Wednesday, December 24

Des Egouts

Following our visit to the Musee Des Egouts De Paris, also known as the Paris sewer museum, I decide to read Victor Hugo's "Les Miserables."

Paris's first sewer system BTW was built in the 1200's: It consisted of open troughs that ran down the center of each cobblestone road. It was not esp effective and contributed to the spread of the Black Death.

The first underground sewer was built in 1370 beneath the Rue Montmartre, and drained into the Seine. The Sewers were expanded slowly during the next 400 years. However due to a lack of coverage beneath the city and widespread disrepair the sewers remained a problem. ..

Napoleon Bonaparte finally brought the sewers up to speed. In 1805, Bruneseau was commissioned to undertake the building of 182 new miles of sewer:

"The complete visitation of the subterranean sewer system of Paris occupied seven years, from 1805 to 1812. While yet he was performing it, Bruneseau laid out, directed and brought to an end some considerable works; in 1808 he lowered the floor of the Ponceau, and creating new lines everywhere, he extended the sewer... At the same time he disinfected and purified the whole network. (Les Miserables, Jean Valjean; Book II, Ch. 4)"

No other city has a sewer network that that of Paris whose tunnels stretch 2,100 kilometres. It houses, in addition to the drinking and non drinking water mains, telecommunication cables, pneumatic cables and traffic light management cables.  Every day, 1.2 million cubic metres of wastewater have to be collected. Every year, 15,000 cubic metres of solid waste are taken out and disposed of.

Me: "The first line of Les Mis .. ."
Kate: "Which is?"
Me: "In the year 1815 Monseigneur Charles-Francois-Bienvenu Myriel was Bishop of Digne."
Kate: "That's an auspicious start."