Giant tunnel to save Thames from sewage

Published: Monday 30 April 2007

The British government has approved construction of a giant tunnel, at a cost of 2 billion (us $3.9 billion), underneath London to help protect the Thames from millions of cubic metres of sewage from the capital's Victorian sewerage system.

A crumbling sewer network means that every year more than 32 million cubic metres of untreated sewage flows into the river. The project plans a single 30-km-long tunnel to intercept it and rainwater discharge along the length of the river and then transport it for treatment to Beckon in east London. "The tunnel will be longer than many London underground lines and will be built at great depths, up to 80 metres beneath the Thames," says David Ownes, ceo of Thames Water Utility, uk's largest water company, which will manage the project.It is estimated that by 2017, the project will add around 37 (us $73) to annual sanitation bills of households.

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