Stratford: Thames Water to update east London’s Northern Outfall Sewer serving 4 million people

Thames Water will spend £70 million on the three year overhaul of the Northern Outfall Sewer.
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Victorian sewers serving four million people in east London are to be given a £70 million upgrade.

Thames Water says the project over the next three years to upgrade the Northern Outfall Sewer will “ensure its pipes are resilient for future generations”.

The sewer, which serves more than four million people, runs from Wick Lane to Beckton Sewage treatment works, the largest in Europe.

East London’s Victorian Pipes

The Victorian pipes were originally installed between 1860 and 1865.

Each sewer is 2.7metres in diameter - large enough to drive a transit van through.

Wastewater flows through the pipes at a rate of up to 20,000 litres per second - enough to fill an Olympic size swimming pool in two minutes.

Thames Water project

Richard Smith, Thames Water project manager, said: “The Victorians built thousands of miles of sewer pipes across London including the Northern Outfall Sewer.

“As custodians of this incredible infrastructure we need to ensure our pipes are resilient to the pressures of climate change and population growth and we can continue to provide reliable services to our customers. This upgrade to our network will help protect customers and the health of the River Thames.

“The Northern Outfall Sewer supplies Europe’s largest sewage works at Beckton, which treats the waste of more than four million Londoners, so we need to make sure the pipes continue providing this vital service for at least another 100 years.”

Stratford and east London street works

Work will be carried out at three key locations during the upgrades - Stratford High Street Underbridge, Manor Road Overbridge and Corporation Street Overbridge.

The project will begin in March, using pipes made of glass reinforced plastic.

Thames Tideway Tunnel

Beckton sewage works forms a key part of London’s £4 billion new “super-sewer”, the Thames Tideway Tunnel.

When it opens in 2025, the 15-mile tunnel will capture all of the “first flush” from the big London sewers after heavy rain and reduce discharges by around 95% in a typical year to the tidal River Thames.

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