Underground by David Macaulay

An excerpt from the book Underground by David Macaulay a look at sewers, subways and other things under the feet of city dwellers.

UNDERGROUND by David Macaulay. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1976.

About the Book: A walk in the city will never be the same after you've read this book. The author shows us what is underneath the sidewalks, streets, and buildings of a typical modern city. Sewers, manholes, and gas lines come alive through the use of clear and simple drawings and text. Also included are step-by-step descriptions of the construction of an office building and a subway system. Recommended for city dwellers of all ages.

From the Book:

Metal gates, called valves, are located inside the pipes, enabling a section to be shut off and repaired without closing the entire system. In the straight runs of pipe, they are located approximately every eight hundred feet, and at the intersection of three or more pipes, they are located within each pipe. They are also located on all branch lines between the submains and the buildings. On top of each valve is a nut that is reached through a small opening in the street or sidewalk called a valve box. Each valve box is covered by a small square or round cast-iron lid. Valves are opened and closed by turning the nut with a long-handled wrench called a gate key. Other valves called air valves, which are located at high points along the pipeline, allow any trapped air to escape without releasing water.

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