Top of main content

Thames Water awards major contract for Beckton sewage works upgrade

Monday 3rd August 2020 10:09

Beckton STW aerial

Laing O’Rourke will work with Thames Water on a £123m project to ensure Beckton sewage works can cope with London’s growing population.

The three-year upgrade, due to start early next year, is the first major contract awarded as part of the company’s AMP7 schedule. It will see the international engineering firm build a completely new inlet works and extend aeration lanes and settlement tanks.

Beckton, which is the largest sewage treatment works in Europe, will also be prepared to receive wastewater from the new Thames Tideway Tunnel, a 25km “super sewer” under the River Thames which is due to be completed by 2024.

John Bentley, Thames Water’s capital delivery director, said: “Awarding this contract is a significant milestone as it is the first major project awarded as part of our £5 billion capital investment plan for the next five years.

“By ensuring we can take the flow from the ‘super sewer’, this project will help to improve the quality of the River Thames, as well as making sure the site is ready to handle the expected increase in London’s population in the future.”

Declan McGeeney, Laing O’Rourke’s head of infrastructure, UK, said: “Six years ago, we delivered a substantial upgrade to Beckton and we’re delighted Thames Water has trusted us to return.

“The project will maximise the use of digital engineering and off-site manufacture, with every detail of the works being built virtually before the real thing.

“Many of the tanks, such as the walls of the new activated sludge plant, will be built at our factory in Nottinghamshire before being transported for assembly on site.

“These modern methods of construction help us to deliver six months faster than traditional methods would allow.”

The first works at Beckton was built in 1864 by Sir Joseph Bazalgette as part of the revolutionary Victorian sewer network, which drastically improved water quality in the River Thames. It now treats the wastewater of almost 4 million Londoners.

Beckton has seen major investment in the last 15 years and the works now produces half of its energy needs on-site. The latest project, which is expected to create about 30 jobs for local workers, is part of a 25-year investment plan to ensure the site meets the best environmental standards, with Thames Water committed to protecting the environment and reducing emissions across the business.

Thames Water was this week announced as one of a number of utilities companies working with the Mayor of London on an infrastructure package to help kickstart the economic recovery from the Covid-19 crisis.

The partnership also aims to identify green schemes, accelerate future investment in the capital and provide new jobs, with targets including reducing leakage and pollutions and strengthening the water network in several boroughs.