Lee Tunnel wins international environment award

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Lee Tunnel

Thames Water will collect an international environment award for its ground-breaking Lee Tunnel project at a ceremony in San Diego, California, next month.

The £635m project, opened last year by the then-Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, is designed to prevent around 16 million tonnes of sewage every year flowing into the tidal Thames.

Four miles long, it runs beneath the London borough of Newham, from Abbey Mills pumping station, to Beckton sewage treatment works.

It is the deepest tunnel ever constructed under London and is big enough to accommodate a double-decker bus. It will also form a key link into the planned Thames Tideway Tunnel, construction of which is already under way.

The Lee Tunnel has already won a number of engineering awards but it has now been honoured by the Environmental Business Journal (EBJ) in the Water Infrastructure Project Merit category.

The award specifically recognises the contribution of project managers CH2M to the project. In the citation, the EBJ said: “The Lee Tunnel was commissioned in January 2016 – on time and within budget – bringing the UK into legal compliance with the European Community’s wastewater directive for rivers.

“Managed by CH2M since 2008, the project entailed designing, constructing and commissioning a 4.25-mile, 23.5-foot internal diameter storage and conveyance tunnel for combined stormwater and sewage effluent.

“By eliminating discharges from the Abbey Mills combined sewer overflow (CSO) to the River Lee, the Lee Tunnel alone will reduce the total wastewater discharges from all London’s CSOs to the Thames by 40 per cent.”

Thames Water’s David White said: “This is a brilliant achievement for the whole team involved in the project and we’re very proud of the role the Lee Tunnel is playing in helping to clean up the River Thames.”