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They weren't actually sewers, but we liked to refer to them as such. They were really storm drain tunnels, miles of which run underneath the suburbs of Plano, Texas. Even though there's no direct human or household waste flowing through them, it's odd looking back and realizing that at the time we assumed there was, and that it didn't bother us. It never smelled more than just musty, and there was never more than a small trickle of water running through them. The tunnels were mostly bone dry, so it was easy to navigate on their poured concrete surfaces with sneakers and not feel like you'd stepped in something gross. These cylindrical, concrete caves provided a chilly, dim, wholly other universe for me and my friends while growing up...always waiting there for us mere inches beneath our front lawns. The real purpose of storm drain tunnels is to prevent flooding in low-lying areas: drains built within the grid of paved streets (usually along the curbs) sieve off rainwater directly into large tunnels under the ground, or sometimes smaller connecting ones, which lead to others, and others, and eventually dump out into creeks. Rainwater run-off, lawn water run-off, street water, creek water, storm drains, storm tunnels: to us...they'll always be sewers.

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