London’s recycled sewage to keep Olympics green

Olympic athletes are now flushing their loos with water sent to London’s sewers hours earlier by local residents in a bid to keep the Games green. A water recycling plant […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Olympic athletes are now flushing their loos with water sent to London’s sewers hours earlier by local residents in a bid to keep the Games green.

A water recycling plant at the Olympic Park in Stratford turns north Londoners’ sewage into non-drinking water which is used for flushing toilets and watering plants at the site.

Thames Water said it takes 36 hours on average for “flushings” to go from homes in north London to the non-drinking water network at the Olympic Park, after a thorough treatment and cleaning at Old Ford, the UK’s largest ‘black water’ recycling plant.

Water Minister Richard Benyon said: “It is our goal to create a safe and sustainable water supply in the future and projects such as this have a crucial role to play. By using ‘black water’, which is safely recycled, the Old Ford plant will stop fresh water being used where it isn’t needed, helping to make this the greenest games ever.”

The water company’s head of innovation said it is still crucial to use water wisely despite lifting the hosepipe ban last month.

Rupert Kruger added: “Old Ford is helping London 2012 do that, while also helping with vital research to help London cope with future droughts. Dual-purpose water supply networks are the sustainable way forward.”

The recycling plant, which has a daily output of 574,000 litres – enough for 80,000 loo flushes every day – goes into a pipe network separate from the tap water supply, helping reduce the Olympic Park’s reliance on drinking water by up to 58%.