There are many societal developments we simply take for granted every day. One of these is our sewer systems. Civilization wouldn’t be what it is today without them. That’s why we wanted to take the time today to go over some fun facts about them so you can know a little bit more about them.
They Are Much Older Than You Would Think
Some of the oldest forms of sewer systems date back all the way back to ancient Rome at around 600 BC. The systems that would eventually become the fully public systems we’re used to first came about in the mid-1800s. (However, many large cities had their own experimental versions for hundreds of years before that.)
The Location of the Largest Sewage Treatment Plant
Most people think the largest city in the world would also be the one with the biggest sewage treatment plant. However, this isn’t the case. The largest one is in Cicero, IL. Granted, that plant is dealing with a majority of Chicago’s waste, but Chicago isn’t even the biggest city in America, let alone the world.
The Size of the Biggest “Fatberg”
If you haven’t heard of a fatberg before, imagine an iceberg floating around in the sewer system, only it’s made out of congealed fat. These disgusting things are the most common reason for sewage backups. The largest one was found in London. It was approximately the size of a bus, weighed over 16 tons, and was comprised of chunks of grease and wet wipes. (See, there’s a good reason why we’re told not to flush those.)
Things You Do on the Surface Can Affect Sewage Pipes
Determining who is responsible for problem pipes on your property can be a bit of a hassle, but it’s usually safe to assume the pipes will be your obligation. Because of that, you need to be careful what you do above them.
For example, it’s a bad idea to plant a tree near a sewage pipe since its roots will eventually break through the pipe. Also, constantly parking heavy vehicles or machinery over them will eventually crush or bend them, leading to even more backup problems.
Billions of People Still Don’t Have Access To Them
Despite their necessity to modern life, over two billion people still don’t have access to sewer systems. This contributes to the passing of diseases that would otherwise never be an issue these days. It’s a problem that desperately needs to get fixed.