Just in time for my visit this week, a new report declares the River Thames no longer dead:
In 1858, sewage clogging London's Thames River caused a "Great Stink." A century later, parts of the famed waterway were declared biologically dead.
But the latest report on "The State of the Thames" is sounding a surprisingly optimistic note.
The river today is "home to myriad wildlife as diverse as London itself," Andrew Terry, the director of conservation and policy at the Zoological Society of London, writes in a forward to the report published Wednesday. Terry points to "reductions in pressures and improvements in key species and habitats."
The report highlights several promising trends. But it also cautions that work still needs to be done in other areas, and warns of the negative impact of climate change on the river, which is a major source of water for the city.
There is a possible fix on the horizon. London is currently building a "super sewer" project, which is called the Thames Tideway Tunnel and is due for completion in 2025.
"Once operational it will capture and store most of the millions of tonnes of raw sewage that currently overflow into the estuary," the report says.
I will not, however, go for a swim in the Thames on this trip.
The last bit interests me. In many ways, Europe surged ahead of the US technologically and socially in the last 50 years. Apparently, though, London is just now working on the equivalent of Chicago's Deep Tunnel, which we started in the 1970s.
Meanwhile, back home, Chicago resident Jarrett Knize caught a 33.9 kg carp in the Humboldt Park Lagoon on Sunday, which if certified will be the biggest carp ever caught in Illinois. The Humboldt Park Lagoon is about the size of the Serpentine in London's Hyde Park, and about as urban. No word from the possibly decade-old carp about how it got into the lagoon in the first place.