An update on the proposed Thames Water Counters Creek Relief Sewer

ffiskeCllr Caroline ffiske writes

In early September, residents in my ward (Avonmore & Brook Green) living near Gwendwr Park, received an email from Thames Water.  The email alerted residents to “ground work investigation” which Thames Water would be undertaking in the coming months.  No specific dates were given, and to my knowledge, none have been given yet.

According to Thames Water’s website the aim of the work is to “thoroughly examine the ground conditions over the whole of the Counters Creek catchment area”.  This extends beyond Shepherd’s Bush and Holland Park in the north, down to Lots Road, Chelsea and the Embankment in the south and follows approximately, the route of the original Counters Creek sewer.

“As well as examining the ground conditions, the investigations will also survey the location of buried utilities to confirm our understanding of the positions of utility pipes, cables and other buried infrastructure.”

Thames Water will be “drilling a number of boreholes across the catchment area in order to clarify the type of soil, clay or gravel at various depths and the levels at which these are located”.

The borehole work in each area is expected to take approximately five working days and there will be further communications with residents when work near them is imminent.

Residents near Gwendwr Park have pushed Thames Water for more detail and this has been interesting.

“Firstly we dig a small trial hole, roughly 40cm squared, to ensure that there are no other utilities immediately beneath the surface. We then begin to excavate the actual borehole which typically has a 12” diameter.  The depth of the borehole varies from 10 metres to 55 metres, depending on the area that is being investigated.  The most common depths are 10 and 15 metres. On average the total time spent on site is 5 days occasionally extending to 7 days where the borehole is particularly deep…

“The borehole that will be drilled in your area will be quite deep but the size of the hole is reasonably modest within the trial hole size of 40cms square.  The reason for these boreholes is to clarify the type of soil, clay or gravel at various depths, and the levels at which these are located.  The information that is gathered from this type of investigation allows us to develop our design proposals to match the prevailing conditions.”

In what is seemingly good news for residents near Gwendwr Park, no borehole will be drilled in Gwendwr Park itself – the site that Thames Water was originally interested in.  The current borehole will instead be sited within the grass verge alongside Talgarth Road and any vehicle movements will be from this road.

All of this work is carried out under Thames Water’s permitted development rights meaning they do not need to seek planning permission to do the work.

Council officers have reiterated to me that Thames Water is aware of the strong opposition shown to many of their originally proposed construction sites for Counters Creek.  Thames Water are therefore actively pursuing investigations into alternative sites for intercepting the sewer in the Hammersmith & Fulham area.

“Officers understand that Thames Water’s next formal round of public consultation (Phase 2 consultation) is intended to take place at the end of this year. However, if new sites are proposed to be taken forward which have not yet been subject to consultation, then it is understood that local residents will be consulted separately on those sites before the Phase 2 consultation begins.”

Anyone wanting more regular updates on the Counter Creek proposals, or with specific questions which I may be able to pursue please email me at

To contact Thames Water directly email or call 0800 316 9800 (select option 2 and quote the bulletin board number 968806).

14 thoughts on “An update on the proposed Thames Water Counters Creek Relief Sewer

  1. Thanks for the update Caroline. Are you aware of any updates on the Astrop Terrace and Hammersmith Grove proposals? We received a similar letter to the above in early Sept but haven’t heard anything since.


  2. Dear Caroline,
    Thank you for your post.

    Have there been recent “floodings” reported in basements of LBHF/KC since the heavy rains of August and September? Did the individual pumps to houses/ shops installed by Thanes Water work?

    • Yumi – from Thames Water: “With regard to the FLIP pumping units, we have installed about 700 in both boroughs so far and have hundreds more to install by 2020. Although they are very efficient they do not deal with the long-term capacity issues in our sewer system in this part of London….
      “With regard to recent weather, there has been heavy rain over the last few weeks but not on the scale which lead to the sewer flooding we experienced in July 2007 and other events as detailed in Cllr Cowan’s blog at the time. Sewer flooding in this area happens when there is a month’s worth of rain in a single day. The rain is unable to soak into the concrete so it flows into our sewers and overwhelms the system, leading to sewer flooding. Over 1,700 properties told us they were flooded by sewage in this way, but our modelling identifies over 6,500 which are at risk or have been flooded in the past and not declared it.”

  3. Dear Harry and Caroline,

    Thank you for your efforts in communicating with Thames Water.

    One of our residents suggested we ask you, on our behalf , to ask the Thames Water for the map of where these exploratory holes are to be dug.

    We also find it interesting their “model ” suggesting of 6,500 households being flooded. Since we are aware that Thames Water is a private monopoly, mainly owned by off-shore investors wishing to maximize their returns and minimizing UK tax liability, ( the more infrastructure expenditure to offset their profits to reduce tax liability, the better , for TW) ,it should make their “model” to gain their customers’, the rate payers’ trust and confidence. Disclosure and transparency is called for here.

    Thank you for your help in this matter.

  4. Sorry, it should have read like this:

    ” TW should make their ‘ model’ open to Public scrutiny to be investigated to an independent, expert 3rd party evaluation. Disclosure and transparency is called for here”.

    Many thanks,

  5. Dear Caroline and Harry,

    Thames Water has started marking and digging up Astrop Terrace and Richford Streets, without any prior communication to the residents. One worker says he is not allowed to say anything, one says it has nothing to do with Counters Creek, yet another says it is Counters Creek…. What is going on?


  6. From TW in response to Y Lowell: Dear Councillor Ffiske
    As explained on our website here this work forms part of our ground investigation activities. We did letter drop residents in advance of these works and our contractors have been instructed to let residents know what they are doing and why. If our staff have told a resident otherwise I do apologise and I will ensure in future our staff pass on the correct information to the residents. If a resident would like to speak to us directly about this work they can contact our team on 07747 644044 or where we would be glad to talk them through our work.
    Please accept our apologies for this and if you have any other queries, feel free to contact me. Rory

    • In both the letter sent out to residents and in the link above Thames Water state:

      “We will also be communicating with residents in each local area where we are planning to carry out the ground survey work and will provide a point of contact at all times.”

      We knew that the ground survey work was going to take place but no one in my family received any information from Thames Water confirming the date when the works were due to begin.

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