Thames Water, announced this week, plans for part of £350 million of improvements aiming to reduce smells from the east London plant by 70% by 2015.

The work will involve permanent covers being installed on all 16 primary settlement tanks at the Beckton Sewage Works, which is the size of 10 football pitches.

Odour-control units, for scrubbing clean outgoing air will also be installed at the site, when the work gets underway in March 2011.

Thames Water’s chief operating officer, Steve Shine, said: “As well as covering the settlement tanks at Beckton, we are going to install special odour-eater machines to gobble up the smelly air which sometimes comes off them.

“We have earmarked more than £350m to improve Beckton over the next five years in order to serve the future needs of London and deliver significant environmental benefits.”

The work will allow the site to treat 60% more sewage than it does now, so it can better cope with heavy rainfall, which Thames Water says will stop it having to empty sewage into the river if it get overloaded.

Currently, when the site becomes overloaded, partially treated sewage is poured into the Thames as there is nowhere else for it to go, this part of work is due to be completed in 2014.

Thames Water has awarded the contract for the odour improvements to GBM – a joint venture between Galliford Try, Biwater Treatment and Mott MacDonald.

Luke Walsh

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