17 Aug. 17

Science behind The Sewer Maps

Maps codify the miracle of existence, “Nicholas Crane.” Modern sewerage and drainage system is the representation of civilised society. The ruins of the Indus valley civilisation in Asia shows the sign of structured sanitation. The Indus Valley city of Lothal in 2350 BC had toilets in every home with brick work covered sewers. It is the significance of Indus valley that it contained atavistic world’s most sophisticated sewage system. Now due to the sewers covered designs it present a problem with finding its exact location for maintenance purposes. To solve this issue, we use maps.

Mapping/cartography is a vast field in itself. It was first started by Babylonians in 2300 BC, and the Greeks mastered it. In the 17th, 18th and 19th century, scientific methods were applied to cartography which improved its accuracy significantly. In the 1970’s and 1980’s; GIS (Geographic Information System) was introduced which is the basis of the modern mapping system.

Covered sewers and maps being a code of existence complete the whole picture of the science behind the sewer maps.

To understand the extent of these pipelines and waste drainage let’s get into the city of London. London sewer system is handling 25 million tons of waste every year. There are an estimated 400000 Kilometers of sewers in the UK.

Maps are the most important component of modern drainage, sewer, and sanitation system. There are miles and miles of sewer networks under our cities. Similarly, there is a huge network of pipes hidden in the walls and grounds of commercial buildings.

Every home contains a bathroom and kitchen which requires drainage. Now managing this massive network of pipes, sewer needs accurate mapping, which provides guidance in case of a problem. With the explosion of information technology; more reliable techniques are established to chart or map the system. One of the methods used is to open the manhole and do a dye test; pretty easy but the results are also insufficient.

Another technique is to use sonar technology; sonar is a device which uses sound propagation to detect objects. This method is valuable in cases where there are limited manholes, and you want to calculate the depth of the sewer system. Sometimes you need more details, to find the full structure of the sewer system, the construction of pipes and any defects in the system, in this case, you need a camera inspection.

Mapping or charting the sewer and drainage system is critical. There can be many reasons for it; it helps you to understand exact location of the system so that you cannot damage it accidentally; it contributes to understanding the conditions of the sewer and drainage; it identifies the current problems and helps to prevent future issues

Before applying these techniques, it is often a standard procedure to clean the whole system. It is also important to note down that most of the time a combination of these techniques is used.