Now ‘black water’ is pumped into Olympics to flush out athletes’ loos

12:00 24 July 2012

Operator at Old Ford

Operator at Old Ford 'blackwater' recycle plant

Stewart Turkington

Recycled sewage is now being used in the Olympic Park Athletes’ village in east London to flush loos with water from a new state-of-the-art recycling treatment works in east London.

Thames Water’s Old Ford plant on the Lea riverbank uses new treatment processes to turn sewage into non-drinking ‘black water’ for irrigating greenery and flushing toilets.

Its daily output of 574,000 litres—enough for 80,000 flushes—goes into a separate pipe network from the mains tap water supply, helping reduce reliance on drinking-grade water for toilets by up to 58 per cent.

Thames Water’s Rupert Kruger said: “It’s amazing to think the world’s elite athletes are using recycled sewage sent down U-bends at homes in London just a day or so earlier, to flush loos at the greatest sporting event on earth.

“Water is still an increasingly precious resource, despite us lifting our hosepipe ban last month. The Old Ford plant is helping cope with future droughts with dual-purpose water supply networks.”

Sewage arrives in the Northern Outfall sewer, built by the Victorian engineer Joseph Bazalgette, which runs under Old Ford and past the Olympic Park to Beckton.

The average household flushing takes 36 hours to go into the Olympic Park non-drinking water network after treatment and cleaning at Old Ford, Britain’s largest ‘black water’ recycling plant—which has already pumped enough into the system to fill 10 Olympic swimming pools!

[Pictures: Stewart Turkington]

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest London news

Friday, July 31, 2015
The cuddly toy 'mum' helps Edward to practise clinging and climbing as he would naturally (Photo: ZSL London Zoo)

A baby two-toed sloth is being hand-reared by keepers at ZSL London Zoo - and the pictures and video of him cuddling with his teddy-bear surrogate mum are almost too cute to bear.

Friday, July 31, 2015
Thornton Way in Hampstead Garden Suburb

Two women were attacked and made hostages in their own home in a terrifying raid on their Hampstead Garden Suburb house.

Friday, July 31, 2015
A 20-year-old has died after falling down a chimney at Great Cumberland Place, W1 (Picture: Street View)

A 20-year-old man died last night after falling backwards down the chimney of a seven-storey building metres from Marble Arch, police said.

Friday, July 31, 2015
Brazil Day in Trafalgar Square is always a colourful event (Picture: Fernando Arroteia)

The Olympic Games are heading to Rio in 2016 (yes, we can’t believe it will be four years since London 2012 either) and the hype is already building. Join thousands in Trafalgar Square to celebrate Brazil Day and get a taste of what the vibrant country has to offer.

Friday, July 31, 2015
One of the men can be seen with a shotgun

This is the terrifying moment a masked gang armed with a shotgun and crowbars broke into a house in Gidea Park – after pulling up in a Porsche.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Get your hands on some fresh trainers!

Need some new shoes to head to work or some new heels for a night on the cobbles? London24 has teamed up with online retailer Sole Trader to offer £100 worth of shoes to one lucky reader.

Read more
Take in the stunning sites of London from the summit of the O2!

Up at The O2 has teamed up with London24 to give one lucky reader the chance to experience urban mountaineering this summer with an exhilarating 90-minute climb across the roof of one of London’s most iconic landmarks.

Read more
Terrific tea, creamy cakes and splendid sandwiches at Mews of Mayfair.

Celebrate a truly quintessentially British tradition with the chance of winning a luxurious Afternoon Tea for two people at Mews of Mayfair, complete with a glass of Veuve Clicquot champagne.

Read more