What’s In Your Sewer

We’ve all heard the possibly apocryphal stories of alligators in New York’s sewers, complete with speculation about how they got there and how long they’ve been there. Well, closer to home, there’s an equally strange, if verified, mystery lurking beneath the streets of Minneapolis.

Minneapolis’ storm drains have some interesting wildlife growing in them. A lot of it likely originated in the Mississippi River, which most of the drains flow into; the clams and catfish can be explained away this way without too much difficulty. However, much more difficult to explain are the huge numbers of goldfish living beneath the city streets for (at least) several years now. They’re not the hardiest of fish, I’m told, but the apparent breeding colonies beneath the city suggest a certain adaptability that’s perhaps unexpected in such unassuming little creatures. (They are not, alas, albino, as I discovered recently, somewhat to my disappointment.)

Netting, spearing, or even “noodling” the catfish that seem to be everywhere under the city would be, well, like shooting fish in a barrel. If you’re in the City of Lakes, however, and your thoughts are turning downward in search of free protein, keep in mind that the Minneapolis “sanitary” and storm sewers aren’t as well-segregated as they should be, and fish living in the sewers there are most likely, hard as it might be to believe, worse to eat than those in the Mississippi River, where the effluvia and chemical runoff are better diluted.

I’ve never seen much aquatic life in Saint Paul’s sewers; badgers and hedgehogs and raccoons and mice and rats and a variety of insects, sure; even some very interesting fungi. I suspect the difference has to do more with good drain design than water quality or anything like that…

Published in: General, Urban Exploration | on August 17th, 2007| 1 Comment »

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  1. On 11/2/2007 at 11:22 am Max Said: