September 15, 2018 8:16 pm

Calgary unveils new manhole cover designs

Mary Haasdyk's design for Water represents the source of our drinking water, the city said.

Global News

It’s a sight that’ll have people checking where they step on Calgary streets.

The Manhole Cover Design Project commissioned three artists — Andrea Williamson, Jeff Kulak and Mary Haasdyk — to create cast-iron designs.

The three new manhole covers represent the importance of how the water network is integrated in the city.

“We saw an opportunity to tell a story of the different systems that run underground, so we’ve got our storm system, our wastewater system and our water system,” said Randy Niessen, public art project coordinator with the City of Calgary.

People celebrated the project at Prince’s Island Park on Saturday afternoon where they made imprints of the manhole cover designs on T-shirts and tote bags.

These designs feature mountains, rivers, trees and bacteria — all part of the water treatment process.

“It’s kind of telling the story of the origins of our drinking water through the mountains, and then precipitation into a vessel, which could be the reservoir or drinking vessel,” Niessen said.

Calgary has 200,000 manholes with about 2,000 being replaced each year, depending on wear and tear, the city said. That means 12,000 kilometres of pipes under the pavement.

In the coming years, any manhole cover that needs to be replaced will feature one of the new designs.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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