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Activists Discover Evidence of St. Petersburg's River of Poop

poopriver

The mysterious fragrance of St. Petersburg's waterways. Images edited by Kevin Rothrock.

There’s a river of shit running through St. Petersburg. It starts in a little town called Novoye Devyatkino and flows into the Neva, where it empties into Neva Bay and then the Gulf of Finland. Locals for some time have sniffed with suspicion at the waterways from Novoye Devyatkino, but a group of ecologists now says it has proof that human feces are sailing unfiltered through St. Petersburg.

Two weeks ago, a group of St. Petersburg ecologists conducted a test in Novoye Devyatkino, a suburb about 12 miles outside the city, of the local sewer system. In a study they titled “Feces Travel,” the activists dropped ten miniaturized, waterproofed GPS-tracking units down the toilet of a single apartment home and began mapping the devices’ signals. On their website, the ecologists claim the trackers spilled out directly into the open-air waterways outside the building, without encountering even the most rudimentary sewage filtration. From Novoye Devyatkino, five of the devices reached the open waters of Neva Bay, where the units’ batteries appear to have died.

Map of the GPS-trackers' paths. Via koprotravel.info.

Map of the GPS-trackers’ paths. Via koprotravel.info.

Some on the Internet have questioned the ecologists’ results, doubting that GPS units would be able to broadcast a signal from underground. Many of these objections are based on the misunderstanding that the ecologists were tracking GPS units in sewer lines. According to those behind the experiment, however, the trackers—along with anything else one tends to flush down the toilet in Novoye Devyatkino—never made it underground to the sewers: they spilled into the streams directly outside, without slipping through so much as a net.

Some questions, however, do remain about the experiment. On October 29, the ecologists published a video explaining what they did, featuring a woman who identifies herself as Evgenia Dolgova. In the video, Dolgova displays a small gumball-sized item when explaining the use of GPS-trackers (see photo below). The video then flashes a few stock photographs of two different types of waterproof GPS-trackers: the TKSTAR LK109 and the Twin Mask MT-90.

Evgenia Dolgova shows off one of the GPS-trackers supposedly used in "Feces Travel."

Evgenia Dolgova shows off one of the GPS-trackers supposedly used in “Feces Travel.”

Both these devices have a battery life of about 160 hours, making it possible to receive signals for almost a week, but the units’ faces are almost four square inches, making it hard to believe that either of these two trackers was the object between Dolgova’s fingers in the YouTube video.

On November 17, after learning about the experiment in Novoye Devyatkino, some of the area’s residents started posting complaints on the local utility company’s webpage, uploading photographs of their utility bills and circling in red the 200-ruble (about $4) fee for sewage service. The ecologists’ website, which has been experiencing temporary outages that they attribute to hackers, now includes a link to these complaints.

Update (November 18, 2014): RuNet Echo was able to contact the ecologists responsible for this experiment, and we learned that the trackers they used were not the same devices displayed in their YouTube video. According to the group, they customized their own Chinese-made GPS/GLONASS units, which they enclosed in small waterproof containers. The containers were each filled with a small air bubble, to make them float. Each unit was also covered in a salt mixture, which apparently allowed the devices to sink initially. After that mixture dissolved, the trackers began floating again, making it possible to emit a signal. The ecologists say the units’ batteries are set to economize power, sending a single signal once an hour, meaning that some of the trajectories shown on the map above are based on guesswork.
  • Andreos

    Use of this photo is immature. By the way, none of GPS trackers made it to Moika (on photo), they have gone to Neva and beyond, as it is supposed to be.

    • This Is Not My Name

      Which picture is immature exactly? And how much is Putin paying you per comment?

      • Andreos

        1. You are an idiot. 2. You are an idiot.

      • Visitor

        I think it’s the picture where a girl is holding a GPS-device. However, why “Andreos” finds it immature is a question.
        Therefore, his comment is irrelevant and won’t be paid.

        • Andreos

          And yours? How much are you payed by comment?

    • Robbie Eginton

      Maybe, but I’m pretty sure it’s about as bad if poop is flowing through the Neva in general as if it’s in the Moika? Also, the canal system in general is heavily connected to the Neva, so…

      • Andreos

        Water flows from the rivers into the Baltic sea (the direction where the Neva goes), not some other place.

  • Lexxvs

    Not a problem for Russians. They have a shortcut for these kinds of problems: kill whoever reports the truth, even when they already have control of the media, laws included, so they can live in a parallel reality. The old (old, old, old) Russian way.

    • Andreos

      You are crazy

      • Lexxvs

        Argumentum ad hominem.

        • Andreos

          OK. There was zero arguments in your statement regarding the article. Why did you post it?

          • Lexxvs

            If you see no argument in my post why should I try to explain yet another thing to you? Sorry, that’s the teacher’s work of the educational system of your country. Or what is left of it.

          • Andreos

            Your comment was not in any way connected with the article. Why did you post it? Do you have a sort of speech incontinence? I fear that the educational system of your country is in danger.

          • Lexxvs

            Straw man fallacy.

          • Andreos

            No, really, what’s the connection of “kill whoever reports the truth, even when they already have control of the media, laws included, so they can live in a parallel reality” with the special features of the sewers in St. Pete?

          • Lexxvs

            Social idiosyncrasy.

          • Andreos

            No, it’s the absence of logic on your side. You may post this “kill whoever reports the truth, even when they already have control of the media, laws included, so they can live in a parallel reality” on any topic related to Russia. And this really looks like you are paid by your comment. You don’t need to read the article.

          • Lexxvs

            I am completely logical. But this never was a shouting match, even if that is how things are done in wherever country you are from. I wonder what makes you think that opinions need payment… mmmm… oh, I see. The idiosyncrasy of your country fits well as an explanation.

          • Andreos

            “I am completely logical”. No, you are not. Because you are not capable to answer a very simple question. And that is because you have no idea what you are talking about. That’s called logic. And about your country… There is something wrong with education down there. Looks like even primary education is in trouble

          • Lexxvs

            It is as if you think that by repeating things over and over again those things become true. Nothing wrong with that, that is how religious minds work and clearly your mind works with that magical oriented ritualistic principle too. I am sadden with the situation of your country, really. I hope they get on their feet again and can have a nice perspective of a future again. But it will take time and the kind of education you seem to misunderstand.

          • Andreos

            You still didn’t provide any explanation. So, looks like those dots connect only inside your brain. No one else beside you sees here no connection. You comments looks like they are writtten not by a human, but bya brainless bot. You could copy-paste them in any discusstion. Not sure if bots need education at all or whether they can give advices to humans on any kind of issues.

          • Lexxvs

            Your comment has several grammar mistakes, so that confirms that English must be hard for you as a non native speaker. Nevertheless practicing here or anywhere else will help you improve and therefore better understand what people write. By the way if I am a bot you act as an efficient nitwit, like a cat chasing a laser pointer. Keep on trying and give my condolences to mother Russia.

          • Andreos

            If I had any respect for you I would try to write something without mistakes because in that case I would spend more time. But I don’t. I’m just interested the still missing link between the situation with sewers in St. Pete and “kill whoever reports the truth, even when they already have control of the media, laws included, so they can live in a parallel reality”. As an experienced bot researcher I’m interested where else I can find this type of cut-n-paste job

          • Lexxvs

            You are going to make me cry. I am deeply sorry for you, really. To think that I may have offended you when you don’t have the adequate instruments to counter a proper debate and therefore just used you to chit chat makes me feel sorry. You are right, I didn’t take you seriously. Again, I am sorry and your English is neither that bad nor your intelligence so low, you just lack a little experience with bots and obviously your country didn’t provide you with the tools for proper confrontation other than trying to resource to call naming or conspiracy theories. I responded you but you still are oblivious, maybe you don’t understand sociology as to understand what social idiosyncrasy comprises and hence you feel unanswered. Send your family a happy Christmas back in Russia and help them out if you can too. It was never about the Russians but about their corruption by the way.

          • Andreos

            So, you are still trying to connect the dots between the sewers and “kill whoever reports the truth, even when they already have control of the media, laws included, so they can live in a parallel reality”. You tried to use sociology. Sociology has nothing to do with this, Try logic, ok? No, logic is too complicated for you. May be something about where and how the water flows. Something from the primary school geography course. “but about their corruption by the way”. Wow, how corruption comes into play now? We still didn’t find the link between sewers and killings & MSM. I understand that you think in stereotypes, but that doesn’t help too.

          • Lexxvs

            Ok Ivan, take this basics: “Sociology is the academic study of social behavior, its origins, development, organization, and institutions” http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/sociology . If you can not see that everything human relates to sociology, then you have to begin from the very beginning, again, that’s a subject they may never have taught you in School. Here there is something for you to deride yet again http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_corruption . And then and as I said, you don’t even understand what logic is, you may think that may be a system used in Vulcan to answer people like Mr. Spock did in Star Trek. If you can not understand that from government and social corruption derives that in spite of St. Petersburg being a big and beautiful city who taxes their residents for the service their black waters find their way to the Neva Bay “without encountering even the most rudimentary sewage filtration” then there is no point into trying to debate with you. If you fail to see what is wrong as Russians seem to do in general, then they are destined to fail. Unless you define the quality of life in Russia as a victory, if that is the case then Russians have a joyful experience right now and will have plenty of those in the future to come.

          • Andreos

            Wow, you’ve finally try to make your argument. Probably even read the article. 1.Somehow you probably believe that sociology has nothing to do with logic, but it would take too much time to tell you that it does. Most likely you have no idea what sociology is, because sociology mostly uses mathematical methods as major instruments. 2. But there is still a problem – connection of the situation with sewers and corruption :))) So, you said that the sewers are bad. And now you still need to show the connection between this and your previous statements. I understand that you don’t get it, so I’ll try to give you an example. I. So, the sewers are bad because they don’t provide the filtering they have to provide according to the regulation number … here go technical details regarding the experiment. II. There were money allocated to change the situation according to budget regulation number …, but they were stolen. III. Current situation is a violation of the regulation N… I understand that it is very hard for you, but you still can try. That is called causal connection. By the way, Russians have joyful situation right now. Quality of life in Russia is higher than in some of the EU countries (mostly poor). So far Russia made it to the OECD Better Life Index. But there is a lot to change.

          • Lexxvs

            Here are some words for you to study in detail: deranged, delusional, bogus, pseudo, false, deluded. Nah, what I am pretending. Keep up asserting things that only you and the victims of your country can believe. Bye Ivan. See your extended family in some food stamp line in Russia if they even get those there, while acting as they are going to the cinema or something.

          • Andreos

            There are food stamps in US, but no food stamps in Russia. Funny, right?

          • Andreos

            You can’t even insult someone online. Pathetic.

          • Andreos

            “I wonder what makes you think that opinions need payment… mmmm..” Let me elaborate, if touy don’t get it. In country called the Ukraine SEO people are second national popular occupation after hookers abroad (outside Ukraine). SEO people are often payed by clicks and tweets

    • This Is Not My Name

      Same as it ever was

  • This Is Not My Name

    I fail to see why this is a problem. The Russian people have demonstrated many times that they are incapable of running a country. They topple one government and replace it with the same old same old. River of shit? No problem here folks.

    • Andreos

      You fail to see why this is problem for you because you are…

      • This Is Not My Name

        Aww did I hurt your feelings Andreos? Go ask mommy to put a bandaid on your butthurt.

        • Andreos

          Wow! Butthurt! You should be Russian

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  • paseo del morte

    Acccording to this article this location near St Petersburg has the “new” modernized sewer system.

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  • Purple Rainman

    A river of poop. You should know better.

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