Phil Stride, Head of the Thames Tideway Tunnel at Thames Water, says the company may not stand to make any profit from the project.
Thames Water has offered the following response to the claims from Hammersmith and Fulham Council:
– Thames Water.
"The project isexpected to be delivered by a regulated infrastructure provider which will holdits own license issued by Ofwat. The ownership and financing of theinfrastructure provider will be kept separate from Thames Water. Thames Wateris working closely with Government and Ofwat to develop the financing solutionfor the project."
Hammersmith and Fulham Council has accused Thames Water of ripping off its customers.
They claim that the super sewer isn't necessary - and that the company is being motivated by financial gain, rather than the environment.
– Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh, Hammersmith and Fulham Council Leader
“Water industry experts are lining up to say that Thames Water’s case for the super sewer is flawed. The Thames has won awards for its cleanliness but we all agree that it could be cleaner still. The question is how this is delivered and it appears Thames Water’s true motivation for pushing through this massive concrete tunnel has more to do with financial gain than cleanliness.”
The council argues that there are alternative solutions to the capital's sewage overflow problems - new drainage systems, for example, that could minimise the amount of fresh rain water entering the sewerage system.
They also claim that Thames Water stands to make "colossal returns at bill payers' expense".
Watch Thames Water's video below to find out about the construction of the super sewer.
THE CURRENT SITUATION
At the moment, our sewers fill up when it rains - and untreated waste water spills out into the River Thames.
THE PROPOSED SOLUTION
The new "super sewer" would divert the waste water away from the river.
When it rains in London, our old Victorian sewers fill up.
If the excess water isn't discharged somewhere, the sewage could back up into homes and streets. So, instead, it's released into the River Thames through "combined sewer overflows".
Thames Water says that, in a typical year, 39 million tonnes of untreated sewage flushes into the river. And - as the population of London increases - this problem is set to get worse.
So, they want to build a massive new sewer to increase the capacity of the system - and help clean up the River Thames.
Watch Thames Water's video below for more information.
The Thames Tideway Tunnel will be a new "super sewer", the width of three London buses, which will run underground from west to east London.
It will be around 20 miles long - and will broadly follow the route of the River Thames, connecting up to 34 sewer overflows.
Sewage, which would otherwise spill into the River Thames, will then be captured in the new tunnel and transferred to a waste water plant in Beckton to be treated.
Thames Water has released the following statement regarding the planned increase in water bills:
"We previously made it clear that bills need to rise to pay for the cost of the Thames Tideway Tunnel and are now able to give our customers advance warning of the likely increase and the timing. Ofwat [the water and sewerage regulator] sets limits on water bills in line with the work that water companies need to do, and will scrutinise the Thames Tideway Tunnel costs to ensure they are kept as low as possible."