The Great Stink of London 1858
Image via Watervat.blogspot

Every day, more than 14 million people in London and the Thames River Valley flush down 2.8 billion liters of wastewater through the sewers. To ensure that it all keeps flowing dozens of “sewer flushers” patrol London’s largest sewers, dealing with serious pipe clogs and backups (caused primarily by cooking fats and oil waste). These fats congeal in the sewers, forming a thick layers of crud – we’ve looked at these fabled Fatbergs of London before on the RIONED Blog! The London sewer flushers deal with them every day in these historic sewers, helping keep the city and streets a cleaner and healthier place to live.

London’s sewer history goes back to the mid-1800’s, when the smell of untreated sewage was overwhelming the city. In those days cities and towns depended on cesspools and deep holes for their waste, far away from the city center. But as the cities grew the health and sanitation problems grew. During the summer heat wave of 1858 the stench was so unbearable that London became known as The Great Stink! That summer was the final straw – The Great Stink became the catalyst for creating a modern sewage system in London, an underground network of sewers that was necessary to solve the problems of smell and disease. The hugely expensive undertaking took 1,000 laborers eight years to build the more than 85 miles of brick sewers underneath London!

A look at Sewer maintenance equipment circa 1889

A look at Sewer maintenance equipment circa 1889

Today those sewers are watched over by the dedicated and celebrated sewer flushers, battling clogs and blockages and clearing around 80,000 obstructions a year in. Of course RIONED has its own storied history, and our international network is proud to be a part of modern solutions with superior technology and equipment, helping the rest of us in the ever vigilant job of keeping the pipes flowing!