Vancouver winning manhole cover designs announced

By Mike Hager, Vancouver Sun

June 2, 2013

Winners: Andrew Dexel and Nigel Dembicki. Photograph by: Jenelle Schneider , Vancouver Sun.

The City of Vancouver crowd-sourced out the design of its new manhole covers over the weekend, awarding $2,000 each to two local artists whose stylized covers will help city workers distinguish stormwater run-off sewers from those carrying sewage.

Young artists Andrew Dexel and Nigel Dembicki’s distinct designs were selected, for sanitary and stormwater covers respectively, from a short list of 28 submissions.

Almost 1,100 people submitted designs to the judging panel, vying to have their art immortalized on city streets for up to 100 years. In 2004, the last time the city’s public art and engineering departments worked together on manhole cover design, the city received 640 entries.

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From Waste Water to Drinking Water


Thames Water to Transform London’s Sewage into Drinking Water for Entire Population

Article by: Timon Singh

London photo from Shutterstock

“Thames Water, the company that provides drinking water for the city of London, has unveiled a new long-term strategy that will recycle sewage to provide drinking water for the entire population. The strategy looks to address the challenges the city will face in the next 25 years as the population the company serves grows from 9 million to 10.4 million by 2040. This will increase demand by between 230 and 340 million liters per day, with about 80 per cent of this rise expected in London.

Sewer photo from Shutterstock

As an added result, the population in London’s wastewater area is forecast to rise from 14 million to 16 million over the same period. This will put more pressure on Thames Water‘s sewage works and will increase the volume of sludge they will need to treat and recycle.

Unsurprisingly, this plan has not sat well with everyone, however as Simon Evans, a Thames Water spokesman said to The Guardian, “It’s all about making sure there is enough water to go around, now and in the future.”
In addition to recycling waste water, Thames Water is also planning to spend the next decade fixing leaky pipes, installing water meters and encouraging people to get their 160 liters-a-day usage down to 150 liters. However sewage recycling will have to play a key part.

Speaking to The Guardian, Dr Andrew Singer, a microbiologist at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology said, “If there is no further treatment of the sewage before they inject it into the rivers, that could have implications for things that live in the river. The drinking water facility would have to be aware that they are starting off with so much more sewage – the pharmaceuticals in sewage are quite resistant to breaking down, so they would have to work that much harder to make sure the drinking water doesn’t have these chemicals in it. It’s a problem that can be solved by throwing money at it. Whether the rivers are any better off for it, you can look at it two ways – the river will have more water in it, which is a good thing, but the water is going to be from sewage effluent and that’s more of an unknown.” ”

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Sewers as Art?

Found in ‘The Atlantic Cities’

The Man Who Turns Toronto’s Sewers Into Art

by Eric Jaffe Apr 29, 2013

“Many city residents prefer not to think about the underground network of dark and dirty pipes that carry their water and waste somewhere … else. Michael Cook isn’t one of them. On the contrary, Cook goes out of his way to explore and illuminate all types of drain systems winding below his native metropolitan Toronto, as a means of raising awareness about city sewage problems.

“One of the reasons that it’s been so difficult to get traction around the issues of water in the city is that the infrastructure is completely invisible,” he says.

The 30-year-old Cook has been documenting Toronto tunnels for about a decade, often posting images at his blog, The Vanishing Point. At first he’d check where certain creeks disappeared from street maps to find outfalls or other points of entry. (“My back hurts thinking about some of the places I stumbled through back then,” he says.) He’s since expanded his operation to the complete network of sewers — combined, storm, overflow, and relief pipes, among them — that stretch across the city.”

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Photo Credit: Michael Cook. North York Storm Trunk Sewer (2013)

Photo Credit: Michael Cook. Spadina Storm Trunk Sewer (2013)

Photo Credit: Michael Cook. Parkside Relief Sewer (2013)

Photo Credit: Michael Cook. East Toronto Combined Sewer (2013)

Photo Credit: Michael Cook. Lavender Creek Sewer (2013)