THIS 200-Year-Old Canal Was Drained For The First Time. What Was Revealed Underneath Is Incredible!

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You wouldn’t think that draining a canal could be so exciting, but once you hear about all the interesting things that have turned up at the bottom of one in France, you’ll understand why it is quite a big to-do!  

The waterway where the magic happens is the Canal Saint-Martin in Paris.  It’s well known for the arched bridges that cross it and the surrounding trendy neighborhood that’s filled with new shops, cafes, and bars.  A major tourist hotspot these days, the area has come a long way since the canal was first built back in 1825 under the direction of Napoleon Bonaparte.  He was looking to prevent the spread of diseases by boosting the clean drinking water supply for the rapidly growing city back then, and his own popularity as well. 

Ever since it was constructed almost two hundred years ago, the canal gets a good cleaning about every 10-15 years.  The last time it was cleaned and what the video coverage is from, was in early 2016. However, before any cleaning could be done, all the water needed to be drained first.  Once the water levels were down to just 20 inches, the workers then had to catch all the fish that lived there and move them to safety. The muddy waters are home to mainly bream, carp, and trout, all of which were found to have surprisingly healthy populations, considering what they live among. 

Once the fish were out the remaining water was drained, and the real cleanup began.  City workers found all sorts of trash that had sunk to the bottom of the canal over the course of the last 15 years.  In true Paris fashion, and surprising to no one, were the thousands of discarded wine bottles littered in the mud. Then there was the usual trash that’s to be expected, plastic bags, aluminum cans and beer bottles, traffic cones, and shopping carts.  Bikes were also among the more common items removed, and a fair number of cell phones, chairs, umbrellas, and trash cans were removed.

This time around police had to be on hand in order to take into possession a gun that was found, but in years past there have been much more interesting finds.  The last time the canal Saint Martin was drained, in 2001, two World War I shells were found! There were also several gold coins, a car, bathtub, and toilette bowl found that year.  Other notable finds from this latest drain and cleaning were a pair of motor bikes, another toilette bowl, and an old school style boombox.   

  Three months after they started, after moving 2 million cubic feet of water at a cost of over $10 million, the cleanup was finally over.  The fish were returned to their home and life around the canal was back to normal. Who knows what the next cleaning will reveal, but it’d be interesting to see if another toilette bowl shows up!

Watch the video below for the full story:

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