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Repurposing Sewer Pipes and Wastewater Structures

Sewer pipes do more than just hold and collect raw sewage. They also house people, make great wine and shoe racks, and an interactive museum. If you don’t believe me, scroll down for some interesting and wonderful things sewer pipes get used as.
These are playground turtles made from recycled sewer pipes in order to save the city some money. Al Koenig played a big part in the making of these turtles that ended up featured in the Popular Mechanics Magazine.
Wine Rack
An easy D.I.Y. project that tests your arts and crafts skills. Instructions from the blogger herself:

  • Drainage pipe (4″ diameter measuring 20 feet long)
  • 26 feet of vinyl coated wire rope (cost at my Home Depot store is $.36 a foot)
  • 4 turnbuckles (you can pony up for steel or use the less expensive zinc plated)
  • 8 cable clamps
  • 1 stainless steel clamp (this is to use as your guide when cutting the pipe)
  • a strong utility knife (for cutting the drainage pipe)
  • heavy duty wire cutters (for cutting the rope)

*note that a lot of these turnbuckles, clamps and wire rope come in varying materials with different prices attached to them so you can go super cheap or more expensive in your shopping.
How to make it:

  1. Cut the drainage pipe into 18 – foot long tubes (if you don’t have a power saw, this is where you use that industrial utility knife and the stainless steel clamp as your guide to cut against for a straight line)
  2. Cut the 26 feet of rope in half (two 13 feet pieces)
  3. Stand the 12″ pipe sections on a table in the formation just like the above diagram
  4. Use 13 feet of the rope and thread it around the tubes as indicated in the RED color on the diagram. the rope should be placed about 3 inches from the end of the tubes
  5. Pull it tightly for a snug fit and make loops through the turnbuckle eyes and add the cable clamps
  6. Cut the excess rope (note you will be using this excess rope from the first 13 foot section for the next step)
  7. Now wrap and attach the remaining bit of rope as indicated in the BLUE part of the diagram
  8. Tighten the turnbuckles to make it slightly snug
  9. Flip the formation of tubes upside down in order to repeat the process (again, laying the rope 3″ from the end of the tubes) with your remaining 13 foot piece of rope
  10. Now that you are done, tighten all of the turnbuckles until the tubes are held together tightly

*side note: lose the table top and turn the wine rack into a shoe rack. Get creative on how you glue the pipes together.
Hostel and Hotel Units
The Dasparkhotel in Germany started this nifty idea. They cleaned and repurposed old sewer pipes with one bed to standalone in a park. Showers, toilets, and kitchens need to be found elsewhere.
And piggy backing on the success of the Dasparkhotel in Germany, Mexico City used old sewer pipes to create multi-room, multi-level hotel rooms. There’s not much room to store anything bigger than a queen-size bed, but it sure is cozy. Each unit faces out into a communal opening to meet other guests.
Hotel Units
Paris Sewer Museum
For any wastewater fanatic, this is real life turned to art. The museum actually inspired author, Victor Hugo to write Les Miserables. How amazing is that.
These behemoth structures used to filter wastewater from a coking plant in Lauchhammer, Germany. But in 2003, they were shut down. They are now used as an educational resource to teach visitors about the industrial times of the area.

TNphoto Tatsuya Nakagawa
Tatsuya Nakagawa is the VP of Marketing and co-founder of Castagra Products, a storage tank and wastewater coatings manufacturing company that is highly acclaimed for its sustainable coatings and cold weather coating applications. Castagra products are NSF-61 certified and are used by the world’s top water and wastewater contractors.