Storms Send Tons of Sewage into London’s Thames River

Up to a million tons of raw sewage were pumped into the Thames River this week as London’s aged sewer system was overcome by torrential rain. We’ll pause a moment here while you try to wipe the image of a million tons of sewage from your mind. Wait, did we say “wipe”? Anyway, predictably enough, the poop, toilet paper, condoms, and other assorted excreta did not sit well with the river’s fish, thousands of which promptly died from lack of oxygen. Experts say it will take years for fish stocks to recover. Thames Water, the private company charged with managing the river’s quality, defends its decision to dump poop in the river by saying that the other choice was having it flow into the streets and homes of London. Ew. But enviros point out that some overflow happens almost every time it rains, and that the city’s antiquated sewage system — some of which dates back to the 1840s — was a disaster waiting to happen.