Draining the canal is not easy, either – or cheap. In fact, even though it has to be done every fifteen years or so, that doesn’t mean it happens overnight.
From start to finish, getting everything done, including draining it and cleaning out the junk and debris, it can take several months. Not to mention the many labor hours it takes to do everything, and that isn’t taking into consideration the costs, which can run upward of $10 million.
Of course, even though they were bound to find a lot of trash that had been dumped over the past decade or so, they were also expecting to find some less…common stuff, too. So, what did the authorities uncover at the bottom of the Canal Saint-Martin?
Well, this time alone, they found more than 100 bicycles, as well as some motor scooters, a sewing mannequin and some World War I shot gun shells. Even more disturbing perhaps, they found a wheelchair, which was hopefully empty when it went into the water.
Officials knew that draining the canals wouldn’t be an easy process. Luckily, engineers were able to come up with an effective method that has worked well for the city for several decades.
To make everything easier and to first prepare, they set up a dam. Doing this would help with their next step: diverting over three million tons of water into the Seine.
The actual dewatering began on the 4th day of January, and took several days to even clear enough of the liquid out to begin the next phase. Then, by the 7th, they were ready to begin sifting through all of the unburied trash…and treasure.
In such a crowded city, you can imagine all of the garbage that finds its way to the canal. The people of Paris were shocked by what they were seeing.
Once the water receded, officials were left looking at the heaps of garbage in the empty canal. The revelation gave them a greater perspective as to how much trash gets dumped in the water in Paris.
But perhaps even odder than all of the garbage they found was the random treasure-like objects. At least they were treasures, considering how strange it was to see these things tossed aside.