Institution of Mechanical Engineers IMechE

The London Tideway Tunnels

05 May 2009

A major Thames Water project – the London Tideway Tunnels – is set to make the River Thames cleaner and healthier.

London’s growing population, more frequent, intense storms and fewer green spaces to soak up rainwater are all contributing to unprecedented levels of untreated sewage being discharged into the city’s iconic river: on average, about 32 million cubic metres of it a year.

After extensive studies between 2000 and 2006, the Government instructed Thames Water to develop the London Tideway Tunnels in 2007 – two major interceptor sewers that will collect, store and transfer foul water directly to Beckton Sewage Treatment Works in east London, substantially reducing the amount entering the river.

Billed as one of the most challenging engineering feats of modern-day London, the scheme builds on the sewage network masterminded in the 1860s by Sir Joseph Bazalgette following the ‘Great Sink’ of London of 1858.

The London Tideway Tunnels will provide the city with a sewage system fit for the 21st Century and beyond. The planning and construction of the project will be outlined with particular reference to the unusual aspects of construction and the plant and machinery which will be used. The tunnel system will require dynamic modelling for design and optimal operation this will be described in combination with the pumping station which will be one of the largest of its kind in the world.



: Steve Walker is the Major Projects Director of Thames Water responsible for developing a number of large projects which are distinctive due to their scale and the complex planning processes required.

Steve's early career focussed on engineering and operations, he became Engineering Director of Thames Water in 1992. Steve’s other roles have included Managing Director of a group companies based in the USA and UK supplying process solutions to a total of 40 countries, and Investment Director of the Thames Water Group.

Steve has a degree in Mechanical Engineering and a PhD in Electrical Engineering, he is a Fellow of IMechE and of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Duration: 1 hr 14 mins