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London's New 'Super Sewer': A Revolution in Addressing River Thames Pollution

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Medriva Correspondents
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London's New 'Super Sewer': A Revolution in Addressing River Thames Pollution

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London is about to embark on a revolutionary journey to combat river pollution with the upcoming Thames Tideway Tunnel, also referred to as the new 'super sewer.' This project, set to begin testing in the summer, promises to significantly improve the cleanliness of the River Thames by redirecting sewage for further treatment, thus addressing the long-standing issue of river pollution due to overflow during storms.

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The Thames Tideway Tunnel: An Overview

The Thames Tideway Tunnel is an ambitious project that stretches nearly 16 miles beneath the River Thames. It is designed to connect 34 storm overflow drains, transporting the resulting sewage to a treatment works located in Beckton, East London. This super sewer is intended to prevent sewage from entering the Thames during storms, a significant contributing factor to the river's pollution. The project is being executed by Tideway and is expected to be fully operational by 2025, after a year of testing.

Financial Model and Support

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The project is financed through a regulated asset base model. This approach involves upfront private investment and contributions from bill payers over time. In addition, the initiative also gains support from the independent charity, Thames21. The organization has been instrumental in raising awareness about the issue of pollution due to sewage-based wet wipes that find their way into the river.

Challenges and Controversies

Like any large-scale infrastructure project, the Thames Tideway Tunnel has faced a series of challenges. The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in delays and cost overruns. Additional monitoring equipment has been installed at Tower Bridge to ensure that the tunnelling doesn't damage the structure. After a period of suspension due to the pandemic, Tideway has restarted the tunnelling work. However, potential budget overruns and additional delays due to tunnelling complexities loom over the project.

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Moreover, the Super Sewer project has been met with controversy in the Hammersmith area, where local residents have raised concerns over the planned construction sites. The Hammersmith Society is actively seeking public feedback and exploring ways in which they can assist with the issue. The project also impacts the finances of households, adding £25 per year to bills.

A Step Towards a Cleaner Future

Despite the challenges and controversies, the Thames Tideway Tunnel project signifies a crucial step towards a cleaner future. By addressing the growing problem of sewage overflow into the River Thames, the tunnel aims to safeguard the river's ecosystem and reduce the risk of properties being flooded by sewage. The project is more than just a super sewer; it's a testament to London's commitment to environmental sustainability and its resolve to protect its iconic river.

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