the 21st century.”

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