Northern Outfall Sewer

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The Northern Outfall Sewer Under Construction
Northern Outfall Sewer (Greenway) over Manor Road A1011

Greenway footpath, London
Victoria Park
East Cross Route  A12 
Fish Island
Hackney Wick London Overground 600m
River Lea  
Tower Hamlets
Newham boundary
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
East Anglia Main Line
Pudding Mill Lane DLR station Docklands Light Railway 200m
City Mill River
Waterworks River
Stratford High Street  A118 
Abbey Mills Pumping Station
Abbey Creek
Abbey Road DLR station Docklands Light Railway 200m
Canning Road
Jubilee line & DLR lines
Manor Road  A1011 
West Ham Jubilee Line National Rail Docklands Light Railway District Line Hammersmith & City Line 250m
Essex Thameside & District lines
Plaistow District Line Hammersmith & City Line 400m
Memorial Recreation Ground
Upper Road
Balaam Street  B116 
Barking Road  A124 
Prince Regent Lane  A112 
Newham University Hospital
Boundary Lane
Newham Way  A13  BSicon BICYCLE.svg CS3 LCN13
Beckton DLR station Docklands Light Railway 600m
Royal Docks Road  A1020  BSicon BICYCLE.svg NCR13

The Northern Outfall Sewer (NOS) is a major gravity sewer which runs from Wick Lane in Hackney to Beckton sewage treatment works in east London; most of it was designed by Joseph Bazalgette after an outbreak of cholera in 1853 and the "Great Stink" of 1858.

Prior to this work, central London's drains were built primarily to cope with rain water, and the growing use of flush toilets frequently meant that they became overloaded, flushing sewage and industrial effluent into the River Thames. Bazalgette's London sewerage system project included the construction of intercepting sewers north and south of the Thames; the Southern Outfall Sewer network diverts flows away from the Thames south of the river.

In total five interceptor sewers were constructed north of the Thames; three were built by Bazalgette, two were added 30 years later:

The flows from the two low level sewers are raised by some 40 feet (12 m) into the Northern Outfall Sewer at Abbey Mills Pumping Station to join the flows from the High and Middle Level sewers.

The remaining sections of the NOS carry the sewage from Abbey Mills to the treatment plant at Beckton. The creation of the NOS was a massive undertaking, and involved the construction of both huge embankments and several bridges. Today, the eastern end of the Northern Outfall Sewer, running some 4 12 miles (7 km) from Wick Lane, Bow to Beckton has been landscaped to form a public footpath/cycleway called The Greenway with access points along its length.


  1. ^ Trench, R. and Hillman, E. (1984) London under London: A Subterranean Guide (London: John Murray), pp. 72–75.

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Coordinates: 51°31′44″N 0°0′52″E / 51.52889°N 0.01444°E / 51.52889; 0.01444