David Walliams' next obstacle in Thames swim: raw sewage
Saturday 10 September 2011
David Walliams has had to deal with hypothermia, diarrhoea and stomach cramps as part of his attempt to swim the length of the Thames. Now the comedian faces his greatest obstacle yet: 500,000 cubic metres of raw sewage.
Thames Water began diverting the effluent into the London stretch of the river following heavy rainfall on Monday night. The city's Victorian sewers were unable to cope and the company acted legally to avoid domestic pipes backing up. The sewage is unlikely to wash away before the comedian finishes his 140-mile challenge in aid of Sport Relief.
Richard Aylard, director of sustainability at Thames Water, said: "We've been in touch with David Walliams and he'll have to make his own decisions. We're not public health experts but I wouldn't recommend swimming through it."
Tidal conditions mean it could take as long as a month for all the waste to reach the sea.
David Harvey of the Thames Anglers Conservancy said: "Whoever's advising [Walliams] needs to take a reality check. I fear for him. He's basically swimming through diluted effluent."
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