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i find this idea of carrying raw sewage via the canals rather interesting. Not too many years ago the idea was put forward to move large quantities of fresh water down country via the canal network. This didn't happen either. Someone must have read about Weils disease or Leptospirosis. commonly thought to be caused or carried in Rats Urine.
I don't think the idea of moving water by canals has entirely disappeared. Any diseases in the water would be removed by treatment. After all much water used in some areas of the country is now abstracted frommrivers, which also might contain these pathogens. I seem to remember reading somewhere that by the time water from (I think) the Thames reaches the sea it has already been consumed several times during its journey. Not sure where I saw it though.