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Boris Johnson opens Beckton super sewer with a flush

PUBLISHED: 16:00 28 January 2016

Boris Johnson with engineers and workers at Beckton Sewage Treatment Centre

Boris Johnson with engineers and workers at Beckton Sewage Treatment Centre

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Mayor Boris Johnson spoke of future generations swimming in the Thames with otters as he opened the capital's first super sewer with a flush.

Mayor Boris Johnson opens the Beckton super sewer with a ceremonial flushMayor Boris Johnson opens the Beckton super sewer with a ceremonial flush

The Lee Tunnel, at Beckton Sewage Treatment Works, is the largest single project in the history of the privatised water industry in England and features the deepest hole ever bored in London.

Its construction is expected to transform the quality of the Thames and Lea rivers by dealing with millions of tonnes of sewage from the Abbey Mills pumping station in Abbey Lane.

“This is a massive achievment for British engineering,” Boris said. “It will serve us for generations.

“It’s great for the environment and it’s great for us.

“We will make our river so clean that our children – or maybe grandchildren – will be able to swim in it with the otters and the salmon.”

The tunnel is the width of three double decker buses and is the most significant addition to the sewer network since it was first built by Sir Joseph Bazalgette in the 1860s.

Thames Water chief executive Martin Baggs said: “While the Victorian system still works very well, it needs additional capacity to cope with 21st century London.

“The Lee Tunnel and, when completed and connected, Thames Tideway Tunnel, will together capture the tens of millions of tonnes of sewage that currently overflow untreated into the tidal Thames every year.

“This will protect the future of the iconic river and capital for future generations.”

The construction of the tunnel, which stretches for 6.9km from Abbey Mills to Beckton, cost £678 million.

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