Cleaning Up The Thames For Good | Energy Live News


you might not know it but every time you

flush the toilet you could be polluting

the River Thames sewage can either go

into the streets or it can go into the


we have bumped our way through turds

going up folk Creek Thames water says it

has a solution in the form of the Thames

Tideway tunnel tunnel we'll create a new

space for the sewage that's what London

eats of course everything comes with a

price tag and this super sewer is

expected to cost us 4.2 billion


I feel the government should fund it

it's nothing to do with the little

companies that should be out in our

taxes in our rate whatever the answer

the project is already well underway

but will it clean up the Thames for good

so this is the River Thames and

unfortunately when we flush the toilet

this is where a lot of the sewage ends

up so that's mainly because London's

sewer system was designed and built 150

years ago squarely in the Victorian era

London's population was way way smaller

nowadays there's a lot more people

living here and going for their daily

ritual number ones and twos and

unfortunately this amount of sewage

can't be handled by the system and a lot

of it flows into the river right here

the situation used to be a lot worse

there was something called the big stink

where the river was so polluted that

poisonous gases were pouring off it

stinging people's eyes burning their

throats and even harming their health

obviously I'm standing here today I

haven't keeled over just yet so the

situation is improving but it's still

not perfect at 215 miles long the Thames

is the longest river in England over

this distance it provides a home to more

than a hundred species of fish

however these habitats are threatened by

the 39 million tonnes of raw sewage

pouring into the river every year

someone who knows only too well about

the terrible tide of pollution is

fisherman Keith Arthur I've sat here

many years ago now when the sewage from


actually went into the river and we used

to call condoms Thames trout we'd catch

and they'd catch around our weight so

another Thames trout and and if the

river was flowing quite hard and we were

ledgering which is a still bate further

out and said

you'd wind in and there be shreds of

toilet paper all the way down the line

snow you want no it's completely

unacceptable I'll go back a long time

for that 35 40 years but now that still

happens it's hard to explain it's it's

chronically cleaner and it's critically

worse because there's less flow when we

do get a sewage incident which is it

only needs a decent shower arraign

unbelievably for raw sewage to come into

the river Forex take Hammersmith for

example you get a 20 minute half an hour

maybe heavy thundery shower that will

inundate the sewage works and the sewage

can either go into the streets or it can

go into the river when it goes into the

river to 85 90 percent of the population

it's invisible they don't know and what

they don't know they can't care about if

it went onto the streets 100 percent of

the population would be an uproar but if

you were paddling out of your front door

through well the stuff that goes down

the lavatory basically if you were

pedaling through that you would want

something done about it

and us as anglers we paddle in it we

fish in it anglers aren't the only ones

affected with each stroke rowers like

this would be taking a risk downstream

at Greenwich Yacht Club people on the

water have been dealing with this issue

for a long time I know all about how bad

it can get

it's cleaner than it used to be that's

the easiest thing to say in the six days

racing in dinghies on the river was an

annual day and if you went in it was

three days in hospital and there were no

fish it's not like that anymore

none of our rowing crew have ever fallen

in in 11 years and I intend to keep it

that way

if you dip your sleeve in the water that

piece of clothing goes in the wash if

you eat a sandwich you must keep it

wrapped up so it doesn't touch your hand

whilst you eating it peter is the

coxswain at the club which has more than

400 members who are regularly involved

with a range of activities on the water

the man in charge

Commodore nicht

believes a real transformation is needed

pollution is clearly really important to

us I mean I remember you've seen in the

background where there's thousands of

apartments now on the Riverside here

that weren't there before and every day

every single person living in those

apartments goes to the smallest room in

the house and the consequences have to

go somewhere you can imagine that the

infrastructure wasn't there to support

that kind of density our brisance so

it's really important to us particularly

here that the river should be clean I've

been in the water myself for 45 minutes

one day trying to get my dinghy back out

right again refusing to accept help

determined to do it and I started up

there and ended up down there and took a

mouthful of water what did it taste like

did you get ill I'm not telling you I

didn't get ill or my wife was convinced

that it would probably kill me but that

was fine but it clearly there's a health

risk health was the reason London's

original sewers were built in the first


between 1830 and 1860 tens of thousands

of people died of cholera as a result of

sewage being discharged directly into

the water they used to wash bathe and

drink from when the pleasure boat

Princess Alice sunk in the river after a

collision most of the 600 or so

passengers who were killed that I've not

from drowning but because of the

pollution in the water

Victorian architectures if basil gem was

tasked to help the city clean up its act

he designed and built 82 miles of

enclosed brick sewers and 1100 miles of

street sewers to stop sewage and the

diseases it brings covering the streets

of London more than a century later

these sewers are now unable to cope with

the demands of a modern capital city so

in 2016

Thames Water started building their


so I'm standing at the top of the lift

shaft of the Thames Tideway tunnel and

it's a far cry from London's original

sewer systems which were built in the

19th century from broth ground you might

not even be able to tell that the sewer

system is actually here but why is the

4.2 billion pound project so important

the massive tunnel will run 16 miles

from Acton in West London to Abbie Mills

in the east it would take a car

traveling at 40 miles an hour nearly

half an hour to drive down it it will be

7.2 meters wide in diameter the width of

an average UK Road and it will be buried

between 35 meters and 65 meters

underground so the scale is impressive

but what exactly will it do

one of our TV ends on this side TV

understands with tunnel-boring machine

and it will be actually creating our

tunnels 25 kilometers in total but these

two about an 11 come to drive between

them so that will actually join up to

all the different sewage networks across

London and that will be a new space for

the search for Victorian and sewage

system silver use but this would be a

bigger new version it's one of the

largest construction projects London has

ever seen but many of the city's

residents aren't even aware of what's

happening just below their feet so you

have something like a new railway line

it's visible change but the the change

will never be visible but the actual

environmental side of it the impact it's

going to have and we use this term

reconnect in London with the River

Thames I think that's so true

because although the Thames is still

part of our everyday life it's not in

the right condition it needs to be and

that's not really acceptable so I think

it will change in the sense that it will

have a better impact on London about our

outlook on London a city that's

ever-growing and it's sort of taking

care of the environment and one of our

biggest assets the river so massive

impact I think the first part of the

tunnel has been completed and it's

already having an effect there is a

pumping station at the top of both

creeks that's the foot of the river

valley which takes the northern outfall

sewer and reboots it to go the last

journey to Becton before they put the

new super sewer and it's the first bit

of the Tideway tunnel really from three

mills down to Becton the all the

overflow used to go in measured in

millions of tonnes into bow Creek and we

yes we have bumped our way through turds

going up both Creek if it had been

raining heavily it is now much cleaner

we've seen kingfishers there the seal

was seen there a couple of weeks ago not

all the way up but getting up that way

we've seen seals as far upstream as Lion

house I've myself have eaten a sieve a

skort Bullock and I've seen shrimps and


living under the slipway just down here

I think it's a cure unless there's a

breakdown that shouldn't right now

because all this is a big hole that's

gonna be carrying rubbish so unless

something breaks down from where it

comes from our lavatory and goes into

that big tunnel

it's not going to impact on the river

anymore it's going to be carried down to

Tibet some work so it's going to be

treated and it is going and this is a

very strong word to use but in my

opinion it will honestly eradicate the

problem that's certainly a bold

statement but if it is to eradicate the

issue of sewage it's sure to come at a


do you think it's worth you know the

massive investment that it's gonna cost

absolutely yeah I do I know there's a

bit of fuss about that but it what has

to be has to be but what about the

general public right here on the streets

of London they'll be paying for the

project through their water bills so we

asked them what they thought about it

I don't mind paying that amount of money

at all no I mean the amounts of cherish

that go to the thames and that sort of

thing don't they all do Tower Bridge and

everything on the Thames oh I don't

think they'd be impressed with a load of

Swedes wandering around the river so no

I'd be quite happy to pay you for it

yeah I feel the government should fund

it it's nothing to do with the water

companies that should be out in our

taxis in our rates and I don't know why

the government aren't funding something

to maintain a city it should be their

responsibility they can't have it off to

private water companies each region has

its own area of concern for London it's

the Thames for coastal regions it's the

coast canals you have the canal ways I

think we should all be paying for the

parts of the world that we live in

yes it's important that it's clean and

and looks clean no one wants sewage

flowing in a river that's going through

the middle of a city sometimes these

projects run so high over cost you know

and it one wonders whether it would have

been easier to put a pipe or drop a long

pipe along the Thames was inside and

under the water but the experts appear

to know we just patch things up we need

to really you know build infrastructure

that's solid and it will last so it

makes it economical and financial sense

we all benefit that way as the river

moves on the Thames Tideway tunnel is

just another chapter but one that could

potentially make life far better for

generations to come

so in 20 years time what kind of river

could we expect to see

if I'm still around I just hope it will

be better that's all

I don't think we'll be diving in the

swimming they're less smell less

unsightly sights along the shores no

condoms on the beach for example better

health yeah you know we're continually

piling people onto the planet aren't we

and especially within the m25 and and

especially around the river so there are

going to be more and more people but

it's a pretty big tunnel it will take a

lot of poo to fill it yeah it'll be a

huge difference I mean it's already

pretty clean the river as rivers go I

think worldwide in the middle of great

conurbations like this but eh yeah it

will make a massive difference and the

fishermen amongst us I think will be

also very happy