I woke up this morning and noticed that it was raining. I love the rain. However, as I look out the window I am reminded of an article I read in the Economist (Nov. 5, 2011) a few months ago. During the Victorian age, Joseph Bazalgette designed London’s 21,0000-kilometre sewerage system. His system made living in London more pleasant since it helped eradicate cholera and improved the smells in the city. His goal was to make a system that would last over the years. But in today’s world the population is larger and there are more city streets than parks causing more run-off. Rain water and sewage end up in the system. His system has a safety valve for when it is overflowing. If this happens the waste ends up in the River Thames.
Now once a week the safety valve opens up and dumps raw sewage into the river. If it rains two millimeters in one hour it could cause a release. Each year, 39m tonnes of untreated waste heads for the river. Where does it go? It eventually ends up in the sea.
As I sit here looking out the window sipping my tea, I wonder how much it has rained during the night.
Here are some photos of the Thames. It is such a lovely river.