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.
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.
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.
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.
As if you needed more evidence that texting is more dangerous than swine flu, a 15-year-old girl from Staten Island walked into an open manhole while texting. She's fine, don't worry, although she did lose a shoe in the sewer.