The beauty of sewers before the first flush

Our cities' sewers are some of the most incredible structures in the built environment. In a new book, "An Underground Guide to Sewers: or: Down, Through and Out in Paris, London, New York, &c." historian Stephen Halliday explores the systems (and people) that deal with our shit so we don't have to. From the book description:

Halliday begins with sanitation in the ancient cities of Mesopotamia, Greece, and Imperial Rome, and continues with medieval waterways (also known as “sewage in the street”); the civil engineers and urban planners of the industrial age, as seen in Liverpool, Boston, Paris, London, and Hamburg; and, finally, the biochemical transformations of the modern city. The narrative is illustrated generously with photographs, both old and new, and by archival plans, blueprints, and color maps tracing the development of complex sewage systems in twenty cities. The photographs document construction feats, various heroics and disasters, and ingenious innovations; new photography from an urban exploration collective offers edgy takes on subterranean networks in cities including Montreal, Paris, London, Berlin, and Prague.

"An Underground Guide to Sewers: or: Down, Through and Out in Paris, London, New York, &c." (Amazon)

More images at Smithsonian: "These Photos Capture the World’s Sewer Systems When They Were Brand New"

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"This young man rose like Jesus," crap covered kid rescued from Easter sewer ride

Bursting through some old and rotten planks in an abandoned park buidling, 13 year-old Jessie Hernandez plummeted into the Los Angeles sewer system. The City of Fallen Angels spared no resource or technology in their 12 hour long search to save the young man.

Via RawStory:

"This young man rose like Jesus," said Bryant Jones, a city sanitation manager.

The search, which lasted 13 hours, was a desperate race against time, said Los Angeles Fire Department Capt. Erik Scott, because "survivability diminishes in that toxic environment."

The accident triggered a massive search, drawing more than 100 firefighters, police officers and sanitation workers. Crews used remote video cameras and other "Batman-like" tools to locate the boy in the vast network of pipes and cisterns, Scott said.

They had no idea where the boy might turn up, and questions lingered Sunday afternoon: Did the pipes contain fresh water or sewage? Did they lead to a treatment plant or the Los Angeles River? How far could Hernandez travel, and how fast?

"It's hard to get eyes on," Scott said of the sewer system. "Where is he? Where will he go?"

You've really gotta read the whole story. Read the rest

There's an 820-foot-long fatberg clogging an east London sewer

The latest fatberg (a hardened mass of condoms, nappies, wet wipes, fat, and other things that people insist on flushing down their toilets) (previously) to clog London's sewers is the Whitechapel whale, measuring 820 feet long, weighing 130 metric tonnes (as much as 11 double-decker buses) (this is a standard measure of fatbergs). Read the rest

Watch this huge water main explode in the middle of the road

near which the water pipe passed.

(KVN via DIGG)

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Mysterious green slimy foam emerges from Utah sewer

Salt Lake City area health officials are investigating a very strange green foam that's emerging from a sewer grate in Bluffdale, Utah. Residents are freaked out because the nearby Utah Lake waterway was recently shut down due to a large toxic algae bloom.

Resident Tara Dahl said she watched the foam "kind of bubbling a little bit, and then you got closer and you could see it start rising,"

According to the Salt Lake County Health Department though, this particular nasty green material is more likely the result of chemicals used for moss removal in Welby Canal. That said, Welby Canal connects to the Jordan River which links directly to, you guessed it, Utah Lake where the toxic algae is blooming.

Salt Lake County is running more tests.

(Fox 13 Salt Lake City) Read the rest

Man lost for 2 days in city drainage system

A fellow in Lawton, Oklahoma chased a twenty dollar bill he dropped down a storm drain and ended up lost in the city's pipe system for two days. Some young people finally heard his cries for help. According the KSWO, the man had minor scrapes and a bump on his head and couldn't recall how he had become disoriented. He is very lucky he didn't encounter any alligators or, worse, Mole Man. Read the rest

Dasparkhotel is a series of tubes

Dasparkhotel (The Park Hotel) is, literally, a series of tubes. Constructed from repurposed sewer pipes, each tiny room offers a double bed, storage space, a light, and the fun of an inside that is very nearly outside. Nearby are shared toilets, showers, a bar and coffee shop. [via Laughing Squid] Read the rest