Thames Water reduces waste costs by recycling mussels
Thames Water is using unwanted mussel shells that are collected from pipes and tunnels to fill potholes, lay pathways and create new tern rafts.
More than 35 tonnes of quagga and zebra mussel shells, which are found in huge numbers and cost millions of pounds to remove, were crushed and used to create four new tern rafts during a conservation project at the award-winning Walthamstow Wetlands in North London.
Site manager Dan Brackley enquired about reusing the mussels, which were removed from the nearby Coppermills Stream, to save on the cost of building materials and disposing of the shells.
He said: “These invasive non-native species are already present in all of our reservoirs as well as the rivers and underground tunnels. They can cause blockages and, as well as the cost of resources required to remove them, our treatment works can be affected while cleaning work is carried out.
“By using them like this, they can instead become a new tool for us, as this material can be used for future work on site, such as laying pathways and in filling potholes.”
Since 2006, Thames Water has spent almost £4 million clearing the mussels, which latch on to the inside of pipes and tunnels, removing the equivalent of four Olympic swimming pools full of shells.
During its latest clean, the 700m Thames U-tunnel, which runs from the High Maynard to the East Warwick reservoir at Walthamstow, contained a staggering 1,374 tonnes of the mollusc.
The new tern rafts made from the mussel shells and floating islands were also installed on the Banbury, Lockwood and East Warwick reservoirs.
Rebecca Elliott, Thames Water’s senior ecologist, said: “Developing innovative solutions to managing invasive non-native species is important to us.
“The solution we found here benefits the wildlife at Walthamstow Wetlands while removing the need to take waste to landfill, reducing our energy and carbon footprint and creating a new and sustainable environment, as well as saving the business and our customers’ money by reusing a material already present on the site.”
- Thames partners with police to promote priority services register Thames Water has partnered with Thames Valley Police as part of a major drive to help individuals and families who need... Read More >
- Swindon sewage works hosts warfare exercise More than 100 soldiers have taken part in a major urban warfare exercise at Thames Water's Swindon Sewage Works. Read More >
- Thames Water unveils historic picture archive Thames Water has revealed an archive of almost 20,000 images, which chart the development of London's water supply and... Read More >
- Reaching net carbon zero In summer 2019, the water industry committed to reach net carbon zero by 2030. This is a very ambitious aim and... Read More >
- How the water sector is moving to be net zero Water companies have ambitious plans to reach net zero carbon by 2030, ahead of commitments made by other industries, but... Read More >
- Integrated catchment management James Knightbridge of Mott MacDonald examines what systems operation means in terms of integrated catchment management and... Read More >
- Rewarding excellence WWT content director Alec Peachey looks ahead to next year's Water Industry Awards. Read More >
- A watershed moment for the water industry? Tessa Harding, director of water at Thomson Environmental Consultants, discusses the government's Environment Bill. Read More >