Mogden Sewage Treatment Works

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Mogden Sewage Treatment Works

Mogden Sewage Treatment Works is a sewage treatment plant in the Ivybridge section of Isleworth, West London, formerly known as Mogden. Built in 1931–36 by Middlesex County Council and now operated by Thames Water, it is one of the largest sewage works in the United Kingdom. It treats the waste water from about 1.9 million people served by three sewers in North and West London. The plant has been extended and upgraded several times, most recently in 2011–13, and now covers 55 hectares (140 acres).


The plant was built in 1931–36 for £1.7 million by Middlesex County Council, replacing 28 small sewage treatment facilities as part of the West Middlesex (Mogden-Perry Oaks) Main Drainage Scheme.[1][2] The council purchased Mogden Farm for the purpose after the public objected to the proposed site in Syon Park.[3] 110 kilometres (68 mi) of sewers were built to connect to it,[4] and the Duke of Northumberland's River was diverted to flow through it as a source of coolant.[5] The plant began operations in late 1935[6] and was formally opened with the rest of the scheme on 23 October 1936 by the then Minister of Health, Sir Kingsley Wood.[7] In its first year of operation it treated an average of 60,020,000 gallons of sewage per day.[8]

The works were expanded in 1962, 1989 and 1991 and upgraded in 1996–2002. The most recent expansion, in 2011–13, increased the treatment capacity by more than half and increased the plant's size by 19.5 hectares (48 acres), as part of the Thames Tideway Scheme to improve water quality in the River Thames. It was completed in summer 2013.[9][10]

Technical approach[edit]

When built, the Mogden works were very modern, one of the first large-scale applications of the activated sludge technique for sewage treatment.[1][11] The plant was also advanced in having a central control board for measurements and in using the methane generated by sewage treatment to generate electricity[12] and heat from the processing to heat the sludge.[4] It was originally equipped with oil and spark-ignition gas engines;[13] a heat and power plant was added in 1993.[5] In 1974 the works were selling surplus methane for £12,000 a year;[14] the latest upgrade enables them to meet 40% of their energy requirements from methane.

Initially, after approximately 25 days at Mogden, sludge was piped to settling ponds at the Perry Oaks Sludge Treatment Works near Heathrow Airport.[7][15] In 1989 the Perry Oaks site was closed and the land reclaimed for Heathrow Terminal 5 with new sludge dewatering provided at nearby Iver South.[16]

There is a plant for dosing the effluent with Hydrogen peroxide before the outfall pipes. This is operated on the instruction of the Environment Agency if the stormtanks are overflowing and discharging into the effluent channel. The peroxide prevents low oxygen conditions developing in the tidal sections of the river that receive the flows. During dry weather with low flows the effluent from Mogden can constitute the main part of the flow in the river.

Environmental complaints[edit]

The Mogden works discharge effluent at Isleworth Ait, on the Tideway in the upper reaches of the Thames Estuary. Between 1956 and the completion of an expansion in 1962, some of this had not received secondary treatment.[17] Also during heavy rain, the plant was sometimes overwhelmed and released untreated sewage into the river; in summer 2011, 200,000 tonnes of untreated sewage from Mogden contributed to a large fish kill.[18] Nearby residents have also complained about odour: the Borough of Hounslow served an odour abatement notice on Thames Water in 2001,[19] and in 2011 complainants won a court judgement that the agency had failed since 1990 to adequately manage odour and thereby violated human rights; £19,000 in damages to ten people were assessed.[20][21]

Mogden formula[edit]

The plant gave its name to the Mogden formula, a measure of the volume and strength of industrial effluent used in treatment pricing.[5][22][23][24]


  1. ^ a b Philip Howard, London's River, London: Hamilton, 1975, ISBN 9780241892374, p. 223.
  2. ^ Bird Notes 26–28 (1954) 144.
  3. ^ The Municipal Journal and Public Works Engineer, 28 August 1936, p. 1670.
  4. ^ a b Environmental Accomplishments to Date: A Reason for Hope: International Symposium II, July 16–18, 1974, ed. George M. Dalen and Clyde R. Tipton, Jr., The Environmental symposium series, Columbus, Ohio: Battelle Memorial Institute, [1974], OCLC 1255649, p. 50.
  5. ^ a b c Mogden, Hidden London, retrieved 12 November 2013.
  6. ^ "Discussion of the Effect of Synthetic Detergents", The Institution of Civil Engineers, Proceedings 6 (1957) 398.
  7. ^ a b Philip T. Sherwood, Heathrow: 2000 Years of History, Stroud: Sutton, 1999, ISBN 9780750921329, p. 33.
  8. ^ Applied Chemistry Reports 23 (1938) 774.
  9. ^ Alix Culbertson, "£140m upgrade of Mogden Sewage works complete", Get West London, 9 May 2013.
  10. ^ Maureen Gaines, "Thames Water opens upgraded Mogden STW", Water & Wastewater Treatment, 26 June 2013.
  11. ^ A. V. Koodie and I. J. Kirkaldy, "Uprating of Mogden Sewage Treatment Works", in Design, Operation and Economics of Large Wastewater Treatment Plants: Selected Proceedings of the 8th IAWQ International Conference on Design, Operation and Economics of Large Wastewater Treatment Plants, Held in Budapest, Hungary, 6–9 September, 1999, Water Science and Technology 41.9, 2000, pp. 53–62, p. 53.
  12. ^ "Operation and Maintenance of Britain's Largest Dual-Fuel Engine Installation", The Oil Engine and Gas Turbine, January 1959, p. 346.
  13. ^ "Operation and Maintenance of Britain's Largest Dual-Fuel Engine Installation", p. 366.
  14. ^ "Methane—the most natural gas", New Scientist, 14 February 1974, p. 407.
  15. ^ Journal of the Institution of Civil Engineers 27–28 (1946) 377.
  16. ^ Lev Nelik and Jim Brennan, Progressing Cavity Pumps, Downhole Pumps and Mudmotors, Gulf Pump Guides, Houston: Gulf, 2005, ISBN 9780976511311, pp. 67–68.
  17. ^ Advances in Water Pollution Research (1962) 845.
  18. ^ Paul Newton, "Thames Water 'regrets' fish kill", Utility Week, 8 June 2011.
  19. ^ Mogden sewage works, London Borough of Hounslow, retrieved 12 November 2013.
  20. ^ "Victory For Residents Against Thames Water: Residents successful in 'David & Goliath' battle", St Margarets Community Website, 8 December 2011.
  21. ^ Paul Newton, "Thames' failure to tackle sewage stink breached human rights, High Court rules", Utility Week, 9 December 2011.
  22. ^ Effluent + Water Treatment Journal 16 (1976) 409.
  23. ^ John S. Hills, Cutting Water and Effluent Costs, Rugby: Institution of Chemical Engineers, 1995, ISBN 9780852953617, p. 52.
  24. ^ Stephen Merrett, The Price of Water: Studies in Water Resource Economics and Management, London: IWA, 2005, ISBN 9781843390817, p. 139.

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