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Read all about **it! Londoners love the River Thames – but only half know it’s full of sewage.

  • 56% of Londoners don’t know about Thames’s sewage problem, new research shows
  • Tideway, the company behind the new super sewer, launches awareness campaign

Most Londoners are unaware that millions of tonnes of raw sewage spills into the River Thames every year, according to new research.

The data, released by Tideway, the company building London’s new super sewer, shows that more than half the capital is unaware of the extent of sewage pollution in the river.

Tideway has launched a new social media campaign to raise awareness of the problem, and tell Londoners that anything put down their toilets can end up in the River Thames.

Under the tag line ‘Read all about **it’, the campaign aims to bring an otherwise-awkward topic into the public conversation and let people know that the super sewer is being built to tackle the problem.

A survey commissioned by Tideway found that while 94% of Londoners see the Thames as an important feature of the city, 56% are unaware of its sewage problem.

When it rains, London’s current sewer system, designed by Sir Joseph Bazalgette more than 150 years ago, overflows into the River Thames. The original system was designed for a population of four million but today the capital is home to more than eight million – and rising. 

As a result, millions of tonnes of raw sewage enters the river in a typical year. Tideway will tackle this by intercepting the spills and diverting them into the new super sewer.

Tideway’s Head of Sustainability, Darren White said: “What’s happening in the Thames is real and disgusting, but it’s not really a dinner time subject – so it’s no surprise that most Londoners don’t know about the problem.

“We want Londoners – who overwhelmingly love their river, according to this research – to head to our website and learn about why London needs a super sewer!

“Anything flushed down a loo in London could end up in the Thames, so Tideway is creating a super sewer to capture those spills into the Thames and clean up our river for generations to come.”

A workforce of more than 2,000, including miners from across the world, is now tunnelling underground to create the 25km-long tunnel, one of the largest infrastructure projects in Europe.

More than four kilometres have already been completed, making the super sewer the longest tunnel beneath the River Thames, while four huge tunnelling machines are working deep beneath London (with two more to begin within the next year).

The ‘Read all about **it’ campaign directs web users to the website where they can find more information about the Thames Tideway Tunnel.