The drains and sewers network of Brussels forms a maze of about 190 miles (300km) of underground tunnels, with construction dating back to 1867. The explorers travel through tunnels of various shapes and structures, reflecting the years of development: stone, brick, then concrete.
At the end of 2006 the water treatment situation in Brussels is far from good. The river Senne is completely covered and flows under the streets of Brussels, beside the main sewer to which it is also linked and acts as an overflow. Outside the city the Senne is considered 'biologically dead'.
The opening of the substantial water treatment station Aquaris in 2007 will improve the situation considerably.
Until then the Senne remains one of the main sources of pollution for the river Escaut and then for the North Sea.
It is a strange world for a sewers-virgin like myself. I was expecting the smell to be awful - yet it is partly hidden by the soapy effluvium, creating a subtle but nonetheless poisonous mix which one can get used to rather quickly.
We followed a North-South axis, from Schaerbeek to downtown Brussels, about 8 miles on a straight line. The air is fresh - near room temperature - yet outside it is a scorching summer's day. The trip back is far from pleasant, especially for our fellow passengers on the bus who have to share the smells of our visit to the sewers.
Eight miles underground. The walk is far from monotonous - we cross the subway, the grand boulevards, service tunnels, main sewers of all shapes and sizes, an multitude of ovoid cross tunnels, the river Senne of course and a couple of dying rats...
Sound background: the road traffic below the Vilvoordelaan echoing in the tunnels (this annoying noise can be stopped using the mini-player below...)
Really cool pics! However, with the photo gallery, the text descriptions lag one photo behind...anyone else have this problem? It's so surprising that such a large European city has taken so long into the 21st century to deal with their sewage and waste water problems.
...Ode to the Turd...
Our Universal Turd...w/o that, which we'd nay have no sewers -for to be explor'd...
nor a place so to cast, into the dark and dank -our bodily offal...a meals' end -its' past...
so -upon each days' end and/or beginning, be it morn, whichever first, may follow...
raise us in a toast -a glass...then, down a meal -of 9+ course to its' last...
-for to celebrate and fuel...yet, another full-load...
to dump, flush and cast...into that lower, nether abode...
I found this website looking for underground clubs in Brussels, and I lost an hour checking these beautiful pictures. Good job!
Great Photos! Your work is unbelievable and well done !
I would like to leave a word of warning about sewer exploration, that's the very real accumulation of poisonous gases which include hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, methane, carbon dioxide. All of these can and do kill persons working underground every year.
Looking into borrowing or renting a multi-gas monitor, your work is to good to loose !
spectacular photo's, and i thought it was just me that loved sewers, good to know im not that mad.
keep it up.
What a wonderful series of photographs. This system has so many interesting features, I particularly like the rail cars and the wooden doors. I've also recorded sounds underground and at some locations, I should get around to adding them on my pages. Wonderful site, I added it to my set of links.
Wow! what an amazing place, thankyou sop uch for shring your visit with those of us who are unable to visit such amzing places! Keep up the good work!
Hello! Very nicely done. Good stuff. I will be back!
Rail cars in the sewers?! Hell yeah!
That is fantastic! Excellent photography in some of the most interesting sewers I have ever seen!
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