Mane Rail & Infrastructure Issue 11 - November 2018 - Page 12


Thames Tideway: Not just boring tunnels

You may or may not have heard about the Thames Tideway Tunnel going on in London. It is one of the largest infrastructure projects going on at the moment. You might not be able to see it happening though.

That’s because deep in the heart of London, under the ground is where the Thames Tideway project is happening. It is a project to upgrade London’s sewage system and for good reason.

To understand the problem with the current sewage system, you must go back to 1858. At the time, all of London’s sewage and waste was pumped into the Thames up to this point. When it came to summer, the heat started warming the water in the river, dubbing the Thames ‘The Big Stink’ due to its pungent smell. The smell was so bad, it lead to the curtains from the Palace of Westminister having to be washed lie chloride to eradicate the smell.

Arise Sir Joseph Bazalgette.

Sir Joseph engineered a 1,100 mile network of sewers made from over 300 million bricks. At the time, London was home to 2 million people, but Sir Joseph had the foresight to build the sewer to be able to cope with double the population of London.

The only problem with the current sewage system in London now is that with London having expanded over the years, as well as the constant building and rise in population is that it is overrun.

The current population of London is estimated to be around 9 million, meaning the current system whilst in great condition, overflows. This leads to waste going into the Thames – killing wildlife, letting off toxic fumes in some regions and depriving its inhabitants of oxygen.

The Thames Tideway Tunnel aims to build a sewer system that can safely transfer waste across London and avoid the Thames.