Water and wastewater management in the treatment process of a Roman fullonica

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

The aim of this paper is to study the treatment process of a Roman fullery (fullonica) with particular attention to the water and wastewater management system. Remains of several fullonicae have been documented at Pompeii and Herculaneum (Campania, Southern Italy), Ostia and Rome (Latium region, Central Italy), Florence (Tuscany, Central Italy), etc. The common academic perception of Roman fullonicae is significantly influenced by the fullonica of Stephanus (I 6, 7) in Pompeii, which is assumed to be a paradigmatic case study in this paper. The use of urine as an alkaline chemical agent in the soaping phase of the filling treatment process was overstated, with there also being no evidence of the fact that fullers collected their urine by means of vessels in front of their workshops, as usually reported. Thus, it is not clear how the Roman fullers collected and transported the urine they used in the fulleries. Finally, the rinsing phase can be considered a clear example of water reuse.

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