Wash Monitoring in the Thames

In response to concerns from some river boat communities about the impact of the Tideway Tunnel works, a UCL engineering student has undertaken research to outline a community-based data gathering and environmental monitoring programme to be implemented by these residents.

 

The Thames Tideway Tunnel is a major infrastructure project planned for improving London’s sewerage system as the existing system is no longer suitable for London’s growing population. However, some boating communities on the Thames are concerned about Tideway’s potential impacts. These include both the community’s living conditions and the river’s ecology.

Tideway’s mandate includes working with local communities to minimise negative impacts and to improve the ecological health of the river. However, their data is not accessible to the public, and there is a desire in the community to measure baseline indicators in advance of the tunnel’s building works. The community hopes this will ensure damage to the waterway is minimal and in line with Tideway’s commitments.

Specific community concerns, both related to the construction project and to the wider health of the Thames, include effluence/wash, noise pollution, air pollution, increased wave action and biodiversity.

 

Objectives and Approach

Stephen Peter Rowe, an MSc student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UC, undertook research to outline a community-based data gathering and environmental monitoring programme to be implemented by residents of river boat communities. The research was carried out with Dr Helen Czerski and members of the riverboat community; Citizen science principles shaped the programme’s approach.

The project aimed to:

– Establish the purpose of environmental monitoring
– Define parameters to monitor
– Identify appropriate methods for community monitoring
– Identify equipment and other resource requirements
– Outline methods for reporting and analysing the data, including communication protocols with Tideway
– Implement a strategy for data collection, monitoring and dissemination.

 

Outcomes

The final thesis report can be downloaded here