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Some folks go to Europe to relax, eat good food, and drink a lot of vino. I took pictures of Europe storm drains. Okay, Okay. I did a bunch of the eating and drinking, but I also found time to snap some photos of my favorite thing in this world, my wife, STORM DRAINS! According to The Historical Development of Sewers Worldwide (sweet read for those stormwater geeks among us), “drains in the streets are known since the early Mesopotamian Empire in Iraq (ca. 4000–2500 BC)” and “the ancient cities of Ur and Babylon, located in present-day Iraq, had effective drainage systems for stormwater control.” (De Feo et al 2014). This means that some really old cities had some neat stormwater infrastructure. So, in order to share my love of stormwater with all of you, I am sharing my vacation photos.


casale drain 2.jpg This beauty, possibly my favorite, I found in the streets of Casale Marittimo in Italy (Tuscany). The Europe storm drains is carved of stone and is approximately four inches thick. pisa1.jpgThese carved drains were by the Leaning Tower of Pisa. No need to look up, the clearly important parts are right here at my feet. pisa3.jpgI mean look at that drainage and carving….some industrial facilities really need to step up their stormwater game. Cast iron grates just don’t do stormwater justice, when you have oval drains carved in six-inch stone blocks. sangimi5.jpgWho wants to check out the towers of San Gimignano, Italy when you can explore a city full of brick swales down steep streets. Geez, some people have their priorities all wrong.  


IMG_6948.jpgWhat the heck, this construction project in Gruyeres, Switzerland had clearly not heard of source control Best Management Practices (BMPs) or storm drain inserts! IMG_6950.jpgWell hello, Bessie! My new friend was directly upstream from that storm drain……can we say e.coli? nitrates? phosphorus?

luasanne street drain 2.jpgA well laid out cobblestone swale and street drain in Lausanne, Switerzland.


mafra 1.jpgGood drainage swale in the streets of Mafra, Portugal. Keep up the good work.

mafra 2.jpgWay to make good use of your limestone cobblestones Mafra (Portugal) and that storm drain looks quite elegant! 

Ericeria.jpgThis cast concrete drain was set into cobblestone in Ericeira, Portugal. I like the detail around the storm drain as it really it makes it welcoming to the single-track cobblestone swale leading into it. Kinda like a well-done hearth.   Want to (stormwater) nerd out on your next vacation let us know how we can help;)  
No promises your spouse doesn’t kill you.

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