Thames Vitality Oxygenation Boat

The water quality of the River Thames is some of the best of any rivers flowing through major cities, but the fact remains the majority of London’s major sewage infrastructure was built by the Victorians well over 100 years ago. That it has lasted so long in a growing city speaks volumes about the Victorian engineers and builders.

Joseph Bazalgette could see that the population of London was only going to increase and so designed the sewerage system he built handle far more than was then being produced. London’s sewers now frequently operate close to capacity – it only takes a significant rainfall to happen before the sewers overspill into the River Thames.

The completion of the Thames Tideway Super Sewer will drastically increase the capacity of London’s sewage network, but until it comes into use sewage will continue to infrequently overflow into the River Thames.

Sewage entering the River Thames substantially reduces the levels of oxygen dissolved within the river’s water which then affects the marine life. This is where the Thames Vitality (pictures) and Thames Bubbler, operated by Thames Water, come into play. They are specialised boats that can dissolve up to 30 tons of oxygen into the river’s water to safeguard the marine life for the duration of the pollution incident.

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