Jun 10 2011
How would half a billion tons of raw sewage affect a river? Well, ask around in Great Britain.
Last Sunday London received a spot of rain, a little over an inch, and suddenly raw sewage erupted as overflow, dumping feces, condoms, industrial chemicals, and more into the Thames.
We’re talking about nearly 500,000 tons of raw sewage.
Naturally, the fish in the area were rather confused about it all and unaccountably decided to die. Thousands of them.
Crews are still cleaning up the foul mess. Funnily enough, one of the “fears” officials have is that another spill might happen, but not because of the disastrous environmental consequences, but because the Queen is coming down the river next month as part of the Queen’s Jubilee celebration.
Having the Queen in her royal barge, accompanied by her flotilla of 1,000 ships from around the world, sail down a Thames flooded with sewage would prove very embarrassing. This would be intolerable.
In the 1950s, the Thames was declared “biologically dead,” but has since made a great recovery. But massive sewage dumps like Sunday’s are becoming more common.
London is handicapped by an old, Victorian-era sewage system unable to keep up with modern demands. There are plans for a “super-sewer,” but no one seriously expects it to become a reality until 2020. Until then, sewage dumps like Sunday’s happen on average 60 times a year.
- City cuts sewage flow into Ottawa River (cbc.ca)
- Weatherwatch: Drought, river levels and the effect on wildlife (guardian.co.uk)
- Flooding sends sewage into yards, streets in some Memphis neighborhoods (knoxnews.com)