Calgary jumps on the custom manhole chuckwagon
August 10, 2018 2:55 AM   Subscribe

Calgary becomes the latest city to add artfully designed manhole covers to their sewage system. Three artists have been selected to depict the various part of the water treatment system.

“I think it shows the importance that we place on the watershed,” says Randy Niessen, the head of the city’s public art programme. A substantial amount of Calgary’s water comes from the Bow river, featured in all three of its new designs. Calgarians have taken a lot of interest in the Bow River since the floods in 2013. The covers are reminiscent of Japan’s highly detailed, painted manhole covers, which have been well catalogued online and on Metafilter previously. Guardian gallery from 2015.
posted by arcticseal (7 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
The three Calgary selections are way nifty.

From that first link:

Not many cities see value in beautifying such a utilitarian hunk of metal. Drainspotters – as people united by a niche fascination with manhole cover design are sometimes called – would disagree.

Jon Schladweiler is among them. He was the chief engineer and deputy director of Arizona’s Pima County Wastewater Management for 40 years. Now retired, his business cards read simply “sewer historian”. He manages the website as well as a travelling exhibition dedicated to sewerage systems. (previously) is well worth a visit.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:33 AM on August 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

Thanks, arcticseal. I had no idea this was happening here. Those covers are gorgeous.
posted by angiep at 6:23 AM on August 10, 2018

Woot! Hometown pride.
posted by SonInLawOfSam at 6:33 AM on August 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

Me neither! When we move back to Calgary, I'd love to buy one of them and make it into a table for the deck.
posted by arcticseal at 6:39 AM on August 10, 2018

I'm just happy that the word "Drainspotters" is a thing.
posted by Quackles at 4:52 PM on August 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

This isn't Calgary's first venture into decorative covers. I took a picture of this one when I still lived there. Not as arty as the new ones but still more exciting than a plain hatch pattern.
posted by Mitheral at 7:24 PM on August 10, 2018

Oh wow, those are pretty. I'm just south of Calgary, but I'll look for them when I'm in the big city.
posted by arcticwoman at 7:30 PM on August 10, 2018

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