"Bazalgette's capacity for hard work was remarkable; every connection to the sewerage system by the various vestry councils had to be checked and Bazalgette did this himself and the records contain thousands of linen tracings with handwritten comments in Indian ink on them 'approved JWB'. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Bazalgette
London was in desperate straits in 1858, the year of The Great Stink when its cesspools overflowed into the Thames, the city's main water source. Fish or wildlife no longer lived in the river. Pedestrians covered their noses with handkerchiefs as they crossed the Thames. The London Parliament Buildings' curtains were soaked in lime to block out the stench. Thousands died from cholera, a water borne disease, as a result of drinking from it. Something had to be done (http://alinefromlinda.blogspot.ca/2011/06/great-stink.html).
Enter Joseph Bazalgette, the grandson of a French Protestant immigrant. Bazalgette's work ethic and foresight would save the city of London. The civil engineer planned the city's sewer system meticulously which would include 82 miles of underground brick main sewers and 1100 miles of street sewers serving to intercept the sewage before it landed in the River Thames.
But Bazalgette did not stop there. Knowing that London's size was increasing dramatically (it doubled from 1800 to 1850) he announced: "Well, we're only going to do this once and there's always the unforeseen." Bazalgette took the most densely populated area of London, gave each citizen the most generous allowance of sewage production and calculated the appropriate diameter of pipe required. Then he doubled it. As a result, London's sewer system, which would have overflowed in the 1960's, remains adequate for the city.
Bazalgette's system was officially opened by Edward, Prince of Wales in 1865. The effects were almost immediate. The stench disappeared. The rate of cholera and typhus dropped. And fish returned to the Thames; flounders were caught at Westminster (http://www.casebook.org/victorian_london/ridcholera.html).
It would take a full ten years for the London sewer system to be completed, with Bazalgette overseeing every detail. "Bazalgette's capacity for hard work was remarkable; every connection to the sewerage system by the various vestry councils had to be checked and Bazalgette did this himself and the records contain thousands of linen tracings with handwritten comments in Indian ink on them 'approved JWB'. It would be Bazalgette's greatest feat.
Joseph Bazalgette courtesy https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Bazalgette.