Visiting Sewage Treatment Plants as an IT Contractor at Thames Water

Sewage Treatment Plants
Visiting Sewage Treatment Plants for Thames Water and Anglian Water

Sewage Treatment Plants

When I was working for Thames Water, I had to go out and visit all their Sewage Treatment plants to take the system requirements from the Users.

All of the Sewage Treatment Works managers were all very proud of their works and they all said that their works didn‘t smell at all.

They would all say ‘When we first set up here the locals were against us as they thought there would be a smell but as you must have noticed there is no smell at all’.

They all did smell but the managers are used to it and couldn‘t smell it any more.

I hope that the locals all are used to it too.

Shown Around the Sewage Treatment Plant

They would all proudly take me round their sewage treatment plant showing me how it all operated.

I‘d rather they hadn‘t and I would have taken their word for it but I didn‘t feel I could say ‘No thanks’ when they said ‘Shall I take you round so you can see it all in operation?’

I would wonder why they didn‘t say at the interview ‘and you‘ll have to go round all the sewage treatment plants to get their system requirements’.

I suppose I didn‘t ask.

Methane Gas

One thing that many of the managers were all proud of was that they ran all their sewage treatment equipment off their own energy.

They would say ‘We extract Sludge Gas from the sewage and store it (It is methane and what is being stored is basically a giant fart) and we use the methane gas to power all our plant. We also sell the excess to the electricity companies. Do you want to come and see it in operation?’

Different Smells

The first time they asked me this I paused before saying Yes as I couldn‘t think of a good reason for saying No.

However, subsequent times I ended up just saying ‘I‘d love to’ as I couldn‘t get out of it anyway and I might as well sound enthusiastic.

The funny thing was that the Sewage Treatment Plants all smelled differently.

Perhaps it was the different diets in the different areas.

Anglian Water Contract

I remember one time when I went to Anglian Water and the contractors were being shown a sewage treatment plant in operation we were shown basically a huge river full of what they called ‘organic solids‘ and ‘polluting liquids‘ (sh*t and piss to you and me).

At the end of it the plant manager asked ‘Any questions?’

A Pakistani contractor put up his hands and asked ‘Where does it all come from?’ which caused much mirth.

Dirty Water Team at Thames Water

I do remember at Thames they called u the Dirty Water Team.

The Clean Water Team who sat nearby when we were working from headquarters looked down on us.

They considered us like The Untouchables.

Perhaps we brought the odour of the Treatment Works back with us.

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    1. I worked in admin for TWA before dropping into IT. Years at Deephams and Beckton killed my sense of smell. Loved it though, the operators were all friendly once they found out you wouldn’t take any **IT from them.


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