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Early warnings planned when sewage spills into Thames

PUBLISHED: 08:00 22 October 2009 | UPDATED: 15:06 05 October 2010

ROWERS and canoeists on the Thames are to be alerted about sewage flowing into the river. Boris Johnson has agreed to calls on the London Assembly to create an early warning' system for river users whenever there's heavy rain

By Mike Brooke

ROWERS and canoeists on the Thames are to be alerted about sewage flowing into the river.

Boris Johnson has agreed to calls on the London Assembly to create an 'early warning' system for river users whenever there's heavy rain.

The mayor's support came in response to a question by Liberal Democrat Opposition group leader Mike Tuffrey, who said: "Untreated sewage pouring into the Thames is associated with the Victorian era.

"But disgracefully it still happens in the 21st century in one of the most developed capitals in the world."

River users are risking bacteria and viruses, he warned, with 32 million cubic metres of untreated sewage overflowing into the river every year.

London's proposed 'Tideway tunnel' to divert sewage further down the estuary is years away from being built.

Meanwhile, heavy rain flushing through the ageing Victorian sewers continues overflowing into the river, the Assembly was warned.

So an 'early warning' system is being drawn up to be in place "as quickly as possible" for river users when untreated sewage is in danger of getting into the Thames.

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