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.”
- 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 clears bus-sized fatberg from London sewer A huge 40-tonne fatberg blocking a sewer in South London has been cleared by engineers from Thames Water. Read More >
- CCWater criticises three companies over leakage New leakage figures cast serious doubts over whether some water companies can achieve more demanding targets in the... Read More >
- What we learnt from WWT's net zero webathon The water industry has made the ambitious pledge to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030, 20 years ahead of the... Read More >
- An organic approach to water treatment Robert Denny, Sales Manager at Veolia Water Technologies UK (VWT UK) describes the benefits of specifying alternative... Read More >
- Flood resilience: what you need to know Geoff Williams, northern sales manager at Sykes Pumps, discusses the need for businesses and local authorities to think... Read More >
- Come together to beat climate change Northumbrian Water chief executive Heidi Mottram's motivational message to the water sector on the opportunities 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 >