Which Ancient Civilization Created the Sewer System?

Sewer systems have been around for centuries and have played a vital role in maintaining public health and sanitation. They are responsible for the proper disposal of waste, which is crucial to prevent the spread of diseases.

But, which ancient civilization created the sewer system? Let’s take a closer look.

Indus Valley Civilization

The Indus Valley Civilization is often considered to be one of the oldest civilizations in the world. It existed from around 2600 BCE to 1900 BCE, and during this time, they created an elaborate system of underground sewers. These sewers were made using burnt clay bricks and were connected to public baths and toilets.

The Indus Valley Civilization’s sewer system was advanced for its time and was designed to prevent waterlogging during monsoons. They also had a sophisticated drainage system that was built using terracotta pipes.

The Ancient Romans

The Ancient Romans are well-known for their engineering feats, and their sewer system is no exception. The Roman sewer system, also known as the Cloaca Maxima, was built around 600 BCE and served as a model for many other civilizations.

The Cloaca Maxima was a large underground sewer that drained into the Tiber River. It consisted of large stone arches that supported vaulted ceilings made of brick and mortar. The Romans also used lead pipes to transport water from aqueducts to public fountains, baths, and toilets.

The Ancient Greeks

While the Greeks did not create an extensive sewer system like the Romans or Indus Valley Civilization, they did have a basic understanding of sanitation. They believed that good health depended on clean living conditions and created public baths where people could bathe and socialize.

The Greeks also had an understanding of how waste could spread disease. They used cesspools to dispose of waste in urban areas but had no centralized sewage system.


In conclusion, the Indus Valley Civilization is believed to have created the first sewer system around 2600 BCE. The Ancient Romans later improved upon this system, creating an extensive network of underground sewers. The Greeks had a basic understanding of sanitation but did not create a centralized sewer system.

Today, we continue to build upon these ancient civilizations’ innovations and create more sophisticated systems that ensure public health and sanitation.