Hammersmith Pumping Station Chosen as Super Sewer Construction Site

But council is continuing to oppose Thames Water's project

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Thames Water has published the details of its huge Thames Tunnel project and launched a 14 week public consultation.

The tunnel - nicknamed the Super Sewer - will run for 20 miles under the Thames, and will involve construction sites in boroughs along the river, including Hammersmith and Fulham.

Documents released today reveal that in our own borough, the preferred site chosen by Thames Water will be on currently vacant land next to the existing Hammersmith Pumping Station in Chancellors Road, just yards from the Thames.

Thames Water says: "We have identified the vacant land next to Hammersmith Pumping Station as our preferred site because the use of this site allows us to combine the works to construct the main tunnel to connect the local CSO."

The project, explains Thames Water, will use modern tunnel boring machines to build the main tunnel from the West London starting point at Action Storm Relief to its end point in East London and to build many smaller tunnels to the existing CSOs, or combined sewer overflows.

The tunnel will be up to 75 metres beneath the River Thames, broadly following the path of the river. Along the way it will capture the flows of storm sewage from 34 overflow points.

Thames Water's document continues: "The vacant site has sufficient space to accommodate an efficient working area covering about a third of its total area. Construction activities and the permanent structures required to operate the main tunnel would be located near our existing pumping station buildings and towards the western end of the site.

"Although the main work is close to offices, this location would help reduce impact on the residential properties to the north of Chancellor Road,  and minimise the long term impact on the majority of the site."

The documents released today also reveal that other local sites which were shortlisted but rejected include St Paul's School playing fields, the foreshore located next to Chancellors Wharf and Frank Banfield Park, which is adjacent to the vacant land chosen as the preferred site.

Thames Water says: " The work site location is also further away from residental dwellings than the other possible sites considered for connection of the CSO to the main tunnel. Focussing our activities in this area would also help reduce any impact on Frank Banfield Park to the north-east which is separated from the site by Distillery Road.

" The site also has good road access. The site's location adjacent to the existing Hammersmith Pumping Station would minimise the extent of the construction works and enable the permanent hard-standing required for operational access and maintenance to be combined with the existing pumping station. This would minimise the long term visual intrusion of the works for local residents."

The publication of today's documents represent the first round of public consultation on the project. Thames Water hopes to have planning approval by 2012 and aim to start work in 2013 with completion in 2020.

The document confirms this, saying: " We would need to use the site for approximately seven years for the construction of the main tunnel and to connect the local CSO into the main tunnel as well as driving a smaller diameter construction tunnel to the proposed Acton Storm Tanks interception site."

Acton Storm Relief site in Warple Way has been chosen by Thames Water as the preferred western starting point for the tunnel.

Today's details follow Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman's announcement on Friday giving her support to the £3.6 billion project, which could result in bill increases of around £60-65 per year.

Thames Water explains that the core of London’s sewage network was designed in the late 19th century and was designed to overflow at times of heavy rainfall to ensure that sewage did not back up into houses and streets. Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) were intended to discharge the raw sewage into the Thames in the event of extremely heavy rain.

Increasing populations and changes to land use in London have lead to this occurring around 50 times per year. With further population growth and projected climate change, this figure is expected to increase in coming decades and spills could occur when there is very little rain. This also creates problems for the UK’s continued compliance with EU waste water treatment regulations.

The Conservative led Hammersmith and Fulham Council have consistently opposed plans for the tunnel - opposition which has led to them being at odds with both Mayor Boris Johnson and other members of the Tory Party - but they admitted last week that fears that parks in the borough would be dug up to create an entry point to the sewer were likely to be groundless.

Today the council is still opposing the project. Council leader Stephen Greenhalgh said: "We have consistently pushed for a shorter, smarter tunnel that minimises disruption to Londoners.

"The gold-plated 'super sewer' with a £3.6bn price tag threatens our parks and will drive many hard-working families into water poverty to pay for it."

You can take part in Thames Water's public consultation by registering on the consultation website. There will also be a series of consultation exhibitions, including one in Hammersmith agt Linden House in Upper Mall on on Monday October 11 and Tuesday October 12 from 10.30am till 8pm on both days.

The exhibition will allow local residents to review the plans and have their say. Specialists from the project team will be on hand to answer their questions.

September 13, 2010