Milestone in work to clean up River Thames

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Sewer diversion work at Greenwich

Two nine-metre deep Victorian sewers in Greenwich have been diverted into one as part of Thames Water’s work to improve water quality in the River Thames.

The complex work has been successfully completed without interrupting services – ensuring sewage continued to flow through the sewers without impacting customers, or the environment.

This work in east London is one of a number of projects being carried out by Thames Water, which also included demolition work last year, at nearby Phoenix Wharf. 

Project manager Ian Simmonds, said: “Diverting one sewer into another may sound simple in theory. In practice, however, it is anything but – requiring a mix of world-class engineering, favourable conditions and exceptional teamwork. 

"We faced a number of challenges on the way, and had to go back to the drawing board on a number of occasions owing to ground conditions. In the end we designed a bespoke concrete culvert, which we built over the sewer to protect it. We also had to construct a platform for our team to work from, to ensure they could access the sewers in a safe manner.”

With even the slightest rainfall impacting the levels in the sewers, which take waste water from homes and businesses and surface water, Thames Water’s operational team was constantly monitoring weather conditions. 

Ian added: “This project would not have been possible without colleagues across a number of teams, plus our contractors, working closely together. I’m glad we’ve achieved this milestone safely as work to clean up the river continues.”

The redundant sewer on the site of the company’s pumping station in Greenwich, east London, has been lifted out in concrete segments marking the completion of the job.