Olympic Gold for London's water recycling

Enough recycled water for 80,000 toilet flushes everyday is helping athletes’ environmental efforts while staying in London’s Olympic village...

Enough recycled water for 80,000 toilet flushes everyday is helping athletes’ environmental efforts while staying in London’s Olympic village.

Utility Thames Water's £7 million Old Ford water recycling plant, on the Olympic Park in Stratford, produces 574 cubic meters per day of non-drinking, recycled water from wastewater for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Daily output goes into a pipe network separate from the tap water supply, helping reduce the park's reliance on premium-quality drinking-grade water by up to 58%.

It takes 36 hours on average for householders' "flushings" to go from homes in north London to the non-drinking water network on the Olympic Park in the south east, after undergoing thorough treatment and cleaning at Old Ford, the UK's largest 'black water' recycling plant.

Between April 5 and July 17 Thames Water said Old Ford had put 24,100 m3 of recycled water into the Olympic Park’s non-drinking water network.

Sewage arrives at the recycling plant via the historic Northern Outfall Sewer, built in the 1800s, which lies beneath the Greenway walk and cycle way running beside the Olympic Park. It takes wastewater from north London to Beckton sewage works to the east of the capital.

Thames Water built Old Ford as part of a joint project with the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA).

Water Minister Richard Benyon said: “It is our goal to create a safe and sustainable water supply in the future and projects such as this have a crucial role to play. By using 'black water’, which is safely recycled, the Old Ford plant will stop fresh water being used where it isn’t needed, helping to make this the greenest games ever.”

Elsewhere across London, proposals for the £4.1 billion Thames Tideway and Lee Tunnels are underway. The aim of the super project is to help prevent utility Thames Water discharging 39 million tones of untreated sewage into the river Thames via combined sewer overflows during heavy rainfall.

In the June-July issue of Water & Wastewater International magazine, Thames Water CEO Martin Baggs said that the project would be financed by adding, on average, £60 per year on average to household bills.

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