Water Supply and Wastewater Management in the Medieval

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Monasteries founded by Cistercians, Premonstratensians and Benedictines in Europe during the 12th and 13th centuries were exemplary business undertakings for that time. Besides the monks and the abbot, numerous lay persons worked and prayed there, all requiring a reliable source of water. Frequently, a monastery was placed near a river and a ditch was dug, which was laid with a necessary gradient through the area of the monastery. Figure 1.4 presents a system for water supply and wastewater discharge as a fundamental concept (Bond 1991).

Different Parts Medieval Monastery
Fig. 1.4 Fresh water supply and wastewater discharge in monasteries (Bond 1991).

1.2 Water Supply and Wastewater Management in the Medieval Age | 5

First, the water flowed slowly through two sedimentation basins to a distribution house crossing the main ditch of the monastery. Pipes made either from tree trunks, ceramic material or lead were used for this purpose. From the distribution house, the water flowed to the different consumers, where it was polluted to different degrees; and afterwards it flowed into a wastewater canal, which was divided at two adjustable weirs into two different parts: the smaller one discharging into fish ponds and the larger one flowing below the latrines near the dormitories and afterwards into the river. The not very polluted main ditch was connected with ponds as water reservoirs to drive different mills. For such a demanding water supply, distribution and wastewater discharge, the location of the monastery had to be selected carefully and prepared at great expense.

Figure 1.5 shows an outline of the Cistercian monastery Arnsburg in the Wetterau region of Germany, established there in 1197. There are some differences to the

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Fig. 1.5 Cistercian Abbey in Arnsburg (Germany), plan of a medieval system for water use and wastewater discharge (Grewe, 1991). (a) Course of the river Wetter; (b) Branch canal; (c) Courtyard of the cloister with well; (d) Dormitory for the monks; (e) Dormitory for the lay brothers; (f) Rooms for the abbot; (g) Mill; (h) Brewery; (i) Fishpond. Broken lines indicate underground medieval sewers: (A) From the latrine of the monks to the sewer below the canal to the Wetter River; (B) From the lay brothers' latrine to the sewer; (C) From the abbot's rooms to the branch canal downstream from the mill.

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Fig. 1.5 Cistercian Abbey in Arnsburg (Germany), plan of a medieval system for water use and wastewater discharge (Grewe, 1991). (a) Course of the river Wetter; (b) Branch canal; (c) Courtyard of the cloister with well; (d) Dormitory for the monks; (e) Dormitory for the lay brothers; (f) Rooms for the abbot; (g) Mill; (h) Brewery; (i) Fishpond. Broken lines indicate underground medieval sewers: (A) From the latrine of the monks to the sewer below the canal to the Wetter River; (B) From the lay brothers' latrine to the sewer; (C) From the abbot's rooms to the branch canal downstream from the mill.

fundamental pattern of water supply, but principally we can recognize several elements that correspond. The mill ditch branching off from the Wetter River first went immediately past a building, presumable the kitchen, and then the water drove a mill (g) and was obviously used for brewing beer (h). Starting from the dormitories of the monks and from the wards, pipes crossed the ditch and flowed into the Wetter River. The brewery was connected by a pipe with the rooms of the abbot and we shall leave unanswered whether the pipe was used for the transport of beer or wastewater. Large parts of the monastery are now completely destroyed, but the location of the cloister, the enclosures and the house of the fountain could be reconstructed after excavations. The mill ditch flowed higher than the Wetter River and supplied the water to drive the mills.

The water supply and wastewater management in the castles of that time were simpler, although in the courtyard a deep well was dug to reach the groundwater. The latrines were constructed so that the waste could fall down upon the sloping rock. For palaces, castles and upper chambers lying next to a river, the wastes could be discharged using an underground canal or an open ditch. Figure 1.6 shows such a canal belonging to a palace from the 12 th century in Frankfurt near the river Main, Germany (Grewe 1991).

However, inside the towns there was often no system for waste management up to the middle of the 19th century. Frequently, refuse was discarded directly at the streets and paths where swine and chickens then foraged for usable foods and increased the wastes even further. Only after the installation of a water supply, the use of water toilets and the construction of open (Fig. 1.7) and closed wastewater ditches in the middle of the 19th century did the situation improve.

Fig. 1.6 Wastewater canal of a castle in Fig. 1.7 "Freiburger Bachle", initially

Frankfurt from the 12th century, with direct operated as a wastewater channel, used discharge into the river Main (Grewe 1991). since the 12th century (Grewe 1991).

Fig. 1.6 Wastewater canal of a castle in Fig. 1.7 "Freiburger Bachle", initially

Frankfurt from the 12th century, with direct operated as a wastewater channel, used discharge into the river Main (Grewe 1991). since the 12th century (Grewe 1991).

Hmhs Britannic Construction
Fig. 1.8 Construction of main sewage collectors along the river Thames in London (three at the northern and two at the southern bank) in 1865-1868 (Fohl and Hamm 1985).

However, during this period the number of inhabitants in the cities increased considerably. This made it necessary to find a fundamental solution to the problems. In London, for example, they first looked for an interim solution. A large canal was constructed in 1865-1868 along the river Thames (Fig. 1.8), which received most of the countless wastewater streams which were previously disposed directly into the river.

East of London, all the wastes in the canal were again discharged into the Thames. Because of the height difference needed to transport the water, wastewater pumping stations were built at Crossners and Abbey Mills. Fundamentally, this was the same method used in Rome 2000 years earlier: collecting, diverting and discharging.

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    Why was large canal constructed along the river thames wastewater?
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