August 2012 -

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Oxford sewer system not able to cope with planned developments

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Thames Water has confirmed that the sewer network in and around Oxford may not be able to cope with the planned house building schemes due to be built in the local area. The London waste water company confirmed that they had analysed the current system and said it may not be up to the job of handling the hundreds of new homes that Oxford City Council have planned. Recent flooding has already caused concerns among residents who say that the current drainage system is not even up to the standards required to service their existing homes. However, if the 1,200 new homes on the Barton West development go ahead they fear a sewage meltdown. Thames Water confirmed:

“The capacity of water infrastructure may not be able to cope with new development and further investigations may need to be funded by the applicant.”
Thames Water has supplied Oxford Council with a list of sites which are currently under discussion for development, which it fears that may be
“unlikely to be able to support the demand anticipated from development”.
Natalie Slater from Thames Water said:
“Having reviewed the sites proposed in Oxford City’s Sites and Housing Plan, additional infrastructure may be necessary. Where necessary, we require developers to fund studies to determine the impact of the development on existing infrastructure, and if this work identifies additional capacity is required, the developer may again be required to fund this.”
Oxford City Council board member for development Colin Cook responded:
“Thames Water is covering its back. I don’t think it will have that big effect when it comes down to it.”

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Thames Water’s hidden gems open to the public

Monday, August 27th, 2012

As part of the city-wide ‘Open House London’ celebrations, Thames Water is opening some of their more elaborate hidden gems to the general public. Places on tours can be booked now with the weekend the 22/23 September earmarked as the weekend the facilities will be open. Some of the sights which you could behold include: Beckton Treatment works – the largest sewage treatment works in Britain, Beckton houses its own desalination plant and is the site of the Lee Tunnel excavation work. Visitors will be able to view the tunnel site and will be able to tour the facilities by bus. Abbey Mills – This pumping station was designed by Sir Joseph Bazalgette and is described at the cathedral of sewage. It’s a Grade 2 listed building and has been used as a set for a number of high-profile Hollywood movies. Thames Water’s access and recreation manager, John Liddard, said:

"With so many beautiful buildings that are hidden away from view or are simply inaccessible due to the busy day to day work that happens around them, this is a rare chance to get inside Britain's biggest sewage works in Beckton, or to view the home of 'Busy Lizzie' the tunnel boring machine currently making its way under the ground in London to take away sewage which currently discharges into the River Lee. "We're really spoiled working along some amazing buildings and fantastic spaces, so opening up these places lets visitors get a glimpse of how lucky we are in our daily lives at Thames Water."
Other sites open include the New River Head, Western Pumping Station, King George V Reservoir and Walthamstow Wetlands.

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Sewage scheme in Ascot ready in March 2013

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

A £2.8m sewage works upgrade scheme is underway in Berkshire which when complete will dramatically improve the quality of treated water being released into a local river. Thames Water are progressing with the Ascot sewerage works scheme which takes waste water from local homes and treats it to strict environmental standards. The treated sewage is discharged into the Bull Brook and The Cut, from where it supplies a local nature reserve. New additions to the sewage works include new inlet screens and a new storm tank to cope with the increased sewage from a growing local population. The scheme is supported by the national Love Your River campaign which is being run by Defra. Thames Water’ capital delivery director Lawrence Gosden said:

"The works operate well at the moment, but what we’re doing is increasing the capacity to make sure it can continue to do so in the future. "Treated wastewater makes up part of the flow of The Cut, so keeping the quality high, means a healthy river downstream. "You can see this ‘knock-on’ effect, with all the bugs, birds and other wildlife that are thriving."

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Kennington drop-in a success for Thames Water

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

Kennington residents have recently been invited by Thames Water to attend a drop-in session at Kennington Village Hall where representatives from the company were on hand to discuss the work the waste water company would be doing in their area over the coming months. There have been many instances of sewer flooding in Kennington over the last few years with problems exacerbated by the increased number of heavy rain storms the UK now sees. The work will see the closure of Kennington road for a week and will see a second surface water sewer installed which will take waste water away from Kennington Road to Hinksey drain. When the flooding is really bad it can also affect the main line railway between Oxford and London. Thames Water will be working with Network Rail, The Environment Agency and local councils to instigate the sewer upgrade and repairs. The head of programme delivery at Thames Water, Andrew Popple, said:

"Flooding is utterly miserable and even if it only lasts a few hours, the damage, disruption and distress can last for months. We are committed to do everything we can to protect our customers. "Hearing from the local community about the work we are about to do is really important to us because we are committed to reducing disruption where we can. This drop-in is about giving people the information they need from us to help them get on with their daily lives while we do this essential, but disruptive work."

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London drainage company attend sewer problem in Loughton

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Residents in Loughton were concerned recently when black slurry started to seep onto a green space close to a public pathway in Forest Road. The sewage spilled onto a green area which is used by dog walkers and played on regularly by children. When the spill was noticed by local resident Tom Richardson, he immediately reported it. He said in the local Guardian:

“I reported it to the City of London Corporation about three weeks ago the first time, then I reported it again.”
Mr Richardson’s wife commented:
“It’s black, it’s unsightly, unpleasant and it could be hazardous. You don’t expect to have to walk on that when it’s a public footpath.”
After the problem wasn’t dealt with, Mr Richardson reported it to Epping District council. It was only when the local Guardian got involved however that the problem was sorted. They contacted the City of London Corporation who directed them to Thames water. A Thames Water spokesperson said:
"We went out in July to clean the sewer pipe, but it unfortunately appears that this didn't solve the problem."
The problem was dealt with promptly by the London waste water company, who attended the site on the 6th of August.

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