Herculean Conservation Project

The ancient city of Herculaneum

Were the ancient Romans the spiritual inspiration behind the modern-day environmental engineer?

I can’t say for certain, but you do read some interesting facts about all of those ancient aqueducts and their vital role in the development of civilization. A potentially equally important Roman development that dealt with water transportation was the sewer system. 

A recent article from Municipal Sewer & Water entitled “Learning from the Ancients” describes a sewer system for the ancient Italian cityHerculaneum, which was buried underneath 60 feet of debris in 76 AD by the eruption ofMt.Vesuvius. This Blog’s title plays on the city name, but is also intended as a compliment to the huge effort of the archeologists responsible for preserving and studyingHerculaneum’s sewer system.

Technological advances, including “closed” systems to reduce odor, rounded corners to improve flow rate and use of septic tanks for collection of material that was subsequently used as fertilizer were all Roman innovations. While reading this article about a 2,000-year-old sewer system that was still mostly intact, I thought, “What if they lined it with Induron’s industry-leading Protecto 401?” Not only might the system be in better physical shape, it might still be in working order!

On a more serious note, it could be argued that necessity breeds innovation, sinceHerculaneumwas home to approximately 4,000 residents living in close proximity. However, I believe that the Romans were just plain good at working with water and were the inspiration behind modern environmental engineering!

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