In the middle of the 19th century, Chicago embarked on a quest to literally lift itself out of the mud. Water couldn’t drain from the low-lying city, so its streets became impassable swamps. The most reasonable solution, Chicago decided, was just to raise the whole goddamn city by 4 to 14 feet.
There's gold in them thar sewers—and silver and platinum and copper, too. A study by Arizona State University (ASU) researchers estimates there is $13 million worth of precious elements in the sewage produced by a million-person city every year. Never think of sewage as stinky worthless waste again.
Venice Island, which officially opened this month in Philadelphia, has all the amenities you might expect from a nice city park—gardens, basketball court, amphitheater—but also something unexpected: a 4 million gallon sewage overflow tank. And you know what? A park built on top of the sewer is a very good thing.
California is wasting water, even when we don't realize it. Our aging underground water pipelines—in some cases nearly a century old—invariably spring leaks, thousands of them that add up to 23 billion gallons a year in California alone.
When it rains, it pours. It pours down streets, into sewers, and often right into people's basements. What if we could flood the abandoned basements and spare the occupied ones? Milwaukee has a novel sewer solution that just might be a silver lining in the foreclosure crisis.
If you remember President William Henry Harrison from U.S. history class at all, then you probably remember him as the poor fellow who died from pneumonia a month after delivering his inaugural address in freezing rain. Except was it really pneumonia after all? A New York Times article suggests a different theory, and…
Underground in places nobody likes to look, bacteria are doing terrible things to our sewage pipes. The concrete pipes that carry our waste are literally dissolving away, forcing engineers into a messy, expensive battle against tiny microbes.
When you flush the toilet, you're sending a lot of bad stuff into the sewer. But what you might not realize is that you're flushing away a lot of good stuff, too. That's why a team of German scientists have developed a method for recovering those valuable particles.
If you have ever been to San Francisco, then some part of you—or some former part of you—has almost certainly passed through the city's Southeast Wastewater Treatment Plant. But, considering how utterly vital it is to the city, the wastewater plant is also very much invisible, tucked away in a neighborhood no tourist…
Washington D.C. is overflowing with crap—and not just the sort spewed in Congress. Rather, its ancient sewage system regularly overflows, sending a literal river of poo into the city's waterways. Lady Bird is the name of the giant tunneling machine sent to stop it.
In this week's round-up of landscape reads, we've got sacred grounds, coffee grounds, and camping grounds.
Drug users might be less than forthright about their illicit habits—but they all have to pee. With that in mind, scientists are drug-testing entire sewer systems to study just how popular illegal drugs have become.
We all have to poop, but how we deal with it changes with age. For babies, it's diapers. For the elderly, it's, well, adult diapers. And, for most of the rest of us, it's toilet paper.
Among the things I found mortifying about my parents when I was a teenager was their habit of leaving buckets of pee in the bathroom. Instead of flushing all that phosphorous- and nitrogen-rich urine down the toilet, they saved it for our backyard vegetable garden. Pee as fertilizer has since—contrary to everything my…
When residents of Howard County, Maryland, flush their toilets, their sewage will soon end up at the NSA's new computer center several miles away. Collecting and storing so much data has been generating a whole lotta heat for the NSA—we mean this quite literally—and the agency's now buying treated wastewater to cool…
Gird your immune system because what you're about to read will make you sick. No, seriously, it's dangerous. Like Contagion-level dangerous.
Fake sugar found in Ontario's tap water can be traced back to… sewage. Artificial sweeteners originating in diet soft drinks and foods survive a pretty remarkable journey through our bodies, down the toilet, through the wastewater treatment plant, into rivers, and, finally, into the water flowing out of the tap all…
Who doesn't like smooth, exfoliated skin? How about fish living in the Great Lakes?
Though we may think we pump out roses when it's go time on the ivory throne, nobody in their right mind would actually want to keep those roses around. So flush them away and down the magical toilet they go! But where do they go? To the vague destination of the sewers. And then where? To the ocean? To the city…
When I saw the Burj Khalifa in real life I was truly stunned. The tallest skyscraper in the world defies belief. Today I learned something that also defies belief: all the poop produced there has to be removed by trucks.