Thursday, 13 February 2014

The History Of Sewers And How They Were Started

Hello my fellow learners, today’s topic is about the history of the plain old sewer system. Ok I know boring right. Well read on you may be quite surprised with what you learn?

Well, it seems that there is some controversy on who exactly invented the first sewerage system, the common consensus say that those blood thirst Romans are at it again, and they were the first people to invent, and use a sewerage system.  While others state that a Londoner called Joseph Bazalgette was the first to implement them in the 19th century.  So let’s see why this gentleman decided to do this.

Anyone who knows their history will remember the cholera epidemic raging in London from around 1853 to 1854, which killed over 10,000 people. At the time people mistakenly thought it was due to foul smelling air, thus creating the phrase the Great Stink in 1858. People living in or around the Thames area were more affected by this smell. Our ingenious Mr. Bazalgette rightly concluded that the foul water from the old sewers, combined with all the underground rivers was creating a putri dish for cholera. By 1866 Joseph devised a network of sewers to divert all this dirty water to a treatment water works.  

However, this gentleman was not the person who actually invented the sewer system. So let’s get back to those Romans. Call them what you will, but you have to admit they were technologically advanced for their time period. Many historians believe Romans made the first sewer system between 800 and 735 BC give or take a few years. These clever Romans built a channel and named it

The Cloaco Maxima, which I have to ask, what was it with these people that everything ended with a max or maximus???? Your comments on this question would be interesting. Anyway, to get back to the topic. This was originally built for the land surrounding the forum, and the sewers were slowly built around it.  All of the contents from the Cloaco Maxima were dumped into the Tiber. However, and there is always a but, most of the commoners just dumped all their waste into the street, which eventually led to the main drain and was swept away.

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