U.S. Water News Online
LONDON -- The River Thames here, which was biologically
"dead" as recently as the 1960s, is now the cleanest metropolitan
river in the world, according to the Thames Water company.
The company says thanks to major investment in better sewage
treatment in London and the Thames Valley, the river that flows
through the United Kingdom capital and the Thames Estuary into the
North Sea is cleaner now than it has been for 130 years.
It has become the home to 115 species of fish. Those that have
returned include sea bass, flounder, salmon, smelt, and shad.
Recently, a porpoise was spotted cavorting in the river near central
Following this clean-up success, Thames Water (TW) and other
authorities are now involved in a plan to reduce the amount of litter
that finds its way into the tidal river and its tributaries. Thames21
is a joint initiative that brings together TW, the Port of London
Authority, the Corporation of London, the UK Environment Agency, and
the Tidy Britain Group.
TW's environment and quality manager Dr. Peter Spillett said:
"This project will build on our investment at sewage treatment works
which has dramatically improved the water quality of the river. It's
a clean-up that London can be proud of and should not be spoiled by
litter which belongs in the bin not the river."
Thousands of tons of rubbish end up in the river each year, from
badly stored waste, people throwing litter off boats, and rubbish in
the street being blown or washed into the river. Once litter hits the
water it becomes too heavy to be blown away again and therefore the
rivers act as a sink in the system.
While the Port of London already collects up to 3,000 tons of
solid waste from the tideway every year, Thames Water now plans to
introduce a new device to capture more rubbish floating down the
river. Known as a "Rubbish Muncher," it consists of a huge cage that
sits in the flow of water and gathers the passing rubbish. Moored
just offshore in front of the Royal Naval College at Greenwich,
south-east London, the device is expected to capture up to 20 tons of
floating litter each year. If washed out to sea, this rubbish can
kill marine mammals, fish and birds. It is hoped the Rubbish Muncher
will be the first of many, because the Thames21 consortium is now
looking for sponsors to pay for more cages elsewhere along the
Meanwhile, Thames Water continues to build an international
reputation in the water and wastewater industry. In a new
development, the UK firm has formed a partnership with the United
States' Operations Management International, Inc. (OMI) from Denver,
Colorado. A spokesman explained: "OMI and Thames Water will work
together on selected new business opportunities relating to the
provision of operations and maintenance services through
public-private partnership agreements with major water and wastewater
customers in the U.S. and Canada."
Thames Water's U.S. president, Mr David Chardavoyne, said:"We are
both acknowledged leaders in the field of water and wastewater
services, and our combined expertise will ensure that we deliver
innovative and cost-effective solutions to our customers. Thames
Water has over 400 years experience of working in both the public and
private sectors in Great Britain and internationally, and with the
recent acquisition of Elizabethtown Water in New Jersey, has
demonstrated its ability to further develop its U.S. business."
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