Evolution of Sanitation and Wastewater Technologies through the Centuries
Andreas N. Angelakis Joan B. Rose
OverviewMost of the technological developments relevant to water supply and wastewater date back to more than to five thousand years ago. These developments were driven by the necessity to make efficient use of natural resources, to make civilizations more resistant to destructive natural elements, and to improve the standards of life, both at public and private level.
Rapid technological progress in the 20th century created a disregard for past sanitation and wastewater and stormwater technologies that were considered to be far behind the present ones. A great deal of unresolved problems in the developing world related to the wastewater management principles, such as the decentralization of the processes, the durability of the water projects, the cost effectiveness, and sustainability issues, such as protection from floods and droughts were intensified to an unprecedented degree. New problems have arisen such as the contamination of surface and groundwater. Naturally, intensification of unresolved problems has led to the reconsideration of successful past achievements.
This retrospective view, based on archaeological, historical, and technical evidence, has shown two things: the similarity of physicochemical and biological principles with the present ones and the advanced level of wastewater engineering and management practices. Evolution of Sanitation and Wastewater Technologies through the Centuries presents and discusses the major achievements in the scientific fields of sanitation and hygienic water use systems throughout the millennia, and compares the water technological developments in several civilizations. It provides valuable insights into ancient wastewater and stormwater management technologies with their apparent characteristics of durability, adaptability to the environment, and sustainability. These technologies are the underpinning of modern achievements in sanitary engineering and wastewater management practices. It is the best proof that “the past is the key for the future”.
Evolution of Sanitation and Wastewater Technologies through the Centuries is a textbook for undergraduate and graduate courses of Water Resources, Civil Engineering, Hydraulics, Ancient History, Archaeology, Environmental Management and is also a valuable resource for all researchers in the these fields.
Authors: Andreas N. Angelakis, Institute of Iraklion, Iraklion, Greece and Joan B. Rose, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA