How did the Roman aqueducts not have dirty, bug-infested water in them?
Romans (and everybody for centuries) did have bug-infested water that probably would make sick any of the modern, soft people that you find around today, if we drank water straight from Roman fountains.Romans (and people in rural parts without modern aqueducts) knew that aqueduct water cannot be drink “raw” without treatment because amoebas can kill you, even if water has no fecal matter and seems not turbid and is actually running water.
Your grandparents and great-grandparents did not have the luxury of clean water direct from faucets and filtered water that you have today, so the Romans did what people have done for centuries.
- In short, they added alcohol to the water after boiling it (when boiling was possible, which rarely was). Actually, boiling was used but not to clean the water but to concentrate the sugar of the must in such a way that a good Roman wine, made of concentrated must full of fructose, could kick your ass in minutes. However, is not like if our ancestors were a collection of drunkards and beer and wine lovers. Well, maybe some people were actual drunkards. It is very hard to become civilized while diarrhea is killing you.
- Roman water was treated but not like today, when you can drink water because it has chlorine added at the source but by adding vinegar or wine after collecting the water from the aqueduct. Vinegar added water was common, even for poor people and it was called posca. Posca was an Ancient Roman drink, made by mixing vinegar , water, and perhaps herbs. It was the soldiers, the lower classes, and the slaves who drank posca.
- A third alternative is to add “young wine” made from crushed grapes. The first possibility (posca water or water with vinegar) was relatively cheap while wine was for richer people.
Boiling water were not practical for city dwellers, because wood was relatively expensive.