Discovering what lies beneath in Sewer Week

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Discovering what lies beneath in Sewer Week

More than 300 intrepid explorers were transported back to the Victorian era as part of this year’s Sewer Week.

Held annually at the Grade II listed Abbey Mills Pumping station, members of the public, employees and stakeholders were given a tour of the sewage station before going underground.

Sir Joseph Bazalgette’s sewers were built in the 1860s to help combat London’s stink problem and more than 100 years later, they continue to serve the capital and their architecture and design never fails to amaze.

During the tour of the sewers, the visitors were shown how they work during a dry day and a wet day, and how the system copes.

As well as looking at the past, attendees were also given a glimpse into the future as the environmental and operational benefits of the Thames Tideway Tunnel and the Lee Tunnel were explained.

While underground, the sewer problem of fatbergs – the build-up of fats, oils, greases and other un-flushable items such as wet wipes – was explained, including how they can cause quite serious blockages.

Visitors were left with the company’s message of ‘Bin it - don’t block it’ ringing in their ears as they clambered back above ground.

Lee Irving, who went down into the sewer on Wednesday, said: “The whole afternoon session was fascinating, from the talk on the history of sewers in London, to touring Abbey Mills and then going underground.

“The whole team were very informative and welcoming and I would certainly recommend the visit.”