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Report - Cheltenham CSO - 10/04/2010

Discussion in 'UK Draining Forum' started by clebby, Apr 11, 2010.

  1. clebby

    clebby ( . Y . )
    Regular User

    Aug 25, 2008
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    Finding one shit left in a bog somewhere is bad enough for me, so I don't know in what f*cked up frame of mind I was when I agreed to fanny around in a friggin' main sewer. But strangely, it was fun. Disgusting, yes. Idiotic, yes... but fook me it was good fun. And as a bonus, the lights were left on! :cool:

    A CSO is a common feature of many sewers. CSO stands for...


    ...and is used to discharge wastewater ("poo-soup") and stormwater into a river or lake when the sewer system is overwhelmed and the sanitary flow is exceeded. In times of exceptionally heavy rain, the sheer volume of water in the sewer causes the level to rise above the tunnel roof. The solution to this is a CSO, a chamber with a high wall that allows raw sewage to fall over it only when the water level is high enough, and then drain into the river.

    Cheltenham's CSO is a huge concrete chamber that just seems to go on and on. It's spread over two levels on one side, and then on the other side is the main sewer which flows right through. I'm not a conisseur of structures what's sole purpose is to fill with shit but even I can appreciate the size of it, and others have told me it's the biggest they've seen. It is designed to discharge into the River Chelt, and it obviously does occasionally - everything is caked in sewage debris from floor to ceiling. Yum! :eek:

    Enough chitter-chatter, there's only so much you can say about a shit filled concrete mong-hole in the ground. Here's the grill that the sewage discharges through... check out the savoury layer of scum on that water.


    A little engineering later, and we're inside...


    Would you believe it, the friggin' lights are on! Win. ^_^


    As you can see, it's on two floors - the sewage runs behind the wall on the right at the same level as this shot. The wall is about the height of the second floor platform, and when the water level is high enough it floods over it. It would drain through the grate (which is behind me) and into the river.


    And upstairs, looking down to where we just were...


    It was pretty repetitive, but there were some nice angles to shoot...



    After a little more engineering involving an electron ladder and a close shave (ending up head first in that river would not be pretty) we were back at ground level on the other side of the wall, squelching through inches of posh Cheltenham shite.


    We walked into the tunnel a little way, until a curtain of toilet paper and condoms stopped us carrying on. It was seriously unpleasant down there - because much of the wastewater is from baths and washing machines etc, it was warm, giving off vapors and creating an eerie, deathly still mist. Oh, and it fucking stank.


    At one end of the chamber was a separate room with the maintenance access, down from a manhole...


    This is why the lights were on. Obviously, some workers had been in, switched the lights on and when they came to turn then off the switch had snapped! God knows how long they've been burning away. Also in the room was the controls for this ancient motor, which operated a sluice for the river of turds below. It obviously hasn't been used in years; maybe they only used it when it was first built so they could get the sluice in the right position so that it doesn't overflow too often, and then after that just locked the sluice in place ?


    And finally, a group shot by the almighty torrent that is the Chelt - what does it say when that's the towns premier watercourse. :rolleyes:


    ^^^ What a bunch of turds - look like they've just come from the sewer. :p But seriously, it was an awesome trip with great company. Thanks to Hpipe and Kempes for doing the initial research, spungletrumpet for accompanying me down that god-awful tunnel, petzl for the lolz and VW for the inapproproate comments. ;)

    You can see Hpipe's original report from last year here. Apart from that Gap culvert in Cheltenham we did that morning, this was my first undeground site. It was fun, but I think I'll leave squelching through other peoples waste for a while now. :)

    Thanks for reading guys,



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