In late October, HRH The Princess Royal visited Abbey Mills Pumping Station to check out and learn more about the biggest expansion to London’s sewer network since Victorian times.
I rounded up some fun facts you might not know about Abbey Mills Pumping Station.
Abbey Mills Pumping Station is also known as “Cathedral of Sewage”
The architectural style is packed with different styles which include Italian Gothic, Russian Orthodox, Celtic and Byzantine.
In 2009, the station was used as a set for Coldplay’s “Lovers in Japan” music video.
In May 2018, the station celebrated its 150 year anniversary since it’s completion by the renowned engineer Sir Joseph Bazalgette.
Are you a big Batman fan? B station represented Arkham Asylum in the 2005 movie film Batman Begins.
The C Station was used in Series 2 Episode 4 of the TV Series Primeva
On the 150 year anniversary, a time capsule was buried on the grounds, which contained: a high-vis jacket, a “fatberg” documentary on a USB stick and a bottle of local tap water.
Do you have any quirky facts about the Cathedral of Sewage? Let me know!
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Meet the Sibley family, they are getting their home Winter Ready, for the colder months ahead. Sometimes the unexpected happens, like a frozen pipe. Which can be quite annoying and not to mention a real inconvenience.
If you haven’t been able to fix your pipes, here’s a list of approved plumbers who might be able to help you.
Also don’t forget if you have cover with HomeServe and your pipes freeze and burst, Homeserve could save you costly bills.
If you think a pipe is frozen you should:
1. Turn OFF your water stop tap! Turn it clockwise to turn off the water (right for tight).
2. Turn ON all the cold taps in the house, this will allow the water to escape when it starts to thaw.
3. Remove items from around the frozen pipe. You can use a hot water bottle wrapped in a tea towel, pushed against the pipes to help try thaw the pipes out. Be sure to start from the end nearest the tap.
Alternatively, you can take a hair dryer and, starting at the end nearest the tap use it on the low setting to warm the frozen pipe. This may take a while but be sure to keep the hair dryer and any electrical items a safe distance from the defrosting pipe.
4. Once the pipes have thawed, double check there are no leaks before turning the water back on. You can do this by running dry kitchen paper towels along the pipe and checking to see if there are any wet patches on the kitchen paper when you’re done.
If there are wet patches on the kitchen paper towel, you may have a leak on your internal pipes. As the home owner you are responsible for getting these burst pipes fixed, so have the number of a certified plumber handy. Call them before turning your water back on.
If you're sure none of your pipes are leaking, turn your water back on at the stop tap by turning it anticlockwise (left for loose).
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Whether it's an annoying dripping sound or a burst pipe, or you need a new plumbing system installed - we got you covered.
We recommend you choose an approved plumber to ensure they are fit to work in your home. W e've pre-approved thousands of plumbers and underground workers across our region, to check they are qualified and have the knowledge required in water regulations.
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It's important to report it to us as soon as possible. Please let us know whether it's inside your property or outside, so we can help you more quickly.
This page has a live work map too, where you can check to see if the leak has been reported.
Report a leak.
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Unfortunately, we can’t produce a reduced bill for you until you’ve moved. The best thing to do is to set up a Direct Debit or monthly payment plan and then when you’re within 28 days of moving out, you can let us know by filling out this online form.
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Although advertised as flushable, wet wipes do not break down in the sewer and congeal with fat and other items to create blockages and on some occasions fatbergs. They’re allowed to be advertised as flushable because they do flush down the loo but the problems occur when they don’t break down like toilet paper.
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Are you a gamer? (If not, don’t worry this will make sense)
Imagine it's break time, you are stuck on this crazy Candy Crush level you've been trying to beat for weeks, no matter how many combinations you try, nothing is working! Finally you're on you last life, you get the match you've been waiting for! What happens next?
Besides hearing DELICIOUSSSSS you move on to the next level and recieve an achievement.
Well, here on our community, you are rewarded by how much you participate! It’s broken up into two categories.
A “Rank” is what’s under your name. Everyone starts off as a “Member” but after you post X amount post (We won’t tell you how many, there’s no fun in that!) you move to the next rank.
We got plenty of ranks for you to get through!
Badges are well… badges! They sit on your profile; you again achieve badges by participating in our community. It could something like “100 Kudos received” “Best Solution Provider” or a “First Post” badge.
Ready? Game on!
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Burrrrrr!!! Are you feeling that winter chill? It’s time to put away your shorts (Well you probably did at the end of October) and start wrapping yourself up in your winter coat, thermals, and wooly hat.
But what about your pipes? Don’t forget they shiver too! Help them keep nice and snug with our top 10 tips to prevent your pipes from freezing or bursting open.
1. Lag your pipes
Cover your water pipes – including those outside your home, in the loft and unheated rooms, with a foam tube, called lagging. It’s easy to fit with no tools needed, available from most DIY stores and relatively cheap.
Doing this now could save you huge costs and upset in years to come by helping to prevent your pipes bursting and flooding your home.
Did you know? If you cover your hot water pipes, you’ll keep your water warmer for longer reducing your energy bill.
2. Find your stop tap
Make sure you know where your stop tap is (most are under the kitchen sink), as you may need to turn your water off quickly in an emergency. Don't forget ‘right for tight, left for loose’.
3. Keep your home warm
Keep your home snug at all times. This is as easy as closing your curtains before it gets dark to stop warmth escaping and putting draught excluders on doors.
Our best tip is to cover a thin sheet of card with tinfoil and slide it behind your radiator. This will reflect heat back into your room, meaning it warms up faster and retains more heat – making your home more efficient.
4. Check your loft insulation
Check your loft insulation is thick and in good condition. This helps to keep your home warm and toasty. It also helps reduce your energy bill.
It’s recommended that blanket style insulation (glass or mineral wool) should be 250 to 270 mm thick in your loft. Did you know? You can also leave your loft hatch open when it’s cold to let the warm air circulate around your home
5. Bleed your Radiators
Nope! "Bleed your radiators" isn't the new winter slasher movie. If your radiators aren’t heating to the top, it’s likely they have air in them.
To fix this, buy a radiator key from a DIY shop (about £1) and open the little valve at the top. Listen out for the air hissing and as soon as you see a drop of water, close it up again.
6. Re-washer dripping tap
If your taps are dripping, you should change your washer as drips can freeze. Did you know? Fixing a leaky tap can also save up to one litre of water a day.
7. Drains and gutters
Keep your drains and gutters clear from things like leaves. This will help to prevent blockages. Did you know? This can also stop leaks and damage to your walls and roof.
8. Service your boiler
Make sure you get your boiler serviced regularly (about once a year). If your boiler breaks down it can be really expensive and disruptive. Don't forget...take out your phone and set a reminder!
9. Always be prepared
Make sure you have the name and number of a qualified plumber to hand so if your pipes do freeze or burst you can call them straight away. Don't forget to check your home insurance cover things like your pipes. If it doesn’t consider taking out Home Emergency cover, like HomeServe.
10. Going on holiday
Always keep your heating on low, even when you’re out of the house or holiday. It will help keep your home warm and prevent pipes from freezing.
Did you know? If you’re going away, consider turning off your stop tap and draining down the system – so there is no water in the system to freeze.
If you, or someone you know, could be vulnerable without water and require extra assistance from us, please let us know.
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HRH toured Abbey Mills pumping station and entered a brick-built sewer in east London to see first-hand how work is progressing on the 25km-long super sewer.
Set for completion in 2024, the Thames Tideway Tunnel will vastly reduce the amount of untreated sewage which flows into the world-famous river following heavy rain, intercepting and pumping it to Europe’s largest treatment works in Beckton, east London, where it will be converted into renewable energy by Thames Water.
The Princess Royal, who has a keen interest in the engineering behind the project, was shown around the iconic pumping station on October 30 by Tideway CEO Andy Mitchell and Thames Water’s chief operating officer Lawrence Gosden, who explained how it will connect to the Lee Tunnel and the capital’s current sewer network.
Mr Gosden said: “We were delighted to show HRH The Princess Royal around one of our most historic Victorian buildings and demonstrate how it will remain at the heart of London’s waste operations for the next 100 years.
“Thames Water is fully committed to protecting and enhancing the environment, and we are very excited about the positive impact this enormous new sewer will have on the health of the Thames and our customers in the near future.”
Abbey Mills pumping station was built by Victorian engineer Sir Joseph Bazalgette in 1868 as part of his network of underground sewers – and remains the unsung hero of the city’s infrastructure today. While still in excellent condition, the vast network of tunnels now lack the capacity required for modern-day London, with a population of 9m which continues to rise.
Mr Mitchell said: “We were honoured to welcome Her Royal Highness to Abbey Mills today. With construction across London progressing well, our team is buoyed by the interest in their work. We all feel very passionately about our mission to clean up London’s river, so to get the Royal seal of approval is very special.”
The Thames Tideway Tunnel will stretch from west to east London and is designed to serve the needs of the capital for many generations to come, preventing millions of tonnes of sewage entering the river every year from combined sewer overflows.
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