Roman Empire

History of water supply, sanitation and drainage.
Wastewater Reuse Activities
Ancient China
Roman Empire
Islamic World
Medieval Europe
Classic and early modern Mesoamerica
Sewage farms for disposal and irrigation
Modern age
Bristol, Liverpool, London and other cities, UK

The ancient Romans settled near the Tiber River, and they used this river to their advantage. As they developed sophisticated new plumbing and sanitation techniques, they used the river as a disposal site for their waste from their advancing city. The Cloaca Maxima, on the world’s earliest sewage systems, had public toilets built above it and the waste from these facilities was transported through the sewers and into the Tiber.

The Romans were the first civilisation to invent indoor heating and plumbing. This meant that lead tubes and aqueducts were used to transport water to private households and to public spaces, like fountains. The use of lead for pipes to transport water occurred all over the Roman Empire and was thought to have caused lead poisoning within the empire. However, the risk from the lead pipes was actually minimised by the short time that the running water was in contact with the pipes and by the deposition of precipitation scale.

Complicated networks of sewers were created by the Romans between 46 BC and 400 AD in Britain and the United Kingdom. These were built out of elm logs that were hollowed out and formed into shapes that fit together and created a socket for the upstream pipe.

Islamic World