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Andy Mitchell on tour - Tideway CEO shares experience after first day of West to East site tours

Tideway CEO, Andy Mitchell shares his experience after his first day visiting sites on his most recent site tour.

“As the Tideway sites progressively reach completion it is time for me to start my West to East Tideway tour starting at our westmost site which is Acton

Acton is an existing Thames Water site which had 6 flood alleviate tanks and a pumping and control station.  Our task here was to build a shaft (which we do at all of our sites) to allow us to take overflow sewage down to the main tunnel level to start the journey to the main London sewage treatment works at Beckton.

The shaft is built, and on the day of my visit we saw the final section of stainless steel “vortex generator” pipe work that was to be lifted into place in the shaft being prepared.  No matter how often you look at the drawings and even see the progress photos (something I have done all my career) it takes actually standing next to something to really appreciate just how big and impressive the whole project is!  The photo below is of me, some of the site team and three of the Tideway directors standing next to the top vortex section.  It was lifted into place the following day which now allows the shaft internals and shaft cap to be finished.

My second stop of the day was to a site that I have come to know well - Hammersmith Pumping Station.  This has been one of our closest working sites with the Thames Water operations team as we have had to make extensive modifications to the live network to allow us to redirect sewage flows to the new shaft (and off to the new tunnel again).  The works have gone very well and are nearly complete and we are now installing and testing the gates and valves that will direct flows through the new system.  You can see the size of a few of the “flap valves” currently being tested.

My third stop of Day 1 was to Barn Elms which is a site tucked away in the corner of an open space in Wandsworth which is home to sports pitches and changing rooms.  The works here are even more complete, in fact you can’t see any of the underground works (the customary shaft and interconnecting chambers) any more - just a small control room (or kiosk as we call them) and a bit of turfing and asphalt. I certainly understand how Sir Joseph Bazalgette felt, knowing that the vast majority of what he built was never going to be seen by the general public!  It won’t be long now before the grass seeds and final landscaping will complement the new changing rooms and gym that we built at the start of the project to leave this part of London as it was but better (and protecting another Thames tributary in the process).