Owner Thames Water Utilities
Engineering Mott MacDonald, London
Construction MVB JV, Rugby
Waterproofing Drytech UK, London
LEE TUNNEL, LONDON / The Lee Tunnel is one of the two tunnels which will carry an average of 39 million tonnes of sewage a year, from 35 combined sewer overflows, built as part of the sewerage network in the Victorian period which still serves London 150 years on.
The infrastructure is part of a strategic plan to improve and ensure the cleanliness of water in the Thames river. The system will carry the discharges from London’s largest combined sewer overflow at Abbey Mills Pumping Station in Stratford, which handles 40 per cent of the total discharge. The four miles of tunnel will be built under the London Borough of Newham, from Abbey Mills to Beckton. The new tunnel will help prevent more than 16 million tonnes of sewage mixed with rainwater overflowing each year into the river Lee, capturing it and transferring it to Beckton sewage treatment plant, which in turn is being expanded by 60 per cent to deal with the increased volumes.
It is the deepest tunnel ever built in London. It involves excavating in the presence of very high groundwater pressure along four miles of extraordinarily abrasive ground and without any shafts along the way.
Work started in September 2010 at the Beckton sewage treatment plant, with the construction of the first of four shafts 80 metres deep, built using the DRYset waterproof program.
Sections of the tunnelling machine 120 metres long were lowered down the shaft and in 2012 work was started to excavate the 7-metre diameter tunnel.
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