July 2012 -

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Removing scale from pipes in London

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

If you live in London one of the regular drainage problems you’ll encounter concerns scale. Scale is usually found in hard water areas and is a deposit which lines the inside of the drainage pipes reducing the pipes’ diameter. Scale can also create rough surfaces within a drainage pipe where solid matter can get stuck when travelling through the drain, eventually blocking the drain completely. What is scale? Scale is a mineral deposit and consists both of magnesium and calcium which passes into the drinking water system when rainwater filters though ground rich in these minerals. Water treatment works filter out these minerals to a degree but the water is still generally ‘harder’ than in an area where these minerals are present only in small quantities. The mineral deposits which line the inside of your drainage pipes will build up if they are left for a long period of time, which is why the inside of the pipes should be checked on a regular basis. Problems due to drain narrowing If scale is allowed to build up for a number of years the drainage pipes’ diameter will reduce to a level where waste matter may be trapped and may not be able to pass through. If this happens a drainage contractor will need to be called. Problems due to rough surfaces The biggest problem with scale is due to the rough surfaces it creates within the pipe. It’s these rough surfaces which attract all manner of detritus which collects and accumulates. Eventually a rough inner pipe surface can cause a complete drain blockage rendering the drainage system unusable. CCTV surveys If your drainage pipes have not been checked recently it’s a good idea to let drainage engineers in London conduct a CCTV survey of the drain. Using this system the drainage engineers insert a small camera into the drain which

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Thames Tunnel receives backing in new poll

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

A new survey which was commissioned by Thames Water has revealed that more than eight out of ten Londoners support the building of the Thames Tunnel. The Thames Tunnel is Thames Water’s new ‘super sewer’ scheme which is currently undergoing a consultation process. The sewer, when completed, will stop waste overflows discharging waste into the River Thames at times of heavy rainfall and will instead transport the overflowing water to upgraded sewage treatment works. The independent market research revealed that 43% of respondents totally support the project whereas only 11% showed opposition. The project received the most support in Hounslow and the least in Lewisham. Other questions people were asked included if residents would swim in the Thames, only one in ten said yes. But over 96% of respondents agreed that the river was an important landmark with just under 80% saying it was a source of pride for the capital. The Thames Water head of London Tideway Tunnels, Phil Stride, said:

“This poll reveals a welcome, underlying groundswell of popular support for the project right across the capital. There’s a clear consensus that allowing growing levels of untreated sewage into the river that so defines our capital city is unacceptable and must be addressed as soon as possible. “This does not in any way diminish the legitimate concerns of communities living near to our proposed construction sites. We remain as committed as ever to working with these residents to ensure that potential disruption is kept to a minimum.”

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The Thames Tunnel gets a new name

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

The final proposals for the Thames Tunnel super sewer have been released by Thames Water and it seems that the water company have given in to public pressure to change the name of the project from the Thames Tunnel to the Thames Tideway Tunnel. It had been pointed out to Thames Water on a number of occasions that the Thames Tunnels already exist, with the original being Marc Brunel’s Rotherhithe Tunnel. In response the water company has added the word ‘Tideway’ to highlight the central purpose of the project, which is to address the problem of discharging waste matter into the tidal River Thames. Thames Water has now identified the 24 preferred construction sites and confirmed that the planned destination for the discharge from the tunnel will be Beckton Sewage Treatment works in Newham. To comply with the Planning Act (2008) the revised proposal will start to feature as advertisements in publications across the city. The head of Thames ‘Tideway’ Tunnel at Thames Water Phil Stride said:

"We are very grateful to the thousands of Londoners who took part in the consultation, helping us identify a design for the tunnel that meets the project’s objectives in a cost-effective way, whilst minimising disruption wherever we can. "Obviously, it’s not been an easy process, and we are acutely aware that people living close to our preferred construction sites are very concerned about the potential local impacts. I can reassure them that we remain fully committed to working with them to find further ways of reducing the disturbance caused to nearby communities.”
The updated plans are on the thamestunnelconsultation.co.uk website until the 5th of October.

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Olympic Village water system receives praise

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

The Olympic Village is now open and athletes are getting their first taste of the Olympic Games. But thanks to Thames Water, The Games may be greener than many athletes realise. Most of the water used for irrigation and for flushing toilets at the site has already been used just hours earlier by people in north London. The Old Ford water recycling plant at The Game’s site in Stratford uses a state-of-the-art treatment process, which processes the sewage sent there by people in north London into non-drinkable water usable for irrigation and toilet flushing. The output of the plant means that athletes can flush their loos 80,000 times per day and is supplied to the Olympic Park via its own water system so it doesn’t mix with fresh water. Richard Benyon the Water Minister said:

“It is our goal to create a safe and sustainable water supply in the future and projects such as this have a crucial role to play. By using 'black water’, which is safely recycled, the Old Ford plant will stop fresh water being used where it isn’t needed, helping to make this the greenest games ever.”
The use of waste water for flushing and irrigation means the use of drinking water is decreased by 58%. In addition Thames Water’s head of innovation Rupert Kruger added:
"It's amazing to think the world's elite athletes are using recycled sewage, sent down U-bends at homes in north London just a day or so earlier, to flush loos at the greatest sporting event on earth.”

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Wash Water treatment works to be upgraded

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

Thames Water are investing £2.8m to upgrade a sewage works which discharges it’s treated wastewater into the River Enborne. The River Enboure was made famous by Richard Adams in his well-know novel Watership Down, where the rabbits which feature in the book ride on a raft moored along the riverside. The sewage works upgrade at Wash Water are due to be completed in March 2013 and are part of the firm’s Care for the Kennet programme which will protect the environmental health of the river. The River Enbourne feeds into the river Kennet at Aldermaston. As part of the sewage works upgrade screens will be installed to remove large waste particles and a new settlement tank will be added. Other work will see a hi-tech treatment stage included in the filtration process, which uses a nitrifying sand filter to filter out any solid matter. Thames Water’s capital delivery director, Lawrence Gosden said:

"The Wash Water sewage works discharges into a tributary of the world-renowned River Kennet, and although it operates well we are upgrading it so it performs even better. "Until now our Care for the Kennet campaign has focused on urging people to use tap water wisely - ‘the less we use the more there'll be in the river', and all that. The upgrade at Wash Water is just as important in achieving our aim of enhancing and safeguarding the long-term environmental health of the iconic River Kennet, its fish and all the bugs, birds and other wildlife that call it home."

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Public consultation for Deephams Sewage Works upgrade

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

A public consultation has been given the go ahead for upgrade work at Deephams Sewage Works in Enfield. The sewage works is one of the largest in London but needs to be upgraded to improve the water quality in the River Lee. The public consultation will run until the 24th of October and will see a range of public exhibitions and briefings where the public will be able to speak to the team from Thames Water to find out what the plans are and to give feedback about the proposals. Most of the current Deephams plant was built in the 1950s and needs to be upgraded to comply with new Environment Agency standards. The plant has also reached capacity and needs to be expanded to cope with the growing population and heavy rainfall. The plans will see the works rebuilt on the new site while the existing facilities provide continuing sewage treatment until the works are completed. The director for capital delivery at Thames Water Lawrence Gosden said:

"We are in listening mode. We want people’s views on how we go about the must-do job of upgrading Deephams so it complies with more stringent river water quality standards. "Apart from our own preliminary studies and the development of our own preferred option for this project, we have a blank slate here. Wherever possible we will try to reflect people’s concerns and preferences as we go ahead."

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New text update service launched by Thames Water

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Thames Water has launched a new text service to update customers who subscribe to current road restrictions. Work in Blagrave Street has just got underway after the sewer collapsed. However, due to the intricate nature of the work and the location of the repairs, traffic around the site has the potential to be particularly bad. The replacement of the sewer will see the road closed to traffic for the duration of the works, which are expected to be completed some time in November. People who subscribe to the new text message service will thus be able to receive updates about any traffic problems which might affect their journey. The head of programme delivery at Thames water, Andrew Popple, stated: “We know this is a very disruptive project which is right in the middle of town so we wanted to try a new way of communicating with people about things that might impact their day-to-day lives. “For example, if the traffic around the site gets particularly bad we can send out a message warning people so they choose a different route before they get stuck – or if we have to work late into the night for some reason, we can warn people in advance." Work is expected to take place at a depth of around eight metres. But the new sewer will be inserted using new technology which will minimise the digging and hence reduce the amount of work needed.

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Homeowners in Swindon to benefit from sewer upgrade

Friday, July 6th, 2012

A scheme to improve the sewer system in Swindon starts this week so that homes can be protected from the misery of flooding. Thames Water is about to start work in Stratton St Margaret which will alleviate the problems residents face when there is heavy rainfall. Currently the sewer is not of an adequate size to cope with sudden downpours which often sees road gullies overflowing. The plan is to install over 250 metres of new 60cm sewer pipe in roads such as Frankton Gardens, Yiewsley Crescent and Griffiths Close, in addition to the current 22cm pipe which already runs underneath the roads. The head of Programme Delivery at Thames Water Andrew Popple said:

“We are sorry for any disruption to customers caused by this must-do work to make the sewer network fit for purpose. “Sewer flooding is unacceptable and 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 and that we will do everything we can to keep disruption to a minimum and complete the work as quickly as we can.”
It’s hoped that the work will be completed in mid-November with the roads closed to traffic in sections while the work is done.

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Amazing finds at Thames Water dig site

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

Thames Water is coordinating with archaeology experts near Royal Wootton Bassett after ancient artefacts were found when they were replacing a water main. Some of the amazing finds include Iron Age housing and flint tools, which may be 8,000 years old. But perhaps the most intriguing find is a paw print which has been left in iron smelt. The archaeologists are trying to work out whether the print is of a domesticated dog or that of a wild animal. To make the most of the amazing finds children from a local school were invited down to the site to view the dig. One of the archaeologists was quoted as saying:

"We’ve found evidence of a farming settlement from the Iron Age, showing us life here just before the Roman occupation of Britain 2,000 years ago. "There are two circular houses with outlying pits and ditches that were often used to store grain. "And even older than that, we've had some really interesting finds from the Mesolithic period where we’ve uncovered flint tools that are up to 8,000 years old. This is very exciting as it's the first time anyone has ever found any evidence of Mesolithic man living in this area."
One of the teachers at Ashton Keaton School said:
"It’s exciting to see what the village was like further back in time and to hear that people lived her 8,000 years ago."
The London drainage company are replacing around 3km of the old main which has burst a number of times over the last decade.

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Joseph Bazalgette – A history of London’s drainage

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Many people will instantly recognise the names Brunel, Stephenson and Telford, as engineers who helped change the face of the English landscape. However, there is one engineer to which Britain, and London, owes a wealth of gratitude and whose name is rarely uttered, except by those in the know. Joseph Bazalgette was born in London 1819 and died in 1891 after a successful career as one of the most eminent engineers in Europe. He began his working life as a railway engineer and specialised in land drainage and land reclamation. He set up his own private company in 1842 and worked for most of his life in the UK. But, it is Bazalgette’s career working for London’s metropolitan board of works which gained him his place in engineering history - as the chief engineer who devised most of London’s still functioning sewer network. The River Thames had long been the city’s main sewer, carrying all types of unmentionables to the sea. The problem with this was that the Thames was also London’s main supply of drinking water, creating a serious health problem for the residents. In the mid 1800’s, London was suffering from recurring cholera epidemics, with over 10,000 people alone killed in 1853. In 1858, after the ‘Great Stink of London’ which engulfed the city, Parliament passed legislation to begin work on the city’s sewer system and enforced many street improvements in an effort to improve health. And the system was finished in record time, in only eight years most of the city was connected to a sewer and drainage network, which was designed by Bazalgette. Bazalgette’s main task was to divert foul water flows from overground and underground rivers from entering the River Thames. To do this he devised and built low level sewers, which were created behind huge embankments situated on each

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