The Sewer system has increased in size as Midwinter has grown. Originally designed more as a means of dealing with river-flooding and extreme tides, it soon became used as a waste disposal route.
The sewers were built in stages as the city has grown. The different phases of the sewers are detailed below.
Phase 1 – The Old City.
The earliest parts of the sewers date back to the early years of the Third Age and lie beneath the Shambles and Harbour districts. Construction began in 63TA when Merek Norn was clearing the old ruins. Parts of the original Second Age workings were reused, though the vast majority was new. Norn's goblin slaves were used to build the sewers and are partially responsible for the network of twisting tunnels that are found today. Construction was finally completed in 80TA.
Today, much of the brick built sewer system is in need of repair and several tunnels have collapsed. A full scale cleaning operation has not been cleared out for nearly two hundred years. Unfortunately, the nature of the Shambles population and the activities of the so called ‘Shadow Guild' make extensive surveys and reconstruction work almost impossible.
The outflows on the river Tooze were closed in 805TA to stop refuge entering the river and upsetting the Beaconsfield residents. There is a constant battle between the Shadow Guild and the River Guard to keep the outflows closed.
The sewers themselves are of a circular construction around twelve feet wide in diameter. Three foot wide walkways run either side of the tunnel, leaving a two foot deep channel between.
Phase 2 – The New City.
Between about 100TA and 300TA the city remained fairly static in size. Following the Hammerwind revolution of 317TA the city began to increase in size. Uncel Hammerwind ordered the building of the New City Sewer in 325TA as part of his grand building campaign. During the next fifty years the city saw the construction of the city walls, the cathedrals of Phaedra and Orloth and the famous Hammerwind Palace.
Construction began in 326TA and continued for 7 years. This time, the construction was planned and overseen by dwarven engineers. The resulting system covers a larger area than the phase 1 sewers but has less than half the length of tunnels. Rather than attempt to serve all the houses and streets, the New City sewer was built only under the major road systems. Smaller ‘feed' tunnels about two feet in diameter are used to pipe the waste from the houses to the main sewer pipes.
The brick built main sewer pipes are about twenty feet across. The walkways are wider, about five feet, and the central channel is deeper, about five feet. At regular intervals, arcing bridges are built across the effluent channel from walkway to walkway. These sewers are in a good state of repair. The Mason's Guild has a regular maintenance and cleaning schedule.
Phase 3 – Norn Hill.
The Norn Hill sewer was built around the same time as the New City sewer. Although similar in size, rather than being brick-built the tunnels were constructed using the dwarves patented liquid-stone. The resulting tunnels are strong and durable and have withstood the test of time better than the other tunnels.
Norn Hill also has a series of water cisterns. These large chambers are used to join different levels of the sewers where the hill changes height sharply.
Phase 4 – Beaconsfield.
Josiah Beacon began construction of Beaconsfield in 793TA a new sewer system was constructed on similar lines to the New City sewers. They are privately maintained and cleaned and remain outside the Guild's area of influence.
Phase 5 – Fairfield.
Fairfield has a fledgling sewer system being constructed and expanded as we speak. Development of the new area has been slow of the ground and only the areas around the new docks have completed sewers.
To allow the movement of effluent and flood water from the whole city into the sea, all sections of the sewer system are joined together. In order to curtail the movement of undesirables beneath the city, the intersections between the Norn Hill, New City and Old City/Dockland areas are ‘fortified'. These intersections are circular chambers about thirty feet across. All sewer entrances into the chambers are covered by steel gratings, cemented into the walls. Originally locked gates were used but these proved to be ineffectual. The Guild regularly checks the status of these grates and repairs or replaces them as necessary.
The effluent leaves the sewers and enters the river or Dukeswater through a series of outflows. These are just extentions of the sewer pipes that jut out into the water. They are protected by steel gratings which are checked regularly by the River Guard and Sea Guard for integrity.