The term sewer arose as the diminutive of alcantara. It is called alcantara, according to the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE), to the trunk-type box that, on a velvet loom, is used to store the fabric that is being worked.

The sewer notion, however, has nothing to do with looms. The concept refers to a sinkhole or underground aqueduct that allows the sewage or rainwater collection to move them through ducts.

Manhole cover

The sewers collect rainwater.

History of the sewers

It is important to note that in the etymology from sewer appears the word from Hispanic Arabic alqánṭara, which alludes to a “bridge”. The oldest culverts, in this framework, resembled a small bridge since they consisted of a barrel vault supported by two walls. In this way, he managed to create a channel in the lower sector.

The oldest sewer system on record was found in Nippur, a old city of the Sumerian culture that is currently part of the territory of Iraq. Based on the remains found, it is estimated that these sewers were built around the 3750 BC.

The sewers were born with the aim of promoting the evacuation of rainwater to avoid stagnation and floods. As the populations of the localities began to grow, other needs appeared and thus the sewers began to evolve.

How do they work

The sewers integrate the sanitation systems and enable the evacuation of waters. It is known as sewerage to all the sewers of a neighborhood or a locality.

Today they usually consist of underground concrete conduits with ovoid or circular cross section. Once the water reaches the sewer and enters through the manhole, meet through branches and they are derived to the so-called collectors (or collector sewers).


The set of sewers in an area is called sewer.

It is important to note that the operation of the sewers is produced by the gravity. On specific occasions, and only for small sections, they consist of pipes that carry out their work by vacuum or pressure.

The sewer as it slashes

The idea of ​​sewer can also be used to refer to a chop. It is an infrastructure work that is linked to sewer system, although it has different characteristics than those mentioned above.

The culvert or cut serves to drain surface waters transversely. What it does is allow the waters to flow under a railroad track, a highway or other type of road creating a kind of bridge.

Places in Spain and Portugal

Sewer is the name of a municipality which is located in the province of Murcia (Spain). In the area where it is located there were already populations in the 5th century BC.

Nowadays Sewer it has more than 42,000 inhabitants. The ferris wheel known as Huerta Wheel or Sewer Wheel; the Terol Mansion; the Convent of the Minims; the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption; and the Hermitage of Our Lady of Health are some of the buildings best known in the region.

In Portugal, finally, there is a parish call Sewer. its population it barely exceeds 2,000 inhabitants.