The History of the Sewer System

The modern sewer system is an essential piece of infrastructure in any developed area. It keeps cities clean and prevents health issues associated with poor hygiene and exposure to waste. The sewer systems that we encounter on a day-to-day basis have been developed and refined over the course of thousands of years. In fact, many of the same technologies that were used in ancient societies are still present in some form today, and in use by your local septic service in Bethel, OH. Let’s take a look at how these systems have developed through time:

  • Early drainage systems: The earliest draining systems have been dated back to nearly 4000 BCE. These early systems were not nearly as sophisticated as the ones we are familiar with today. In the Mesopotamian Empire, drains were constructed of cut stone or bricks, and there were storm water drains in the streets.
  • Piping: The earliest known use of a pipe was dated back to 4000 BCE in Babylonia. This pipe was made from clay and was shaped and molded using a potter’s wheel into pipe. Tees and angle joints were also crafted to create drainage pipe systems. Later on, in Rome, water was distributed through the use of lead pipes. These pipes were made from sheets of lead that were cut into strips 10 feet wide and then molded around a wood mandrel and joined with a low-melting alloy.
  • Latrines: Early latrines in the Mesopotamian Empire consisted of holes located over perforated cesspools that collected the waste. Later on, in Egypt and Palestine, toilets used beds of sand to catch waste, which was then cleaned out by servants. Around 200 BCE in China, there is evidence of a latrine used by royalty that featured running water, a stone seat and even a comfortable armrest. During the Roman Empire, there were latrines located in public baths, which usually didn’t have privacy partitions. In some cases, latrines were even used by Roman officials and visiting dignitaries during negotiations.
  • Public sewer systems: Between 3000 and 2000 BCE during the Indus civilization, most people had access to some degree of sanitation services. This included latrines and storm drains that were connected to a public sewer system. Wealthier individuals would have latrines located on the street side of their homes that connected to sewers in the streets.
  • Complex drainage systems: More complex systems for water and drainage were developed during the Roman Empire between 800 and 300 BCE. By using aqueducts, wells were supported and the streets were frequently washed to discard any waste into the sewer system. Some homes were even plumbed directly into the sewers so that waste would be directed to the public drainage system.

Sewer systems have come a long way since the brick drains found in the Mesopotamian Empire. At Gullett Sanitation Services Inc., we can provide you with superior sewer and septic service in Bethel, OH to fit your needs. We employ modern techniques and technologies to provide exceptional service to our customers. Our team of certified professionals would be more than happy to assist you with your sanitation needs—simply give us a call to find out more about all of the services that we offer!

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