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Some of the Most Amazing Feats of Plumbing Engineering In History

Modern-day plumbing has improved the living conditions for people all over the world. A successful plumbing system is at the root of every successful nation. Without good plumbing infrastructure disease and sickness can run rampant. Over the course of history, there have been many improvements to the way our plumbing works today. Here are some of the most amazing feats in plumbing.

The Roman Aqueducts

The Cloaca Maxima is one of the world’s first and most advanced sewer systems of its time. The name literally means “greatest sewer”. Built during the Roman Empire. The Cloaca Maxima consisted of a serious of 11 aqueducts and thousands of miles of pipes to bring clean water into the city and remove wastewater away from the city. The first aqueduct was the Aqua Appia built in 312 B.C., it was 16.4 kilometers long and delivered 75,500 cubic meters of water daily to the Forum Boarium, a major stage for trade and commerce. The largest aqueduct was the Appia Marica, it was 56 miles long and capable of supplying 49,600,00 gallons of water a day to the Viminal Hill in the north of Rome, and from there to the CaelianAventinePalatine, and Capitoline regions of the city. The Appa Vergine, is still in use today, being built in 19 B.C. Despite the sheer impressiveness of the Roman Aqueducts, one of their downfalls was using lead in their pipes. Lead poisoning can lead to neurological disorders, sterilization, and birth defects. Lead poisoning is thought to be one of the main reasons why Rome fell.

The London Sewer System

The London Sewer system of today was developed in the 19th century. Before its development raw sewage and waste was delivered right into the Thames River. This arose in an overgrowth of bacteria and made London wreak of sewage. During the heatwave of 1858, as the heat warmed the Thames River, the stench rose to epic proportions and became known as the “Great Stink”. Poor plumbing hygiene and contamination of drinking water is also what is responsible for the Cholera outbreak in the mid-1800s.  The modern London Sewer system was designed by Joseph Bazelgette, London’s chief civil engineer, his design was composed of 6 sewer channels stretching almost 100 miles long each, they diverted wastewater away from the city. It took thousands of workers years to construct, 318 million bricks, and 880,000 cubic feet of concrete to build. Over the years the system can be improved and maintained, but it maintains Bazelgette’s original design.

Tokyo’s G Can Drainage System

Tokyo’s G Can Drainage system is the most advanced floodwater diversion system in the world. The project was started in 1992 and completed in 2006 and is in place to help divert water during heavy rains and typhoons. This advanced system is comprised of 5 concrete silos each 213 feet deep and 105 feet wide. These silos are connected to almost 4 miles of tunnels that lead the water to a 580 tank also known as the “Underground Temple”. This tank is connected to several 14,000 horsepower turbines and 78 water pumps that can pump 200 tons of water per second to the Edogawa River.

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