September 2015 -

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Brand new super sewer in London set to cost less than first thought

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

Competition between bidders has kept costs low, says Ofwat. It’s not often we hear that a major sewerage project is set to be completed under-budget, but that’s exactly what’s happened with the brand new Thames Tideway tunnel, which is due to be funded by the 15 million customers of Thames Water. Ofwat, the regulatory body for water and sewerage providers, has announced that customers will pay no more than £25 extra a year by 2025 to cover the costs of the project, with £7 of this figure already included in bills. Initial forecasts put the average cost at up to £80 per customer. Costs have been kept so low thanks to the introduction of a bidding process, which promoted healthy competition between contractors and led to the best value deal possible. Bazalgette Tunnel Ltd, a group of investors led by German insurance company Allianz, has been set up specifically to lead the Thames Tideway tunnel project, which was approved by the government in September 2014. The plan is to build a 16-mile long sewer to lessen the tonnes of untreated sewage that flows into the River Thames each and every year. The group will be joining forces with Morgan Sindall and BAM Nuttall, and a contract worth £416 million has already been secured to provide the necessary resources to build a four-mile section of the tunnel. The Thames Tideway project has been met with a great deal of opposition by local residents and green campaigners, with many industry experts voicing concerns that the tunnel will be a waste of money. But critics may be keen to change their tune now that significant savings have been achieved through “going out for competition on the construction and financing costs of the tunnel”, as Ofwat’s Chief Executive Cathryn Ross has stated in a recent article.

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VIDEO: Can A Rat Navigate Its Way Through Your Toilet System?

Monday, September 14th, 2015

Horrifying Demonstration Of A Rats Journey Into Your Home

Watch this National Geographic video which details how easily rats can enter your home by using the pipes to your toilet as an entry point. National Geographic has released a video showing the ease with which a rat can climb up through a domestic plumbing system and emerge in your toilet bowl.

The Journey Of A Sewer Rat

Rats are attracted to sewer systems as they can provide food for rodents. Surprisingly, large quantities of food are flushed down residential toilets and rats also choose to feast upon undigested food that is found in human faeces, which is a process known as coprophagy. Regular drain cleaning can help reduce the problem - if the drains are clean, rats will move on to better areas. In bad storms and flooding, sewers can overflow and damage the nests of rats, causing them to seek refuge and food elsewhere. As residential sewage pipes are connected to the main sewer systems, rats are tempted to swim up them and into the domestic pipes beneath properties. From here, they’re able to squeeze through the extremely narrow and bendy system and eventually appear in the toilet bowl.

The Anatomy Of A Rat

The brown rat, also known as the Norway rat, possesses several key attributes that make it possible to complete this challenging journey. Firstly, they come with a set of sharp claws that are able to scale vertical surfaces even when they’re made from smooth substances such as porcelain. Rats are also champion swimmers and are able to tread water for 3 days as well as holding their breath for up to 3 minutes. This gives them the opportunity to navigate a considerable stretch of piping before requiring breath from a pocket of air. Finally,

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