The Roman Empire is in many ways the highest point of sewage management (and other public works) in the ancient world. Famous for public baths and latrines with quite complex engineering, Rome also excelled in the use of covered drains for storm water and sewage, with some houses connected directly to the drainage system. Water conveyance in large-scale aqueducts was another impressive accomplishment. With the spread of the Roman Empire into Europe and the Mideast, these technologies were introduced across large geographic areas, but the knowledge was largely lost in the Middle Ages.

See Tracking Down the Roots of Our Sanitary Sewers for more information.

Samuel M. Gray, Proposed Plan for a Sewerage System, and for the Disposal of the Sewage of the City of Providence (Providence: Providence Press Company, Printers to the City, 1884), Appendix A, pp. 3-116 and Plates I – XVI and XXIII.

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Harold Farnsworth Gray, “Sewerage in Ancient and Medieval Times,” Sewage Works Journal, Volume 12, No. 5 (Sept. 1940), pp. 939 – 946. Reprinted with permission from Sewage Works Journal. Copyright 1940 Water Environment Federation, Alexandria, VA.

See pages 942-943 for section on Rome.

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F. E. Turneaure and H. L. Russell, Public Water-Supplies – Requirements, Resources, and the Construction of Works (New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1916), pp. 1-3, 5, 7-14.

See pages 2-8 for section on Rome.

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Marion Elizabeth Blake, Ancient Roman Construction in Italy from the Prehistoric Period to Augustus (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1947), pp. 159-161.

Construction of the Cloaca Maxima.


Steven J. Burian, Stephan J. Nix, S. Rocky Durrans, Robert E. Pitt, Chi-Yuan Fan, and Richard Field, “The Historical Development of Wet Weather Flow Management” (Internet publication).

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James L. Foil, Joel A. Cerwick, James E. White, “Collection Systems Past and Present,” Operations Forum Magazine, Volume 10, Number 12 (December 1993). Used with permission.

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Jon C. Schladweiler, Historian, Arizona Water &  Pollution Control Association, “Cloacina: Goddess of the Sewers,” 2006.

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FOR REFERENCE: See also Cloacina  and The Shrine of Cloacina